Play to Your Strengths in Client Communications

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Most breakaway and independent advisors want to differentiate themselves from their peers at larger firms by emphasizing personal perspectives in client communications. The problem is they’re short on time and tools.

Advisors may like the idea of collating thoughts from their favored asset managers and strategists and producing a narrative that shares those ideas while interweaving their own. But doing so consistently is no small feat. It’s easy to get bogged down in other work and fail to deliver content with a personal touch.

If you’re an advisor for whom producing a detailed quarterly client letter is painful, step back and think about your own personal strengths – and what you enjoy doing. Is it long-form writing? If not, can you communicate with clients in a different way?

Here are four ideas to consider:

  • Shorter, more frequent commentary may appeal to clients even more than an in-depth quarterly piece – even if clients have always told you how much they value your letters! You could produce short blog-style posts roughly monthly and, at quarter-end, repackage a couple past ones together with some new material in a digest-style email.
  • If you’re more comfortable on Zoom than writing in a dark room, embrace that approach. It’s easier than ever to produce a solid video without studio equipment. I’ve seen advisors achieve success with market-insight videos shot with Zoom and presented as a branded series, complete with an intro (with musical overlay), slides and a concluding outro. That might require working with a video pro, but something simpler – maybe with help from your kid – might also suffice.
  • Share articles in the news with your personal comments. Most of us do this as a matter of course in social media posts that link to news stories and op-eds. We’ve seen independent advisors take a talent for this type of curation to the next level by creating a “What We’re Reading” or similarly named blog category. Then, unlike a typical social post, the advisor writes a couple paragraphs reflecting on the linked story. The value to the client lies primarily in your own comments – and it’s just fine if the reader doesn’t click through at all. A service like Advisor Perspectives’ premium membership is ideal for this purpose.
  • Frame a series of posts around common client questions. These could be a mix of planning and investing themes (and a mix of timely and evergreen topics). You may even have strong starting points – that just require a bit of genericizing – sitting in your sent mail.