Email marketing is still one of the easiest and cost effective ways to turn prospects into clients. You can offer valuable resources, showcase your expertise, drive traffic to your website, and build trust with prospective clients who may not be ready to work with you quite yet. We don’t want to let this awesome tactic slip by the wayside so we’re giving you the details on how to make a newsletter your subscribers will actually read:
1. Establish a Purpose
How can your newsletter impact your business if you don’t know what affect you want it to have? If you are not clear of its your purpose, your email campaign can become cluttered and unfocused, leaving your advisor business and sales with more harm than good. The first step you want to take to create a worthy newsletter is establish your reason for distributing it.
Whether you have been creating a newsletter for years or want to begin today, there is no time like the present to reset your newsletter’s purpose. Think about your overarching goals as a company. Maybe you would like to develop more trust with your audience by sending helpful resources for their financial journey. Maybe you want readers to sign-up for a free 20 minute consultation or download your new white paper. Take a step back and ask yourself why you even need a newsletter. What do you want the ultimate outcome to be?
By setting goals for your newsletter, you can better understand what steps you need to take to get there.
2. Follow the 90/10 Rule
Have you heard of the 90/10 rule? It’s a rule for your content that most definitely applies to your newsletter – 90% educational, 10% promotional. Your clients and prospects are probably interested in your business if they opted in to your email list, but that doesn’t mean they want to read about your services all of the time.
Think about what messages would be relevant and useful to them, keeping your business on their radar but not completely in their face. For example, if it’s tax season send along your recent blog post on “Ways to increase your return.” If you have some great insights on the recent market changes that your target audience wants to know, share them.
If a company bombarded you with emails of their products, pushing you to buy, what is your usual reaction? Here, we often unsubscribe and are pretty annoyed. However, if they send more engaging topics that we want to read, we’re more inclined to go check out their products and buy from a company we trust. Newsletters for advisors work the same way!
We’re not saying you have to leave self-promotion out completely, it just shouldn’t be the main focus. If you have exciting company news or want to promote a particular new service offering, feel free to add those types of updates into your newsletter. Just be sure to always think in the eyes of the consumer – what would make the story more valuable to them?
3. Perfect Your Subject Lines
Maybe you have perfected your newsletter content and have a huge list of subscribers. Sadly, that means nothing if they don’t open your emails! The solution? Get your subject lines right.
Don’t let your hard work go to waste over a simple mistake. You may think keeping your subject lines similar each week or month will help subscribers remember you, but we’re here to tell you that just doesn’t work. It’s boring and readers will feel no inclination to open the email because they won’t feel like they’re missing anything new. And steer clear from spammy words like “act now” and “limited time” – after all of the junk mail we have received in our life, we are hard wired to see those words and immediately think SPAM!
Instead, make your subject lines creative, engaging, and spark interest from your readers. A good rule of thumb to keep your reader’s attention is to make your subject clear and short, no more than 50 characters. Use keywords that resonate with them and make it actionable. “Develop your own financial plan in 5 steps” is much more engaging than “A financial plan in 5 steps.” Also, don’t forget to segment your subscriber list and make your subject lines specific to each group your sending to, tailoring your message to what they want to read. Lastly, be sure the subject matches with what they will find inside the email. Although you really want to increase your open rate, you don’t want to lose subscribers because you tricked them.
4. Include a CTA
If there’s one thing you can’t forget – it’s this step. Always include a primary call-to-action (CTA), and just one! You will probably be sharing different pieces throughout your newsletter, and each comes with its own call to action. However, they should not take the main stage. For most of your content, you will want CTA’s that don’t feel urgent like “read now.” This keeps the newsletter from feeling too aggressive and allows your primary CTA to get the most attention.
Think back to the purpose of your newsletter, this CTA should reflect that goal! This is where your 10% promotional content should come from. You are sending a newsletter because you want your subscribers to take some kind of action. Whatever you are hoping they do, make a killer value proposition they can’t refuse and a CTA that grabs their attention.
Uncluttering is key. In the email marketing world, nothing turns subscribers away more than a cluttered newsletter. It’s confusing, overwhelming, and messy.
To make uncluttering easier, you’ll want to chose the right email marketing provider. MailChimp has many simple and clean templates you can use to create a minimal design. This is very helpful for newsletters because by nature they can be loaded with content. White space is your friend here, we promise!
Finding your purpose of the email should help solidify what you will be including and give your newsletter some focus. After you’ve decided what sections and content to include, think about how you can make the information concise. Whether you are including a blog post or new service offering, you will want to give receivers just a small taste. You don’t actually want your email to simply be read and trashed, right? You want to drive traffic to your website and have readers click those CTA’s to real the full story through a blog post or landing page.
6. Make Unsubscribing Easy
We know, it probably sounds contrary to the goal of a newsletter. However, this is a great way to keep your lists current and updated. Plus, don’t you hate when you can’t find the unsubscribe button? We’re telling you to make it easy so that you’ll receive less angry emails asking to be unsubscribed and ultimately be left only with your active subscribers who actually interact with your content. You can then use your email marketing platform to analyze what works best for this segment.
Another reason you need to make your unsubscribe option clear is the CAN-SPAM Act. It is a law that covers commercial email requirements, including that all recipients have the right to stop you from emailing them. Without this feature, you could face penalties and violations.
We can’t say it enough – TEST, TEST, TEST! This is the best part of email marketing – you can test what works and what doesn’t. With marketing automation platforms like MailChimp and others, you can use A/B testing to send half your mailing list one email, and the other half an email with slight changes. This allows you to test subject lines, sender names, buttons, colors, design, content, and more.
We highly recommend you test for times you send the email as well. CoSchedule found that the best time to send an email campaign is Tuesday at 10AM. Because this has become a popular time for emails to be sent in 2018, test out other times when you won’t have as much competition in your subscriber’s inbox. We have found sending emails at night can be a way to differentiate our emails, whether we make it in the inbox when our reader checks emails before bed or the next morning when they wake up. Test out what works best for you.
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You may also like: The Ultimate Email Marketing Guide for Financial Advisors and Email Marketing 101: Message Content