June 23, 2009
Develop an e-mail curriculum
Once youâ€™ve started to capture e-mail addresses at every opportunity, itâ€™s time to focus on messaging. Donâ€™t approach e-mail marketing as a series of one-off messages or newsletters; instead, think of it as a stream or curriculum of important communications. Once again, segment your communications into prospect and client streams.
Prospect communications:Â These communications might include newsletters, single intellectual capital pieces (repurpose the articles that you write for your blog, if you have one). Consider developing a series of e-mail communications that cater to a particular segment (e.g., succession planning for small business owners).
Client communications: A periodic e-newsletter will enable you to deliver content geared to your clients and can reinforce your expertise. Also consider developing and deploying a stream of periodic e-mails, which could include:
- New client orientation e-mails: Develop an e-mail that contains important information about your firm, key contact information, and the client experience (e.g., timing of monthly/quarterly meetings, where to go for account information, etc.).
- Updates and service e-mails: Send updates about your firm and economic news that may impact your clientsâ€™ portfolios.
- Newsletters and intellectual capital: Send periodic (monthly or quarterly) client newsletters that address key topics of interest (e.g., estate planning, funding a college education, charitable giving). Send out research/ studies conducted by your firm or partners that might be of interest to your clients.
E-mail tip #2: Allow prospects who visit your site to sign up for a prospect newsletter to give them a taste of what it is like to work with you and your firm.
Think integration! OR â€śMix It Upâ€ť
E-mail is a distribution channel. Once you create content, you can send it through a number of channels and post it to a number of places. For example, many advisors develop blog articles and then e-mail their articles directly to clients and prospects. You can e-mail through social networks such as Linked In. You can post messages to group discussion boards (another form of e-mail) and reach out directly to your connections with your economic insights. If you decide to send out a direct mail piece or post card, think about how you might enhance your effort with an e-mail (e.g., send an e-mail in advance or shortly after sending a postcard invitation to a seminar that you are giving to clients and prospects).
E-mail tip #3: Donâ€™t think of e-mail in isolationâ€”consider it as one of many marketing tools that can be used to bring your message to prospects and clients alike.
Select the right vendor
If you are new to e-mail, I recommend that you consider working with a hosted-on-demand service provider (â€śsoftware as a serviceâ€ť). This will keep your costs down and provide a suite of services to help you get your program up and running quickly (i.e., upload your lists and your e-mail creative into their solution, send out a test e-mail and deploy your campaign).
Here are two e-mail providers to consider that may cost as little as $100/month:
Some solutions, including Constant Contact, require that your email addresses are given to you directly by the recipient, and will not permit you to use purchased databases and lists.
E-mail tip #4: When evaluating vendors, consider whether they offer the following:
- Customer Service: Know what services are included in your basic deployment fees. If you are not technically savvy, you may need to factor in additional consulting fees.
- E-mail Regulatory Compliance: Make sure that your e-mail vendor understands CAN-SPAM requirements (e.g., placing an opt-out in the footer of your e-mail).
- Deliverability: Make sure that the vendor has the tools to ensure that your message is delivered to your prospectsâ€™ or clientsâ€™ in-boxesâ€”not to a spam filter.
Great resources are available to can help you to learn more about e-mail marketing, such as the Direct Marketing Association.
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