Try these tested tips and tricks for higher email open rates, click-thru rates and profits.
By Sushil Dulai Wenholz, Creative Director
Financial marketers are sending more emails than ever before. After all, it’s still one of the most affordable and effective ways to reach customers and prospects. Yet a recent email metrics benchmark report shows email open rates in the financial industry are hovering around 21 percent.¹ To boost that figure and ensure your emails are not only opened, but also read and acted upon, make sure you have the latest email marketing tactics, best practices and testing techniques covered. Before you know it, you’ll see increasing email opens and clicks — and better returns on your company’s email marketing investment.
Start with the Best Email Subject Lines for Your Customers
If your open rates are lower than you’d like, start by focusing more attention on the email subject line. Try these industry tips and best practices for creating more engaging financial marketing subject lines:
- Get personal by using a first name, words like “you” and “your” or even the reader’s geographic location. Subject lines that include the recipient’s name can boost open rates by 20 percent or more.
- Limit subject line text to about six to 10 words.
- Stir the reader’s curiosity by giving them a hint of what’s inside and telling them how the email will benefit them.
- Use a conversational style and tone that fits your audience and your brand.
- Use numbers, symbols and emojis to help your email stand out.
- Avoid (or limit) words that might trigger spam filters, such as free, confirm, features and upgrade.
- A/B test subject lines to a small batch and send the winning version to the remainder of your email subscriber list.
How to Improve Email Open Rates with Segmentation and Other Tactics
Since your customers and prospects have different interests and needs, segmenting your email lists can help increase the relevancy of your emails — and the odds that they’ll be opened. Consider segmenting by stage in the purchase cycle, life stage, demographics, interests, purchase behavior or whether they are new or long-term customers.
In addition, try out these best practices for increasing email open rates:
- Include preheader copy. This preview text is displayed along with the subject line in an unopened email and can increase the impact of your email subject lines.
- Test delivery days, times and frequency. Once you’ve found a schedule that works, stick with it so recipients know when to expect your messages. Early afternoon on weekdays seems to work well industry-wide, but conduct A/B testing to see what works best for your audience.
- Keep lists current by inviting readers to update their preferences, including email frequency, and content or product topics they’re interested in.
- Use a double opt-in process. While this may result in a smaller list, you’ll have a much higher quality list of readers who have confirmed that they want to receive your emails.
- Try resending unopened emails with a different subject line.
- Make sure the send field shows a recognizable sender name, such as your financial institution’s name or the name of a person at your company.
Further reading: Is it time to reassess your financial marketing metrics?
How to Improve Click-thru Rates for Financial Email Marketing Campaigns
Email click-thru rates are dependent on the open rate. If you’ve gotten readers to open your emails, these tips can continue to keep readers engaged and motivated to act — turning leads into sales.
- Deliver content that provides real value and relevance to the reader. Quick tip: pretend as if you’re writing to just one person when crafting your email message.
- Incorporate personalization throughout the email, such as nearest branch location or transaction related details.
- Keep copy and design consistent with your brand and website.
- Use images or video that are relevant to your message. Emails with video generally have a nearly 30 percent higher click-thru rate.
- Use a lingo, voice and style that your readers can relate to, and that also complements your brand.
Improve Email Click-Thru Rates with More Engaging Calls to Action
To turn clicks into conversions that will boost your bottom line — and win you kudos from the CEO — entice your customers and prospects with stronger calls to action (CTAs) by trying these tactics:
- Focus on one clear message, highlighting the key reason readers should click your CTA.
- Include the CTA in multiple locations so readers have the option to click near the beginning, middle and end of the email.
- Try segmenting CTAs based on a customer’s purchase history.
- Appeal to the reader’s sense of curiosity when creating CTA copy by balancing a sense of urgency with an information gap, so they’ll feel like they’re missing out unless they click the CTA.
- Create buttons for CTAs and test size, placement, color, design and copy. In general, CTA buttons that appear on the right side of text and images get more clicks than those placed on the left, since it follows the natural tendency to scroll from left to right.
Further reading: Trigger Emails Help Increase Sales
Optimize Financial Email Marketing Campaigns for Mobile Devices
Sixty-five percent of emails are opened on mobile devices, and that number is rising, so it’s crucial to create a seamless mobile experience for your readers. For starters, make sure your emails load quickly and are easy to read on smartphones and tablets. Before deploying, test emails on different mobile devices (or use a cross-browser/device testing service, such as Email On Acid) and follow these best practices for mobile email:
- Keep links far enough apart so the reader won’t accidentally tap the wrong one.
- Stylize navigation and CTA buttons for mobile optimization. Tip: Most mobile platform guidelines recommend a minimum touch target size of 44 pixels wide by 44 pixels tall.
- Make sure links lead to pages on your website that are mobile optimized.
- Avoid longer subject lines since they may not be fully viewable on a mobile device.
- Use larger fonts. At least 16 pixels is recommended for body copy.
- Check images to ensure they display properly.
Test, Optimize, Rinse, Repeat
Email remains one of the most cost-efficient ways to reach an audience, but, like all marketing channels, email requires consistent testing and optimizing to boost performance. Keep in mind that nearly any variable in an email can be tested, from subject lines and creative, to CTAs and time of day. While industry averages can show you how well you’re faring against the competition, aim to consistently meet and exceed your goals. Leverage these tips and best practices to test your messages, engage your audiences and, ultimately, boost your bank’s bottom line.
¹ “Email Marketing Benchmarks,” MailChimp, updated Feb 1, 2017, https://mailchimp.com/resources/email-marketing-benchmarks/, accessed May 10, 2017
Find out how CCG’s financial marketing experts can help you boost email performance and improve your customer relationships with knowledge-driven marketing initiatives. Our extensive financial marketing experience includes strategy, content, design, development and deployment, as well as leveraging data analytics for personalization and relevancy. Email our financial marketing team or call 800.525.0313.