I’ve been really impressed over the last few months by the excellent use of email as a marketing tool by some financial advisers. While some “digital experts” suggest that email has been replaced by social media, I’m not an advocate of that point of view. I firmly believe that email should play a leading role in the marketing mix employed by financial advisers. This blog post sets out a few general observations and thoughts to enhance your email marketing activities.
To start, for the purpose of this article I’m going to assume you have a valid email database under data protection rules. The next important point is to ensure that every opportunity is taken to improve this list. Every customer contact should include a quick check to ensure you have the client’s correct email address. Email offers a low cost and effective route for financial advisers to reach their customers, so maximise the opportunity! Good data will help you do this.
However email is not for everyone so ensure you respect your clients’ wishes. If someone wants to unsubscribe, make sure you have a robust process to manage this. Otherwise you risk really undermining your relationship with these clients.
Get organised and get going! Otherwise you run the risk of what has been described as “The Bad Relative Strategy”. This is where you seek permission from your audience to send them great content……and then do nothing. For ages. Until you’re looking for something – for example to make them aware of a really great product opportunity. This is compared to the distant uncle who only turns up at Christmas looking to be fed and watered! If you say you’re going to email your clients, be ready to do so. Have a plan.
When you’re ready to go, launch your email campaign. Tell your audience what to expect in terms of how you want to add value to them, the type of content they can expect and the frequency of your communications. And then have a plan to deliver as you promised.
I’m always asked how frequently you need to be communicating to be effective. Personally I think you need to be communicating at least monthly with original content. You can then supplement this with interesting content that you curate from the web. That is, interesting to your audience! And don’t fall into the trap of only sharing other people’s content from the web. Your audience want to read your views and opinions too!
Some financial advisers easily achieve this. I receive a brilliant email blog from one financial adviser every Friday. Very well written, interesting to me, a bit quirky and I always read it!
As mentioned in the last paragraph, it’s the quality of the content that will engage your audience. And this is what it’s primarily all about; engagement, not selling. If you start just pushing product sales messages out there, expect your unsubscribes rates to soar. No-one wants to be constantly sold to. If you over-sell, you’ll lose your audience forever.
However you want a return from your email marketing. Your best chance of achieving this is by engaging your audience, making them aware of your expertise and how you add value, with a view to ultimately positioning yourself for when those sales opportunities arise.
So what’s the secret to developing engaging content? Well it starts by putting in the hard yards at the outset. And this means spending time at the outset planning out your content for the next couple of months at least. This will take the pressure away of trying to dream up a new topic each month. When this happens, inevitably you’ll struggle and eventually your communications will stop happening.
Having a schedule of content takes this pressure away each month. You’ll find then that your problem is finding room in the schedule for your latest, interesting topic. A nice problem to have.
More good news in relation to email marketing is that less is more! Links to blog posts or short newsletters with one or two articles are best. Frequent & short content rather than seldom & long content is the way to go.
And finally, read your content a few times before you send it. Tweak it, make sure there’s no typos and best of luck. Give it a year and then survey your audience to get a feel for whether you actually are engaging them or not. I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised!