Effective communication to both existing and potential clients is key to the success of any IFA firm.
One option is of course newsletters; done badly they can be costly, time consuming and frustrating. Done well, they can be very effective way of staying in touch with existing clients whilst building credibility with prospects.
Here are my top tips to creating effective newsletters.
Tip #1: Electronic or printed?
There’s no denying that a well written and nicely printed newsletter can be very effective. But printing and sending ‘hard copies’ can be very expensive. You get no useful statistics either, there is no way of telling who has read which article, indeed, you don’t even know if it ever arrived or if the dog ate it!
On the other hand, a newsletter delivered by email has significant advantages:
- The cost of electronic newsletters is a fraction of sending ‘hard copies’
- Most email systems make designing newsletters very simple
- Not only do you know that the newsletter has been delivered, if you set it up correctly you will also know which recipients read which articles; making effective follow up so much easier
- The recipient can easily forward the newsletter on, increasing the readership
- You can see which subjects are popular and which aren’t, which helps you to make future editions even more relevant
In my opinion electronic newsletters win hands down every time; more cost effective, easier to track and simple design.
Tip #2: Use a professional system
Once you’ve decided on an electronic newsletter I’d recommend you adopt a professional system to send your newsletter; using Outlook isn’t an option!
Whilst there are systems which will allow you to send a limited number of newsletters free of charge each month, starting to charge you when you start to send newsletters in bulk, my preference is for a professional system which has better functionality from a design, sending and reporting perspective.
Tip #3: In-house or purchased content?
The major hurdle most business owners have when it comes to producing newsletters is writing the content.
Faced with a blank sheet of paper and a bad case of writer’s block, producing your own articles can be daunting.
You can solve this problem by buying in articles from a trusted source. Alternatively, you could have a go at writing your own articles. Yes, this can be time consuming and you will make mistakes, but it does ensure the articles are relevant to your target audience.
Tip #4: Build your reputation, no sales pitches
The articles must be relevant and useful to your target audience; this will help build your brand as an authority in your field.
Your newsletter is no place for sales pitches; if the articles are written correctly they will demonstrate your knowledge and automatically sell yourself.
Tip #5: How often?
The more often you can engage with your clients and prospects the better. My preference is to send newsletters monthly, with ‘special editions’ for the Budget and Autumn Statement.
A high quality monthly newsletter will add value to existing client relationships, building your authority and demonstrating your expertise, whilst reminding prospects that you’re there waiting to help them when the time is right
If you can’t commit to a monthly newsletter, quarterly is the next best option. If this is your first attempt at producing a newsletter it is perhaps a better place to start.
Tip #6: Segmentation improves results
It’s not unusual for IFAs to segment their client bank based on wealth, but how many do it based on their interests?
By segmenting your clients and then tailoring the articles in the newsletter to their interests you will improve engagement; something you can prove if you use an email system with reporting functionality.
Don’t over complicate it, start with two or three categories and work from there. But it’s worth the effort; segmentation will definitely increase the number of times your newsletter is read.
Tip #7: Work on your subject line
Your first goal is to get your electronic newsletter opened; an engaging subject line is your main weapon.
Subject lines should be personalised (easy to do with a professional email system), short, non salesy, whilst creating interest.
Most systems have split test functionality. This allows you to compare two separate subject lines by sending each to a small sample of your database, once the winner is clear that subject line is used to send to the rest of your database,
For more information on creating great subject lines take a look at this article from Mail First: “8 ways to make your email marketing subject line stand out.”
Tip #8: Re-send to non-openers
There’s a lot of competition for space in our inboxes, which means that even if you write a great subject line, your newsletter might not get opened.
Most email systems allow you to resend the newsletter to people who have not yet opened it, a few days after it was originally sent.
Resending it on a different day, perhaps a weekend rather than a weekday, at a different time, with a different subject line could significantly increase the overall number of people who read your newsletter.
Tip #9: Different times
Experiment with sending your newsletter at different times to find which is the most effective.
For example, if your target audience is company directors, sending during working hours is probably a mistake; they will simply be too busy. Try sending out of hours or at the weekend, when there is less competition in their inbox for their attention.
Tip #10: Build your database; make it easy for people to subscribe
A good quality, well segmented list is key to improving the readership of your newsletter.
So who should you send it to?
Clients obviously, prospects too and it’s also worth building your database by creating a sign up function on your website.
Less is more here, try and capture their first and last name as well as (obviously) their email address. If you want to be really clever, once you have captured this information you could ask the visitor to provide you with more information about the areas they are interested in, this will then help to you to segment your data and send them relevant content.
And, of course, if you want to see a newsletter that does all this and brings you value, sign up to Sense’s newsletter – http://www.sense-network.co.uk/newsletter/