The insurance industry focuses on providing solutions for individuals and businesses during difficult times. That’s why email marketing is vital during better times. It gives agents in the insurance business a great opportunity to build trust with existing clients and prospects so they know who to call for advice when things go south.
Everyone seems to be doing email marketing these days and most people have inboxes stuffed with promotional messages. Standing out these days requires a strategy, great writing skills, and a personal touch to keep the lines of communication open.
This quick guide is going to teach you about setting goals for your insurance email marketing campaigns, the types of emails that you can send, and some insurance email marketing tips on creating a personalized strategy that’s right for your business.
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a component of an overall digital marketing strategy. For the purposes of selling insurance we can look at email marketing in context of achieving the following objectives:
Raising awareness (lead generation)
Subscribing or following on social media
Engagement on social media channels
A way to stay in touch
Email marketing is one of many forms of marketing that make up an entire strategy. It’s part of a holistic marketing process for achieving an end goal: converting leads into insurance clients.
How Do You Know If You’re Doing It Right?
You will know if you’re doing email marketing right if you achieve your goals.
Goals tend to differ among different professionals, however there are some that generally apply to almost everyone that include:
Getting referrals from existing customers
Retaining existing customers
Upselling existing customers
Not All Email Marketing is Created Equal
Just like the difference between bad and good emails, there is good and bad email marketing. There are also different types of emails with varying purposes. Here are a few different types of emails that you may or may not be familiar with:
Most people know what email newsletters are. They are informational emails that give updates and promotions. Some businesses send an email blast on a monthly, weekly, bi-weekly or even daily basis. The frequency depends on the type of business and its strategy.
When done correctly, an email newsletter can become something your target audience looks forward to. This is achieved by having a service-minded intention behind each newsletter such as educating your audience, keeping them in the loop on product updates or even just entertaining them.
Lead Nurturing Emails
Lead nurturing emails are ideal when you’ve met a new prospect online or offline, but have yet to make a sale. Use them to draw the person in to learn more about your services by adding some personal anecdotes and experiences. That builds interest and trust over time.
Welcome emails are sent after converting an insurance lead into a new client. Some examples of content that you can include in your welcome series include:
Saying thank you
Introducing them to the rest of your team
Sharing social media links
Offering a gift, such as an ebook or exclusive video
Transactional emails are messages concerning your services. They are usually easy to read, written in a formal way, have a clear subject line, and contain a call to action. Some examples include:
Requests to update personal information
Invoices or receipts
Policy updates, etc.
Other Automated/Triggered Emails
Email marketing software allows you to configure other types of emails that include:
Cold emails are messages sent to people that are not aware of you, your firm or the services you offer.
Since spam is so common it’s very important that you do not send out mass marketing emails to people that haven’t given you permission to email them - and that includes adding emails you receive from business cards to your email marketing list.
Besides being a bad practice, it can affect your digital reputation.
When a recipient clicks “spam” on your message, many email service providers (like Gmail) will downgrade your email in their algorithm and that will increase your chances of landing in spam folders in the future.
Personal one-to-one emails are acceptable and can be done manually or using tools like HubSpot Sales Sequences and Apollo.io. Just be careful that you don’t end up having your email account blocked.
What Type of Email Marketing Should Your Independent Insurance Agency Be Doing?
Your agency should be doing all types of email marketing within the context of a larger digital marketing strategy. The key is to start small and build from that foundation. Try starting with the easiest item to implement, like a general email newsletter sent once a month.
An important point to make here is that it’s important to be consistent with email marketing. If you start a monthly newsletter then make sure your audience knows that, and stick to a schedule.
As for the rest of the types of emails, these can be implemented one at a time using email software or a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program.
How to Build an Email Marketing Strategy for Your Agency
Here are some initial steps for creating an email marketing strategy for your agency. Just keep in mind that any good strategy evolves over time, and to be flexible to new ideas because digital marketing is always evolving.
Start by building your database
The first step to creating an email strategy is to compile your email list. Here are some initial questions to kickstart the process:
Where will you build your database?
Do you have emails for your existing customers?
Does your website have a sign up form?
Will your marketing database live separately from your customer relationship management system?
How will you share contacts between the two systems?
The key here is to start small, especially if you are starting from scratch. Keep it simple by adding email addresses to a spreadsheet while you determine the software you will be using.
The next step is to work with your agency to create a workflow for gathering this information in the future.
Determine what software you will be using
There are dozens of software programs out there to facilitate your email marketing strategy. Here are some key questions you should ask:
What is your software budget? Is the software cost effective?
Who will use it? Which staff member will be responsible?
Will this new piece of software integrate with our agency management system?
Does this software work across all relevant marketing channels?
Do you need stand-alone email marketing software or a more integrated marketing automation system?
The last question here is really important and you may need help from your marketing team to make this decision. Another option is to hire a marketing agency to help you with this process. Some businesses have found that this provides a good return on investment.
What can you do with standalone marketing software?
Standalone email marketing platforms like MailChimp, Constant Contact and ConvertKit allow you to add subscribers, segment them into lists, and send scheduled mass emails. Many of these platforms have expanded to add integrations for automated/triggered emails and email drip options.
For fully automated emails based on triggers like dates, website visits or account changes, you would need a full-featured marketing automation system.
What can you do with marketing automation software?
Full-featured marketing automation platforms like ActiveCampaign, HubSpot and Pardot do email marketing and much more.
Besides fully automated email marketing, these platforms offer website services, blogging, text messaging, social media, and more. They offer a centralized way to do all marketing efforts in one place so you can create multi-channel digital marketing campaigns.
Set a goal and define your team
Once you have your database started and have selected your software, you want to set a goal. As mentioned earlier, it’s best to start small.
A good starter goal could be to implement email marketing to increase customer retention or to increase engagement with leads on social media.
After setting the goal, here are some questions to ask:
Who will be doing the work of copywriting, designing and scheduling emails?
How will we measure success?
What is our timeline?
Get to work
Now the time has come to get to work on creating the emails. Set a schedule for the emails that will be sent out and a content calendar outlining all the important information that will be sent out.
Delegate the writing, graphic design and research to your team and set due dates a couple of days in advance of sending. You may want to hire a professional digital marketer when starting out that can help you refine this process.
Measure, analyze, optimize & repeat
It takes time to see success. Your email marketing software or program should offer metrics that show you the percentage of emails being opened, the time of day, how many people click on your links, and more.
Be sure you learn with every email and pay close attention to the data. As I mentioned earlier, an email marketing strategy evolves over time - that goes for the new players and the seasoned veterans.
Email marketing is a great way to connect with your audience, build awareness, develop trust and enrich your overall marketing strategy. An email marketing strategy will help you clarify your goals and give you a path to achieving them. When done correctly, it’s a great opportunity to build better relationships with current clients while attracting new prospects and converting them to customers.
Always keen on helping others make their dreams come true, Tony and his team have helped independent agents grow into more than 250 independent agencies. This has made OAA the number one ranked Strategic Master Agency of SIAA for the last 5 years, and one of Oklahoma's 25 Best Companies to Work for.
Tony loves to share his knowledge, insight and wisdom through his bestselling books as well as in free mediums including podcasts and blogs.
Tony and his family are members of Crossings Community Church, and he is very active in community initiatives: he’s chairman of It’s My Community Initiative, Inc., a nonprofit working with disadvantaged people in Oklahoma City; and chairman of the Oklahoma Board of Juvenile Affairs., and he has served through many other organizations including the Salvation Army, Last Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Rotary Club.
In his spare time, Tony enjoys time with his family. He’s also an active outdoorsman and instrument-rated commercial pilot.