Newsletters have been described by US marketing consultant Steven R Jones as a precious communication vehicle that nourishes your relationships with your clients. Newsletters let your clients know that you are there and that you care. Send them regularly and your clients will see you as a reliable, informed and trustworthy financial adviser.
Mailer stats confirm email newsletter’s importance
Every two years, Everlytic (one of the largest internet marketing services in the country) analyse the billions of mailers sent out on their platform. Their findings confirm that email remains an important marketing tool. For example, in 2022, Everlytic found that of the 10+ billion bulk mailers analysed, there was more engagement with mailers than before, including before, during and after the pandemic lockdowns.
Start your own newsletter
You can strengthen your client relationships by committing to a regular client newsletter. It will require some time, but as you are connecting with many clients in one email, it will ultimately be time and cost effective.
Unless you want to be topical and cover current news, you can plan your newsletters in advance so you are ready to send on the designated day and avoid the stress and panic of a last minute to-do item. Decide on frequency, for example weekly, monthly or quarterly, and draw up a calendar schedule including dates when you will prepare, review and send the newsletter. You can also set aside some diary time for these tasks.
Decide on an email marketing platform
Clients read emails and newsletters on cell phones, tablets and laptops, using different email clients such as Outlook and Gmail. Your newsletter needs to look professional across all these clients and devices!
Using a service such as Mailchimp, or a digital marketing agency or consultant, will ensure your newsletters look professional. Mailchimp is preferred by many as there are free services, such as free mailers for up to 1 000 clients, as well as different newsletter templates.
Get your mailing list in order
Make sure all your clients’ names are accurately recorded in the same order (for example, first name, surname) and that email addresses are regularly updated. Your newsletter will look professional when Richard Johns is addressed as Hi Richard but not if he is addressed as Hi Johns!
Newsletter success secrets
You will, on many occasions, have deleted what you regard as junk or spam emails and newsletters, and probably even unsubscribed to the most irrelevant and irritating. To avoid this and be successful your newsletter needs to:
Have an enticing subject line: Subject lines should explain, excite and entice. Your subject line is your newsletter’s sales pitch and the first thing your clients see. You need it to be interesting enough so that your clients read your newsletter. It doesn't always have to be different. Many successful newsletters have the same subject line each month as this tells clients who and what. Your subject line is also a promise, which your content needs to deliver.
Be relevant: Your content needs to be relevant and interesting to your clients and offer them value, such as tips on how to manage their financial products and/or stretch their budgets.
Thinking of topics every month can become a challenge. The best digital marketers keep a topic file, for example in excel, and note down topics as they think of them. Do the same and you have a bank of ideas and topics to hand.
Possible topics include:
- Personal finance related topics such as budget tips, how to use and manage debt, product tips (how to claim, for example), and saving and investing tips.
- Retirement - including looking at changes to any pension or retirement fund regulations, from taxable to tax free!
- Financial management for significant life events, for example tips to plan for a family member, or a new home, marriage, divorce, even education costs and savings.
- Frequently asked questions - your clients often have the same questions so answering some of these in a newsletter will give your clients information they need.
You can create original content (write yourself) or recycle content, for example including an article from a product provider on a relevant topic, acknowledging the source.
If you use an AI tool such as ChatGPT to generate content you will need to personalise it and check all references. A study reported on in the June 2023 Journal of Financial Planning found that ChatGPT delivered a good framework for content, but references needed to be checked and content needed to be updated to reflect current regulation and events.
Don't forget to: Invite clients to follow you on social media, such as your LinkedIn page, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and visit your website.
Be personal: Make sure your clients can see the newsletter comes from you (either in your email address or subject line). You can also include some personal stories and thoughts. Your clients relate to you as a person so sharing these will build relationships and relatability. For example, you could share how a piece of financial news such as the rise in interest rates has affected you and how you are dealing with it.
Remember to: Invite your clients to engage with you and share their thoughts on the topic.
Be consistent: Consistency says you are not just a once off, and that you care enough about your clients to communicate regularly. Stick to your newsletter schedule and explain any absences in advance, if possible, such as absences over the December holidays.
Legal and compliance
Your newsletter needs to be compliant with regulations (i.e FAIS Act) and include any required and/or relevant disclosures. For example, if you are reporting on investment performance you must include how the figures were calculated and for which timeframes. You can reference these in the newsletter and include the details at the end of your newsletter.
You must also include an unsubscribe link or instructions. According to POPI Act you can send marketing material including newsletters to existing clients or any other clients who have opted to receive marketing material, but they must be able to opt out of the communications.
Your clients want to hear from you
Newsletters help you stay in touch with clients and let them know you are there for them. You can establish your authority in your newsletter, and not only strengthen your relationships with current clients, but also in time broaden your reach with your newsletters and build relationships with new clients.