Email Marketing Gets a Major Boost From LinkedIn Data

The topic of finance can be a sticky one. In fact, marketers for Cetera Financial Group say that getting potential—and even current—customers to feel comfortable with a wealth management firm’s many investment and financial advisors is an ongoing project.

“We researched. We looked at research from JD Power and from industry publications to find out what were consumers’ pain points. We even asked what were the issues in their everyday businesses,” says Eric Hansen, director of demand generation at Cetera. Those problems are everything from not knowing where to invest money to confusion about how to pick the right financial advisor for a small business.

Marketers for Cetera wanted to take that specific information about each customer’s challenge and use it to begin to personalize the firm’s messages to each individual. The marketing team, however, was relying heavily on email as a primary way to communicate with customers. “But we knew that we needed to expand beyond email,” Hansen says. “Our audience for email was our main focus, but we didn’t feel that we were getting the type of interaction or the type of response rate that we wanted. But we were using that as basically one of our only marketing initiatives.”

Hansen says that he and his team realized that Cetera needed a strategy that was multichannel and reached people outside of email.  “We wanted to make sure that we were meeting them in places that were relevant to them in a personal way and in business,” Hansen says. “And we wanted to make sure that we weren’t sending a random message. We wanted to personalize.” He insists one major goal was to “get away from that batch-and-blast” style of messaging.

Hansen says the marketing team had three main goals: drive the right audience to Cetera’s website, increase engagement, and drive new business. All are goals, he says, that could be achieved with a revamped multichannel strategy.

“The more channels, the more potential connections that you drive,” says Jennifer Grazel, director of global vertical marketing at LinkedIn. “Being able to connect—to be able to do multichannel nurturing across the journey—is the way to stay top-of-mind and provide consistent messaging.”

So with tools from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, the Cetera team set in place a retooled marketing strategy, one that nurtured the company’s current email contacts and even anonymous website visitors who Cetera managed to track. Grazel says that more than 70% of financial advisors use social media; 95% use LinkedIn—a major platform that’s popular with finance customers and businesses.

With that understanding, Hansen worked to increase the brand’s exposure to financial professionals in smaller companies by using new tools—such as LinkedIn Network Display and Lead Accelerator—that synchronized display and social ads with Cetera’s personalized email messages. Those ads, coupled with personalized sponsored content on social media and fueled by data from LinkedIn, created a more fluid ecosystem of communication.

Hansen says personal touches, relevant content, and cross-channel connections prompted 27% more pageviews, more than 900 new website visitors driven from LinkedIn, more than 13% more visits from each visitor on Cetera’s website—or about one to two more pages per person on each visit—and about one million dollars in new business last fall.

Rather than just mass email, Hansen says the focus for marketers at Cetera is now the entire customer journey. “Our future plans are to use all the data from [social networks like] LinkedIn, some pretty robust data. We’ll hit them across the Web with display and a more personalized website, in addition to email,” Hansen says. “We’re continuing to practice this omnichannel approach; we’re just hitting people wherever they’re at.”

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