Did you know the average goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds, while the average person reading an email has an attention span of only 8.25 seconds? As you can imagine, this is a favorite statistic among marketers.

Financial advisors looking to successfully find new prospects and grow their business have been discovering that while email can be an incredibly powerful tool, a successful campaign needs to grab the reader’s attention right away.

Here are five ways that any advisor sending out emails can improve their conversion rate and capture more leads.

1. Create an Action-Oriented Email

An email is an invitation to take action. All of your email marketing should have a single action you want your readers to take. Do you want them to click through to a blog post, follow you on Twitter or download a white paper? By defining a single action for the reader to take you not only make their user journey clear, but you also provide yourself with an excellent KPI (key performance indicator) to track your campaign’s success. When creating a call to action, remember to:

  • Make the invitation explicit. Don’t beat around the bush.
  • Include clear instructions for what to do next.
  • Provide motivation for the person to take the next step.
  • Ask for as little time and information as possible.

2. Use the Subject AND the Pre-header

Here is a terrifying statistic: 97% of all email sent is unwanted. Here is another: 33% of emails are opened based solely on their subject line.

That means that as email users, we have all had to develop nearly impenetrable filtering systems. There are few things we are as quick to discount as a poorly-written email subject line. By making sure that you use your subject and pre-header (the first line of text that displays in an email synopsis), you can drastically improve your open rate.

Most people will only see the first 35 characters of your email subject. They will also see the first 30 or so characters of your email. That means that you can pair your subject lines with pre-headers to create a creative 1-2 punch. Here are some examples:

  • Subject line: Our Spring Promotion
    Pre-header: Free Retirement Planning Coaching
  • Subject line: The most important tax tip?
    Pre-header: Double check your deductions!
  • Subject line: Special for existing clients
    Pre-header: Free investment consultations
  • Subject line: What can a fiduciary do for you?
    Pre-header: More like what can’t we do?!

3. Targeting

Few things will increase the number of people who open your email more than including details they will recognize in your subject line. Two terms we like to use when it comes to targeting through email campaigns are “Personalize” and “Localize.”

By giving a reader an indication that the contents of your email have to do with their situation specifically, you will increase their chances of opening the email up to 33.3%!

Here are a few things you can do to target your clients and prospects better with your email marketing:

  • Include references to the city or area the recipient is from.
  • Mention one of their known interests in the subject.
  • Use automated software to insert their first name in the subject line.

4. Make it Mobile-Friendly

40% of all emails are opened on a mobile device first. That means that if you aren’t optimizing your communications for mobile, you are potentially losing almost half of your possible audience.

  • An iPhone will display between 35-38 characters in portrait mode and 80 when it is in landscape.
  • The Galaxy S4 will show around 33 in portrait mode and 72 in landscape.
  • An iPad will display 39 characters in portrait or landscape.
  • The iPhone 6+ wins the competition by showing up to 63 characters in portrait. In landscape, it begins to work as a desktop mail client with a synopsis bar on the left.

5. Use Video

Video is an excellent way to improve user time on your website, but can you use it to increase email open rates? The answer is a resounding “yes.” Now, you might be wondering why you’ve never seen a video play in your email. When we talk about using video in an email campaign, the idea is that the single action you are inviting your reader to take is to watch the video. That means they will click on a link. Usually, the link is a picture that looks like a paused video and leads to the video’s host site.

It is not a complicated process, but here are a few things you should remember when using videos in an email:

  • Use the same care in naming the video as you do in creating a subject line (keep it short, personalize it, etc.).
  • Make sure the freeze frame in your video is both enticing and not awkward.
  • Make sure the small triangle ‘play’ arrow is at the center of your freeze frame (statistics show that 95% of people will click that arrow).

We live in a world of distraction with 100 novelties assaulting us at every turn. It may seem like a big task to grab people’s attention, but if you follow these few principles, you will find your email campaigns reaching more and more of your ideal clients.