An Introduction to Email Marketing for Professionals in the Financial Sector
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to stay top-of-mind of potential clients, nurture current clients and deliver great customer service. Much like the federal government regulates advisors, markers are also subject to regulation. The biggest email marketing regulation is the FTC CAN-SPAM Act. There are multiple requirements to be aware of that must be completed to remain in compliance. Although integrating some of these requirements takes additional time and resources, consider them best practices for the benefit your email marketing efforts and to increase client satisfaction.
Many financial services decisions that consumers make come after research and time to weigh their options. It is important for you or your firm to stay top-of-mind as your potential clients are looking for someone to trust with their wealth and future. Get started with these email marketing tips for financial professionals:
Determining goals and your desired returns will impact your level of success. You first need to decide how you want to use email marketing. It can be an effective way to stay in touch with clients, share corporate updates, nurture prospective clients and more. For your first campaign, you should focus your efforts on a singular goal.
Along with focusing on a goal, you should focus on metrics to measure the success of your campaigns. Opens, click-through-rates and social shares are all good ways to start tracking your success. Once you get more comfortable with email marketing you can dive into much more specific analytics and metrics, but for your initial campaigns, it is best to stick to the basics.
Pick an email marketing platform.
Email marketing services should be used to distribute any message of 5 or more recipients with different domains. If you are sending to higher numbers through your Outlook or Gmail, your emails will likely get marked as SPAM (even if you send the same message separately to multiple people.) If this happens with any amount of frequency, it can significantly impact your deliverability of any email from your domain or IP address.
An email marketing service is essential for mass emails, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a large investment or overly complicated. For example, Constant Contact offers a free trial and both Mail Chimp and VerticalResponse both offer free levels of services. Things to keep in mind when making an email marketing selection include the size of your list(s), comfort level with the interface and accessibility of customer support resources available to fully learn and implement the system. For more advanced users, additional considerations may include the ability to schedule autoresponders or multi-email sequences and integrations with other database technologies used in your business, such as your CRM.
All email marketing services have some built-in elements that will help you stay in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act, as well as many other features. One of the most attractive features is built-in analytics. This makes tracking your success and following up with interested readers very simple. The bottom line: utilizing a service will help you quickly create, distribute and track professional-looking emails.
Optimize your database.
Contact lists naturally decay over time as people change professions and companies rebrand. If your email lists are not online where you can review who is reading your emails, engaging with your content or which email addresses are bouncing, you are in need of contact list optimization.
Your contact lists should contain relevant contacts you’ve engaged with in the past and will continue to communicate with in the future. These contacts should also be organized or segmented by interest and progress through the buyer’s journey. Most email marketing services allow separated lists or the ability to tag your contacts, for example, you could mark your clients as current or prospects. These contacts also must have the option to opt-out of your email messaging and should opt-in to receive emails from you. Digital forms are the easiest way to ensure all of your new contacts are appropriately defined and interested in receiving your emails. Make sure to require individuals to share just enough information to personalize your communications. These forms can be easily created through your email marketing service and integrated into most websites at a nominal cost.
Create a communication plan.
Once you find a service that matches your needs and will allow you to upload your database, it is time to plan out your communications. One of the simplest ways to stay top-of-mind for potential customers is with the integration of a regular newsletter. These should be distributed monthly or quarterly based on the amount of content you have to share. The key is to set a consistent frequency you can maintain, and set that expectation with users upon sign up. Newsletters do not have to be challenging and could include a link to a relevant news story, a blog by one of your advisors and an update on recent market activity.
Another helpful email to distribute to your clients focuses on current events that could impact them personally. Send seasonal reminders about tax season, college savings, regulation changes, holidays and annual review reminders. It is important not to flood your client’s inboxes, but to send them relevant and timely information that increases the value of your services. Consider putting together a spreadsheet of events, and set calendar reminders to create email communications around regular topics to stay on top of your email marketing plan.
Templates make email marketing turnkey. Most services allow you to pick from a wide variety of template options, or create your own. If you have experience with design, feel free to create your own template. If you are less familiar, it is best to work off of a provided template, but you will still need to do some branding.
On average, about half of all emails are read on a phone or tablet. To make your emails easy to read, you will need a template that will automatically adjust based on the size of the screen it is opened on. This is known as a responsive design. Find a template with a responsive design, a layout you like and that will allow for the amount of content you plan to distribute. Once you select a template, update the font and color options to match your brand standards. With the majority of services, this is as easy as changing fonts in a word processing program, but some can be a little more difficult. Most services offer support, especially when you initially sign on if you need additional guidance. Once you have your branded template, be sure to test it on a variety of screen sizes before you start to implement it into your programs.
Test and update.
A subject line, call to action or template that you preferred may not be what communicates best to your clients. It is important to test and update your email strategy every couple months. According to Smart Insights, the average open rate for Business and Financial emails in 2016 was 21.36% with a click-through rate of 2.75%. You will want your emails to be close to these numbers but it will vary based on variables including your subject lines, relevant content, designs, timing and most importantly, a clean, well-maintained database of current, engaged contacts.
Start your email marketing on the right foot, and your journey will be much easier.
- Pick an email marketing platform
- Optimize your database
- Create a communication plan
- Build templates
- Test and update
If you want to give your email marketing a kick start or develop more in-depth strategy contact, AdvisorPR at (866) 888-5333 or email us at Info@advisorpr.com.