Marketing automation gives financial professionals the tools to streamline and measure workflows and marketing tasks. This enables you to increase your ROI and operational efficiency.
We’re here to walk you through all you need to know about marketing automation in the financial industry, the workflows you can use, and any potential roadblocks you may face.
Financial Marketing Automation
Marketing automation can be a broad term that can refer to many different things to different people.
Marketing automation is often associated with automated email marketing. Some people think of automated PDF guide generation. Others focus more on automated data sources.
We also know that there can be a disconnect between understanding marketing automation and being able to implement it.
This blog will help you close the gap by providing a clear explanation of marketing automation, as well as some practical ways to implement it into your financial marketing strategy.
Financial Marketing Automation Explained
Salesforce defines marketing automation as technology that automates multifunctional campaigns and manages marketing processes across multiple channels.
Automated processes are used to seamlessly take data from multiple sources, and create communication pieces with minimal to no manual labour.
Salesforce continues to explain marketing automation in this way:
“Marketing automation allows businesses to target clients via automated messages through email, web, social media and SMS.
The workflows define the instructions used to send these messages. To achieve better results, workflows can be created from templates or custom-built from scratch.”
Our experience shows that automating and personalising emails, reports and proposals through channels such as email service providers, CRMs or websites can help generate leads and close sales.
How Does Financial Marketing Automation Work?
Marketing automation can be reduced to its most basic form by following this formula: Trigger + data = communication.
The automation process begins with a trigger. Next, data is used for making decisions and creating communication content. In most cases, this communication is then automatically sent to the intended audience, obviously!
What is a trigger? There are three types of triggers: interaction-based, date-based and status change.
An interaction based trigger is when someone visits your website and fills out a form. Or opens an email.
The second date-based trigger is activated on a particular date. It could be linked to a campaign launch or a client’s birthday.
Status change is the third type of trigger. This trigger watches client information and activates when a status changes.
This could be, for example, when someone moves from prospect or client to active member to referral.
Data is what binds automations together. It is important to understand what data you have, where it lives, and what data your future marketing automation activities may require.
Your data could be stored in a CRM tool, which is maintained by your sales team. Information may also come from surveys and website forms.
All this information is used to determine when triggers will be executed, which automation people are added to, and what the final communication content may be.
Common communication content includes email, text messages, PDF creation and push notifications.
These communication content pieces can be auto-created and delivered with minimal manual effort by using marketing automation techniques.
This makes them repeatable and efficient, as well as cost-saving.
What Are The Benefits Of Financial Marketing Automation?
It is important to understand how marketing automation can benefit you and your firm.
Advisers need to be flexible in the ever-changing financial on-boarding process, especially in the past year. Prospective clients today are 60%-90% through the engagement process before reaching out to you.
This means prospective clients interact with your content before they even contact you. They expect a more seamless digital experience that solves their problems, without ever having to talk to a member of your team.
Did you know that half of all leads received by financial firms are not properly managed? Studies have shown that 54% of high-quality leads sent through a company website do not get a reply – which we think is CRAZY, and simply a waste of time and effort on your behalf.
It’s also not surprising that 82% of clients who do not receive a follow up won’t contact you again. In most cases, only one chance presents itself to interact with a potential client before you lose them to a competitor.
Marketing automation can make your client experience exceptional and ensure your leads get the follow-up they deserve, without adding to your adviser’s workloads.
Financial marketing automation is beneficial for lead nurturing, but also for sales and marketing departments.
This means more qualified leads for your advisers. Forester research has shown that companies who excel in lead nurturing produce 50% more qualified leads at a lower cost.
Marketing automation allows sales and marketing to work together to connect digital touch points to the CRM.
This in turn helps provide sales leads more efficiently. One report shows that lead nurturing is a great way to increase sales productivity and increase qualified leads by 451%.
Your advisers will not only receive qualified leads, but also more information about the leads.
Recent studies show that marketing automation can reduce marketing overhead by 12.2%.
It allows marketing teams to concentrate on continuous improvement, rather than building one-off communications.
This is a great way for your marketing team to think about a strategy-based approach, rather than a project-by-project approach.
Financial Marketing Automation – Step By Step
We’ve convinced you that automation is a good idea, right?
Marketing automation in the financial industry is worth the effort.
But let’s now talk about how we can make it happen. People want to talk about creative content and design immediately.
But there are many factors to consider before you can get to this stage in the automation workflow.
These nine steps will guide you through the process of building a financial marketing automation system.
Step 1: Define your opportunity
Begin by looking at your business environment and seeking out areas that can be improved on. This involves looking at the client journey and analysing a few key aspects.
Look for areas where prospective clients may leave the funnel.
Determine if there is any disconnect between the information the client seeks and the information they already have available
Step 2: Determine your goals
After identifying the opportunity, set a goal that the automation will achieve.
Without a goal, how can you tell if your automation is successful? Be specific and quantifiable in your goal.
Step 3: Define your audience
It is important to clearly define your audience to understand the channels and data required for automation.
Step 4: Secure your channels
Channels can be both places where you store your data and places where you send your messages.
When executing marketing automation, you can use your CRM, website or email marketing platform.
Step 5: Identify your data needs
Once you have established the basic principles of your automation, it is time to ask the big question: Where is the data?
This can be a time-consuming task, because once you have identified the data you require, it may not exist in a place where your marketing automation platform could access it.
This is why it’s important to figure out how to get the data to your automation platform.
Step 6: Create a communication and data plan
This is the step that involves creating a data visualisation to illustrate the flow of data triggers and communication pieces required for automation.
This step is useful for planning and documentation. It will be easier to visualise the automation when planned out.
Step 7: Create communication pieces and a framework
Here’s where the fun begins! Once you have a plan in place and the data has been identified, it is time to create the automation.
Connecting data streams, creating triggers, and designing your communication content, such as branded emails, messages and PDF’s.
Step 8: Test automation
Once your automation is built, you will need to test it. This will ensure that the automation works as expected and data is being handled correctly.
Step 9: Launch and continue improving
Ready, Set? Go!
Launch Day is the collection of everything you have been working on, coming together and doing the job for you.
Enjoy the results of your work.
But don’t stop there.
Marketing automation has the advantage of allowing you to monitor the success of your marketing automation and make any necessary adjustments to improve it.
Common Roadblocks And Financial Marketing Challenges
This process can be difficult and full of roadblocks. However, being aware of these obstacles ahead of time can help you avoid them.
These are the five most common problems we encounter:
Problem 1: Finding the correct platform
This is a problem that can be costly to solve. We see it in two ways. You may discover that you don’t have the right platform to execute your desired marketing automation.
Perhaps you don’t have the right CRM, or your CRM doesn’t work with your automation system.
Your platform might not handle the complex automation processes you have planned or hoped to carry out.
You may also find that you need more than one platform. Financial advisers often buy a Ferrari to perform the same job as a Honda – which can be costly.
Big platforms promise great things. The £25,000 per month platform offers robust software.
However, if you don’t have a plan to use all the bells and whistles available, you might only use a small portion of what is possible, and could therefore use a much simpler and cost-effective solution.
You should ensure your decision is based on the automations you have in mind and the steps required to achieve them.
Our recommended platforms include: Mailchimp, SalesForce, ActiveCampaign and Hubspot.
Problem 2: Not having the right data
Data is the glue that holds together an automated solution. If you don’t have the data you need, or if the data is not available at all, it can be a major hurdle.
You will need to collaborate with the data management teams to determine how to transform your data and integrate it into your automated marketing platform.
You may need APIs, FTPs and RSS feeds.
To gather more information about your audience, you may also want to use more robust intake forms, client portals, and tracking.
Problem 3: Aligning Marketing and sales teams
Due to organisational structures, sales and marketing often have different understandings of where sales ends and marketing begins.
This misalignment can cost you potential clients.
Open and honest discussions can solve this problem within teams.
We often recommend Opulent Media Group conduct interviews or surveys on behalf of sales and marketing teams when clients approach us with questions about this topic.
The work of mediating the situation begins when both the truth and the myths are exposed.
Challenge 4: Not having compelling material
Messages that lack compelling content will not connect with your audience, no matter how timely they may be.
There are many firms competing for your potential clients’ attention. Your message must be relevant, empathetic and interesting to make your company stand out from the crowd.
Consider what your audience is interested in, not selling your service offering. Be useful and interesting with your content.
It should solve a financial problem or provide financial guidance, inform, entertain, or both.
Challenge 5: Not having expertise in house
You might not have enough people to plan, automate, or create content, depending on how big your team is. Third-party help, such as Opulent Media Group, is the solution.
Some financial advisers get assistance from our team from the beginning to the end, while others only need one piece. Our team fills in the gaps, so you can focus on what your team does best.
We personally use Zapier to move data between our web apps automatically. It’s not as complicated as it may first sound, you can choose from thousands of pre-made templates and build a Zap in just a few clicks. Give it a try!
Financial Marketing Automations Are Endless
Marketing automation isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many options available for both internal and external audiences.
Marketing automation is a way to support sales, increase referrals, update financial records, acquire client data, increase event attendance and share your service offerings. It can also drive traffic to blogs and communicate with partners.
You get the idea. There are so many opportunities when it comes to financial marketing automation.
As a financial marketing agency, we’re here to put in place the most effective marketing automation solutions to support our clients’ digital success.
Read our 30-page comprehensive guide to marketing for financial adviser in 2022