I recently received an email from an advisor client who asked this question: It seems like our newsletter open rates have gone down because of summer. Should we stop sending them for a few months?
Of course my immediate answer was no and there are lots of reasons for that. Probably the most important one (and I've seen this happen) is if you suddenly stop or switch your newsletter schedule...people wonder if you've gone out of business.
But that's the easy answer. The truth is that many advisors hesitate when it comes to email marketing for a variety of reasons. So, I'd like to address them in a way that the financial community will understand.
I don't have that many contacts in my database.
What would you say to a client who came into your office and said, "I only have $50/month to put into an IRA, so I'll wait until I have more" or "I just have a few thousand to invest, so I'm not going to bother"? You'd say something along the lines of, "You have to start somewhere" and "Don't worry - as you invest, your assets will build."
Well, the same is true for your email list. You have to start somewhere and waiting for 200 or 2000 more contacts isn't getting you anywhere in the meantime. Even if it's only your mom and your college roommate on the list, you never know who they might forward that email to...who might then forward it on again.
I don't think I'm getting anywhere with my email marketing, so I don't think I'll bother.
If a client called you and said, "My investment accounts haven't changed, so I'm going to cash out" you'd probably start explaining that a solid investing strategy is a marathon, not a sprint, and that you might not see the outcome you're looking for immediately. The same is true for email marketing.
It's very rare that someone will receive your first email and immediately call you for assistance. It's about providing them with resources that will keep you top-of-mind when it comes to financial planning and building trust along the way. It could be a year before someone hits that "Email Us" button - but you have to keep working toward the outcome you're looking for. Just as you would when you invest in your future.
Our open rate has gone down. Maybe we should stop sending our newsletter.
Here's an analogy that I KNOW many of you have been dealing with a lot lately. You've heard from clients who've said, "The market is down and I'm nervous. I think I'll just cash out." I know that you explain to them that selling at the bottom is NOT a sound strategy. The same is true for your marketing.
If you're experiencing low open rates it could be for a couple of reasons:
1. Yes, it's summer and people are busy.
2. You're not providing the content that people are looking for in your newsletter.
If you're seeing your open rates drop, it might be time to pivot and look at what you're putting out there. Very often advisors put out what they want to say...not always what people want to hear. Yes, you want to be informative and make sure you're educating your readers, but you MUST ask yourself: "What is my ideal client's problem today/this week/this month?" and address it.
Bottom line: Digital/Email marketing is investing in the future of your business. Treat it that way.