Building client engagement and loyalty for your financial brand can be created in a number of ways; through social media, events, product and service promotions, rewards etc. In this article we look at one of the most popular ways that many firms communicate with their clients - company newsletters whether via email or print.
The Trust Factor
The Edelman Trust Barometer, looks at consumer trust across a range of industries and the 2015 they surveyed 33,000 respondents in 27 countries, reporting that the chemicals, financial services, banking and media industry sectors continue to be the least-trusted, with trust levels below 60 percent for all four. Since they began tracking trust in financial services in 2011, they have seen a modest increase from 48 percent to 52 percent on a global basis.
In the UK specifically, only 36 percent of the online public and 39 percent of the informed general public surveyed trust businesses within financial services to do what’s right. I’m sure you can agree that these are quite alarming figures.
So how do you build trust, engagement and loyalty with your clients in this industry?
Nowadays, consumers expect to be educated rather than sold to and thought leadership, knowledge and expertise on financial products and services, responding to feedback on their needs, issues and concerns, through a range of communication channels is how to attain long term loyalty and engagement.
With only 30 percent of respondents to the Edelman survey saying that they believe businesses are interested in improving people’s lives, regular engagement that seeks to gain trust, understanding and consideration of what matters most to your clients is key to keeping them loyal to your brand.
Why use newsletters?
Organisations have been using newsletters for decades to inform and engage consumers to their proposition. They allow you to literally promote, sell, educate and inform about everything you are doing. However, with so much competition for their attention, is being so extensive the right way of creating your newsletters? Should you be sending them out at all? How often should you be sending them out? How do they want to receive it? What should you be talking to them about?
A good newsletter allows you to approach subjects from a softer angle, perhaps focusing on a theme in the way you write them or the subjects that you cover. It’s good to give them a personality that not only resonates with your business but also with your clients. You may consider giving your newsletter a ‘brand name’ so that when clients receive them they know exactly what it is and where it has come from.
Targeted content that specifically focuses on the topics your clients want to hear about and which add value to the service you provide to them is recommended, rather than being random. You may want to include guest articles from advocates of your business or experts within the industry, even a snippet of client feedback on a particular service or good advice you have provided which ties into one of the articles you are writing – on taxation for example.
Encourage feedback on the topics and when you see clients ask them if they read any of the articles and if they have any questions or what they would like to see in the next issue.
How often you issue your newsletters and whether you send them electronically or via post is down to your client base. If many of them are retired they may prefer to receive something in printed format, whereas your more digital savvy clients may be happy to receive it by email. Adversely, if your target audience are business owners the likelihood is that they are extremely busy and receive hundreds of promotional emails everyday which they potentially do not read or just quickly glance over the headline before hitting the delete button. So they may also engage better with a printed copy.
If you are sending your newsletters out by email the tips from BlogSpot on ‘How to create an email newsletter that people actually read’ offers some interesting suggestions for how to use this medium more effectively, many of which can also be used for printed formats too.
How often you issue your newsletter will again depend on what your clients want to see from you, but also on what other forms of communication you are sending them regularly. Whilst consumers generally do want to receive regular communications from their service professionals, send things too irregularly or in an unscheduled way and the level of trust they have with your brand may take a tumble. Send things too often and they may feel harassed and pressured. The only true way to find the right balance is to ask the question.
For a financial newsletter I would say monthly is the most often and quarterly is the least often. With that in mind, you need to ensure you have the right resources in place to create a communication timetable, including the topics you will be writing about for each issue, the project management process from concept to compliance approval and when they are issued.
Going back to the Edelman survey, one of the elements consumers want to see is that companies engage with them on the issues that matter to them most and communicating through a purpose driven platform. A well written and designed newsletter that puts their needs first is a great way of building and maintaining the trust and loyalty all businesses are looking for.