Advisors who seek to connect better with more clients and prospects are often encouraged to think forward—impressive new technology allows them to more easily reach people than ever before.
Yet TIFIN Clout, which, as an AI-driven content marketing for advisors, boasts some of this compelling new tech itself, also suggests advisors reconsider to one of the oldest and most common forms of financial advisor outreach: The newsletter.
Mind you, newsletters have come a long way from the quarterly, monthly or weekly paper, snail-mailed documents once prevalent in the financial industry, in part thanks to platforms like Clout.
“I think the biggest new wrinkle is personalization,” said Jamie Fairbanks, Director, Advisor Services, at TIFIN Clout. “Our machine learning and the AI on our platform really allows for the behavior of consumers and investors to be learned regarding what they’re actually engaging with, rather than the advisor simply thinking that this is interesting content that people should know. We can now pair the advisor’s instincts with what investors actually engage with.”
Why Create a Newsletter?
As Fairbanks suggests, newsletters aren’t passive pieces of paper anymore. Today they’re more likely to arrive by email and are capable of not only delivering content to clients and prospects, but analytics and information to advisors and firms as well.
Personalization allows advisors to create content that stands out in a reader’s inbox, enhancing the likelihood that it is clicked upon and opened, and increasing the chances that the reader will follow up with the advisor or firm that sends the newsletter.
Personalization was once very time consuming—imagine hand-crafting a newsletter for every client and prospect connected to your firm—but Fairbanks said that’s no longer the case.
“The benefit of utilizing technology these days is that the content will be recommended automatically, by the technology,” she said. “It’s no longer as time-intensive as it may once have been, advisors and marketing coordinators can now reach thousands of people with personalized messaging in an effective way with a lot more speed than was possible in the past.”
First, Define Your Niche
Format, content and frequency should all be influenced by the advisor’s target audience. As with any form of marketing, the first consideration should be who are the recipients—what niche does the firm operate within?
“Without having that established, your marketing efforts won’t be as targeted or specific to who you want to bring into the practice,” said Fairbanks.
Firms that do not have a niche should start to think about who their best client iis—who is interacting with their advisors or the firm the most on social media, who seems to gravitate to the firm, who is providing the most referrals.
Fairbanks recommends bi-weekly newsletters so as not to overwhelm the audience.
“There’s always a lot going on in the markets, that’s especially been true for the past few months, but to stay top-of-mind we like to focus on a bi-weekkly cadence,” said Fairbanks. “We want the content to be high-quality, relevant and to strike at the right time.”
Best practices vary from firm to firm, clientele to clientele, and are often determined by analytics once a firm starts using Clout’s platform, said Fairbanks.
Choosing the Right Content
“I think the diversification of content is very important,” said Fairbanks. “I like the idea of firms and advisors using their own material, but I also think it’s important to partner with a content platform that can provide insights.”
However, some advisors are reluctant to post content from a third party, said Fairbanks. She suggests those advisors balance out third-party content with their own analysis—taking provided content a step further with analysis or their own views could serve to differentiate that advisor.
That means that advisors should also be open to posting or linking to content produced by their peers, said Fairbanks.
Advisors should also seek the right mix of content for their newsletters. Keep in mind that most people engaged with their finances and investments are often inundated with market and investment news, but receive little information about taxes, health, lifestyle and other ancillary topics.
“Think about topics that touch different components in their lives,” said Fairbanks. “That’s where the real impact from financial news comes in.”
For example, every change in the relative cost of living for a city or state, and every change in tax policy, in the end will have an impact on where clients may want to live for the duration of their retirement. So instead of writing about policy or inflation directly, advisors can focus on the impacts to retirements. Fairbanks said that, in general, clients and prospects are more likely to read content involving true-to-life topics.
“Also think about diversifying the format of content,” she said. “Video is highly encouraged, now that we live in a streaming world, it doesn’t have to be a large production. If you scroll a while on LinkedIn, you’ll find a lot of individuals popping in to speak to the 2-minute time limit, but doing so helps them become a familiar face and allows people to get to know them in that format.”
Advisors should also think about creating PDFs and infographics for clients and prospects to learn from.
Promotion and Analysis
Newsletters should be promoted with a strong social media presence, said Fairbanks.
“Email marketing is very targeted to individuals, but there are a lot of different pathways in marketing,” she said. “We’re all doing research when we’re looking into companies or services, we want to go to their social pages to see what they’re up to and if they’re active and legitimate. So while advisors engage in email marketing they should also be building their social currency in tandem. In turn, newsletters and social media both can be used to drive traffic to webinars, newsletters and in-real-life events that you are doing.”
Clout can automate social media lead capture, said Fairbanks, and help advisors promote their newsletters.
While Clout does it automatically, advisors should also keep track of how often newsletters are being opened, and how often links are being clicked, said Fairbanks.
Tried and True
In the end, newsletters are still a relevant and valuable touch point for advisors. Stay top-of-mind, build trust and educate your clients with this tried and true tactic. And the best part is for busy advisors who may want to focus elsewhere, they can be easily automated with today’s marketing technology.