You may be the savviest financial advisor in your community, but can you command attention through an effectively written email or blog post?
Investment writing consultant Susan Weiner (left) hopes to help communications-challenged advisors escape a fate condemned to obscurity at a presentation next week at the Financial Planning Association’s annual gathering in San Antonio.
Besides being a writer and editor, Weiner is also a CFA charterholder who has worked in the financial services industry, so she understands both the challenges and the solutions advisors face in the workaday problems of email communications.
Weiner, speaking with AdvisorOne a week ahead of her FPA session, said the biggest of those challenges—not just for advisors but for anyone who is not a professional writer—is to keep the reader’s perspective in mind.
What Your Peers Are Reading
“That means knowing who your reader is, pushing your readers’ hot buttons so they pay attention, structuring so it’s easier for your reader to understand what you’re saying,” Weiner says.
Weiner, based in West Newton, Mass., says the principle of “What’s in it for me?”, or WIIFM for short, should guide you to more reader-friendly communications.
“When someone looks at their email inbox, they’re going to judge things by WIIFM,” she says.
Since your clients and prospects are generally overburdened with email, Weiner says they must perceive a clear benefit to reading yours. “In order to target with WIIFM, you have to really know who they are,” she adds.
Weiner proposes a four-step process to write effective emails and letters to clients. The first step is knowing your readers.
“Why are they in the relationship with you? What are they going to get out of working with you as a financial advisor?” A powerful question Weiner suggests as a way of aligning your perspective with that of the reader is to ask what is keeping them awake at night.
“As an advisor, if you understand that, then you’re better able to appeal to them.
“You can have an article called ‘401k Plan Rules’ or [the same article titled] ‘Get Free Money by Taking Advantage of Your Employer’s Match.’ ” The topic is the same, but one may have no appeal to your clients while the other may very much resonate with them, she says.