Email marketing in the financial services industry is an effective way to grow a sales pipeline, give your customers relevant updates, and connect with potential new clients. There are multiple touch points that all financial service providers can implement to create trust, build authority, and ultimately convert leads or upsell existing clients. By providing consistent value via email, you’ll develop strong relationships that lead to increased brand loyalty and revenue.
Find out the best marketing strategies for financial services companies, including how to segment your audiences and content topics to start off with. We’ll also share everything you need to know about compliance before you hit the send button.
How do banks, insurance, and other financial services companies use email marketing?
The goal of email marketing in financial services is to build a sales funnel that speaks personally to interested prospects and engages your existing clients. Emails allow you to add value to the relationship so that you become their trusted resource when it comes to the financial services they’re interested in. A successful email campaign should include a blend of advice, thought leadership, and product promotion.
A more complex email marketing strategy segments subscribers into different audiences to deliver hyper-personalized content at the right time. Email automations allow you to trigger certain emails based on customer events/behavior.
For instance, a mortgage loan officer may have an email sequence that begins after a borrower closes on their home. They could set automatic emails to send at certain times, such as home maintenance reminders, purchase anniversaries, and property value updates. All of these touch points lead to customer loyalty, so they’ll think of that loan officer when they’re ready to refinance or recommend a mortgage lender to a friend.
Email marketing is a must-have for any financial services professional who is responsible for developing and nurturing a book of clients, especially those that are based on long-term relationships — which is so often the case in the industry.
Special considerations for financial email marketing
The financial industry is particularly cognizant of the latest security and legal best practices. Before you start creating email campaigns for your sales pipeline, familiarize yourself with email marketing laws so you don’t end up incurring fines or doing damage to your reputation. Different jurisdictions have their own regulations, so you either need to know where your audience is located or default to the strictest rules.
In the U.S. and Europe, following these guidelines will keep you in compliance.
- Provide opt-in options: Let your audience know what they’re signing up for instead of automatically opting in clients. You can legally only send transaction-related emails unless they’ve elected to receive promotional content.
- Make it easy to unsubscribe: Have a clear “Unsubscribe” button or link on every email you send. It should not take multiple steps for people to unsubscribe from your mailing list.
- Add required information: All emails must contain a mailing address, state who has access to customer data, and whether it’s shared with any third parties. Also include any professional ID number (such as a mortgage lender NMLS number).
- Avoid misleading language: Any marketing content (whether in email, on your website, or posted on social media accounts) should have clear language that is not misleading in any way. Also include any risks involved with anything mentioned in your email. Check with your compliance team if you’re unsure about something.
- Give performance details: Any type of investment or financial product must include details about its anticipated performance. Avoid giving any guarantees.
Email personalization & segmentation
The best way to maximize your email marketing efforts is to segment your audience so that you can send personalized financial services content. After all, individuals in different demographic groups won’t need the same advice or product. Not to mention, the more data that you have on an existing client, the more targeted you can make their messaging based on what you already know about them. Here are a few different ways you can segment a financial audience to provide better value.
- Life stage: The age and stage of your audience members is incredibly important. It impacts the type of investing and retirement advice they need, and it impacts what types of insurance products will appeal to them. Their upcoming life milestones are also very different. Are they about to have kids or retire? Are they saving for a down payment on their first home or a vacation home?
- Income and spending: How much someone earns and spends also requires segmented advice. Part of your email list may need budgeting tips, while others may need strategies to lower their taxes.
- Location: Consider segmenting your list based on location. This makes sure you’re incorporating email regulations by jurisdiction, as well as giving people the most personalized advice possible (like state tax filing deadlines).
Segmenting your audience may take an extra degree of sophistication within your tech stack, but you’ll provide a much better experience for your clients and prospects that could translate into higher revenue and retention rates.
Finance email marketing benefits
Email marketing should definitely be part of your ongoing marketing efforts. Here are the top four benefits for financial services professionals.
- Cost effectiveness: The cost of email can be quite low. Another solution in your tech stack, like a CRM or CDP, may come with ESP email capabilities out of the box or as an easy add-on. Overall costs likely depend on the size of your list and frequency of sending, but ROI is known to grow there along with your database growth. Customer Engagement Platforms are a step up from traditional ESPs for enterprise brands and come with marketing automation features that scale particularly well. These platforms connect directly to a brand’s data cloud and help them reach millions of customers with the right message at the right time. Compared to ads, email is very cheap, and your leads get warmer and warmer as you educate them with consistent messaging.
- Customer preferences: Over 50% of consumers prefer email to any other type of communication. Plus, it gives you more control over how much you’re being seen by your audience. Social media platforms have complex algorithms that frequently change. If your account ever gets hacked, you could lose your entire audience. Email gives you the most control.
- Automation: Much of your email campaign can be automated, so you won’t be stuck hitting the send button in real time. Segmenting your audience into welcome sequences and other triggered campaigns (such as an insurance policy renewal or IRA deadline) makes it easy to put your email marketing on “autopilot” while still being dynamic and relevant.
- User experience: Analyzing your email data gives you strong insights into what your audience wants to hear about. Look at open and click-through rates to discover what topics interest people the most and which ones have low engagement rates.
Common use cases for email marketing
Here are some ideas to get you started with your financial service email marketing strategy. All of the examples in this section are courtesy of Really Good Emails.
Personalized onboarding for new customers
Onboard new clients with a welcome sequence. Maybe they signed up to get a free download or purchased a product. The first email, like the one from YNAB below, should deliver whatever triggered the signup. From there, send a series of welcome emails that introduce yourself or your practice, identify the prospect’s problems, and offer resources on how to address them.
Add value through educational tools
Educational content that adds value to your email lists’ lives should be a core pillar of your email strategy. Talk about topics that are relevant to them, such as budgeting or investing tips. Also send content related to time-sensitive events, like tax deadlines.
Keep customers up to date with transactional emails
Transactional emails should have sequences to keep customers in the know of exactly what’s happening. Here are some examples:
- Password change requests
- Document requests
- Account updates
- Money transfers
- Payment requests
- Account limitations
- Insurance claims
- Security concerns
Find ways to retain current customers with a service upsell or renewal. Consider new ways to bring in revenue, whether it’s through affiliate recommendations or referrals from other related (but not competing) financial service providers.
Encourage app downloads
If you have an app, create an audience segment of customers who haven’t downloaded it yet. You can send periodic reminders about the benefits of using your brand’s mobile app.
Launch weekly newsletters
A newsletter is an effective way to keep people up to date on your services or products. You can also repurpose other content or PR appearances, such as podcast episodes you were a guest on or a recently published blog post. You’re providing helpful resources while also positioning yourself as a thought leader.
Announce new features
Let your audience know anytime your product or service has a new feature. People love convenience. Position the update as a benefit for them, rather than it being about your own accomplishment.
You need an enterprise email marketing solution
While email marketing is accessible for even the smallest local financial institutions, today’s enterprise financial services brands have unique needs that only certain solutions can fulfill. Large brands send millions of emails each day, and customer expectations grow higher each year. Today’s consumers expect highly personalized engagement in real-time – and they also expect financial services to keep their data safe and secure.
With an enterprise-level customer engagement platform like MessageGears, you can keep data securely behind your own firewall. You maintain complete control over your data, and you’re able to react in true, real time to customer behavior, sending messages that are both relevant and timely for their needs at any moment.
In the financial industry, trust is currency. Staying in contact with your customers through consistent and personalized email messaging allows you to foster that relationship and build long-term trust over time.