Is your financial newsletter simply “ticking over” as you think it should, or is it a crucial part of a wider marketing strategy?
In this article, our marketing team here at CreativeAdviser will be sharing the key differences between a plan and a strategy when it comes to newsletters for financial firms.
Our hope is that your newsletter can be used to full effect rather than a monthly activity you “simply do” because “everyone else in my field does it”.
So, what distinguishes a strategy from a plan when it comes to your financial newsletter, and how can you move it more towards the former so that it meets its full potential?
Plan & Strategy: The Key Distinctions
A marketing plan is a set programme or pattern – with little room for flexibility. If your “Plan A” fails, for instance, then you don’t change it. Instead, you move to “Plan B”.
Taken on this definition, a financial newsletter plan might include things such as the frequency you have determined for it (i.e. does it go out once a month, every other month etc.?).
The advantage of a newsletter plan is that it allows for both staff and newsletter subscribers to access a high level of predictability. They get to know when to expect your newsletter in their inboxes, and may even look forward to it if it’s a very good one!
In other words, a newsletter plan is great for building confidence and stability.
A strategy, however, is more of a design or layout to achieve a specific goal. As such, it is more flexible than a plan, since the tactics you use within the strategy might change as required.
When looked at through this lens, your financial newsletter becomes more of a tool within a wider marketing strategy. It’s not just focused on the “how” of your newsletter (e.g. how will we distribute it?) but also the “why” – i.e. what is its purpose and what is the best way to integrate it into our wider marketing strategy?
Financial Newsletter Steps & “Best Steps”
Sometimes our team will speak to a financial planner enquiring into our services, and they’ll tell us that they’re already running a newsletter but it is just a “box ticking exercise”.
Basically, the newsletter is just going out to an email list because the financial planner feels like they should be “doing something” with their marketing – and this is what everyone else seems to be doing.
When we ask them what kind of metrics they’ve seen (e.g. how many people open the emails on average or respond to the calls to action), quite often the financial planner doesn’t know!
These types of enquiries are quite common, and they not only show a newsletter plan which is not working. They show a newsletter which is not being used strategically.
Quite often, this happens because a financial planner has read somewhere (e.g. a blog) that they need to get a newsletter up and running. They then approach an agency to take them through “the steps” to get it operational so that, technically speaking, it works properly and looks good.
That’s fine, but it only gets you so far. Just following “the steps” to start a financial newsletter isn’t the same as taking the “best steps” to leverage it effectively within your own marketing strategy.
So, how can you start to move from just having a plan for your financial newsletter, to also having a strategy?
Take a Step Back
Rather than “zone in” on the finer details of your newsletter to try and find out why it’s not working (e.g. “Am I sending it out at the right time?”), take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
What are your goals for your financial planning business? For instance, are you a new firm with 30 clients and hope to double this over the next 6-12 months?
Who are you looking to target and what value can you offer them that is different from the competition? Why might a potential client turn to you, for instance, rather than a big, established nation-wide financial firm instead?
How big is your target market and what are the ways they like to consume news and information? Do they use Facebook, for instance, or WhatsApp? Do they prefer email or post?
What are their pain-points and what kind of obstacles might you need to try and address as they move through your customer journey?
Once you start to tackle these questions, it starts to become clearer why and how you should be using your financial newsletter in your distinct case.
For instance, suppose your main target market as a financial planner is senior doctors. How might this influence the design and content of your newsletter? Will you be using it to primarily engage an existing client list or to build up your client base even further?
If it’s the latter, for instance, then perhaps you might consider a “refer and reward” scheme within your newsletter. Here, you could offer a reduction in your fees to any subscriber who successfully gets another senior doctor to join your list, and attend your next webinar on the lifetime allowance.
For new attendees of the webinar, you may then wish to use your newsletter in other ways to ensure they don’t simply drift away after receiving that value from you. Perhaps you could then sign them up to a 3-week newsletter series on pension tips for doctors, with the end-goal of getting them to book a consultation to discuss their own case with a member of your team?
As you can see, it is such a waste to simply have a financial newsletter “ticking over” when it often has so much more potential. Don’t settle for less than what you and your clients deserve.