Whether your newsletter is sent by email or “snail mail,” it should cover topics that resonate with clients, says Jillian Bannister, marketing director with Ext. Marketing Inc. in Toronto.

Your newsletter should share interesting facts and stories that your readers can relate to. You should not appear to be trying to sell something, and therefore should avoid referring to your products or services.

So, what should you put in your newsletter? Here are the five items every financial advisor’s client newsletter should have:

1. Tools for everyday life
Start with a lifestyle article that demonstrates that you understand your client’s day-to-day life.

Let’s say, for example, that many of your clients have children going away to university. Use this scenario in a story to incorporate tips on how young adults can manage their money while living away from home.

2. Info-graphics
Use visual elements to explain the more technical aspects of financial planning. This will simplify certain concepts, add colour and break up the text.

You will have a limited amount of your client’s “eye time,” says Richard Heft, Ext. Marketing’s communications director. And graphs, charts and other imagery can help hold the reader’s interest.

For example, clients often wonder whether they should use available cash to contribute to their RRSP or pay down their mortgage. Heft suggests producing an info-graphic with an RRSP heading and mortgage heading and then using images (perhaps stacks of money) to illustrate the tax implications for either option.

3. Personalized content
Do your clients like puzzles and recipes to keep them occupied at home? Or are they entrepreneurs who want to stick to the financial news that will help them grow their businesses?

Determine what interests your clients by asking them for input on what they want to read.

If your clients’ interests are diverse, Heft says, create themed newsletters to relate to various groups of clients. For example, one edition could examine the financial markets for your professional clients, while another version might appeal to parents by providing recipes for healthy snacks.

4. Input from centres of influence
For a different perspective, ask your centres of influence to contribute to your newsletter.

For example, an accountant can explain to your readers how to make their children’s sports activities tax-deductible through the federal government’s children’s fitness tax credit. Articles such as these provide your readers with information they can use, while indicating the expertise you have access to.

“Some clients may not know that the advisor may be able to help with tax planning or estate planning,” Bannister says. “By bringing in those experts, you’re sharing other products and services you may offer without doing a product push.”

5. A call to action
Always end your newsletter by specifying what your clients’ next step should be. Should they look up your website or call your office? When directing them to these resources, explain why they should do so.

Avoid mentioning products. For example, instead of directing readers to inquire about tax-free savings accounts, your call to action can say: “Ask me how I can help you maximize your savings.”

By phrasing it this way, Bannister says, clients will see how they can benefit by contacting you.

This is the second installment in a two-part series on client newsletters.