The No. 1 activity people do on their smartphones is check email. A study conducted by the International Data Corporation, sponsored by Facebook, showed that email was the most popular app for 78 percent of surveyed people. Facebook came in at only 70 percent.
Not only is email the most popular smartphone activity, it’s also one of the most profitable marketing channels businesses can invest in. In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing has a return on investment of 4,300 percent.
Therefore, the big question for insurance agents to answer isn’t “Does email marketing work?” Instead savvy agents are asking, “What’s the best way to use email marketing to grow my agency?”
Here are five revenue-generating email campaigns you can implement in your agency. These email campaigns, also known as auto-responder sequences, are automated emails that are triggered based on a predetermined event or behavior, such as a policy renewal date or a quote request.
- New-lead email campaignHarvard Business Review audited 2,241 U.S. firms and found companies that reach out to potential customers within an hour of receiving queries are nearly seven times as likely to have meaningful conversations with key decision-makers as firms that try to contact prospects after that hour.In other words, money follows speed, especially when it comes to online insurance leads. The faster you respond, the more likely you’ll win the business. This is why a new-lead email campaign is critical to your agency’s success. You can rest assured everyone who requests a quote will at least get a message acknowledging the request.Here’s an example of a new-lead email campaign:Instantly: Email acknowledging the quote request has been received.ASAP: Sales person makes a phone call.If no one returns the phone call, then the lead continues to go through the new-lead email campaign as follows:Day 1 (the next day after quote was requested): Send an email on behalf of a salesperson to schedule a call.Day 2: Send an email with a few customer testimonials and information about your agency. At the end of the email, make another request to schedule a call to get a quote.Day 4: Send an email asking if the prospect is still interested. Ask him if it makes sense for you to follow up or if he’s already taken care of his insurance needs.Month 5 or 11 (depending on if the prospect indicated he has a six- or 12-month policy):Send an email asking if he’d like to get a quote before his next renewal. Remind him you have most of his information on file and it wouldn’t take long.
- Online reviews email campaignMost agents struggle to get online reviews on websites such as Yelp and Google. However, a great way to get more reviews is to simply ask via email.Design a simple online reviews email campaign that asks your customers if they’d be willing to give you an online review. Let them know this is an important part of your business and that it helps people know if you’re trustworthy. Segment your email list so you only send to customers who have not left a review yet.Day 0 (start this campaign anytime): Send an email asking the customer for an online review with a link for him to leave his review.Day 7: If he still hasn’t left a review, then email him a reminder asking again.Day 14: Send a third or final reminder email asking if the customer would like to get a free, no-obligation auto quote.
- Cross-sell email campaignsIf you don’t have any cross-sell email campaigns set up in your agency, you’re likely missing a huge opportunity for new business from your existing customers.Automated cross-sell email campaigns can work wonders. Some of the campaigns you may consider launching include:
- Automobile but no homeowners insurance.
- Business insurance but no personal automobile/homeowners.
- Renewal email campaignAccording to comScore, 46 percent of consumers shopped for auto insurance in 2014. So even though you may think your customers are happy and not going anywhere, the truth is half of your customers are likely to shop around before they renew.This is why a renewal email campaign is critical to your retention rate. In a perfect world, every customer would get a personal call from one of your representatives. However, for most agencies this is not practical.2 months before renewal: Send an email that lets your customer know he’ll be renewing soon and it’s a good time to review his account. You could provide a link to schedule a short account review call.1 month before renewal: Send an email that invites the customer to complete a satisfaction survey. You can also design your campaign so it triggers a phone call to people who have left bad reviews in the survey.2 weeks before renewal: If the customer hasn’t responded to the account review call, then send one final email letting him know it’s a good time to review the account and make any necessary changes.
- Referral email campaign/contestAre referrals a significant source of business for you?If they are, it makes sense to set up a system that allows you generate more of them.John Jantsch, author of “The Referral Engine,” surveyed several thousand small-business owners and found 63 percent of them felt that more than half their business came from referrals. But of that same group, 80 percent admitted they had no system of any kind to generate referrals.So one way to start building your “referral engine” is to implement a referral email campaign. While there are many ways to approach this campaign, an easy way to get started is to launch a referral contest.Day 0: Send an email announcing your new referral contest. You can give an overview of the contest and tell your customers what they could win and how to play.Day 7: Send an email reminding your customers about the contest and who your ideal customer is.Day 14: Send an email reminding your customers that your referral contest ends tomorrow.Day 15: Send a “last chance” email to let your customers know the referral contest ends that night.
Choose one or two and start!
If you’re not currently doing any email marketing, then don’t try to install all five campaigns at once. Instead, choose one or two and set a goal to have those implemented within the next 30 days.
If you’re not tech-savvy, then find someone on your team or a reputable vendor who can manage the technology part. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be reaping the rewards of automated email marketing.