The financial services industry faces constant change and disruption. Email marketing presents opportunities for banks, insurance companies, investment firms, and other financial businesses to effectively engage customers, build loyalty, and grow their business.
This article provides 11 smart email marketing tips tailored specifically for the financial sector. By crafting targeted messaging, optimizing deliverability, leveraging personalization, and thoughtfully designing email content, financial brands can nurture improved client relationships and experiences.
Read on to unlock practical strategies any financial business can use to get more value from their email campaigns.
Why is Email Marketing Important for Financial Services?
Email marketing is a vital channel for financial services for several key reasons. Firstly, email boasts impressive ROI potential, with financial services brands earning an average of $42 for every $1 spent on email campaigns.
The highly targeted nature of email software allows banks, insurance providers, and investment companies to deepen customer relationships and cross-sell additional products more effectively.
On top of this, email’s accessibility and ease of use make it possible to reach customers frequently with relevant, personalized messaging even with tight budgets and small teams.
Other benefits like detailed analytics give financial brands powerful insights to further optimize campaigns.
Ultimately, the unmatched returns, outbound marketing capabilities, and flexibility of email make it an essential component of any financial services marketing strategy. Neglecting it means falling behind the competition when it comes to lead generation and customer retention.
1. Build a Subscriber List by Offering Tools
The foundation of impactful email marketing campaigns is a robust list of engaged subscribers. Financial brands should strategically build their lists by offering free tools like savings calculators, financial health quizzes, budget spreadsheets, and ebooks.
These valuable resources provide financial advice and insights in exchange for an email address. They should be promoted across your website, branch locations, and social media. For example, an insurance firm could offer a ‘What Type of Life Insurance Do You Need?’ quiz in exchange for an email signup.
Do more than just collect email addresses though. Use list sign-up forms to capture key data like demographics, location, role, and business challenges faced.
This allows for personalized, targeted messaging right from the first email. It also enables advanced segmentation so future emails can be tailored to various subscriber groups based on their interests and needs. The result is higher open and click-through rates.
2. Segment by Client Attributes
Once a subscriber list is built, financial brands should tap into the power of segmentation. This involves dividing contacts into groups based on attributes like client age, account balances, financial goals, and more.
Segmentation allows you to personalize email content and messaging to be highly relevant for different subscriber groups.
For example, an investment firm could create segments like ‘Retirees’, ‘First-Time Investors’, and ‘High Net Worth Clients’ in their email platform.
Each segment would then receive tailored emails aligned to their financial situations and goals. So first-time investors would receive more educational emails on building starter portfolios, whereas retirees may get emails focused on wealth protection, as shown in the example below:
Matching messaging to customer segments in this way can increase open rates by up to 50% while also building more meaningful client connections through relevance.
3. Ensure Mobile Optimization
With over 60% of emails now opened on mobile, optimization for smartphones and tablets is non-negotiable. Financial brands must ensure their email templates are mobile-friendly and easily scannable on smaller screens.
- This means using short paragraphs and bullet points to break up text-heavy blocks.
- It also requires larger fonts and buttons for easy tapping alongside ample white space between elements.
- Additionally, every email sent should link to landing pages that provide a smooth user experience on mobile.
- Pages should resize dynamically, use tap targets large enough for fingers, and avoid too much pinching or zooming.
Testing emails and linked pages on actual mobile devices instead of just simulators catches issues missed on desktops.
Ultimately mobile optimization boils down to simplified content flowing seamlessly across mobile email clients and websites. When done effectively, it can lift unique click-through rates by over 200%.
4. Personalize Content for Relevance
Personalization takes email relevance to the next level for financial services brands. This technique uses data like customer names, account details, location, interests, and more to tailor content to each subscriber’s unique situation.
Personalized subject lines alone can generate open rates up to 26% higher than generic titles.
Going deeper, banks may personalize email content with things like:
- Account numbers
- The latest transactions
- Special rates
- Account manager details, etc.
Insurance providers can incorporate policy numbers, coverage types, payment options, and customer service contacts.
Wealth management companies can feature portfolio balances, holdings, and tailored market insights. The key is to demonstrate an understanding of each client’s financial circumstances to establish trust and authority. This level of 1:1 customization makes subscribers feel recognized and catered to, cementing loyalty.
5. A/B Test Subject Lines
Crafting compelling subject lines is both a science and an art for financial email marketers. A/B testing different variations is the best way to learn what resonates most with your subscribers.
- Compare short cryptic titles versus longer descriptive ones.
- Test questions versus commands.
- Check whether personalization helps or hinders open rates depending on segments.
- Examine how promotions perform against educational subject lines.
Ongoing testing provides concrete data on the best approaches. It also prevents assumptions and guesses about what works.
Some best practices to bake into tests include curiosity-triggering questions, urgency, and exclusivity with words like “alert” and “immediate”, bracketed specificity like [For Checking Customers], and personalization using first names.
The key is to experiment across segments to determine the optimal mix of elements that pops for each audience.
6. Promote Content on Social Media
Driving traffic to online content is vital for lead generation. Financial brands should promote their most useful email content across social platforms to increase visibility and subscriptions.
For example, if a bank sends out an email with a popular guide for first-time mortgage applicants, they can also share that gated resource via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.
The social posts should highlight the value proposition of the content or tool to capture attention in the feed. This primes readers to take the desired action when they click through to the website, whether it’s downloading the guide, using the tool, or signing up for emails to access the content.
Amplifying email resources on social channels in this way expands reach and funnel conversion. Just be sure to only promote truly relevant resources that deliver value or financial education to avoid disengaging followers with too much promotional content.
7. Welcome New Customers
Financial institutions should leverage email to onboard new customers. Welcome campaigns provide an opportunity to guide clients through the initial processes relevant to them.
- For checking account customers, this may involve emails explaining online banking, transferring funds, and activating debit cards.
- For new loan recipients, it may cover paperwork requirements, payment options, and interest calculations.
- Recently opened credit card accounts could receive a series of tips for benefits usage, rewards maximization, and recognizing fraud.
Mapping out a coordinated email flow eliminates friction during the activation process across products. It also establishes the value customers gain from the ongoing account communications they signed up for.
First impressions matter, so setting clear expectations upfront via email provides clarity for customers while confirming the financial brand’s commitment to proactive guidance. Welcome series set promising foundations for lasting client relationships.
8. Send Timely, Useful Updates
Timely emails filled with useful updates are important to help financial institutions stay top-of-mind. A recent study shows that almost 50% of banking providers send at least 10 emails per month.
Financial institutions build trust and usage when they send subscribers timely, useful updates related to their money.
- Credit card companies can notify users of an upcoming statement close date to review balances.
- Mortgage lenders could share current rate information relevant to refinancing evaluations.
- Banks may email customers whose certificates of deposit are approaching maturity to discuss renewal options.
The quality-over-quantity approach pays off here. Be selective with update frequency to avoid inbox fatigue. And ensure the information is genuinely valuable, not just promotional fodder.
Hyper-relevant updates demonstrate an ongoing commitment to helping customers make smart financial decisions. They also strengthen brand perception as a reliable, consultative partner versus just another vendor.
9. Automate Cross-Sell Campaigns
Email lends itself well to automated cross-sell campaigns that introduce customers to other products they may benefit from.
The key is sequencing complementary offers based on account activity and needs. For instance, once a customer regularly exceeds their free monthly transaction limit on a basic checking account, propose an upgrade to a premium model with more transactions and balance waivers.
Or if a credit card holder consistently carries an account balance month-to-month, offer special rates on balance transfer or consolidation loan options.
Thoughtful cross-sell email flows provide customers with financial solutions tailored to observed behaviors. But avoid overly aggressive sales pitches – the goal is to present better options, not pushy upsells.
This example from HSBC Advance shows how the company offers relevant product offers and recommendations to new customers.
When configured strategically alongside CRM data, lifecycle-based automated campaigns nurture more holistic, durable client relationships across wider swaths of the product portfolio over time.
10. Track Engagement Metrics
Email marketing analytics should steer strategy for financial brands. Important engagement metrics to track include open, clickthrough, and unsubscribe rates.
Compare performance by factors like email type, list segment, subject line style, and send times. Review conversions from email content to gauge ROI. Assessment over longer periods indicates list health too, with growth trends signaling an expanding audience.
These insights help continuously optimize programs for relevance and returns. They also inform email frequency – high unsubscribes warrant less; high engagement supports more.
Testing and measurement should persist indefinitely since client interests and economic landscapes evolve. Quantifiable results justify email marketing investments and provide systemic feedback for improvements over time.
No financial brand can afford minimal commitment or a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality with email.
11. Survey Clients for Feedback
Even with diligent tracking, the best way for financial brands to elevate email marketing is by surveying client preferences and perceptions.
A simple email or website poll can collect input on content interests, communication frequency, channel satisfaction, and more. This direct qualitative feedback exposes blindspots that metrics alone may miss when optimizing programs.
For example, email analytics may show strong open rates, but clients could still feel overwhelmed by account alerts. Or data-backed assumptions about preferred content could diverge from what subscribers want from messages.
Periodic surveys also demonstrate customer-centricity by providing a voice. Applying insights further personalizes experiences and nurtures loyalty.
No matter how advanced financial brands get with email strategy, checking in with clients generates an invaluable feedback loop for continuous relationship building.
Email marketing presents a tremendous opportunity for financial services brands to provide value, strengthen engagement, and drive growth.
By focused list-building, relentless testing, and optimization based on insights from data and client surveys, financial institutions can align email programs ever more tightly to customer needs. This enables more relevant and higher-performing communications over time.
Financial services is an intimate industry dependent on trust and relationships. Email marketing strategically facilitates deeper human connections at scale across digitally accelerated financial landscapes.
Rather than view it as a cost center, bank, insurance, and wealth management brands should champion email marketing as the engine of retention and expansion moving forward.