A newsletter is one of the best ways for financial firms to engage its client base and encourage referrals. Yet, is your financial newsletter being used to its fullest potential?
As one of the UK’s few specialist digital agencies for the financial sector, our experience has taught us that client newsletters need at least six core components to work effectively. Without them, your campaigns are likely to struggle and possibly cause more harm than good.
Below, we outline these 6 components in more detail – offering ideas about how to incorporate them into existing campaigns (if you already run a financial newsletter for your clients). We hope this information is useful and inspiring to you.
Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your own marketing or financial newsletter with a member of our team.
#1 Thought leadership
Think about the newsletters you read on a regular basis. Why do you keep reading them?
The chances are, you don’t read very many – partly due to lack of time. Those you do read, however, will almost certainly be those which contain interesting, useful content that’s hard to find elsewhere.
For your financial newsletter to be a success, it needs to have this effect on your subscribers. It needs to be something they look forward to and enjoy consuming. This means dedicating time and careful thought to the content you’ll offer them.
For instance, think about the topics you are covering in your newsletter articles. Are they relevant and topical? Do they address questions which your clients are actually asking? Assuming so, check the quality of the content. Is it useful and original?
This all amounts to thought leadership – i.e. providing authoritative insights on pensions, investments and other areas of financial planning which cannot be easily found elsewhere online.
#2 Great design
Is your financial newsletter pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate? Many client newsletters are jumbled or just plain ugly, which can be a huge turn-off for clients and subscribers.
Fortunately, a range of useful platforms exist to help you create an attractive newsletter which looks great on different devices and in various email clients. Examples include MailChimp and Sendinblue.
It can help to enlist the help of a professional design agency or freelancer to maximise the quality of your design. Be careful not to cut corners to try and save money. It is better to not have a financial newsletter at all than regularly publish a poor-quality one.
#3 Calls to action
What action do you want your newsletter subscribers to take when they read your newsletter?
Many financial firms are content just to have clients open their emails and read an article. Whilst this is a great starting point, a newsletter can hold much more potential.
For instance, could you include a referral scheme – inviting readers to pass the content on to a colleague, family member or friend who they think could benefit from it?
Even a simple invitation for the client to share an article on their social media can be a powerful call-to-action.
#4 Good timing & consistency
Do clients know when to expect your newsletter to arrive in their inbox? If not, how can they truly look forward to it?
Having a regular publishing schedule is very important for nurturing a sense of expectation amongst your readers. This, in turn, promotes engagement with your newsletter when it arrives.
Without consistency, there is also a greater chance that your message will be missed or cast into the rubbish bin.
You should also consider investing into research about the best time to send out your newsletter. For instance, you might assume that a Monday morning is a bad time to send. Yet, have you actually tested it?
With some split testing, you may find some interesting insights into what actually works. For instance, perhaps Monday morning is a good sending time for some email lists – since lots of readers are on the train, reading emails on their phones on the way into work.
#5 An “opted-in” email list
Are the people in your newsletter email list really there because they want to be?
Setting aside legal requirements about needing to respect your user’s data and privacy, there is a strong natural incentive to keep your email list “opted-in” (i.e. willingly, recently and in full awareness, signed-up to your newsletter communications).
An opted list is more likely to receive and open your messages, helping to protect your domain authority and shield you from blacklisting (due to high volumes of recipients marking your messages as spam).
Be wary of buying an email list from a third-party vendor. This is likely to result in low engagement and a higher chance of abuse reports. This can result in a downward spiral for your domain – leading to fewer messages getting through with each send out.
Regardless, consider “cleaning up” your list every six months or so – to make sure the people in there, still want to be.
#6 Commitment to improvement
Finally, are you using your campaign reports to regularly make your newsletter better?
It is easy to sit back and let your newsletter “tick over” month-by-month, if it is already doing a good job. Yet the danger, here, is that your content becomes repetitive, predictable and stale. Over time, this can lead to a drop-off in client engagement.
For instance, are there new topics that you could address with your content? Perhaps you could try a bolder “opinion piece” in one of your editions, if previously you have mainly stuck to “safe” areas, for instance.
Or, maybe you could try a new call to action, publishing day/time or referral incentive scheme.