Three Financial Services E-mail Marketing Case Studies

By Karen Gedney | Posted September 11, 2003

The financial services industry lends itself well to e-mail marketing. Investment companies, fund managers, and financial advisors are likely to be online and need to be constantly aware of changes in the economy and the financial sector.

E-mail marketing allows investment management companies to:

  • Maintain close client relationships
  • Prove their expertise on a continual basis
  • Establish themselves as leaders in the field
  • Keep clients informed of fund activity and industry developments
  • Attract new investors

In this sector, the target audience is intelligent and unlikely to be impressed by gimmicks. Therefore a professional, low-key approach tends to do well.

Today, we'll look at three successful case studies from Craven Dickens, an online direct marketing agency based in the U.K. The company's clients in the financial services area include HSBC, the Framlington Group, and Artemis. The following cases studies show the power of e-mail to produce outstanding marketing results.

Case Study No. 1: Event Promotion
An investment management company wanted to invite independent financial advisors to a conference call discussing the company's funds and offering expert opinions on the state of the market.

Each financial advisor was sent a plain text, highly personalized e-mail. The style of the message and personalization technology used to create the mailing gave the impression advisors had been individually contacted by their account managers, suggesting the discussion might be of interest to them and personally inviting them to attend.

As a result of the e-mail, 402 financial advisors (out of a list of 5,848 sent with 1,043 bounces) expressed an interest in receiving further information on the funds or signing up to attend the conference — an 8.37 percent response rate.

A simple follow-up "reminder campaign" was sent to anyone who did not respond to the first message. This message appeared as though account managers had forwarded the original e-mail — with a note asking if the advisors had read it and were interested in being involved in the conference call. A further 83 financial advisors responded.

The whole campaign generated a conference-call audience of 160 financial advisors for one or more of the conferences. Each of the 485 advisors who responded also received further information on the funds.

We think the follow-up reminder is an ingeniously cost-effective way to send a second e-mail — without going to a lot of extra cost developing new creative. Another client of ours has used this approach successfully.

Case Study No. 2: Newsletter Marketing
A financial investment company wanted to cultivate better relationships and deliver highly focused marketing messages to its clients through a series of newsletters.

As you'll see from the way the campaign was conducted, the company used each subsequent newsletter to find out more about its clients' interests.

  1. The first newsletter included three articles about U.K., U.S., and European funds. Customers usually only clicked on one of the three articles, suggesting that was their primary interest. Further information about that fund was then sent in the form of a personalized e-mail.
  2. The second newsletter was based around high-, medium-, and low-risk investment strategies. Once again, depending on what was clicked, follow-up information was sent.
  3. The third newsletter was based on investment strategies using different investment amounts.

At the end of the third month, the investment company could segment its customers into profiles. For example: Client A might be interested in the European fund, be able to tolerate high risk, and have £10,000 to invest. As Chris Dickens, Craven Dickens' managing director, points out, this allowed the firm to "custom publish" newsletters for its clients.

Case Study No. 3: Lead Generation
An investment management company wanted to use e-mail to create fresh interest from new clients and encourage additional business from its existing clients. The offer was a copy of the company's latest investment document.

Craven Dickens' list-building service obtained opt-in e-mail addresses of key personnel in more than 4,000 businesses specified by the company and used the company's own client base. An extensively personalized e-mail offered the document. The software allowed the sales and marketing team to immediately follow up on inquiries, make ongoing changes to data, deal with bounces, and improve link-up to sales managers. They were also able to halt the campaigns to steady the flow of leads.

The campaign produced a response rate of 16 percent, giving the investment management 564 high quality leads — plus highly detailed customer and prospect data.

We think the ability to regulate the flow of leads is one of e-mail's most beautiful features. For lead generation to be effective, the sales force must be able to follow up immediately. If it's inundated with leads, the process slows down and valuable leads are often wasted.

Also, the immediacy of e-mail dramatically accelerates lead generation. With direct mail, it would take weeks to produce a mailing, then quite a few weeks more for the leads to begin trickling in. With e-mail, you can have most of your responses within a couple of days.

Small Business Goals
Investment management firms come in all shapes and sizes. While your small agency might not have the wherewithal to hire a first-class e-mail marketing agency to get a new campagin off the ground, you can learn from others and utilize your resources well to attain similar business goals.

Adapted from ClickZ.com.

As president of Direct Response Marketing, Joanna Belbey works with Global 2000 firms who want to increase ROI amid declining response rates and increased costs. She develops strategy, then executes integrated direct marketing programs to drive C-Level decision-makers to purchase her clients' services. Joanna also happens to be an antiques expert. She lectures on the antiques business and owns northside JUNK, a shop in Brooklyn that sells antiques, used furniture, vintage clothing and collectibles to local hipsters and their parents.

Karen Gedney is an award-winning creative director and copywriter. She is challenged almost daily to come up with innovative new e-mail approaches for her clients. She has a particular knack for conference promotions, having produced rocketing registration numbers for The American Stock Exchange, BusinessWeek, The Economist, FORTUNE, Gartner Group and Trilogy Software.

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