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Category: Email Marketing

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!)

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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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.

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

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

The Break up Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Great Marketing / Advertising

This is why email marketing is so great. Great video from Microsoft of all people.

Free Webinar – Top 10 Checklist for Hotel Email Marketing Success 7 Training, Advanced, Checklist, Conversion, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Email Tracking, Hotel, Seminars, Talks, Tips & Tricks, Video Guide, Webinar, Workshops

My talk from the Hotel Website Marketing Conference.
Download and print the checklist mentioned here.

Webinar Transcript

SLIDE 1
Today, I’m going to tell you about email marketing. It’s probably not the shiniest, sexiest form of marketing that you have ever heard of today, but I can tell you it works.

Behind every good social network and twitter account there are email notifications updating you as to what’s happened.

And there’s a very good reason why email works so well as it does and that’s because almost everybody has it. There are 1.4 billion email addresses currently in the world and at least half of them are checked daily. So it is well worth looking at.

SLIDE 2
Email works best in two ways that I’m going to discuss with you today. One, look at it as a customer retention tool and two, look at it for sales and campaigns. I’m going to ask for a bit of audience participation here for the next step, I’m going to ask you all to stand up, please. Just to give you an idea, if you are sending out an email campaign, what kind of numbers you can expect and all the rest of the talk today is about how you can influence those numbers.

For the case of today each of you stands for 10 people. So we are sending out a campaign to 1000 people – for a particular sales campaign for a particular offer. So you send it out to a 1000 people, actually you’re going to test it first. You are going to send out two versions of the campaign, one to a 100 people and one to another 100 people and you’re going to see which gets the best response.

So from that you are going to lose 200 people. Can I ask the back two rows to sit down please? The best message and best creative you’re going to send out to 800 people. Of those 800 people, 200 will open it, so can I ask the next three rows to sit down please?

Of those 200 people who open it, 8 are going to click on your campaign, so can I ask just the front row to stand up and everyone else to sit down.

Of those 8 people, just one person is going to buy from you. So can I just ask one person to stand up? The rest of you may sit down.

So that’s one person of a campaign of a thousand newsletters that you just sent out. But it costs you about ten euros to send out that campaign, they have just bought a weekend from you for about 500 Euros. So, for an investment of about 10 Euros you’ve just brought in 500 Euros and that is from one email campaign that you just sent out. I hope you’re sending out a hell of a lot more campaigns throughout the year

I use that sort of as a baseline for you and also if you are using email and you are not achieving those kinds of results you need to seriously look at what you are doing. Email marketing offers one of the best returns on investment for online marketing. It is exceeded only by search engine marketing. Below that, at almost half the value are your paper clicks, Google analytics – it is direct, it is personal , it can be highly targeted and it is a really highly effective tool. So I am going to present ten checklists for you, and you can get them at the end of the talk, print them out, stick them up in your office and look at them every month that you are doing your email marketing.

SLIDE 3
First are you capturing subscribers everywhere? How many people are walking through your hotel today, and how many people are you actually getting email addresses for. You can get them in a lot more places than you might think. How many people came to your website today? Are you capturing their email addresses? People are going to huge efforts to try and find you, whether online or offline, they are going through the effort to get to your hotel. Grab on to them, don’t let them go – please. Eighty percent of people that visit your website never return again. Find a way to grab a hold of them. Capture them on the web, by phone, reception, bar, spa, golf if you do that. Capture them at dinner, have forms ready in different places and train your staff to ask: “I might not have the answer now and I know there is something you are interested in – how about we send you updates when it is on again?” – every opportunity you have.

And then if you run out, don’t just look inside your own hotel, look outside. Is there any way outside your hotel you can capture subscribers, linking them with different organizations, putting out offers, competitions.

Some of the most effective ways of getting subscribers is of course, ask, captured through your website. Look at co-registration deals with other organizations so you can share subscribers. Offer a course…I know one hotel that did very well by offering a wine appreciation course, purely by email. What they did is they repurposed all the content and information about the particular wines they were stocking from their wholesaler and they repackaged it as a course – one newspaper ad, very cheap, lots of subscribers. A lot of long term business from those subscribers.

Put out an e-book I know another B+B and what they have done is they have traveled around to all the local attractions and put together an ebook that can be downloaded for their area, giving them a tour guide. They put it on their web page and you have to subscribe to get access to that.

Ask for referrals from existing subscribers. Offer free stuff and any emails you are sending out, mention your email newsletter.

SLIDE 4
Just some examples of subscribe forms that are out there at the moment, I wont name these guys …it is a terrible subscribe form. They are asking for too many details and there are too many obstacles. Basically look at the fact that every additional element you are asking of subscribers, you are going to lose some of them. But at the same time, you need to try and capture as many details as you can from those subscribers as possible, and I will tell you how you might be able to do that.

SLIDE 5
I put this as a much better example of a subscribe form. They have got a reason as to why you would want to subscribe and they have a competition to enter in to stay in their sister hotel. If there was any suggestion there it would be to make a bigger pizzazz about the competition to get the subscribers, make it pop!

A particular technique for catching subscribers was from a hotel in the US called the Broadmoore Hotel and what they did was a trade conference and they offered a competition for a free digital camera. It was a particular trade conference for people organizing events. They wanted to promote their meeting facilities. So what they did was a competition for a camera and they got about 300 entries. And they set up a series of 3 email newsletters. The first email newsletter was to tell them “thank you for entering our competition, we will let you know your results shortly, also here is some information about other services we offer.” They did a follow up letter with “There is a winner/ come check our website to find out if you won and also, here are some other services we offer.” And then the third email was, “Sorry you didn’t win/ Here is another competition/ All you need to do is sign up to be contacted about details about particular offers we have.”

They spent around 15 thousand setting up the booth and the competition, and in return they brought in about 250 thousand dollars worth of business from that individual campaign and they still have the subscriber base to build upon going forward.

SLIDE 6
In terms of detail and capturing lots of information, there is a lot of information you can capture without asking. Email, first name, brilliant. In terms of city and country, with a little bit of basic technical know how, you can capture that information from their IP address. So there is no reason to ask for those if you can find the information any other way.

SLIDE 7
Have you asked for permission – which is always the big question. Of course you have to ask permission to mail someone, but there are two definitions of spam: The law and then the real world. The law says you can email another business if you have had any contact with them at least once. If they ask to be unsubscribed, you have to provide unsubscribe information. That is essentially it. If you have no business contact with them, you cannot contact them and if they have not asked, you cannot contact them. I would actually say to disregard the law – not in terms of spamming everyone, in fact quite the opposite. You have a new concern in that everyone you email now, and all their email clients have a big huge “this is spam” button on top of their email client. If anyone presses that, it all feeds back to the ISPs and it will build up a profile on your email domain that you are sending out from. If enough people click that, it will affect all of your business emails. People can forget that they subscribed. People use this as the easiest way to unsubscribe and it is going to affect your business. So it is important that you are sending out relevant information, that they clearly did subscribe and that you are providing information that they are going to want in the future.

There is a third concern regarding spam laws, and that is that you need to be concerned with the spam laws in the country you are sending to. So if you are sending to the US, subscribers in the US, their spam complaints come under their law. So please make sure that you have permission and that you are sending them good content.

SLIDE 8
Make sure you are capturing the details of the right person. You may be getting my credit card details and name on the booking but it is my wife who decides how the credit card gets spent.

SLIDE 9
If there is only one thing you do with your emails lists, do this: segment your users into tastes, events, dates, anything you can to narrow them down into particular groups. It is one of the most powerful and most underused aspects of email marketing. I suggest breaking them down into tourists and local, if you do a lot of local business. In terms of tourists, try and find out where they are from, the reason for travel, the dates they are traveling on and services used. So if they are heading over on a particular date, chances are they are going to have holidays the same time next year, so start sending out a campaign shortly before their holidays. If they are coming over for a particular date, find out why and maybe there is a chance you can attract them again next year. If they are coming over for your spa then you will know they loved your spa – so send them out offers just for that spa. If they are coming over for golf, same thing. One hotel group I was working with was actually monitoring at what particular time subscribers were actually opening their mail so that they would send a campaign again next week or next month at that same particular time because they knew chances are the people are sitting in front of their computer at that time.

Local, again, why, are they there for a birthday, are they there for an anniversary, it happens every year, are there particular activities are there some sports on TV, you can talk to them again next week when there is another football match, you can bring them in.

So please segment your subscribers. It is an amazingly powerful tool and it will actually drive your marketing, going forward.

SLIDE 10
Tell them you are not dead. There are three types of email marketing and the first is the email to tell them you are not dead, because if they don’t hear from you every month, they are going to forget you and they are going to think you are dead. I am suggesting that you should be sending out at least two different campaigns every month.

One is the “I’m not dead” email – “Hi, we are here, hope you are well, just touching base.” And the other is a particular sales targeted campaign which is based on your segmented list. View the “I’m not dead” email as a customer retention tool to build trust and relationship. And when you build that trust and relationship it will make your sales emails so much more effective and powerful.

Brand it, Keep it short and sweet, about 3 short paragraph articles, you don’t have to go into any great depth. Make sure it is useful and as was discussed earlier today, put in links to your other social media, your Facebook account your Twitter account that people can connect with. People like connecting with you through different channels.

In terms of what type of content you can be sending, Kieran earlier, at Ireland.com handed you a terrific tool as far as I’m concerned, the first time I had seen his talk today. But sending you information on local events, on local content, on things to do, things to see – that is almost providing all of your content for you that you can send out to particular subscribers. That is going to save you a huge amount of time.

There are free information, free content and articles out there, one is Ezinearticles.com, various quality in those articles but you can use them for free. There are images out there, Istockphoto.com is pretty cheap per image or you can use Flickr.com with creative commons which are basically images that people upload to Flickr, allowing other people to use them, you just have to link to their website.

SLIDE 11
Send out seasonal messages /how to guides.

SLIDE 12
There is a great video on Youtube on how to pack like a butler, which has 42 thousand views on Youtube. It’s Youtube. Why don’t you imbed that on your site and link to it from your email.

SLIDE 13
Cooking tips as the Kilkenny River Court did from their chef.

Of course, travel tips

SLIDE 14
Personal stories. The Shellbourne has one about a baby being born in the room.

SLIDE 15
You can aggregate news and send it on. Just attribute to where the news came from.
Break down reports into plain English for travelers.

SLIDE 16
Fun news, I know a good hotel that sends out a Good News Thursday. People love receiving that. Or share your own news.

SLIDE 17
Top ten lists are very effective, I think that keeps the TV station Channel 4 in business with their top 100 comedy moments every Christmas.
Share your expertise.

SLIDE 18
Keep it simple. Add value. If you can’t write 3 articles, write 1. But make sure it is of use to the people you are sending it to. Be useful, be personable.

Don’t spam and don’t attach big attachments. I got one from a hotel recently and it was a 10mb download. I was downloading it on one of the little Three mobile dongles and it took ages. I don’t want to know how much it costs and it was just a menu for the restaurants. It was very very disappointing. Please don’t do that.

SLIDE 19
The second campaign you send out each month is a targeted offer or offers, depending on your groups. After segmenting, this should be very very easy – because it is going to be driven by the data. You are going to know every given month whose birthdays are coming up.

If you are checking in with the rest of the hotel, you know who has not played golf in a while. Send them a reminder. Send them an offer. If they have played golf a lot, send them an invite to invite friends along.

You know when Mothers day is coming along. You know when people have taken holidays so you know when their holidays are due again next year..

SLIDE 20
Send a clear targeted offer to these people. If you have concerts on, send them an offer. If you know what particular music they have been to in the past.

SLIDE 21
Easter and Mothers Day day of course.

SLIDE 22
Even language can be targeted by. This is what we have done ourselves which is sent out in English French, Dutch, and German

But don’t target it too much because we had one hotel and golf resort send out a great offer for the ladies night for the over 50s. And no one replied because they did not want to admit they were over 50.

SLIDE 23
You have heard a lot of mention about social media today. It can actually be a hugely valuable tool for market research to help you decide when you are sending out your email. I set this up about a week ago on Twitter, through the Twitter search. Twitter search gives out a little RSS feed, Mark was showing you, and you can import that link into Google reader.

Google reader after a week will show you these nice charts of when people mentioned that particular term, last week, last month and when during the day most people were mentioning that term. That gives you the data of when to send your particular campaign. Hugely valuable.

SLIDE 24
Automate your marketing. There is a huge amount you can automate out there. You can set up your mails to go out 12 months, 24 months in advance and you can even put them in a cycle because people aren’t going to remember what they got two years ago.

So we are talking what – 12 particular articles set up, or 24, and you do it once. You set up the automation through tools I will show you later that will do this. Then you sit back and concentrate on other parts of your marketing.

For bookings, events, locations, look at setting up an automated series of mails that can go out, associated with that.

An auto responder. Most of the email marketing tools do provide this as part of their feature set. And it is basically that when someone’s email address is added a set series of emails, for a particular amount of time is sent out to that user, one after the other.

SLIDE 25
I was at a hotel just about two weeks ago and I was looking closely at the customer journey in preparation for this and I was looking at how I might improve it and I so I booked the hotel and I just got a confirmation email and not a whole lot more. What I think should have happened, was that as soon as I booked, I got a follow up thank you email and then immediately an upsell email to try and offer me a deal on a dinner that night that I am staying, local events, do deals with local organizations. But I definitely should have been upsold because I want to have a good time when I am there. It is not really a sell if you are providing opportunities for me to have a really good time while I’m there.

Just before I arrived I should have gotten an email confirming all of my details, how to get there, my travel itinerary and possible other things I could see while I m there. And then afterwards I definitely should have gotten a thank you email and can we send you more information, check out our social media channels.
That is just my suggestion of a way that could have been used more effectively.

Again, as I just touched on there, upsell your customers and there are huge amounts of opportunities you have. When someone’s making that booking they have the credit card in their hand, they have trusted you enough, you want to take advantage of that, they want to have a good time. Help them have a good time by providing additional services. You are in a great position; you have the customer on the hook.

Upsell dinner, spa, breakfast, an upgrade in hotel room, but make the offer time limited in order to get them to respond very quickly.

SLIDE 26
This is an example from the Luxor in Las Vegas after a booking they send out information on their restaurant and their dinner.

SLIDE 27
I hope you are tracking your return on investment. For hotels, this is a general number, an average number for hotel rates. Expect an open rate of 27.5 percent,. a click through rate of 7.17 percent A spam rate of .08 percent and an unsubscribe rate of around . 49 percent.

SLIDE 28
The more you segment your lists and the more you target your messages, the more those numbers are going to go up. This is an example of the many tools that are out there. This is an example of the data they can give back to you. So you send out a campaign and this will give you information on who opened, what bounced, when they opened it, what they clicked, who they forwarded it to, and you can actually see that the three spikes in the graph are the mornings of Australia, here and the US.

Typical example of what the tools can provide: subscriber management, email templates, editing, personalization, sending, tracking.

SLIDE 29
Of the tools that are out there, here is a quick list. Toddle, which is our own service, will help you do the creative, the rest will help you do the sending, the managing. Expected costs: Vertical Response costs 10 dollars per month for about 500 subscribers. And that is subscription based whereas Campaign Monitor does per subscriber, so it is .01 cent per email you send it to.

There are web based applications or desktop based applications or groupmail which is another great service will charge a one off cost of 139 dollars

SLIDE 30
That is mostly it. Just manage, track and measure what you are sending out and make improvements each month.

If someone forwarded to a friend, why did they? If someone clicked on a link, why? How can you do more of that? Why do they unsubscribe and basically make next months email better.

SLIDE 31
I am over time so I am going to just flick through a few creative examples that I came across, I really like this particular design for an offer. It is an example of a competition with a clear call for action. A very clear offer and very few distractions and for a spa resort , nice how they made the design very effective for what they were offering.

SLIDE 35
That is it, Thank you very much. I put together a top ten list for you. You can download it from the website here. I suggest hanging it up and going it through every month. Thank you very much.

$200 off your email newsletter design Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Ezine, design

To celebrate our email design feature in this months .net magazine we are offering $200 of a custom design order.
This offer is for two days only, after which the offer drops to $100 off.
Toddle email design in .net magazine

If interested click here for a quote.
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Check out our email design in this months .net magazine Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Ezine, Great Marketing / Advertising, Toddle, design

net_mag_spread_blog

net magazine toddle email designCheck out our work that is featured in the July issue of .net magazine on the shelves now. I believe the magazine is called Practical Web Design in the US and Australia. What ever the name look for the cover to the left.

Alan designed a fictional email offer for the real web application Finetuna.com. This is how he described it:
net_mag_finetuna_artwork“Finetuna.com is a real web application run by the team at Spoiltchild. It’s for sharing feedback on concepts between a designer and client. However, it doesn’t have subscriptions or even an email newsletter, so I thought it would be fun to see what one might look like.

I approached this email as if it was one edition of a newsletter that’s been going out regularly. With that in mind, the subject line is ‘Finetuna.com – WIN a lifetime subscription’. The hope would be that the Finetuna brand name would have built up recognition and trust over previous emails, making a subscriber pay more attention when they see it.

The design is consistent with the look and style of the website, except for the main competition piece, which has large formatted type, an off-brand contrasting colour and big call to action button so there’s no doubt this is the most important part of the email. Entry is as simple and quick as possible because a subscriber’s attention span won’t be that long with this mail.
I also deliver on the established trust by providing links and an article that would be of value to a designer reading it.

Finally, while I love email newsletters, I realise they’re just one part of a wide marketing mix, so I’ve included links to the other channels where a subscriber may prefer to interact instead.

Overall, the design and art direction captures the brand and personality of the service. It requests instant action from the subscriber, but doesn’t sacrifice the long-term relationship in favour of a quick win.”

Alan also gives a break down in the article of the the individual sections of the email design but i will not give those away so that you go out and buy loads of copies!
Check it out now on your magazine stands.

Minute Marketing: Tweet this now! Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Ezine, Hotel, Inspiration, Minute Marketing Tips & Ideas

Social Media Marketing for Cafes
If you run a physical business such as a cafe, or shop and you want to create a bit of buzz on social media why not ask your customers who are with you now. Ask them to tweet over their coffee about where they are. If they show you the tweet, give them a free refill. Works with Facebook or Linkedin as well.
Easy, low cost, personal and effective.

Whatever your business can you ask your customers right now to refer you?

Minute Marketing – Quick, Simple marketing tips, stories and ideas that you can start in 1 minute. It’s not all about email!