Money is a sensitive issue for many people, no matter in which form: cash, income, loans or investments. When it comes to finance matters, most people are cautious and expect discretion and seriousness from their financial institutions. This needs to be considered by banks when developing a marketing strategy to address new customers. Today we would like to explain how financial institutions can successfully win new customers via email marketing.
Even though email has become a classic instrument among advertising media, it still remains the digital marketing channel that generates the best conversions and which has the highest return on investment (RoI). Users can be reached very easily using this channel since they almost never change their email addresses. A lot of people even accept the receipt of invoices and other sensitive information about financial products via email. In the DACH region, 90 percent of Internet users send and receive emails. The majority of users (88.7 percent) perceive this communication channel as safe and trustworthy * – a positive image that in particular banks can use to gain new customers.
In contrast to display banner advertising, for example, email marketing is personalized – and this at manageable costs: It offers financial institutions the opportunity to react specifically to the needs of users and to present complex financial products. Since most users check their emails on their smartphones – for example at breakfast, in the subway or in line at the supermarket checkout – they decide within seconds whether to open a message or to move it to the trash without reading. We are explaining within five points how banks actually reach potential customers when there is a flood of emails in the inbox:
1. Success booster: Reach your bank customers with personal context
Potential bank customers expect suitable and relevant offers. These offers can be personalized for users using automation tools. Only micro-segmentation ensures that banks actually reach the right target groups: promotional emails should not be sent to the entire database.
Banks rather should segment the available data according to demographic or sociographic criteria, since specific products, such as building society contracts, are only relevant for certain age groups. “This way, banks avoid advertising emails that are not relevant for some users,” explains David Pikart, CEO of Audience Serv. “Only users who receive personalized content that is relevant are likely to become new customers.”
2. Success booster: Learn from previous email marketing campaigns
To determine their target group, banks need to know the interests and buying intentions of users. “We have the opportunity to analyze previous campaigns in order to find out which users are interested in which kind of financial product,” explains Pikart. “We can see whether an audience pool has responded particularly well to an email in the past by assessing the click, opening, and conversion rates.”
In order to undertake further segmentation, other aspects of user behavior are also relevant. For example when is the ideal time to send out emails regarding specific topics. Algorithms can be used to analyze users on a one-to-one level. An advertising email for credit cards, for example, can be sent individually, based on the behavior of the individual person. The send out of emails to hundreds of thousands of users is less successful.
3. Success booster: Create email campaigns in several stages
Get through to customers step by step – with multi-level campaigns: With this method, users receive general information about a financial product in a first send-out. Subsequently, another email is sent to the users three to five days later, based on the response of the individual recipient.
“Email campaigns are often set up to three levels, and there is no limit using this approach,” explains Pikart. Users who did not open the first mail will receive a slightly modified message in the second level, for example with a new subject line or at a different time. Recipients, on the other hand, who opened the first message but did not click the link to the landing page, receive a reminder. The product can be explained from a different perspective in a new email. Even users who have followed the link in the first email but have not converted will receive another email.
4. Success Booster: Consider the email marketing goal of your bank
Only a campaign with a precise marketing goal can be successful. This goal should be already integrated into the subject line of the email – because a subject line aims to attract attention in order to achieve high opening rates while being in line with the topic. The email content should also show clearly what kind of product is advertised. In addition, the text should be clearly structured and explicit. The respective financial products that are offered to a specific target audience must also be consistent with the template.
“To avoid bounce rates, banks should make it as convenient as possible for users,” explains Pikart. Marketing campaigns need to be responsive, i.e. legible on mobile devices. Moreover, the links within an advertising email should lead directly to the landing page of the product, such as the landing page of a new credit card, instead of linking to the homepage of the respective bank. Customers also expect a high-quality and informative approach to financial products, which gives them a feeling of seriousness.
5. Success booster: Perform A / B split tests
Trust is good, control is better. In order to be able to improve e-mail campaigns if necessary, banks have to take a critical look at their marketing performance. A / B split tests are a perfect solution to do so. Those kinds of tests enable banks to analyze, for example, which subject line leads to higher opening rates.
Two small groups of recipients serve as test groups: Both received, for example, an email with the same content, but one group with subject line A, the other with subject line B. The response of the individual group shows which subject line arouses the greatest interest among potential customers. The subject that led to higher opening rates in the test is then used for the large-scale send-out. A / B split tests can also be used to test which content or template users find best or which product is best sold in a target audience.