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Get Serious with Newsletters

Steps to create a personal newsletter that people will actually enjoy.

From a marketing perspective, it’s hard to beat a good email newsletter. It’s impactful, inexpensive and completely within your control. With social networks, you’re at the mercy of algorithms. With newsletters, you decide the recipients, the frequency and the rules of engagement. As your email list grows, your impact grows.

It’s our perspective that more financial advisors would benefit from getting into newsletters, but not the boilerplate, all-financial type. If you’re going to do it, create a more personal newsletter that people will actually enjoy.

If you’re looking to start a newsletter or perhaps revamp an existing newsletter, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Double Down on Hand-Crafted Content

People can tell when the content is yours. Your articles, podcasts and videos are the stars of your newsletter. Everything else is complimentary. Why? Ideal clients aren’t making time to read boilerplate financial newsletters. But if they know you and like you, they’ll make time for content that you had a hand in creating. The more upmarket you focus, the more this holds true.

Highlight the People Closest to Your Brand

The easiest way to personalize is to include photos and mentions of the people closest to your brand. Are you appearing on video or in portraits? Is there a team member you could highlight? Could you showcase a COI or client who is a business owner? Maybe you could snap some photos of a holiday charitable effort. Every little bit of personalization helps.

Send it Once a Month

Especially at first, I think it’s better to send one newsletter a month that’s filled with great content than two newsletters a month that are mediocre. The quality of each newsletter plays a role in whether the next newsletter gets opened. As you become more consistent and more voluminous with content, then it might be time to increase your email frequency.

Your Design Matters

The layout, fonts and graphics used all create a perception. The perception you want is current, professional and in no way “behind the times.” Also, if your subscribers are like ours, they’ll often read your newsletter on a mobile device, so be sure to test your newsletter on desktop and mobile before launch.

Your Subject Line Is Very Important

Most people get dozens, if not hundreds, of emails a day and make snap decisions on which they’ll open. Your subject line plays a big role in this. If your email provider has it, use AB testing for the best results. This enables you to test two subject lines on two small subsets of your audience. The subject line receiving the highest open rate then gets distributed to the rest of your list.

Become Obsessed with Gaining Subscribers

You probably already have an email list. Crank it up a notch. Encourage your clients, prospects and COIs to sign up. Have a prominent newsletter signup on your website. Promote your newsletter on your social channels. Run ads to gain subscribers. Create a video telling people why they should sign up (example below). One subscriber at a time, it adds up!

Oechsli newsletter video

We’re passionate about financial advisor newsletters and hope you are too. Let this year be the year you fully embrace it. We’re confident that as your audience grows, you’ll become more and more excited about what you’ve built.

Stephen Boswell is a partner with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell

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