With all of the communication tools at our fingertips such as email, texting, “tweeting”, it is easy to get lazy with the way we communicate. As most of our communication these days is not face-to-face, we need to be even more focused on making sure the message we are sending is the message we want the reader to receive. That’s no easy task, particularly when our readers are overwhelmed with so many different messages from a maze of sources.
You don’t need us to tell you that communicating with your clients is paramount to your business, but when you do take the time to prepare that communication – whether it’s a newsletter, a letter or an email, you at least want to be sure they will read it. Otherwise you have wasted precious time and just as importantly, your money.
So how do you improve your chances of clearly communicating your messages to your clients and prospects? Here are our 7 top tips for effective written communication...
- Keep it human
Your business is all about people, so when it comes to writing to the people who are crucial to your business, make sure you put yourself into the message. Whenever possible always write in the first person (I, we) – give your experiences always include stories about people.
If you’re a small company and do your own newsletter, include an article about either someone in your office or one of your clients in every edition. People love to read about other people’s experiences (why do you think women’s magazines sell so well?!).
If you’re a large dealer with a lot of advisers and staff and have a ‘generic’ style newsletter, don’t despair, that means you’ll have even more stories to share. Your clients already know you’re part of a larger group so they won’t mind reading interesting stories about someone in your organisation.
Or what about any charity work your organisation does? Tell your clients about your contributions.
The key word here is “interesting”. Turn it into a story everyone will want to read. Oh, and don’t forget photographs – they are essential.
- Make it educational, not “salesy”
The main intention for a client newsletter is to keep you readers educated on matters that are important to them. This is the most effective tool you have and it costs far less than running advertisements or seminars (pre-COVID of course!) to do the same thing.
People know when they’re being sold and if they’re not ready to buy, they won’t appreciate it. Give them the gift of knowledge and they will happily come to you.
- Write for them, not you
When you’re good at something you love to write or talk about it, however, always remember that your audience may not be as clever as you are, so “dumb it down”. Always write to your reader’s level, and again, make it interesting for them.
Don’t forget the golden question in everything you do - “What’s in it for me?” That’s what your reader will be asking every time they receive something from you. Keep that question top of mind when you start writing about the features of a product or service and always focus on the benefits. If your readers ask “so what?” when they’ve finished reading your ‘masterpiece’, you’ve wasted your time and money.
- Don’t cram it all in
It’s so tempting to put as much information as you can into your newsletter. You feel like you’re getting more value for money, don’t you? Refer to Point 3. Forget about your needs. When you fill up every page with text or pictures it becomes too busy and cluttered. In turn this clutters the reader’s brain and guess what? Nothing can get in if their brain is already cluttered. The brain will go into overload and they won’t read or comprehend a word!
Provide plenty of “white space” and no, it’s not “wasted space” – it’s probably the most effective ingredient in your newsletter!
- Keep your promise
If you start out promising a quarterly newsletter make sure you always deliver a quarterly newsletter on time. Miss one edition and you are sending dangerous messages to your clients. One message is that you’re too busy to fulfill your promises so you don’t really care about them. Another is that your business isn’t going too well so you can’t afford to keep sending a regular newsletter. Or the worst of all is that you’re so disorganised you haven’t been able to get it done – so how disorganised are you with their investments?
Once you start, make sure you’ve got a fail-proof system in place to deliver it on time, every time.
- Love doing it
Have you ever read something that was so boring that you just know it was “thrown together” without a care? It’s easy to spot, isn’t it? If you’re going to do something, do it well and love doing it. Your commitment and passion should ring loudly in your readers’ ears as they read every word of your communication. If you’re no longer passionate about doing your client communication, ask someone else who is.
Another way of looking at this is if you’re not interested in writing it, nobody will be interested in reading it.
- Ask for help
If you can’t meet your deadlines, you’ve lost your passion, or you know you’re better doing other things to make your business more profitable, seek professional assistance.
And remember, if you’re not communicating with your clients and COIs, somebody else is...
Need assistance with your written communication? Gain access to a smorgasbord of well-written, fully compliant financial articles in our Financial Library! Perfect to fill your newsletter, or share online, and guaranteed to keep your clients interested.