Email Marketing advice for Financial Advisors
We have been asked if email marketing really works and if there are any guarantees. There are two answers to this question: yes (definitely!) and no (if you use it incorrectly). It depends on your objectives and how you use email marketing. For this reason we can tell you there isn’t a guarantee as such. We can’t tell you for sure what your click through rate will be and how many referrals or sales you will get. What we can do instead is explain the ways you can ensure you are doing all the right stuff to get email marketing working for you. We can also look at the performance of email marketing in general to prove the claims that it is a worthwhile channel to market in.
Many marketers and organisations using email marketing report on the effectiveness of email marketing. There are many statistics to support this and citing them all here isn’t the objective of this post. You are welcome to take a look at these articles by reputable companies for exact figures:
Email marketing is important for building and maintaining relationships with current, prospective and past customers. It gives you a chance to speak directly to your audience, in their inbox, at a time that is convenient for them. If you choose your message — and its recipient — carefully, you aren’t invading their personal space but offering an invitation to connect.
Email marketing should be seen as an ongoing marketing activity, and it should tie in with your content marketing strategy (meaning the articles you write for your blog are used in your email marketing activities too).
What sort of results can you expect? Take a look at this break down of email open rates per industry. Financial Services enjoys an open rate of at best – 41%; and at worst – 7%
This means even if you’re bad at email marketing the worst that can happen is that 7% (or let’s be pessimistic and say 5%) of people will open your email.
We want you to succeed at email marketing. Open rates are a veritable ‘foot in the door’: an opportunity to build on. Email marketing strategy involves being visible and credible, staying top of mind, and making it as easy as possible for your contacts to refer business to you.
Email marketing forms part of a bigger content marketing strategy where content is created and shared elsewhere too. Doing this and doing it well ensures you will be creating awareness of your expertise and services, enhance your credibility and help you be seen as a major player in your industry. This is what you want.
What not to do:
If you plan on using email marketing to generate a few quick leads by sending out one mailshot to people that didn’t ask to receive mail from you then email marketing won’t work for you. We refer to these as email blasts. The word ‘blast’ describes how someone on the receiving end of this type of campaign feels: like they are being blasted with a message they didn’t want in the first place. Don’t do yourself this dis-service.
Avoid these at all costs:
- Blasting out generic emails
- Asking for more than you give – sending out campaigns that are purely promotional is not received well.
- Sending to people that didn’t sign up to receive your email.
- Sending email with attachments.
- Sending emails with large file sizes.
- Sending emails that are just images or where the text is embedded in the image – this is very bad practice.
- Sending bulk email from your desktop email software such as Outlook or Apple Mail. This is sure to get your address blacklisted by your ISP as they will label you as a spammer. You also lose out on all the insights an email sending platform can offer.
- Sending bulk email from a Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Webmail or any other ‘free’ email address.
Let’s take a look at what you need to do to ensure your success at email marketing.
Three critical areas for email marketing success:
1) Use an email sending platform
- First of all you need to be using an email sending platform to send bulk email. Sending email to more than 20 people at a time is seen as bulk email. If you don’t have one already we can help you with this. We have specially selected a platform that is easy to use and can have you set up and running in under an hour. We also offer training on this platform so you’re not left on your own using valuable time to figure things out for yourself. The benefits of using a bulk email system are massive.
- Your email must have an unsubscribe link – the bulk email sending platform already has this covered automatically.
- Sender email address is critical – no Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail email addresses. You need a proper business email address to send email from. Always send from the same email address as this builds the trust. As an advisor you should send from your own email address (even if you get your admin assistant to monitor the mailbox to help you stay on top of things). We can help you with the registration of a business name domain and email addresses – enquire about this here.
- An email sending platform offers reports on your open rates, click through rates and so on. Check these reports so you can learn from your efforts and adjust your strategy in response.
- Put a sign up form on your website so people can subscribe to receive email campaigns from you. Email sending platforms have built in forms you can use.
2) Organise your list of contacts
- Ask permission to send your contacts regular email communication. You can do this by sending an initial campaign telling them of your plans to send regular helpful emails and giving them the option to opt out if they would prefer not to receive it.
Segment your list – for example if a client has an Retirement Annuity product and life cover product with you, you need to send them relevant messaging to this. Don’t offer to sell them life cover if they already have it. Rather offer to review it with them. So when you build your list of contacts in excel spreadsheet to import into your bulk email system put a column for each product they have and use this to segment the list. Also include columns for other important information such as married (yes / no); children (yes / no). Start small if you have to but get started.
- Personalise the emails and even the subject lines. This means using your client’s name and any other correct and relevant information you have about them in the email. An email sending platform makes personalisation easy.
3) Plan your content
- Subject lines are important. The length of the subject line should be around 6 – 10 words and should catch the attention of your recipients.
- Length of the email should not be too long as people tend to skim through the email. Put a short introduction and picture in the email and link to the full article on your blog.
- Avoid sending emails containing images with large file sizes or large attachments. Our bulk email platform compresses the images for you.
- Provide information that will be useful and valuable to your recipient. You don’t need to be giving ‘financial advice’ as such. Try not to use financial jargon and if you have to use it then explain what it means. A lot of the stuff you write about is going to be common sense. There is some really great work being done in this space. Check out 22Seven by Old Mutual to see what we mean about content that is common sense and interesting: https://blog.22seven.com/
- Your emails should contain more informational than promotional content. The ratio is 90% information and 10% promotional content – remember the objective is to add value to your recipient.
- Your email needs to contain links to your website, social media, and contain your contact details. It’s also a good idea to point out that people are welcome to refer friends and family to you for help. The best thing to do is to create a template on the email sending platform and that has these details in it and just use this template each time you do an email campaign.
- As more people are opening email on their mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets you need to ensure your email works great for these screen sizes. This is known as responsive email – the layout responds to the size of the screen. Luckily email sending platforms have already made this change so if you use their editors to build your email you will be fine.
- Be consistent. If you send an email once in a blue moon your contacts will have forgotten who you are, ideally you should be sending twice a month.
You should now have the knowledge at your fingertips now to get started. If this all sounds overwhelming and like something you will never get around to, then we can help. The point is Financial Advisors have a lot to do as it is – paperwork, compliance, quoting, meeting new clients, networking, the list goes on. We are email marketing experts, why not leverage our expertise to help you?