The Official Blog of Acuity Knowledge Partners

Renewed email marketing approaches for the asset managers of tomorrow

Published on December 15, 2022 by Ajmal Cassim




Segmentation, personalisation and automation have been the three core pillars of email marketing strategy in the past decade. With any trend, these three pillars need to be recalibrated into the asset management firm’s email marketing strategy to ensure stronger growth.

In the financial space, asset managers strive to be ahead of the competition, and this is where the challenge begins for the marketing analytics team in terms of, for example, finding niche solutions for acquiring potential clients, raising the stakes, improving client relations and seamless delivery within a suitable timeframe.

What are the latest strategies and practices in place right now?


Minimalism is still in fashion


Simplified email designs go a long way, particularly plain-text emails. Plain-text emails tend to have a higher deliverability rate and 4.75 times higher click-through rates than HTML mail templates, as the message is delivered to the exact point, and ease of composition helps save a significant amount of time.

Another method is the “inverted pyramid method” that focuses on a call to action (CTA). This layout is designed to set clear expectations in the main message.


AI is your confidante


Marketing automation drives a number of cloud-based marketing platforms. One benefit of employing AI-friendly platforms is the significant reduction in additional costs and time saved for marketing teams. Proactive firms use automation journeys to build campaigns that break down previous campaign insights into remodelled campaigns that would maximise engagement rates and curate content that is hyper-personalised to increase reader engagement. The latest AI email marketing tools include Seventh Sense, Phrasee and Strong.


Inclusivity, timing and security go hand in hand

  • Inclusivity: There is talk of improving diversity, inclusion and product governance in the asset management sector. Companies must proactively understand the impact of diversity within their ranks and foster a safe and comfortable work culture for all employees regardless of gender, ethnic background, orientation or even ability.

    This raises concern on where the asset management brand stands in terms of ethical principles. Delay in making ethical disclosure could lead to presumptions and marginalisation of specific groups or minorities. Emails are the fastest medium to make such disclosure.

    Steps to achieving inclusivity include building more inclusive user journeys; enabling translation of the mail, depending on the region; using gender-neutral pronouns and terms; using graphics of people from different backgrounds, colours and body sizes; and having alternative options readily available for the visually impaired.

  • Timing: Timing is everything when it comes to email marketing. For instance, knowing when to post would raise your engagement levels and avoid a potential PR disaster. Cadence and frequency are two vital factors. It is also important to assess which segmentations work with the recipients of the mail, recognising that each audience would have its own preferences.

    Other factors to consider include knowledge of viewer demographics, time-zone differences, the value of a time-sensitive follow-up and the need to give campaigns enough time to breathe so insights of a wider audience could be collated.

  • Security: A firm needs to be transparent with its clients and not appear illegitimate. Compromising of confidential information would be extremely damaging. At the point a subscriber signs up for a campaign, the subscriber trusts that their information is safe, and a foundation is built where information can be shared between the subscriber and the company.

    Examples of how to ensure security include integrating double opt-ins for email sign-up, implementing robust multi-factor authentication methods, and awareness training that reinforces safe cyber behaviour to prevent business email compromise and data loss.


MPP and open rates


While open rates are reliable indices of campaign performance, Apple’s Mail Protection Policy (MPP) now enables users to hide their email addresses and locations. This has also stopped the trackability of open rates; previously, there were several false open rates that inflated the actual figure. Apple now preloads all email content using tracking pixels. Therefore, even if a user never opens the email, it would still appear as an “opened” mail. With a global giant such as Apple changing the default structure, competitors will likely follow suit soon.

More beneficial than focusing on open rates would be to study alternate indicators (click-through rates and engagement rates) that indicate interaction – which is what we are looking for. Campaigns are, therefore, now focused on being more of a two-way channel of communication by shifting to alternative KPIs.


Keep the tests running


An effective way to optimise campaigns is to keep conducting A/B tests (randomised experiments that usually involve two variants, although the concept can be also extended to multiple variants of the same variable). There is no such thing as a “perfect email”, as there is always room for improving and understanding a recipient’s engagement. A/B testing presents the opportunity to put oneself in the shoes of the reader to assess what works best in terms of delivering relevant information fast.


Mail recipients unsubscribing should not be a challenge


Every marketer needs its own “subscribed to unsubscribed” recoupable model that would prevent a bad lead-scoring ranking. When a mail recipient unsubscribes, the metric clearly indicates that the recipient is unhappy with what is marketed. Most unsubscribe rates are due to uninteresting insights and failure to follow data protection protocols. Although strategies and emails may be well curated, there would always be a few recipients wanting to unsubscribe.


The following suggestions would help improve retention:

  • Send out a win-back email to disengaged subscribers wanting to remain subscribed.

  • Avoid trying to hide the unsubscribe button in smaller font and making it difficult for subscribers to unsubscribe.

  • Use a “sunsetting strategy” with email lists (strategically removing customers) more frequently.

  • Include an option for subscribers to indicate preferences for email notifications without having to answer too many questions.


Dark mode has arrived


The scientific reason for most developers incorporating dark mode into mails is that it helps reduce the blue-light filter on a device. In dark mode, even plain campaigns come alive with a rich tapestry of contrast, in addition to the visual element that makes reading easier. Email marketers could consider designing emails with a contrasted design option.


Say “Thank you” strategically


Follow-up emails are untapped goldmines when it comes to building a solid foundation with recipients. The viewer should be thanked for deciding to invest, research or just selecting your asset or wealth management service. This would not only foster a strong personalised connection, but also improve the chances of a smooth conversion.


Always ensure subscribers have an insightful and memorable experience with a campaign.

The concept of putting the client first would help in providing a quality service and ensure the success of any venture, even amid financial and economic uncertainty. The dynamic environment requires marketing teams to be resilient, adaptive and ready to act swiftly.

How Acuity Knowledge Partners can help

We offer a robust suite of services in marketing, reporting and investment communication. We support prominent fund managers in compiling RFPs/DDQs and marketing collateral, and help with consultant databases and investment commentaries. Our fund management specialists are experienced in collaborating with leading investment management firms to help them communicate better.


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About the Author

Ajmal has integrated himself in the field of digital marketing in an industry of asset and equity management. At present, Ajmal works for Acuity Knowledge Partners as an Analyst in Fund Marketing Services. He provides Web CMS and Email Marketing services for a top European asset manager. Ajmal has a BCom(Hons) in Finance from the University of Bangalore.

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