Unlocking Client Engagement: Innovative Email Strategies for RIAs and Wealth Managers

Measuring value by return on investment and achieving success through tailored strategies aren’t just for when you assist clients as a registered investment advisor. Those same principles help your marketing efforts thrive.

That’s especially true when talking about RIA email marketing. Recent stats show this channel still has one of the best ROIs, with an impressive $42 return for every dollar you spend.

However, that won’t happen by accident. Take a closer look at how you can attain the kind of client engagement your firm deserves with proven, innovative RIA email marketing strategies.

Recognize the Advantages and Challenges of RIA Email Marketing

Winners know how to capitalize on any advantages they have to get ahead. They also see where challenges or disadvantages exist and compensate for those areas to avoid taking a loss.

The first key to ensuring client engagement is seeing both sides of RIA email marketing so you can figure out how to address them.

Almost Everyone Cares About Money…

The good news is that your area of expertise is something nearly everyone wants to learn, read, or talk about. Money matters always get clicks and engagement. 

In fact, a recent study reports that finance industry emails achieve an open rate of 41.4%. Only real estate (barely) outperforms it.

… But You Have To Make Sure You Don’t Appear Sketchy or Boring

The flip side of that advantage is you may have to do additional work to appear trustworthy. Too many inboxes are full of financial scammers who don’t have others’ best interests at heart. 

At the same time, being accurate and ethical doesn’t mean your messages should read like an encyclopedia. Content has to be relevant to your audience and engaging to be effective. 

Some of the top reasons people unsubscribe are irrelevant messages and repetitive offers. Therefore, your email marketing needs to be clear, concise, and valuable.

You Have Strong Credentials To Back Up What You’re Saying…

In many industries, businesses struggle to prove their authority. For instance, anyone can set up an e-commerce shop (or offer marketing services).

As an RIA, you’ve got the certifications and organizational structure to prove your legitimacy. That is powerful proof you can use in your email marketing.

… But You Have To Follow a Bunch of Marketing Rules

Because finance marketing draws so many fraudsters, regulations are strict. Consequently, all of your messages have to comply with rules from CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and FINRA. 

Trying to follow the rules can limit your creativity and add additional time to creating and checking your emails. Also, an unintentional violation proves costly. (CAN-SPAM’s fines went up to $51,744 in 2024.)

Plus, don’t forget about data security as you produce personalized messages. You have to ensure you don’t do anything that opens you up to a breach or compromises confidential information.

You Have Access To Some of the Most Useful Data…

Yes, data is still more valuable than gold or oil, and marketing is where it really proves its worth. Because you’re handling your clients’ assets, you often have information about them that other industries would love. Recent surveys show that 88% of marketers view such first-party data as being more important than ever.

This information allows you to create email marketing that provides customized educational value to your existing clients. That gives you a leg up on strengthening relationships. In turn, you can provide timely content and serve clients in additional ways to generate more revenue. 

… But So Does Your Competition

Naturally, others in your industry have the same advantages. This makes it challenging to gain new customers or attract clients from other firms. You have to keep refining your tactics to stay competitive, especially with larger firms. 

You’re Working With an Intelligent Team With Great Skills…

There’s little doubt that if you or one of your team members puts your mind to it, you can master all aspects of marketing. RIAs and wealth managers obviously already have good selling and communication skills, so you likely won’t have as much to learn as those in other industries. 

… But You Probably Don’t Have a Lot of Time To Dedicate to Email Marketing

Most RIA firms are small businesses, with a median of eight employees. If your team is in that area, you likely don’t have a lot of time or resources beyond your core focus of serving your clients. 

Email marketing can seem simple on its face. However, doing it right is like cooking a good meal — just because it’s not necessarily as complex as financial advising doesn’t mean it won’t require substantial concentration to get the desired outcome. 

Because of the level of competition out there, you can’t afford to give email marketing short shrift. You can be great at what you do, but no one will notice if you can’t get their attention. That’s more challenging than ever in the digital age. 

If you are going to handle your own email marketing, make sure you have the time to do it right so you’re putting out something that represents your brand well. If you can’t, don’t be afraid to call on fractional marketing services from our team at SparkLaunch. We’ll fill in the gaps with a customized plan that gets you the ROI on marketing that you want.

With your advantages and challenges clearly in mind, you can begin developing specific aspects of a well-rounded email marketing strategy.

Design an Organized Email Marketing Plan 

An email marketing plan roadmap for RIAs and Wealth Managers

It’s tempting to read about a few excellent tactics and feel ready to tackle email marketing. However, a recent survey shows that marketers are 674% more likely to report success with an organized strategy. A true strategy has a vision, a mission, SMART goals, and allocated resources. 

Remember that bigger companies have whole teams that focus their efforts on crafting quality marketing and testing that messaging. Prepare to put a commensurate level of effort into it so you can gain the same results.  

The foundation of building a strategy is educating yourself on the latest marketing trends and staying current. Access valuable resources that will help you stay on track, whether books, blogs, or video series. 

The top cost-efficient resources we appreciate are learning platforms, like Coursera and Udemy. You can also seek out industry-specific webinars and workshops. These are also great for networking with other RIAs that are managing their own marketing.

Subscribe to marketing blogs and newsletters for the latest news. Some of the top ones come from HubSpot, MarketingProfs, and the blog you’re reading right now from our team at SparkLaunch.

Utilize these resources to figure out the marketing data you should start collecting to determine a good ROI. You’ll also be able to establish important guidelines for your team, such as defining your marketing funnel.

A clear strategy and plan puts you on the path to RIA email marketing success. 

Create High-Quality Content

Email is an extension of your content marketing. Therefore, you need to understand how to create compelling content to be successful. 

Such information demonstrates thought leadership and is engaging. This can be a challenge to do in the email format, which needs to be more concise than your blog, but it’s not impossible.

Be More Client-Centric and Not Product-Centric

Always put your clients’ desire for valuable content ahead of your desire to push your brand. Think about their pain points, and make those the subjects you’re primarily addressing. 

For example, have you considered email campaigns about mental health? Money-related stress is common. You can provide practical tips that people can use right now besides your services. Your leads and clients will see that you care about more than just making a sale. Consequently, they might feel motivated to dig deeper into what you offer.

Also, when it comes to suggestions, be practical. Give your readers something they can use in real life instead of generic ideas. For example, everyone is curious about using AI to do any and everything. Consider providing a quick breakdown of the top five AI finance tools with their advantages and disadvantages.

However, you still have to keep your goal in mind, which is leading your audience to conversions. Along with your engaging content, follow best practices for CTAs. Don’t make them guess about what to do next. Use bold font and contrasting colors in an uncluttered space for CTA buttons.

Tell More Stories

A great way to be timely and interesting is through storytelling. Take a page out of the book of the top finance gurus who generate millions of followers. Whether or not you agree with their philosophies, the success stories and real-life examples they highlight draw in audiences. (Think of personalities like Dave Ramsey, Dasha Kennedy, and Humphrey Yang.)

If you can get permission from clients for testimonials, interviews, and case studies, that’s perfect. Of course, that might be difficult to do because finances are so personal. Still, you can relay other public stories from the past and present to illustrate the benefit of following core financial principles and getting help from an expert like yourself.

Make Your Messages Timely (Not Tacky)

Timing is everything. Too many emails will get you in the spam folder quickly. On the other hand, infrequent communications will cause people to forget why they signed up in the first place. Maintain a regular schedule that works for your audience. 

You also shouldn’t send messages just because everyone else is. For example, is an April Fools or Talk Like a Pirate Day message going to communicate the right level of professionalism? That’s not to say you can’t try those if it fits your client base, but make sure your messaging is on brand.

Finally, don’t create an email thread that’s a slow build-up to your best material. Everyone’s time is precious. If you don’t clearly demonstrate how you make a person’s life better in the first two or three messages, you’re not going to get conversions. Provide genuine value from the first interaction.

Ensure You’re Getting Quality Leads

We can’t overemphasize how dangerous lists of leads can be for RIAs. You’re probably already getting lots of messages from lead gen services promising thousands of qualified prospects. 

The batch-and-blast (or “spray-and-pray”) approach is low-quality and can get you in trouble with those pesky marketing rules we talked about earlier. 

The best strategy here is organic lead generation. This is another area where good marketing is like a good financial strategy. There aren’t any safe “get-rich-quick” methods.

Finding great leads starts with quality content that establishes you as an expert. Weekly blogging is the minimum you should do to build a rich resource for visitors to your site. Of course, your site must also look professional and have quality CTAs that encourage visitors to share their name and email address to learn more. 

You also need to create high-quality lead magnets that you share on your site, social media, and anywhere you can engage with prospects. Some of the best ones are:

  • Guides and ebooks: A top lead magnet across financial services
  • Webinars and workshops: Hands-on help that highlights your expertise and personal interest in clients
  • Checklists and templates: A great way to start with lead magnets because they’re even easier to create than guides and ebooks
  • Industry reports and research: An in-depth dig into topics that high-value clients will want
  • Referral programs: A way to elevate your best customers into brand advocates

Design your lead magnets for each stage of the marketing funnel and each ideal client profile. Then, promote them liberally. 

Personalize Your Messaging

Personalized emails get higher open rates and engagement. You’ve got less than nine seconds to grab attention (and sometimes less than two). Using recipient details is more conversational and shows you know and understand who you’re talking to. That goes a long way in email marketing. 

Of course, you’ll use templates to include the person’s name or location, but personalization goes further than that. Instead of forwarding the same generic message to your entire list, send emails according to each recipient’s demographics or interests. 

For instance, someone who browses the retirement section of your site or gets an ebook on the subject should receive emails on that theme. Likewise, send tailored messages to those who search for or engage with you about insurance or estate planning.

Personalization also includes recommendations outside of your own products or services. That can be valuable content from other sources or products and services from other companies that you know can help your audience (even if you’re not an affiliate). 

Segment Your Audience

If you’re going to personalize, you first have to segment your audience. Segmented emails drive 30% more opens and 50% more clickthroughs

The best way to do this now is with first-party data, which is another reason why your lead magnets and proactive engagement with leads across other channels are so vital.

Other great tools to do this are through surveys and feedback forms to ask people directly what they want or have an interest in. Then, segment your audience:

  • By age: Different age groups have varying financial needs and goals. Sending focused emails that address these specific stages keeps your content relevant.
  • By investment goals: Whether it’s growth, income, or preservation, align your content with your clients’ primary investment objectives.
  • By past interactions: Use data from previous engagements to segment clients by their interactions with your emails or services. This could include response rates to previous offers or participation in webinars.

Segmentation is a win-win in email marketing.

Rely on Data To Improve Your Strategy

Figuring out what works and proving your ROI is all about the data. Define and monitor key performance indicators to see how well you’re doing and where you can improve:

KPIWhat It IsWhat It Can Tell You
Open RateThe percentage of recipients who open an emailHigh open rates indicate that your subject lines are compelling and relevant to your audience.
Click-Through-RateThe percentage of readers who clicked on one or more links within the emailCTR gauges the effectiveness of your call to action.
Conversion RateHow many recipients take the intended action (e.g., filling out a contact form)High conversion rates are a strong indicator that your emails resonate well with your audience’s needs.
Bounce RateRate of rejected emails from the recipients’ serversHigh bounce rates can indicate issues with your email list quality or deliverability problems.

A/B testing is an effective way to compare these KPIs and figure out which types of messages are gaining traction. 

Put time in your schedule to review email marketing reports. Then, make an action plan for refining your strategy. Naturally, all of this will be easier with automation in reliable software. Find a platform that works for your team, such as Mailchimp or Klaviyo.

Take the Next Steps Toward Getting Great ROI From Your Email Marketing

This all might seem like a lot of work, but it’s what it takes to win at email marketing as an RIA, which makes it worth the effort. Whenever you max out on what you can accomplish on your own and need the power of a full-fledged marketing team without the high cost, check out our fractional marketing services at SparkLaunch

We’ll help you launch your email marketing into the stratosphere and beyond with a tailored plan that meets your particular goals and needs.