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 – April 14th, 2016

Five Low-Cost, Simple, and Obvious Marketing Solutions

There’s a wide world of marketing out there for advisors and agents. Some solutions can be pretty sophisticated, using technology for advanced targeting and prospect tracking. We’ve certainly advocated for (and currently provide) many progressive digital marketing solutions. These solutions—like email segmentation, advanced display network advertising, website optimization, and so forth, help you stay in front of your consumers and ahead of your competition.

However, there are many low-cost, simple, and obvious marketing solutions that advisors often overlook when chasing new marketing platforms. It is definitely important to have one foot in the future, but that does not mean you should forget about these simple marketing methods.

Fliers

Whether you have an upcoming event or are just looking to keep your name alive in your business community, fliers are still a worthy means of branding yourself. Maybe putting up fliers will give you flashbacks of promoting DIY shows back when you were a punk rocker, but for promoting your business you really have nothing to lose.

Many might object to this method because it has an air of cheapness and grunginess about it. This is why you target community boards in high-traffic areas—your coffeeshops, breakfast bistros, library events boards–places where your ideal prospects visit routinely. Make sure your fliers have a clear message, are well-designed, and feature prominently your business branding.

How cheap is this option? To give you perspective, B+W 8X11 sheets from FedEx Kinko’s run about 12 cents a page, 59 cents for color, maybe a little more for glossier paper options.

Libraries and Hospitals

hospitalLast week we discussed best practices for running a workshop, mentioning libraries and community centers as good potential venues for holding your seminars. An expensive dinner at a restaurant or country club can certainly appeal to higher-end prospects, but at a high budget to you. Libraries and hospitals often have meeting rooms available for use—especially if your workshop is more educational than sales pitch.

We’ve found that in many cases staff members at a library or hospital will be very supportive of your event, since it is providing a service to their base community. This means that you can organize a workshop for the cost of base marketing, supporting documents, coffee and doughnuts, and a box of fresh pens.

Social Media

This entry is not so much about how you should be using social media to engage consumers (although you absolutely should), but more about how you should at least claim your business profile across social platforms. Again, we absolutely advocate the use of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to publish content and build a consumer following, but some advisors lack even a static corporate profile page.

We get it—for some advisors it might not make sense to be enmeshed in the sometimes twisted world of social media. But generally, having a corporate Facebook page or company page on LinkedIn is not going to cost you anything. It will make your business more visible to consumers and provide a base to begin content marketing from.

It’s cheap (or free), takes little time, and sets you on a path toward digital content marketing.

Ambient Marketing

Financial advisors often build marketing campaigns around time-sensitive events like a seminar. This is because seminars, for all the work that goes into them, can pay off huge with new clients. So an advisor may use a direct mail vendor, involve an RSVP service, and put some adspend in digital campaigns to promote his or her event. While these strategies work (and in the long-run are cost-effective), they have a very specific focus and goal—meat in the seats.

However, what kind of marketing do you do when you don’t have an upcoming event? Some advisors, looking to keep marketing costs as trim as possible, don’t do any kind of marketing—instead relying on word-of-mouth and referrals.

emailIn between events and promotions, drop some digital adspend in a display network campaign. Keep the budget where you want. It could be a huge marketing budget, or it could be a small daily amount. The point is, you have an opportunity to keep your name and branding cycling online in your community for a very low cost. There’s no specific goal, other than to build brand awareness and maybe draw people to your website, but this ambient marketing gives you a constant presence that might pay off hugely.

Cost? You could appropriate $100-$200 a month for this type of marketing. More if you’ve got the budget. Plus, with AdWords and Facebook you can specifically target your ideal clients. $1200-$2400 is not a bad price for a year’s baseline marketing, especially if it gets you clients. With this budget you should not anticipate direct leads (though it can happen) but rather a constant brand awareness that enhances other marketing activities.

Email Pipeline Marketing

Over periods of prospecting, you’ve likely gathered a list of emails. Many advisors, because they focus on new clients and new marketing activities, ignore the value of their email lists. With most email platforms, you are charged by subscribers rather than the individual number of emails you send. This allows you to build pipelines, often with no more expense than your current cost of the service. So take some time, comb through your current lists and build drip campaigns.

Cost? Maybe nothing more than your time. Maybe a little more to upgrade to a higher subscriber level with your email service provider.

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Marketing Corner – February 5th, 2016

25 Marketing Stats Every Financial Advisor Needs To Know

Financial advisors often state that marketing and prospecting are the main challenges they face in their practice. This is certainly understandable; marketing is a rapidly evolving process and reaching consumers can be difficult. However, it is possible to position yourself for success in our digitally-driven world. The important thing to remember is that there is not one process that will give you the edge, but rather a collection of approaches that work in concert with each other. That said, here are 25 important marketing stats you need to know.

Email

Organizations using email to nurture leads result in 50% sales-ready prospects.
Forrester Research via Hubspot

These nurtured leads see a 20% increase in sales opportunities when compared to non-nurtured prospects.
Hubspot

Personalized messages are more effective than non-personalized messages. According to an Experian study, personalized messages received 29% higher open rates and 41% more unique clicks.
Experian

According to Campaign Monitor, personalized subject lines saw a 26% increase in open rates.
Campaign Monitor

Email is more effective for client acquisition than social media. McKinsey found that it was almost 40 times more effective than Twitter and Facebook combined.
McKinsey

 

Main Takeaway: Advisors should be utilizing email as a marketing tool and as a way to nurture leads passing through their marketing funnel. The more personalized you are, the better your open and click-through rates will be.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is nearly seven times more effective than email, mobile, social media, internet display, and paid search—combined. This is according the Direct Marketing Association Response Rate Report 2015.
DMA via PremierIMS

Over forty percent of people that receive direct mail items read or scan them.
DMA Statistical Fact Book via eleventy marketing group

A survey conducted by DMA found that seventy-nine percent of consumers would act on direct mail immediately versus 45% who said they would act on email immediately.
DMA via The Drum

A neurological study conducted by Temple University, and sponsored by the Postal Service Inspector General’s Office, found that:

  • While digital ads draw attention quicker, direct mail has more review time
  • Direct mail is more easily remembered than digital ads
  • Direct mail elicits more of an “emotional reaction” than digital ads

DM News

 

Main Takeaway: Even in a digital driven marketplace, direct mail is still a very effective marketing platform.

Mobile

70% of mobile searches result in website action with an hour
IAcquire

A little over 80% of consumers surveyed stated they would delete a mobile email if it didn’t render properly.
Blue Hornet

65% of all email is opened on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet.
Venture Beat

Almost half of consumers will abandon a website if it renders poorly on a mobile device.
The Social Media Hat

40% of mobile searches are focused on local services
Think With Google

 

Main Takeaway: Consumers increasingly use their mobile devices to access the internet and interact with pieces of marketing. Your website and your emails should be designed for the mobile experience.

Video

Consumers spend an extra two minutes on websites with video, versus sites that don’t
Merchant Marketing Group

More than half of all mobile traffic is online video
Merchant Marketing Group

Video on landing pages leads to an increase in conversion, in one test case as much as 86% conversion.
EyeView

Main Takeaway: Video can be a powerful way to enhance your website and marketing materials.

Website

A one second delay in loading time can reduce conversions by 7%
Kissmetrics

A loading time of more than three seconds causes 40% of shoppers to abandon the website.
Kissmetrics

Not really a stat, but very important. In April of 2015, Google began using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in search results. This means if your website does not smoothly translate to mobile, it may not rank higher in search results when a consumer searches from a mobile device.

Main Takeaway: Make sure your website loads quickly and incorporates responsive design.

Social Media

Social media is now an important research tool for investors. According to a report from LinkedIn and Cogent Research, 5 million investors with assets $100,000 or more use social media to investigate their financial decisions.

LinkedIn/Cogent ResearchSocial Media’s Growing In­fluence Among High Net Worth Investors”

Most high-net-worth investors use social media (over 90%).

LinkedIn/Cogent Research

Social Media’s Growing Infl­uence Among High Net Worth Investors”

Over 60% of advisors who used LinkedIn for prospecting acquired new clients.
LinkedIn and FTI Consulting

According to a recent American Century Investments report, about 43% financial professionals identify a positive ROI to their social media use.
American Century Investments

The same ACI report found that LinkedIn helped advisors surveyed by:

  • Enhancing profile with clients (48%)
  • Enhancing business knowledge (28%)
  • Improving on referrals (28%)
  • Sharing insights with clients/prospects (24%)American Century Investments 

A recent Putnam survey of over 800 advisors, found that 79% had found new clients via various social media.
Putnam Investments

Main takeaway: Social media, especially LinkedIn, can be extremely useful to connect with new clients. These clients include high-net-worth individuals and others many advisors would identify as their target market.

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