Written by: Justin Adams
Communication is one of if not the most important ways to establish trust between a financial advisor and their clients. In fact, according to a recent McKinsey Global Wealth and Asset Management survey, clients’ satisfaction with their financial advisor is directly correlated with the frequency of the advisor’s communications.
What’s surprising is that the study found that only 33% of clients indicated that their advisor communicates at least once a month. That means 67% of clients hear from their advisor every three months or less.
Couple this with data found in a recent Financial Advisor Magazine survey, which aimed to uncover the most common explanations clients gave for firing their previous advisor. A whopping 72% stated that it was due to poor communications, which was the #1 reason by almost 20%.
So, here’s what we know:
- Client satisfaction is highly correlated to consistent communication
- Clients’ top reason for firing advisors is poor communication
- And yet, the vast majority of clients feel that they hear from their advisor infrequently or very infrequently, according to YCharts
Couple current communication trends with the current market and economic volatility, and communication challenges are bound to increase.
It’s critical to establish a strong client communication strategy that consistently delivers timely and relevant content. Your communication strategy should show your clients you’re there for them by responding to events that might impact their financial plans. Such a strategy may sound daunting, but here are a few tips that may make it easier:
1. Write Once, Repurpose Multiple Ways
There’s nothing better than original content. But maintaining a steady stream of communication can quickly lead to burnout. What we would recommend is to develop a repurposing strategy to coincide with your other content marketing. But what does this look like?
Let’s say you write one blog per month along with your other content. Blogs are ideally up to 2,000 words, depending on their context. Instead of simply posting and sharing this blog, you can repurpose sections within the blog for additional touchpoints.
For example, consider taking one or more sections and repurposing them for a timely client email. The headers within your blog can be best for this, as they often work on their own without additional context. Such information is perfect for an email because it’s short and sweet, and you can always link to the original blog to attract more readers. By separating your blog content this way, you can create multiple emails instead of one.
The result is an abundance of quality content. And since your more extensive blogs will often contain more research, you can rest assured that what you’re providing is valuable. And all of this can be done without much more additional work – saving you both time and effort.
2. Overthink Your Subject Line
According to Hubspot, 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. Your subject line is one of the first things a client will see and is critical to your open rate.
Strong, client-focused subject lines evoke emotion and imply benefits, leading to an open.
For example, one of the emails we recently provided to our clients used the following subject line:
“Inverted Yield Curve + Inflation = Stay the Course.”
If this subject line has you looking for more information, that’s part of the idea – to build curiosity. The email references a current concern and offers a solution. Of course, there are many ways to write your subject line, but keeping emotion and benefits at the top of your list can help improve results.
Here are a few other ways to quickly create a compelling subject line.
Creating a Compelling Subject Line:
Questions: Asking a question engages your reader and implies a solution. Try to direct your inquiry towards the benefits of your body text or the reader’s primary pain point.
Checklists: Quantifying your tips, like this article, is an excellent way to show how much value you’re bringing. Long lists offer more opportunities for solutions, while shorter lists offer time savings.
How-To’s/Guides: Guides offer to simplify a complex topic, allowing your reader to receive the benefit without the need to figure things out as they go.
Alternative media: Most readers are used to receiving text-based emails. Highlighting when your content is different can be great for attracting attention. You can do this by adding a tag in brackets at the beginning of your subject line. For example, include “[Video]” at the start of your subject for emails containing video content.
Emojis: Using emojis can be a great way to catch the reader’s eye in a busy inbox, but be sure to use these conservatively and appropriately.
3. Offer Multiple Communication Channels
YCharts asked in a recent survey, “Would more frequent communication give you more confidence in your advisor?” 77% of clients said “Yes,” and 87% stated email as their preferred method of communication.
I’ve had advisors assume that client communication meant they needed to call all their clients. Not at all! The key is to leverage email primarily and social secondarily to share timely, relevant, and exciting content.
However, you can and likely should include a call to action within your email and even social post that welcomes clients or prospects to contact you if they have any questions or would like to discuss their situation.
Emotions can be high during volatility, and using multiple channels and offering alternative communication methods can help your clients feel more secure.
4. Take Advantage of Holidays and “Themes” for Each Month
Many advisors feel that all their communications need to be about financial matters. I’d like to challenge that.
Although it may feel uncomfortable, your clients and prospects are far more interested in you than learning about the bond market and yield curve. They are hiring you because they trust you, and like you. A high degree of emotional intelligence goes into selecting an advisor, and the closer they feel to you personally, the more loyal and likely they will be to refer you.
Holidays give you an excellent opportunity to show your personality by sending heartfelt, authentic messages – not a Hallmark card, but something sincere that you feel about the holiday. It could be a memory from your childhood, statements that show your “softer side”, or showing your passion for those who have served our country on Memorial Day.
Monthly “themes” also offer opportunities to show your personality and passions in ways that clients will appreciate and likely open and read more thoroughly than your financial emails.
Take Women’s History Month – this was an excellent opportunity to highlight women you’ve admired in history and honor those who make a difference in your life. It’s shocking how many things we observe each month. Just Google National Month Observances in June, and you will see 20 or more events that are “celebrated” that month. Surely one or two of them will inspire ideas for either social posts or an email noting why it matters to you.
5. Limit Industry Jargon
Clients want to feel heard and want their issues taken care of as fast as possible. Resolving client concerns can’t be done with poor communication, and though we may tempt ourselves to communicate with terms we’re used to using, it’s important to consider our readers.
Remember, clients likely do not have the same professional experience you do. That’s why they hired you! When you communicate with clients, make sure the information you’re providing makes sense for someone outside of the financial services industry and feels authentic to your business.
Bottom line, push away the feeling that you are bothering your clients by communicating frequently. All the data disputes this notion. Now is the perfect time to start upping your communication strategy. Whether you partner with an industry marketing firm to help or have the bandwidth to do it yourself, investing in your communication strategy is bound to yield a positive ROI, especially during what we expect to be a challenging year for the markets and economy.