Using an Email Service Provider (ESP)
Over the last few years, social platforms have risen in importance as a way for an insurance agency to build an ongoing relationship with their prospects and clients. Email marketing continues to be a vital tool that every agency should utilize.
Email is — by far — the most common way to have a conversation with someone else. Every social platform requires an email address to sign up. Yes, people are buried in emails today. And, yes, email spam is an ongoing problem. However, even with these issues, individuals continue to respond to email. Using email communication is a way to build ongoing relationships, perhaps better than any social platform available today.
Your insurance agency should focus a part of your marketing efforts on growing an email newsletter list.
Advantages of Email Marketing
- Email’s quick delivery reduces delays in communication, allowing the agency to run more smoothly.
- An exact return on investment can be tracked (“track to inbox”) and has proven to be high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic.
- Email marketing is significantly cheaper and faster than traditional mail.
- Your agency can consistently reach email subscribers who have opted-in (i.e., consented) to receive email communications on topics of interest to them.
- Almost half of American Internet users check or send an email on a typical day.
If you want to get the most out of using email as a marketing tool, you’ll need to use an ESP or Email Service Provider.
There are a number of email service providers available to help you properly and legally manage your email lists. Some of the more common or popular include:
Why Use an ESP?
Here are a few of the benefits your agency can expect when using an ESP to manage your email lists:
It’s All About Delivery: Your email could have great content, but that won’t matter if the email never reaches the recipient. Emails sent through an ESP are much more likely to arrive at the person’s inbox because ESPs are considered “trusted.” This does not mean, however, that some of your emails will not end up in spam folders.
Professional Templates: You want your emails to reflect your agency brand. ESPs offer predesigned templates that you can customize for your emails. Templates allow you to deliver consistent information and improve the efficiency of creating multiple email notifications for similar actions.
Automatic Sign-Ups and Unsubscribes: Opt-in is a term used when your prospect or client gives you permission to add them to your email newsletter list. If you don’t obtain permission before sending an email, the email is unsolicited bulk email, better known as spam.
A double opt-in process first requires the individual subscribing to your newsletter to fill out a form and click a button to be added to the list, and then they need to confirm their request — hence the double opt-in. The second opt-in is an email that is sent to the person asking them to verify that they wanted to be added to the list by clicking on the link in the email.
Note: For all of my email newsletters I strictly adhere to this double opt-in process. No one can be added to this email newsletter list without confirming his or her request.
The double opt-in process is the best way to make sure that someone requesting your information cannot come back to you at a later time and say you are spamming them. The ESP will manage this process for you by using an autoresponder.
Autoresponders: Autoresponders allow you to create a series of emails in advance and schedule them to be sent out at the date and time of your choosing. For example, you can automatically send a welcome email after a new subscriber signs up.
Unsubscribe Management: You should provide your newsletter recipients with an easy way to unsubscribe from the newsletter. The last thing you want to do is send an email to someone who doesn’t want it anymore.
Reporting: Being able to track how many people receive your emails, open them, and click links within them will help you know what works and what doesn’t. This information will help you improve the number of people who read your emails and, ultimately, boost your sales.
An email newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with your prospects and clients. A normal email client like Outlook just doesn’t have the features you need to manage this communication process effectively.
Using an email service provider will help you manage your email communications, so you can make sure people are receiving the right message at the right time from your agency. What ESP do you use? How do you use it? Let me know in the comments below.