Category Archives for "Online Marketing"

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. 


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!

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.


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!

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.


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!

Email Marketing: Basic Framework Guidelines

When you are getting started with email marketing for your financial advisory business, it can feel intimidating because you don’t know what you don’t know. You’ve been getting marketing emails for years, so you have a basic idea of what to include. But when you sit down to plan on your own, it helps to know the basic framework guidelines of what goes into an effective newsletter or marketing campaign email.

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. 

Previously, we covered the ins and outs of email list building, and we talked about the tools you will need to execute your email marketing strategies.

Now it is time to dive into the different components of a marketing email.

Becoming familiar with each of the components of an effective marketing email will help you structure your emails for the best possible results. 

Effective Email Subject Lines

Subject lines determine whether or not your email will get opened. So the job of a subject line is to stand out in the inbox, grab the reader’s attention, and get them to open. 

Examples of the types of subject lines that consistently perform well include:

  • Numbers (3 Ways to…)

  • How to….

  • Appeal to positive or negative emotions (pain, pleasure, fear, excitement)

  • What’s in it for them? (incentive, benefit)

Be clever, but not too clever. Avoid dull subject lines like “November Newsletter” and instead use a subject line that causes your subscriber to pause and think that they don’t want to miss what’s inside. It should always be relevant; there’s no point in tricking people to open with a subject line that’s unrelated to the content, which will negatively impact trust and lead to unsubscribes.

Be careful. You want to stand out in the inbox, but not at the cost of landing in the spam folder. Avoid spam triggers like USING ALL CAPS or common spam words such as “free,” “cash,” or “earn.” 

Be concise. The subject line should pack a punch and also be short enough to be read on a smartphone’s email client (40-60 characters).

Most email service providers (ESPs) will allow you to try two different subject lines for your emails and A/B test them to see which one is most effective. To determine which subject line performs best, your ESP will send your email out in small batches over a few hours, tracking which one gets the most opens. Then it will send the remaining emails using the subject line that got the best results. This can help boost your open rates and provide you with information about the subject lines that work best with your subscribers. 

Email Preheader

An email preheader is the text that follows the subject line when you view an email in your inbox. It’s what many email clients (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) show recipients to give them an idea of what’s inside the email before they open it. 

After the subject line, the preheader is the next most important determining factor in whether or not someone opens your email. So the preheader is a powerful line of text that should be as impactful as the subject line. 

Many people skip the preheader or put little thought into it. But because at least 40% of all emails are opened and read on a mobile device preheader text is more important than before as it has become more prominent. 

You can use your email preheader to provide a short summary of what’s in the email but do so in a way that’s interesting and compelling. You may want to consider asking a question, including an emoji, or personalizing the preheader with the subscriber’s name. 

Email Content

Your email content should be relevant, engaging, short, and to the point. Nobody has the time or attention to read anything that isn’t helpful, and they certainly won’t read long emails that do not have a clear purpose. 

Each section should lead to the next and the text should be scannable so readers can easily search for what’s most pertinent. To share longer-form content, such as articles and blog posts, it’s best to include a few sentences or short paragraphs and then link out to the rest. This gives the reader the choice to engage with the content and still take in the whole email at a glance. 

Your email marketing message content should let the reader know you value and respect their time, and you are only showing up in their inbox to be useful.

Branding and Images

Your marketing emails can be mostly text, but newsletters are most effective when they include your company branding, graphics, and images.

As a marketing piece, your financial advisor newsletter is a chance to raise awareness of your brand and you. Your email newsletter template should include your brand colors, logo, and the appropriate fonts and style. In other words, when people open the email, they should recognize it as yours and it should reinforce a feeling of familiarity with you.

Many financial advisors also include a headshot or personal photo in the header or signature of their newsletter. Because you’re in a personal, one-on-one business, you’ll benefit from continuously showing up and helping your readers put a face with your name to strengthen the connection.

Include images that are relevant to the content you’re sharing or the updates you’re providing. Make the newsletter visually appealing and pique your readers’ interest to get them to engage and click. However, be careful not to use too many or large photos, because large files can interfere with deliverability. 

Finally, continue your branding into the footer, including links to your website and social media accounts. 

Legal and Technical Requirements

Ensure your email is CAN-SPAM compliant. This means every email needs 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.”)

To ensure your email is accessible for visually impaired subscribers, include alt text with your images so they can use a screen reader to get a description of images in the email. This is also a best practice because it provides information about what each image is for people that have images blocked or turned off by default. 


While there is no one winning formula for the perfectly performing email, know the basic framework of an effective marketing email. Now that you are familiar with each of the components, you can start experimenting and craft emails designed to produce results. 

In my next article I will go into more detail about the importance of creating a monthly newsletter to engage with your audience and build trust.

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. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling an introductory meeting today.  Reach out to us to see how we can help!

What is an Email Service Provider (ESP) and Why Do You Need One?

An email service provider (ESP) is a company that provides email marketing services. More specifically, it is a software company that offers an email marketing platform or tool that enables you to create and send bulk emails to a list of subscribers.

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 the previous article in this series, I covered email-list building.

Now it is time to dig deep into the tool that allows you to build a list and send email marketing messages effectively.

The purpose of using an ESP, rather than sending from your own email client such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook, is that it helps you create professional designs, manage subscriber lists, evaluate the success of your email marketing campaigns, and stay within legal compliance.

There are hundreds of ESP companies to choose from. For your financial advisory firm, the best option is to select an ESP with a strong reputation for serving small business customers, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.

Benefits of Using an ESP

Getting started with an ESP can be very inexpensive or even free, so there really aren’t any disadvantages to using one, and there are many benefits, including:

Email Deliverability 

One of the biggest advantages of using an ESP is that it protects your deliverability and more specifically, prevents your domain from being blacklisted. 

If you try to send bulk email from your own email client, the activity is likely to be flagged as suspicious and you will be marked as a spammer. Once you are identified as a spammer, all emails coming from your company’s web domain can be blacklisted and blocked by major internet service providers (ISPs). This means your company’s emails – even the individual messages you send to communicate with clients – can be blocked.

ESPs have servers that send large volumes of email in a way that doesn’t set off spam filters at your subscriber’s ISP. Therefore, you can safely send email marketing campaigns and significantly reduce the likelihood that your emails will get blacklisted. 

Email Regulation Compliance 

Email marketing is regulated through legislation, and it is important that all of your email marketing efforts are in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act. Your ESP is required to be in compliance with CAN-SPAM and will help you comply as well.

For example, you will need to have proper permission from your subscribers that they have consented to receive email campaigns from you. You’ll need to have proper identifying information such as your company name and street address on every email you send. And you will need to include a way for subscribers to easily opt-out of emails. An ESP makes it easy for you to follow all these rules almost effortlessly.

List Management

Your email marketing list should only consist of people who have consented to receive email marketing messages from you. Ensuring that your list is up-to-date and maintaining list hygiene can be a bigger task than you expect, but most of the heavy lifting is done automatically by an ESP.

An ESP automatically adds subscribers to your list when they sign up through a subscribe form, which itself can be easily added to your website and even your social media profile. Then, if a subscriber wants to be removed from your list, your ESP handles that when they click the “unsubscribe” link in your email. The ESP will also handle “bounced” emails - emails that can’t be delivered because the email address has gone dormant or been closed down. 

Most ESPs offer the ability to segment your list based on subscription source, characteristics or behaviors of subscribers, or campaign activity, such as opens, clicks, or purchases.

Customizable Templates

Effective emails have clean, modern, visually-appealing design. But, as a small business owner with a limited budget, you don’t want to have to hire a graphic designer for each email you send. 

ESPs such as MailChimp and Constant Contact provide built-in professional templates that are easily customizable, allowing you to add your company’s colors, logo, and images with drag-and-drop functionality in a few clicks. Their templates are already mobile responsive, meaning they are just as readable on a subscriber’s phone as they are on a computer monitor. Mobile responsiveness is critical because at least 40% of all emails are opened and read on a mobile device.


Even if you are sending a broadcast email to your entire list of subscribers, one of the best ways to connect with your readers is to include elements of personalization. Your ESP will enable you to personalize your emails with the subscriber’s name, which can be included in the greeting, throughout the body of the email, and even in the subject line. 

Some ESPs allow you to include additional personalization beyond the subscriber’s name. For example, if you’ve gathered the information, you can segment your list and personalize the email by mentioning the subscriber’s city, their marital status, age group, or specific financial interests, such as saving for college or saving for a house. 

Automated Email Campaigns & Marketing Funnels

In addition to sending on a broadcast email, your ESP automatically schedule emails to go out at a specific date and time. In many cases, you can even set the ESP to determine when to send an email based on the data it has on the best send times for the highest open rates.

The automation features in your ESP will enable you to set up email sequences to welcome and nurture new subscribers, automatically promote a service or event, and follow up or check in with subscribers automatically. 

An automated email campaign is a coordinated sequence of individual emails that you can send across a set time period with a specific purpose in mind, such as prompting subscribers to sign up for a webinar or schedule a consultation with you. You may also hear this referred to as an email marketing funnel, which refers to using email messages to move web visitors along a journey to become subscribers, prospects, and hopefully clients. 

Tracking & Reporting

Finally, your ESP will provide data about your subscribers and clients that can help you make strategic decisions about your marketing efforts. 

With email tracking and reporting features, you know how many subscribers, and specifically which ones, are opening and clicking on your emails. As I mentioned above, you can even segment the subscribers who click on specific links into various lists that you can then send targeted content related to those specific topics.

The tracking and reporting features in your ESP will let you review your campaign results to determine what’s working and what can be improved. Plus, you’ll be able to determine which subscribers are most likely to be responsive if you reach out to them directly and which subscribers can be removed from your database.


Using an email service provider is essential to any email marketing efforts. The quality of your ESP will affect the email deliverability and its features and functionality will determine which email marketing strategies you are able to use. Some are more feature-rich than others, but the most robust tools can require a steep learning curve while a simpler tool might be best to get the job done. 

Now that you know about ESPs and how they help you be more effective, in my next article I will share some guidelines on building out the basic framework for your emails.

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!

How to Build Your Email List

Email marketing is one of the best ways to connect with clients and potential clients. But to get results from your email marketing efforts, you need to make email list building a priority.

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.

Now it is time to dig deep into the various aspects of email marketing and see how to make it all work.

It all starts with an email list. For marketing purposes,  it is simply a list of emails that you’ve gathered from people who have agreed to receive marketing communications from your company. Email list building refers to the actions you take to get more people to subscribe to your emails. The better you are at attracting people to subscribe to your email list, the more effective your email marketing will be.

Building Your Email List

If you are wondering if you should buy an email list, the short answer is “no.” In the past, buying email lists was a common practice and could be effective, but those days are long gone. In most cases, buying an email list is a waste of money and time. The leads are often outdated, and because people are more and more protective of their inbox, they are likely to mark your messages as spam. 

There are a number of best practices you should follow when building an email list. Most importantly, be respectful of people’s wishes and follow regulation guidelines, but don’t be shy about pursuing subscribers. 

Start With Who You Know

Because you have an existing business relationship with your clients, they expect you to be in regular communication with them. Start by adding your clients to your email list. This will help to keep you top of mind with them and, as long as you’re providing valuable information, it will also give them something they can easily forward to their friends. 

While you are adding clients to your list, you might be tempted to add people in your network to your email list as well. Unless they have given you their permission, stop and resist the temptation. Not only can it be a turnoff because people don’t like receiving email they didn’t sign up for, but adding subscribers without their permission can violate CAN-SPAM regulations, result in potentially getting your email account shut down, and lead to hefty penalties.

That said, you can always reach out to people you know–prospects, connections, and centers of influence–and ask them if they would like to be added to your list. Say something like, “Hey! I am starting a monthly newsletter where I send out )updates, articles, etc.). Thought you might like it. Want in? Do you know anyone else who might be interested?”

Even if you don’t think certain people in your network will ever be a client, they can always become a referral source or advocate for you and your business. Getting regular updates and helpful content in the form of a newsletter will build your credibility and they will be more likely to think of you when someone asks them if they know a financial advisor. 

If you have a friend or colleague in a related industry, ask them to promote your newsletter in exchange for promoting theirs. You can have them share an article you’ve written with a sign-up form in exchange for sharing their content in your newsletter. The personal introduction and endorsement can go a long way in sparking interest and trust to attract new subscribers.

In-Person Networking and Events

When networking for your business or attending events, keep email list building in mind. 

Whenever you meet someone, have a conversation, and make a connection, ask for their business card. Let them know you have a newsletter that you want to send them and ask if they would like to receive it. Alternatively, you can follow up with them after the event with a personal email and invite them to join your newsletter list in that email.  

If you are speaking, putting on a seminar or workshop, or if you have a sponsorship or table at an event, make email list building part of your strategy. Ask people to write their name and email on a sign-in list, drop their business card in a bowl, or have them sign up by text or on your website on the spot. You can offer something like a free report, the slides from your talk, or simply invite them to your newsletter. Most importantly, make sure you have permission to add them to your list.

Add Opt-in Forms to Your Website

One of the most effective ways to build your email list is online. Display prominent opt-in forms on your website, making it easy and compelling for web visitors to subscribe. Include opt-in boxes on your homepage, as well as every other page on your site– in the header, footer, or sidebar–so it can’t be missed.   

Offer a giveaway, such as a free report, worksheet, or e-book that they can download immediately in exchange for signing up for your newsletter. As you make progress with your email list building efforts, you can include additional resources, such as giveaways related to the content on particular pages or specific blog posts. 

For example, if you have a page or blog post about retirement planning, household budgeting, college savings, or wealth building, you can include an opt-in box for a free guide or worksheet that goes more in-depth on the content topic. 

Drive Traffic to Your Website Opt-Ins

Once you have the opt-in forms on your website, do what you can to drive traffic to your website and encourage people to sign up.

Do you have a social media following on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or elsewhere? Since there’s already a connection there, be sure to promote your newsletter and free opt-in offers to that audience. While you don’t want to bombard your friends with promotions for your business, there’s nothing wrong with announcing your new newsletter or sharing an occasional invitation to sign up via your personal Facebook page.

You can also drive sign-ups to your newsletter list by growing your organic traffic with search engine optimization (SEO), digital advertising, and you can include a link to sign up in your email signature. 

If you are not building an email list you are missing a golden opportunity to connect with prospective clients, build relationships, and grow your financial advisory business. 

It will always be easier to gain someone’s trust after you are in regular communication with them and you consistently show up in their inbox with helpful information. The list doesn’t need to be large to gain brand awareness and get clients, but the sooner you get started with building one, the sooner you will start to see the results you want from your email marketing.

Now that you have all of these email addresses what do you do with them? This is where an email service provider (ESP) comes in. In an upcoming post I will cover all of the things you need to know about this tool that helps you build an email list and send marketing messages effectively.

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!

An Introduction to Email Marketing for Financial Advisors

To get the most out of your marketing efforts, email marketing can help deliver the results you want. I have created a series to serve as a one-stop guide to email marketing for financial advisors, The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Email Marketing.

In this series, I will answer questions such as:

Over the next several weeks, you will find the answers to those questions and more, to ensure you use email marketing effectively to connect with prospects, gain more clients, and grow your business.

Now, let’s begin by diving into what The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Email Marketing is all about.

What is email marketing?

Put simply, email marketing is a way of promoting your business and services using email. Email is a primary channel of marketing communication and email marketing is a direct marketing method used to cultivate connections with prospects with the goal of converting them to clients and strengthen relationships with existing clients.  

Every email you send to a potential or current client can be considered email marketing, but the term typically refers to using an email service provider (ESP) to send bulk emails to a list of subscribers. More specifically, email marketing refers to email broadcasts, campaigns, and sequences sent as part of an overall marketing strategy with specific goals and objectives. 

Why is email marketing helpful?

Although email has been around for decades, it is still going strong. The reason why is that people actually read their emails. Emails reach 85% of the people they are sent to, 58% of people check their email before checking social media, and people are most likely in their email inbox to take care of business and focus on the things that are important in their daily lives. 

Studies have shown that email continues to have a higher rate of return than other forms of digital marketing, with an average ROI of $38 dollars for every $1 spent. Of course that number varies, but when you take into account how personalized you can make your email marketing and the intimate nature of the inbox, you can see why email marketing is a strong fit for a business as personal as financial advisory services. 

What’s involved in email marketing?

A lot goes into successful email marketing, and although there is a learning curve, you can start with sending a basic newsletter and expand into more personalized and automated strategies.

To begin, you need a plan to communicate effectively with your ideal clients. Ask yourself what content would be helpful for them and how sharing that content with them through email will move them closer to wanting to work with you. 

Next, you will need to select an email service provider (ESP) that will enable you to build and manage your email list and send marketing emails while staying in compliance with email marketing regulations. 

Then, start building your email list so you have an audience of subscribers ready and eager to receive what you send them. Eventually, you’ll segment your list and create targeted personalized messages, but for your email marketing to be effective, you’ll need to prioritize list building.


Email marketing is an essential tool for any financial advisor to grow a successful practice. No other digital marketing method is as good at reaching your prospects where they are and nothing is as effective at building personal connections with prospects and clients. For your financial advisor business to succeed, implement an email marketing strategy as soon as you can. 

Developing email marketing campaigns that achieve audience engagement is no easy task. Getting someone to share their email address and consent to allow you into their inbox is tough enough. Getting them to open an email from a business, read through it, and take action is even more challenging. But the better you know your ideal clients’ needs, the better you can engage them, and the effort you put into email marketing will prove worth it. 

In the next article of this series, I will tackle the first priority – email list building.


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!

LinkedIn Tips and Checklists

I developed my series, A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It, to help financial advisors learn about how LinkedIn marketing works so they can use the platform to effectively grow their business.

I started with an Introduction to LinkedIn for Financial Advisors, followed by the ins and outs of How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile, and then concluded with an in-depth guide on How to Fully Utilize Your LinkedIn Profile in Your Marketing Strategy.

Because I suspect you may be curious to know more about some of the information I covered in this series, I’m including some additional resources below, where I took an even deeper dive into specific LinkedIn-related topics.

  • How Advisors Can Submit Custom Content to Gain New Readers
    Learn how to use LinkedIn as a tool to help you identify and connect with journalists and editors of specific publications and online media outlets.
  • How to Share Financial Content with Your Readers 
    Each social network has a different rhythm. You can share on Twitter multiple times throughout the day, whereas you will annoy LinkedIn connections if you post more than once a day.
  • Tips to Select Featured Images for Your Financial Content
    Because your featured image will show up when you share your content on social media, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, you should superimpose or overlay the title and add your logo or brand colors. 
  • 7 Reasons LinkedIn Is More Than a Digital Resume
    LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service that was launched in 2003. The main reason a person joins LinkedIn is for professional networking. If you are looking for a place to network with other professionals and cut out all of the “fluff” that other social networking sites bring, LinkedIn is an excellent choice.
  • The 411 on LinkedIn ProFinder
    LinkedIn Profinder is a professional services marketplace where people can search for independent professionals in specific service categories. 

Now that you have everything you need to use LinkedIn effectively to market your business, you may be wondering where to get started or how to incorporate LinkedIn marketing strategies into your already busy schedule. You can download our LinkedIn Profile Optimization Guide and 15-minute weekly LinkedIn check-in checklist.

Everyone is telling you that you need to be active on social media. You have Facebook, Twitter and even a LinkedIn profile. But, how do you know if you’re getting the most out of your efforts? That’s where Crystal Marketing Solutions comes in. We have proven methods for helping you create an effective and active profile that draws readers to your content.  Let us help you get started with your next-level LinkedIn strategy by scheduling an introductory meeting today.

Download a free copy of A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It here. 

How to Fully Utilize Your LinkedIn Profile

My series, A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It helps financial advisors discover how LinkedIn marketing works so they can effectively use its best practices and strategies to grow their business.

In a recent article, I covered the ins and outs of how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for search engines, to raise your visibility and grow your network. But optimizing your profile is just the beginning. LinkedIn provides a wealth of opportunities to enhance your marketing efforts as a financial advisor. Here is how to take full advantage of everything the platform has to offer.  

Grow with Groups

Join the LinkedIn local and professional groups relevant to you and your financial advisory practice. 

LinkedIn groups are hubs within LinkedIn where you can meet other professionals with similar interests, affiliations, or a shared locale. Groups are a great way to join in conversations and become known in new circles outside of your network of current and past colleagues. While you don’t want to use groups to blatantly promote yourself, being an active member of a group is a powerful way to share content, stand out, and become known for your expertise. 

When you join a group, introduce yourself and briefly share what you do and how you help clients. If the group seems like a good fit for you, make a commitment to pop in often to stay on top of the discussions and comment when you have something valuable to add in support of your fellow group members.

As with anything, you get out what you put in when it comes to LinkedIn groups. Every person reading your comments could be a potential referral source or client.

Make Connections

Your LinkedIn profile is only as effective as your network. Many people make the mistake of keeping their LinkedIn connections limited to people they know personally, such as current and past co-workers, trusted professional colleagues, and friends. To fully utilize LinkedIn in your marketing strategy, you have to intentionally and strategically grow your connections. 

It used to be the case that people closely guarded their LinkedIn connections, most likely concerned that connecting with someone they didn’t know could reflect poorly on their reputation. However, carefully expanding your network beyond people you know personally and growing your connections is a best practice. You can always remove a connection if they turn out to be someone with whom you would rather not associate.

The larger your LinkedIn network, the more potential you have to engage with someone within your network that might become a valuable referral source or client. More contacts mean more visibility for you and your business. Look for new LinkedIn contacts who can expand your reach and enhance your experience on the platform. You can begin to discover people you would like to connect with by taking advantage of the search feature. Enter key terms such as “business networking” or “estate attorney” to find and connect with the right people. 

By thinking through the kinds of professionals you want to connect with on LinkedIn and getting creative with your search, you will find lists of people, groups, and events that can further your LinkedIn marketing efforts. Use as many different keywords and phrases you can think of and conduct searches on a regular basis. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to growing a thriving network of connections on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Publishing

In the past, only top influencers could use the LinkedIn publishing platform. But it has been open to everyone for a while, so you can and should be publishing your content directly on LinkedIn. 

When you post content on LinkedIn Publisher consistently, it helps you gain visibility, boosts your authority as a financial professional, and supports your lead generation efforts. 

You also gain a higher reach on the platform. The posts are indexed in Google search results. Depending on engagement, your post may reach second and third level connections. Your article will also show up in the feed of people who follow the hashtags you use, and then they can follow your content without even connecting.  

The content you publish on LinkedIn should be timely and relevant, but don’t hesitate to repurpose existing content from your blog.

LinkedIn App

Marketing effectively on LinkedIn means marketing consistently. Once you create a strong profile, grow your network, and get active, make the commitment to stay active. This is the only way you will build momentum. One of the best ways to ensure you stay active is to download the LinkedIn app to stay connected more easily on the go. You can always turn off the notifications so it doesn’t become a distraction.

By using the LinkedIn app, you can spend your downtime while standing in line at the home improvement store to engage with fewer silly Facebook memes and more valuable business-oriented content. While there’s nothing wrong with a few minutes here and there of escapism, you’re better served using your screen time towards your LinkedIn marketing efforts. 

LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator can be useful for financial advisors who want to get more out of LinkedIn. In my professional opinion, I believe those paid upgrades are only helpful if you are truly going to take advantage of the features and commit to at least 30 minutes a day on LinkedIn. Otherwise, it’s not worth the money or time. 

To decide if it would be worth your time, here are a few features of LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator:

  • A 90-day list of who has viewed your profile and the keywords that led them there
  • A ranking among your industry peers
  • List of the top 100 most viewed people among your connections and colleagues
  • Keyword suggestion feature to help you build your profile
  • Open profile where any member on LinkedIn can reach out to you
  • Send direct messages to anyone on LinkedIn via InMail
  • Customer support
  • Sophisticated search, tagging, lead tracking (Sales Navigator)
  • CRM integration (Sales Navigator)

If you are new to using LinkedIn as a marketing tool, start out with the basic features in your free account. Once you get into the swing of it, if you find yourself limited in what you can do for free, you may want to consider upgrading to a premium account. 

LinkedIn Profinder

If you’re familiar with LinkedIn Profinder, you might be wondering if it’s something you should use for your marketing. LinkedIn Profinder is a professional services marketplace where people can search for independent professionals in specific service categories. 

Profinder can be beneficial because it allows potential clients to set criteria to conduct a search and discover your profile. Once you have optimized your profile, Profinder is one of the best ways to leverage it and many advisors find the leads they get from Profinder worth the minimal monthly cost. 

Check out my detailed article here about the wonderful benefits of LinkedIn Profinder.


LinkedIn offers a valuable variety of features, functionality, and upgrades to effectively market your financial advisory services and grow your business. 

In an upcoming post, I will cover some final tips and advice about using LinkedIn.

Download a free copy of A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It here.

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Are you positioning yourself for success online as a financial advisor? LinkedIn is the place to do it. 

As the world’s largest business-oriented social network for working professionals, it’s where your colleagues, associates, and prospective clients are spending their time online. It’s also where you’re likely showing up first in searches as the people you meet Google you. You should always strive to make the best possible first impression with your LinkedIn profile.

My series A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It helps financial advisors understand how LinkedIn marketing works so you can properly use its  best practices and strategies to connect with prospects, gain more clients, and grow your business.

Getting Found on LinkedIn

Think of your profile in terms of how it will show up in search engines outside of LinkedIn and within LinkedIn’s search. 

Search for anyone’s name online and chances are their LinkedIn profile will be one of the first search results shown by Google. More than likely, your prospective clients and anyone looking to collaborate with you will research you in advance. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s prominence in search engines to stand out online.

More specifically, to get the most out of LinkedIn as a marketing tool, optimize your LinkedIn profile to show up prominently and stand out within the platform.

To ensure you are getting the best search engine optimization (SEO) results from your LinkedIn profile, I recommend you do the following:

Fill Out Your LinkedIn Profile Completely

Fill out your LinkedIn profile thoroughly and completely. Take advantage of every inch of digital real estate and feature.

Make a strong first impression with a friendly professional headshot as your profile photo and an attention-grabbing header image that reflects your role as a financial advisor. Those images will show up in Google under your name and will set you apart when someone lands on your profile within LinkedIn.

Your headline should be more than your job title. Include relevant keywords and a compelling statement that lets people know who you are, what you do, and who you serve. This headline will show up under your name throughout your LinkedIn activity, so it needs to stand out and make people take notice.

The summary section is your opportunity to tell your professional story and illustrate your expertise. It should capture readers’ attention within the first few lines so they’re interested enough to click and read more about you. Make it succinct, skimmable, and impactful from start to finish. 

Your current experience and job title headline should also incorporate keywords, highlight your services, and showcase your accomplishments.

Thoughtfully complete each section, including media links, education, skills, projects, volunteer experience, and more. Include keywords whenever possible, think in terms of who is reading your profile, and prioritize what you want to be known for and how you want to be seen.  

Claim your LinkedIn custom URL and make it something easy to remember. All LinkedIn members can have one custom profile URL at a time. Ideally, it should be your first and last name. If you have a common name, include your middle initial or some variation of your name and professional brand. Alternatively, you could use your name and “financial advisor” or include professional designations, such as CFP®  or MBA. 

Expand Your Network by Making Connections

Your LinkedIn profile is only as powerful as your LinkedIn network. The more you expand your network, the more visibility and exposure you will gain. The larger your network, the more potential you have to engage with someone within your network who might become a valuable referral source or client.

Expand your network by becoming more active and therefore attracting attention and inbound connection requests. The more active and engaged you are on LinkedIn, the more likely you will show up high in search results and the more likely people will see your profile and content.

When you engage with posts shared by other LinkedIn users within your network, you will show up more often in the timelines of your connections as well as the timeline of the person who shared the content. And when you share original or curated content, you are also increasing the likelihood that you will show up more frequently and prominently on LinkedIn. 

The most direct way to expand your LinkedIn network is to send out personalized connection requests. When you send requests to people you know or you’ve met, remind them how you know each other and include a quick personalized note stating why you would like to stay connected.

If you would like to connect with someone you don’t know, such as a local professional who offers a service that is complementary to yours – an attorney, accountant, or real estate broker, for example – let them know why you are messaging them and want to connect. Perhaps your offices are nearby, you have some connections in common, or you’ve noticed and appreciated an article they published.

Making connections is essential to optimizing your profile.


Your LinkedIn profile is far more than a digital resume. To get the best results out of your LinkedIn marketing efforts as a financial advisor, start by optimizing your profile for search engines and for building your network. 

In my next article, I will cover how to fully utilize your LinkedIn profile in your marketing efforts.

Download a free copy of A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Creating Your LinkedIn Profile and Making the Most of It here. 

Crystal Lee Butler, MBA is a creative marketer and results-oriented business consultant with over a decade of experience collaborating with independent advisors. At Crystal Marketing Solutions, she delivers exceptional insights for financial professionals enabling them to create a consistent marketing presence so they can focus on the things that matter most to them.

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