Using email marketing to improve prospecting for cold insurance leads

With the amount of time it takes to build and maintain relationships with hot prospects and customers, it’s no wonder most insurance agents have little time for cold leads.

Thankfully, with the simplicity and automation of email marketing, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. You can now more effectively nurture and close cold prospects without sacrificing the valuable time needed to run the rest of your insurance practice.

The first step is to determine exactly how your follow-up funnel is currently working. This diagnosis makes it easy to see what you can do to improve efficiency.

How does your follow-up funnel work?

What happens to leads that go cold? Are you dropping them into the same pile of your other cold leads, periodically sending them weak, ineffective communications?

Using email segmentation to better nurture cold leads

It is said that it takes 10 to 12 contacts for someone to associate your name with what you provide. However, sending mass emails to your entire list of unsolicited prospects is likely to cause prospects to associate your name with spam.

Send enough of these mass emails and you’ll get a high rate of unsubscribes and complaints. In addition, you will probably have very few cold prospects who show interest and inquire about your services.

Instead, you’ll drive much better conversions and engagement by segmenting your list of “cold” prospects and tailoring messages based on the specific services they’ve requested.

How to start your email segmentation

While I can’t say much about other types of insurance, I’d like to use a figurative health insurance company called “Bill” as an example.

Bill offers a variety of health-related services to his clients. Instead of following the typical follow-up funnel most insurance agents use, Bill is smart.

He realizes that most people don’t know him or what he’s about. They are much more likely to sign with an agent who has a connection to them (relative, acquaintance, etc.).

Instead of fighting this, Bill will use email marketing to manually establish this “affiliation” with his cold prospects.

Yes, it takes time and an advanced email service to set up. However, Bill understands that the value of his cold prospects is multiplied when he increases his conversion rate, increasing the number of “hot” prospects he has to work with.

In addition, Bill realizes that once his automated email follow-up campaigns are in place, little to no work is required to maintain this process.

For Bill, an agent working in the health insurance industry, his segmentation based on services will include:

  • Medicare Outlook

  • Outlook individual and family plan

  • Additional products

  • Short term services

From this segmentation, he now plans to create separate email follow-up campaigns for each of these types of cold prospects.

While this requires a bit of pre-setting, such email segmentation is likely to:

  1. Make emails more welcoming so they can be sent more often

  2. Get prospects more engaged with the content, deepening the relationship between agent and prospect

  3. Reduce unsubscribes and spam complaints

  4. Increase conversion rates

Follow the 80/20 email engagement rule

Instead of bombarding prospects with sales pitch after sales pitch, he aims to provide 80% valuable content and 20% sales emails.

20% sales emails:

Sales emails contain incentives and special information about low insurance rates, packages and other messages aimed at getting a policy signed. These posts will all be related to the services his cold prospects asked for.

Subtle sales messages can include:

  • The cost of insurance and how having an agent doesn’t cost more

  • Licensing and Certifications and How to Trust You

  • The cost of not going through an agent and the added hassle

See also  Treating bloating in cats

There are many subtle ways to sell your services without directly asking them to take action. By simply analyzing the sales flow from new prospect to customer, you will find plenty of selling points and benefits that can be incorporated into these 20% sales emails.

80% engagement emails

This is where Bill can mount a powerful follow-up campaign that both adds value and lends credibility to his agency.

Engagement content can be:

  • Information about specific insurance policies that the prospect has inquired about

  • Insurance claim horror stories and how you handled them easily

  • General tips and advice

Each of these bullet points above is for each segment that Bill interacts with. For example, for the last bullet, Medicare insurance outlooks would get tips on getting older and Individual & Family Plan insurance outlooks would get tips on family and children’s health.

While engagement-focused emails aren’t common practice among insurance professionals, Bill realizes that sending exclusively sales-focused emails will alienate his already cold list.

Engaging content and useful tips are a crucial way to take his list from cold to hot.

A cold health insurance candidate who isn’t interested in learning about the latest health insurance policies available can be engaged through an article on how to get the most out of your health insurance plan. Because the prospect has consumed an article from the agent, a seed of behavior is planted, making them much more likely to repeat the action.

Planting seeds of familiarity

Sending segmented, tailored content via email is just the beginning. However, good content alone will not increase sales by itself.

Bill, of course, realizes this and knows that he’s not only competing for the prospect’s interest, but also for their trust.

Most people, as mentioned earlier, will choose an insurance agent they know over a stranger. Creating an effective email nurturing campaign that rivals a personal network takes careful planning.

For starters, Bill makes it a point to brand his emails with a unique design and color scheme that potential clients won’t forget.

In addition, he makes sure to always include his contact information in every email communication with a quick two-sentence text ad that reminds potential clients of the services he offers.

This text ad is not the typical call-to-action that most insurance agents use in their signature. Instead, it adheres to two proven direct response principles:

1. It’s targeted

While a generic, all-encompassing tagline lets prospects know you offer a variety of services, it dramatically weakens your message.

Rules like “Bill Insurance Agency Can Quote Your Commercial & Business, Auto, Home, Life & Health Insurance Today” do little for potential clients who are only interested in one service.

Based on the segment Bill emails, he adjusts his ad copy to highlight the top targeted benefits that are likely to lead to action. From the example above, this means that Bill would have four separate email templates with four separate calls to action in the ad text.

2. It has a unique selling proposition

Bill realizes that insurance agents are a dime a dozen. To compete effectively, he makes sure to include his unique sales proposition in every email. His USP is reflected not only in his byline and signature, but also throughout the message.

Each email follow-up essentially becomes a branding vehicle for its USP.

This ensures that anyone who reads their email easily sets them apart from the rest – not just by what they say, but also by the value their emails provide.