Communication preferences vary, so offer ways for your clients to customize their experience.
When it comes to client retention, communication is key. Investors site lack of communication as a primary reason for leaving their financial advisor, right up there with investment performance. But what’s the ideal frequency to stay top-of-mind without overwhelming your audience? There’s no “one size fits all” solution, but at a minimum, every client should receive at least one personal touch per year and one routine communication per month. Here are some additional tips and best practices.
Segment your book
There are many benefits to segmenting your book of business, including the ability to customize your communication strategy. Top clients should receive more white-glove communications tailored to match their expectations. Outreach to lower segments can be mostly automated for maximum efficiency.
Gather input from your clients
The best way to find out how often your clients want to hear from you is to ask them. Bring it up in your next client advisory board meeting, or ask your top clients individually when meeting with them.
You can also create a short questionnaire to send in the mail, email, or have clients fill out during annual meetings. Here’s a sample:
- How often would you like to hear from us?
❏ More than weekly
❏ As needed
- What are your preferred methods of communication? Select all that apply.
❏ Social media
❏ Phone call
❏ In person
❏ Educational events
- Which of the following topics are you interested in learning about? Select all that apply.
❏ Regular market updates
❏ Ad-hoc communications addressing current events
❏ Financial education
❏ Lifestyle articles
Include this information in your CRM, identify turnkey solutions where available, and set reminders for more personal outreach.
Include both personal and automated communications
To maximize efficiency, have a mix of personal, “one-to-one” touchpoints, and automated “one-to-many.”
Personal phone calls, in-person meetings, and handwritten birthday cards are examples of “one-to-one” communications, and are a best practices for delivering memorable service to your top clients.
“One-to-many” touchpoints are more scalable and can be sent to all clients or targeted groups at once.
Examples include electronic and printed newsletters, client letters, seminars or webinars, appreciation events, holiday cards, and social media content.
LPL advisors can take advantage of the Automated Campaign Tool, social media content library, and recommended third party solutions through the Vendor Affinity Program for easy automation.
Offer opt-in communications
Since individual preferences vary, offer some optional forms of communication so clients can customize their own experience. Social media’s a great example because they have to proactively follow you in order to see your posts in their newsfeeds. Social media also empowers clients to access your content whenever is most convenient for them.
Electronic newsletters provide another opportunity for opt-in communications. You might automatically send everyone a weekly market update, for example, but let them choose which other newsletters they’d like to receive, such as monthly educational articles on relevant financial topics.
How much is too much?
Keep an eye on your communication metrics to gauge if you’re on the right track. For email campaigns, watch open rates, click-through data, and unsubscribes. Low open rates and high opt-outs are signs you might be over communicating. Here are some industry averages from Constant Contact to use for comparison:
- Average open rate for financial advisors: 15.36%
- Click-through rate: 7.64%
- Unsubscribe rate: 0.01%
On social media, if you find that clients are unfollowing you on Facebook and Twitter, or disconnecting with you on LinkedIn, you might be sharing too often, or the content isn’t meeting their expectations. Reach out to a few of your clients for feedback if you see a noticeable decrease in followers.
And remember, over communication is not on the list of reasons why investors leave their financial advisors, so when in doubt, keep the lines of communication flowing.
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Sarah provides custom marketing and social media consultations for LPL Financial advisors and investment programs. In this role, she consults with and supports clients in effectively marketing their business in today's increasingly competitive environment. View full bio.