Newsletters add value to your existing clients.
They also position you as a go-to expert with prospects and professional connections.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve reviewed newsletters sent by advisers and planners who don’t use our Yardstick Membership service.
Unfortunately, we’ve found some common mistakes that, in our experience, are sure to reduce engagement.
Newsletters take time and money to produce.
The last thing you need is your efforts being undermined by simple mistakes that are easy to fix.
So, here are 10 top tips that you can easily use to improve your newsletters in 2022.
1. Never, under any circumstances, send newsletters as PDFs
You can’t track PDFs, they cause issues with spam filters, and they’re hard to read on mobile devices.
Instead, add the articles to your website.
Then, within your newsletter, include a headline, image, and “click here” button that links to each article.
- As a website’s display adjusts according to the reader’s device, the article is easier to read
- You can see which articles readers are clicking
- You can see how long people are spending reading each article.
Then, you can use that data to help you decide what to write about in your next edition.
2. Spend more time than you think you need to on your subject line
“Newsletter – March 2022” is dull and tells the recipient nothing about what they will learn or the benefit they will get from reading your newsletter.
We’ve quoted David Ogilvy a lot recently. That’s because he was right when he said: “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
There’s no point spending hours writing an article or blog, only to spend a few seconds slapping a headline on there and hoping people read it.
Headlines should be developed over time, not finalised in one sitting.
If you’re struggling, try writing different versions of your headline in a list, tweaking it slightly each time. I use this method and often come up with 10, 15 or even 20 versions before I’m happy.
Then, I’ll harness the power of technology and put my preferred headline through the Headline Studio tool to improve it even more.
Our team of content experts have written extensively about how to write engaging headlines:
- 6 types of blog headlines to grab attention
- 5 reasons using numbers works in article headlines (because science says so)
- 3 powerful and effective ways to write better email subject lines right now.
3. Add everyone who makes an enquiry to your newsletter database
Most advisers/planners only convert around 25% of all new enquiries.
As we wrote about a while ago, positioning yourself as the go-back-to expert by demonstrating knowledge and adding value will push your conversion rate higher.
To do that, you need to add all prospects to your database.
Just make sure you get data protection compliance right!
4. Always send by email
You should (almost) always send newsletters by email.
Electronic newsletters are cheaper than paper, better for the environment, and you can track them. In contrast, when it comes to paper-based newsletters, you don’t know if someone read it from cover to cover, it went straight into the recycling bin, or if the dog ate it!
The exceedingly rare occasions when a large enough proportion of your client bank doesn’t have an email address.
And then only because they genuinely don’t communicate in that way, not because you haven’t asked them for their email!
5. Include more than one article
Unless your database comprises of people who have similar aspirations and pain points, including just one article in your newsletter cuts engagement (of this and future editions) and can even lead to alienation.
Instead, give your readers a choice, ideally of at least three articles.
That way, you will improve the chances of at least one resonating with them.
6. Resend your newsletter to people who haven’t already opened it
This simple trick increases your engagement rate by 20% to 30%.
Most bulk email systems allow you to automatically resend newsletters a few days later to anyone who hasn’t previously opened it. Some will even allow you to change the subject line.
7. Be consistent
This might not make me many friends, but it’s not okay to miss editions of your newsletter. If you commit to producing a monthly newsletter, it’s got to go out every month. No ifs, no buts.
Missing a month means you add less value. And, even worse, it erodes confidence. It looks as though you have committed to something that you can’t deliver.
So, pick a send frequency you can meet every time and don’t let people down. Of course, you could simply outsource the job and get on with something that’s a better use of your time!
8. Send your newsletter at least every month
When we reviewed the newsletters, we noticed that most advisers/planners only sent their newsletters quarterly.
Again, that’s a mistake. It doesn’t build up a pattern of consistency and means every newsletter feels like a surprise. Ideally, your clients, prospects, and professional connections should come to expect your newsletter.
It’s why, for the past five years, we’ve sent ours every Friday morning at 7.30 am.
9. Including links to other people’s articles
Your newsletter should demonstrate your expertise and your knowledge.
However, we’ve seen newsletters where the content is primarily, or entirely, made up of links to other people’s websites.
Don’t get us wrong – we’re fans of content curation. It’s why we send our monthly digest out on the first day of each month.
But you’ve got to get the balance right. In our case, that’s a weekly newsletter and a monthly digest.
Building a newsletter entirely full of links to other people’s content might be quick, but it does nothing to position you as a go-to expert.
10. Don’t write excessively long introductions to your newsletter
We’ve seen some newsletters where the introduction was 800 to 1,000 words long.
Your reader thinks the introduction is the newsletter and never scrolls down far enough to see the articles below.
The result? Lower click-through rates and less traffic to your website.
Instead, keep the introduction short and snappy, and get to the good stuff quickly!
Engaging, cost-effective, and compliant newsletters
The job of our content team is to make you look good by delivering high-quality and consistent content.
Alternatively, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 8965 300.