Email marketing best practices in financial services

Person holding a mobile phone and looking at emails

Richard Cowdery

Lead Digital Developer

Posted on July 22, 2019

There’s little doubt that email marketing works. When you send someone a financial marketing email you already know they’re interested in the service you provide or the product you sell. After all, you can’t send emails to just anyone. They need to opt-in to your mailing list to begin with.

So let’s not lose them. Let us continue to engage, inform and keep their custom. There are many aspects to creating great financial marketing emails, this blog will go over some of the key points and help make your emails even more successful than before!

Mobile rules

It goes without saying that mobile is king of the email landscape.

Over 50% of emails are read on mobile devices so it makes perfect sense to make them suitable for smaller screens.

This could mean that the content you want to put across in your email might not work on a smaller device. For example, tables with lots of financial data, or images, like graphs and infographics, just don’t work well on small screens.

Think about presenting complicated information in a mobile-friendly way, or better still have your email send the reader to a website with this information instead. Websites are much better at displaying mobile-friendly content, and the chances are the recipient needs to complete some goal on your website anyway.

Keep it Simple

Emails should ideally have a single message. Don’t sprinkle dozens of links in your email that’ll take your visitors to different areas of your site. Your message should have a singular purpose, to get that person to the next stage in the process. Whether it’s to sign up for a webinar, download a brochure or order your new product. There really shouldn’t be any other options available. Get them to where they need to be and nowhere else.

There may be some exceptions to this, such as email newsletters, blog summaries and maybe a few chosen items in an on-line shop. But other than that your email should have one purpose.

Don’t over-complicate the design of your emails. Keep them clear and readable with suitably sized text and easily clickable buttons for mobile. Keep imagery to a minimum and check to see how the email looks without the images loaded in. B2B emails should certainly avoid emails with lots of imagery. A simple look with a strong message and a notable call-to-action is all it really needs.


Segment your data

Not everyone is the same, so why should everybody get the same message? With most email broadcasting platforms you can segment your data in many ways and provide recipients with email content that is more relevant to them.

Segmentation allows us to group your customers in interesting ways. Maybe we could create a segment from our database based on people who work within structured products and those that work within the pensions sector. We might have a service that might be well received by both, and by segmenting these groups we can adapt the copy of the email to these particular audiences.

There are many ways to segment your data, here’s a few suggestions.

  • Geography – If you have a road-show touring around the country, you can inform the people near to each location, providing details relevant to them.
  • Product/Service – You notice that some visitors show more interest in your amazing blogs about investing in ISAs. Why not target them with further relevant content?
  • Stage in cycle – Where are your customers in the sales process? Are they a new lead? Are they making a decision about a purchase? Have they recently purchased from you?
  • Behavior – Does a customer use your service on a frequent basis, occasionally or only at certain times of the year?

One step further would be to develop ‘personas’. By identifying your customers based on their demographics, goals and behaviour you can create fictional characters that represent your ideal customer. You should assign some of your clients to these personas, segment them and target them with even more focused and relevant content.


Make your emails sound personal. Placing salutations and maybe a reference to their place of work will increase the engagement people have with your emails. Just a first name personalisation in a subject line could increase click-through rates by a percentage point or two.

Don’t go overboard though. Adding all the information we might have on someone in our client database is just going to look creepy. Keep it natural and friendly. Just because we might know someone’s Twitter name it’s probably not necessary or a good idea to reference it in a marketing email.

Test your emails

Before you hit the send button of your latest email campaign are you sure the email is going to look good in all of the hundreds of different email clients out there? What you see in your email building system might not necessarily appear the same for your recipients. Rendering your email properly, even in some of the most popular email clients, can be a problematic.

Fortunately many email builders will have some sort of testing facility for this very thing, and if not, there are always other services like Litmus and Email on Acid to help with this task. Usually this part of the process incurs additional cost to the build, but it’s money well spent. If recipients are seeing a poor looking email, there’s a very good chance that it will be ignored and your efforts wasted.

Analysis and Optimisation

Are your emails working? There’s only one way to know and that’s to dig through the analytics after each email has been sent. Find out what works.

If you need a benchmark to judge your email marketing success to begin with, MailChimp often publishes stats. For the business and finance industry email opens and click are 20.47% and 2.59% respectively.

Looking at your email sending results, do recipients increase their open rates and click through if you’re offering a discount on a service, or are they more likely to engage if you mention that your product has a brand new feature? You won’t know until you test and check the data.

At what point along that path did people fail to continue their journey? If the open rates are low but the click-through is high, then maybe the subject was poor, but the actual content was great and it had people clicking through. If we reverse that scenario and the subject line had lots of people opening but few clicking through, that could be the sign of a great subject line but poor content. Come up with a hypothesis, test it out in the next email, assess the results and begin the process again.

The results you measure in your analytics will ultimately determine the type of emails that work well with your customers. Don’t assume that something will work based on a hunch or even your own personal preference. Let the results guide you!

If you follow the pointers above it won’t be long before you start seeing an increase in your opens and click-throughs.

Good luck!