It can be a daunting topic for financial planners – automating marketing emails. Yet with some careful planning, you can set up a powerful email marketing system which engages your clients and prospects.
Before we delve into the specifics of how to do this effectively, let’s take a look at what automation is and is not when it comes to email marketing. There are misconceptions which need to be cleared out of the way beforehand.
Defining marketing automation
Marketing automation refers to the use of software to manage aspects of your financial marketing for you. For instance, for email marketing, this might be software such as MailChimp.
Here, you can write pre-made, personalised emails which send to your email subscribers based on certain conditions being met, or based on certain subscriber actions/inactions.
You might even tailor your emails based on the recipient’s key characteristics, such as their age, job title or place of residence. The more personalised your message is, the more power your financial marketing tends to possess – which encourages engagement rates and conversions.
The beauty of marketing automation is that you can create a system which does all of this for you. That means you can increase the potency of your marketing, whilst increasing operational efficiency.
Advantages of automation
Personalised emails produce up to seven times the amount of revenue compared to non-personalised ones. However, if you have a large email list then sending out individual emails to each client or prospect is simply not going to be feasible.
An automated system can take care of the repetitive, mundane aspects of your email marketing by doing this on your behalf – at a far more efficient rate. This allows both you and your sales/marketing team to focus on other important areas of your business which are more stimulating for them.
Financial services companies which use marketing automation also send to see much higher conversion rates – sometimes up to 53% higher. Many of them are also able to significantly reduce their conversion times as well, meaning that these firms tend to close business much more quickly.
Key Concepts to Know
So now you know some of the key benefits to introducing automation to your financial firm’s email marketing. Before we go further, let’s just quickly go over some important definitions you will need to know in order for the practical steps to make sense:
- Conversion funnel. This is the process your customer goes through on their journey towards becoming a client. For instance, the initial stage might be “awareness” – which occurs when the prospect first becomes aware of your brand or service. A later stage might be “consideration” when they start actively comparing your value proposition to your competitors’. The final stage might be “action”, which occurs when the lead closes in either a win or a loss.
- Feedback loops. When you send out a marketing message to your audience, there will inevitably be a reaction (even if the action is nothing). It is the person’s reaction that you must carefully monitor, as this will affect your marketing response to it. This process of reaction is known as a “feedback loop”, and is especially important in email marketing. People’s reactions to your email campaigns will determine how you follow up the campaign, for instance.
- Metrics. These are the data measures you refer to when determining how well your email marketing is performing. For instance, your open rate is your metric showing how many recipients of your email actually opening the message in order to read it. If this metric is low, then this suggests you need to tailor your headline or time of sending your emails to subscribers.
- Workflow. This is where the subject of automation most comes into focus when it comes to email marketing. Your workflow refers to the series of triggers you have set up for your email campaign, which cause certain messages to be delivered to your subscribers when they are triggered. For instance, if someone signs up to your newsletter for the first time then this could trigger the first of a series of emails which welcome the person and present them with a series of offers.
How to set up email automation for financial marketing
Now that email automation has been defined and we have wrapped our heads about some of the key concepts involved, here is our suggestion for the practical steps of setting up your first email campaign:
#1 Goals: define them
Before you do anything, it is crucial that you establish exactly what you want to do with your email marketing. Are you looking to increase the volume of leads you generate? Are you looking to increase cross-selling and up-selling opportunities from current clients?
#2 Focus on your target audience
It is easy to assume that you will want to target all of your subscribers with your email marketing. However, depending on your goals it might make sense to only target specific segments. For instance, if you want to increase cross-sells and up-sells from current clients, then it makes sense to target this specific segment rather than also including new subscribers who have not yet transacted at all.
#3 Map out your workflow
Remember, you are trying to produce certain actions and outcomes from your subscribers through your email marketing automation. So, when mapping out your email workflow it is crucial to have these clearly in your mind – setting everything up so that it increases the chances of those things happening.
It might be, for instance, that you want to increase the number of new subscribers and also your overall quantity of conversions. For this to happen, it might be that new subscribers need lots of valuable content over the course of many weeks before they have the confidence to consider a transaction with your firm. Rarely are people ready to buy from financial firms at the get-go. They need to trust you first.
#4 Engage in continuous quality control
Bear in mind that not all of your email subscribers will be equally good in quality. Your email list will almost certainly contain a mixture of people, some of whom are very interested in becoming a client whilst others will probably never convert.
It can therefore be helpful to create a “lead rating” system, which gives each email subscriber a score based on their interactions with your content and email marketing messages. If they show engagement and increasing interest over time, then you will want to give these people a higher score than those who never open your emails or interact with you.
The former type you can then target even more specifically with your email marketing, nurturing them towards a sale. The others you might eventually phase out of your list completely.