Marketing Corner – Email Practices

Ten Best Practices to Boost Your Email Marketing Activity

Whether used for communication with current clients or to prospect for new leads, email is a still a powerful and efficient tool for advisors. As a piece of your overall marketing mix, email is essential; as important as direct mail, social media marketing, and digital adverting. However, many advisors miss opportunities to get the most out of their email. Here are ten best practices for email marketing.

pipelineBuild An Email Pipeline

Let’s say you have a batch of email addresses in your CRM that you’ve collected from seminars, digital gives, and other marketing activities. What you really have is the beginning of an email pipeline. This collection of email addresses is an unused resource, a marketing opportunity that is already sitting within your practice. Take some time to sift through the email addresses and place them into your email service provider. You now have a large potential audience to send general marketing communications and drip messages.

Segment

The most basic way you can segment emails is between current clients and opt-in leads. Obviously the kind of bulk emails you send to a current valued client will be different than what you send to prospects, but it’s important that you have an easy way to distinguish and send relevant batch messages to these two basic types of lists. Also important: to easily drop new email addresses into their appropriate list. Most email service providers make this fairly simple–you will just need to make some initial time investment to comb through your email addresses.

As you build out further, you should be able to create segments within your main segments. These other segments should reflect where a lead is at within your marketing funnel (or marketing circuit), allowing you to match your message to their level of familiarity with you and your services.

Automate

We’ve mentioned automated drip marketing before, but we mention it here again because it’s an effective method to touch many prospects with a low time investment. The drip can be initiated manually after a prospect states they aren’t ready for your services or can be initiated automatically after a form submittal on your website.macbook

Personalize

It will almost always be in your advantage to personalize marketing whenever possible. Fortunately this is very easy in email. For one-on-one emails, it’s as simple as you addressing the lead or client. For batch emails—depending on how much corresponding information you have—it may be a function within your email service provider.

Include Images

Images can enhance your marketing messages and break up chunks of text. The imagery you use in your email templates might be branding or items that support/correspond to your message. This will help your emails stand out from others and establish personality with your brand.

There is a potential trade-off however. Too many images may impact the deliverability of your emails and trigger spam filters, so be sure to use images carefully and test large batch messages.

Use CTAs (Calls to Action) Buttons

Call-To-Action buttons are very useful at engaging leads and directing them toward specific actions. This might be to read more about a subject that you tease in the email, to watch a video, or fill out a form.

Measure Results Closely

graphWhile you likely only care about one ultimate result—whether or not a lead converts—you should be aware of the important email stats related to your campaign. What was the deliverability rate of a batch message? How many people opened it? How many people clicked a CTA or visited your website as a result of the email. These stats are not only important to understanding the effectiveness of your campaign, but can be used to further segment your lists.

Make Your Messages Short and Sweet

Long blocks of texts, especially with marketing messages, strain on the eye. Plus if you can’t tell a lead in a few hundred words why they should click on your CTA or call in for more information, you don’t have your value proposition whittled to the essentials.

Use Good Subject Lines

Crafting good subject lines is an art. You can easily find lists of the most successful subject lines online. Some swear by using “FREE” or using numbers and lists. What works for you will depend on the content of your email and your target list. The best practice, however, is to be straightforward and clear, less spammy and sales-y. For instance, the subject line of this piece is “Here Are Ten Best Practices to Boost Your Email Marketing Activity.” Give a sense of what the recipient will see when they open the email and how the information can help them.

More examples:

• Worried about Social Security Changes? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know
• Find Out If You Can Retire Safely
• Five Reasons Why A Life Insurance Policy Is Right For You
• Planning For Retirement Can Be Confusing—We Can Help
• Our Free Retirement Analyzer Report Helps You Know When You Can Retire
• Retirement Plan Take A Beating in the Markets? Fight Back With Our Tailored Solutions

With most email platforms you will have the option for A/B testing. This allows you to test two subject lines and gives you a better picture over time of your email marketing success.

Use Signature Line for Contact Info and Links

Your signature line should be clear and updated (no old phone numbers, outdated fax numbers etc.) Provide necessary information about how to contact you, your title and affiliations, and business website. Avoid clogging your signature line with unnecessary quotes and inspirational messages. You should use icon links to you or your company’s social media profiles, so that clients and prospects can find you in all the places you are located online.

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Marketing Corner – The New Marketing Funnel

Marketing Corner – Wednesday May 18th, 2016

The New Marketing Funnel

A common way of thinking about your prospect flow is a funnel. This is a tried-and-true way of organizing lead flow as prospects move through your marketing channels. It helps you understand where leads are in your marketing process, allowing you to match marketing efforts appropriately to prospect interest and growing familiarity with your services.

At the top of the funnel, you have a pool of clients, with sections of the funnel corresponding to levels of touch, interest, or activity, until they drip out of the funnel and become a client.

This visual metaphor may work to explain the overall direction a lead travels before converting into a client. However, because of how digitally-driven marketing is now—even for financial advisors—the funnel is no longer an appropriate way to describe lead flow. Lead flow is less a downward path and more a non-linear process.

A prospect may find you because of a SEM campaign or they may recognize your real-world ads like fliers and posters. The prospect may become aware of you because of direct mail and visit your base website. They may respond to a digital ad and recognize you as the company that sponsored a community summer concert series. They may respond to your social media activity and sign-up for your newsletter. All of your marketing components may be involved before they give you call or respond to your offer. The point is there is not always a direct line from the first engagement to conversion and this path can involve many different portals of engagement.

Why is this important? Prospects expect to find you in multiple places and will seek you out in various marketing verticals. While it can be difficult to track the true path a prospect follows, you do have opportunities to enhance this new marketing flow. For instance:

Remarketing

Remarketing as concept essentially means marketing again to someone who showed interest or engaged with you. In this sense, it is very similar to drip marketing. But in digital advertising, remarketing refers to showing ads to respondents or visitors to your website. A little piece of code (known as a pixel) signals back to the base campaign and issues further advertising or offers. This can be implemented on your base website as leads travel through various pages. It can also be implemented through AdWords or Facebook campaigns, greatly enhancing brand awareness and increasingly the possibility of prospect action.

Drip Campaigns

There are many ways to develop a drip campaign. Drip campaigns can be easily automated through email. The act of you regularly following-up with a lead (like say through phone and email) is a form of a drip campaign. While your marketing overall may be non-linear, drip campaigns do provide a little bit of a linear lead flow. With the help of a good CRM you can schedule and track the drips in your campaign. However, your other verticals may complicate this direct positioning.

Regular Social Media Engagement

The key to maximizing your social media profiles is to provide regular and consistent content. Posts should demonstrate your expertise and value, while discussing topics relevant to your target market.

Being successful with the new non-linear marketing model means providing reasons for prospects to keep engaging with you. If it seems overwhelming, confusing, or too diffuse, use metrics to measure responsiveness of each portal of engagement and create circuits that connect the individual marketing portals.

A marketing circuit charts the path(s) a prospect can take toward conversion. You’ll notice that while there is a linear pull from first engagement to conversion, a lead may take a roundabout way of getting there. The purpose of a diagram like this is to understand how your marketing channels can work with each other and feed back toward the ultimate goal of conversion.

In this example, the first portal of engagement is a digital ad, but the pieces (or portals) can be structured in any number of ways. A well-designed marketing circuit helps you to retain and enhance your leads, maximizing your marketing activity.

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