Email marketing can be a very effective channel to help grow your insurance business by building your list of prospects and converting leads into customers. But, just like anything, finding success at email marketing can take time, effort, and a good dose of trial-and-error.
Sometimes, finding email success is less about what you do, and more about what you don’t do.
Here are 7 of the biggest email marketing mistakes to avoid, whether you’re sending your first email or your 100th.
1. Buying a Database
There are many ways to build an email list, but only one to avoid:
Purchasing an email list.
Email marketing is most effective when you’re reaching out to people who know who you are and know what to expect from you.
Emailing a purchased list is like picking up the phone and cold-calling from a phonebook or going door-to-door to drop off flyers in a neighborhood. It’s intrusive, unwelcome, and ineffective.
Here are some ways to build an email list, even if you’re starting from scratch:
- Put your website to work: include a “subscribe to our newsletter” CTA on every page or post.
- Pitch your newsletter on social media and provide easy links to sign up.
- Offer something of value in exchange for emails, like a downloadable guide or ebook.
- Run a contest and give away something cool.
- Ask existing clients and known leads if you can add them to your list.
- Ask friends and family if you can add them to your list (trust us, your mom and sister will definitely say ‘yes’).
- Ask these friends to refer one friend, and so on.
Now that you’ve got a growing list, it’s time to start thinking about your email marketing strategy. And you’ll want to avoid this next mistake:
2. Emailing Without a Plan
A documented marketing strategy is your roadmap to success, no matter what tactics you use to get you there. Be it email marketing, social media marketing, or content marketing… a concrete plan is crucial.
A documented marketing strategy requires you to identify the following:
- Your specific goals and objectives.
- Your ideal audience.
- What problems you can solve for that audience.
- Your clearly defined value proposition.
It’s not enough to answer these questions in your mind. Put pen to paper. Or, better yet, record your strategy in a Google Drive document.
46% of marketing executives interviewed cited the lack of an effective strategy as the biggest obstacle to achieving their marketing goals. Don’t make a mistake and waste your time firing off emails without having a solid plan in mind.
3. Irrelevant Content
The most effective email marketing strikes a single note: it’s relevant to the end user.
Think of the newsletters you subscribe to and regularly read yourself.
- Are they professional newsletters that help you grow and operate your insurance business?
- Are they recreational, bringing you news and tips that help you better explore your favorite hobbies and activities?
- Are they special offers from the stores and brands you love?
Chances are, if you receive an email that doesn’t apply to your professional goals, personal passions, or come from brands you trust, you don’t open them.
This is why it’s so important to take the time to create a solid email marketing strategy that defines who your audience is and what’s important to them.
If you’re not sending relevant emails, all of your hard work is destined to remain unopened.
4. Unprofessional Designs
Your emails are a reflection of you and your brand - every time you deliver an email, you’re sending a version of yourself to someone’s inbox.
Are your emails a professional representation of you?
Make sure your emails are professional in design and content.
- Double-check content for spelling and grammar issues.
- Use high-resolution graphics.
- Don’t use profanity and slang.
- Send a test version of each email to yourself and, ideally, one other person before delivering to your list. (A second set of eyes can be better at catching errors.)
You may be an excellent insurance agent. But are you an experienced graphic designer, too? You don’t have to be both.
Hire a graphic designer to help you create a professional looking email template in your email marketing service account. Then you can continue to use that template every time you deliver an email to reinforce your brand. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you send an email - it’s better to stick with one professionally designed template.
5. Boring Subject Lines
People’s email boxes are flooded.
Not only do you have to compete with business emails, personal correspondence, party invites, and school notices…. you’re competing for attention with other business’ newsletters, marketing emails, and special offers, too.
Your subject line is your one-chance to capture the attention of the people receiving your emails. Does it stand out in the inbox?
Nearly 50 percent of consumers say the subject line is what compels them to open an email; the rest are more likely to open emails from people they trust, regardless of the subject line.
There is no such thing as the “perfect” email subject line.
You’ll want to test different subject lines and look to your open rates to find out what your audience responds to. But if you want some inspiration, check out this list from Hubspot to get you started: 21 of the Best Email Subject Lines We’ve Ever Seen.
6. Unscheduled Deliveries
Let’s face it - you probably spend a good portion of your day meeting with clients and running your business.
If your only time to work on your emails is 5am or 7pm or Sunday at 4 in the afternoon, you’ll want to schedule them to deliver at a more opportune time.
Here’s where email marketing services can come to your rescue, again.
Schedule your emails to deliver at a time when they’re most likely to be read. If most of your clients are professionals who sit at their desks from 8a - 5p, don’t send emails after they’ve left the office for the night.
Experiment and test your audience to see what days and times result in better open rates for your emails. You may want to split your audience and deliver one batch on a Tuesday at 9am, while the other receives an email Wednesday at 1pm.
Over time, you’ll hone in on the best days and times for YOUR audience.
7. Ignoring Analytics
The details are in the data. When it comes to email marketing, analytics can be your best friend.
Email analytics can help you answer questions such as:
- What subject lines get the best open rates?
- What types of links get the highest click-thru rates?
- When is the best day and time to deliver your emails?
- What special offers, contests, or downloads is your audience most receptive to?
- What’s your bounce rate or unsubscribe rate?
Keep a careful eye on the data and you’ll find the information you need to fine tune your email marketing into highly-anticipated newsletters that your audience loves to receive.