It's a brave e-world: e-marketing tips for financial advisers

3 June 2013

We've all posted the classic direct marketing (DM) pack - the traditional covering letter and flyer. And while DM is far from dead, today you can do it electronically. Welcome to the world of e-marketing.

Broadly speaking, e-marketing is the use of digital media (from SMS to social media, email to web) in order to promote your services to existing and potential clients. It can be a powerful, cost-effective way to deliver the right message to the right audience.

Who do I email?

The first step is to segment your database, making it easier to tailor your emails to each segment's needs. For example, young and single clients might want to know more about saving for a first home, whereas couples with adult children might be drawn to emails about retirement strategies and protecting assets. Once you've segmented your database, decide which segment is the most important to the growth of your business; they may be the best segment to contact first.

Bear in mind only people who explicitly gave you permission to email them can be contacted. Having a ‘Subscribe to newsletter' button on the home page of your website, for example, is a good first step to help grow your client database.

When do I email?

The evening rush can be a popular time of the day to send emails, but open rates vary for each industry. In the finance sector, emails sent before 10am receive the most traction. Click here for an interesting infographic that illustrates the open rate landscape (by Pure360 Research).

How often should I email?

Think carefully about the regularity of your emails to clients. Not only do you need to consider the volume of emails they receive from you, but you need to be able to create and maintain a level of interesting content. A daily email - even though packed with information - can easily become invisible to the recipients. On the flip-side, infrequent emails, like only emailing once a year, can also lead recipients to forget about you.

Depending on the nature of your business and size of your client base, a monthly or quarterly e-newsletter may be well received and a manageable deliverable for your team. There are no established rules, but aim to maintain a consistent email schedule.

What are the ingredients of a successful email?

Subject line: a rule of thumb is to ‘tell what's in the email, not just sell what's in the email'. Make it meaningful to the recipient, because you want to convince them to open your email without being too pushy.

Content: recent research shows the average time allocated to a newsletter after opening it is only 51 seconds*, so be direct and to the point. Recipients won't read a long, verbose piece no matter how relevant. Whether it's your view on FOFA or an update on your business, the content should contain something that interests the reader.

Call to action: include a clear call to action so your readers know exactly where to click. Avoid offering them too many links, but focus on a key action point such as ‘Contact us now for an appointment', with your email address embedded as a link.

Opt-out option: an opt-out or unsubscribe option is legally required in every email. Simply make it part of your email template and ensure people who unsubscribe are not contacted via email anymore. You must be compliant with the Spam Act (for more information see ACMA's link below).

Disclaimer: don't forget to include the legal small print where relevant, including your registered business name, ACN and AFSL details. Your compliance person should be able to draft a suitable disclaimer that you can re-use for all e-marketing activities.

Test, test, test

All the above tips could easily go to waste if your email includes small typos or links that aren't working. These mistakes signal a lack of professionalism and can easily be avoided. Always send a test email to yourself and proofread it. Ideally, let a second pair of eyes run over the email.

Don't forget to follow up

Engagement is a strong measure of email success. It's important to measure the open and click-through rates of each email campaign, including phone or email enquiries that result from your efforts. There are many software packages available to help you with email marketing, such as Vision6 or Swift Digital, but Google Analytics, which is free of charge, will show click-through rates to content on your website. Following a potential client from visiting your website to subscribing to your emails, and getting further engaged by requesting additional information or reading your articles, is an informative exercise and important to help you improve your e-marketing activities.

People don't give out their email address for nothing - they do it in exchange for value. So be creative and try to add value.

If you found this article of interest, you may also enjoy these Bennelong articles:
Getting your marketing emails read
SEO for financial planners
Social media for financial advisers
Six website tips for planners

For further reading on e-marketing, please review the below links:
Identifying the 10 best email subject lines
The Australian Communications and Media Authority's (ACMA) blog
Your complete guide to measuring email marketing success
Five ways financial advisers can improve their email marketing campaigns


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