Hard copy newsletters have been a common communication tool used by financial advisors and their firms for decades. Recently electronic newsletters have become increasingly common. Electronic newsletters are generally less expensive to produce because of the printing and mailing cost of hard copy newsletters. Do investors still use the hard copy newsletters provided by their advisors? Which do they prefer? Is it time for your firm to reconsider whether or not it should continue to provide hard copy newsletters?
Fifty-seven percent of investors currently receive electronic newsletters while 31% receive hard copy newsletters from the financial advisors. A third of investors receive their hard copy newsletter monthly while only 4 percent receive the newsletter quarterly. Six percent indicate they receive a hard copy newsletter annually. In contrast, 37% of investors receive an electronic newsletter monthly and 41% receive an electronic newsletter quarterly. Only 4% receive an electronic newsletter annually and 10% receive one weekly.
Do investors actually read the newsletters? The answer is "yes" and investors like to read both types of newsletters.
Almost 40% of investors who receive a hard copy newsletter review the letter extensively while 55% review it to some extent. In contrast, 28% of electronic newsletter recipients review the newsletter extensively while two-thirds review it to some extent. Overall, for those who are currently sending out hard copy newsletters, it’s probably not a good time to entirely eliminate this option.
Another option that financial providers and advisors must consider are blogs or opinion pieces created by an investment professional. Sometimes these blogs are part of the newsletters other times they are posted on the financial advisor or provider’s website. Currently only 5% of investors indicate that they receive blogs from their financial advisor, however, that may be because opinion pieces by financial professionals may not be considered “blogs” by investors. Of the small percentage that claim they receive these types of communications, 26% receive these pieces monthly while 24% receive them weekly. More than a quarter of investors (26%) read these pieces extensively while 58% read them to some extent. Millennials and Gen Xers are the most likely to read these pieces extensively. Therefore, for financial advisors looking to develop their relationships with younger investors, blogs may be important.
Overall, newsletters, whether they include a blog or not, remain important to investors - both hard copy and electronic.