When working with financial advice firms on their marketing plans, the value of email marketing always raises its head. Is it effective? Is it being replaced by social media? Is email passé?
I firmly believe that email marketing is a really important element of the overall marketing mix for financial advisers. It can be extremely effective if done well and can offer you a very targeted approach to reach your clients. It’s not a case of either / or in relation to social media, it’s a case of both! And it’s certainly not passé, it’s still probably the most essential communications tool for businesses today. Finally, if you go down the road of email newsletters, they offer you unparalleled feedback in relation to the engagement of your audiences.
You reach the inbox
While people sometimes (not that often in truth) complain about email overload, the key feature of email marketing is that you do actually land in the inboxes of your database. And generally as a result, at a minimum your subject line will be read. Even better, if your audience saw value in your previous content, the chances are that they will actually open and read your message. This is a big difference between it and social media, which is undoubtedly also an extremely valuable medium, but one where a lot of your messages can be missed due to the constant stream of messages being delivered.
You have an existing relationship
If you (legitimately) have the email addresses for your database, you already have a relationship at some level with the recipients. Therefore your messages won’t be viewed like a cold call approach; instead they will be seen as coming from a trusted source. However this proximity of your relationship brings an added challenge. If you consistently issue poor quality content, your email recipients will no longer want to receive your emails. This obviously may actually damage your overall relationship.
So a key point is that you don’t start spamming your database with irrelevant messages, as this practise will really undermine your relationship.
It’s another audience to reach
You want your marketing messages to reach as many people as possible. You deliver the messages verbally in person, potentially display them in and around your office, post them on your website to display to people who land on your site and share them out to your social media connections. Your email database is another audience, yes there is overlap with some of the other groups mentioned above, but this is another really important audience for you.
It’s low / no cost
While email newsletters delivered through your normal email platform are free, email newsletters delivered through reputable platforms (such as this one) do incur charges. However the charges are low when you consider all the benefits, particularly the feedback available, which is covered below.
You get unparalleled feedback
Email newsletters offer amazing feedback on the success or otherwise of your marketing campaigns. With advertising, direct mail and PR activities, it is notoriously difficult to measure your success at all. With online advertising, search and links to your website via social media, you get better information. With these media, you can see at least if your activities are driving people to your website.
However email newsletters deliver incredibly revealing feedback. Listed below are some of the metrics you can receive and how these are of use to you. One critical point to note is that these metrics can be tracked for your email list as a whole, but more importantly, you can look at these measures for each individual recipient too.
- Delivery rates: You can see how many of your emails actually landed in the intended inboxes, revealing among other things the quality of your data.
- Open rates: You can track how many people actually opened your email. This gives you a sense of whether recipients view your content as worthwhile / important to open.
- Click Rates: You can then track how many people actually clicked on one or more articles. This reveals whether recipients were interested enough to actually read your content.
- Individual article performance: You can see the open & click performance for each individual article. This gives you information on the type of content that resonates best with your audience.
- Time spent: You can also see how long people are reading your content. Are they just scanning it or really spending time over your content?
- Social interaction: You can see comments that people leave, if they “liked” your content and indeed if they shared any of your content.
This is extremely revealing information, particularly when examined at an individual subscriber level.
One adviser I’m working with had a protection client who opened 3 separate articles on investment topics a total of 14 times over the space of a few months. The adviser as a result focused his next review meeting on his investment expertise… and ended up securing a significant investment mandate with this client. Without the insights gained from his email newsletters, the adviser would not have known that this was an opportune button to press.
Also, as you review the statistics over time, the trends tell a very interesting story too – is your audience becoming more or less engaged, what sort of content should you focus on etc.?
Email marketing is still a really valuable and effective tool. It provides a level of certainty of the messages reaching the target market and exceptional feedback. Do you use email marketing? If so, what are your experiences? Please feel free to leave any comments below.