Lifecos have work to do on their websites, Forrester’s study finds

Engaging your existing clients with relevant content is essential for building and sustaining your relationship with them. Whether you use email, social media or your website to distribute your information — and whether that content takes the form of video, text, slideshows or other media — the content you provide your clients should be tailored to their needs and interests.

“Unlike leads or prospects, your clients are a captive audience that already knows about your products and services,” says Nadia David, communications consultant with Premier Consulting Partners in Mississauga, Ont.

“You must know and understand their information needs so you can focus on meeting them,” says Richard Heft, president of Ext. Marketing Inc. in Toronto. You can tell what content is being read by whom and what is resonating with clients, he adds, by using readily available tracking tools.

Your client base might have varying needs for content, says Stephen Lee, vice president, marketing and communications with Ext. Marketing. “You can customize your content to meet the needs of different segments.”

In addition to the type of content clients need, Heft says, you also can provide content in areas you believe clients need to learn about, such as budgeting or changes to tax rules. Such content should tell your clients something they might not already know.

You also can use content periodically to highlight specific strategies you wish to make your clients aware of — without pushing any specific product. “Clients can get turned off by product pushes,” Heft says.

You can promote the benefits of saving for education, for example. This way, you are opening the door for clients to ask you about education savings vehicles.

Here are some ways you can engage your clients with relevant content:

> Know your client base
Acquire as much information about your clients as you can, Lee says, including their demographics, psychographics, communication preferences and investment orientation. Some of this information is acquired through the discovery process.

“You can fill the gaps by asking them,” David says.

> Know their content preferences
The preferences of your target audience should determine the content you create and the medium through which it is delivered, David says.

Content could take many forms, such as: specific messages you want to communicate to clients; strategy or educational pieces; newsletters; or articles originating from another source. The medium through which you deliver your content — either in print or digitally — would depend on the preferences of your clients.

> Create an editorial calendar
Both Heft and Lee agree that an editorial calendar would help you stay on top of your content creation and delivery. They recommend leaving space in your calendar for unplanned events such as regulatory or tax changes that clients should be made aware of.

As well, have relevant “canned content” — such as material supplied by your dealer — to meet your delivery schedule, just in case time constraints prevent you from creating new content.

> Make it unique
There already is a proliferation of content out there, David says, so you have to find ways to attract clients’ attention with interesting approaches to addressing common issues. Your content should pique your clients’ interest and engage them.

“Just don’t send them content for the sake of sending it,” she says. “If they don’t find it interesting, they might very well stop reading it.”

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