OPINION 4 tips to supercharge your email marketing

Sam Holding

Head of International


Sam Holding, Head of International at email platform SparkPost, shares some best practices for financial services email marketing.

A successful marketing strategy starts with a bulletproof email programme, especially when it comes to high-volume email senders like financial institutions. But email only works if messages are reaching their intended audience which can sometimes be easier said than done.

While financial services firms certainly need to consider the content and branding of their emails, they must also prioritise the foundational elements of email, namely deliverability, in order to make email the ROI machine it can be. That said, combined, deliverability, content, and branding are the ingredients necessary for financial services to fully realise the potential of their email programmes.

For high volume senders, even a seemingly nominal decrease in deliverability rates can represent a huge decline in how many customers are actually seeing their emails. More than that, with financial institutions, the value of each converted customer can be quite high meaning that even a 1% decrease in inboxing rates can mean major losses. Once financial organisations understand the pounds and pence of deliverability, it’s time to start implementing tactical best practices to avoid the pitfalls of declining deliverability rates.


  1. Building sender reputation

Financial firms should take care in building and bolstering their sender reputation. For instance, they should avoid sending risky content, especially on new IP addresses with unproven reputations. They shouldn’t include anything that could be considered personally identifiable information (PII) about a customer, like their phone number, account number, or address. Instead, they should include in emails a call to action to click a Web link, where authentication can proceed.

Financial services organisations should also avoid using language like “GET YOUR FREE CREDIT CARD ACCOUNT” in a subject header as this can look like phishing attempts to ISP filters. Finally, when it comes to building a solid sending reputation financial firms shouldn’t send too much, too soon, from a new IP address. There are many other deliverability best practices, but these are just a few that can really help financial institutions ensure email success.


  1. Keep it relevant

Once financial firms have tackled the more technical aspects of sending email it’s time to focus on the content of the messages they’re sending. While there are no doubt countless tips on how to create interesting and engaging email content, there is one main factor that takes the cake when it comes to financial services: relevance. The more relevant emails are, the more likely they’ll be well received by consumers which is incredibly important for organisations that have huge audiences.

Financial institutions should be mindful when building lists for sends and use data like past purchases, traffic logs, and on-site search to inform who they’d like to send to. High volume senders must avoid the temptation to blanket their whole audience with a single email in the name of efficiency; sending multiple waves of more targeted messages will be much more effective — and better for your list and your reputation.


  1. Quality content

Once audiences have been defined through segmentation, then comes the task of actually writing the emails. When it comes to marketing messages financial institutions should do their best to understand what kind of information their recipients find valuable. One fool-proof category of marketing emails is promotions. Who doesn’t love a good offer?

Financial organisations must make subscribing to their emails worth customers’ while, and offering valuable deals and sales via email is a simple way to do that. Another best practice for financial institutions is to pay close attention to writing great subject lines. Since many customers won’t see more than the first few words — especially on mobile, senders should put the most relevant and targeted terms up-front, and make the value to the customer immediately clear. With smart content informed by great segmentation, financial firms can really leverage the power of email in their marketing strategies.


  1. Boost integrity through branding

The last foundational ingredient to a great financial services email strategy is branding.

To ensure brand integrity, it’s essential that every aspect of an organisation’s messaging — visual identity, voice, value proposition — is consistent and compelling. A common pitfall is to use different systems or third-party providers for automated transactional emails, marketing emails, and other types of messages. This can lead the look and feel of the messages customers receive to vary widely, creating a confusing brand experience.

By managing all messages through a single system, financial firms can build a stronger connection with customers and make each email they receive feel part of a coherent and valuable relationship. As part of a financial services organisation’s branding strategy, it’s a good idea to use the brand name in the “from” field that shows up in the recipient’s inbox. Some marketers use an individual’s name with the belief that it will seem more personal, but this can also make it seem like spam.

Instead, use a name that customers will expect to see, then stick with it consistently across all emails to build recognition and trust. Using a solid and consistent brand is a best practice for any brand that sends email.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to email marketing for large senders like financial firms. But by following deliverability, content and branding best practices financial services organisations can really make the most of their email marketing programs.

Previous article

What live events can learn from Netflix and Amazon

Next article

OPINION How neuroscience drives empathetic marketing

Get access to valuable thought leadership from the financial services marketing industry

Keep up-to-date with current trends and changes across marketing and financial services is vital in this fast-moving business environment.