For all the fanfare social media marketing gets throughout the financial services industry, you would think email marketing is a thing of the past. But email marketing continues to be the most important marketing channel for financial advisors. For the top independent advisors I work with, 70% of engagement comes from email campaigns.
Email marketing still is the bread and butter of marketing for advisors for two reasons: it’s effective and it’s relatively inexpensive. McKinsey and Company have found that email conversion rates are three times higher than social media conversion, with a 17% higher value per lead.
But most advisors aren’t sending regular, thoughtful email marketing campaigns. You may be intimidated by email marketing or unaware of how powerful it can be. But with a few simple steps, it’s easy to get your email marketing up and running.
Upgrade Your Email Marketing Engine
First, you’ll want to use an email marketing engine. If you are still sending marketing emails through Outlook as text-only emails, it’s time to upgrade. Because over 50% of emails today are opened on a mobile device, it’s important to make sure your emails are mobile friendly. When you use an email marketing service like Constant Contact or MailChimp, your clients and prospects will receive professional looking emails that feature your logo and graphics that look great on every device.
Schedule Your Emails for Success
Next, it’s important to schedule your emails for success. The best time to send an email depends on your particular business. It’s interesting to examine the peak days and times for different industries. For divorce lawyers, most website activity happens at 11 pm on Thursday nights (after a long week and a fight, presumably). For nanny providers, most searches are at 11 am Monday morning (when the kids finally go down for a nap after a long weekend).
To determine the day and time your network is most active, you can run a “time and day” report using Google Analytics, then schedule your emails to go out at this time. Alternatively, MailChimp and Constant Contact both offer “Send Time Optimization” tools that will automatically send your emails at the time they’re likely to get the most exposure.
Invite Recipients to Take the Next Step
“Calls to action” are critical at the end of your email or blog post to get the reader to take the next step. Offer several appropriate options so that no matter where a prospect is in the buying process, there’s a comfortable action for them to take. Examples include:
- Download a free report
- Watch a related video
- Ask a question
- Register for a webinar
- Schedule a phone call
With varying calls to action, readers at different engagement levels can find an appropriate next step to take with you.
Segment Your List
It’s important to segment your contact list so the information you send to each group is highly relevant and they learn to value the emails you send. Advisors can segment into age groups of 35-45, 46-59 and 60+. Other segmenting options include:
- By birthday month
- By employer
- By profession
- By gender
- Clients with or without children
- Local and out-of-town clients
Using a CRM system like RedTail or Salesforce makes this a snap and both systems integrate with Mailchimp. While some content will be relevant for many groups, in an ideal world, you should attempt to craft your marketing to be specific enough for one group at a time.
We know that it takes more than one email to build a relationship with a prospect. Sending marketing emails with valuable information on a regular basis builds your relationship and keeps you top of mind. It’s important to send emails at a regular cadence to establish consistency. Research shows that “unsubscribe” rates are pretty low when emails are sent once per month but go up significantly when sent more than once per week. Commit to sending emails at least twice a month or even once a week.
Track Your Opens and Clicks
Both MailChimp and Constant Contact allow you to easily track how your campaigns are working. For each campaign, run the basic report to see how many opens, clicks, and forwards each email produced. Then, track these numbers over time and make a note of the topics that each audience enjoys and any email marketing home runs.
Email marketing is powerful, but it’s undoubtedly time-consuming. Constant Contact’s recent survey of small business owners estimated that getting an extra hour back from outsourcing email marketing is worth up to $273. If that sounds like you, try hiring a marketing consultant to automate the process so you can set a schedule for consistent email marketing that pays off over time.