How to Create a Winning Newsletter
A professional, polished, and well-focused newsletter can be your most productive tool to connect with current and potential clients. The challenge is to create a publication on a regular basis that provides useful, interesting information and represents you as knowledgeable and credible. What does it take to create a winning newsletter?
Here are some key components that every newsletter must have in order to produce positive results.
Credibility. This may be the single most important ingredient in an effective financial newsletter. If prepared correctly, a newsletter can position you as trustworthy, informed, and an expert in financial matters. Conversely, spelling and grammatical errors, confusing and oddly worded language, and factual errors can destroy credibility.
Well-written articles. These are the cornerstone of a newsletter marketing strategy. No amount of expensive paper or fancy graphics can replace the need for concise writing, professional style, current information, and a sound message. Recent statistics, charts, and graphs will draw the reader’s attention and help support a well-written article.
Compliance approval. Your newsletter must be compliant with all legal and professional guidelines, ensuring that language and images aren’t misleading or promissory. FINRA requires all communications with the public to be approved by a registered principal, but did you know that articles mentioning mutual funds, annuities, and some other products must be submitted to FINRA for review?
Thought-provoking mix of stories. Good story ideas include recent developments in the economy and the financial markets or any new laws or pending legislation that may affect the readers’ portfolios. Articles about mutual funds, life insurance, 529 plans, and annuities may help your clients become more interested in learning how these products could help them pursue financial goals, manage risk, or reduce taxes.
Relevance to the reader. The best newsletters are those written for a specific audience. For example, an individual who is either retired or nearing retirement may not get as much out of an article written for someone who is much younger and has decades to save for retirement. The reverse is also true. When developing your newsletter, it’s important to consider your existing client base and the potential clients you want to target. For some financial professionals, using a variety of targeted newsletters may be the most effective strategy.
Appealing design. A visually appealing newsletter will attract the interest of readers. The layout should be balanced, and the pages should be filled but not too crowded. Colorful graphics and photographs are a plus, as is high-quality paper. In the financial services business, marketing materials that appear “cheap” are unlikely to be effective.
Your picture, business name, and contact information. One primary reason to send newsletters is to build and reinforce your image among your clients. For this reason, special attention should be given to how you personalize your newsletter. If you use a professional service, your newsletter should look as though it was created by you and your staff. Your photograph and company name should be prominently displayed. Consider paying a professional to take your photograph. It will look much better than even the best amateur effort.
Just like a letter to a friend, your newsletter might contain a greeting or salutation, a customized message, and your signature. It should feature all the information a client would need to pick up a phone or use email to contact you.
What Option Is Best for You?
These elements are essential to any effective newsletter, but they are only the beginning. The real work is in the execution: idea development, researching, writing, editing, design, compliance approval, printing, list management, and mailing. Creating a winning newsletter is a multifaceted process that requires a variety of decisions and types of expertise.
If you decide to create your newsletter yourself, you could spend a week or more of your valuable time on all the necessary steps. This is time that could be better spent refining your marketing plan, consulting with the prospects that your newsletter attracts, and closing more business.
You might outsource aspects of the process, but you could still spend a significant amount of your time on quality control to ensure that the final product meets your professional standards. For example, subject matter experts or product suppliers might furnish articles, but you may want to fine-tune the language to match your business philosophy. The graphic designer may have the proper equipment to produce a prepress proof, but you need to approve it before it goes on press. Regardless of how much of the project you outsource, plan to spend time overseeing each step to ensure a high level of quality.
Purchasing a professional newsletter may cost a fraction of the money you would lose if you spent 40 hours away from your clients every month writing your own newsletter. An experienced, professional publisher can offer you all the high-quality products and services you need for your newsletter strategy:
- A variety of compelling, timely, upbeat articles that will educate and motivate your clients and prospects
- A choice of newsletters designed to appeal to various target markets
- Special options to personalize your newsletter and create a custom title, masthead, and signature area
- Full-color, state-of-the-art graphics to clarify financial concepts and enhance your newsletter’s visual appeal
- The option to purchase matching components, such as envelopes, to ensure that your newsletter stands out and provides an easy way for clients to respond
- Articles that have been reviewed to meet compliance standards (FINRA-reviewed material is a big plus!)
- Management of your mailing list
- Printing, sorting, and mailing services so your newsletters arrive on time, every time
- The option to add an electronic version of the newsletter to your print order
Whatever option you choose to produce your newsletter, be sure that the final product reflects the professional image you want to project to your current and future clients. The right newsletter could be your strongest marketing strategy.