How Financial Advisors Can Use Drip Campaigns to Transform Leads into Clients
If you weren’t marketing to prospects digitally before the COVID-19 pandemic, then now is the time to get started. As the number of COVID-19 cases ramps up again, and as more states lockdown ahead of a projected holiday spike, your chances of getting in front of prospects face-to-face are slim.
So, as a financial advisor, how can you effectively attract these potential clients from afar? Enter email marketing, one of the best ways to educate and inform prospects about your services in an authentic, low-cost manner. The proof is in the data: according to Outbound Engine, email marketing yields an average 4,300% return on investment (yes, you read that right) for businesses in the United States. In addition, email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17% higher value in conversion.
The prime benefit of email marketing is that it allows an interested prospect to take immediate action directly from their inbox. It also provides a perfect touchpoint for you to continually keep in touch with leads at various stages of the sales funnel.
Sometimes, when prospects request more information on your firm, they either forget that they came into contact with your business or find that your services aren’t necessarily right for their particular situation (yet). To continue to communicate with these contacts, you can market to them with drip campaigns, which are emails you can send out on a schedule and target to an ultra-specific segment of your prospect base. It’s one of the most effective and powerful tactics in your email marketing toolbox.
Below, we take a deeper dive into the mechanics of drip campaigns and how you can best utilize them to reach your ideal prospects and clients, in 2021 and beyond.
First: How Do Drip Campaigns Work?
The best way to understand how this technique works is to dissect an effective drip campaign. The first leg of your drip campaign should be focused on lead generation, or the process of attracting your target prospects with a reward (what we call a “lead magnet”) for providing their contact information.
For instance, let’s say your ideal clients are retirees — you may run a social media campaign that asks retirees to download a whitepaper for more information and tips on Social Security. To get the whitepaper, you could require contacts to provide their personal information, such as their phone number or email address. Once you have provided your ideal clients with value for offering their contact information, you should also keep sending them content, education, and news that suit their interests in order to improve the chances of them reaching out to your firm for advisory services.
You can provide this additional information through an automated email schedule designed to nurture these leads into clients. Your drip emails should always contain valuable and interesting education that addresses your leads’ most important challenges, concerns, needs, and goals.
Here are a few examples of content you can incorporate into your targeted drip emails:
As a financial advisor, the bulk of your clients will most likely be people navigating major life transitions that trigger a financial need. Once you have segmented, or organized, your leads by these needs (i.e., retirees, women in transition, new parents, business owners, etc.), you can start crafting emails that are geared toward providing facts about complex financial situations.
For instance, an email targeted toward new parents may be focused on future education financing or insurance for unexpected family emergencies. Aim to be your leads’ primary source for this niche information, which will help you build trust and ensure they think of you first when faced with a major financial milestone or challenge.
Industry trends or developments
The world of finance is an evolving one, and all prospective investors want to stay current. You can fill this need for your prospects by using your drip emails to share the latest news, trends, or developments in the space, particularly for leads who have indicated an interest in your investment approach, the markets, or the economy.
By “dripping” on your prospects with these emails on a consistent basis, they will soon rely on you to get details about the finance trends they care about most, and for education that directly relates to their interests and goals. Therefore, when you offer your services in one of the emails within your campaign, you’re no longer a stranger — and prospects will be more inclined to click the call-to-action (CTA) button to learn more.
Do you ever get frustrated when you visit the website of a store or some other service provider and can’t find the answers to your questions? Sometimes, all your leads need to take the next step are the right answers. Try and use one or two of your drip emails to answer questions your clients face — for instance, if you’re marketing to retirees, you may focus your email on the answer to the question, “What’s the best age for me to take Social Security?”
Conversely, you may use your drip email campaigns to get valuable feedback and frequently asked questions from your leads. You may create a poll asking leads, “What’s the one financial question that keeps you up at night?” This exercise could trigger another, more targeted email that is specifically focused on their answer to that question, giving you more valuable insight into their thought process and challenges.
Market a new service
The main goal of digital marketing is to convert prospects and garner new business. While education and information are the two most important ingredients in a solid drip marketing campaign, don’t be afraid to advertise your services, especially to leads who consistently open or have engaged with the majority of your emails.
For instance, if you are launching a new service line and want to spread the word outside of traditional advertising and word of mouth, create a list of your most engaged leads and send them a drip email campaign focused on that new service. We recommend doing this only after you’ve provided value to them through education (such as relevant white papers, blog articles, and other content pieces).
How to Convert Prospective Clients Through a Drip Campaign
Your drip marketing campaigns will only work when you plan, deploy, and measure them appropriately. Before you launch your next drip email campaign, keep these four tips in mind:
1. Level up your lead-generation efforts
We alluded to this above, but it’s important that your drip campaigns are rooted in a solid strategy for lead generation. This will ensure that you are attracting the most relevant, valuable audience based on the service or expertise you want to promote. Make sure your lead-generation tactics are designed to meet your prospects where they’re most likely to gravitate — a tip that is especially important in today’s climate.
For example, if you’re hoping to attract small business owners or startup founders, consider hosting a webinar on financial planning strategies for entrepreneurs. Create a landing page you can use to register attendees and launch a drip campaign after the webinar is complete with an offer for a free consultation with one of your advisors.
With these details, you may further divide your leads into two groups: those who accepted the offer for the free consultation, and those who didn’t. From here, you can further tailor your future drip campaigns to engage those leads, who are at various different stages of the sales funnel.
There’s no question that lead generation and drip marketing campaigns take a lot of time, energy, and even creativity. Make the most of all your efforts by keeping your pool of leads as targeted and segmented as possible.
2. Keep it simple yet consistent
Your leads have limited time and attention, which means you have short windows to pique their interest. Consistency and simplicity are key to making an impact. Email sequences of three to four messages are the sweet spot. Your emails should be relatively simple, design-wise, with copy that is short, sweet, and to-the-point. In other words, “tell them what you need to tell them,” and do it quickly.
Use your valuable email real estate to communicate your value, appeal to your leads’ concerns, and give them an outlet to contact you for more information. You can also provide links to additional resources (such as blog posts) that further expand on the topics you explore in the email and provide additional touchpoints on your website for leads to contact you.
3. Offer more services
A lead may not want a specific offer you’re promoting but may have an interest in other services. Pay close attention to your email engagement metrics and website analytics to get a better sense of other areas of your business prospects may be interested in.
For example, let’s say that your RIA firm is promoting a new blog post on an issue affecting women in transition, and your website analytics tell you that a person clicked through from that particular blog post to a different post on long-term care planning. This seemingly insignificant action can tell you a lot about the lead’s interests and the types of campaigns you may want to send them in the future. If you don’t have a digital marketing specialist on your team to analyze your website traffic for sales insights, firms like Beyond AUM can provide third-party expertise to help you better capitalize on your efforts.
4. Pay attention to other opportunities for retargeting
The lead who read your article on estate planning, but never engaged with your blog page again. The business owner who attended your webinar and opened your follow-up email, but never opened any subsequent messages in your campaign. Don’t chalk these up to “missed opportunities;” instead, take active steps to retarget those leads again. Whether it’s a new whitepaper on estate planning, an invitation to a follow-up webinar on a similar business topic, or a simple survey about the quality of your communications, apply a magnifying glass to your metrics and think of creative ways to get those leads back into the funnel. Prospects disengage from marketing for a wide variety of reasons. If the lead is worth pursuing, it’s up to you to pinpoint those reasons and then tailor your efforts to address them.
With the right content, a consistent schedule, and a targeted, engaged audience, drip email marketing can be a highly lucrative and low-cost way to bring new clients into the fold. But then there’s the whole issue of time — when you’re busy managing a full client load or even a team of junior advisors, you don’t necessarily have the opportunity to create and execute a full-fledged email marketing strategy.
Here at Beyond AUM, we take the worry off your shoulders and lead the way on developing the right digital marketing strategy for your business and future growth goals. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.