Making enewsletters count!

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1 Making enewsletters count! newsletters (enewsletters) are a great way to keep in contact with your clients on a regular basis. Not only are they are relatively cheap and easy to produce, enabling you to more frequently reach your clients, they are proven to result in greater overall satisfaction through the development of stronger and deeper client relationships. In addition to creating stronger relationships with your existing clients, enewsletters help to generate new business. This is because clients who are regularly contacted by their advisers are more likely to recommend their services to friends. This regular contact has more immediate benefits too. In a recent survey, 32% of decision makers claim to have been influenced by a sales-related 1. This is because enewsletters enable you to introduce new concepts and products to clients in a highly engaging, entertaining format. Key to maintaining the appeal of your enewsletter, is ensuring a consistent presentation, quality of information, frequency of distribution and not to mention personalisation. As you would know yourself, the recipients of your newsletter are likely to receive lots of other newsletters and enewsletters so in order to be read, it s important to put yourself in the reader s shoes and ask, What s in it for me? It s also important to ensure your enewsletter is consistent with the values of your business and brand. For example, a newsletter targeted at solicitors and taxation professionals shouldn t be too simplistic or chatty. Similarly, a newsletter aimed at mums and dads should take care to carefully explain new or complicated ideas, and avoid the use of technical terms and jargon. Finally, remember to respect the relationship you have with your clients. Avoid the temptation to spruik products or services too heavily. What s more likely to appeal is to provide an overview, or a hook, and invite interested readers to contact the office for more information. This puts the ball back in their court, as well as drives warm leads to your practice. And now for the good news enewsletters provide: A low cost way for you to reach all your clients and prospective clients. Immediacy. With the market environment changing so rapidly, it s important to ensure your clients receive the most up-to-date information available. Convenience for your clients. They can simply hit reply sender, and you any question they may have, whether it s during business hours or not. Unobtrusive contact. By contacting your clients regularly in an unpressured environment, they ll be more likely to think of you when they need your services. Tangible proof of your high-quality service. 1 McLuhan, R, Making s count, Marketing, 4/4/2007,p

2 Enhancement of your brand equity. Client education. enewsletters equip your clients with information on financial services, getting them to think about different financial planning strategies in their own time. Newsletter Delivery There are a few different ways to deliver a client newsletter. The method you choose should depend upon the purpose, the budget and your resources. It is also recommend that once you have sent each edition of your newsletter to your clients, you make it available on your website for prospecting clients. Broadly, there are two main ways of producing a high-quality enewsletter for clients: Frequency 1. enewsletter software One of the most cost effective ways of implementing an enewsletter is simply purchasing software that will provide you with templates to create your own newsletters. Once you have put all your articles and information into the template, you can then simple the newsletters to your client. While this method is fairly simple, there are limitations as it will not allow you to personalise the newsletter for clients, track who is reading your newsletters and understand which articles are of most interest to clients. 2. Hosted supplier Partner with a web supplier that can help tailor an online enewsletter/web application to suit your needs. They can help you design, build, implement and maintain your solution. Although, this delivery method would be more expensive than purchasing software or newsletter templates, you will have a greater level of control and flexibility. Professional web suppliers can also provide you with reports to understand which clients are reading the newsletter and the articles they do and don t like, and the ability to personalise the newsletter. Clients will look forward to receiving your enewsletter. The best way to breed familiarity among clients is to have a consistent frequency of delivery. By having the newsletter arrive at the same time, each fortnight, month or quarter, will help build trusted relationships with your clients. There is no set rule as to the frequency of your enewsletter. Some may need to contact their clients weekly, others are content with a quarterly distribution. What s important is having the resources and content to commit to a regular and consistent delivery. Keep in mind that it s not just the time required in writing, editing and ing the newsletter; it s also important to allow enough time to respond to client enquiries triggered by the newsletter. Setting Objectives Before you get started, it s important to decide what success will look like. A good way to do this is to set objectives for the enewsletter; your desired outcome or result.

3 When setting objectives, it may help to remember the word SMART. Objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. An example of an objective would be: Increase the number of clients who opt-in to receive the enewsletter by xx% within 6 months. Or Increase the number of client appointments generated by the newsletter by x% within 12 months. Measurement An enewsletter can provide a great return on investment (ROI), however this will only be achievable if you are providing your clients with relevant news and information. It s important to put in place some metrics to monitor the success of your newsletter and ensure are meeting and/or exceeding your newsletter objectives. Some examples of possible metrics are: Click through rate: the number of clients that open or click through to view your newsletter. This will only be possible if your software allows for it. Article click through rate: the number of clients who click onto and read the individual articles in your newsletter. Again this will only be possible if your software allows for it. Lead generation: the number of phone calls/ s you receive from clients through the call to action on the enewsletter. Website clicks: the number of clients who click through to your website from the newsletter. Again this is only possible if the software allows for it. Conversion rate: the number of sales that came as a result of clients and potential clients reading your newsletter. Credibility When writing your enewsletter you need to position yourself as a subject matter expect. Show your knowledge and experience through tips, case studies and testimonials. Avoid the temptation to take a hard sell approach to products and services, instead favouring an educational approach to your news and articles. Understanding your clients It may sound like common sense, but it s important to remember clients will only read your enewsletter, and feel compelled to open it each edition, if the information it contains is relevant to them. In order to get the content mix right, it helps to understand the demographics of your audience; their age, life stage (married, single, divorced, retirement) and relationship to you (professional associate, advice client, business client), as well as what their interests and aspirations are.

4 Keep this profile of your clients in mind when researching or writing content. It may even be appropriate to have more than one version of your enewsletter, if you cater for a particularly diverse group of clients. Subject line The subject line of your is vital as this is the first thing your clients will see. Based on your subject line, readers will decide within a few seconds if your newsletter is worth opening or not. If possible, put the name of your client in the subject line. This not only ensures you capture their attention. It also makes the client believe the contains something relevant and specific to them, helping to increase the chance of opening the . An example of this is: David, your summer edition of Citizen Consulting News is enclosed, featuring top tips for making insurance affordable Content The content in your enewsletter is extremely important. The nature of communication is one of immediacy. In the age of online newspapers and text messaging, your clients will expect you to provide them with information and articles which are both timely and relevant. And as we ve discussed, utilising your knowledge of your reader demographics should enable you to tailor content which is of great interest to your clients. Remember to include a call to action in your newsletter. This ensures the triggers you ve placed throughout the articles and news items are followed up by the reader. It s also ensures if your clients do want to act, they can easily and instantly contact you. By including an address in your call to action, your clients can contact you with questions outside normal business hours, at a time convenient to them. An example of a call to action would be: Spam Act For more budget busting tips on making your insurance cover more affordable, please contact me on or me at Spam is the term used to describe unsolicited commercial electronic messaging. The Spam Act of 2003 has certain requirements you will need to comply with to stay in line with the law. A good place to start in understanding the SPAM Act is the SPMA ACT 2003: A Practical Guide for Business (link to this guide). This brochure will help you to understand the Act, including the 3 main things to comply within; consent, identify and unsubscribe2. Consent You can only send electronic messages with the addressee s consent (either express or inferred consent) Identify You must include clear and accurate information about the person or business that is responsible for sending the commercial electronic message. 2 SPAM Act 2003: A Practical Guide for Business

5 Unsubscribe - Ensure that a functional unsubscribe facility is included in all your commercial electronic messages. Deal with unsubscribe requests promptly. Another source of information is The Australian and Communications Media Authority s website (www.spam.acma.gov.au ) where you can download a copy of the latest SPAM act. cal_guide.pdf Capturing address A great way to increase the number of readers who receive your e-newsletter is to capture the addresses of prospecting clients who visit your website. As you will have already formed a relationship with these clients through your enewsletter, it will help ensure you are considered first when a financial need arises. You might like to have a section on your website that says Subscribe to our e-newsletter where you can capture addresses. When signing up new clients, it s important to gain their consent before sending them your enewsletter, this requires complying with the privacy guidelines on what you can and can t do with personal contact details. For more information about privacy guidelines, you can visit the Federal Privacy Commissioner's website If you are intending capture the addresses of new visitors to your website, it s important that you send the new recipients a welcome message acknowledging they have registered for your e-newsletter and when they will receive the first edition. If you use a web hosting supplier they will be able to ensure these s are generated automatically for you. 11 enewsletter essentials The following 15 tips provide a summary of the key points to remember when developing your enewsletter. 1. Defining what success is? This is crucial to ensure the enewsletter you re building will deliver the outcome you want. 2. Set SMART Objectives. This will help you to achieve success. They should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. 3. Metrics. This will keep your enewsletter on track to meet objectives and achieve success. 4. Personalise, personalise, personalise! We all like to feel special; make sure your clients feel appreciate by you when they receive your enewsletter. 5. Welcome note. This lets your readers know what to expect, and thanks them for agreeing to be part of your mailing list. 6. Content. The content of your newsletter should timely and relevant to your target demographics. And keep it interesting; include news items, articles, tips, case studies, testimonials, photos and graphs. 7. Call to Action. This helps turn thought starters into conversation starters. 8. Ask for feedback. Encourage your readers to tell you what they like, don t like and want to see more of in your enewsletter. It will also make them feel valued.

6 9. Allow for easy unsubscribing. Not only is this the law (under the Spam 2003 Act), but if you make it difficult for clients to unsubscribe, they may not want to hear from you on any matter again. 10. Know your clients. Understand the demographics of your clients so you can ensure you are providing the right content in the newsletter. 11. Include a disclaimer. This is a legal and licensee requirement. Speak to BRG to ensure your disclaimer is up to scratch. 12. Never disclose your client list. Under the Privacy Act, it s illegal to disclose your mailing list to any other party without the express consent of your clients SPAM Act and Privacy legislations. Ensure you meet these requirements. 14. Encourage pass ons. Tell your readers to forward your enewsletter on to friends and family, as a way of spreading the word and speaking to wider and wider audiences. 15. Provide incentives. Promote readership, and pass ons, of your newsletter by including incentives and prizes. Once again, check with BRG to ensure any promotion you run is compliant.

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