When it comes to communicating with both prospects and clients email has become a vital medium. While the decision to make use of email as part of an insurance marketing plan is a no brainer choosing an email platform or service is a bit more challenging.
In this post we are going to look at the primary options for emailing clients and prospects.
Free Email Service
Do you have a free Gmail account? How about Yahoo or Hotmail? It does not matter which provider you use, many agents turn to this option because it is free and easy. They don’t want to part with any money as they get started with email marketing, so they initially turn to this way of doing things.
The primary benefit of a free email address is the simplicity. Not only is it easy to setup, but you will also find that it is just as easy to use. Along with this, those who are in a hurry to get started will be impressed.
What is the problem with this option? The first thing I personally think about is professionalism. A Gmail address from an insurance professional doesn’t scream to me that this person is fully committed and plans to be around for the long term.
Most importantly, a free email address often times looks like spam. Recipients are not as likely to open the mail when it comes from a free account. On top of this, many of your emails may land in the recipient’s “spam folder.” This all but kills a high deliverability rate.
If you have your own website – which most insurance agents do today – you likely have an email address, such as: [email protected] or [email protected]
From an appearance perspective, this is much more professional than a free email address. It may also lead a lot of recipients to your website, where you can provide additional information on yourself as well as your services.
Did you know that a few spam complaints can get your IP black listed? If this happens, you can forget about getting your emails in the recipients’ inbox – regardless of the purpose.
If your IP is black listed your deliverability will take a major hit. Don’t even waste your time sending an email at this point, as most of your recipients will never see it.
If there are too many spam complaints, there is a good chance that your hosting company will cancel your account altogether. Not only will you lose your ability to send emails but your website will be taken down as well.
Finally, it can be challenging to use newsletter templates with this type of email account. Instead, you have to opt for a more basic layout which doesn’t have the professional look that you need for regular prospect/client communication.
CRM or LMS
Many of the CRM, LMS and quoting engines have added email marketing as part of their “solution”. Since this is integrated with your mailing list, as well as other parts of your business, it can provide a nice jumping off point — especially for quoters.
Despite the fact that most insurance agents use one type of system or the next, the issue often comes down to the limited functionality and features.
Sure, you can integrate your list and send emails but when it comes to full-time email marketing you are not going to have the “power” or features necessary to achieve great success.
Email Marketing Services
This is my personal favorite for newsletters, broadcast emails and drip marketing auto responders. These services are feature rich and offer a full suite of controls.
Here are some of the biggest benefits associated with using a full-blown email marketing provider:
• Perfect solution no matter if you are sending a quick email via an auto
responder or an in depth newsletter
• Access to hundreds of pre-designed templates
• The ability to customize your own template should have you have the time and HTML skills
• Import your contact list from a variety of application
• Configured for easy subscribe/unsubscribe
• Multiple pricing levels based on the size of your list
There is one final benefit that I want to talk about separately: high deliver-ability.
What is the point in sending an email if it is not reaching the recipient? If you are interested in the highest deliver-ability rate, you have to rely on an email marketing service provider. Believe it or not, the best services pride themselves on offering deliver-ability of 99 percent or better. If nothing else, you know that people are seeing your message.
While you have many options, I personally recommend Aweber and iContact. Not only are they two of the biggest brands in the email marketing industry, but both companies currently have a client list in excess of 100k.
• Aweber is the number one choice for users who are interested in clean newsletters, the best auto
responder in the business, and of course, high deliver-ability You have options to have a single or double opt-in setup (single opt-in suggested for agency use). We use Aweber for the ILG newsletter here as well.
• iContact allows any agent to create, send, and track email messages with ease and efficiency.
Additionally, both companies excel in offering a high level of customer service along with multiple pricing plans.
Email marketing has become an important part of the insurance marketing plan so it’s important to ensure you have a solution that not only works but also looks professional and gets your messages delivered.
Remember, it is not good enough to simply have a plan. You need a targeted strategy that can yield results. The right solution will probably vary based on your situation and might very well be a combination of the four options discussed above.