Email for Financial Advisors with Stephen Oliver

Email Marketing

This podcast highlights best uses of email for marketing and client engagement. Watch the podcast by clicking here: Email Marketing for Financial Advisors with Stephen Oliver and Greg Moody. 


Hey, we want to talk about email marketing today and it’s almost on the border of hypocritical.

GREG MOODY (00:08):

It’s kind of a favorite topic because we love it and hate it at the same time.


Yeah. Love, hate relationship. It’s a bit way more, more hate than love. Let’s think about this. There was a shift years ago, and you had… Remember the movie, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.

GREG MOODY (00:27):

You’ve Got Mail.


You’ve Got Mail.

GREG MOODY (00:29):



That was back, I think it was AOL, before it was even connected to the internet.

GREG MOODY (00:35):

It was Yahoo.


Was it Yahoo?

GREG MOODY (00:36):

I don’t know. It was AOL.


No, it was AOL.

GREG MOODY (00:38):

AOL, that’s right.


Because the [inaudible 00:00:40] mailbox and [crosstalk 00:00:40].

GREG MOODY (00:40):



There’s these scenes of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks sitting there staring at the computer, waiting for the mailbox thing to pop up and in great anticipation and great eagerness. Well, that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world anymore.

GREG MOODY (00:55):



Nobody sits and stares at their iPhone or their tablet, or their Mac or their PC hoping for another email. In fact, it’s the opposite. Most people nowadays check their email with dread. They are working on sorting through all the volume to get to something that’s a work related email, that they have to deal with or maybe they’re subscribed to a couple of interesting newsletters that they want, or maybe they’re a shopping addict and they’re looking for the auction sites or the Nordstrom email but…

GREG MOODY (01:39):

It’s necessary?



GREG MOODY (01:41):

Everybody has to do deal with it, but it’s also anxiety provoking.



GREG MOODY (01:47):

There’s a psychology of email that you have to understand to be effective with it.


Yeah. And I would say overwhelming, right? We know that the number one thing that big corporations are trying to do, and that’s the reason that Basecamp, and Slack and Google, I mean, Microsoft’s, whatever it’s called.

GREG MOODY (02:07):

Microsoft Teams.


Teams, yeah.

GREG MOODY (02:09):


Yeah. All of that is designed to get rid of email in the corporate environment, because it’s become so overwhelming. But it’s also been a extremely effective marketing tool. It was an extremely effective marketing tool and frankly, it continues to be an effective marketing tool. The nice thing about it is within parameters, it’s essentially free, right? MailChimp, or Constant Contact or CRM, you’re going to, you’re going to utilize that app for inexpensive amount of money. And then, for all intents and purposes, no matter how much the list scales, it’s going to be a marginal, additional cost at best. For most of us, it’s going to be essentially free, right?

GREG MOODY (03:00):



But big mistakes get made in this. The first mistake… I’ll start with this, is that advisors think, “Oh, I don’t want to bug people too often. Why don’t I send them an email once month?” Or “Why don’t I send them an email once a week? Or “Why don’t I send them an email once a quarter?” What happens with that is, again, think about what in reality is happening is, let’s say it’s 200 emails a day and whatever comes in next goes on top and it works its way down. You’re trying to stay out of the commercial tab in Google, if you’re using Gmail. You’re trying to stay out of the spam, regardless.


And so, one is if you’re mailing to them infrequently, is that’s when they perceive it to be spam, right? If you’re mailing to them every day or twice a day… I go back to a couple years now, but Wall Street Journal had a pretty big article on email by major retailers, Nordstrom and Macy’s and so forth. They were finding those companies and they’re higher sharp marketers. They were emailing their average client between 360 and 780 times a year.

GREG MOODY (04:20):

Once or twice a day.


Yeah, exactly, exactly. Part of getting email to work is frequency of engagement, right? What we know is you’re probably better off not to use it if you’re only going to do once a month.

GREG MOODY (04:40):

Yeah. And you’re going to encourage more opting out. I think that’s what people get scared about. If I [inaudible 00:04:45] too much, am I going to them off?


Or complaints, spam complaints.

GREG MOODY (04:48):

Yeah. Depending on which email system, you’re worried about getting in trouble for spam complaints.



GREG MOODY (04:54):

That’s a real problem. The worst way to have that problem is to make your email inconsistent. It’s not about frequency. When you up the frequency, you tend to get more opt outs initially, but it settles out. Because when people see your email, they’re more likely, in the long run, to just delete it or it ends up going into spam for the ones that aren’t interested.



GREG MOODY (05:16):

But the ones that are interested are going to just either ignore it or respond eventually.


Yeah. Yeah. And then, the next thing that happens is… I think, what happens with almost everybody, is they want it to be professional. Oftentimes, they get this elaborate HTML format, what’s the right word, template, and they make it look corporate. There’s a big mistake of individuals moving from being an individual human to trying to use a corporate [crosstalk 00:05:53].

GREG MOODY (05:52):

Well, I think what happens there, too, that makes it easy to do that is you have an individual operator practice, so there’s just one of you. You get Constant Contact or MailChimp, or one of these really inexpensive software packages and they have these luscious templates.


Mm-hmm (affirmative).

GREG MOODY (06:10):

They look like something that came from a billion dollar company and you think, “Oh, I’m going to look important”. You do that and you make it look that way, because you think you’ll look more important. What you actually look like is, you’re one of a million, you’re one of all these other companies that responded. What you want to look like is, you’re a person you’re an individual, you’re having a conversation with them.


You’re new to the effectiveness.

GREG MOODY (06:37):

Yeah. Now, it’s okay to use some cosmetics, to use some graphics and some personality in it. But to use some template with a big, huge graphic header and your information that is about your offer and your personality and your message is way down below, because there’s this big graphic header and other information is counterproductive.


Again, I’ll steal from Gary Howard, his line was, whether it was email or direct mail was, you wanted to read like you’re sitting down with your buddy next to the bar explaining to him what you have to offer, what you’re or thinking is, one thing or another. Not that you’re trying to create a billboard or you’re trying to create a corporate voice. And again, it’s endemic in this industry that people try to have this corporate facade that doesn’t have human beings attached to it. And so, what we’ve seen the most effective is, is just a very personal, very… Well, I got up this morning, I was driving down the road and I saw this billboard that made me think about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Or we just went to the Caribbean. One of the things I noticed was and it gave me the thought of… You want it to be very personal. You want it to come across as it’s engaging in what you’re doing. As you know, I like to do rants, right? But it’s a rant about something.

GREG MOODY (08:05):



That’s the Kennedy format. I’m pissed off about something today and I want to let you know about it. But it is a rant or it’s autobiographical, or it’s… To get into the topic, it’s this [inaudible 00:08:22] reminded me of this and it ultimately comes down to, this is what’s happening.

GREG MOODY (08:26):

It’s going to relate to what you’re going to sell, but it’s interesting.


Yeah. Engaging. I mean, people enjoy stories. They enjoy getting inside somebody’s else’s autobiography and what’s going on; the backstory; the day to day. And of course, you’re going to be judicious in what you share and what you don’t share. But the more human you are and very frankly, the words are things that engage people, right? I’m not going to ever post on social media or say, “Oh, so depressed last night I drank a bottle [crosstalk 00:09:04]”.

GREG MOODY (09:04):



Of course, I don’t drink much and you don’t drink much. But I’m not going to do that.

GREG MOODY (09:10):



But it’s going to be, “Wow. I went to Fort Lauderdale, I was looking at all the yachts around and it just reminded me how much money is in the world”. We get into a place of lack and instead there’s abundance. I made a renewed effort to go find where the people with money are and stop dealing with people who don’t have money. One of the conclusions I make when I meet… It’s that kind of [crosstalk 00:09:34].

GREG MOODY (09:34):

Yeah. Or like right now we’re in Annapolis, we’re going to be visiting the Naval Academy and there’s lots of things to relate to here, how these guys are working like crazy.



GREG MOODY (09:43):

16 hours a day to achieve a really big goal.



GREG MOODY (09:46):

And then we can talk to some about how does this relate to the goals you’re trying to achieve? And then, it has something to do with the webinar I’m offering, but there’s a relationship that makes some sense. Or it may not even relate directly to the offer that I’m giving, but that might be at my PS.



GREG MOODY (10:02):

Or there’s some other kind of connection that I’m making with the person that’s going to be reading it.


I was just listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast or I was Jocko, I never can pronounce his last name. He made a comment that really made me think about our business and the way that we work together. What I found was, right? I mean, it’s that kind of thing.

GREG MOODY (10:22):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).


One of the elements of using email effectively is frequency. You don’t have to be Shakespeare and you don’t want it to come from a faceless corporation, you want to come from an individual. But the ideal would be you’re emailing them, worst case, three, four times a week, best case, seven times, eight times a week. They don’t have to be a thousand words, they can be 200 words but you’re reaching out and you’re constantly in front of them. Now, from a standpoint of them actually reading the email, we know number one is frequency, because it’s familiar, but number two is, then, the subject line.

GREG MOODY (11:07):




GREG MOODY (11:07):

Yeah. Well, the subject line… Actually, the “From: email address”.


Right. Right.

GREG MOODY (11:11):

The “From: email address”, where you email it from, if you email it from… In a perfect world, now we’re getting in a little bit of complexity, but we’ve talked about if it’s a prospect or your current clients that you’re emailing, we want to do a little bit of work to get our email address and their contact list.


Right. Right.

GREG MOODY (11:31):

To keep things from getting into spam… Let’s write subject or “From: email address”, here.


You know what I saw the worst case scenario? Is it said, “From:” or something like that.

GREG MOODY (11:46):

Right. Right.


It’s like…

GREG MOODY (11:48):

Yeah. The “From: email address”… For example, if you were, is one of our of our director. And so, if it was from that email address, that’s a personalized email address. Now, that isn’t in most of your email contact lists, so your email software might or mine, GREG, that’s my email address, that isn’t in your contact list right now. If you were my client at the practice, we’d want to make sure that I gave view my contact card and ask you to add that to your phone. That’s just a normal thing, is we got you started or at the practice, we’d say, “Oh, and here’s my contact card. Let’s make sure we add that to your phone, so you’ll know when I call and you have all my contact information”, that’d be a service bonus here. When you add that to your phone, it gets into your tablet and your laptop, and gets into your system, that again, is a benefit to your clients.



GREG MOODY (13:00):

Now, they’re going to have your information there and their email software will go, “Oh, this is a recognized email address”, so it’s more likely to get into their computer.



GREG MOODY (13:09):

Now, even for people that don’t have your email address, if it was something like info@ or the server was certain servers that wouldn’t be recognized, like now, Yahoo is one that gets… If you’re sending it from a Yahoo email address or certain email servers, there’s certain things that can happen from your “From: address”-


Where they get trash canned.

GREG MOODY (13:34):

Yeah, that they can be more likely to get spammed. First of all, if it’s a recognized email address. Second, if it’s a more likely to get spammed email address that can hurt you. The next one is-


That’s to get it into the email box?

GREG MOODY (13:47):



To be inboxed, to begin with.

GREG MOODY (13:49):

That’s to get in to their inbox, to be delivered into their inbox. But then, to get it read, subject line.


Subject line. The way to think about subject line is a headline, which is an ad for the ad or an ad for the engagement. There’s a number of different ways to do headlines. There’s curiosity, right? If you pick one of those stories that I was making up on the fly, but… I was listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast and it dawned to me some really important ideas for you on how to really make sure your financial future is stable. Well, okay. Well, Rogan, what does that have to do with anything? And then, the story continues, that’s curiosity, right. The powerful concept that I always come back to is, what’s in their mind, what is it they’re thinking, what’s going on. If I can like plug right into that, then I’m better off. The more topical, and especially in email, if there’s new news today, or there’s new news this week.

GREG MOODY (14:54):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).


If there’s new news on legislation, that’s going to affect tax rates or new news on legislation’s going to affect IRAs, or there’s new capital gains tax coming in-

GREG MOODY (15:06):

Yeah. “[inaudible 00:15:06] tax rates change today”.


Yeah. Yeah.

GREG MOODY (15:10):

That would be a subject line, I’m like, “Oh, I better open that thing as I got to find that out”. “Your tax rate changed today”.


Or “How to avoid the upcoming increase in taxes on capital gains”.

GREG MOODY (15:23):



That was a little [inaudible 00:15:25], a little bland, but you get the idea. I always find topical current events, what’s going on in the news. If it’s obscure, that becomes like a curiosity type of headline. If it’s like CNN, MSNBC, Fox, Wall Street Journal, local papers are all covering it, that’s something that’s a immediately into their mind. The little loan seekers behind current legislation and how it’s going to disrupt your retirement plans. Well, what hell is that, right? Having a subject line that’s enticing, and it’s interesting.


I think one of the things that’s misunderstood is, people will look at their email list and say, “Oh, well, I’m only at 20% open rate”. Well, just being there every day or being there twice a day, keeps them a little familiar with you, keeps them maybe top of mind or in their mind at all. If you get 20% open rate, I mean, on the average, looking in it once every five days, that’s okay. If they actually opened it and read it. The open rates can be misleading too, right? I mean, they can have essentially gotten the idea by doing a little preview on it. And then, sometimes that doesn’t get counted.

GREG MOODY (16:48):

Yeah. Or they see your subject line, but they never open it. They could just delete it, but they saw your subject line, that’s still an impression.



GREG MOODY (16:54):

Even though we’re not big on just impression marketing, still some has some value. Especially-


Other than your time to zap it out, it was free.

GREG MOODY (17:02):


GREG MOODY (17:02):



Yeah. Our big objection to email where we said it was a love, hate relationship, which should be understood is, when it’s the only thing people do.

GREG MOODY (17:14):



And they make the errors that we’re talking about by having low frequency or intermittent. The worst error is intermittent frequency, where you email them a couple times, one week and then they don’t hear from you for a month. Then you email them a couple times, and then once… That’ll just crush your opt out rates, you’ll have whole opt out rates when you do that. You’ve got to be consistent and we want the frequency to be up. We do want you to use email, but what the big error we just see is people get dependent on it and you’ll have a lot of these so-called gurus, and they’re really just selling you these email systems.

GREG MOODY (17:52):



And they’ll say, “Well, no, no, no”.


Or they’re stuck five years ago, right?

GREG MOODY (17:57):



I mean, I could use email much more heavily 10 years ago and [crosstalk 00:18:03].

GREG MOODY (18:04):

We would’ve still advised you to use the other systems, with texting, indirect mail or outbound calls and voice broadcast, and other systems, too.


By the way, this is with clients, too. Is if I’m going to do a webinar that they should attend, if I’m going to do… Some theorem systems will automatically let you schedule your quarterly or your twice a year, or annual meeting with people and give them a scheduling, even with clients. I mean, I keep having these conversations of, “What are your results on blank?” “Well, I emailed them”.

GREG MOODY (18:38):



“Well, what else did you do?” “Well, I’m waiting for a hear back”.” Well, how long ago was that?” “A week ago”. It’s like, “Well, wait a minute. If you emailed somebody, you don’t hear back that day, you are never going to hear from them”. They probably didn’t even see it, right? And if they saw it, maybe they went in their mind, “Oh, that’s important. I’ll get back to them on that”. But see, as soon as the next hundreds show up and the kids are crying or something happened at work or breaking news, whatever it is, they get distracted, they don’t remember it at all.

GREG MOODY (19:12):

Well, yeah. That’s a good point. For client emails, we look at where you’re using emails, which might be important to differentiate. For client emails, for things that I’m supposed to do with my clients, have a meeting with them, talk to them, work on their plan, which might increase their investible assets with me-


[crosstalk 00:19:28] just to encourage referrals and talk [crosstalk 00:19:31.]

GREG MOODY (19:31):

Yeah. Lots of reasons we should… Separate segment, talk about doing that more frequently. I would never assume emails ever being read.



GREG MOODY (19:41):

Would I use emails? Sure. I’d use it to confirm appointments. I’d use it even to initiate appointment setting, for sure. But I would also, my phrase is “call, text, email”. We call them, text them and email them. For any of that stuff.


What you mean by that is you call them, leave a voicemail, text them and email them.

GREG MOODY (19:58):

Yeah. You never like it when it’s only one thing, but whenever call [crosstalk 00:20:02].


I’ve had too many staff over the years, who they just heard, “Oh, well he didn’t say anything about leaving a message”.

GREG MOODY (20:09):

Bt call always implies or when we call, we would leave a voicemail and, or talk to them, text them and email. All of that has to happen every time. With clients, it’s all of those things. Now, email for clients is also used as an engagement process. They would get our newsletter on a regular basis. They would get frequent emails for continued engagement in education and reminders, “Our podcast just got released, so make sure you subscribe and listen to our podcast”. Even if they’ve subscribed, they’ll get reminded that it’s there. “We just did a blog post on this, make sure you bring your friend to our event on this topic or our client appreciation event at the art gallery we’re going to have on September 15th” and so on.

GREG MOODY (20:57):

There’s lots of uses for email. They would also get text reminders. There’d be other stuff to supplement the email. That’s the error that happens in addition to the ones that we’re mentioning here. To use it effectively, you’ve got to do these things, but it’s where we get into a hate relationship is, when we hear people doing, number one, it’s the only thing they do. But number two, they’re not using it effectively.


Well, with clients and prospects, my rule of thumb is, the nice thing about email and now Facebook Messenger and all the other different social media communications, and Slack and everything is it’s, what we call asynchronous communication. You and I don’t have to be in the same place at the same time, whether on the phone or one thing or another to communicate, to share information.


But from a sales standpoint and a relationship standpoint, asynchronous communication is very ineffective. I mean, it’s yeah, just like text messaging. I mean, it is the standard of late night fair of I text something and the other person hears something different than I text, and it just gets completely fubar, right?


One of the things to keep in mind, again, with somebody who’s in the sales process with you, somebody who’s a client is, it’s not the way you make a sale, it’s not the way you solve problems and it’s other than personality showing up in their inbox, it’s not really the way that you maintain the relationship either, right? Yeah, I think it’s a big mistake. It’s fine if you send them a DocuSign link and then you got a DocuSign on this policy, you need everything signed off on [crosstalk 00:22:42] from that. And frankly, I would text them and [crosstalk 00:22:45] call them to let them know, to look for it, right? Because otherwise, they may not see it. But we see sometimes even difficult, even argumentative conversations being handled by email.

GREG MOODY (22:59):

Yeah. [inaudible 00:23:00].


What we teach, all of our clients is email, text, et cetera only gets used to move it to a telephone, Zoom or face to face. I would say face to face is most effective, Zoom is second most or comparable and telephone is third. But all of those are what, by factor, a hundred better than text back and forth, messenger back and forth, email back and forth or whatever. That’s again, an important message, is most of what we do with email is one to many, designed to feel like one to one.


And then, other elements of what we would do in the normal course of business is like we’re here in a hotel, down the street from the Naval Academy and we’re doing a corporate, behind the scenes to the Naval Academy and we have food being service. Well, all of that was transacted by, they send me the DocuSign, they PDF me a thing. I send it back. I send them follow up. But frankly, the initial setup was all done by phone, right? It’s clear that email’s fine for sharing documents and email’s fine for you need a DocuSign, an email’s fine for one to many communications, but it’s not fine for actually having a person to person conversation. Nobody’s going to give you a million dollars to manage for them by email back and forth or text message back and forth.

GREG MOODY (24:29):

Well, I would expand on that, that I think there’s this feeling that, “Oh, but that’s really cumbersome to call and to follow up with people”. It’s a lot less work. Because if you’re emailing, then you got to wait for the email and then there’s time lost and checking the email, and then it’s… This, as you say, asynchronous communication, where you’re not at the same place at the same time. It’s a lot easier just having it out by the phone, to get things moved along. You’re going to get something done when you do connect


That little cartoon meme, that Mindy sent to all of us. Remember? It was the boss, subordinate and the boss is saying, “Did you contact them?” And the response is, “Well, I emailed them”. “No, no, no, no. Did you talk to them?” “Well, I’ll text them.” “No, no, no. Just call them”. Right? Just call them. And again, I think that the biggest value of all of that is to schedule a time to talk.

GREG MOODY (25:32):

Right, right. Email’s to supplement and enhance your ability to have actual human interactions. We want you to use… I mean, in all the segments that we’ve talked about, we’ve talked about using the internet, we talked about using direct mail, we’ve talked about texting, we’ve talked about email, we’ve talked about all these pieces that you need to use and we want you to automate them and for anybody that’s scared, it’s like, “Oh crap. They’re telling me to use all this stuff. I want to shut everything off”. No, we will help you make it easy.


One step at a time. Yes.

GREG MOODY (26:02):

But it’s to enhance you being able to do more human interactions people because that’s the most efficient way to get more business done.


Yeah. [crosstalk 00:26:12] And again-

GREG MOODY (26:13):

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to do any of that, we just talk to people.


Yeah. Well, my favorite use of text is to set an appointment, to actually talk with somebody, right? It eliminates that phone tag thing of cold calls and they call you back and forth. But I mean, I can text them a schedule link and say, “Put it on my calendar”, it’s like we were talking about podcast. “Here’s a link. We’re going to do an interview. Put to time that works best for you and we’ll do it”. “We need to set a follow up meeting. Here’s the link to my calendar, let’s set a time to do it”. Well, see, that’s-

GREG MOODY (26:46):

If anybody engages me too much by text, by the way, I just then call them because I have their number because they texted me.



GREG MOODY (26:53):

That’s the process of what you do.


Yeah. Yeah. I think we’ve given you a lot, but what I will say about email is break the habit of trying to move from personal to corporate and instead move from corporate to personal. Have personality, be willing to polarize, be willing to be quirky, be willing to be interesting, be willing to be different. The old apple thing, “Think different”.

GREG MOODY (27:20):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).


But you’ve got to be willing to be engaging, to be different and utilize stories and don’t make it dry, right? And again, really, people would rather be entertained than educated. That was Walt Disney’s thing, right?

GREG MOODY (27:38):



But what you really want to do is, you want to educate them up to the point with say, “Well, there’s a lot to know about this. I want you to do it for me”. “Well, it takes a lot of time to stay on top of this. I want you to do it for me”. That’s a fairly easy threshold to cross and it’s easier and easier and easier, the higher income bracket they’re in, the more important role they’re in-

GREG MOODY (28:02):

Which are the clients that you want.


Exactly. Exactly. Email can be used for an awful lot of different things, but mostly, it is just to keep in front of them and keep nurturing the relationship, and have them be familiar with you, and utilizing other aspects to also communicate with them. But ultimately, your mission, of course, is to make an appointment and to turn them into a new client or if they’re a client to keep them engaged, keep them happy and generate other clients. But it really isn’t going to solve all your problems. It’s just a piece of… My last I hate email is that, email is dying a slow and painful death, right? I would love it if email was as fruitful as back with the Goldie Hawn and Tom Hanks movie.

GREG MOODY (28:52):

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.


Meg Ryan, there you go. There you go.

GREG MOODY (28:56):

Get the movies right. You’ve Got Mail.


Yeah. Well, exactly.

GREG MOODY (28:59):

It’d be nice if it worked as well as that, but it doesn’t.


Yeah, it’d be nice if everybody’s sitting there waiting for your special email missives a day, but they’re not.

GREG MOODY (29:08):



They’re not even in a good mood when they have to go through it all.

GREG MOODY (29:12):

And they probably won’t see it.


Yeah, probably. But they’ll see enough of them, if you’re regular and consistent [crosstalk 00:29:19].

GREG MOODY (29:18):

If you do this stuff right.


Yeah. Yeah. Just keep in mind, again, my hate about it is, is that it’s dying a slow and painful death, everybody’s trying to get rid of it, pretty much everybody hates it. The next generation, by the way, my daughter doesn’t really use email. If I could email her something, she’ll maybe look at it once a month, because her school might send her something. They’re using messenger and stuff on, well, on Snapchat and…

GREG MOODY (29:47):

Mm-hmm (affirmative)..


What’s the video app? TikTok.

GREG MOODY (29:50):



There’s this constant evolution, too, of age demographic and of what’s new and what’s exciting. We do know that text has almost a hundred percent open rate and almost a hundred percent read rate or deliverability rate, I guess is what I meant to say. And so, utilize all of the medium, but do it in an engaging and thoughtful way and be really consistent with it. [crosstalk 00:30:16]. From that, we’ll leave you with that.