Monthly Archives: July 2020

1 A Primer on Email Marketing Automation

Email marketing has been around for decades, but it’s far from dead. Not only is it still going strong, but it is more effective than ever. As technology continues to advance, email -marketing strategies can become more personalized and effective.

Marketing automation is the key to this progress. 

My series The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Email Marketing helps financial advisors understand how email marketing works so they can properly use financial email marketing strategies to connect with prospects and gain more clients. 

I’ve covered all of the essentials of email marketing in previous articles in this series.

Now I’ll show you how to take your email marketing to the next level with automation.

What is email marketing automation?

By using email marketing automation, you can create and send relevant, timely, and personalized emails to the subscribers on your list automatically, based on criteria you set that aligns with your email marketing strategy. 

Rather than being confined to sending out broadcast emails – sometimes referred to as email “blasts” – email marketing automation sends the right messages to the right people at the right time. 

Whereas blasts go out to every subscriber on your list at the same time, automation allows you to choose which subscribers get which messages and when, and that can make your campaigns more effective.

By nurturing prospective clients with highly personalized content, you engage and serve them individually from the start. When marketing automation is done effectively, email campaigns help you book appointments, fill seminars, pre-qualify prospects, or even sign new clients. 

Email marketing automation works by segmenting subscribers into different lists or with tagging, based on the information they submit or their behavior. 

For example, you can trigger specific emails based on the answers subscribers submit in a form, demographic information such as their geographic location, preferences, or behaviors such as opens, clicks, purchases, or visiting a web page. 

What is an email marketing automation strategy?

When someone signs up for your newsletter or opts-in for a free giveaway, the first email they receive is an “autoresponder.” Traditionally, once they receive the thank you message or download, the next time they hear from the company will be the next time the company’s newsletter is sent. 

With automation, you could send a welcome or nurture sequence of follow-up emails to new subscribers, introducing yourself, sharing more information about your firm and providing additional content relevant to the free giveaway they subscribed to get. 

You could also send the follow-up sequence only to the people who opened the thank you email or only to the people who clicked the link to download the free report. 

Another option would be to send a survey asking about their most pressing concerns or interests. If they indicate that they are most interested in improving their personal finances, you can send a follow-up sequence about household budgeting and paying off debt. If they indicate that they are interested in saving for their child’s education, send articles about college savings plans. 

Email marketing automation can also be used to supplement your other marketing efforts. If you put on a seminar or workshop, you don’t have to follow up with each attendee individually. Instead, you can set up a sequence in advance to connect with participants and reuse the same sequence each time you present on that topic. 

For example, the next morning, they would get an email thanking them for attending, a link to  the slides and a request for feedback. The following day, send a follow-up email with frequently asked questions that tend to come up during or after the workshop. A few days later, send a guide or worksheet that helps them address a challenge covered in the workshop. Then, if you notice they’ve been opening your emails, send an invitation to book a free consultation or pick up the phone to call them.

How else can you use automation?

In addition to nurturing new subscribers, email marketing automation provides many creative opportunities to connect with your list, colleagues, prospects, and clients. 

Use automation during your new-client onboarding. Right after they’ve signed on to work with you, they are most emotional about their decision. If they are excited, sending them an automated series of relevant content about your firm, their challenges, and each next step can reinforce their enthusiasm and begin to turn them into a brand ambassador. 

If they are second-guessing their decision, providing automated onboarding and follow-up will reassure them that they are in professional and capable hands.   

Another way to use email marketing automation is to power your referrals. Although many financial advisors claim that the majority of their clients come from referrals, few have a process in place to ask for referrals consistently. Automating your requests for referrals from satisfied clients and strong referral partners is an effective way to keep referrals coming in the door. 

Conclusion

From the subscriber’s perspective, the most effective email marketing automation is welcomed and feels like a personal service that is tailored to address their challenges and meet their needs. Even though most people will recognize that the messages are automated, using email automation strategically demonstrates that you are in tune with what they want and you are prepared to serve them well. 

Depending on your needs and the level of sophistication required for the automation strategies you want to deploy, carefully consider which email service provider (ESP) to choose, as each one has slightly different email-automation offerings. 

This is the final article in my series, The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Email Marketing

Download a free copy of the Email Marketing Checklist & Template here. 

Sometimes email marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help craft opt-ins to build their email lists and create captivating email marketing campaigns to engage with their audience in the most effective way possible. Reach out to us to see how we can help!

1 Proper Email Etiquette

Email marketing is a powerful tool to grow your business. But before you begin, be aware of email marketing etiquette as well as some common email marketing pitfalls and mistakes that can cost you. 

My series, The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Email Marketing, helps financial advisors understand how email marketing works so they can properly use financial email marketing strategies to connect with prospects and gain more clients. 

In earlier articles, I’ve focused on what you should do for effective email marketing.

Now it is time to dive into a few things you should be careful not to do.

Professional Email Etiquette

Before we cover email marketing campaigns, I’ll start by discussing some tips you might not have considered when it comes to sending individual emails. All of the activities you do to promote your business and gain new clients is considered marketing, so even cold prospecting emails, emails with your referral partners, and emails following up with warm leads are all considered a kind of email marketing, so it’s important to use every opportunity to market effectively.

Email Signature

If you’re only putting your name and basic contact information in your email signature, you’re missing an opportunity to take full advantage of this space to engage with all of the people you’re emailing. 

Use an eye-catching branded email signature that includes relevant information, such as your name, title, company name, phone numbers, website, and social media icons with clickable links to your profiles. 

Include a call to action with a link or button. For example, “Have you signed up for our newsletter? You can do that here.” You may also want to include a calendar link to book a consultation with you.

Your email signature is valuable real estate; don’t waste the opportunity to connect with people. 

Always Use BCC for Group Emails

Do you have a small list of people that you like to keep in the loop about things you find interesting, updates in your business, or upcoming events? Perhaps you’re letting your colleagues know you were featured in the media, that you’ll be speaking at a conference, or you’re sharing a study or interesting article you found. 

A bigt faux pas you can make with email is to CC your list when you should be using the BCC field. Not only are you exposing each person’s email address to the other people on the list, but if anyone hits “reply all” it will go to the whole list. 

This doesn’t seem to happen as often as it used to, but it’s something you want to avoid. People are very protective of their inboxes and this seemingly small mistake can annoy people more than you think. 

Bulk Email Etiquette

An email service provider (ESP) is a tool, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, that sends bulk emails to a list of subscribers. Because all ESPs are required to be in compliance with email marketing regulations, using an ESP will help you stay in compliance. If you try to get around best practices or violate their terms and conditions, your account can be shut down.    

Follow Email Regulations

The most critical thing about email marketing etiquette when using an ESP is that you need permission to email every contact on your list. If you don’t have permission from subscribers, your email could be considered spam by the recipients, which damages your reputation—both with internet service providers and with the individuals who receive the unwanted emails. 

If your email is marked as “spam” by your recipients in their email client, you may end up on a list of spammers that are automatically blocked by internet providers.

The best email lists require double opt-in. This means that subscribers are required to complete two steps to join the list. For example, they fill out an opt-in form and then open and click a “confirm your subscription” email. This protects people who are not sure what they are joining, prevents spam sign-ups, and keeps people from subscribing others without their consent.  

To be CAN-SPAM compliant, all of your emails need to include an unsubscribe link, physical street address, link to your privacy policy, and information about why they received the email (e.g., “You are receiving this email because you requested updates from us.”). Most importantly, make it easy for people to unsubscribe and honor all unsubscribe requests immediately.

Be Consistent

Another big mistake many small businesses make with their email marketing is lack of consistency. Remember, one of the reasons email marketing is effective is that you show up consistently to nurture relationships and build trust. Showing up inconsistently has the opposite effect.

You want people to expect your emails and look forward to them, so it’s to your advantage to show up at the same time or day each week or month—stick to a calendar. It’s okay to email more frequently, but don’t email less frequently or skip issues. This makes you seem unreliable and too busy to keep your commitments. 

Most significantly, if you fall off the map and suddenly pop back up months later, chances are people will have forgotten who you are. Your open rates will tank, unsubscribes will soar, and your list will grow cold. 

That said, if you have allowed your list to grow cold, that doesn’t mean you should abandon it altogether. There are ways to reintroduce yourself and warm it back up again. But it’s always best if you can avoid putting yourself in that situation.

Conclusion

By following email marketing best practices, not only should you be striving to be effective and get the best results, but you need to tread lightly to avoid breaking the law or committing a faux pas that make you seem unprofessional and tarnish your reputation.

Now that you are aware of what not to do, in my next article I’ll help you take your email marketing to the next level by showing you how to set up successful automations.

Download a free copy of the Email Marketing Checklist & Template here. 

Sometimes email marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help craft opt-ins to build their email lists and create captivating email marketing campaigns to engage with their audience in the most effective way possible.  Reach out to us to see how we can help!

1 Why Your Financial Advisory Firm Needs an Email Newsletter

People want to buy from companies they trust, no matter what they’re purchasing. When it comes to engaging the services of a financial advisor, trust becomes even more important, as your clients are entrusting you with what is most important to them – their family’s security and financial future. So any marketing you do as a financial advisor needs to focus on building trust. 

My series The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Email Marketing helps financial advisors understand how email marketing works so they can properly use financial email marketing strategies to connect with prospects and gain more clients. 

So far, we have covered the basic building blocks you need to get started with email marketing.

Now it’s time to dive into a tried-and-true method of building trust with email marketing – sending a monthly email newsletter. 

What makes an email newsletter effective?

There’s something about showing up consistently in your client’s inbox month after month that signals that you are a steady, reliable, and trustworthy professional. Before they’ve even opened your message, seeing your name reminds them that you’re there, available, and ready to help.

Not only is the newsletter positioning you as a reliable go-to resource, but it more specifically positions you as an expert in your field. Yes, your clients want to work with someone they consider a trustworthy professional, but they also want to know you’re sharp, well-informed, and actively staying abreast of trends, patterns, what’s going on in the market, and how it relates to their financial goals. 

The best way to demonstrate your trustworthiness and expertise at scale is with an email newsletter. With the rise of social media and other forms of digital marketing, many businesses abandoned their email newsletters. But year after year, email consistently performs better than every other digital marketing channel. If you aren’t currently sending a newsletter for your financial advisory practice, it’s time to start.

What should be included in a monthly e-newsletter?

Newsletter Introduction

When you send an email newsletter for your financial advisory firm, it’s an opportunity to connect with your readers. Yes, you’re sending updates and helpful content, but you’re in a personal business and should always start with a personal note. 

This doesn’t mean you should use the space to give them a play-by-play rundown of what’s been going on in your life and business over the past month. But reference something you’ve been thinking about or working on or a short relatable story. 

The newsletter should primarily be about the reader and what will be most useful to them, but the introduction is where you get to remind them who you are, what you stand for, and that you care. Write it in a friendly and conversational tone that highlights your personality, as if you’re writing to one specific ideal client. 

Use the introduction to set up the content you’re sharing, encourage them to reply with feedback and questions, and suggest they forward the newsletter to a friend.

Newsletter Content

You might be wondering what kind of content to send. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be a long publication packed with content to be valuable. You can and should keep it simple. 

Remember, the newsletter is about the reader. Yes, you will update them on what’s going on with you and your company, but multiple in-depth articles about internal company business will bore readers. However, that doesn’t mean you should skip the personal touch. Introduce new employees and share updates, such as when someone earns a new certification, gets a promotion, or welcomes a new child or grandchild. 

For the primary focus of the newsletter, send your latest blog posts about topics that clients and prospects are likely to find helpful. Include a few paragraphs in the newsletter itself and then ask them to click a link or button to keep reading on your website. 

Happenings and Upcoming Events

Sharing happenings and upcoming events boosts your credibility and keep readers informed about opportunities to learn from and engage with you.

If you’ve been featured in the media or spoken at industry conferences, let your readers know. Include logos and links to places you were featured, such as radio and podcast interviews or magazine and newspaper articles in which you were quoted. 

If you’re hosting or speaking at any upcoming seminars or workshops or participating in any community events, include a section where you can invite your readers to join you. Even if the topic isn’t relevant to them, they can forward it to a friend. 

Chances are, you are already speaking, teaching, appearing in the media, or remaining actively involved in your community. This is a chance to showcase your efforts and elevate your profile. 

Market or Economic Update 

When sending your newsletter as a financial advisor, obviously market trends and the economic news will be on the minds of your readers, so you’ll want to include an update. Don’t take the time or use the space to provide an in-depth market analysis but be sure to share a brief overview, which you can pull from a third-party resource. 

Call to Action

Your email newsletter isn’t just about sharing news; it’s about encouraging your readers to take action. The purpose of an email newsletter is marketing for your financial advisory business. Whether you want your readers to pick up the phone and call you, forward your email, sign up for a seminar, or click a link to schedule an appointment, include a clear call to action that spells out the next step you want them to take.

Conclusion

An email newsletter gives you the opportunity to showcase your expertise and build trust among your clients and prospects and as such is a very effective means to build your business. However, before you launch your monthly email newsletter, read my next article to learn about email marketing etiquette as well as some common email marketing pitfalls and mistakes that can cost you.

Download a free copy of the Email Marketing Checklist & Template here. 

Sometimes email marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help craft opt-ins to build their email lists and create captivating email marketing campaigns to engage with their audience in the most effective way possible. Reach out to us to see how we can help!