What subject line should you use when you send clients a disclosure via email? This question came up came up when I spoke to the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts in 2013.
The problem: Losing your clients’ attention
You send some emails because you need to move clients to action. Others, such as disclosures required by regulators, are less compelling.Choose your subject lines carefully, if you don’t want these emails to discourage your clients from reading your emails.
Here’s a list of disclosures that advisors told me might be sent via email:
- Client agreement
- Fee disclosure
- Form ADV, Part 2
- ERISA-related disclosure, such as a Rule 408(b)(2) disclosure
Sure, it’s important for clients to understand the legal nature of your relationship. However, most of them won’t read boilerplate disclosures. Even worse, when they receive one boring email from you, they become less likely to open your future emails.
Solutions: Label clearly or bundle
The worst thing you can do is to send the disclosure with a vague or misleading subject line—something like “update from XYZ Advisors.”
Instead, label the email clearly, making it easy for your clients to decide whether to open it. You could write something like “annual disclosure of _____,” dropping the key topic in my blank.
Another possibility is to avoid sending the disclosure as a standalone email, assuming that’s okay with your compliance experts. For example, you could include the disclosure with your quarterly client email or monthly client e-newsletter.
I’m curious to learn how you handle this challenge. Please comment.