By Ali McCarthy
The email inbox, for many, has become a symbol of workplace conversations that never end and newsletters that a person has forgotten they signed up for in the first place. But email is still the best place to communicate. When marketing surveys are taken across all industries, they routinely rank email as the number one channel used to get results for their businesses – ahead of social media and SEO.
We operate in a world that’s driven by numbers and the numbers look good for email marketing. One study found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average company gets nearly $40 in return on their investment.
In our experience, the most effective email strategies are drip campaigns: a series of emails that seeks to engage with a reader and get them to take actions that will move them further into your funnel until you’re sure they’re ready to talk with you—either because they’ve taken enough actions for you to be reasonably sure they’re interested, or because they reach out to you directly.
The biggest advantage of nurture emails is that they allow you to get hyper-specific with your message. Instead of sending a general broadcast email like a newsletter, you can send only content relevant to a person’s interests. For instance, if someone downloads an ebook about tax planning, you can follow that up with more emails about taxes and the best account types for those looking to minimize them.
Let’s look at a few best practices to make sure your emails get opened instead of tossed aside:
- Start with the subject line. Keep it short. You don’t want your subject lines to get cut off for being too long. Keep them under seven words or 40 characters.
- Invite interest. Ask questions, use emojis, and try to mix things up from the old standards.
- Be specific. If you’re sending a video, put “Watch Now” or “New Video” in the subject line. Whenever possible, be specific over spammy.
So a prospect has decided to click on your email. Great! Now how do you keep the attention you’ve captured? Here are a few ways:
- Include multiple calls to action. A call to action is a link or opportunity to interact further with you or your content. One email marketing company found that using multiple calls to action in their emails, instead of just one, raised engagement by at least 20 percent.
- Treat your email like a blog. Keep your paragraphs short and snappy. Walls of text are bad in a blog and they’re even worse in an email, especially now that most email is read on the smaller screens of mobile devices.
- Add preview text. Ever notice how sometimes you can see a little preview of the email before you click into it? That’s not by mistake; it’s an extra way for you to catch attention. Though it’s not technically part of your email body, you should think of it as the first opportunity to introduce the meat of your email content. Depending on the email service your reader is using, you have anywhere between 40 to 130 characters to grab their attention.
If that sounds like hard work… it is. An email marketing strategy can’t be built on a traditional email app like Outlook or Mac Mail. If you want to automate your emails and use nurture campaigns to help drive interested prospects to a meeting with you, invest in an email marketing platform.
The best solutions include the ability to select pre-designed customizable emails to help advisors engage with prospective clients and execute on their marketing vision. They shouldn’t exist in a vacuum, either: your solution should connect seamlessly to your financial planning tools, so prospects can begin building plans right from your email’s CTA.
The beauty of email marketing is that it is a permission-based communication channel. In other words, once you have someone’s email, you have special permission to get in touch with them. This is the key to tailoring a message that resonates with the specific financial needs of your clients-to-be.
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Alexandria McCarthy, Ph.D is President of The Center for Outcomes at Orion Advisor Solutions