“I wish email would die.”
Those five words are perhaps the most surprising (and ridiculous) I’ve ever heard come from a marketing expert. And yet they did. I was even more surprised a few minutes later when the same person went on to sing the praises of drip email campaigns. So, despite his personal disdain for the medium, as a professional, he couldn’t deny the marketing value of email. With more than 269 billion emails sent on a daily basis, his conflicted stance is understandable.
As inboxes become more inundated, email marketing efforts need to become more focused and more relevant in order to stand out. Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet for a successful email campaign, but using the following tips could very well save your messages from getting lost in the wash.
Most, if not all, email services allow you to break your contact lists into different segments. This is a great way to make sure you’re getting the right message out to the right people. Compared to emails that go out to non-segmented lists, segmented emails result in nearly 15% more opens and 100% more clicks (Mailchimp).
Demographic segmentation – age, gender, geographic location, income, etc. – is one of the most commonly seen uses of this practice. However, advisors and agents should consider digging a little deeper and segment their lists according to the needs and interests of their prospects. For example, create a “Life Insurance” segment that includes only those who have expressed interest in that specific topic. This will keep non-relevant content out of their inbox and decrease the number of people who click “unsubscribe.”
The subject line you use can make or break the email within the first few seconds of delivery. A strong and concise subject is the best way to pique the reader’s interest and get them to open the message. A good subject line will tease the content of your email, but avoid coming across as spam-y or sales-y. Subject lines that ask an open-ended question, focus on something of value, or speak to a specific need or curiosity will typically generate more opens than others. For example:
- When You Can Actually Retire Vs. When You Want To Retire
- Saving Versus Spending: Why You Might Be Doing Both Wrong
- What You Need To Know About Retirement
- Why Planning Your Legacy Now Is Important
- How You Can Save Even With Debt
- How Your Retirement May Change Next Year
- One Big Thing Missing From Your Retirement Plan
Avoid using spam filter language (loan, free, mortgage, etc.), deceptive subject lines, exclamation points, and NEVER USE ALL CAPS!!!
More than half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, and the majority of those who do open their messages on a smart device will delete emails that aren’t mobile friendly. So, if your email is not optimized for mobile, it might not be worth sending in the first place.
Most email platforms offer a variety of mobile-ready and responsive templates that will make sure yours is designed with smart devices in mind. Use them. You also want to make sure you preview and test your email on as many different devices as possible (computer, smart phone, tablet) to make sure it displays properly on all of them,
If there’s one point that cannot be overstressed, it’s this – content is king. The copy you write from the body of your email should be clear-cut, well-crafted, and plainly outline your value proposition. Obviously, grammar is of the upmost importance, so make sure your proofread at least a few times. Ideally, you’ll want a fresh set of eyes to go over your content at least once or twice as well.
Aim for a good balance of text and images. Too much of the former can come across as bland and unappealing, while an image-heavy email can take longer to load, increasing the chances they’ll delete or ignore your message. You also want to direct their attention to your call-to-action and provide multiple, clickable links to the site you want your readers to land on.
Personalized emails can increase both your click-through-rates and conversions. And like the aforementioned tips, your email platform likely has a feature that will automatically include the reader’s first name in both the subject line and greeting. This sort of personal touch will not only catch the reader’s eye, but it could also increase the sense of relevancy and emotional appeal.
Measure Your Results and Act Accordingly
Spend some time looking over the results of your previous email campaigns. Try to determine what it was about your “hits” that made them more successful than your “misses.” Was it the subject line? The time and day you sent the email? Even the design and placement of your links can affect how well your email campaign performs. By carefully going over the different variables at play, you can easily incorporate those things that worked into future campaigns.
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.
Build 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
While 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.
• 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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