Do Better Marketing: Stop Sending Email

  • Post category:Marketing


Marketing Automation Is The Next Step In Talking With Your Customers and Prospects

Why would you want to stop sending emails to improve your marketing?

OK, we admit:  we don’t actually want you to stop emailing altogether.  

But we would suggest that the days of opening futures accounts and adding new customers by blasting your entire email list are over.

The marketplace has shifted in many different ways, and marketing has changed also.  People have an aversion to being mass-marketed — they want you to recognize what is unique about them and tailor your communications with them accordingly.

Last week at the 6th Annual Joint NIBA/DePaul University Symposium in Chicago, we presented the idea that futures brokers and financial firms would benefit from using Marketing Automation to more effectively reach the right people, at the right time, with the right message.

Email Marketing

To understand marketing automation, you need to first understand what we mean by traditional-type email marketing.

Nearly all of the legacy email service providers will allow you to manually send emails to a list of recipients.  Some providers allow a type of auto-scheduling of basic emails, but this is basically just a timer, and you’re still sending your emails manually at a later time.

16Wells marketing automation
A basic series of emails. (Click to see larger image)

What Is Marketing Automation?

Much as it sounds, Marketing Automation is the use of technology to continuously execute your marketing strategy.

The key phrase there is “continuously”.

The easiest way to picture it is to remember back to the days of sales teams “smiling and dialing” stacks of leads on printouts or index cards.  Leads came in through various channels and were handed out to a salesforce that often had very different skills, personalities, and success rates with those leads.

Maybe a phone call would be made to a lead. Maybe an email would be sent. Occasional follow-up or thank you notes after a conversation. 

Often, the best you could hope for as a business owner was that every salesperson behaved professionally and that they would reflect well on your business. (And much of the time, they didn’t.)

What Marketing Automation does is allow technology to step in and create consistency in the interactions every lead has with your firm.

Imagine This New Scenario

Your prospective client comes to your website and requests an ebook.  Or registers for a webinar or event. Maybe they even request a portfolio review.

Immediately, your system creates a new contact record for this prospect.  It sends them the material they requested or a link to an online calendar where they can pick an appointment time that is convenient.

You’re already meeting the prospect’s expectations. (Great work!)

Then your system watches what happens — if the lead doesn’t open or click on the email, maybe it waits a day or two, then sends the first email again. 

Or, if they do open and click, it can create a new “Deal” in your CRM, assign it to a salesperson, and assign a set of tasks for the salesperson to do with that lead.

Sales automation with ActiveCampaign
A screenshot of ActiveCampaign’s deals pipeline, which allows you to automate your sales processes.

Over the next week, a pre-set sequence of emails is sent to the lead, introducing your company and reinforcing your unique selling points and approach.

And the system watches and records their interactions — not only with the emails, but if they come to your website, and which specific pages they visited.

marketing automation
Marketing automation with paths that change based on user behavior.

The lead visited your commissions & fees page?  Automatically send them a follow-up email with a comparison between your fees and your competitors.  And while you’re at it, add a tag in their contact record that they are interested in fees and commissions.

Do they visit a page about S&P index futures margin specs?  Automatically send them an email that covers the index futures you offer and invites them to open an account. Or hit reply and ask any question they have (routed to their salesperson for immediate answer).  And tag them as interested in equity indices.

How Can Your Futures Brokerage Implement Marketing Automation?

Interested, but don’t know where or how to begin?  Or using an email service provider that doesn’t allow anything but sending batches of emails to lists?

We suggest you take a look at email service provider ActiveCampaign.  They’re a Chicago-based company that has been growing exponentially as businesses worldwide discover its unique approach and reasonable price point for marketing functionality previously only accessible for hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

We believe in this process and know that it works, from Skip’s days in the marketing teams for optionsXpress (now a unit of Charles Schwab) and tradeMONSTER (now part of E*TRADE Financial).

Get Futures-Focused Automations & Templates In This Freebie

What we have done is to establish a “starters toolkit” of automations, including several of these followup sequences mentioned above, and a (14-day free, no-credit-card-required) trial for you to kick the tires and see what a difference this kind of messaging could make for your business.

These aren’t emails and templates designed for a cupcake shop, either.  They’re made with a futures broker in mind.  Pop in your logo, address, and run the emails past compliance, you’re good to go.

You’ll get:

  • A set of “Indoctrination” emails to welcome new contacts to your business.  What everyone should know about you, maybe some good articles, etc.
  • Two magic automations that will track how engaged and active every single contact in your list is
  • A set of 11 automations that help you find out if your contacts would recommend you to others (called a Net Promoter Score)

If you’d like to take a look and get the toolkit, you can fill out this trial setup form here and we’ll set you up.

There are many more features and capabilities you might benefit from, but start small and expand as it makes sense.

And feel free to reach out if you or your team have questions, we’d love to help.

This guest post is by Skip Shean, a long-time futures and options marketer and CEO of 16Wells, and Elizabeth Bailey from ActiveCampaign.