10 Insurance Email Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid
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I love seeing insurance agencies leverage email marketing.
Email is so powerful - you can reach thousands of people with a single click. And unlike social media (where you can be blocked or banned with no recourse), you own your email list.
The fact is that the majority of people are not ready to make a decision the first time they interact with you. They must be nurtured, and nothing manages the follow-up process better than email.
You can even automate your entire nurturing process. That’s what I do and I use Drip to do it Check out my review of Drip email marketing software here.
Sadly, most insurance agents and agencies aren’t using email marketing to its full potential. Here are some of the most common insurance email marketing mistakes I see on a regular basis.
1. Focusing solely on building your list.
I get it - you want all of your marketing tools to convert people from prospects to customers, and having a big email list can help you move product. However, I’ve seen companies get so focused on building their email list that they ignore the list they already have.
Email is a tool to nurture leads and stay in touch with your prospects. You could have the biggest list in the world, but if you aren’t sending anything, you won’t make any money.
I always recommend having a few emails already written, complete with information and requests for appointments, before you start scaling your list-building attempts.
2. Not mailing frequently enough.
When I first started building my own email list, I was nervous about sending out each and every email. “What if they unsubscribe?”, I would think. So I ended up sending out emails about once a month.
What. A. Disaster. People unsubscribed in droves, and a big part of the reason was because after a month had passed by, they forgot about me or just weren’t interested anymore.
Then I started mailing once a week. My metrics improved. Then I started mailing every three days. Metrics improved even more. Then I tested mailing every single day and saw no noticeable increase in my metrics.
When it comes to insurance email marketing, not mailing frequently enough can be a huge mistake. Depending on the sales cycle, waiting too long to send more information or ask for a phone call could mean missed sales. Sending an email every day or once every few days is enough to keep you and your company in front of the prospect. So when he or she is ready to do business, you will be the first one that comes to mind.
3. Not testing anything.
One of the reasons why I love Drip email marketing software so much is because they have the ability to run A/B tests.
When it comes to email marketing, you want to test everything. You offer, your subject lines, your body copy, your delivery time, etc. This is a way to slowly tweak your marketing process and improve it over time.
But I will say this - many financial advisors and insurance agents will read articles about email marketing that recommends split-testing one tiny variable at a time. While this is technically the right thing to do, it’s unlikely that your email list is big enough to give you statistically significant data. After all, testing “10 Facts About Insurance You Didn’t Know” vs. “10 Unique Facts About Insurance You Didn’t Know” probably won’t help much.
When you have a small list, it’s harder to make statistically significant judgements. So you need to make BIG changes. Changes that will give you a distinctive winner and loser. So if you tested “10 Crazy Facts About Insurance Nobody Knows” vs. “10 Shocking Insurance Facts” you could see a big enough difference.
4. Forgetting to set up the “from” line.
Speaking of testing, I have tested various “from lines”. I’ve used “James Pollard”, “The Advisor Coach” and “James Pollard @ The Advisor Coach”.
I’ve found that “The Advisor Coach” works the best for me, but a big insurance email marketing mistake is not setting this up in the first place. When this happens, the person on the receiving end sees something like “email@example.com”.
5. Using tons of images.
Most email service providers will not automatically show images, so when you send an image-laden email, your prospect probably won’t even see it. Where I come from, that’s called “a waste”.
Plus, even when people open an email with lots of images, it registers in their mind as an ad. If they instead see a text-only ad (like the ones I use), it looks like an email from family and friends, which is much better.
6. Buying an email list.
Perhaps the biggest email mistake you can make is to purchase an email list. At least a few times every week I get an email asking where to buy an email list. I always respond with the same thing… “don’t”.
An email list that you build organically is ALWAYS going to perform better than a list you buy. First of all, the bought lists tend to have incomplete data or are out-of-date. Or even worse, you could buy email addresses that were harvested from the web.
Also, other people will be using the list, just like you. They’ll be sending out emails to the same recipients. Chances are that the people on your bought list are already annoyed with the emails they’re getting, so you sending some more isn’t going to help.
Plus, you could run into trouble with your email service provider. If too many of your messages get marked as spam (because you’re sending unsolicited email) your account could be banned.
Take my advice and build your list organically. I currently use OptinMonster to collect email addresses and build my list.
7. Not segmenting your list.
If you’re an insurance agent, you don’t want to send the same email to cold leads, prospects, and customers all at the same time. You are going to talk to a cold lead completely differently than a warm prospect, and your emails should reflect that.
With my own list, if someone demonstrates interest in cold calling (by clicking on cold calling type links or opting-in to a cold calling giveaway), I will send that person more material about cold calling.
If I want to test the waters and send an inbound marketing type link, I’ll do it. If the person engages with the inbound marketing piece, I’ll send more inbound marketing content. If the person doesn’t engage with that link, I won’t send anything else about inbound marketing.
The point is that I’m continuously and automatically segmenting my list based on what they’ve told me they’re interested in. The same idea holds true for financial advisors - if a financial advisor creates an opt-in for teachers and another for doctors, the list should be segmented as such.
8. Using email only for promotion.
Your prospects aren’t naive. They know that you are in the business of selling insurance.
Think of it this way - if you woke up tomorrow and didn’t see a McDonald’s ad on TV every twenty minutes, would you suddenly think McDonald’s went out of business? Of course not!
The same is true with your prospects. If you’ve made it clear to them that you’re an insurance agent, then focus on some other things as you nurture them down your sales funnel.
In my own email marketing, I talk about everything from Christmas morning to genealogy research to birthday parties and more. I let people know that I’m a real person and I engage with them. My emails are designed in such a way to elicit response. If someone writes me an email, I send something back.
Do I promote my own products and services? Sure I do, but not in every single email. If you’re an insurance agent or financial advisor using email marketing to do nothing but promote, promote promote, you’ll end up burning your list.
9. Not knowing if your email marketing is profitable.
Email marketing can be incredibly profitable if you do it right. The good thing is that email is one of the most trackable marketing mediums ever created.
In order to figure out if you’re profitable, take a look at how much you’re spending. This includes the cost of sending emails, as well as the time it takes you to create them.
Figure out how much you’re earning. Take a look at how many prospects are converting into appointments and customers as a result of your emails. A great way to do this is to use an online calendar and sync it with your email list. That way you can instantly see how many people from your email list are setting appointments with you.
10. Never cleaning your list.
It was hard for me to do this for the first time. I had worked so hard to build a massive email list and I didn’t want to see that number go down. Nonetheless, I had to purge my list.
No matter how good of an email marketer you are, there are going to be some people on your list that are just dead weight. These are the people who haven’t opened any of your last fifteen emails. Or perhaps they’ve never opened anything from you at all.
The sad part is that you’re paying for this dead weight to take up space on your list, and if your email software charges you by the subscriber, you can actually save money by getting rid of them.
I will send out one last email to these people - a last ditch effort to get them to read it - and if they don’t open it, I delete them. I would much rather have a small, engaged list than a huge list of people who never open my emails.
How Do I Get Started With Insurance Email Marketing?
Here are the steps you need to take to set up your insurance email marketing campaign.
BONUS: Your Welcome Email
The first email you send a new subscriber is one of the most important you’ll ever send. If you get it right, you’ll be much more likely to convert this lead to a customer.
Your welcome email should come from you, not your company. It should be more personal than formal (“I want to welcome you and say hello”, etc.) and set expectations for the future.
Then you want to ask your new subscriber to “whitelist” your email address to ensure that you always reach his/her inbox. I actually include this request in the footer of all of my emails, just to be safe.
Next, you should ask them to connect with you outside of email. This can be as easy as saying “Take two seconds to connect with me on LinkedIn” or “Check out my newest blog”. The idea here is that you want to get the person to click on a link or engage with your email in some way. Plus, if your subscribers follow you on social media, it increases the chance that they’ll open your emails in the future.
The primary metric determining deliverability (whether or not you end up in “spam”) is engagement. When your subscribers take actions like opening your emails and clicking on links, it makes it less likely that you’ll end up in the spam folder.
BONUS: Click here to get a free PDF with 15 of my favorite financial advisor prospecting ideas.