For most advisors, the subject of utilizing social media and digitally based marketing strategies is somewhat foreign. Due to compliance issues and a general skepticism of internet marketing techniques, there are many advisors who have yet to develop their practice in this arena. The industry, as a whole, has become a bit slow to adapt. The good news is two fold. First, for those who are beginning to embrace digital marketing, you are way ahead of your competition and despite the fact that you may be behind other industries, you’re still leading the pack within your own. Second, starting now means that you can learn from the successes of other business owners and the many surveys and studies that teach us what clearly works and what doesn’t. This is an advantage that will save you time, effort, and money as you launch a digital marketing campaign.
Let’s start by addressing email marketing.
Email is a powerful medium for advisors. Whether your target audience is seniors, those approaching retirement, CPA’s, or even attorneys, you’ll find nearly all of them are using email. This won’t be the case with other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter where these target groups tend to lag behind. So it makes perfect sense for you to have a strategically developed and managed email campaign. Unfortunately, most advisors don’t give this too much thought as they utilize a generic newsletter provided by a company that mass produces content for the financial and insurance industries. Yes, it’s simple, easy, and fairly inexpensive to subscribe to a newsletter service such as this, but is it effective? Surveys indicate that open and click-through rates are low- usually single digit percentages.
1. Keep ‘em short
Long, multi-paragraph emails send a subliminal message to the reader that says “You don’t have time to read me!” Especially if you are emailing a busy professional, a wordy email will get dumped into the trash faster than grandma’s stale holiday fruitcake. If you want your email to get read, limit it to no more than 5-6 sentences. Another point to remember is that more than half of all emails are opened on a smartphone or mobile device. Long emails with images and graphics don’t download or read well on these devices- which lowers your open rates.
2. Keep ‘em personal
Does your email look like a mass mailing that went out to your entire database? If so, the message you’re sending screams “This is nothing special, I’m sending it to everyone.” An effective email is one that you can send to 1000 people, yet the reader thinks it was sent only to them.
3. Don’t sell or self promote
If your email sounds like a sales pitch or self-promotion, it will not only get deleted quickly, but there is literally no hope of anyone sharing the information. However, if you are providing useful information specifically created for your target audience, then there is a great chance that the receiver will not only read it, but also share it with someone they know. Every time this happens, it’s an opportunity for you to increase your reach.
4. Link it back to your website
This is one of the biggest mistakes I see. Rather than providing the valuable information in the email itself (where you are likely to overwhelm your audience), put the content on your website blog and then give a “teaser” description of the information within the email and a link back to the appropriate page on your site. Now, instead of forcing information on people, you’re creating curiosity and they are making the conscious decision to read what you offer. A critical aspect of marketing is psychology and there is a BIG difference between force feeding and giving folks the option. Plus, driving traffic back to your website results in significantly higher conversion rates than simply having them read an email.
5. Keep it consistent, but do not overwhelm
There’s a fine line between being a resource and being a nuisance. Your clients and prospects will love hearing from you 2-4 times per month if you provide them with valuable content. Do it any less than that and you’ll probably miss out on referrals. Do it any more than that and they may tell you to take them off your list.
The bottom line here is provide quality information to your audience in a manner that is not self-promoting or annoying, while encouraging people to share and prompting them to visit your website. Do this consistently and you’ll build your credibility and become a trusted resource for your clients and business partners.