10 newsletter mistakes; how many are you making?

10 newsletter mistakes; how many are you making?

Written by on 23/01/20

Done correctly, newsletters are a hugely effective way of adding value to clients, prospects and professional connections, while touching them with your brand.

However, we see many financial advisers and planners make basic mistakes which reduce the effectiveness of their newsletters.

So, here’s our top 10.

Are you making any of these mistakes?

Mistake #1: Getting hung up on the word; ‘newsletter’

I know some advisers and planners who stubbornly refuse to produce newsletters just because they hate the word.

How mad is that?

Sure, some newsletters are boring, irrelevant, poorly written and badly designed. That doesn’t mean yours has to be.

Frankly, I don’t care whether you call it a newsletter or a ‘monthly electronic interactive publication.’ I do care that you’re regularly sending clients, professional connections and prospects interesting and relevant content.

Mistake #2: Not sending newsletters to prospects

Too many advisers and planners only send their newsletters to clients and professional connections.

That’s a mistake. They should be sent to prospects too.

Sending relevant and interesting content to prospects provides a regular touchpoint with your brand, demonstrates knowledge and adds value. So, when the time is right for them to engage, it’s you they come back to not someone else.

Mistake #3: Getting the frequency wrong

There’s a natural inclination for many advisers and planners to send quarterly newsletters.

For some, that might be due to cost or the time available to write content. For others though, it’s because they assume sending monthly newsletters will somehow annoy people. The great thing about electronic newsletters (see mistake #4) is that we can prove whether this assumption is correct.

Our data shows that it isn’t.

And, that if a newsletter is interesting and relevant sending it monthly is the ideal frequency. We’ve seen weekly work too, but only if the content is very carefully targeted.

Be guided by your data. If people are opening and engaging with your newsletter, and they aren’t unsubscribing, you’ve probably got the content and frequency about right.

Mistake #4: Sending printed newsletters (without considering electronic)

We fully accept that there are certain people, those without an email address being an obvious example, who want printed newsletters.

However, these people aside, we recommend electronic newsletters. Why?

  • The cost of email newsletters is a fraction of printing them. That means you can publish more frequently, adding additional value to your clients, prospects and professional connections
  • They are more environmentally friendly
  • They will drive people to your website where they can read the full article and will hopefully visit other pages
  • You can learn from the data; is the frequency you are sending newsletters correct? What are people reading? Which data set is interested in which content? There is no way of tracking printed newsletters. You don’t know whether it was read from cover to cover, thrown straight into the recycling, or the dog ate it!
  • The recipient can easily forward the newsletter on to others, increasing the readership
  • It’s easier to build a pattern of sending, so the recipient expects to hear from you at a specific time each week/month. For example, come rain or shine, we always send our newsletter at 7.30 am on a Friday morning

Mistake #5: Not thinking about the target audience

We’ve said it many times before, but the content you include in your newsletter must be relevant to your target audience. Unfortunately, too many newsletters aren’t well-targeted and consequently suffer from lower engagement levels, higher than average unsubscribe rates and even complaints.

Think about your audience’s interests, their problems and aspirations. What keeps them awake at night? What do they talk to their friends about? Then write about these things.

Mistake #6: Sending the same content to professional connections

Some of the content you produce for clients and prospects might work with professional connections. But, there’s no guarantee it will all hit the mark.

Therefore, we recommend producing separate content and newsletters specifically for your accountant and solicitor connections. Sure, this will cost more or take extra time. However, the payback is worth it.

Mistake #7: Not talking about your business

Your newsletter is the perfect opportunity to update your clients, prospects and professional connections with news about your business. For example:

  • Personal news; births, marriages and so on
  • Exam passes
  • Award wins
  • Work in the community or with charities

No doubt some of you will now be thinking; “But, they aren’t interested!”

All the data shows that assumption is wrong. If you don’t believe us, try it.

Mistake #8: Only talking about money and financial planning

We know financial planning changes lives. You know financial planning changes lives. Your clients know it too. It’s only natural that your enthusiasm for financial planning will be reflected in your newsletter.

But we need to mix it up a bit.

That’s why we recommend including lifestyle articles in your newsletter. We’re not suggesting you turn it into Hello or Tatler, but targeted lifestyle content will engage a wider audience and potentially stop some people, who don’t want to hear about money all the time, from unsubscribing.

If you want to work with clients who are local to you (and most advisers/planners do) lifestyle articles are also a great way of getting important keywords into your online content. For example: “10 places to visit in Nottingham on the school holidays” would enable us to include vital place names/keywords into the text.

It also allows me to tag the attractions/venues into social media messages when I promote the content, which they might then share with their followers.

Mistake #9: Letting misconceptions and assumptions hold you back

Over the past three years, we’ve heard many different excuses for not sending newsletters. Most are based on incorrect assumptions and aren’t supported by the evidence…

“My clients aren’t interested in newsletters”…they are, our open rates prove it

“Newsletters are boring”…there’s no reason why they need to be, again, that’s proved by our open rates

“People aren’t interested in hearing about me”…try it, you might be surprised

“People won’t read lifestyle articles”…they do, in fact, they are often the most popular content

All bulk email sending systems (Mail Chimp, Dot Digital) etc provide a huge amount of management information. Using it means you can make decisions based on the evidence, not assumptions which might be wrong.

Mistake #10: Done and sent is better than a constant search for perfection

No one wants typos and errors in their content. That said, the search for perfect copy, design or stock image are barriers to communication. It’s far more important to focus on the consistency of production and relevancy of content.

As with many things in life, good and done is better than perfect.

We’re here to help

Producing targeted content, to the right quality, and sent consistently isn’t easy.

Some advisers and planners manage to do it, but most don’t. Given the day to day pressures of running a business and seeing clients, that’s hardly a surprise.

So (and here’s the gratuitous plug) we have built something called Yardstick Membership. It provides content, newsletters and regular guides all written for you and sent to your clients, prospects and professional connections.

If you would like to know how much it costs, please click here to email Louis Jones who will be able to help.

Alternatively, if you would like to read more about Yardstick Membership, please click here.

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Meet the author

Phil Bray

Now in his third decade in financial services, Phil’s experience spans advising, compliance and marketing. Phil brings this unique mix of knowledge and experience to all Yardstick clients.

Find out more about Phil