If you’re anything like me then your email inbox dings at you every 5 minutes, you Google several times a day and you’re lucky that your phone plan has unlimited texting otherwise you’d be paying an arm and a leg for all the messages between you and your circle.
You get the point. We are inundated with technology. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the Internet has made it easier to find information and stay in touch. It has done wonderful things for marketing — we can now instantly share interesting videos, relevant images and write informative blogs. We could bombard our audiences with email marketing messages multiple times a day, every day, at virtually no additional cost. There are no limits to the potential audience one can reach through digital.
Put aside the relatively low cost of email marketing for a moment and think about how many emails you delete a day without even opening them. Mailchimp states that the average email open rate for the financial industry is 21.65 percent. That means 78.35 percent of recipients are NOT reading these emails. If digital mail is the only channel used to stay in touch, particularly with prospects, it can cause an advisor’s marketing program to be largely unsuccessful.
A successful marketing strategy depends on balancing different channels, such as digital mail and postal mail. In the recent rush to have an increasing digital presence, postal mail has been left in the dust. This largely overlooked media, though, offers benefits that one cannot get from marketing through email:
- Increased open rates.
- And what we call, the “going the extra mile” effect.
Our strategies for when to use postal mail vs digital mail:
Strategy No. 1: Send a paper note to say thank you
Saying thank you is one of the most important things an advisor can do to show clients that you care and is a key opportunity to “go the extra mile.”
Heather Wiese-Alexander, founder of Bell’Invito Stationery and etiquette blogger, sat down with Harpers Bazaar to discuss modern etiquette guidelines in the age of technology. Following a meeting or a sale, Heather was a vocal advocate of the paper thank you:
“Sending a quick email is fine, especially if you perceive the need to promptly follow up on something … (however) there is no substitution for the effort it takes to procure good paper, write (or type) a note, seal it, address, stamp and mail a sincere note. You are saying as much with the effort as you are with the words. Send them properly.”
Of course, busy advisors may not always have time to personally handwrite thank you notes to every client who crosses their threshold. It’s ok to delegate or outsource this task as long as it still has all the same personal touches; your signature, an actual postage stamp, ect.
Strategy #2: Send a paper note to stand out
There is a ton of digital clutter out there. Email may present endless low cost opportunities if you have targeted and relevant messaging. However, the 90s paper jam in our mailboxes is now happening within our inboxes. And quality print mail is a rare thing to behold.
When you are looking to stand out, send personalized print direct mail. It’s a tangible component that clients can physically touch and hold in their hands. Karren Madson, Director of Product Management at Epsilon, wrote that while your presence should be balanced across the marketing channels preferred by your audience, direct mail is an ideal opportunity to provide an “out-of-the-box experience” that clients “actually look forward to receiving.”
There’s a caveat here as well though. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. If you have a great postcard encouraging clients to start thinking about life insurance, for example, only send it to those clients who either don’t have or are looking for different insurance plans. If you send it to a client that you just enrolled in the perfect life insurance plan, they won’t thank you. And you’ll have wasted time and money marketing to the wrong person.
Strategy No. 3: Send a paper note for balance
Karren also wrote that digital is “a bit of a Catch 22 — greater applied force can actually negatively impact desired outcome.” The same can be said about print mail. There’s good reason for sending monthly or quarterly besides higher cost. It’s because no matter how amazing your direct mail messages are, if your clients received them every day, they’re no longer exciting and fun. They’re monotonous. Much like email.
How can you deploy our strategies?
We suggest establishing a marketing schedule:
- Research has shown that it takes at least 12 contacts a year to stay top of mind with producers and clients. So we suggest starting with a monthly print mail piece.
- Do you have any digital marketing already in place? For example, maybe you send a quarterly email newsletter. Are you seeing good results from this piece? If so, incorporate it into your schedule. If not, now’s a good time to replace it.
- Lastly, decide on your “add-ons,” items that are crucial but aren’t as easy to schedule ahead of time.
- Thank Yous: You could send for business, a meeting, or to thank a client for a referral.
Birthdays. More than just an opportunity for personalized off-the-schedule contact, birthdays are a chance to make your message all about the recipient. People are often inclined to be more loyal to companies when they feel that they come first.
Holidays. Holidays are perfect for surprising your audience because they stand out. Less common holidays such as Memorial Day or St. Patrick’s Day have an even greater impact since your card will likely be the only one in the mailbox.
Event messages. It’s always ok to deviate from the schedule when you have something exciting to share. These messages could share a new product or invite clients to a seminar.
“Let’s remember both the promise we saw in email and why we like direct mail as a marketing channel. Creative, smart and technically a little edgy … each doing its own work very effectively, helping to drive excitement, engagement and convergence.” Karren Madson, Epsilon