It’s usually not long into a financial advisor coaching engagement until questions start to come up about marketing, whether or not to use email and how to make sure it gets delivered. So, let’s dig in a little and take a closer look at how to make it work.
Email that matters
Email is definitely viable. The prevalence of it makes it inexpensive and can be used to deliver relevant messages if it’s done well. But there are questions. How can you make it work? How do you make sure you’re not spam? How do you be meaningful? How do you get people to open your message?
This blog isn’t going to get all technical and rip apart how to structure your mail servers, what IP addresses to use or suggest systems. But we will look at some things within your direct control and that you can change without costing you anything.
A good starting point is understanding what won’t let your messages get delivered to your recipients. There are three things that get in the way:
- You have the wrong address
- Email filters block your message
- The recipient just bypasses your email as clutter in their inbox
Having a good email list starts with having a clear niche market. If you’re emailing anyone and everyone, it becomes very difficult to be meaningful, let alone get delivered. But when you have a niche market identified, you can be specific, you can speak to issues they are thinking about, you can use language they’re familiar with and you can sound like an insider. In short, you get to send email that matters
Once you’re clear on the niche, then there are a few ways to build the list. You may already have email addresses for people you want to message, or you can purchase lists using tools like Data Axle. You can also use opt in tools where you provide something useful in exchange for their contact info. We do that on our site with a tool called The Best First Meeting Ever – it’s at the bottom of think-legacy.com. You can also post links to that download, which we call a Lead Magnet, in your social media feeds, on email footers and in other messages or channels you use to reach your niche.
In either case, make sure your list is current, accurate and up to date. We’ve seen many instances where advisors have had lists to email and discovered that some recipients were deceased, had left the business, had been terminated or otherwise. Take the time to do a little research to confirm addresses so that you have a solid list.
Navigating the Filters
Email filters are now highly sophisticated artificial intelligence platforms that search for spam, malware, phishing attempts and numerous other instances of email bad behavior. Even the machines want to know if you’re sending email that matters! By understanding just two of the basics of their filtering, you can make your messages much more deliverable.
Does It Look Like Email?
If your email looks like an email – like a normal email you’d send out of Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail or otherwise, then it’s likely to get delivered.
But, when your email has a lot of graphics, a lot of text formatting, links to social media feeds, websites, and forms, it’s suddenly not looking like email and the machines start to think you’re sending spam. If you’re sending dozens, hundreds or thousands of the same email with all these elements in them, they really think you’re sending spam.
It’s tempting to want to create a beautiful, newsletter-esque email with photos, and columns, formatting and links. For many years that worked well, but things have shifted and now that signals “Junk Mail” and reduces your chances of delivery.
Does the Recipient Engage – Is it email that matters?
Spam filtering systems look at one factor above all others: Does the recipient engage?
When someone opens your email, they engaged.
When someone replies to your email, they engaged.
When someone clicks on a link in your email, they engaged.
Design your emails to help your recipient, open and either reply or click so that the mail filter systems see your mail as relevant to the recipient. The more that recipients of your messages engage with your emails, the better your ranking becomes and the more likely you will not be blocked or filtered and seen as email that matters to your market.
Doing this over time improves your “domain credibility” and you’re seen as a trusted emailer to the artificial intelligence systems and you will get delivered.
Here’s one example of how to do that…
If you want to send an article or a newsletter or a blog to your clients and/prospects, consider creating a beautiful landing page or blog post on your website instead of emailing it to them.
Then, using your mailing system, create an email that is simple text and that shares the first paragraph or so of your article. Then, at a good break point where you think you have their interest, insert a link to your blog and put the words “…read more.” If they’re interested, they’ll click the link and can read the rest of the article on your site with all the formatting you dare to include – images, videos, diagrams and more.
What this does is three-fold:
- It allows a simple email that looks like an email to get delivered
- It gives the recipient an easy way to engage: they click “…read more.”
- It allows you to track who clicked the link (depending on what mailing system you’re using) so that you know who’s actually reading your articles
Avoid Being Overlooked: Make it matter
Once your email gets delivered and is in their inbox, you’re in a competition and it’s one that hard to win. Your message sits beside messages from the recipients’ peers, colleagues, boss, clients, prospects and family. Your marketing email is going to be low on the list of priorities, UNLESS, it’s not.
How do you be a priority email? The key is relevance.
You have to send email that matters to them and this is why having a clear niche market is so important. If your niche is the owners of small construction firms, then the fact that lumber just skyrocketed 40% is a huge issue to them and you can probably turn that into a meaningful message.
If they are physicians and you provide some info on how the families of health care workers can support them emotionally, mentally and logistically in the household, they might want to read that.
The information you put in front of them needs to be concise, direct and immediately meaningful to their lives, otherwise they’re going to leave it, archive it, delete it or mark it as spam, and it won’t get delivered.
Send Email That Matters
To send email that matters doesn’t cost more. It doesn’t require new systems or hiring outside experts. Have a clean list. Make it look like the hundreds of emails you handle every day. And give your recipients something meaningful that they can click. Do those three simple things, and you’ll send email that matters.