By Alejandra Melara

As marketers, we know we need to adapt our strategies to our consumers’ behavior. This is especially true when times are as hard and unexpected, as they were during 2020. How we adapt can make or break our business during uncertain times.

Today, we are uncovering insights from a range of SmartBug Media® clients in the finance industry that use HubSpot, as well as insights from our own team, on which email strategies they employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope these strategies help you adapt your email marketing efforts whenever change arises in your industry.

Email Marketing Impact on the Finance Industry 

COVID-19 has unraveled the economy—and highlighted the need for trustworthy, effective financial services. SmartBug worked with our financial clients to develop email campaigns that emphasized value, advice, and reassurance.

We’ll dive into specific use case scenarios, but before we do, let’s look at some existing data for comparison’s sake. Here are HubSpot’s 2019 average open and click rates for the financial industry:

  • 23 percent open rate
  • 6.82 percent click rate

Similar to HubSpot, here are Campaign Monitor stats:

  • 16 percent open rate
  • 2.5 percent click rate

Download Our COVID-19 Email Marketing Impact Report

Use Case #1: FSCB

When the impact of COVID-19 grew more severe, we saw that First State Community Bank (FSCB) customers could benefit from increased touchpoints. 

FSCB, based in Missouri, has branches in rural towns and customers who prefer an in-person banking experience. One of our email goals during the crisis has been to promote mobile services and remind customers that they can handle much of their banking from home. 

Here are some of the email strategies we used: 

  • We paused FSCB’s entire inbound marketing editorial calendar, not only for sensitivity reasons during COVID-19, but also to reallot resources toward pandemic-related content, including email. 
  • We generated two new email workflows—for businesses and for individuals—focusing on topics such as business relief programs, stimulus checks, FAQs, and more. 
  • We also helped create an email newsletter with financial literacy games for kids and useful resources for their families. 

After sending many more emails to customers than before the pandemic, FSCB saw the following results: 

  • Open rates jumped from 25 percent to 32 percent
  • Click rates improved from 2.6 percent to 3.4 percent.

Use Case #2: Quotit

Quotit is a SaaS company that provides software for health insurance professionals. 

With so many people losing their jobs, we wanted to share email content focused on helping agents navigate an influx of new policies necessitated by people losing their company coverage. We also provided resources for agents who were now working from home. 

Here are some of the email strategies we used: 

  • We provided helpful content that wasn’t overly focused on COVID-19. These emails performed better than those that specifically addressed the coronavirus. 
  • The overall email statistics were affected by a client-sent email to all customers and partners about the company’s business continuity plan during the crisis. This email earned lower open and click rates than more helpful promotions. 
  • The most successful emails were for webinars and templates that helped readers’ day-to-day activities as insurance salespeople. 

Slightly more emails were sent to Quotit customers during the pandemic, with the following results:

  • Open rates improving from 22.3 percent to 25.5 percent
  • Click rates increasing from 1.7 percent to 2.1 percent

Strategies and Quick Wins for Finance Marketers

People have been, and will continue to be, understandably worried about the economy. You can help them navigate their concerns—and earn their trust—with informative content and timely emails. 

These tips can get you started: 

  • Gather a content roundup email for a specific niche (e.g., parents whose kids are home during the quarantine). 
  • Create nurturing campaigns to remind leads and customers of the measures you’re taking and the services you offer to protect and help customers. 
  • Create an email newsletter for your employees to keep them in the crisis loop. 
  • Look for opportunities to automate follow-ups to people who haven’t heard from you in a while but might need your help now. 
  • Be incredibly specific. People are constantly inundated with “here’s what’s happening in the world” content. Stand out by giving them actionable tips and resources to help them adjust to changes.

Email Marketing in Uncertain Times

There is one thing that I’d like to leave stamped in your head after reading this post: There is no better strategy than knowing when and how to adapt, not just to consumers’ needs, but to the world’s unexpected nature.

If you want to take your inbound and email marketing strategies to the next level but need support leveling up your marketing and automation strategies, our experts are always available to help.

COVID-19-Email-Marketing-Impact-Report-cover

Check out a few email strategies we executed during the first three months of COVID-19 in our

COVID-19 Email Marketing Impact Report

Check It Out
Alejandra Melara

About the author

Alejandra Melara is a Marketing Manager based out of El Salvador, Central America. Ale is our very first LATAM employee. She's worked remotely for the past 5 years and she's had different roles in sales and marketing. In her free time, she works on creating educational videos around digital marketing for her "InboundNomad" social accounts where she promotes traveling the world while being a full-time marketer. Read more articles by Alejandra Melara.

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