Is your communication program up to snuff?

Crafting a sound communication plan that hits all the right notes requires frequent monitoring. Even if you’ve discovered a formula that keeps your clients engaged, your approach has to evolve in order to reflect your clients’ changing expectations and preferences.

Reviewing your strategy periodically enables you to make adjustments throughout the year, says Richard Heft, president of Ext. Marketing in Toronto.

The impending yearend is a good time to assess the quality of your efforts to inform and connect with your clients on issues that matter to them. To assess the quality and effectiveness of your communication plan, take the following steps:

> Conduct a “content analysis”
Take stock of the content that you have shared over the year, Heft says, and ask yourself two questions: Am I sharing more information about products than lifestyle or issue-oriented articles? Do I offer a balanced blend of timely and timeless resources?

“People don’t want to be sold a product,” says Jillian Bannister, chief executive officer at Ext. Marketing. “They want [valuable] information.”

A large part of a your role as a financial advisor is to continually educate clients, so you should be feeding them information they can apply to their own lives. If you consistently offer a range of resources, clients will tune in more — and be more willing to forward what you share to others.

> Survey your clients
It’s not enough to provide well-researched material. That material has to align with the issues clients face and your own focus as an advisor, Bannister says.

You can use anecdotal feedback from clients to help ensure resource material you provide is relevant them, Heft says. At your next meeting, ask if the client happened to read the article you shared, and seek suggestions on the topics they would like to see covered in future.

On a more formal level, you can attach a survey to your opt-in newsletter, Bannister suggests. For example, you might pose a series of questions on what your clients think of the issues raised, how they feel about the frequency of your communication and how they consume your information.

> Examine the metrics
If you have a digital strategy in place, Heft says, you can measure the impact of your communications to see what works and what needs to be tweaked. Perform an audit of your posts on social media and newsletter campaigns to determine which posts reached the largest audience or generated the most responses. Then, draft a list of your best and worst efforts.

Once you have a sense of what resonated and what didn’t, compare the level of engagement across the various platforms you use. For example, note how many people you reached, the average time spent and the number of shares and leads generated.

This information will help you determine whether you should continue on the same course, or you need to scale back your efforts in certain areas.

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