Providing a helping hand

On any given night in Canada, over 6,000 women and children sleep in shelters because it isn’t safe for them to return home. It’s what makes the November 25th United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women so important. It’s also what led Ext. Marketing co-founders Jillian Bannister and Richard Heft to lend their support to Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter.

“It takes a lot of guts for women in situations of abuse to leave their partner and, when they do, it’s often with little more than the clothes on their backs.”

Jillian Bannister, CEO Ext. Marketing

“When we launched Ext. Marketing, we had a strong focus on three things,” says Heft: “building an industry-leading team of the best people we knew in the financial industry, doing amazing work for our valued clients, and supporting those in our community who needed that help the most. We’ve been incredibly proud to support Ernestine’s since the day we started Ext. Marketing, and plan to do so for as long as women and children need us.”

As a woman in business and financial services, Bannister says she’s particularly honoured to support an organization that, in addition to being a safe haven, provides a helping hand for women to move forward with their lives.

“It takes a lot of guts for women in situations of abuse to leave their partner and, when they do, it’s often with little more than the clothes on their backs,” added Bannister. “Ernestine’s provides counselling, a food bank, transitional housing and legal support to help these brave women successfully rebuild their lives.”

Laurie Lupton, Ext. Marketing’s General Manager, a board member at Ernestine’s, as well as a leader of Ernestine’s fundraising committee, says the holidays are a particularly difficult time of year for families who depend on Ernestine’s programs and services. It’s why Ernestine’s hosts an annual Winterfest event to recognize culturally relevant festivities during the holiday season, while also delivering items that these families could not otherwise afford.

Consider supporting the Stand up for Ernestine’s campaign by visiting the SU4E page to make your donation!

Interested in learning more? Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or

Why thought leadership should be a part of your brand strategy

The ability to generate rapport, build trust and nurture genuine relationships is an important part of your brand strategy. And now more than ever, that needs to be reflected in your digital marketing. By offering your audience unique insights, you can hook readers and keep them coming back for more. It’s called thought leadership and it’s a lot easier than you might think.

Thought leadership

Are you a market leader? Do your customers think of you as a trusted provider of products, services and/or insights? If you are an expert in your field, demonstrate that by changing the way people think. Thought leadership isn’t simply about having the answers that your readers seek. It’s also about taking a step further by offering new ways of thinking or innovative approaches to solving problems. Thought leadership might sound like a self-serving marketing label but, in fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s about understanding your audience’s needs in a way that sets you apart from your competitors. When executed properly, being a thought leader strengthens your reputation and forms the basis for solid brand recognition.

Why it’s important

The purpose of any thought leadership content is to engage with readers by offering direct access to relevant and timely information derived from your unique expertise and experience. In the case of a financial services company, for example, this could be sharing the latest information on the markets. But it is not enough to publish material with the goal of just educating the reader. You need to talk about a challenge, how you would overcome it and what the outcome of solving that challenge would mean for your audience. By revealing your pioneering opinion or insight, you provoke your reader and invite them to consider your distinct approach. If they can identify themselves and their challenges in your story, you have created value.

The hook

It used to be that people associated thought leadership with dense white papers or lengthy proclamations, but that’s no longer the case. Indeed, some of the most effective thought leadership today is online microcontent shared via video, blogging and social media. As long as you have a unique point of view and avoid an overtly promotional tone, thought leadership content can be a highly effective engagement tool.  

Financial institutions are in a unique position to demonstrate thought leadership. By sharing market observations through daily commentaries, you can display your expertise and provide value that people come to expect. The information can be shared across multiple channels, including social media, to generate stimulating conversations. Whatever channel you choose, you want to communicate thought-provoking ideas. Challenge your audience, reveal your passion for particular concepts and draw your audience into the narrative.

Keep them coming back

Thought leadership has an enduring component. Bold statements can be powerful on their own, but readers will keep coming back if you have offered kernels of wisdom that they find useful and appealing. Once you’ve planted the seed, your role as a trusted leader can give a voice to your brand.

Looking to develop your own thought leadership? Ext. Marketing can help you create and manage an effective thought leadership campaign with a focus on the content your audience is looking for. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or

Five ESG trends every marketer should know

In conversation with Daniella Woolf, Danesmead ESG

Over the past decade, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) has become a new reality for asset managers and asset owners across the capital spectrum – from large investment funds to alternative asset managers and hedge funds.

As more firms look to develop ESG policies, marketers must keep up with the trends to ensure their firms stay compliant in an evolving regulatory environment. To better understand these trends, we spoke to London-based Daniella Woolf, the founder of Danesmead ESG, which offers bespoke ESG services for investment managers and allocators.

It’s time to shift the narrative, says Woolf. “ESG shouldn’t be seen as an issue; it’s an opportunity for the investment industry,” she says. “Investment managers are in the midst of a new reality and those that adapt are poised to thrive. On the flipside, there is a significant opportunity cost and risk for those that fail to approach ESG proactively.”

Here are five ESG trends that every marketer needs need be prepared for:

1. Get ready to up your disclosure game

What you say and how you say it are becoming more important for marketers when addressing ESG. Increasing disclosures, particularly climate-related disclosures, is already a significant theme in 2022. Global regulators are all moving towards harmonizing the disclosure rules for carbon calculations, reductions or carbon offsets. Their near-term focus is at the corporate level for larger publicly listed, carbon-emitting companies and asset managers who engage in public financial reporting. Still, Woolf expects the attention will increasingly shift to investment managers in a tiered approach over the next few years – a trend she has already observed in jurisdictions such as the UK.

The takeaway: Overall, regulators and the industry are attempting to develop a common language around what it means to be sustainable. We are seeing a global move to harmonize a classification system for companies and asset managers, leading to easier comparisons and more accountability. With better disclosures, it’ll be easier to spot laggards and overachievers, which is a very positive development. For marketers, it’ll be easier to communicate the value of ESG with a common framework that allows participants to compare apples to apples.

2. Greenwashing will be an important lens when scrutinizing marketing

As marketers, you know how important it is to be authentic in all communications. With ESG, adhering to that approach is now more critical than ever. With increased regulation comes increased regulatory scrutiny targeting greenwashing. Avoiding hyperbole will be paramount. This will present new challenges for asset managers since there is still a grey area when it comes how ESG investments are classified. For example, the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) provides a framework for investors to articulate the degree of sustainability risk for funds that are marketed in Europe. However, there is still room for interpretation within each degree of the framework. It may surprise some investors to see fossil fuel companies in impact funds. These managers may argue that there is a case for investing in fossil fuel companies that are “transitioning” or moving away from carbon-intensive activities or are participating in net-zero initiatives to offset their emissions.

The takeaway: According to Woolf, transparency is critical. Don’t overstate your efforts or link your investment objectives to ESG unless you can back up those claims. It pays to be really clear about what you do and what you don’t do up front. Marketers are well served to work with their legal counsel, compliance departments and investment managers to develop clear, holistic guidelines for promoting and communicating ESG funds to investors as marketing initiatives come under more intense scrutiny. On the client side, there is also a significant opportunity for investor education and literacy to reduce the risk of misunderstanding, especially for retail investors. For example, delineating the difference between ESG as a due diligence or risk factor versus focusing the conversation on whether a fund is impact- or sustainability-focused.

3. Expect to field more sophisticated ESG demands

As ESG discourse becomes more sophisticated, the bar will be raised for investment managers and marketers. Woolf says that over the last two or three years she’s increasingly seen established hedge funds and private equity firms that don’t have ESG products fielding specific ESG-related questions. Those questions can range from the type of climate-related or scenario analysis they’re performing to questions about stewardship and how they monitor and measure ESG in their portfolios. As standards are getting raised, it’s also a source of opportunity: Woolf has witnessed examples of hedge funds attracting significant inflows in direct response to implementing an ESG policy that they wouldn’t have landed otherwise.

The takeaway: Asset allocators are asking sharper questions and are better able to identify good versus poor ESG processes – even for non-ESG labelled products. Expect to see minimum standards for eligibility where asset managers can stand to lose out on capital if their ESG game is not up to par. In this environment, marketers should make sure client-facing teams are armed to articulate their ESG proposition and manage more sophisticated ESG conversations.

4. More ways to tell the ESG story

Historically ESG reporting has been very “ad hoc” and “on request.” We are starting to see managers looking into more structured and consistent reporting, says Woolf. Increasingly she’s seeing robust sustainability reports with differentiated content, including case studies and concrete KPIs. In addition, many asset managers are amalgamating and reporting ESG data in the form of consolidated risk reports.

The takeaway: Strong ESG reporting can confer an important competitive advantage in addition to being a powerful tool to mitigate reputational risk.

Marketers and communicators can expect to engage in sustainability reporting using an integrated approach, including web, prospectuses, newsletters, databases, and investment communications. While marketers will have more opportunities to tell their ESG story, any marketing and communication efforts need to be done holistically as they will also have regulatory and compliance implications. Woolf advises firms to be mindful about the data they’re collecting and what their end game is, by not looking at data in silos and being thoughtful when collecting data to think ahead to its future utility.

5. A richer, more diversified ESG dialogue ahead

Today, much of the ESG discourse is on climate change, and rightly so, but marketers need to think beyond the “E” in ESG. In the future, Woolf expects the conversation to diversify, including deepening the environmental conversation beyond climate change to issues such as biodiversity. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues are also coming to the fore. Recent geopolitical events have highlighted defence questions, which has seen asset owners and managers revisiting their stance on certain exclusions and closely monitoring their portfolios’ potential impact on reputational risk. Overall, due to the higher profile, ESG issues are receiving in the media, there is greater potential for bigger headlines and there is more reputational risk at stake for any issue.

The takeaway: In a fast-evolving ESG field, we must constantly learn and be open to change. Those who are best positioned to educate clients and communicate with stakeholders will not only win additional clients, but effectively manage risk.

Is your ESG messaging and strategy future-proof? Ext. and our network of partners have the expertise you need to optimize your ESG story and help you mitigate risk. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or

Championing leadership, gender equality and creativity

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we sat down with Jillian Bannister, CEO and cofounder of Ext. Marketing, to talk about the forces that shaped her as a woman in the c-suite and how she strives to create a culture where all genders can thrive, produce their most creative work and achieve outstanding outcomes for clients.

In conversation with Jillian Bannister

What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

I always knew I wanted to be a business owner. I love the idea of building something from scratch and growing and scaling it. I love a good challenge. I find it fun to face and solve issues and to partner with smart, interesting people while doing so. My morning game of Wordle with my first cup of coffee is just a warm-up.

What was your catalyst for starting Ext. Marketing?

I spent many years working and ‘growing up’ on the client side – helping large financial brands devise their marketing strategies. As part of that experience, I worked with numerous agencies as vendors, but found the process to be challenging and tedious because most agencies were generalists in nature and they weren’t fluent in financial products, players or the regulatory environment. This resulted in a heavier lift for me. When I was introduced to Ext.’s co-founder Richard Heft, we recognized a significant gap in the market: a marketing firm specializing in financial services marketing. Over 13 years ago, we joined forces to tackle this white space – and never looked back. Today, we serve the full financial services marketing ecosystem – from newly launched hedge funds to globally diversified asset management platforms.

When did you realize there was gender bias and how did you try to solve it?

I always admired women in leadership positions when I was growing up. I was riveted when listening to stories of my parents’ friends talking about their work experiences working in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. These working women had every obstacle thrown at them: condescending treatment from colleagues; pay inequity; juggling home and work. I always admired them for pushing through and not letting those obstacles stop them from achieving their goals. They were resilient, resourceful and had a good sense of humor along the way. These earlier generations paved the way for women of my generation to have a better work experience – and I am grateful for that. But we still have a lot of work to do. I try to solve inequality by elevating the women and men in my organization – giving them opportunities to learn and grow in an environment where the quality of their work speaks louder than their gender. Today, our team is 45% male and 55% female – so a relatively balanced split. And I’m proud to share that we have seven women in leadership roles (Director and above). Women’s voices and ideas drive a lot of the results! But at the end of the day, it’s a collaborative effort, and everyone can contribute to the next big idea, and the next success.

Have you seen any trends in how your clients’ conversations about gender are changing?

Our clients – large asset managers and alternative managers alike – are embracing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) as well as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. They have realized how additive inclusion can be, and the value in building teams with many perspectives versus a single view.

Today, gender is a totally different conversation, with many nuances. As an employer, it’s important to be open and proactive to secure the best talent, and that means maintaining an open mind and fostering an inclusive, equitable workplace.

Why is diversity important at Ext.? What role do you play as a leader?

My role as CEO is to build an environment, an ideal space, where creativity and collaboration can thrive. The more perspectives at the table, the better. I firmly believe that diversity leads to better solutions. The merit and the caliber of a person’s work and thinking should stand on their own. When you make quality and collaboration the priorities, you arrive at the best solutions that can drive outcomes for clients. And that simple equation has been key to unlocking success and growth at Ext.

What is your philosophy toward leading?

I believe in leading by example, rolling up your sleeves, working alongside the team. My goal is to reduce any power/privilege imbalance between senior, seasoned team members and younger employees. I believe that true mentorship and learning can only take place when people are comfortable and set up for success.

The core pillars of our culture are Excellence, Collaboration and Working Smarter. If all three of these dimensions are in place, I believe every team member will be well served in their personal goals and Ext. will be well positioned to achieve its corporate goals.

Why is it important to achieve balance and how did COVID transform that?

The pandemic put a lot of pressure on workplaces across the world. But it also spurred positive changes in our workplaces and our families. We’ve realized that mental health and physical health need to be priorities if we want to succeed. More parents are sharing responsibility for parenting and maintaining their households. Colleagues are supporting each other if someone is off sick, or if they need a moment to help their kids with online learning. Getting through a common challenge like this requires flexibility and empathy. I think it’s made us better problem solvers – with a better understanding of the needs of others.

What role does good partnership play?

People often ask how Richard and I have maintained such a strong business partnership, given so many end in failure. I think we have been successful because we both came into the partnership with the attitude that failure was not an option. We also have very different skill sets and therefore complement each other. It’s very Ying and Yang. We’re aware of what the other person is good at and are honest about our strengths and weaknesses.

What is something people don’t know about you?

I wrote a book, Practically Divorced: A Woman’s Practical Guide to a Successful Divorce, inspired by my personal journey. I went through a challenging divorce and had to rebuild my life – all while caring for a newborn baby. During the process, I felt there was no practical guide that easily explained the system and how best to get through it. I hired a researcher, conducted a series of surveys, and synthesized the takeaways into a single, short guide. My goal was to empower women and give them the tools to go through this often-traumatic process and come out ahead. It was cathartic to write, but the best part was meeting all the amazing women along the way. I saw it as one way that I could contribute to the evolving dialogue – and help others to benefit from my lessons learned.

What habits/rituals contribute to your success?

Exercise – I am religious about it. I turn off my phone in the evenings and try to reduce screen time. Recharging is important to creativity. I am also adamant about booking vacations in two-week spans. I don’t think you start to disconnect until the end of the first week.

What one piece of advice would you give to a young woman starting out in her career?

Having a vision is very powerful. Once you determine that, you can work backwards and surround yourself with a network of people you trust and admire to achieve it. Sheryl Sandberg’s book Leaning In really resonated with me. Women are often taught to shy away from praise or recognition. But they shouldn’t be afraid to articulate and strive for what they want. It’s not always easy to own and make a game plan for your success, but it’s something important for young women starting out in their careers to do. It won’t always happen from day one, but persistence pays off.

What was the last book you read?

David Sedaris, The Best of Me. I literally laughed out loud every night. Laughter is so important and having a sense of humor is vital to solving problems, because it’s never a straight line to the solution.

Tell us about why philanthropy is important.

It’s appropriate that we’re talking on the eve of International Women’s Day. Giving back to the community has always been a priority for Richard and me. That’s why we decided to support a cause that my family has been involved in since I was a kid, Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter. For me, access and economic mobility are critical to a high-functioning economy. Women living in abusive situations have these two things – among many others – stripped away from them. Ext. is committed to helping Ernestine’s keep its doors open and end the cycle of violence against women – a challenge COVID has only amplified. Tackling gender bias can’t happen without ensuring women have achieved security at this most basic of levels. And this is a challenge we are proud to help solve.

Help us to elevate women

Connect with Jillian on LinkedIn to continue the conversation, or help Ext. in supporting the good work of Ernestine’s Women’s shelter.

Looking for innovative and creative ways to bring your marketing to the next level? Ext. has the expertise you need. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or

Inflation: a marketing opportunity or obstacle for asset managers?

Inflation is rising and the current surge may not abate anytime soon, which is something we haven’t seen much of since the 1970s. Asset managers have an opportunity to recalibrate their marketing strategies to this shifting economic landscape to help their firms not just survive, but thrive.

According to a recent Morgan Stanley survey, wealthy investors are starting to worry about their stock market holdings and finances at a level not seen since the second quarter of 2020, right after the COVID-19-related shutdown of the economy. This reduced optimism, paired with heightened price sensitivity among your clients, makes having a standout marketing strategy more important than ever. What does that look like today?

Foster trust through education

There’s a real opportunity in the asset management space to be up front about inflation in your messaging. Lead with education and put it into a context that makes sense for your clients. As you coach them on the impact of inflation, highlight the importance of putting cash to work to protect against savings erosion. Reiterate the power of diversification and the role of stocks and other asset classes as an inflation hedge. Also, educate and be transparent about the fees and costs associated with your products and services. Honesty and authenticity can go a long way in winning and retaining market share.

Amp up your brand

Periods of uncertainty are the perfect time to focus on brand building. Maintain the strength of your firm’s position by nurturing the emotional and rational story of your brand. Stay actively visible in your key markets and remember that your audience goes beyond your end clients. Consider how marketing connects with partners, suppliers, employees, colleagues and other engaged parties. Keep in mind that no previous period of prolonged inflation has had a digital ecosystem as widely accessible or advanced. You have countless opportunities to connect with your audiences and reinforce your value proposition.

Revisit your client segments

Given the psychology of inflation, your clients may feel different about their economic well-being. Even higher-income earners can be anxious that their health or employment circumstances will take a turn for the worse. Re-evaluating your existing client segments and conducting market research more regularly can help you identify new segments and their pain points. Having a keen understanding of your audiences and their motivations and preferences will help you develop products, fee structures and marketing strategies that effectively respond to their changing needs. Communicating to overcome client fears about inflation can be a way to combat their pessimism and compel them to keep investing. A/B testing (comparing two versions to determine which performs best) can be your friend in getting a closer read on what messages resonate best with them.

Spend smarter

While containing costs is always good practice, avoid making indiscriminate cuts from your marketing budget. Fine-tune your spending, focusing on creating efficiencies and accelerating activities that can generate future sales or build your brand. Digital tools can also help you defend against inflation by helping you manage costs, logistics and other overhead expenses associated with your marketing efforts. Arming your salesforce with clear scripts that address client concerns and are consistent with your revised marketing strategy can help them feel supported and motivated.

Seizing this time as an opportunity to win your clients’ appreciation will have a positive impact that can last long after inflation has receded.

Looking to ramp up your inflation marketing strategy? Ext. has the expertise you need. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or

Five things B2B content marketers are focusing on in 2022

The pandemic’s impact has reinforced the effectiveness of content marketing in helping to build brand awareness, generate trust and drive leads. In the last 12 months, 90% of respondents to the 12th Annual B2B Content Marketing Survey by Marketing Profs/Content Marketing Institute said they used short articles/posts for content marketing.

Two-thirds of the marketers surveyed said they expect their budgets to increase in 2022. So, where are their investment dollars going?

Here are the top five areas B2B content marketers are planning to focus on in 2022.


69% of marketers

Videos can tell powerful stories to engage audiences. According to Wyzowl, 68% of consumers would rather watch a video than read something to learn about products or services. Quick tips: Include captions and shorter is better. Verizon Media reports 92% of consumers view videos in silent mode. And WeVideo Inc. says videos of 15 seconds or less have a 37% higher chance of being shared.


61% of marketers

Digital, in-person and hybrid events can provide unique ways to connect. Digital events can increase your reach and provide on-demand viewing options. However, in-person events can generate anticipation and provide an exclusivity not easily duplicated on screen. In 2022, marketers are planning an increased mix of both. Of those surveyed, 52% expect their investment in in-person events to increase, while 39% say their spending for hybrid events will grow.


57% of marketers

Posting content on your website and social media channels can help you engage with target audiences. Consumers are likely to react positively to objective, meaningful and educational content that is both informative and compelling. If you’re writing a guest blog for another platform, be sure to request a link back to your website to help boost traffic.


55% of marketers

In 2022, mobile is expected to replace direct mail for the first time in the local marketplace. Mobile will become the top local paid media advertising platform, reports Forbes. Much of that paid advertising will promote posts on social media. Not surprising, as Hootsuite says marketers can reach more than 60% of all adults aged 13 and above outside of China using Facebook’s portfolio of platforms.


39% of marketers

Building a social media community can be a great way to nurture leads and receive candid feedback. The importance of engaging your audience on their preferred social media network accelerated last year. Encouraging employees to be proud of the company they work for and share corporate posts on their personal networks can also help build trust and promote brand awareness.

Looking for content marketing support? Ext. has the expertise you need. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or

Source: Stats from the 2022 B2B Content Marketing Report: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends and the Content Marketing Institute: B2B Content Marketing Insights for 2022

ESG marketing about to face new scrutiny as SEC cracks down on greenwashing

Marketers love talking about ESG, but with regulators starting to examine investment managers’ policies, it’s more crucial than ever that claims align with reality.

ESG (an acronym for environmental, social and governance) investing is reshaping the investment industry, if not the entire world. And now, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking to reshape ESG.

Marketers are often called on to shape the messages that articulate ESG. What does it mean? Why does it matter? What do we do differently? Given the scope of the SEC’s approach, marketers’ work will be affected.

What’s happening – All eyes on ESG marketing messages

ESG issues such as climate change and diversity are driving everything from political agendas to corporate policies to your neighbours’ investment decisions. As such, many ESG investment products are coming to market.

Following in the footsteps of European regulators, the SEC is scrutinizing investment managers’ ESG claims. The SEC wants to know the standards that managers use to classify their ESG funds. The SEC is focused on the hype – and it wants to know if what marketers are saying is accurate.

Third parties are also reviewing managers’ claims. One recent study found that a number of climate-themed solutions are not living up to Paris Agreement goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While this study was limited and may have had gaps in its analysis, for marketers the point is clear: the messages you take to market will be viewed by many different parties.

What this means for you – Accuracy and authenticity rule

Marketers should be aware of the potential perils when their messages do not align with the investment policy and process. ESG is a broad label. It’s important that regulators do not think marketers are using vagueness to mislead investors.

Disclosures: Must reflect what’s actually occurring within the strategy. If not, financial and reputational risks may develop.

ESG issues: Make them crystal clear. If your fund is aligned with the Paris Agreement, explain how. If it focuses on governance issues such as diversity on boards, provide details.

The good news is that marketers, and the firms they work for, are staying ahead of change. In fact, they are taking leadership roles. In Canada, a recent Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) ESG-related roundtable discussed emerging issues in the ESG space. Enhancing ESG-related disclosure was at the top of the panel’s priorities.

In Europe, the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation requires ESG funds to classify themselves according to a specific framework. While this type of requirement may be further down the road for North American funds, it’s time for marketers here to prepare for the future.

Marketers need to work closely with product specialists to build a deep familiarity with ESG investment processes. This collaboration will help identify the data needed to back up their marketing messages.

With those relationships in place and the data in hand, marketers can ensure their messages are accurate and authentic, which will further help their messages resonate in the market.

Learn more

Looking for support in refining your ESG messaging? Ext. has the expertise you need. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or

Hedge funds: remember to follow these newsletter tips

In the age of Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, sending an enewsletter to your investors might seem like an anachronism.

However, don’t write off the enewsletter just yet. Studies show that email can be more effective than social media at reaching actual customers – nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.1 So why are enewsletters still so relevant?

Their lifespan

A social media post can hit thousands of investors in a second, but may also end up lasting that long before being drowned out by other new content. By its nature, email is stored by its recipient and can be referenced later and/or repeatedly.

The total package

Rather than single-issue postings, an email or enewsletter allows you to combine several relevant topics into a single deliverable.

Making it personal

Targeted emails can focus on the needs and interests of specific groups of investors and, depending on the size of your client pool, can be further individualized as well.

So, if your firm isn’t putting out a regular enewsletter, or wants to reposition its existing one, it’s a good time to take another look at what could be one of the most important communication and branding and marketing tools for hedge funds. Here are some important tips and tricks to keep in mind when planning and executing your next enewsletter deployment:

Define what you are, and what you’re not

There is an incredible volume of investment-related enewsletters out there. Some are sales drivers, some charge for subscriptions, some offer investors portfolio building advice. Remain cognizant of who your investors are and build your enewsletter content around that, rather than what others in the business are doing. This will help differentiate your e-newsletter from the myriad other emails your investors might be receiving.


Keep the number of individual topics to no less than three, but at most seven (three to five is a good range to start with).

It’s not (just) about you

You can build credibility by linking your investors to external articles, papers or other sources of information that might be relevant to them. It tells the reader that you are carefully screening and curating content and are plugged into objective third-party insights.

Rely on professionals

The best financial enewsletters have a design that is straightforward, but still compelling and visually on-brand. If you don’t have internal financial services marketing resource for that, consider outsourcing production (from content to design) to a financial services marketing firm or a content marketing agency.

Make it passenger friendly

Approximately 55% of emails are opened from a mobile device.2 Ensure both your design and content is optimized for mobile phone browsers, particularly those on a commute. This means more vertical/scrollable design and shorter, digestible content (avoiding linking readers to pdf files, for instance).

Want to talk to a professional about putting together your enewsletter? Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or and we’ll help you explore your content options.


1 Nora Aufreiter, Julien Boudet, Vivian Weng, “Why marketers should keep sending you e-mails,” McKinsey & Company, January 2014.

2 Jess Nelson, “Majority Of Emails Read On Mobile Devices,” Email Marketing Daily, July 21, 2017.

6 best practices for creating better whitepapers

In the digital age – where marketing tools like social media and video get so much attention – we think an oft-overlooked marketing document is ripe for a comeback.

White papers have been used for many years as a form of financial content marketing. Generally speaking, white papers are designed to convey certain facts and arguments that build a case for the products or services being offered by the company that has produced the white paper.

Let’s take a look at white papers, and some best practices to help you get these valuable pieces done right.

1. Set the right tone

Your white papers should be written in conversational tone … and in the third person.

There are fewer and fewer situations that require a very formal tone. As our conversations get more casual, our writing follows. Exercising restraint is important, however, as white papers are fairly “academic,” and are often read by people who are well-versed in the topic.

2. Solve the right problem

Writing a financial white paper may be one of the most challenging marketing exercises, so make sure the problem you are solving is one that your audience truly wants solved.

Make sure the problem you are solving is one that your audience truly wants solved.

To make sure your topic engages your readers, do a little research into their needs. Survey your sales team, research online and, if you have the relationships and resources, talk to your clients directly. Remember to focus your whitepaper on your topic, and not on your product. Product-focused materials are usually considered “brochureware.”

3. Use third-party facts

Back up your points and arguments with some facts – and make sure these facts aren’t all from your in-house team.

This is where we come across one of the most significant limitations of white papers: they tend to take more time to produce than other materials. If possible, you should include some independent research to support your findings. This will enhance the credibility of your work.

4. Let your designers run wild

White paper doesn’t mean “blank paper” or “boring paper.” Luckily for you, not everyone knows this, so white paper design is a way to stand out from the crowd.

White paper doesn’t mean “blank paper” or “boring paper.” Luckily for you, not everyone knows this, so design is a way to stand out from the crowd.

Make your white paper look professional and easy to read, use a larger font, don’t crowd the copy, and experiment with design elements and themes that break up the whitespace.

5. Incorporate graphs, charts and infographics

Amid your facts and findings, well-crafted visual aids will help keep your reader’s attention.

Every data point can be backed up with an engaging chart or graph. We think white papers are begging for infographics. Since you’ll have so much data to work with, it should be fairly simple to create some easy-to-read infographics that will surely engage your audience.

6. Leverage your hard work

Remember that, once it’s created, your white paper can be leveraged for other uses. Breaking up key points and figures into individual newsletter or blog articles allows you to continue to engage your audience with your findings and to stretch out this valuable content over weeks and months.

Do you want to create more insightful and engaging white papers? Let us help. Contact us today at 416.925.1700, 1.844.243.1830 or

Using plain language in your financial writing

If you write content for the financial services industry, you likely write for a variety of audiences.

Some of the people who read your content may be advisors. Others may be new investors who are still learning the basic concepts of investing.

You can make your content more accessible to everyone by following a few plain language principles.

The truth about plain language

Some people think that plain language is about “dumbing things down.” It’s not. Plain language is about expressing yourself clearly and concisely without being condescending or making anyone feel dumb.

What might make someone feel that way? Having to look up every fifth word they read in the dictionary or giving up on an article because it’s too dense and exhausting.

Plain language is about expressing yourself clearly and concisely without being condescending or making anyone feel dumb.

Imagine a doctor who speaks like a medical textbook. Every other word they say is over your head and, despite asking good questions, you give up on having a meaningful conversation.

You know you’re an intelligent person. But you’re going to feel much less intelligent if your doctor insists on saying “Choledocholithiasis” instead of “gallbladder stones” and sighs when you ask them what that means. Especially since there’s no reason for a doctor to avoid using a common and easily understood term like “gallbladder stones.”

Three elements of plain language

Without “dumbing” anything down, you can get your message across to a broader audience by focusing on these three things.

1. Organization

Break your article into chunks so readers can scan it quickly and easily. This means using heads and subheads relevant to what you’re about to say.

Make sure each paragraph focuses on a single topic. If you move onto a new topic, move onto a new paragraph, too. Readers find it easier to digest one main thought at a time.

2. Sentence and paragraph length

Try to keep your sentences under 30 words and limit each paragraph to three to five sentences. If you have a long sentence that can’t be broken up, try putting it into bullet points.

3. Word choice and style

Write in a conversational tone and use active voice as much as you can. Avoid industry jargon that most people outside of your industry won’t understand, and delete unnecessary words.

Avoid industry jargon that most people outside of your industry won’t understand.

Choose familiar words over more obscure words, but don’t avoid long words that would be easily understood by your audience just because they’re long.

Take a look back through this post and you’ll see that we’ve used some long words, but we’re confident our audience will be fine with this.

A word on design

There’s a strong design element to plain language, which might be something you don’t have much control over. However, using a readable font and including lots of white space will make your content easier to read.

Plain language in action

Here’s a short before-and-after example of the three elements of plain language in action.


“Despite a year filled with market and operational headwinds, much positive feedback was given to us by clients in recognition of the merit of our customer service, superior attention to detail and unyieldingly honest marketing campaigns.”


“Despite a challenging year, our clients told us they appreciated our commitment to customer service, attention to detail and honest marketing campaigns.”

What we did

  • Kept the sentence under 30 words
  • Used active voice
  • Deleted industry jargon
  • Deleted unnecessary words

Looking for plain language expertise? Contact us at 416.925.1700, 1.844.243.1830 or

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Regtech will make marketing and compliance much smoother

Editorial calendars: our content lifeline

We deliver ongoing content – e.g., blog posts, emails and newsletters – for many of our clients.

As a result, we manage a number of editorial calendars at the same time. And we love them.

Editorial calendars are our lifeline for content – they provide direction and insight day after day, week after week, month after month.

Here are a few stories about content calendars and how they’ve helped us.

Fresh content for a “new” campaign

One of our longstanding clients was launching a campaign targeted at people who are new to the country. Since we had already created and maintained a calendar that included months of content for this client, we needed to ensure that their new campaign aligned with the client’s editorial strategy.

An editorial calendar came in handy for a couple of reasons. First, we found out we had already scheduled some social media posts that would be perfect for the new campaign – with a few tweaks, of course. This fully integrated view saved time and money, and allowed us to pivot nimbly to accommodate new key messages. Otherwise, the potential of these posts may have been totally overlooked.

Second, when we added the new campaign, we could see how the pre-planned content would need to be designed to reflect holidays, industry events, etc. That way, we could ensure our client’s messages were deployed at optimal times.

And we were able to quickly assess the consequences of shifting existing messages, ensuring that the new campaign was seamlessly incorporated, with minimal risk to our client’s existing messages and objectives.

Years in, and still growing

Another ext. client has been building an industry-leading content hub. You can visit this hub and find insights into almost every single financial issue you could face. It’s remarkable, really. And, after years of producing content for this hub, we’re still going strong.

On one hand, the editorial calendar – with keywords, themes, titles and summaries – ensures we don’t repeat ourselves. We’re able to avoid any redundancies in content – except where we intentionally want to reinforce a particular theme or concept.

On the other hand, it helps us identify if and when we’ve neglected keywords, themes, etc., ensuring we stay focused on our audience’s needs. With a well-maintained calendar, these strategic gaps are easy to identify. Our client appreciates when we’re able to call out a neglected area, and give it some attention.

Finally, an editorial calendar is powerful tool to help us secure buy-in from our client on topics ahead of time, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

Shoes for the shoemaker’s children

We’ve been running this blog since 2012. There’s a lot of brainstorming and inspiration that comes from the work we do. But of course, finding fresh content week after week can be challenging when you’re focused on your clients. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword that many firms face.

An editorial calendar gives us focus. It allows us to quickly switch gears from our client work to content that helps us win and maintain clients. We know more than anyone that it’s important to produce engaging and informative content our clients are interested in. We spend very little time struggling with a blank screen at ext.

What else can we say? Get working on your editorial calendar today, especially if you don’t have one.

Let us help you with your content needs. Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

Read more:

Why (and how) you should take a stand with your content

9 reasons to work with a content partner

There are is one overarching challenge all marketers face when trying to deliver engaging, sharable content: finding the time and creative talent to produce it all.

But for financial services marketers like us, there’s another big challenge: finding people with the technical knowledge to produce accurate content for this unique sector.

Faced with these two challenges, it makes sense to work with a content partner. Here are 9 reasons why:

1. Control your operating costs

With marketing budgets shrinking across the industry, finding opportunities to manage costs is a big win for marketing VPs and managers. And using an outsourced partner to deliver this type of content can be very cost effective.

2. Improve your focus

If your marketing team has many projects on the go, the room for error expands. Having a partner that is solely focused on your content production reduces the chance of error.

3. Access expertise

A financial services content partner brings senior thinking to the table. These insights are often informed by running many projects across the industry.

4. Access new capabilities

Content partners have access to products and services that your in-house team may not, by choice or because of budgetary restraints.

5. Structured process

A content partner has a structured process specific to the content marketing world, meaning a focus on the fast and efficient delivery of your content.

6. Quicker turnaround times

Given their expertise and resources, content partners can get your work done faster. In this era of increasing content requirements, the ability to produce timely content is essential.

7. Frees up your resources

Your internal team would likely contribute more to your company’s success if they focus on strategic initiatives or on an important client. This allows your content partner to assume more of your ongoing needs, while also helping to strategizing future content initiatives.

8. Get time-consuming projects off your plate

Content, sales and practice management campaigns take a lot of time, which can distract your team from their day-to-day responsibilities.

9. Extend your team

A content partner is just a great way to beef up your team without adding headcount.

Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or and make us an extension of your team.

4 ways to create an amazing editorial calendar

Creating content over the long haul takes dedication. To guarantee you stick to your plan, the best tool at your disposal is a well-organized editorial calendar.

A good editorial calendar will:

  • Cut down on the time and effort involved in creating content
  • Act as an internal to-do list that everyone can rely on
  • Help you frame the content required for campaigns.

Here are four tips to help you create a solid editorial calendar:

1. Create a communications goal

In many ways, creating an editorial calendar is just like any other project. Put together a work-back schedule with S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based) goals and give key stakeholders an early heads up.

Outline what you want to achieve with your content. Is it higher engagement? Increased sales? To build a positive reputation around education? Your answer will drive your creative, so make sure you’ve got buy-in from the whole team.

2. Focus on bench strength

Content marketing is an ongoing commitment. To keep readers engaged and interested, you’ve got to publish through good times and bad. The best way to ensure you stick to your schedule is to create a reliable team of all-stars who can make things happen.

Consider looking outside your usual marketing communications team — including accessing individuals from your executive, sales, operations and finance teams for fresh ideas.

3. Time to brainstorm

You know your goals and you’ve put together your content team. Now what are you going to write about? We’ve found it helpful to build a database filled with as many content topics/ideas as possible.

If your plan is to post one article per week, try to leave your brainstorming session with at least a dozen ideas. Keep any extra ideas you don’t plan to use in the near term — they might get you out of a pinch one day.

If you’re looking for some guidance about leading effective brainstorming sessions, click here to read our post on the subject.

4. Stay flexible

Even if you’ve built out your editorial calendar for three months, six months or a year, you still have to expect the unexpected.

Let’s say something dramatic happens in the markets, but your scheduled content that week is on health and wellness. Gather the troops: it’s time to produce something fresh. Find an expert to give you a few talking points and give your readers something timely. Write about what’s happening in the news, and save the health and wellness post for another day.

We hope you find these four tips useful as you prepare your next editorial calendar.

Can you benefit from a solid editorial calendar? Contact us today at, or 416.925.1700 or 844.243.1830 to discuss your editorial needs.

Read more:

Five easy ways to create better newsletters

Presenting a few helpful PowerPoint tips

Five easy ways to create better newsletters

Newsletters are a great way to keep your clients and prospects engaged because they allow you to share stories that educate and inform.

The number one rule for producing great newsletters is to write articles that engage your target audience. Let’s move on to some other ideas that will help you write better newsletters.

1. Focus on a theme

When you’re flushing out your editorial calendar, find some overarching themes that: (1) your clients and prospects will want to know more about and (2) will show that you are a subject matter expert. Focus each and every edition of your newsletter on just one theme.

For example, if your topic is retirement, you can write articles about staying healthy in old age, long-term financial planning, estate issues and financial education for young people.

2. Write killer headlines

This advice is just as true for newsletters as it is for any other marketing or advertising material. Given that everyone’s attention is being pulled in many different directions these days, a strong headline is often the best way to grab the readers’ attention – and convey your one key message.

Everyone’s attention is being pulled in many different directions these days. A strong headline is often the best way to grab the readers’ attention.

3. Add images that will maintain focus

A killer headline paired with an appealing image will help keep your readers’ attention. There’s no set rule for what images work best. Traditionally, images with smiling faces and/or images that take a moment for the reader to “get” tend to work well.

4. Keep it current

There’s an old saying that goes “put the news in the newsletter.” Our clients’ most popular newsletters – the ones that result in great responses and requests for more information – are often tied back to the news of the day.

Current content often means tighter deadlines, but it’s worth it. So make sure you have enough resources available to create this content as needed.

Current content often means tighter deadlines, but it’s worth it.

5. Do the research

Writers should be able to back up what they say in their articles. And, to add value, newsletter publishers should have more data and resources on hand as well. That way, when clients ask for more information, you can keep the conversation going and continue to add value.

To learn more about creating stronger newsletters, contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

Read more:

Daily practices to help you write better

Four tips for writing great speeches

Speech writing is a refined skill, and communications professionals with the ability to write strong speeches are a hot commodity in the financial services industry. Here are four tips that will help improve your next speech.

1. Start strong

Professional speakers – and authorities in their field – have the experience to start their speeches any way they want. People are often there to see them as much as to hear what these speakers have to say.

Everyone else should take one of the following approaches when writing the start of a speech: humour (but not a “joke” per se), a quote, a challenging question or an engaging story.

2. Appeal to emotions, not logic

It’s tempting to try to appeal to people’s sense of logic when speaking because you want to show them that you are right. But that approach doesn’t always work.

Appealing to people’s emotions, however, will. We’ve never heard of an audience “getting caught up in the logical nature of the argument.” It’s the emotional pull of an argument that works because it appeals to something that’s deeper than reason.

In a way, financial services marketers have it easier than marketers in other industries because people generally have a strong interest in those issues that impact their finances.

3. Focus on one idea

Choose a topic and stick with it.

If your speech is too short, resist the temptation to switch topics. The last thing you want to do is confuse your audience or muddle your argument. So keep it simple and straightforward – focus on one idea and one idea only.

4. Refine your transitions

Transitioning between proof points is the no-man’s land of speeches.

If you’re stuck on a creative way to move from point A to point B, you can at least summarize what you’ve said. That approach will keep people focused, while also giving them a little break.

The best approach, however, is to treat transitions the same way you did your introduction – with another little story or some humour.

Looking for more ideas about writing better speeches? Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

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How to lead a brainstorming session

A PSA on running more effective meetings

Investment scams: Are your clients at risk?

As an advisor, you don’t recommend just any investment to your clients. You know their financial goals, investment time horizon and tolerance for risk, and you make suggestions that suit them at each stage in life. You provide sound advice and educational information that you hope makes your clients more savvy investors.

It’s no surprise, then, that many advisors are caught off-guard when a long-term client falls for an investment scam. Yet it happens a lot more often than you might think.

Defining investment scam

First things first. An investment scam isn’t a legitimate investment that loses money. You can recommend an investment in a blue chip stock in good faith, and the stock can tank. That’s unfortunate, but it’s not a scam. In an investment scam, your client is intentionally lied to or misled so that they put money into an investment that has no chance of paying off. In most cases, the investment never existed to begin with.

In an investment scam, your client is intentionally lied to or misled so that they put money into an investment that has no chance of paying off.

Older Canadians at risk

In 2014, more than 42,000 Canadians filed a complaint with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). Almost 15,000 were actually classified as victims of a scam. About 70% of these victims were Canadians over the age of 50. Also in 2014, victims of fraud reported total losses of almost $75 million, of which more than 85% was lost by victims over the age of 50.

These CAFC statistics cover all types of fraud, not just investment scams, but older Canadians are more at risk for those too. A recent study of Canadians over 50 (from the Ontario Securities Commission) found that 46% of respondents had been asked to buy a fraudulent investment. The same study also found that investment fraud affects 60 out of 1,000 older Canadians.

This could be because older Canadians have had more time to accumulate wealth, and are therefore targeted by scam artists. But that’s just one theory among many. What we know for sure is that older Canadians don’t have as much time to re-build their wealth if they fall victim to an investment scam. Losing your nest egg is far more devastating at 65 than it is at 25.

What we know for sure is that older Canadians don’t have as much time to re-build their wealth if they fall victim to an investment scam.

Advisors can’t be expected to monitor or be responsible for every decision a client makes. However, there are steps you can take to help educate your clients about spotting an investment scam, as well as reporting investment fraud if it does happen. We’ll cover those steps in next week’s blog post.

Want more content like this? Follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Show your translation team a little amour

Recently, we published a blog that explored what makes a great translator. In the Canadian financial services landscape — and, certainly, in other industries as well – strong translators are priceless.

They help a company make its marketing, advertising, regulatory and legal documents available in our other official language, so their company can be more successful doing business with French-speaking clients.

Once you have a team of great translators, you’ll want them to stay. Whether you oversee a translation team or work with translators on certain projects, here are a few tips for keeping them happy and productive.

Get the translators involved early on

Translation isn’t just about converting English words into French.

There’s an art to making existing marketing or advertising copy work equally well (or even better) in another language, to flow seamlessly and be impactful for the reader. To do this, the translators need to be briefed along with the writers and designers, so they understand the concepts, key messages, target audience, products and so on.

Give them time to come up with adaptations

Let’s face it, we’ve all been in brainstorming meetings where we come up with a fantastic name for a product or a catchy tagline. As we’re busy high-fiving each other, someone needs to think about whether this name or tagline works in French. Quite often it doesn’t, so the translation team needs to put on their creative caps and adapt the term in French.

As we’re busy high-fiving each other, someone needs to think about whether this name or tagline works in French.

Commit to keeping things on par

By this, we mean that whenever there are any changes to English copy, charts, tables, etc., this must be communicated fully and in a timely fashion to the translators.

“Version control” can be a nightmare for any marketer, but imagine how much worse it is when you’re trying feverishly to keep pace with last-minute English changes so you can maintain accurate, up-to-date French collateral. Which takes us to our final tip…

Don’t squeeze your translators for time

Projects almost always run into snags, causing tasks to be delayed and timelines to compress. Well, guess who usually bears the worst of it? That’s right … your translation team, which is usually at the back end of most projects and sees their translation time shrink fast.

Instead, be more disciplined and diligent about keeping everyone on schedule. If things derail, try to extend the end deadline or shave some time off other tasks so the translation team doesn’t suffer.

If things derail, try to extend the end deadline or shave some time off other tasks so the translation team doesn’t suffer.

Not only will you get better French output, but your English materials might also improve.

After all, one thing we know is that translators are great at catching mistakes, inconsistencies and unclear writing in English documents. They’re a fresh set of eyes that can help immensely with quality control – if you give them the time they need!

To find out more about how to make the most of your translation team, contact Ext. Marketing Inc. today at 416.925.1700 or

What makes a great translator?

Financial services translation poses some interesting challenges for marketers – technical terms and time constraints being just two among many. In this post, we talk about the skills that great translators possess and we share some tips on choosing the translator that’s right for you.

Core skills of a great translator

1. Technical knowledge specific to your field

It’s not just enough to be a native speaker. A great translator must have an intimate knowledge of your industry … and its idiosyncrasies. Not only is financial services filled with technical terms but it is also bursting with jargon that only an experienced translator can handle.

2. Critical thinking and passion

These are two sides of the same coin. Critical thought without passion may result in overly technical language when translated, while passion without critical thinking may lead to engaging translations that miss the mark. Great translators have both.

3. Accomplished composition

A great translator’s output is written well, understood easily by the right audience and captures the meaning of the original copy. When certain English terms (e.g., idioms, product names, clever plays on words, etc.) just don’t translate well, the translator will have to adapt. This is definitely one of the more “writerly” skills, and one that makes translation closer to an art than a science.

4. Flexibility

It’s unfortunate but it happens again and again – your translators will have to work under a time crunch. Great translators can work under tight timelines, and they can make adjustments on the fly as work is sent their way.

How to find a find a great translator

1. Create a shortlist

Ask experienced colleagues and your peers for recommendations. There’s really no better way to find out who has financial services experience and who can be trusted to deliver high-quality work.

2. Screen them

Now we’re getting into the particulars. We think that the following three criteria will help you further refine your list: certification, experience and fees. Rate these three criteria in order of importance (depending on your needs, one may be of much greater value to you than another), and then move on to your next step.

3. Translation test

One test should do the trick because you don’t want to take up too much of your – or your potential translator’s – time. How technical should the language be? We think that your goals should not be to stump your translator. Rather, you want to test all four of the skills mentioned above. So, some technical language is ideal, though a PhD level thesis may be going overboard.

Contact Ext. Marketing Inc. today at 416.925.1700 or to benefit from great copy in any language.

Advisor communications series: Discussing fees and your value

It’s not an overstatement to say that Client Relationship Model – Phase 2 (CRM2) is changing the way clients view the services their advisors provide.

Advisors who understand the changes and are able to articulate their value are the ones who will turn the evolving regulatory landscape into a business opportunity.

Get ready to talk fees

For many years, the fees your clients pay for mutual funds and other types of investments were shown in terms of percentages.

With clients seeing figures like 2.0% or 2.5%, it’s unlikely that fees have been a concern for many advisors.

This may change as a result of CRM2, which will require all management fees and sales charges to be listed on statements in both percentage and dollar terms.

Where a 2.5% charge hasn’t historically been very hard for individuals to swallow, $1,250 (2.5% of $50,000, for example) may prompt a different reaction. But the amount is exactly the same – it’s just reported in a different way now.

Initiate the conversation

It’s important you articulate that fact to your clients. You should also plan to be the one who initiates the fees discussion … as opposed to waiting for your clients to receive their statements and ask you about their fees. By that time, they may already have spent some time being concerned about the dollar amount showing on their statement.

Get your message clear

Start preparing some documents/speaking points about what these changes mean (few clients understand MERs), and have a value statement prepared that tells your clients everything you do for them to merit the fees they pay.

Think it through

Your value statement needs to be well thought out and you need to be able to clearly and concisely articulate what you bring to the table, including your education, process, continuous monitoring, annual reviews and network of professionals.

Investors who receive advice often do better than those who don’t, and expressing this is not a challenge but rather an opportunity.

Please contact us at 416.925.1700 or for more ways to communicate your value.

Advisor communications series: All you need to know about email

Email is the way we communicate at the office these days, so we tend to simply type one up, click “Send” and move on.

Sending out emails without a thoughtful analysis of what you’re saying, however, can result in a number of issues given how difficult it may be to infer your true meaning. Nuanced undertones like humour and sarcasm are often lost in email.

With the following best practices, you’ll never send a bad email again.

Open and close with a salutation

Seeing as the email “To” and “From” fields make it pretty clear who sent the email and who it is intended for, some people think that salutations are a waste of space and time.

We disagree. Salutations set the mood and add a level of professionalism many people appreciate, especially if you’re emailing someone with whom you’re not particularly close.


Although a typo in an email is rarely a deal breaker, an error-free email keeps your reader focused on the issues at hand … not that little spelling mistake that slipped through.

Front-load the important info

When crafting a solid email, put the key ideas at the top. That way, if someone just glances at it, the most important information will be conveyed. And if you’re requesting a reply, make that known early on as well.

Use sentence case

Avoid using all caps because they don’t add emphasis as much as make it appear like YOU’RE SHOUTING. That’s not the kind of productive communication that drives successful interactions.

One great way to add emphasis is to use a bullet. In emails, which may be read on any number of devices, try putting an asterisk (*) at the beginning of a new line. It works!

Avoid jargon

It’s a good idea to use language your readers can understand. This is especially true when you’re writing about investing, where jargon may not be as obvious as you think.

Include your signature

People read emails on any number of devices: from desktops to laptops, from smartphones to tablets. They read them at work, when they travel and at home. At times, emails are read with the reader’s full attention; at other times, a glance is all your email may get.

The point? In this chaotic world, you need to get people’s attention in many different ways. So make sure your recipients know how to contact you. And make sure you give them options.

Think twice about “reply all”

You’ve heard the horror stories, so we won’t repeat them here. But it can’t hurt to be reminded, can it?

Don’t forget to say “please” and “thank you”

Just like salutations, we learned to say “please” and “thank you” in kindergarten, but sometimes we slip. To ensure you never miss saying “thank you,” you can include it in your email signature.

Avoid sarcasm

This is extremely important for all written communications: sarcasm does not work on paper or on screen. It’s too subtle and dependent on a speaker’s tone of voice.

Humour is a personal trait. If you have a great sense of humour, you can use it in your email correspondence to lighten the tone. Just be cautious: a misunderstood comment in an email can damage relationships.

Contact us at 416.925.1700 or today with any of your communications questions.