I get a ton of questions from financial advisors about email marketing every week, and it seems as if I always give the same tips. That’s why I have compiled this little list. Here are my tips for awesome email marketing:
1. Make sure that your list is permission-based. Do not buy a list or just send people your newsletter without permission. I made that mistake in the past, and trust me, it’s not worth it.
2. Be sure to have a lead capture form on your website. Ideally, you will give something of value in exchange for contact information. This can be a video, a newsletter, a free seminar, or a whitepaper. Right now I’m offering a free eBook – that tends to work pretty well.
3. Segment your lists (yes, it’s that important), so you can send relevant and personal content to them.
4. Include a way for people to unsubscribe in all of your email campaigns. Yes, it sucks when someone unsubscribes, but deal with it. There will always be freeloaders out there who just want your lead magnet.
5. See what other people are doing. Take the time to sign up for some newsletters from your competition. You can draw inspiration from them, and do it better.
6. While you’re studying your competition, start paying attention to ALL of the emails you get. Figure out what makes you open some emails and delete others without reading. Do they have any similarities? Use that knowledge to your advantage. For example, short subject lines tend to get opened more than long ones. One of the best emails I’ve ever sent has the subject line “trust” and that’s it.
7. Keep your emails short. As a rule of thumb, the more frequently you are sending emails, the shorter they should be.
8. Make sure every email your client receives is from the same person… you. People respond best to emails written by one person who they can get to know over time.
9. Keep your messages personal and casual. People like to see humanity, not robotic corporate-speak.
10. Do NOT use deceptive subject lines. Make sure that your subject line accurately reflects what’s inside. If you mess this up, you will lower your open rate for future emails. In other words, your subscribers won’t trust you.
11. If you’re sending plain text, include bullet points and lots of white space. Not only are blocks of text difficult to read but they’re darn near impossible on mobile phones with some email platforms. It also helps if you use a larger, bolded font.
12. Pay attention to your metrics. This includes your unsubscribe and open rate. If your unsubscribe rate is more than 1%, you’re probably doing something wrong. If your open rate is 30% or higher, you’re doing great!
13. Point out some common mistakes. Like my college student example from above, people love reading about mistakes and how to avoid them. Nobody wants to be perceived as silly. “Common mistakes” posts are almost always good content for emails.
14. Don’t get too bogged down in the statistics. Yes, knowing an optimal subject line length can help, but no “average” reader exists. Concern yourself with building a real relationship with your clients and staying top-of-mind.
15. Don’t automate your greeting. One time, I accidentally added an email to one of my auto-responder campaigns that started off with “Merry Christmas!” It wasn’t until later that I started getting responses telling me that Christmas had been over for a month. Whoops!
16. Ask questions. This is one of the best ways to create engagement. Don’t you think so?
17. If you’re going to include links, insert a few of them (to the same page, of course). It increases your chances of people actually clicking the link.
18. Have a clear call to action. Tell your subscribers exactly what you want them to do, if anything. Also, tell them why it’s in their best interest to follow your direction.
19. Have a P.S. A lot of studies show that people go for the headline and the P.S. first. You might as well include something important, like a link, there.
Over the years I’ve had the good fortune of being able to send and test thousands of emails. In fact, I’ve yet to see a financial advisory business that I couldn’t help with email marketing. Email marketing is one of the most underutilized marketing tools in the financial services space right now and the advisors who take advantage of it now will reap the rewards later.
Whenever I work with financial advisors to improve their email marketing, I ask the following questions:
What are your goals? Typically, an email’s goal is to get a prospect to set an appointment. Yet, most financial advisors forget that. They send out emails to “build goodwill” or “educate” their prospects. There is a time and a place for that but when you’re sending an email, you’ve got their attention while they’re reading. Make sure you take advantage of it.
How often are you emailing? I know I mentioned this earlier in the article but most financial advisors aren’t emailing frequently enough. The ideal scenario is to set up an autoresponder sequence which emails for you on a regular basis or to create an “email library” from which you can pick and choose.
In my personal email marketing, I start my subscribers off with DAILY emails. Then, based on their interest (or non-interest) I adjust the send frequency. For example, if someone isn’t engaging or interacting, I bump them down to less frequent emails. If they go dozens of emails without taking action, I delete them. There’s no point having them on my email list if they aren’t going to do anything.
Is your content unique? One of the WORST things financial advisors can do when it comes to email marketing is to use a content marketing service which uses the same content for multiple advisors. It looks cheesy, contrived, and thoughtless. Prospects can see right through it.
It’s incredibly refreshing for a prospect to receive email messages from a financial advisor whose content is different from all the rest. In fact, when I work with financial advisors one-on-one, I teach them a “secret formula” for dramatically increasing the likelihood of a prospect setting an appointment through email. It’s so effective it’s downright scary… but one of the major keys is having unique content. 🙂
What are you testing? Another “quick win” I’ve been able to deliver for financial advisors is to go into their business and start testing EVERYTHING. I’ve seen countless tests over the years, so I know what works and what doesn’t. And when I say test everything, I mean it. You should test:
- Your send times.
- Your subject lines.
- Your “from” line.
- Your email signature.
- Your sending frequency.
- Your online calendar setup.
And more. The cool thing is that one or two tests can add a huge amount to your bottom line. For example, if you double your email’s open rate from 15% to 30%, you can your revenue from email marketing. Throw a few more tests in there and the results compound.