Most financial planners think it’s a good idea to run a regular client newsletter, of some sort. Here at CreativeAdviser, we tend to agree. Yet which format works best? What kind of regularity is best, and how do you measure the success of your campaign?
Below, our team addresses these questions to help you in your own marketing efforts to loyal clients. We hope you find these insights beneficial. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your own client newsletter campaign with us.
Print vs. digital
Perhaps the first crucial question to answer is whether a printed newsletter would best suit your clients, or a digital one. The former has the advantage of making your business look prestigious, and also feels good for your clients to have in their hands. On the other hand, it is costly and time-consuming to produce and distribute. Moreover, it is very difficult to measure how many people read the content in the printed newsletter, as well as the results this produces.
In our view, digitally-based newsletters are clearly the future for most financial firms. They do not need expensive professional printers to get involved. With a strong email list, moreover, you can ensure high delivery rates to your clients. The content lasts longer since the content stays in recipients’ inboxes and hard drives (when PDFs are downloaded and saved). Finally, you can also clearly measure key metrics such as email bounce rates, open rates, click-through rates (CTRs) and unsubscribes.
Refine the list
You could have a stunning newsletter with great content, but it will fall flat if the subscriber list is of poor quality. Many financial planners have old email lists containing hundreds – even thousands – of people who have not been contacted in a long time. If this is the case for you, then consider cleaning up your list to ensure you get the best results from your campaign.
This can be an uncomfortable experience for many firms as they see the size of their email list shrink. Yet it truly is better to have a smaller list of engaged, relevant subscribers than a huge list of disinterested – even angry – people.
If you think you already have a decent list, however, there are still many things you can do to improve it. In particular, segmenting your list by location, interests and other key demographic/psychographic criteria can be a powerful way to prepare your list for more targeted campaigns to specific groups in the future.
Why are you looking to send your clients a newsletter? It isn’t sufficient to think that it’s the right thing to do simply because your competitors are doing it. After all, most of us experience a bombardment of irrelevant emails in our inboxes every day. You do not want to add to that clutter for your clients.
Therefore, if you are going to run a client newsletter, it is important to think carefully about what you want it to achieve – and how it can be made relevant, timely and valuable to clients.
For instance, if you are an investment firm primarily serving angel investors, they may be interested to receive regular news about exciting new startups which they may want to invest in.
Cryptocurrency investors will likely want to have regular updates about market movements and also political developments which may affect the value of their investments.
Financial planning clients may want to hear from you about how markets are affecting their pensions or investment portfolios. They could be interested to find out about how a recent Budget from the Chancellor impacts them. If there are opportunities to save money (e.g. saving on tax via allowances in the run-up to April) then these can also be of interest.
Your clients’ preferences will influence how often you send out a newsletter. In our experience, most audiences do not want to hear from you more than once per week. Moreover, contacting them less than once per quarter typically does not allow you to build up enough momentum with your newsletter. People need to look forward to it and know when to expect it, after all.
It can be a good idea to survey your email list to find out how regularly they’d be willing to receive an email newsletter from you. Moreover, your newsletter purpose (established above) will also bear upon the frequency. For instance, older financial planning clients will likely be content to hear from you once per month. They may not want to know the finer details of equity market movements, week-by-week, although they may want to know which economic/political developments in the last 30 days may affect their wealth and finances.
For cryptocurrency investors, however, the markets move very quickly and fortunes can turn in the space of hours. As such, these types of audiences may be better suited to a weekly/bi-weekly communique.
The monitoring system
Once you have your campaign ready to go, it’s important to have a process in place which allows you to check how things are performing. Suppose you send your client newsletter out on Tuesday afternoon to a list of 300 people. How can you tell whether things have gone well?
Your email service provider (ESP) or marketing platform should enable you to build a dashboard of relevant metrics which paint a clear picture for you – articulated in a post-campaign report. MailChimp, for instance, provides a nice summary of each campaign on your home screen after logging into your account. This shows you key information such as open rates and unsubscribers.
A good starting point is to find out your “industry average” for delivery rates, open rates, CTRs and unsubscribes and use these as a benchmark for each campaign. From there, you can identify strengths and weak-points to help ensure each successive newsletter performs better.