Email Marketing 101

Many businesses and their sales people are excellent at sending marketing emails on a regular basis, but these emails are simply not effective because they lack the foundation of what email marketing is all about, how to make it useful for their recipients and how to improve their efforts over time.

This is where Email Marketing 101 comes in handy. By going through this guide, you will be better equipped to send emails that will genuinely make a difference in your business.

We define email marketing as either emails that you send to a segmented list of contacts or emails that are sent out automatically through automation. Most businesses use email marketing such as sending out newsletters or when someone fills out a form. We do encourage you to read this article as well if you are looking to improve your overall email practices.

The Purpose of Email Marketing


Nurturing your contacts to move forward in their buyer’s journey.

Let’s start off by first explaining the purpose of email marketing. Whatever email you send to your recipients, it is all about nurturing your leads to become customers.

Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with prospects, with the goal of earning their business once they are ready by providing relevant and useful content throughout their journey.

Unlike traditional, outbound marketing efforts which often try to push content at people and expect them to be sales ready shortly afterwards, lead nurturing recognizes that prospects are more drawn to companies they trust and in order to build trust, a relationship has to be created first between them.

For example, if someone downloads an eBook from your website, they
are most likely not ready to buy. They are still at the stage where they are browsing and researching about the subject matter. This is where lead nurturing by email comes in. Sending them relevant and useful content to better understand their needs and helping them along their path to purchase is the power of email marketing.

Email is one of the most important tactics a firm can use to nurture leads and better form relationships with prospects. With Email marketing, each email that you send to your recipients will help foster a relationship that can help them move forward in their buyer’s journey.

1. Setting Goals for Your Firm's Email Marketing Campaign

Now that you know email marketing is to nurture your leads. It’s important that you set goals to your intent for doing so. You may be sending monthly or quarterly newsletters but what is the goal for sending those? Is it simply because it’s just what you have been doing for years and that it is a common practice in the industry? Unfortunately there is no goal in doing so.

You need to make emails goal-oriented, with a clear purpose and focused on the customer. Without setting goals, how do you know what to send, to who and if they will care about the content?

To set a goal, here are 6 questions when preparing an email campaign:

1. Who are you sending the email to?

Even before you start writing your email, take the time to think about your firm’s buyer persona. What is their demographic, demeanor, goals and challenges? For example, is your email targeting men aged around 40-55 years old? How about investors who possess considerable wealth and can make larger investments? Mapping out who exactly you want this email to be sent to will ensure your emails are received by the right people and can therefore provide relevant help to them.

2. What is the primary objective of sending this email?

Many businesses will say they just want recipients to click and open it, but this isn’t a good answer. What
do you want the recipient to do after they’ve read your email? Try to be specific and aim for one primary goal per email. Examples could include wanting them to sign up for a webinar about alternative investments linked in the email or downloading an eBook offer that goes into more detail about the same topic.

3. When to send the email?

This is a place where lots of firms can go wrong, sending out emails when it’s only most convenient for them. The problem lies in that even after you’ve created an excellent email with lots of great resources, if you send that email out to a potential customer who is not at the point of finding it helpful yet, your email quickly becomes completely ineffective.

4. Where will your email will be read and what device?

Does your buyer persona go through the bulk of his emails on his laptop at work, or does he tend to use his smartphone mainly to check his emails? For example, if your buyer persona uses his smartphone more often, you should tailor your firm’s emails accordingly so that the font size is larger, the format is mobile-friendly, and the CTA included is large enough to accommodate the click of a finger.

5. Why is your firm sending this email?

This really comes down to the true motive behind the email – are you solely trying to advertise your firm’s services or are you thinking about the customer and trying to provide help to them? Good emails find a balance between the two so that both the customer and your firm can benefit. But, if the customer doesn’t even cross your mind when writing an email, that’s when you know your emails need re-focusing.

6. How will you know when your email goals have been met?

 The most common ways to assess your emails’ success is by looking at the number of clicks and opens each of your emails receive, but these two things are not the only indicators of success. Other valuable insights would include looking at your website’s traffic, how potential customers are engaging with your social media, and any other types of customer activity across your firm’s multiple channels to see how the receiving of emails may affect their other interactions with your firm. 


2. Creating Segmented Lists to Categorize Your Audience

To nurture leads effectively with email marketing, it is crucial to send emails to segmented lists of contacts. Instead of sending your emails to everyone in your contact database, it is much better to carefully select who you should send them to as you want to send the right content to the right people.segmenting-people-lists-email

Segmented lists are created based on a set of criteria from collected data of your contacts. For example, you could create a segment of people who live in a specific jurisdiction and have an annual household income of $250,000. Knowing that there are endless data that could be collected, there are also endless possibilities of segments that you can create.

We recommend at the very minimum that you create segmented lists based on lifecycle stage.

Creating segmented lists based on lifecycle stage

A lifecycle stages is an indication of where a contact is in the sales and marketing pipeline. Here are the 6 lifecycle stages suggested from HubSpot:

1. Subscriber:  

A prospect who subscribed to your blog or newsletter

2. Lead:  

A prospect who downloaded a content piece from your website

3. Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): 

A lead who met the set marketing criteria (such as read 6 blog articles or downloaded 2 eBooks) as a qualification to pass the lead on to a sales person.

4. Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): 

A lead who met the set sales criteria (such as budget, urgency, etc.) that is validated by a sales person by speaking with the lead.

5. Opportunity:  

A lead who has shown a commitment to invest in one of your investment solutions.

6. Customer: 

A lead that made the investment.

Creating segmented lists based on lifecycle stage will help you to start placing your contacts in different buckets so that you can identify what type of email content resonates best with to which segment. For example, your Customers and Opportunities may very well be interested in your newsletters about your company growth but for your leads and your marketing qualified leads, it may be better to send blog articles related to how to select investment solutions.


3. Optimizing Email Marketing Subject Lines for Higher Open Rate

open-email-computer-screenSending Emails to segmented lists is a first great first step but a sent email does no good if it’s not even opened in the first place. In order to ensure your emails are being opened and read, you need to craft a well-written subject line.

Subject lines act as a gatekeeper. Similar to a book title, those who find the title appealing may read through the summary and skim the back of the book to know more. You want to do the same with your email subject lines, which is to stir up curiosity within your recipients so that they want to know more.

We have 4 best practices that we highly recommend implementing to your future emails:


1. Avoid Salesy Words

This touches upon both the recipient and the
inbox itself. Using words such as “FREE”, “WIN”, “DISCOUNT” or any other salesy words that are along the same lines could trigger as a spam and the email will automatically be placed in your spam folder. As you may know, anything that falls in that folder will most likely be deleted or the recipient may not even be aware that they received it.

If it does end up in the primary inbox of your recipient, salesy words are suspicious these days and will often be filtered out. The trick is to be relational rather than transactional. 


Salesy (transactional): Get a FREE Iphone X When You Invest 500K.
Better (relational): An Iphone Gift to You When You Invest 500K.

2. Make it straight to the point

You want to keep your subject lines simple and straight to the point. There is no need to add details that are already implied, putting words that add fluff or exclamation marks to grab attention. The trick is to write subject lines as statements or as questions.


Typical: Great News! A possibility IRR of 15% vs 12% for the real estate project. Time to invest.
Better: Investment Update: IRR increases to 15%

3. Personalized when needed

There may be several occasions where adding personalization such as a name and location to an email subject line could give a major facelift to increase open rates. This is because it sounds more like a conversation from one person to another. Again, it comes back to being relational.


Non-Personalized: Let’s meet to discuss.
Personalized: Charlie, let’s meet in Toronto to discuss.

4. Get recipients to take action

In every email, there needs to be a Call-to-Action (CTA). A CTA is either a hyperlink text or image that prompts your prospects, leads or customers to click on. A CTA is the most important piece of your email. Without one, the recipients may not know exactly what to do with your email after reading it. Having a CTA makes it clear for them as to what they should do next.

Here is a CTA image example:


Now, you don’t want to simply slap on a nice looking CTAs in every email just yet. You must first identify:

1. What exactly you want the recipients to do by reading your email
2. Why they should do it and
3. How will they know what to do

To answer these 3 questions, reference back to the goal of your email. Your CTA should be aligned with it. Since you should only have 1 primary goal, the general rule of thumb is to have 1 CTA.

It may be tempting to start putting CTA images or CTA text all over the place, but it would be counterintuitive to having 1 primary goal. Your email and CTA should lead your recipients down to one path. It keeps it simple for you and simple for them.


4. Measuring Your Email Marketing Metrics

email-clicks-chartAfter sending several emails with your email marketing campaigns, it’s important to review your stats and review your tracked metrics in order to know whether your marketing emails are successful or not. it’s important that you measure the results of your email efforts so that you can aim for continual improvements over time.

There are 3 email marketing metrics that you must track to improve and measure success. 


1. Clickthrough Rate 


One way to find out if your email is relevant and helpful to your recipients is to see if they are clicking on any links that are in the email. What they click on indicates what has peaked their curiosity or what is important to them to learn more about. If your clickthrough rate is low, this could be a sign to review the relevancy of the content.

For example, you may be sending a newsletter to your fresh new leads about how your company just spoke at a conference and you send a link to watch the recording. After sending it, you see that less than 1% clicked on the link.

By doing some analysis, you’ve come to the realization that your fresh new leads are still at the beginning of the buyer’s journey so the video is irrelevant to their current stage of their buying process.

Without tracking the clickthrough rate in this example, you may keep sending emails and never see any of your fresh new leads move forward. In fact, some may even stop wanting to hear from you. Therefore, track the clickthrough rate to ensure that the emails you send are truly beneficial to your recipients.

2. Conversion Rate


To truly see if potential clients move forward in the sales process is by their commitment to fill out a form for gate resources such as an eBook, checklist or a private consultation with a salesperson.

If your email goal is related to converting leads to marketing qualified leads (MQL), tracking email conversion rate is a great metric to keep an eye on. Knowing which emails have a high conversion rate will help you determine what content and type of content drives your recipients to convert.

For example, you decide to send active leads a link to subscribe to a 30-minute webinar about the private capital market but only get a 1% conversion rate. But when you send an eBook of the webinar script, you get a 3% conversion rate.

This information may help you determine that that there is a strong possibility that even though they are active leads, they are more interested in taking their time to read about the subject matter.

3. Email Sharing Rate 


As part of your goals, there could be many occasions where you want your emails to be shared as much as possible. These are typically emails where your goal is related to exposure and getting the word out.

For example, you are planning to do a sales presentation about a webinar on new fund offerings and you made it clear that you want your segmented list to invite their peers and share the news. After sending the email about the webinar, it’s important to analyze the email sharing rate to help you gauge whether or not the content was worth sharing.

If the email sharing rate is low, consider sending a series of emails about the event and implement within the process so that Sales will call their key clients about the event to obtain feedback.


5. Evaluating Your Business's Email Marketing Efforts

Now that we’ve covered considerable ground on how to strengthen your firm’s email marketing, here is a quick checklist which summarizing the key points of this eBook that you can go over for each email marketing campaign/email to know if you were on the right track. Don’t worry if you answered “no” to many of the questions. This is a sign that there is an opportunity to continue improving.

  • Did I set a goal for the email?
  • Was my email content useful and relevant to my leads that they are being nurtured?
  • Was my subject line optimized for open?
  • Did I include any Call-to-Action?
  • Did I measure the results and plan any future steps on how to improve next time?

Keep this checklist close by. It will come in handy whenever you plan future email marketing campaigns.

Going Further and Faster with Email Marketing for Your Business

Let's chat about your email marketing activities. In the meeting, we will provide you insights on how to improve your current efforts and what more you can do to send amazing emails. 

Schedule a time with our consultant to discuss how to best use email marketing specifically for your business.