3 Ways to Hook Referrals Through Email Marketing

Searching for referrals can be a lot like going fishing. You start out with high hopes and an empty cooler, choose the right spot, the right bait, and sit back to watch and wait. Except with fishing, if you come up empty, chances are you won’t go hungry. With referrals, not so much. They don’t exactly hand those out at the drive-through. And when it comes to email marketing, the odds of getting left unread are pretty high, with open rates in the financial planning industry hovering around 27%. So how can advisors combine two notoriously difficult marketing tactics (referrals and emails) and get better results? Let’s look at three ways to increase referrals through email marketing for financial advisors.

#1 Fish for Your Favorites

Generating referrals is a big task. Where do you start? Instead of just trying to get more, get specific. Who is your ideal referral? Or, better yet, wouldn’t it be great if you could just clone your favorite clients? With the right referral strategy and implementing segmented marketing into your email tactics, you can get pretty close.

Think about your best clients, the ones who fit your niche. What brought them into your office? As Ross Marino, Founder of Advisor2x points out, “For someone to say, ‘I need to speak with a financial advisor, financial planner, I need help with something,’ there is a trigger there [...] nobody woke up and said, ‘I need a comprehensive financial plan today!’” Was it a late-life career move that impacted their savings? The loss of a spouse and feeling overwhelmed by new financial responsibilities? The birth of a child or grandchild that made them realize they want to save up to help them pay for college? Whatever the life event, they came to you because they were worried about it and trusted you to help them through it, which gives you credibility and expertise, and helps you formulate a targeted email marketing strategy.

Turn your ideal clients into your ideal referral sources by funneling them into a specific email list. Not everyone on your list is going to care about how to roll over a deceased partner’s Roth IRA, but you know which clients will, and chances are, some of their friends or contacts share their interests and life circumstances. Send need-specific, informative emails and add a “share” option for social media and email forwarding. If you present valuable information that addresses your niche and is easy to share, your clients are much more likely to pass your email along. Just make sure your email looks professional and is clearly branded to represent your firm!

#2 Bait Boldly

If you want to make yourself more referable, digital communications are one of the best ways for you to stand out from the crowd. Personalized, professional e-newsletters are a great way to move beyond being just a service or a business, and establish yourself as a trustworthy and compassionate ally.

With the increasing frequency of virtual meetings, it can be hard for clients to get to know you as more than the person behind the desk or on their screen. Not only do regular e-newsletters help keep you at the forefront of your clients’ minds, but they can also create a deeper, more personal connection. Whether you share team member photos, event recaps, or employee features, you can become a real-live person who’s a fixture in your clients’ opened messages. Don’t forget to include valuable, educational information to continue building trust, and, you know, ‘cause you’re good like that. Check out these email best practices to help you snag your readers and solidify your “not like other advisors” status. If you create a client/advisor relationship that goes beyond what other firms are providing, and if you communicate consistently, you can bet you’re ultra-referable.

#3 Drop a Line With Drip Campaigns

You know that drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet that keeps reminding you to call a plumber already? Drip campaigns are named for having the same effect in your audience’s inbox, making them a great way to reel in a referral who is on the fence.

Email marketing can really shine when you implement drip campaigns, which are automated email sequences that operate on triggers determined by the client’s action. As long as the conditions you set within the campaign are met, the next email in the campaign series will be automatically sent. This could include email opens, resource downloads, sign-ups, or even inaction, like failure to schedule a meeting. 

Drip campaigns are the perfect way to connect with prospects once they’re referred because it’s less intimidating for the lead than setting up that initial meeting or receiving a phone call. It allows them the chance to get to know you at what feels like their own pace when in reality, you’re keeping yourself at the top of their inbox and the front of their mind. You can use drip campaigns to show your value through free resources and mitigate any nerves by including information about what to expect and how you’ve helped other people who are just like them. All of this adds up to a much better success rate in your referral strategy.

Hook, Line, and Sinker

While jostling for space in an inbox can feel more daunting than figuring out where to stand at a mixer event, with the right email strategy, you’ll be pulling in referrals in no time. But what if you don’t have time to create weekly, monthly, or even quarterly emails, much less craft a drip campaign? Enter our new done-for-you email marketing service! Because if you can outsource your email marketing to someone who understands your voice, goals, and how to accelerate your referrals, why wouldn’t you? Check it out to learn how we can take email marketing off your plate. Maybe you can finally get some mileage out of that “gone fishing” sign after all.

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