19 Financial Advisor Email Marketing Tips
NOTE: If you’re a new financial advisor, make sure you check out Your First Year As A Financial Advisor, where I reveal several things every new financial advisor ought to know.
The financial services industry is a relationship business.
Email is a great way to build and cultivate relationships. Thus, you should be taking advantage of email marketing.
The internet has completely transformed the way that the world does business; email is preferred form of communication when dealing with the internet. Email marketing is low-cost, easy to use, and quick. I can reach thousands of people with an email newsletter and get responses within minutes.
The Direct Marketing Association found that email marketing delivers a return of 4,300% - I personally believe this is due to the fact that email marketing is so inexpensive. I like it because it allows you to build a relationship with your audience with content that keeps you top of mind and encourages referrals.
If you do your email marketing correctly, it can be the most powerful marketing channel you use. But how can financial advisors take advantage of email marketing?
You’re probably not emailing enough.
A recent Morningstar study asked how frequently clients prefer to be emailed. This is what they found:
Do you know the best solution? Just ask. Ask your clients how often they would like to be emailed, if at all. If you have an email provider like Aweber, you can segment your clients into different lists. You can have a “weekly” list, a “monthly” list, and so on. This is a small step but it goes a long way with client satisfaction.
Make sure that you add value.
Even if you are sending out weekly emails, they don’t mean much if there’s no value. If you send out a newsletter just for the sake of showing up in an inbox, you will turn your clients off. However, if your clients feel you’re delivering value to them, they will remain loyal to you.
Plan your emails in advance.
I currently use both Aweber and Madmimi, and I love the fact that you can schedule emails in advance. This is great because it allows you to plan out the types of content you want to send out, so when the time comes, you are ready. Email is great because it can be completely automated. It works for you 24/7 if you let it.
I tell my private coaching clients to plan their email marketing at night or on the weekends in order to maximize their productive time. All it takes is a few hours every month to sit down and plan out your emails. You can write up four emails for your weekly clients and one email for your monthly clients, then hit the “send later” button and pick your times. It has never been easier or more efficient to stay in touch with clients.
Make your emails personalized.
I definitely don’t mean saying “Hi [FIRST NAME]” at the beginning of every message. This is forced and your clients will see right through it. The name alone doesn’t cut it.
Personalization means segmenting your emails and having different funnels based on your client’s situation and/or financial picture. You can add in content that addresses your client’s big issues – this leads to higher open rates and engagements.
Let’s say that you specialize in serving physicians; you can take all of the physicians in your database and put them into a separate email list. You can take that list and send out content that is relevant and important to physicians. You can do this for almost any occupation – it shows clients that you understand and care about them.
Don’t feel bad about sending other people’s content, either. Just make sure that you give the author credit. It’s much easier than writing your own article from scratch. Your clients will appreciate you sending them a helpful article and be happy that you’re spending your time managing their money, not writing.
For example, if I had a list of clients with kids in college, I would send them an email like this:
Subject Line: Top 10 Money Mistakes College Students Make
I hope you’re staying warm. I know that the fall semester is coming to a close, but I wanted to make sure I shared this article with you:
“Top 10 Money Mistakes College Students Make”
If you think this article could help someone you know, feel free to forward it!
John @ XYZ Financial
My Financial Advisor Email Marketing Tips
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.
The best way to make sure your list is permission-based is by offering a way to join your email list on your website, kind of like I do. :-)
ALSO READ: Why Buying Leads Is Like Burning Money
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.
One of my favorite ways to segment is ironically by not segmenting the actual email list at all. My approach is based on filtering and qualifying because the only people that should sign up to your email list are people who are in your niche.
For example, if you work specifically with doctors then you should offer a lead magnet specifically for doctors. Assuming that only doctors will join your email list, there's no need to segment the list itself.
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.
More often than not, the emails you get from other financial advisors will serve as examples of what NOT to do.
For example, many financial advisors send out boring "stock market commentary" emails. Nobody cares about these emails. In fact, most prospects want to hire a financial advisor so they DON'T have to think about that stuff. If they wanted to learn about the stock market, they would head over to a stock market website or start watching any of the million videos out there.
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're sending emails, the shorter they should be. My philosophy is based around sending emails every single day, so my emails are much shorter than the norm. They typically tell a quick story and get straight to the call-to-action.
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.
Don't make the mistake of having your from line be your company name. Which email would you rather open? One from "XYZ Investments"? Or one from "Joe Smith"?
9. Keep your messages personal and casual.
People like to see humanity, not robotic corporate-speak.
One of the many "secrets" I reveal in this webinar about email marketing is that casual emails work WAY better than formal ones. People crave entertainment now more than ever. They don't want to be lectured; they want to hear a story.
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.
Perhaps the worst offender is the "re:" subject line which tries to get you to think that the sender is replying to something you've previously sent. It's a jerk move. Don't do it.
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, bold 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!
I tell financial advisors that while they shouldn't obsess over open rates, they should understand that the only way for a prospect to set an appointment via email is to open the email itself. However, I've had emails with lower open rates consistently set more appointments than those with higher open rates. So, beware of any "experts" or "gurus" out there who boast about their open rates.
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.
One of my most successful emails is "7 Critical Mistakes New Financial Advisors Make" and I encourage advisors to swap out this subject line for their own niche. For example, if you're targeting nurses, you can send out "7 Critical Mistakes Nurses Make".
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 autoresponder 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.
I ask readers to respond at the bottom of my welcome email. I enjoy hearing from people and they're most likely to engage right after they've received that initial email.
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.
In most financial advisor emails, the call-to-action will be inviting the prospect to set an appointment via a calendar link.
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.
What I've Learned From Sending Thousands of Emails
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:
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.
Email Is A Filtering Tool For Financial Advisors
If you research the origins of the word “prospecting”, you’ll see that it’s about exploring an area for gold. And the way people search for gold is by filtering everything else out.
Which means one of the best ways to improve your business is to add some type of “filtration” process so you don’t even talk to the people who don’t see the value you provide.
One of the best ways to do this is with email.
Think about it…
If someone reads an email from you and you have your calendar link at the bottom, do you think an uninterested prospect will schedule an appointment?
Of course not!
Which means that - by definition - the only people who set appointments with you are the ones are interested in some way.
That's why email is one of the best marketing strategies any financial advisor can employ. Because email helps financial advisors add that filtration process to their businesses, freeing up their time to work on bigger and better things.
So there you have it. Those are my tips to help you improve your email marketing campaigns. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me! I am here to help.
P.S. If you're a financial advisor who wants to get more clients from LinkedIn, make sure you check out How to Get Clients With LinkedIn: How Financial Advisors Can Set Appointments and Convert Prospects With LinkedIn