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Email Marketing for Financial Advisors: Best Practices for 2019 Email Marketing, Great Marketing / Advertising, Minute Marketing Tips & Ideas

Recently, I was fortunate enough to participate in a lively discussion with a thought leadership group comprised of forwarding thinking, young marketers. The topic eventually turned to the effectiveness of email marketing for financial advisors. Although opinions differed greatly on the types of campaigns financial advisors should leverage, there was one thing we could all agree on:  Email marketing, when done correctly, is widely effective.

But what does that mean for financial advisor email marketing, now that we are in 2019?

Email has certainly become a standard mode of communicating with clients and prospects, but it is overused? Do people care about the emails they get from a financial advisor? Isn’t newsletter marketing dead? And, most importantly, should you make it easy on yourself and sign up for one of those services that will generate and send marketing emails for you?

As with many things marketing, getting hard numbers and data can make the difference between a great strategic decision and a dead-end money pit. So, let’s look at some numbers.

  • According to CampaignMonitor data for 2019, average email open rates across surveyed industries is 17.92%. Financial services enjoy a slightly more favorable open rate than the average (18.23%).

  • No surprise here: It’s better to have prospects opt into your campaign. The same resource suggests that open rates for permission-based campaigns (i.e. ones where a prospect or a client has given you permission to email them) range between 30% and 40%. That’s a significant upgrade!

  • According to HubSpot, 99% of people check their email at least once a day. That means you have a good chance of your prospect or client seeing your message when it comes in (as long as it doesn’t get caught by the spam filters).

  • CampaignMonitor supplements that stat: More than 50% of their survey respondents check their personal email account more than 10 times a day, and it is by far their preferred way to receive updates from brands.

  • Finally, marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue (CampaignMonitor, 2019 data).

So, the data would suggest that the optimal combination for successful financial advisor email marketing should look like this:  Ask for permission, send regular emails, make your messaging relevant for the recipient.

Which sounds like common sense.

As always, the devil’s in the detail. And so, I wanted to share with you some common questions and specific best practices for financial advisor email marketing campaigns. These are the types of campaigns that a firm of any size can use with success. Campaigns can be super-simple, or you could go all out and have them professionally designed to suit your style. So, don’t feel that email marketing isn’t for you unless you have a big budget.

Should financial advisors build an email list — or buy one?

Most advisors I know would prefer to do things in the most efficient way possible. From that perspective, one might imagine that buying a list of (ideally) pre-screened prospects from a data company would be faster and better than building your own list through a sign-up form on your website.

The reality is a bit more complicated.

First off, the CAN SPAM Act of 2003 requires anyone who purchases an email list with a commercial purpose to abide by certain rules. While those rules do not include obtaining explicit permission from the individuals on the list, they do require accurate transmission information (i.e. who the email is from), non-deceptive subject headings, a clear identification that the message is an advertisement, and an opt-out provision that gives the recipient a choice about whether they wish to receive future emails from you. If you are interested in a deeper dive into this subject, this FAQ article has good information. In summary, though, as long as you follow those requirements, you can send emails until the recipient opts out — at least in theory.

In practice, buying a list of emails exposes you to additional risks. There’s a risk that the list was assembled through shady or outright illegal means (such as address harvesting or dictionary attacks). Plus, there’s an (admittedly small) chance that someone on the list has already opted out of receiving emails from you before you purchased the list. Either one of those risks can expose you to fines under the CAM SPAM Act.

What exactly is permission in this context? It could be implicit permission in the case of email recipients who already have a relationship with you (through doing business together, being acquainted socially, or being a part of the same charity or club). Or, it could be explicit permission, like when a prospect types in an email address to download a whitepaper or a checklist.

What about “renting” an email list?

There is another practice in the industry that’s known as “renting a list”. When you “rent” someone’s email list, they email their list of contacts on your behalf. You don’t get to see any of the email addresses. Think of it as buying an ad that someone will share with their list for a fee.

Is “renting” a list better than “buying” a list? Not necessarily. It’s true that the risks are different. For one, even if you are merely renting a list, the recipients did not give you permission.  The reader is not expecting an email from you, so they may feel annoyed and sold to — not the mindset you need to convert skeptics into clients.

And then there is the elephant in the room.

At the end of the day, the provider of the list (whether they sell it or rent it) is in the business of selling or renting lists. It’s in their best interest to sell/rent a list as much as they can to maximize their profit. That leads to the people on the list getting spammed with a high volume of unexpected and unsolicited offers. Your offer can get lost among them. You may also experience a high degree of unsubscribes, bounces, and spam complaints. All of that adds up to a low ROI.

Bottom line:  Buying or renting an email list may seem like an inexpensive shortcut to reaching more prospects. In reality, doing this can negatively affect the deliverability of the emails you send to legitimate prospects, spoil your reputation, and result in a poor ROI.

The names on any list you might buy or rent are likely to be “burned out” by too much spam. Think about it… If you spent years building a solid list of people who had opted into getting messages from you, would you sell it for just cents per email address? So, if a list is available for sale, it’s probably not the high-quality goldmine that the list company would have you believe.

What should you do instead?

Build your own list by having people opt into getting emails from you. Yes, a home-grown email list takes time to develop and nurture. However, doing this will keep you on the right side of the anti-spam rules — and it will be much more effective in terms of ROI and long-term practice growth potential. Give your audience plenty of opportunities to subscribe to your emails by adding a form to several locations on your website. Limit the volume of data you collect up front (first name and email address are usually enough to get started). In other words, make it very easy for them to say “yes” and join the list.

Best practices for financial advisor email marketing

So, you’ve developed a list of emails from prospects or clients. How can you build an email marketing campaign that will nurture those relationships?

Here are some ideas that can work well for financial advisors.

1) The financial advisor newsletter is alive!

Believe it or not, the tried-and-true newsletter format is still an effective way of establishing an ongoing communication cadence with your clients and prospects. Most financial advice firms have transitioned the newsletter from the traditional hard-copy/printed format to digital. A digital newsletter is inexpensive and relatively simple to pull together. Even if you choose to invest in a professional layout template, you get to reuse it multiple times, which can lead to a solid ROI.

If you are considering adding a newsletter (or if you have one and are wondering if you set it up the right way), here are 5 best practices that can make it or break a financial advisor newsletter.

  • Choose a frequency and stick to it. You may not think of it this way, but a newsletter can become an important component of building trust with the prospects who don’t yet know you. If you promise them a monthly newsletter, be sure to deliver a monthly newsletter. Generally, it’s better to pick a lower frequency that’s sustainable for you — than to promise a weekly communication and fail to keep it up.

  • Create a central theme and a structure for your newsletter. Nothing wrecks your readership-bounce-rate like a mailer that’s disorganized or hard to follow. You might brainstorm some re-usable topic categories that would strike a chord with your audience (perhaps highlighting an upcoming decision or action deadline, sharing a budgeting tip, a market performance update, a summary and take-aways from a recent book you’ve read, or a “get to know” section to present profiles/updates from team members).

  • Make a clear path for someone to opt-out. The number one sin when executing a digital newsletter campaign is trapping your audience in a slow and painful “death by email” spiral. Nothing deteriorates your brand faster than spamming disengaged customers. Give your readers a clear off-ramp. Your newsletter will be better for it. At the very worst, you will know that your messaging needs to be refined based on an alarming rate of unsubscribes.

  • Give your images alt tags. Email clients (such as Outlook, Apple Mail, or Gmail) can be a tricky beast, and you never know what settings your recipient has enabled. If you are trying to spotlight a project, or if you have invested time in creating a beautiful layout, you surely want your recipients to see it! Giving an image an alt tag will allow alternative text to appear if the image doesn’t load. Also, be sure to test the formatting of your newsletter to ensure it will display right across different platforms.

  • Reduce load times. Be sure to optimize high-quality images for digital viewing. Compress your images to maintain quality while reducing long email load times. Your clients and prospects are experiencing heavy information overload. You have just 1-2 seconds to grab a prospect’s attention. Don’t allow long load times on your emails to sabotage your chance!

  • Promote your newsletter through your social media. Each time your send a newsletter, share one point on your social media profiles — and encourage your followers to subscribe to the list. This step takes virtually no time or effort — and can seamlessly deliver more eager subscribers.

2) Drip sequences can work, too.

After a prospect has signed up for a lead magnet (such as a report, a white paper, or a checklist), some advisors follow up on the initial delivery with a short series of emails (something known as a drip sequence). The purpose of a drip email sequence is to build trust, deliver value, and give the prospect an opportunity to take the next step in the relationship if he or she is ready.

Here are some best practices for financial advisor email drip sequences.

  • Segment your prospects. Relevance is the key factor that can make the difference between an email that’s perceived as valuable — and one that’s promptly sent to trash. If you reach out to different categories of clients or prospects, make sure that you have different drip sequences to suit their needs. In other words, pre-retirees and business owners should get different emails. This ties into developing your value proposition as a financial advisor; see this article for more tactical advice on that.

  • Make sure that every email in the sequence adds value. The litmus test I like to use is whether my target audience is likely to save the email, print it out for reference, or forward it to someone they know. If the answer is “probably not”, then you need a different email — or you risk burning out your new subscriber quickly.

  • Use storytelling techniques to get the reader’s attention. Remember, they don’t know much about you yet. Stories are a powerful tool for connection and trust-building. A well-chosen and well-told story can immerse your prospect into what it’s like to work with you. Think of personal stories that will give your reader a glimpse into your personality, expertise, and experience. There are many great books about effective story structure, and this topic alone could make for a whole other blog post. For now, keep in mind that a story is most effective when you can clearly define a challenge or the stakes, walk the reader through several different emotions, and provide closure.

  • Subject lines matter, a lot. You may spend a couple of hours refining your email to be just right, but if you don’t have an intriguing subject line, chances are that your open rates will be disappointingly low. According to a digital marketing consulting company Convince & Convert, 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. So, invest some time to come up with a subject line that piques the reader’s interest and gives them the reason to click “open”.

  • Watch your open rates and unsubscribes. One or two people dropping off the list is not a big indicator, but if the pattern indicates that a significant percentage of subscribers opts out of your list on email # 3, perhaps you should reassess that specific email.

3) Use email to pre-announce events

Are you planning to attend or host a local event? Email is an excellent tool to inform prospects and clients about it. If you are going to a local event and it’s open to the public, let your readers know and invite them to join you. A targeted email blast can allow you to begin networking at an event before it ever starts.

Before promoting your own event, keep these best practices in mind.

  • Give your readers a reason to care about the event. Just because you have decided to host an educational seminar, a wine night, or an art auction isn’t enough to entice a prospect to show up. You need to let them know why they can’t afford to miss it. Highlight future take-aways. If your key selling point is raising money for a charity or having fun, focus on that. Don’t make your audience wonder why they should go.

  • Tailor the event to your audience. This is another opportunity to segment your list and really think about what each client/prospect set would value most. A generic workshop may not be exciting enough to entice participation. It may be better to host two smaller, highly targeted events that will be well-attended.

  • Make your email actionable. It’s not enough that the client or prospect learns about the event. Give them a specific next step. Perhaps they can register for the event or email the office for details. An email without an action will likely be forgotten quickly.

  • Deploy a responsive design. Fast forward to the day of the event, and there’s a good chance that your client will be using their smartphone to refer back to the email you sent them with all the logistics. Plan ahead and make sure that your email is optimized for mobile viewing!

Financial advisor email marketing:  Round-up of mistakes to avoid

To close this take on the subject of financial advisor email marketing, here are some common mistakes I have seen — and ways to avoid them.

  1. Unclear or misleading subject lines. It’s uncommon for financial advisors to use an outright misleading subject line, although it does happen sometimes. The more common mistake I see is choosing a subject line that’s boring, not sufficiently descriptive, or repetitive. Think of your subject line as a movie trailer: Make the recipient want to open it!

  2. Missing the mark on content. Not every member of your audience is interested in the same content. So, segment your list and make different content streams that are relevant to your readership. Your CRM system should allow you to use tags to facilitate this. And remember, whatever content strategy you start with is just a hypothesis! Be ready to monitor the response from your audience (open rates, link clicks, other interaction with content) — and adapt accordingly.

  3. One-way communication. Have you ever received an email from a “do not reply” email address? This type of tactic comes off as impersonal. It does nothing to encourage interaction. When a company sends out mailers from a “do not reply” address, it tells the audience that it doesn’t care to have a real conversation. Let your readers know that you are receptive to feedback — and you will be amazed at how active your subscribers will become.

  4. Too many links, no clear call-to-action. Links to important content can be helpful and convenient for readers. But, as a thoughtful content curator, it is important to tread carefully here! Too many links can distract the reader from more important content. Don’t try to overstuff your emails with information. Instead, choose a point of focus — and optimize your emails to drive viewers to a clear call-to-action.

What has worked well for you in the land of financial advisor email marketing? Share in the comments. Also, if you would like for me to share templates for anything covered in this article, sound off below. If there’s sufficient interest, we can create/share templates on this blog.

Recommended reading:

Author Bio:

GRAHAM GARDNER

Graham Gardner is a passionate marketer with expertise in creating, managing and delivering metric-driven marketing initiatives. Focusing on relationships and personal connections, Graham advocates for providing clients with meaningful content to create long-term relationships. Graham previously served as an Executive Member (Treasurer) on the Board of Directors for the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) of Atlanta. Graham and his wife spend their free time watching sports and enjoying nature with their dog Murphy (@Murph_The_Doodle on Instagram!)

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7 Statistics That Prove Email Marketing Isn’t Dead Conversion, Email Awards, Email Marketing, Email Standards, Email Statistics, Email Tracking

There are many marketing strategies being introduced, yet amongst all of them, email marketing still stands out the rest. You may have doubts since this is a little too old fashioned hence its effectiveness to garner huge audience is impossible. You may be thinking wrong, as statistics show that email marketing still tops the board in terms of marketing effectiveness and reach. Numbers will never lie, and it can give you accurate result that you need to use when strategizing your business marketing. If email marketing is old fashioned, then maybe old fashion is what you need to make your business successful.

Also, you can check Omnisend research about email marketing statistics.

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Gmail has announced that it is going responsive! 2 Email Newsletter Templates, Gmail

Gmail has recently announced that by the end of September it intends to go responsive – This is very good news and according to Google it will mean that:

Starting later this month, Gmail and Inbox by Gmail will support emails created with responsive design, meaning their content adapts to fit screens of all sizes.

The three biggest areas that this change will support are:

Media query support
Media queries allow you to add styles specific to a device width or screen size, therefore giving you full control on how an email will render on a desktop or mobile device. This change will ensure that regardless of the device your readers use to read email, the text size / image size etc. will render to give a much better reader experience.

Inline no more
Gmail always stripped out CSS styles found in the head of your email – This meant that emails designed to render correctly in Gmail needed to have all their styles added inline. This is a complete pain!. All other major inboxes already support stylesheets, so this will reduce the time it takes to code / edit email templates designed specifically for Gmail

CSS support
This change is potentially a game changer – Gmail is hoping to allow a fully web-based approach to coding emails free from the traditional table layout that currently exists. For this to be a success though it would mean that other major inboxes such as Outlook would need to support this and move away from their traditional table rendering solution.

Stay tuned for further updates on this.

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Does the content of my subject line have an impact on the deliverability? 2 Email Newsletter Templates, 6 Increasing Response and conversion

In a word – YES!

Many ISP spam filters will review your email content & subject line to determine if it is spam. Although there is no magic rule or formula that you can follow to ensure emails are delivered to the inbox, you can review these tips and recommendations.

1) Keep your subject line between 35 and 50 characters long – the longer it is the more chance it will be branded as spam. In Toddle Newsletter Templates the subject line of your newsletter is entered on the ‘Edit your Header’ area as shown in the below image:

Keep your subject line short - between 35 & 50 characters!

Keep your subject line short - between 35 & 50 characters!

2) Try not to use all capitalized letters as your subject line

3) Avoid spelling errors or HTML in your subject line

4) Try not to use links such as ‘Click Here’ or spammy type words such as money, cash, free etc.

5) Avoid attachments in your newsletter. Recipients are typically cautious of viruses and malicious email attachments. Consider creating links to files via a website URL instead.

6) Minimize the use of bold text, red font, exclamation points (!!!), questions marks (?) and symbols like $ € £ @

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Toddle Featured Among “Top 50 Tools for Measuring Marketing Return on Investment (ROI)” 8 Using Toddle with other services, 9 Happy users, Email Awards

Toddle Marketing ROI CalculatorDocurated, an enterprise productivity and document management solution has recently released their list of “The Top 50 Tools for Measuring Marketing Return on Investment (ROI),”

Toddle.com has made this list which is here for all to view:

http://www.docurated.com/all-things-productivity/the-top-50-tools-for-measuring-marketing-return-on-investment-roi

(Note: The list is in random order; they’re not necessarily ranked or rated in order of quality or importance. The aim is to recognize the tools listed as valuable tools for measuring marketing ROI.)

If you want to look at our ROI calculator it is available here – http://www.toddle.com/marketing_roi_calculator/

We are pretty chuffed about this especially as we are classed with world wide companies such as Hubspot, Salesforce and Google


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Black Friday Deal – Get a Yearly Toddle Subscription for $99! Email Newsletter Templates, Ezine, Pricing

Sign up for a Toddle Yearly Subscription and get it for an amazing price of $99 – That is less than $9 per month for unlimited newsletter templates!

This is a once in a lifetime deal and will be active until Friday 29th November

For more details you can contact our Sales Team on info@toddle.com or sign up here href=”http://www.toddle.com/frontend/l/page-pricing.html”

Black Friday @ Toddle!


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Christmas Newsletter Templates Added! Christmas, Christmas Newsletter, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Seasonal Email Newsletters

For the month of December we have added two special Christmas newsletter templates that you can use in your Toddle Editor.

Simply log into your account, click on ‘Change Design’ button and select either ‘Christmas Santa’ or ‘Toddolian Christmas’ from your list of templates

Upload your logo and add your Christmas message!

These templates are great value at just $9.

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5 tips for sending out newsletters this Christmas! Email Marketing, Tips & Tricks

Yes it is only November, but here at Toddle we believe in early planning – Here are our 5 tips to help you with your Christmas Newsletter Templates

Plan Ahead
There is no point in deciding in late December that you are going to send out a Christmas themed Newsletter – Plan ahead for best results. Gather together a list of items / offers / discounts that you would like to offer your customers.

Know the one that is one too many!
Yes it is Christmas and yes you can get away with sending more newsletters than normal – but remember don’t just send out a newsletter everyday for the sake of it. Try and do some research on when is the best time and day to send out newsletters. Also keep the content and offers relevant to your audience. The more relevant it is the more click-thru you will get!

Personalize your newsletters
Every company will send out a newsletter at Christmas – It is going to be a crowded market so you need something to make your newsletter stand out. Make sure to mention your customer by name and use content to make them feel special and wanted – “Welcome back John, here is a 10% discount”. Also don’t ignore your subject line. Remember your subject line will ultimately decide if your newsletter is opened or not. Think about your content and remember you need a call to action in every single newsletter. Make sure this call to action goes to the correct page on your website.

Limited time pricing
Lots of companies are now providing limited time pricing – “Order before 10th December for an extra discount” etc. End a sale on Christmas Eve or have a special New Years Day sale. This is a sure way of people actually opening your newsletter but also clicking through to make a purchase on your store.

Re-assure your Customers
Make sure to re-assure your customers that if they order from your website they will have their products delivered in time for Christmas. Make sure to mention your cut off point for last orders to ensure that they are delivered for Christmas. Also remember you might have international subscribers so take this into account. As well as creating a level of urgency with the last date of ordering, you are also giving a feeling of assurance to your Customers.

Remember Toddle.com offer Christmas Themed Newsletter Templates – Just log into your account and they are available in the ‘Change Design’ button

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Want to send your newsletter campaigns using Toddle? – Watch this space! Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates

Over the past number of months we have been working hard at developing new functionality that will allow our users to not only create beautiful looking email newsletters, but also to send out these newsletters to their customers.

We are building Toddle Sendpoint!

Send Beautiful Simple Email campaigns using Toddle Sendpoint

Send Beautiful Simple Email campaigns using Toddle Sendpoint

Toddle Sendpoint will allow you to create a Newsletter Campaign, upload your contacts and send your Toddle Newsletter template to these contacts – Simple and Easy!

On top of this we will have a suite of reports and advice available to help you improve your campaigns.

Toddle Sendpoint is due to be released in Beta mode before the end of 2013 – Make sure to sign up to our newsletter so as not to miss out

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ToddleSMS sends its 100,000th Group SMS Message SMS Group Texting

Last weekend was a little milestone for Toddle SMS when we sent out our 100,000th SMS message. ToddleSMS is only in existence just over 4 months so it is quite an achievement in that short period of time. ToddleSMS is an ideal solution for Community Alert Groups, Sports Clubs, Schools and Small Groups.

We offer a flat fee, pay as you go credit service – You purchase credits from us and each SMS you send costs a credit regardless of what network you send it to. We also allow you to setup as many groups as you wish.

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