Email Marketing for Financial Services and Banks (Selection and Strategy Guide)

Email marketing for enterprise financial services completely differs from your typical, webshop-around-the-corner marketing strategy. You have probably seen stats on the fantastic ROI of the email channel. It makes you wonder, as a financial institution or bank, can email marketing bring those results for us?

Luckily, it can. With the right strategy and tools, automated email marketing is the most effective channel in your arsenal. So take a ride with us through this guide specific to email marketing for financial services.

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This guide will show you how to make the most of financial services email marketing:


  • What is Email Marketing for Financial Services and Banks
  • Why do Financial Services Need Email Marketing
  • 11 Examples of real-life campaigns. With each, you get details on what you need from your ESP (Email service provider) to make them successful.
  • Walk through how to pick the right email marketing software

First, let’s unravel the different pieces that make up email marketing for the finance and banking industry.

What is Email Marketing for Financial Services and Banks?
Why do Financial Services and Banks Need Email Marketing?
1. 11 Effective email marketing campaign examples for financial services and banks
     1. New Subscriber Welcome & Onboarding Emails
     2. Financial Services Newsletters That Pack a Punch
     3. Stock Market Newsletter
     4. Investor Updates
     5. Personal & Major Life Events and Stages
     6. Automated Factsheet Distribution Email
     7. Loyal Customer Reward and Savings Programs
     8. Financial Literacy Program
     9. Invitations and Event Promotion
     10. Cross and Upselling Email Campaigns
     11. Transactional Emails and Receipts
2. How to pick the best email marketing and automation software for financial services and banking
     The features you need for your email marketing software
     1. Easy-to-use Email Building Tools (with centralized brand management)
     2. Email Campaign and Automation Reporting
     3. Event Promotion
     4. RSS Feeds integration
     5. Preference management and CRM Integration
     6. Automated factsheet distribution
     7. Security and privacy measures
     8. Legal: Possibility for (custom) Service Level Agreements and Contracts
     9. User Rights and rights management
     10. Advanced segmentation and personalization  
     11. Technical know-how, customization, legacy
3. Benefits of a well-executed email marketing strategy for banks and financial services
     1. Acquire more customers with lower acquisition costs
     2. Get a bigger share of the wallet
     3. Follow through with Marketing Automation and Lead nurturing
     4. Increase conversions & sales
     5. Improve Retention and Loyalty
     6. Reduce costs with proactive customer service
     7. Improve the customer experience
Conclusion: Email Marketing for Financial Services and Banks

What is Email Marketing for Financial Services and Banks?

The most straightforward definition of email marketing for financial services is “the use of the email channel to promote products and/or financial services.”

That might be a bit too simplistic because if a profitable industry like finance would invest a tad more in email marketing, they would see opens, clicks, and conversions increase dramatically.

What do financial services like banking, credit card companies, insurance, stock and investment products, etc, have in common? They are all built around trust and relationships.

So you can do with a better definition:

The definition of Email Marketing for Financial Services is the use of the email channel and marketing automation to develop and maintain relationships with potential customers and clients.

This means sending personalized emails to clients and interested prospects.

Nurture them with interesting content, inform them about their products and advance through the sales cycle. Warm email subscribers up to your financial services through value-added marketing and service communication.

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Why do Financial Services and Banks Need Email Marketing?

Econsultancy shows that almost three-quarters (73%) of companies rate email marketing as either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ regarding return on investment. The DMA shows an amazing 4200% ROI on average.

Here’s a short list of goals why financial services need email marketing (jump to the full chapter with details):

  1. Acquire more customers with lower acquisition costs: An email opt-in is one of the most valuable pieces of data a financial service can get from a consumer. So smart marketers use the email channel to attract new customers with high ROI.
  2. Get a bigger share of the wallet: Cross- and upsell via email to increase the share of wallet. And get a bigger part of the customer spend on Insurance, car financing, real estate loans, investment management, credit cards, or risk management.
  3. Follow through with marketing automation and lead nurturing: Financial products aren’t impulse purchases. And a long path to purchase requires lead nurturing. 
  4. Increase conversions & sales: Direct communication with your customers increases  revenue. Send regular newsletters, promotions, and triggered emails to increase sales conversions.
  5. Improve Retention and Loyalty: Make sure your customers experience value. Even when they passively use your services, you will be an obvious choice when their next life event triggers them to (re)consider services.
  6. Reduce costs with proactive customer service: Email is a great channel to be proactive in customer service and lower the costs of alternative channels like your call center or face-to-face advice.
  7. Improve the customer experience: Bring marketing, life-cycle, and transactional emails to work together. Ideally, you want one email marketing and automation platform to create and send all of them.

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Chapter 1. 11 Effective email marketing campaign examples for financial services and banks

Financial services companies are expected to offer a smooth customer experience. This is why your best bet is to bring marketing, life-cycle, and transactional emails to work together. Ideally, you need an email solution that allows you to create and send all of them.

Unlike other industries, an effective financial email marketing strategy is not only about attracting new customers and up- or cross-selling. Retention, customer experience, transactional messages, and service are important to build trust and loyalty.

47% of banking providers send over 10 email campaigns per month. But what are the most effective email marketing campaign types for financial services and banks?

average number of email campaigns banking providers send per month


11 types of financial email examples:

  1. New Subscriber Welcome & Onboarding Emails
  2. Financial Services Newsletters That Pack a Punch
  3. Stock Market Newsletter
  4. Investor Updates
  5. Personal & Major Life Events and Stages
  6. Automated Factsheet Distribution Email
  7. Loyal Customer Reward and Savings Programs
  8. Financial Literacy Program
  9. Invitations and Event Promotion
  10. Cross and Upselling Email Campaigns
  11. Transactional Emails and Receipts

1. Welcome New Subscribers With a Welcome Series & Onboarding Emails

Welcome emails give you a first soft touch with your newly registered subscriber. Start on the right (but automated) foot and begin building out that relationship. Marketers typically see 3x higher engagement on their welcome emails.

A welcome email is a perfect place to:

  • Introduce your product and brand
  • Manage expectations and build a bit of excitement on what’s to come
  • Ask for preferences and enrich their profile to send targeted emails later.
welcome email series for financial services and banks

This financial email example from payment provider Square shows many onboarding email trademarks. Once a business has registered with Square, they receive an email to get acquainted with all they offer. A marketplace, product addition, rewards program, analytics, and more.

A welcome or onboarding email doesn’t have to stop at a single email. A welcome sequence can be a planned automated email drip series that divides the content over a longer time.

2. Financial Services Newsletters That Pack a Punch

A newsletter is not only about the latest breaking financial news. Of course, you can use the newsletter for branding and informing the subscribers about the state of their products. A newsletter can offer tips, ideas, and insights and make them informative to increase financial literacy.

Don’t just send a standard newsletter. Try and gain interest with topics that will get your customers engaged.

By aligning your newsletter to your content calendar and promotions, it makes for an informative and useful newsletter program for your subscribers.

financial services newsletters

And you can also offer breaking news, if you want.

What you want from a financial ESP to send newsletters emails:

  • Create engaging emails with embedded images, video, maps, etc.
  • Design campaigns quickly & easily using branded templates
  • Personalization and dynamic content in the emails

3. Stock Market Newsletter Example

A stock market newsletter updates your contacts on the latest market news and analysis. Better information leads to more informed decisions and higher customer appreciation. An individual email doesn’t have to include all your market info. Focus on what’s important to that individual contact, lead, or customer. 

Personalize your newsletter with dynamic content and only include relevant content for that segment. Use the same header and footer but display different content to contacts at the different stages of the buyer journey.

stock market newsletter

This newsletter from Quilter Cheviot Investment Management is an example of how a financial services company can engage with readers without much fuss. The email itself is super simple. The (stock) image at the top of some charts and figures gives you an idea about the topic and brings some life and color to the email.

The main copy is short and focused on bonds and equity diversification, introducing the reader to a hot take.

Obviously, the quality of your content will determine how people will react to your overall email marketing program over time. But this goes to show that an email can just be pointing to the stock info. The email doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting while still leading to click-throughs.

4. Investor Updates & Market Commentary Example

Curating relevant content is the key to a good investor newsletter. Clients must be up-to-date on all the news related to their investments. And they expect their investment management firm to help them navigate these waters with market commentary.

Include the most important news for each segment with summaries and CTAs with links to the full articles. Add your branding and make sure your design doesn’t distract readers from the content.

Investor updates and market commentary email campaign example

Invesco’s investor newsletter is an excellent example of how an investment management company can engage with readers. The hero image and top article highlight the main topic Invesco wants its clients to focus on.

Strong is the use of recurring content types. Invesco shows their “sector series”, each issue tackling a different sector with a video interview. Last month’s roundup and 7 issues to watch next month are also clear. Helps readers understand that the main copy will be focused on market news. The content speaks to Europe’s natural gas shortage and China’s stimulus measures – topics that Invesco’s clients are deeply interested in because it influences their investments.

This email template follows Invesco’s branding. The light and dark blues, for instance – you can like it or hate the aesthetic, but it is consistent with the rest of their brand. 

5. Personal & Major Life Events and Stages

Major life events like buying a new home or going into retirement are decisive moments for financial services. As people reach new stages in life, they need guidance and usually stick with their choice once made. If you can help them navigate these difficult decisions, they’ll become loyal customers. 

Instead of communicating just the offer, like a loan or a new package for seniors. Create a drip campaign with articles that explain why it is important and how they can get the most out of it. Like in real estate email marketing, when realtors send neighborhood guides, property alerts, and real estate snapshots.

The target audience for retirement planning emails are middle-aged and seniors. And accessibility is crucial. 

Keep visuals and CTAs clear. Format the content, so it’s easily readable. I also recommend using bigger font sizes. 

retirement planning email for financial services and banks

This retirement planning email by Janus Henderson Investors is an interesting example of how to deliver value to clients. 

The email links to new content on their website. Notice that the updates play into the needs of the reader. Subscribers can learn more about the merits of investing, different types of pensions, and investment strategies. And for their target audience planning for retirement, that’s precisely what they’re looking for.

Can the copy be more fluid, interesting, and exciting? Sure. It uses long sentences that are hard to read and quite boring. But that is easily fixed as long as the foundation of customer needs is there. 

At the bottom, there is a bold orange “catch-all” CTA that leads to their Retirement planning hub. It does catch your eye and gets the click.

6. Automated Factsheet Distribution Emails

Investors must stay up-to-date on their funds and bonds to see if they are rising or sinking. Factsheet emails are a great way to deliver these updates and become a trusted source of investment information.

Busy investors value their time, so your factsheet emails should be to the point. Without fancy or witty headings, long texts, or hero images. Bare copy and direct links to factsheets will do.

These factsheet emails are also easier to automate. And once the marketing automation is done, the email takes almost no time to deploy. 

automated factsheet distribution emails

This email serves as a template for a factsheet email. You want it to be no frills, straight to the point. And Abrdn follows these principles to the T. 

7. Loyal Customer Reward and Savings Programs

The majority of our financial life is online. Online banking makes it possible to open a bank account without even setting foot into a branch, so somehow we need to build a “long-distance relationship” without much face-to-face time.

With loyalty programs and nurturing flows, banks or financial services like credit card companies reward their loyal members through points, travel, discounts, and exclusive membership offers.

To stimulate loyalty programs, many financial services companies use data analysis to find their most valuable customers (eRFM) and their likelihood to churn. These and participation in rewards programs make a good basis for a segmented approach to loyalty marketing.

A strong loyalty program combines active participation, an emotional, and a rewards component.

Incentivize and stimulate your customers to “earn and burn” (if they have a big point balance) and use premium features and rewards. Automated emails make sure customer rewards information is always up-to-date, encouraging them to take action faster and use their points more frequently.

financial services loyalty programs email campaigns

This is a good example of an email campaign by Findomestic (BNP Paribas). An “earn and burn” email stimulating point redemption. The message shows the current points balance and gives suggestions to redeem prizes with the current balance. The call to action asks to log in to the club portal and redeem (or browse other rewards). A side effect is extra attention given (top of mind) to the benefits, which can stimulate card use.

What you want from a financial ESP to send newsletters emails:

  • Personalization of emails, points balance, and suggested rewards
  • Automated triggered campaigns based on points tiers, date (or other data points).
  • Integration with backend systems

8. Financial Literacy Program

A financial literacy program is used to raise awareness and encourage financial action. Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions often include it in their content strategy.

The following categories can give you an idea of typical financial literacy topics that are used:

  • Kids/Youth Savings Programs
  • Home Buying
  • Debt Management
  • Building Credit
  • Basic Budgeting and financial responsibility
  • Safe Banking – Fraud Protection
email campaign for financial literacy program

9. Invitations and Event Promotion

Offline and online events can be an important part of your financial services marketing. Whether it is a “Lunch and Learn” series run as a brand, a roadshow with local events, sponsorship, or bigger shows you are a part of. If you organize an event, you want the right people to attend and get the full experience.

Using basic Marketing Automation, you can send a series of emails, push, SMS messages and even a combo with direct mail to communicate with the contact before, during, and after an event.

Tip: Email capture at Live events
Not everyone attending bigger shows will already be a lead or contact. Some applications work on tablets and smart devices to allow for the quick and easy capture of contacts generated from offline activities (trade shows, events, in-store, sales network), and integrate them in real-time with the customer database. That way, the event begins a personal dialogue through email/SMS with leads starting from the live meeting at the event.

With an on-site sign-up app, you can:

  • Create an unlimited number of forms
  • Use your own graphics, color scheme, and branding
  • Manage permissions and access to the email capture App
  • Visualize reporting on new financial service leads
  • User-friendly privacy management and personalized forms

10. Cross and Up-Selling Email Campaigns

With Marketing Automation, you can create cross and up-selling workflows. Trigger an email containing products/services related to your customer’s historical purchases.

While the style of cross and up-selling is unique to each company, it always requires a shift from a product push to a relationship-deepening and customer-focused strategy.

With a subscriber profile, relevant product offers and recommendations lead to meaningful outcomes. Customer development in the sense of cross and up-selling campaigns.

cross and up-selling email campaigns

This well-timed example email campaign from HSBC is sent a couple of weeks after opening a new bank account online.

The tone of voice is helpful, personal, and a “we’ll be there” trust-building message. But don’t be fooled by the “welcome” in the headline. This is definitely a multi-purpose email campaign whose main call to action is to encourage an individual financial review and “discover more”. You know where that is going: identifying whether the customer is in need of other products and services.

11. Transactional Emails and Receipts

Transactional emails are system-triggered emails based on a user’s activity (e.g., confirmation for submitting a form) or messages planned to go out on a fixed schedule (e.g., monthly statement overviews or receipts). Password notifications, alerts, and reminders are more examples of transactional emails.

Financial services send millions of transactional emails each month. Transactional emails contain valuable information for customers, so it’s logical that transactional emails get very high engagement. Typically transactional emails can have 6-8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email and can generate much more revenue versus standard marketing emails.

Yet, often these are generated through backend systems and lack customer life-cycle awareness and/or branding. In these cases, marketing can hardly attribute a marketing value or do any testing on them.

Here’s an example of transactional emails in finance: Paypal sending you a message (if activated) each time you receive a payment in your account.

transactional emails and receipts from financial services

What you need from your ESP to send these financial transactional emails:

  • Integrates flawlessly, securely, and reliably with backend systems
  • Automation that handles recurring (time-based) triggers and action-based emails
  • Ability to use recognizable branding and design, email editor
  • Use of separate subdomains to separate the flow from marketing emails
  • Top deliverability and email delivery monitoring

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Chapter 2: How to pick the best email marketing and automation software for financial services and banking

Your marketing and communication strategy will determine what the best email marketing software is for you. First, know what you want to do (strategy and tactics) and which requirements your strategy brings along. These wishes effectively create a blueprint for finding the ideal software vendor.

Note that all email marketing tools can send a basic newsletter, so, at first glance, it might seem like they are (mostly) the same, but they certainly aren’t. A proper selection will bring this to the surface.

A step-by-step ESP selection process might look something like this:

  1. Inventory your email marketing plans for the coming period
  2. Create a list of requirements and what you are looking for
  3. Get in touch with the right vendors (long- and shortlist)
  4. Pick the right email service provider based on your evaluation and proposals

It doesn’t have to be in this order, though. If you are doing a selection completely in-house but haven’t selected MarTech in this category before, steps 1 and 2 can be tough to go through without already having a feel for the vendors and what they can do.

Vendors can help with their knowledge and inform your strategy and requirements.

Or you could read on and get an idea of what to look at. 😀

The features you need for your email marketing software

What makes the best financial services email tool for you? Let’s start with the must-haves every business needs and then go into more detail on features important for email marketing services in finance and banking.

The essentials that every business needs from its email marketing software:

1. Easy-to-use email editor: Financial firms need an intuitive and user-friendly email editor to quickly create great-looking emails.

2. Email Campaign and Automation Reporting: Having precise, up-to-date reporting on key metrics such as open rates, click-throughs and conversions is essential for financial firms who want to understand customer behavior.

3. Event Promotion: When running live events or webinars, financial firms need a versatile platform that allows them to promote their activities via email campaigns easily.

4. RSS Feed Automation: Financial companies can keep customers engaged by emailing their thought leadership content with the help of RSS.

5. Preference management and CRM Integration: Customers can select what type of content they want and its frequency (daily, weekly, monthly). Pull data from CRM platforms to create personalized, behavior-based campaigns

6. Automated fact sheet distribution: Financial companies will benefit to quickly share documents such as fund prospectuses or investor documents.

7. Security and privacy measures: email software should provide high-level security and protection against data breaches. Look for features like email encryption, authentication, and security certifications.

8. Legal aspects: Organizations must ensure they have proper agreements when using third-party email marketing software – especially in banking and finance legal is important.

9. User Rights & rights management: Companies need user rights management, including who has access rights to client data, what kind of functions are enabled or disabled per user, etc.

10. Advanced segmentation and personalization: Select targeted audience segments and send personalized messages to your subscribers, clients, or leads.

11. Technical know-how, customization, legacy: An ESP should ideally have references and other clients in the finance industry. Industry knowledge and email marketing best practices in finance to share.

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Let’s go into more detail as we cover the most important features for the finance industry.

Specific needs to find the best email marketing software in Finance

What specific features for financial services are to look for in your software? Let’s list them in more detail, mixed with some expert insights.

email marketing software features for financial services

1. Easy-to-use Email Building Tools (with centralized brand management)

Financial services need to keep their email marketing process as simple as possible. Marketers want building emails and campaigns to be fast. So look for easy-to-use email-building tools that can centralize brand management. 

Make sure your email marketing service has items like:

  • Drag-and-drop email builder,
  • Custom templates and HTML, 
  • A master email template,
  • Ability to reuse or copy previous campaigns.

These make it quick to create campaigns.

Using consistent email branding is essential and a sign of quality and reliability. Logos, typefaces, colors, banners, and button styles are elements of your brand. But updating brand elements everywhere one by one can be a pain. So look for efficient software that has centralized brand management. 

2. Email Campaign and Automation Reporting 

To succeed in financial services, you need to have marketing analytics. Otherwise, it’s like flying blind. With detailed reporting and analytics, banks and investment firms can better understand customer behavior and conversions.

Reporting needs
Take stock of your reporting needs in email marketing software for financial services – look for features like:

  • Standard email reporting metrics like deliverability, open rates, click rates, and list growth.
  • Automation reporting should include meaningful insights into workflow performance.
  • Campaign reports, including revenue tracking & more
  • Website analytics integration

Fake data suppression filters
The best email marketing platforms offer suppression filters to prevent fake opens and clicks from ruining your data accuracy. Look for providers that filter out prefetch and bot opens/clicks. This will improve data accuracy for engagement scoring, A/B testing, and automations. 

The more reliable your data, the more you can trust it to make important decisions affecting your bottom line. StoneShot filters fake opens so customers have clean data. It also increases overall open rates:

StoneShot filters fake opens

Source: StoneShot

Industry benchmarks comparison
As an extra cherry on top, email campaign analytics are even more valuable paired with industry benchmarks. Benchmarks allow you to compare performance against yourself and peers. Almost none of the general ESPs can give that comparison directly in your software though. 

3. Event Promotion

Events are a good way to build customer relationships, spread the word, and promote products. So events are very popular for investment management firms, banks, and insurance companies. 57% of financial services institutions plan on hosting virtual events post-pandemic, and 40% plan to go hybrid. 89% of financial advisors believed that physical events provide a better experience and 86% that it was best to be present in person for networking.

But how to get your rooms and webinars filled?

Specific automation tools for events make it easy to: 

  • Create and send invites, 
  • Send Reminders, 
  • Registration and email confirmations,
  • Send post-event follow-ups.

After hosting an online event, add the webinar recording to your site. Evergreen webinars stay relevant for a long time and generate leads long after the live event.

You want to increase attendance, avoid capacity issues and automate lead nurturing. Event promotion is a crucial part of email marketing software for financial services. 

Check-in apps
A few finance-focused email marketing platforms also offer check-in apps. A check-in app smooths registration and entry for both guests and hosts.

Investment management relies on in-person events and investor meetups. An event microsite is handy. Attendees can choose the event to register for, select their interests, and quickly fill in registration data. 

If you host live events, find an email marketing with a check-in app to use at venues. StoneShot is a specialized marketing platform for financial services. They have a check-in app for mobile that sends data to the service. You can use this event data to send relevant messages to attendees.

event microsite example for financial services

Above is an example of an event microsite. It lets attendees quickly fill out important details and shows the time and location. The form is directly connected to the email marketing platform. So you can send timely, automated emails follow-ups to keep your attendees in the loop.

Some providers can even embed the event functionality on your own website. Make your events more visible for potential customers. 

4. RSS Feed integration

RSS may sound a bit old, but it’s underused and works wonders. An RSS feed lets you take content from your blog and automatically distribute it through email. Any market news, trends, or thought leadership content you produce? Load it into your newsletter quickly.
Save time on manual content curation and copy-pasting. 

Just loading the RSS is only part of it, though it works best if you can use segmentation rules. Customers will only receive relevant updates based on their interests and preferences.
This is especially useful for investment management companies that serve different groups of clients. Each segment can opt-in to emails they need.

RSS feed Integration is key if you want to regularly send out informative emails quickly and reliably. 

5. Preference management and CRM Integration

Website integration with a preference center is a step towards putting the customer central and giving them more relevant communication.

In the preference center, clients select the content they want and how often they want it. For instance, a daily financial product update, a weekly news brief, market alerts, etc. This way, they stay engaged without feeling overwhelmed. 

email marketing software preference management for financial services

Source: StoneShot

Financial firms always need to keep their data up to date. Through the website and email software integration, a preference center can be a safe and trusted place to manage preferences. 

By integrating CRM with email software, a financial firm can pull data like demographic information, investment history, and website interactions into the EPS. And use this data to personalize campaigns.

If a customer has recently purchased your service, they could get an email with a guide to get started, your rewards program, an event invitation, and an up or cross-sell.

Adding segmentation means that customers only receive relevant emails. Investment management firms can quickly react to changes in the industry. Keeping customers informed with automatically updated campaigns and messages.

6. Automated factsheet distribution

Automated factsheet emails save much production time for marketers at investment management firms. A client can follow specific funds, so they get one email with all of the relevant documents linked from it. This means they don’t have to manually check every fund and document individually – saving them time.

Modern financial email software, like StoneShot, detects when a fact sheet has been updated and sends out emails for you. Clients stay informed about changes in their funds and bonds. 

7. Security and privacy measures

Data security is a real concern in the financial and banking industry. Finance has always been a frontrunner in mitigating risks of any kind. Not surprisingly, it’s common for financials to invest millions to manage data and communicate securely.

Data breaches are a big potential risk, while trust and security are key for customer relationships in the financial services industry.

So your new email automation platform should provide a high level of security. Security layers should be built in, so they work without elaborate technical knowledge from platform users. Here are some requirements to look into:

Secure Email Encryption
Encrypt your communications by setting how and when to enable Transport Layer Security (TLS) for email delivery from source to destination. Meaning that no one could read the emails except the intended. This is a best practice, especially for sensitive content.

Encryption also means that emails sent to recipients whose email providers do not support an encrypted channel can be omitted from sending.

For these non-encrypted recipients, you can choose an alternative path, such as sending a less classified email or even a different channel like SMS or direct mail.

Another layer of security can be formed by data encryption at rest.

Email Authentication and DMARC
DKIM signing, SPF, and DMARC compliance are the authentication protocols you want to certify. These verify that, indeed, you are the sender of your messages.

Authentication is good for deliverability and to prevent spoofing and phishing as much as possible. Spoofing is a big problem in finance, where people with bad intent send fake emails that seem to come from you. At least with DMARC, you can monitor and take action against senders that try to use your sending domain. As a financial institution, you want to send from your own (sub)domains and deny any others that try sending in your name.

ISO certification and security processes
You can ask for security procedures and certifications both at the level of the Data Center and the ESP. Often banks and financial institutions will require their vendors to be ISO certified.

ISO 27001 is the best-known standard. It also provides requirements for an information security management system (ISMS). An ISMS is a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information to remain secure. Including people, processes, and IT systems by applying a risk management process.

Email clusters and uptime
When it comes to software and servers, one of the best ways to hedge the continuity of performance is by increasing availability. In IT jargon, this is known as a cluster rather than a single-server email software. Simply put, if you split the sending on three (or more) machines instead of one, you’re creating a setting where if one server is unavailable, load-balancing switches to another and keeps you up and running.

Two-factor login authentication (2FA)
Passwords can be hacked or stolen. Two-factor authentication is a better way to keep the bad guys away from your systems and data. With 2FA, logins take two steps to get access. Step one is username and password, then an SMS or app verification code, USB key, or similar.

Action points to get email security in place for your financial institution:

  • Ask for Incident response policies, penetration tests & network scans
  • Review ISO certification or similar data processes
  • Have a sit down with the Data Protection Officer

A Service Level Agreement has the agreed-upon terms of a company and its customers that make sure the email marketing services meet set standards (like uptime, responsiveness, etc.).

Some email marketing providers have quite weak, unenforceable, or blanket SLAs and won’t be willing to offer a stronger or tailored SLA or have a very limited penalty for not achieving the service level, which makes it hardly a priority.

A standard SLA might include excessive exclusions, registering everything under maintenance, or not sharing uptime information unless the client reports it. Also, question marks can be placed at wordings like “commercially reasonable efforts” without defining what it means.

Financial services companies usually have more compliance and legal staff and are pretty strict on legal requirements. It’s good to note if the vendor can work with you on creating the agreements and SLA to match the level you need.

Action points to get the best email marketing service for finance:

  • Check their standard Service Level Agreements and example contracts
  • Ask if there is a custom SLA is an option
  • Get legal involved early in the process to review and point out any concerns

9. User Rights and rights management

People in the financial services industry will need good rights management for their applications. This means varying degrees of access to data and permissions to the email marketing software.

Some examples of rights management:

  • While a copywriter or junior marketer can write and create email campaigns, they might be limited from accessing individual customer-level data.
  • Some of the texts and images can be edited, while other parts – like branding and footer / legal information are locked and can only be edited by certain users.
  • Functions like database field changes or data in- and exports are locked and only available to those that need them.
  • The tool might have workflow management and quality assurance built-in, so email can’t be sent before getting an OK from legal and/or compliance.
  • When a company has different brands or departments working independently, there should be a strict separation of databases.

Permission levels will most typically be role-based and can be adjusted person by person depending on their use of the platform.

10. Advanced segmentation and personalization

One of the main challenges of marketing in financial services is the many different types of customers. The challenge is to address all groups with specific messages for them. Since financial relationships aren’t one size fits all, marketers agree that customer personas and using segmentation are critical. Blasting all your contacts with the same offer isn’t the way to optimize results.

With the advent of DIY financial services and smart banking, each customer expects to get a product or service tailored to their individual needs. Marketing preferences, behavior, and profile settings show the channels most suitable for them. This approach drives customer satisfaction.

email marketing software advanced segmentation for financial services

Along with simplicity and speed, customers expect personalized communication. 72% of banking customers say a personalized banking experience is highly important.

It’s important to understand that creating a marketing strategy for your financial service doesn’t have to focus on just one or two customer-fixed segments or data types. You can segment your strategy and communication by any type of available data.

11. Technical know-how, customization, legacy

In banking and finance, the technical infrastructure is often a concern. A large structured company, such as a bank, insurer, or financial services institution, has to consider the technical debt from legacy systems as they transition to new systems for marketing processes. The idea is to expect and mitigate it in advance.

There are already martech and database solutions in place. The new tools must adapt to the language of many systems. This allows data transition and manipulation to be as easy as possible.

It’s also quite likely that some legacy software will stay in use. Often it’s not a priority to be replaced yet, so email marketing software needs to work well with other parts of the martech stack. Select a vendor (or implementation partner) with know-how on creating custom integrations, business processes, or even APIs or apps that will serve as personalized web services.

Email marketing service selection tips:

  • Make a list of all your martech, databases, and legacy systems.
  • Work with a vendor or integration partner with the technical know-how to connect the dots.
  • Make custom wishes (dashboards, integrations) clear early in your selection.

Download the full guide to get all email marketing software selection tips.

Chapter 3: Benefits of a well-executed email marketing strategy for banks and financial services

Email as a digital marketing channel has been around for a long time and is still performing as one of the strongest channels. While there is no email vs. other channels, when it comes to channel effectiveness, most financial companies should look to invest more in email.

Benefits of a well-executed email marketing strategy for banks and financial services:

1. Acquire more customers with lower acquisition costs

With a limited number of net new prospects in the market and fierce competition, low customer acquisition costs (CAC) seem like a pie in the sky for most financial services marketers. Especially the larger ones.

The potential lifetime value of a new customer is so high that financial brands pour tons of money into paid media in the hopes of filling their sales funnel.

Yet, according to research from the Digital Growth Institute, 87% of financial brands don’t have a solid lead generation strategy powered by marketing automation.

An email opt-in is one of the most valuable pieces of data a Financial Services Institution (FSI) can get from a consumer. So smart marketers include an email opt-in in all campaigns designed to attract new customers.

Quick email marketing wins to lower customer acquisition costs:

  • Increase the effectiveness of paid media by offering sign-ups for your newsletter and specific downloads on your campaign landing pages.
  • Improve the impact of your content marketing by converting visitors to contacts and leads.
  • Bring contacts to the site through email and set fresh cookies to open the door to retargeting campaigns.
  • Identify your best customers and use their email addresses to target look-a-likes in paid media.

2. Get a bigger share of the wallet

Most financial institutions are aware of the unbundling trend. It’s not as typical for customers to get all their financial services from one (main) provider. This started with Paypal coming to the market, airlines offering branded credit cards, car financing, lease, and insurance options with bigger purchases, etc.

Industry blurring means that other “disruptors” that typically didn’t offer financial services are bundling in or widening their offers and becoming your competition. Feel free to think of Amazon as your new competition in finance.

Open banking, whether you are a strong proponent or not, will likely accelerate the competitive trend (it was designed to open the market). Customers will get to see the effect of it.

financial services cross- and upselling

You don’t have to be a frontrunner in the digital transformation wave to know that all financial institutions stand to reinvent themselves. As simple as it may sound, the closer you are to the customer and their online life, the better the position is to offer additional services and products or introduce new ones. And in financial services, cross- and upselling means share of wallet.

3. Follow through with Marketing Automation and Lead nurturing

With an email opt-in, the door is now open to develop the customer relationship. The email address is like a lifeline: It’s critical for identifying customers across digital channels and on multiple devices.

Content marketing for financial services drives initial traffic when people seek specific information. Create a calculator, pre-recorded webinar, downloadable guide, or an email training course, but follow through by staying in touch with a carefully designed nurturing flow.

A long path to purchase requires lead nurturing. The path to purchase in finance can be quite extensive. Financial products aren’t impulse purchases.

  • In the insurance category, research by Google showed that most shoppers take a month or more to go from decision to action.
  • Insurance shoppers used an average of 11.7 sources of information to help make their purchase decision, with 40% using email as one of the main sources.
financial services have to follow through with lead nurturing

This shows that finance is usually above the cross-industry average, where 50% of leads aren’t ready to buy at the time of the first contact. So lead nurturing – especially through email – is the smartest way for marketers like us to reach them. Create a privileged position for current and future needs with your prospects.

4. Increase conversions & sales

Direct communication with your customers will result in a direct increase in revenue. No matter what the customer journey looks like, engage with your audience. By sending regular newsletters, promotions, and triggered emails, there will be a sizable impact on sales conversion.

5. Improve Retention and Loyalty

Marketing often misses a big part of financial services success. Results increase by simply focusing on keeping your existing customers. In this super-connected world, you must pull out the stocks and ensure customers remain engaged with your brand. Where satisfaction with your product and services isn’t nearly enough.

Credit card vendors offer additional benefits and savings programs and work with airlines in their miles program merely to differentiate. Email allows you to work on “relationship finance” as one of the most direct channels.

Make sure your customers experience value. Even when they passively use your services, you will be an obvious choice when their next life event triggers them to (re)consider services.

6. Reduce costs with proactive customer service

While service costs aren’t the first thing you’d think about, we live in a world where self-service is preferred by most middle- and younger-aged (the exception might be with the senior-aged segment).

Email is a great channel to be proactive in customer service and lower the costs of alternative channels like your call center or face-to-face advice. Guide customers through a welcome or onboarding program for their new services.

Similarly, customers can self-assess and go through an online process to get advice, handle claims, make service requests, etc.

7. Improve the customer experience

While a great product is essential to the success of your brand, financial services companies are expected to offer a first-class customer experience as well.

People expect their customer experiences to be frictionless, personal, and helpful. Rather than seeing customer experience as just a transaction, marketers should consider the customer experience.

The best ways to meet and exceed customers’ expectations:

  • Personalize your service and marketing
  • Give choices to your customers and cater to their preferences
  • Provide proactive service
  • Be accessible
financial services offering a smooth customer experience

To offer a smooth customer experience, your best bet is to bring marketing, life-cycle, and transactional emails to work together. Ideally, you want an email marketing and automation platform that allows you to create and send all of them.

What you’ll need from your financial services ESP:

  • Integration with the main database and other pieces of MarTech
  • Easily plan automated customer journey messaging, including service journeys

Conclusion: Email Marketing for Financial Services and Banks

Financial services email marketing is an effective way to grow your brand and customer engagement. Email marketing campaigns are easy to set up, but marketing often misses much of financial services’ success. Conversions increase by simply focusing on your existing customers. Give your customers a better customer experience through email marketing.

At the same time, so much can be done with email to lower customer acquisition costs (CAC) and get new customers in the door.

This is what makes your email marketing golden:

  • Understand which email campaigns and tactics are most effective.
  • Pick the features you need and select the best financial email marketing software.
  • Use our campaign examples as a reference when you’re building your campaigns.

The best email marketing automation software for finance will help you grow and continue to acquire new customers without getting in your way. Create campaigns that increase revenue, engagement, and goodwill for your brand!

Download this 8.000+ word guide now →

Email Marketing for Financial Services FAQ

How do you promote financial services?

You can promote financial services on multiple channels, like online advertising, email marketing, social media, and networking events. Email marketing is a good way to promote financial services. Send emails to subscribers based on their interests and promote what you offer. 

You can automate your emails and send them in bulk; it’s very scalable. Automated email workflows can nurture leads, create segments, and guide potential customers through the sales process.

Another great promotional tactic is hosting or participating in industry events, trade shows, and webinars. These can be effective in generating leads and connecting with potential customers.

Learn how to promote your financial service with this full email marketing guide (8000+ words).

You’ll need great tools to promote your financial service. Check out the best email marketing tools, marketing automation platforms, landing page builders, CRMs, SMS marketing software, and email editors.

Is email marketing still effective in 2024?

Yes, email marketing is still effective in 2024. There are stricter restrictions on social media and cookies. With these increasing limitations on other channels, like the unpredictability of social media algorithms, or the difficulty in targeted advertising due to cookie restrictions, companies are turning to more reliable channels like email to reach and engage their audience.

Email marketing remains one of the most cost-effective forms of digital advertising. With the use of advanced personalization and automation tools, it’s possible to achieve high returns on investment. 

How can I market my financial services online?

Market your financial services online:
1. Set up and optimize your website
2. Write thought leadership content to build authority
3. Get client testimonials, build trust, and case studies.
4. Generate new leads with incentives, forms, and landing pages
5. Host events and webinars to  make new connections 
6. Use email marketing software to promote services and offers
7. Interact through social media to highlight your brand and values

Marketing financial services online is an effective way to reach potential customers. Create a comprehensive marketing strategy to increase awareness of your services, build trust with your customer base, and encourage customers to use your services.

Learn how to market your financial service with this full email marketing guide (8000+ words).

How do I sell my financial services?

The first step to selling your financial services is to identify your target market and create a plan for how you will reach them. Develop marketing content that speaks directly to the needs of potential customers. Use digital channels like email campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media advertising to drive traffic to your website. Select the right tools for the job: CRMs, marketing automation platforms, SMS marketing software, and email service providers.

Focus on publishing thought leadership content that establishes you as an authority in your niche. Host events and webinars for customers and industry insiders so they can get to know you better, and you can learn more about them. Establish relationships with key influencers who can help promote your financial services through word-of-mouth recommendations. 

Finally, set up processes that make it easy for customers to purchase or sign up for the service they need.

Learn how to sell your financial service with this full email marketing guide (8000+ words).

How do you increase sales of financial products?

To increase sales of financial products, create targeted marketing campaigns that speak to the specific needs of potential customers. Use digital marketing tools, like email service providers, marketing automation platforms, CRMs, SMS marketing software, and email editors.

Optimize the purchase process so that customers have an easy and secure way to purchase or sign up for your services. Monitor performance metrics such as open rates and click-throughs to make adjustments over time.

Learn how to increase sales of financial products with this full email marketing guide for financial services (8000+ words).

How do banks use digital marketing?

Banks use digital marketing to promote their services, build brand awareness, and engage with customers. They create email campaigns to deliver personalized messaging or automated emails based on customer behavior. Like personalized emails with information on how to get home equity loans using their app. It’s best to use email marketing services, marketing automation platforms, and CRMs to create personalized messages.

Banks also create targeted ads to reach clients at the right time. If they’re launching a new credit card, they can run ads on Instagram/Facebook, direct them to a landing page, and ask people to sign up. To build pre-launch hype for their product. We recommend using a landing page builder to set up a page that converts.

And banks use social media to connect directly with customers and share helpful advice and tips. They can post weekly savings tips, explain complex financial terms, or do regular market commentary.

Learn how banks use digital marketing from this full email marketing guide for financial services (8000+ words with examples).

About Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and analyst. He is the founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, online marketing strategy, software selection, campaign management, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. He tested, reviewed, and wrote about 100+ business software including email marketing services, CRMs, ecommerce platforms, and online course creators. Published in-depth email marketing guides for financial service, ecommerce, travel, restaurant, and fashion industries.
Named one of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch" by Entrepreneur magazine. Companies like Scania, KLM, Unilever, AEGON, CZ, FNV, NRC Media have asked me for advice.

About Gavin John

Gavin John is founder and CEO of Stoneshot, an email marketing and event management platform. They help fund providers, investment management firms, banks and hedge funds to engage their audiences online. StoneShot provides a digital marketing platform, agency services, financial intermediary lists, market research and integration services. The clients of Stoneshot include Allianz, Barings, Cazenove, Cofunds, Invesco, HSBC, Skandia and RBS.

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