Email marketing : are banks doomed to fail?

Florent_Diverchy.jpg - 18 Aug 2017

Not all sectors are created equal for Email Marketing 

The reality of Email Marketing in Belgium is that you need to contact on average 16 clients or 44 prospects to generate one click. But when you start to study these numbers by sector, you see huge differences: In the FMCG sector, you just need to contact 9 Clients or 25 Prospects for one click. At the other end, in the Finance/Insurance sector, you will have to scream louder: only 1 out of 56 clients or 155 prospects will listen to you! What is striking is that they don’t differ by a low open rate: people are opening their Finance emails as much as the other ones. The difference happens at the next step: people don’t click. Does this mean that Email Marketing is useless for this sector? Well, not necessarily. But if you want to succeed, you first have to identify the cause of these poor performances.

“Why are my clients not reacting to my Finance emails?”

First thing to keep in mind, is that they are opening the emails. It means they are truly expecting something from the Banks. The fact they are not clicking afterwards seems to show that what they received, didn’t match their expectations. After some brainstorms and online surveys, we managed to understand why and point out 5 explanations, each of them solvable with different strategies:

#1 - Clients are expecting something else from their bank

#1 - Clients are expecting something else from their bank

The content in your email doesn’t match people’s expectations.

So you have to produce new content.

Do you want some tips?

  • Dare going out of your brand
  • Tell stories
  • Use pictures and videos

You don’t think you have stories to tell? Think again: most banks sponsor events (concerts, festivals, sports, innovation, art,fundraising…). All these events can fill your emails with stories that will interest your clients and prospects.


#2 – Clients want advice adapted to their own situation

#2 – Clients want advice adapted to their own situation

People want an answer to their personal problems.

So you have to personalize your emails.

Some tips?

  • Create different contents
  • Personalize the text and the images

If you want it to work, listen before talking. You have to make people talk and, guess what?, people LOVE to talk about themselves.

Doing an online survey (with the right incentives to push people to reply to it) can help you retrieve a lot of valuable information. Use this data to create different consumer personas, segment your selections based on these personas & create a different email for each of them.

By increasing relevance, you’ll also increase your email results.


#3 – People are afraid of phishing

#3 – People are afraid of phishing

People can’t decide if the email is really from you or from a fraud account.

So you have to educate them.

Some tips?

  • Be clear
  • Be transparent
  • Teach them to identify you
  • Make them online privacy aware.

You should never mix transactional emails and marketing messages.

To look more legit, always refer to personalized local agencies & advisers' names. Make sure people will read your disclaimers, legal phrases and security rules: why not use gamification here? You could create an online test and deliver an e-citizen diploma. Don’t hesitate  to brainstorm with legal and privacy specialists from other sectors (such as pharmaceutical) to see how they deal with these trust issues.


#4 – It’s not the right moment

#4 – It’s not the right moment

People don’t need your help all the time. You can’t be lucky enough to contact them always at the right moment

So you have to recontact them later.

Again, some tips:

  • Maintain regular contact
  • Multiply the channels you’re talking to them with
  • Insist, until they convert

Don’t forget that a finance product is a subject discussed at home before being selected. If you contact couples, a good idea would be to send your emails during the weekend, so that they can directly talk about it. Most of all, remember this is not 2010 anymore. Nowadays, an email campaign is extended by retargeting on banners, using cookie dropping. Reactive people can also be reactivated via Facebook Ads, using a Custom Audience.


#5 – There are invisible causes

#5 – There are invisible causes

Finally, sometimes you can fail for no visible reasons.

So you have to do in-depth analysis on all actions you send.

Remember that if you want to learn and do better next time, you have to understand what just happened. Analysis is Key. Optimization is an ongoing process, each campaign output must be used as input for the next one. Remember also that no campaign is all black or white. Even in the most successful campaigns, a segment can fail. Even in the worst campaigns, there can be a good segment.

Use all the data you have to identify those segments. And if you don’t have enough data, find a partner who can help you on this.


By following these 5 steps, we managed to increase the results of our Finance email campaigns. Our best campaign in the recent years was even coming from this sector!

Just give it a try, and you’ll see that Finance is not doomed. They can also perform on the email channel.


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