When something is well established, it can be hard to remember why it exists in the first place.
It’s easy to become fixated on the newest trends and lose focus on why the fundamentals matter.
There was a time when an adviser with an email newsletter was really ahead of the curve when it came to their marketing. This was about 15 years ago - in 2019, a newsletter has become a steady part of most advisers’ client communication strategies, meaning having one doesn’t exactly make you stand out.
I would argue newsletters form a vital part of the adviser/client relationship. Over time, they have evolved into something indispensable. Although the term ‘newsletter’ is slightly dated, a regular form of client communication remains essential.
Newsletters are generally read by a large percentage of clients they are sent to. They’re rarely confined to clients’ spam folders and often stimulate meaningful conversation between advisers and their clients.
Newsletters do several things at once. They show that you’re ‘still around’ and that you’re ‘on top of things’.
They also allow you to deliver key messages that align with your brand and proposition. They inform clients, help to manage their investor emotions and provide a voice of reason in a world full of fake news and reader grabbing headlines.
Alarming headlines, such as early December’s ‘FTSE 100 sees biggest fall since day of Brexit referendum’, can understandably concern clients. Just because you tell your clients investing is a long-term game doesn’t mean they ‘get it’, particularly if they are a relatively new client. Regular communication provides reassurance.
Keeping in touch shows you’re accessible and that you have their best interests at heart.
Making newsletters count
Newsletter communications shouldn’t just be about financial matters. Clients are increasingly interested in reading more general lifestyle articles that can often have some kind of financial twist.
Holiday articles go down well, and ones that talk about the effect of wider financial events such as currency rate shifts. It's worth making these relevant to your clients’ finances though.
To create engaging content you must consider your client base. Think about your brand message, align this to your audience demographic and what would interest them.
If you have a wide client base, you could even consider segmenting your mailing list. The leading firms now do this, and send a different communication to defined groups based on demographics and their interests. By doing so, it increases engagement levels.
But you don’t have to segment your mailing list in order to personalise your newsletters. Use photos of your staff and make sure you address your clients by name so that the warmth of your client experience comes across. Introduce other members of the team and functions of the business to communicate a wider business beyond just the adviser.
Design matters - newsletters should look good, with a simple and clear layout. You should keep the text large and the paragraphs short so they’re easy to read on a screen. If it looks cheap, what does this say about your proposition?
We all like stories that have a human element, and we’re seeing an increasing shift towards more personalised content like this.
One of the best we see is written by Ruth Sturkey at Paradigm Norton. What we particularly like here is the great use of anecdotes to deliver an engaging and relevant message; a message that is always firmly ‘on brand’.
In an age where advisers are engaging their clients in new and exciting ways, newsletters still very much have their place.
Although they may vary in their format - with video starting to play a part - regular communication is essential to delivering a great client proposition.