Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.
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We recently did some analysis to see the impact our client communication is having. Specifically we send out a monthly newsletter on a variety of interesting topics such as the best ways to save for college or best places to retire, a quarterly update on the market and individual emails once every month to clients with a piece of interesting information. We found the open rate was high on all of our communications but the click-through rates were abysmal. While close to 40% of people opened the monthly, 25% opened the quarterly and 80% opened the one-to-one email, in all cases only about 2% of people clicked through to the information we provided. Is this normal?
It’s a lot of effort and clients are not apparently interested in what we have to say. Are we old-school in what we’re doing? One of our younger advisors said we should be sending out alerts via text to clients with “sound bites” of what we are seeing and considering. I would be annoyed if a trusted advisor of mine starting sending me random text messages.
We recognize the importance of communication and we’ve tried to be very thoughtful and diligent (and consistent) with what we are doing, but these numbers don’t give me a good feeling about whether clients recognize or appreciate it. Should we dispense with email and figure out another way to communicate?
Let me give you kudos on two counts – having an organized and apparently well thought out client communication strategy and having the interest to measure it and then review the results! You are doing a very important analysis by trying to understand the data and determine if you need to make any changes. This is very impressive from my view.
There are a few considerations to your question:
- Email is far and away the most popular and easiest way to communicate with clients. However, if your emails are too same-old, same-old and they have information that the clients are probably getting from a number of financial services firms, the clients have no reason to spend time reading them. If you want to continue with email, consider doing something more interesting and eye-catching. Could you embed a video in the email? Could someone on your team write about issues like college savings but use subject line or questions for enticement – “Read more to find out the seven biggest mistakes most every college student makes at one point or another” for example is more enticing than, “College funding is difficult for everyone. Read ideas on how to make it more effective.” Consider some marketing spin to make clicking through more appealing.
- Ask your clients what they want and how they want it delivered. Your associate could be right about the desire for texts, but what if she/he isn’t? Instead of guessing, you are now armed with some data that shows clients are not considering what you are sending important enough to click through and read. Use this information as an opportunity to reach out and ask them what they would like to receive. Maybe the information isn’t appealing, or maybe the medium isn’t right, but we’d be guessing to try and figure it out. Better to ask the people you are trying to entice!
- Insert more personal aspects of communication. You might already be doing this, and didn’t mention it, but how about replacing those one-to-one emails with a phone call? Or a cup of coffee/lunch to just talk about the relationship and what they are interested in hearing about? I know it is probably easiest and most time efficient to send the email but if you aren’t being effective, is it really a time saving approach? Create a list of clients and take 2-3 a week you could call or invite out for a non-portfolio review catch up.
By Beverly Flaxington, read the full article here.