One of the best new technologies to come out of the Internet revolution was the advent of email, and one of the best ways you can use email to enhance your financial services marketing plan is to distribute a regular e-newsletter. Best of all, an enewsletter is free to send! By sending the enewsletter every 30 days, you will do more business from existing clients as well as convert prospects to buyers.
While it is common for financial advisors to send out a regular print newsletter, few have embraced the concept of an e-newsletter, despite the fact that it can be considerably less expensive to produce and distribute. Just as with any direct mailing you use for your financial advisor marketing plan, you need to create an e-newsletter that will be viewed by its readers as valuable, and not as junk mail. Your e-newsletter must be interesting and its message compelling. When it comes to the content, here are some tips:
1. Pick a single, target market. Don’t try to appeal to all audiences. Seniors will have different interests than someone 20 or 30 years younger. Target your message.
2. The title of your newsletter should identify the market. This should also appear in the subject bar on the email.
3. Headlines need to grab the reader’s attention. Keep them short and catch. For example, “401(k) Rollovers” isn’t as compelling as “10 Reasons to Rollover Your Retirement Plan.”
4. Keep articles short. 300-400 words works best. You can add links “for more information on this topic” that take the reader directly to your website.
5. End each article with an offer for a specific solution, or other encouragement to take immediate action. For example, offer them a free booklet on the subject, or a free quote, etc.
When it comes to the actual content of your newsletter, you have a number of choices. You can write your own content, or pay a writer for original articles. Your wholesalers may have articles that you can redistribute. You may be able to reuse the content you license for your standard, hard copy newsletter. You can purchase a ready made newsletter. Regardless of where you get the content, you will get the best responses from articles that create an emotional reaction in the reader, and encourage them to take immediate action.
Once you have addressed your content needs, you need to address the technical issues of distributing your financial advisor e-newsletter. The right software addresses these needs. Before you can select the software, you need to answer a few questions.
One of the first questions you must answer is whether to distribute in HTML or text only. HTML allows you to create an esthetically attractive product, and to create columns, add pictures and other graphics, and offers more flexibility with fonts, the formatting of fonts and paragraphs.
Text only is just that. Formatting is limited and graphics aren’t possible. One reason to offer a text-only product is because it’s universally accepted.
Fortunately most people can read an HTML email; but HTML email carries more risk of virus infection, so some users don’t accept it. It is best to offer both. It’s more work to produce two versions, but it eliminates the problem of reaching those clients that can’t or won’t accept HTML email.
If you wish to produce an HTML newsletter, you will also need an HTML editor, and a website where you can store the image files that you include. The images don’t store with the email, rather their location is stored, and a reference code will locate, and then display the image.
The cost of a software program to distribute your financial advisor enewsletter can vary from $40 to several hundred dollars. Knowing what features you want will help you select the right product. If you plan to produce a simple text only newsletter, most common contact managers have that capability. A few may offer add-on programs to manage HTML. You can also pay a small fee to icontact or constant contact, online enewsletter distribution services.
A stand-alone product will have features specifically designed for email. The better email distribution programs will offer you the ability to produce both an HTML and a text version simultaneously, and will auto-detect which format to deliver to each client. You should be able to import your distribution list from your existing contact manager. If you want your e-newsletter to be personalized, then you also want the program you choose to offer an email merge.
If after reading this, you like the idea, but either don’t have the time or interest in pulling it together yourself, you still can use this powerful marketing tool by either contracting out the work to writers and programmers, or by purchasing one of the financial advisor e-newsletters that are available for you to license. A purchased e-newsletter can offer an additional advantage; FINRA reviewed articles.
In any case, whether you do it yourself, or buy one, distributing a financial advisor e-newsletter should prove to be a valuable addition to your marketing plan, and will help bring your practice into the 21st century.