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Best practice for email marketing for financial advisors

Email marketing has been a business mainstay of the marketing scene for decades. Yet, despite its age, email hasn’t lost any of its relevance. In fact, in an era dominated by such sophisticated technology – email remains one of the most valuable marketing tactics in a financial advisor’s toolkit.

With economic and political uncertainties causing increased concern among investors, email marketing can represent a reassuring constant in an otherwise turbulent industry.

The main challenges in financial advisor email marketing

For Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), email is typically used to stay in contact with clients and set up meetings. When it comes to email marketing and all it involves – many of the intricacies and skills required fall outside an advisor’s comfort zone. After all, good emails are built using a diverse skill set, from copywriting to designs and visuals, and analytics and testing to automation.

Then there are the challenges facing any email marketer, regardless of background or niche. Demonstrating ROI is often the bane of any marketing activity, and email suffers from the same shortcomings.

Many RIAs also fall into the trap of purchasing expensive third-party contact lists, which can be inaccurate and may compromise data privacy laws. RIAs should instead grow their database organically through other marketing activities – such as email – that generate first-party data.

Five types of email marketing in financial services

Email is a broad category in the marketing game, consisting of several different types, each with its own objectives and nuances. Here are the most common:

1. Newsletter emails

One of the most common forms of email marketing, newsletters are regularly scheduled and sent to an opted-in database. With newsletters, you can share company updates, provide the latest news and insights on the financial market, and link to blog content or other areas of your website. They’re a great way to engage with your audience and build authority regularly.

2. Promotional emails

Promotional emails are one of the most widely used forms of email marketing to advertise a particular product or service, so they need to stand out. Whether linking to gated content, inviting people to exclusive events, or offering discounts on products – promotional emails are a great way to capture and nurture leads.

3. Lead nurturing emails

Lead nurture emails usher an interested prospect further along the customer journey toward conversion. Using information captured earlier in the customer journey, nurture campaigns rely heavily on personalization and automation to deliver more tailored content to prospects.

4. Survey emails

Typically sent to existing customers, where there already exists an element of trust and value exchange, survey emails help RIAs refine campaigns, collect useful insights, and improve client relationships. Through surveys, financial advisors can identify their customers’ biggest pain points and challenges, what kind of content they’d like to see more of, and how to improve their overall service.

5. Milestone emails

Often automated yet still possessing a personal touch, milestone emails allow financial advisors to call out key landmarks pertinent to your customers. For RIAs, this could come in the form of investment milestones, such as meeting or exceeding quarterly or yearly forecasts. Because of this, milestone emails also remind clients of the value they’ve achieved throughout their relationship with you.

Five key email marketing metrics RIAs should be tracking

Deciding on which email to use is one thing, but RIAs need to know what’s working and not working once their campaigns have launched. Here are five critical email marketing metrics every financial advisor should track, along with 2023 benchmarks for financial services.

 1. Open rates: Open rates track which users have actively opened your emails, as opposed to those who have just received it. High open rates often point towards compelling subject lines or show your recipients are highly engaged with your content.  (Industry average = 27.76%)

2. Click-through rates (CTR): If your email contains links to your website or other resources, CTR shows how many people have landed on specific pages thanks to your email. A high CTR indicates the overall quality of your email is high, especially your calls to action (CTAs). 
(Industry average = 1.01%)

3. Bounce rates: Bounce rates tell RIAs when their email delivery has failed. Common reasons include your address being blocked or typos in the address field. High bounce rates indicate when your database needs a spring clean to remove inactive prospects or people who aren’t interested in your content. (Industry average = 9.58%)

4. Unsubscribe rates: Unsubscribe rates show how many people have decided to unsubscribe from your database following the delivery of a specific email. By comparing commonalities between emails with high unsubscribe rates, RIAs can identify and remove/improve areas that could potentially be annoying receivers, such as subject lines or CTAs.

5. Conversion rates: The holy grail KPI in email marketing, conversion rates track whether a converted prospect initially arrived on your website via an email – meaning the successful conversion can be directly attributed to your email.

Five essential features of a strong email marketing campaign

1. Data: Key to proving the success or failure of campaigns or specific emails – data is essential to demonstrating email marketing ROI. An effective ESP (email service provider) should include native analytics that allows RIAs to track success and help scale their email marketing efforts over time.

2. Content: An email is only as strong as its content, from the subject line to the body of the email itself and the content it directs people towards. With emails, less is more. Subject lines should be short, punchy, and vibrant – while content inside the email must provide value but without giving too much of the game away. You want to entice and engage the reader, prompting them to click through to a higher-value piece of content.

3. Personalization and targeting: Most RIAs probably know about the basic forms of email personalization, such as their first name. More sophisticated personalization means targeting prospects and clients with content you know will resonate with them, thanks to information captured through your website and fed into your email platform.

4. Automation: AI and machine learning can help automate some of the more time-consuming tasks associated with email marketing, such as audience segmentation and automatic replies. Although remember automation can’t replace the creative work that will elevate your email above the competition, it does help free your time to focus on more value-add tasks. Learn more about marketing automation for financial advisors.

5. Integration: Email can prove hugely successful for RIAs, but it shouldn’t be isolated from other marketing activities. At the least, email must integrate your website. Still, RIAs should also consider combining it with other marketing forms, such as direct mail campaigns, which will provide a more consistent brand presence, connected customer journey, and engaging customer experience.


An effective email marketing campaign blends the strengths of valuable data, compelling content, personalized targeting, efficient automation, and integration. By mastering these aspects, RIAs can significantly bolster their marketing efforts, forging and fortifying client relationships that lead to successful business outcomes. Email marketing maintains its pivotal role despite the emergence of new digital paradigms, a testament to its adaptability and enduring efficacy in the financial sector.

Learn more about other digital marketing channels financial advisors can incorporate into their strategy. 

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