How to boost your email opens with these insurance agency marketing tactics

 

This month all three of our insurance agency marketing tactics are focused on email marketing. Why? Because email is still the number one sales tool in your arsenal. Here are a couple of statistics from Litmus you may not know, that will help you in future outreach emails to prospects, and as you cross-sell to your existing clients:

  • 56% of all emails are now opened on mobile devices 
  • Top email clients are iPhone (33.58% of market share), Gmail (16.31%), iPad (11.38%), Android (10.47%), Apple Mail (6.81%) and Outlook (6.69%)

What does that mean to you? First, keep your message simple and to-the-point. No one reads lonnnngg emails on their phones. They're skimming to pick out salient points. Make it easy for them. Secondly, keep your subject line to about 55 characters; anything after that is cut off. Last, make your call-to-action very obvious. Again, make it easy for them: what is it you want them to do next? Call attention to what their next step should be at the end of your email.

Related: Digital insurance marketing helps for insurance agencies and producers

How to clean up your email list - and why it's so important

You worked hard to build up your list of prospects. You consistently ask for referrals. You keep business cards from networking events, tradeshows and community expos. Your list exemplifies hours of sweat equity. So why would you want to delete anyone from that list? It's very simple: keeping them on could be hurting your ability to send emails that are received and opened by everyone else on your list. Eventually it could lead to your being blacklisted by certain email providers. So take a deep breath, keep an open mind, and continue reading the first of our insurance agency marketing tactics.

You have some list work to do. In order to have a clean list, you need to manage bounces, update your contacts, eliminate inactive users and allow subscribers to update information. Frankly, it's a lot easier to do this if you're using an email marketing provider such as iContact or Constant Contact. And MailChimp has a free version if your list is under 2,000. 

Here's how to get started.

1. Manage your bounces. Remove any email contact that hard bounces (incorrect or obsolete email address, etc.). Also remove any email contact that soft bounces more than four times (email box is full or other email issues on their end).

2. Check your auto-replies. Particularly if you don't use an email marketing provider, but just your Outlook or Gmail to send emails, this step is important. Whenever you receive an auto email that says "I'm no longer with XYZ Company. Please contact John Doe, jdoe@xyzcompany.com instead," you need to promptly remove the old email contact. Bonus if they give you a new contact!

3. Pay close attention to your inactives. This is anyone who hasn't opened your emails or responded. Decide up front how long you'll let them slide. Then at the end of that time period, be it three months, six months or a year, it's time to act. Email them/call them directly to see if they want to continue getting emails from you. You can find some great ideas by Googling "reengagement email images" and borrow some wording from there. If they still don't respond, it's time to break up. Delete them after one year. They obviously don't want to hear from you.

4. Include an obvious opt-out message in your sales emails. This is the law. And remove permanently anyone who asks to be removed. If they're a client, you can continue to email them about their account or policy details, but you can no longer send them solicitation or sales emails. 


What your prospects and clients hate about your emails 

Trying to nurture and eventually sell to everyone on your email list - while still making cold calls and follow-up visits - often means your email creation is quick and, shall we say, often not too creative? So number two of our insurance agency marketing tactics is to help you think before you hit "send".

1. You obviously send the same email to everyone. It's called "spray and pray." We know what you're thinking: Since I'm a personal lines producer, I can email everyone about an auto policy, because everyone has cars, even though they only have a homeowners or boat policy with me. Or you commercial lines producers may think that it's ok to send everyone news about your latest work comp offering, even if they only have a commercial auto policy with you.

Cross-selling is a very good thing, but you need to segment your messaging according to each contact's behavior. If they're a current client, you need to treat them differently than a prospect you're nurturing. If they don't currently have that particular policy with you, then you may need to give a little more explanation as to why your new offering is such a great thing.

2. You don't even try to personalize. This goes beyond simply adding their first name in the subject line or in your greeting. With most email providers, you can format your email template to also pull in their company name, their city and even their types of policies.

3. You forgot to proofread. Little slip-ups like misspelling their name (or even your name!), links that don't work, bad grammar or other mistakes are easy to fix. If you're not the best writer, it's best to have someone else check your sales emails before you send. Spellcheck doesn't always catch everything.

Related: Five ways to improve your sales emails

 

How do your email open rates compare?

What percentage of emails sent by businesses are viewed by consumers? What share of messages end up in spam folders, on average?

To find out, Return Path examined the activity of more than 2.5 million consumer panelists and data from 3.5 billion commercial email messages received between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015, said Marketing Profs in their article that we're quoting here.

Return Path discovered that the average read rate (the percentage of emails viewed rather than sent to spam or immediately deleted, archived or ignored) was 14 percent  across all industries in 2015 (latest figures available). Specifically in the insurance industry, read rates were much better, at 24 percent. How do yours compare?

Conversely, the study found that an average of 12 percent of emails ended up in spam folders. Unfortunately, of insurance industry emails, 26 percent ended up as spam. Ouch. How do yours compare?