6 Secrets to Compliant Email Marketing for Financial Advisors

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Multiple studies show that the most effective financial professionals “touch” their clients 12 to 18 times per year. This practice keeps the advisor in the forefront of clients’ minds so they are more likely to mention the advisor when a referral opportunity arrives. It also helps improve client satisfaction and increase client awareness of other services advisors offer, resulting in increased business. But who has time to meet with or call each client more than once a month? This is where email marketing comes into play. An email newsletter touches and educates clients, and is easily forwardable to referrals. If you aren’t sending a monthly newsletter to all of your clients, partners, and prospects, it’s time to get started.

As a busy financial advisor, email marketing can enable you to efficiently and effectively send the messages you want to the people who should see it, at just the right time. That’s the power of email marketing.

It is one of the most effective channels marketers have today, and firms that are not using it effectively are not going to win the clientele their talented team deserves.

Email marketing is effective for countless reasons, including its low cost and high return on building connections with your audience. It gives people the opportunity to directly interact with your messages and tracks the results to help you better connect with them. With the highest return on ROI out of all digital marketing channels, it’s likely costing you not sending out email marketing messages.

How does email marketing work for financial advisors specifically?

It’s a fair question. After all, it’s easy to see how email marketing can be successful for B2C companies (how many times have you clicked on an Amazon or Netflix email?), but it’s not as easy to see how email marketing can work for your business.

This worry makes sense for financial advisors. The sales cycle is much longer, the service is more complex, and requires a solid, trusted relationship to communicate.

That being said, it is possible and many financial advisors have already figured it out.

1. Clear Call-To-Action

While most email marketing messages are intended to nurture your current leads, you also want to encourage your leads to take the next step in your long sales pipeline, whether it be visiting your website, requesting more information or reaching out directly. To successfully encourage your audience to take the next step, be sure that your email contains a few clear calls-to-action.

Try to make them as obvious as possible, without crossing the line into used car salesman territory (no offense to car salesmen). Do your buttons and links obviously look like buttons and links? Do your sentences contain straight-to-the-point verbs?

We don’t want to use obnoxious colors or lots of exclamation points, but we do want our audience to know exactly what to do, without having to think about it too much.

2. Offer Valuable Content

To help grow your email list, offer leads exclusive content that they can’t get from your website or social media pages. By doing this, you’ll achieve a few things: prove your expertise, grow your email list, educate your clientele, and be able to track responses to determine what content is the most successful.

Prove your expertise – offer downloadable white papers, ebooks and guides to let your potential customers know that you are an expert in the field of finances.

Grow your email list – let your audience know that email subscribers have access to exclusive content in order to encourage them to sign up for your marketing messages. Every email you collect is part of a bigger picture of lead value, so think of every email as being worth actual value towards your next sale.

Educate your clientele – people are looking at your business for one thing: solutions to their problems. If you can rise above the subpar content that litters the internet and answer your customers’ questions before they even get a chance to ask them, they’ll see you as a resource to visit time and time again.

Determine what content to produce – by keeping track of who is downloading what (usually provided in your email marketing platform’s reporting), you’ll get a good idea of what kind of content is the most popular, and be able to create more content on these topics for use in the future.

3.) Keep it brief

Your clients are busy people. They have meetings and other work to do, so taking a long time to read over your email is not something they’re going to have lots of time to do. On top of that, they probably get a lot of emails. Instead of one long block, break up your content into short paragraphs. Include subheadings and images to guide clients through your email and make it easier to scan. Short, informative emails will be read time and again. The more of those you put out, the better the chances of you converting leads.

Also, be sure that your email designs are mobile-friendly. The majority of your audience will be reading your email on the mobile device like a smartphone or tablet, so having a responsive design is key. Best practices suggest one-column emails are best for mobile devices.

Feel free to use a casual tone in your emails. Since most emails come directly from one person, people expect human voices in their inboxes. There’s a good chance your clients are already in an informal frame of mind when they’re checking their email, so an overly formal or stodgy voice might seem out of place. Plus, they’ve given you their email address, so you’re already on a first-name basis. If you collect first names on your signup form, you can dynamically include them in your email greetings through the use of merge tags.

4.) Be consistent

You’re not going to send once. Not to burst your bubble, but there is a reason we call them email campaigns. Sending a newsletter at one point in time would be like putting up a sign for an hour on a busy road. You might get a few people, but you’ll miss the majority.

Many people don’t always want to take time to hold and revisit email communications. They might be deleted or lost in the shuffle. So many times, we recommend sending the newsletter twice, making sure not to overlap those who have already successfully seen the content.

5.) Keep Your List Clean and Compliant

A lot of innocent people are unaware when they send spam, simply because they don’t know better. Read up on the CAN-SPAM act to avoid any trouble. Put simply, you’re allowed to send bulk email only to people who specifically gave permission to you to be on your mailing list. If you collected email addresses for a lunch giveaway or an event invitation, then you don’t have permission to send marketing emails unless you made that clear at signup. By law, you must include an unsubscribe link in every email, and remind subscribers how they got on your list in the first place.

No matter how you look at it, before you hit send on any campaign, you need to think about who you are sending to and why you are sending it to them. Segmenting your list can also help you create an understanding of who, exactly, you are sending to.

Many of you will be sending one email newsletter to all of your clients, but as you expand your campaigns, you’ll be sending a few emails – and you may be sending different content to different clients based on your segmentation (ie. retirement, family and estate planning, etc). Long-term, the more targeted you can be in matching your email content to the makeup of your list, the more success you’ll have with email marketing.

If you have a segment of disconnected, unengaged subscribers, consider building a re-engagement series to reel them back in. If they don’t engage with this series, they will be cleaned from your list, and thus no longer negatively impacting your open and click rates.

6.) A/B Testing

Another thing you are going to want to do is A/B test your email campaigns. Consistent testing to get better results should be at the backbone of your email campaign. You want more engagement each time to send the newsletter so you can better communicate with your clients.

There are many resources on AB testing, but the idea is to test one thing, subject line, images, content, etc., to see if it increases the engagement with the content. You can also test things like what time of day you send your email.

When is the best time to send an email?

This is “the” question when it comes to email newsletters. And while we do know some industry best practices (like the fact that Tuesday afternoon is usually a great time) the answer has to come back to an understanding of your industry and list. Knowing your list is the #1 thing to know when creating a good time to send. Also, there is a growing amount of analytic tools that can be used to find the best send times for your emails, all in accordance with previous open rates and user information for even higher targeting.

Sending an email is becoming a bit more flexible and people are checking their emails at very strange times. So getting in the inbox is step one; figuring out a good time is secondary. Think about it yourself. Do you have a time you are more “open” to email communication than any other time? It’s more about relevance and connection than the hands on the clock.

Being a financial advisor means making meaningful relationships with your customers and email marketing is the perfect opportunity for it. If you’re interested in talking more, let’s talk and see how email can come to bear fruit for you.