Insurance Agency rule Generation – Direct Mail Marketing, Telesales, Prospect Lists and eMarketing
Insurance agency rule generation is a dominant goal for any agent. New leads are indeed the lifeblood of the business – no agency can survive for long simply on residual revenue from existing clients. At this level of importance, then, rule generation deserves a thorough examination to determine the most effective method to clarify, contact, develop, and close new business.
Direct mail marketing, and its descendant, fax marketing, have been have been rule generation staples for quite some time. chiefly used in the B2C space, this kind of insurance marketing typically performs poorly in B2B rule generation. After all, C-Level executives have numerous assistants and gatekeepers to ensure that “junk” mail never reaches their respective desks. A mass mailing to these decision makers is almost guaranteed to fail. That said, highly targeted direct mail marketing can have a place in a more comprehensive agency rule generation program. The best approach to direct mail insurance marketing is to carefully target a small, handpicked group of executives and send them something of high quality and importance – a book or package, for example, sent via FedEx instead of parcel post. This should be sent, and followed up on, using the “level matching” technique – if you’re trying to target the CFO, have a senior level agency executive make the follow up call.
Prospect lists are a meaningful part of many rule generation and marketing campaigns. There are numerous supplies from which a one-time list can be purchased. There are also subscription sets which charge a monthly or yearly fee for access to their databases. The meaningful here is to do your research thoroughly. You need to know exactly what data fields the list provider offers, how often the data is validated, how frequently it is refreshed, what criteria you can use when searching, and what percentage of the data can be expected to be accurate (we find that 80% accuracy is a good mark to shoot for – below that is unacceptable, above is excellent). List provider sets vary widely in all of these areas, so do your homework before making a buy – poor quality data is truly worse than useless, it will consequence in wasted time and consequently money.
Once you’ve sourced a quality prospecting list, the next step is putting it to use. Telesales is one traditional area that many agencies can nevertheless utilize, assuming they know how to execute an effective campaign. There are basically two approaches to telesales, the shotgun and the sniper, and both can provide quality results. A good example of the shotgun approach would be a general agency that provides P&C and benefits to basically any business. A prospecting list is procured containing all industries that meet a certain size and location criteria, and the calls begin. This approach is a numbers game: a certain number of calls provide a certain number of follow up opportunities, which provide a certain number of meetings, which provide a certain number of closes. Using the shotgun approach, success percentage is typically low, but overall numbers can end up being high since this approach is basically a “numbers game”. The sniper approach is the opposite: The prospect list is small and carefully chosen for very specific similarities. Calls are made by very senior people directly to decision makers, with a pitch individually tailored to the person who will receive the call. This approach will typically provide a higher percentage success rate, but lower total numbers. Either approach can be successful; the meaningful thing to remember is that whichever approach you choose, you must commit to it fully and focus on the long term ROI. It’s not uncommon for a telesales campaign to take many months to start paying dividends, but this can average multiple years of insurance commissions from the sale.
Another well established area where a quality prospecting list can be used effectively is eMarketing. As with telesales, data quality is basic. Erroneous emails not only waste time and effort, but can rule to complaints and CAN-SPAM Act violations, a serious issue for any insurance agency or broker. In fact, the very existence of the CAN-SPAM Act combined with a general without of internal skill leads many agencies to outsource this particular rule generation activity. Whether you choose to outsource your eMarketing or do it in-house, there are two basic approaches to email marketing, similar to the shotgun and sniper approach to telesales. You can choose a very large, general list, and send thousands of emails or you can carefully hand select a small list, and design a very specific email tailored to that particular audience. Either approach can provide positive results; the meaningful lies in crafting a powerful subject line, an effective message, and a clear call to action. The target audience must also perceive value from your email; examples might be an invitation to an educational webinar, an email-only coupon, or notification of a special event. Emailing must also be done at the proper intervals – you don’t want to alienate your audience by bombarding them with nonstop emails, nor do you want them to go a year without hearing from you. Good timing is crucial to successful eMarketing.
All of these approaches to rule generation can provide powerful results if utilized properly; however if used incorrectly, they can rule to market alienation, complaints, and already No-Call or CAN-SPAM violations. Before embarking on any insurance agency direct mail marketing, telesales, or eMarketing campaign, ask yourself these four important questions:
- Does my business have the resources and skill in-house to effectively run this rule generation campaign?
- If the in-house resources exist, do they have adequate time to commit to running my rule generation campaign?
- If the in-house resources are inadequate, is my business willing to partner with a quality outsource rule generation and marketing organization?
- Can my business fully commit both the time and financial resources necessary for a long-term, effective rule generation and marketing campaign?
Insurance rule generation should be an current and evolving part of any effective marketing and growth strategy. Direct mail marketing, telesales, and eMarketing can and should be considered as aspects of a comprehensive, integrated approach to long term growth.