5 Reasons Why PDF Newsletters Don’t Work

Advisers are increasingly looking for new, and more engaging, ways to communicate with clients. One company providing solutions to this problem is Feedsy, whose Co-Founder, Gavin Klose, is urging advisers to think beyond the PDF…

The value of regularly communicating with clients is clear. According to Business Health, those practices that contact their best clients more than 10 times per year generate, on average, 287% more profit per principal than those who only ‘touch’ their clients fewer than five times a year1.

But Gavin Klose, an expert in digital communication, believes advisers are wasting valuable time and energy by continuing to utilise old-school delivery methods.

“I have been alarmed by how many planners are still using PDFs for their flagship communication – their newsletter,” says Gavin, “but they shouldn’t be.”

“Try reading a PDF newsletter on your smartphone (even a Galaxy Note or iPhone 6 Plus) – it sucks!

“Over 50% of today’s emails are opened on iPhones alone. PDFs just don’t cut it anymore.”

In a recent blog post, Gavin gave five reasons why advisers should stop using PDFs for their client newsletters:

1. PDFs are a drag to read on a mobile

A beautifully designed three-column PDF is useless on a smartphone. After pinching in and out and navigating around the screen just to complete the first article, your clients will hate your newsletter before they even attempt to read the second article.

2. Content is hidden

You want your great online news content visible and easy to click, and that just doesn’t happen with a traditional PDF. Studies show you have three seconds to get peoples’ attention. Three seconds! The Acrobat PDF symbol or a hyperlinked title of the newsletter makes it impossible to get a glimpse of what is inside. If they can’t find great articles fast, they’ll go elsewhere. PDFs hide the contents – these days there are better ways.

3. No water-cooler sharing

When around the water-cooler at work (or on Facebook), people share snippets of news – not the entire newspaper. These days people receive and share information in small bite-sized pieces, but PDFs have everything lumped together. PDFs make your content digitally un-shareable because it is virtually impossible to single out the article you want.

4. No video or animation

These days, people expect more than just words and pictures. Nothing engages more than a video (or even an animated GIF). So can people view motion content in a PDF? Well, not on a mobile device they can’t! And the chances are slim on doing so on a laptop. Poor rich media!

5. Difficult to produce

It’s not all about the consumer. PDFs are also bad for you – the author. Because they are based on pieces of paper there is always the stress of having enough words and pictures to fill out a multiple of an A4 printed document, not to mention the added pressure (and fees) of your designer trying to create an award winning design. PDFs are good for print because they preserve the layout and fonts – but these often do not translate well in the digital world.

Gavin’s six tips to ditch the PDF:

  1. Use a news (blog) webpage to post individual articles (which can include videos)
  2. Present articles visually to entice engagement
  3. Make it easy for people to share individual articles
  4. Share your articles on your own social media channels to broaden reach
  5. Compile your articles visually into an email newsletter
  6. Link your email articles and social media back to your blog


In response to the market, Feedsy developed an email newsletter product (FeedsyMail) and news webpage (FeedsyWeb) to compliment their news fed app (FeedsyApps). By totally integrating news content and marketing channels, Feedsy makes it easier for businesses to be more relevant in their clients’ digital lives. Feedsy are giving riskinfo readers a chance to say goodbye to their PDFs with a 50% discount on the set-up fee of any Feedsy bundle, a saving of up to $660.

This offer has been extended until 28 February, 2015.

Click here and use this coupon code: ENDTHEPDF

Gavin Klose is the co-founder of Feedsy, a specialist provider of digital content and marketing channels solutions for financial advisers. Feedsy is the easiest way of keeping in contact with customers. Gavin has a vast and broad experience in brand and digital strategy.

Contact or follow the author: Website | LinkedIn | Twitter

  1. AFA White Paper: New Frontiers – The Age of Consumers, March 2013, prepared by Business Health