Email Marketing Best Practices

Email Marketing Best Practices

Email marketing, also known as permission-based marketing, offers a cost-effective method of communication that is convenient for your current and prospective clients. It is extremely effective at building credibility and trust. There are several aspects to ensuring that you have appropriate emails.

From Field and Subject Line
The first part is to clearly display who is sending the email and what the email is about. The from field should have an agency email and the name of your agency. Do not use your name, since that can be confusing for recipients. The subject line should be compelling, with a short subject line. It should draw the recipient in and provide a sense of urgency.

Action Step: Develop your email and use your agency name. When writing subject lines, have another member of your staff review them to ensure they meet the criteria.

Body Copy
The next section is the body copy. Keep the information brief and relevant, with the main message above the fold (visible without having to scroll down). Remember to keep the message short: no more than three paragraphs before a call to action or bullet list. The email should be limited to approximately 500 words. The content should be interesting to the reader and have a plausible connection to insurance and protection.

Action Step: Once you have written an email, have several key members of your staff review the copy. At least three people should review the messaging. Work with each person to finalize the copy and ensure that it is appropriate and effective.

Call to Action
This is the critical part of the email message. A call to action will encourage the recipient to act, whether that means contacting your agency for a quote or to review their policy. The call to action should include contact information that is easy to locate. Keep in mind that most readers will only scan an email, so repeat the call to action three times throughout the email.

The call to action is critical, but it can be worded in several different ways. Partner with other staff to develop a consistent final call to action, which should be used at the end of the email (i.e. “At XYZ Agency, we are here for you. Contact us today.”) Other calls to action can be more subtle and included in the main paragraphs (i.e. “Our agents know the challenges of home ownership. We will help you find the most cost-effective solutions.”)

Action Step: Partner with other members of your agency to develop the final call to action. This will be used in each email message going forward.

Things to Include
Here are some things that should be included in each email, regardless of the message:

• Links to social media
• Link to agency website, both homepage and LOB page if subject is relevant
• Unsubscribe information and continued opt-in option
• Agency office address

Action Step: Develop your Facebook and Twitter accounts, if you do not have those already. Contact
Project CAP to learn more about what we can do to help.

Phrases to Avoid
It is important to remember your contact information and social media links in each email. It is also
important to avoid certain phrases that sound like spam. Phrases such as “Act now!” or “You’ve been
selected” may encourage the recipient to delete the email, rather than read it. Be cautious of
punctuation as well: overuse of exclamation points or dollar signs (!!! or $$$) will look unprofessional
and spam-like.

Action Step: Develop a list of phrases that sound like spam. Make sure to review this list before you
finalize any email message. This will help you ensure that your message is clean, professional and not
mistaken for junk mail.

Sending the Email
It is important to maintain consistent, regular emails to your clients. Typically, once or twice a month is
fine, but consider the type of message you are sending. That will help guide the frequency.

It is also important to consider who will receive the email. Business recipients are more likely to go
through their emails between 9:30 am and 3:00 pm, from Tuesday through Thursday. Consumers with
personal lines of insurance are more likely to review their emails in the evening, typically between 5 pm
and 8 pm on weekends.

Action Step: Develop a calendar for sending out emails for business clients and personal clients. The
calendar will help you stay on top of your messaging and maintain consistency.

Tracking Email Results
It is important that you gauge how successful your email campaign is on a regular basis. There are
several things to review when you consider email results:

• Bounce rate (validate the email address) – on average around 10%
• Open rate (how many were opened/read)
• Conversion rate (how many actions taken)
• Click-through rates (track the number of clicks on links inside email message)

Action Step: Determine the results you want from your email messages. Be reasonable but optimistic.
Review the results after each email campaign to find which messages are most effective.

Basics of Email Marketing
When you begin your email marketing program, there are several things you will need to keep in mind. These range from style to spam filters to content:

• Reinforce the brand of the agency website (design elements, tone)
• Sleek and simple design with F pattern navigation
• Encourage users to add your agency to their address book
• Keep email list current (marketing efforts are only as good as your list)
• Maintain proper opt-in procedures
• Less content delivered more frequently produces better results according to Which Test Won
• Integrate email marketing with social media

Action Step: Review your email lists on a regular basis: if you are getting non-deliverable messages from certain email addresses, make sure to remove those addresses from your list. Update your list by asking new current and prospective clients if they would like to receive email messages from you.

Spam Regulations
It is important to abide by spam laws, particularly the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The fundamentals of the law require that you identify each email as a commercial advertisement and allow for recipients to opt out. There are several components to keep in mind:

• The message must not have misleading information in the header or subject lines
• Commercial emails must display a notice that the email is an advertising message, with a prominent notice that allows the recipient to decline further emails from you
• If a recipient opts out, they must be removed from the email list within 10 business days
• The message must come from a functioning email address and include a physical postal address of the company

Action Step: Be thorough in following the spam regulations. Regularly review your messages and ensure that you offer opt-out functions. If you receive a request from a recipient to opt out, remove them from your list as soon as possible.

Prepare for 2013
Mobile optimization is fast becoming vital to email campaigns. Nearly 40 percent of emails were opened on mobile devices in the first half of 2012. This is expected to continue to grow, as more people rely on smart phones and tablets for daily use.

Regardless of how people read their emails, relevant content is vital. Use dynamic, engaging content to maintain a strong level of communication with your recipients. Track the frequency to determine your most active subscribers.

Action Step: Prepare for mobile optimization by working with Project CAP on developing a mobile-friendly email. Work with your staff to develop a list of relevant, interesting information.

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