Have you ever thought your email marketing processes can be easier? Chances are you are right. 

High level of sensitive data, adherence to numerous compliance and legal guidelines, the necessity of accurate and seamless information flow across the business – all that adds up to the complexity of the financial services industry. The consumption of digital data continues to increase, and financial brands must react to the technological advancements, internet, social media, and mobile usage trends.  

In fact, many financial companies are now heavily investing in solutions – aiming to improve their infrastructure and adapt to the disruptive changes, exploring automation and development of workflows.  

Automation is here to stay 

Even though companies in the Finance sector are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of automation, the industry is still slower than others with digital adoption. Understandably, the difficult nature of the financial services makes it trickier but nowadays companies have no choice but to change if they want to be successful. Automation will soon become essential across all departments within businesses, and complex workflows will have to be developed to eliminate waste, increase productivity, save time and money. 

Naturally, financial services customers are becoming more digitally savvy too thus the role of marketing has to evolve to meet the expectations of the clients. Teams have to adjust their processes and transform their systems and software to be able to reach their clients in a timely manner, with relevant content, across a multitude of devices, 24/7. And email marketing automation is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve efficiency. Email automation and accurate workflow systems allow marketers to create very targeted and relevant communications to their clients and prospects.  

Workflows explained 

Simply put, workflows are a series of steps that are needed to achieve a desired outcome. Workflows can be sequential, where completion of one task allows taking the next. They can also be parallel with several steps occurring simultaneously.  

There are numerous email marketing workflows that could help increase productivity. Many financial services companies have created workflows to help automatically distribute financial documentsYou can provide a seamless user journey allowing your clients to receive specific fund documents such as prospectuses, commentaries or fact sheets with the relevant share classes, all for the funds they are interested in. Of course you can create workflows for all types of documents that can assist in engaging your contacts and help them move along the sales funnel. 

StoneShot Marketing Automation - Workflow Builder

A glimpse at StoneShot’s new intuitive drag and drop email workflow builder.

Workflows are often used for planning events or webinars – invitations, reminders, confirmations, all automated and sent to the relevant people.  All these targeted messages are deployed only when these pre-defined situations are triggered – the recipients register or decline webinar invitations, open the email but do nothing, or even if they don’t open these emails at all.  

Another popular way to utilise automated workflows is using them for events. For instance trigger various emails thanking or simply confirming the successful registration, sending directions and agendas, announcing speakers or deploying post event communications.  

However, email marketing can cover a lot more complex workflows such as welcoming new contacts, cross-selling and up-selling, workflows for engaged clients and for the ones who need re-engagement. Having automated workflows for welcome emails will not only help to establish good relationships with your contacts, but will increase your brand recognition too. All accurately planned workflows will provide you with a good opportunity to enhance marketing and sales performance – especially as workflows can be used to inform your sales teams when a contact becomes a valuable lead. 

How to approach building workflows

Creating relevant emails for your clients usually requires a team effort.  They will most likely involve financial copywriters and marketing managers, compliance officials for getting approvals, web teams for making sure the necessary documents are correctly hosted and landing pages are up to date, sales and CRM teams will help to find the right recipients in the database, and, of course, email specialists will build, deploy and analyse these campaigns.  

Steps to building a successful email workflow

Multi-team collaboration is necessary for workflow development – one should not assume it is a one-man job. Typical workflow building have these following steps: outlining, writing, reviewing, editing, approving and publishing. To visualise the workflow correctly all the relevant stakeholders across the different departments and even regions should be involved.  Good team collaboration will let these workflows achieve the best possible outcomes – fulfill marketing goals and help increase sales. The technical side of the workflow process should also be discussed with the CRM managers to make the integration with your database seamless. Naturally, compliance will need to approve all messaging and workflow steps, making sure the correct audit trails are there for reference.

Benefits of email automation workflows

Planning out and developing email marketing workflows will provide many benefits to the business. First of all, automation eliminates manual email deployments. When creating workflows you consider various scenarios and all potential triggers. Once activated, the workflow automatically starts, saving time and increasing your team’s productivity. This means that marketers can spend their time on other projects. Automation eliminates the “after-work hours” issue too – it is enabled day and night. Once a workflow is triggered, the relevant contacts receive their email communications. 

It is natural that people make mistakes, especially when it involves complicated manual segmentation processes. With automation in place, once your workflows are ready, approved by compliance and other relevant stakeholders, the risk of human error is greatly reduced. The emails are triggered in real time, to the right contacts whom you have already pre-defined and pre-approved.  

StoneShot’s Digital Marketing Survey (DMS) has recently revealed that professional investors want to receive more relevant content in their emails. Accurate workflows will allow distribution of relevant, useful and engaging content to their recipients. Workflow systems function on a contact by contact basis and their pre-defined triggers, eliminating the need of an unsegmented mass-deployment. 

With many external pressures in the industry companies are looking for ways that make their business processes faster, more accurate, and time and cost-effective. All points of customer contact will have to become more personal and targeted too. Thus, having innovative email automation workflows in place will bring many benefits to the financial services brands.