Online Lead Strategy for the Insurance Industry

March 6th, 2012 by Marla Chupack

Run a Google search on “insurance sales leads,” and you will find endless lists to buy or rent. However, list acquisition is never the best way to procure viable and pre-qualified leads for sales. Those lists are often saturated, always pricey and usually contain dead, abandoned or non-existent addresses as well as unsuspecting recipients. All these factors along with the CAN-SPAM requirements and spamtraps can result in poor deliverability and possible legal issues for your company.

Email marketing, like insurance sales, is based on relationships and trust. It works best when tied to a lifecycle marketing program. Used correctly, online marketing channels, especially social media, provide a tailor-made lead generation engine for the insurance industry. Through selecting the right online avenues you can initiate new relationships, nurture those relationships, build trust and grow relationships into pre-qualified leads for your sales team.

Online Optin Flow

Just follow five easy steps to a lead strategy program that produces pre-qualified leads for your agency sales force and builds long lasting marketing relationships for you along the way.

Step 1: Demographics. Select online avenues that contain demographics matching insurance product targets. Here’s a recommended list of channels with links to demographic breakdown.

You can also use Google AdWords to target your audience.

Step 2: Incentive. Create an online/offline incentive that matches your target demographic. Here are incentives that work well in the insurance industry for download or subscriptions:

  • Life Event Email Subscriptions
  • White Papers
  • Webinars/Podcasts
  • Conferences
  • Planning Kits (such as Estate or Financial planning)
  • Online Calculators

3. Opt-In Forms: Design the opt-in form so it only captures the main information necessary to pre-qualify the lead and segment it for future marketing efforts. Keep the questions to a minimum, more than five questions can result in uncompleted forms and page drop offs. It’s best if the form is connected to your email campaign sending account so that the data captured automatically downloads into specific channel lists in your email campaign management tool.

You’ll want to collect information that includes at the very least; email, first name, last name and zip code. Your marketing objectives, product portfolio, sales life cycle and other factors will determine additional questions you may want to add for best segmentation and marketing customization.  Here are industry examples of opt-in offer banners, pages and forms.

4. Online Implementation. Start with a just a couple of online channels first to test your method. As you gain traction with one channel start testing a new channel. When communicating your offer include:

  • Call to action
  • Offer benefit
  • Expiration date (if you are on a lead timeline)
  • Copy that matches target demographics
  • Offer style that matches channel style
  • Social Channel Sharing Options

Take a look at how some insurance entities are using Social Media channels to form new relationships and garner leads.

5. Welcome Email: Create a branded “Welcome Email” for your social media email campaigns. This is the starting point of your relationships and the first step in nurturing your leads. Creating the right relationship will payoff in a happy sales department, possible referrals and most importantly new sales. Based on the information you collected on your opt-in form you can now precisely target your audience, customize the email per recipient and segment your messages.  Welcome Email customization results in higher open and click-through rates. To encourage trust and engage your audience with your Welcome Email:

  • Personalize: Customize email, include first name.
  • Gratitude: Thank opt-in for their interest.
  • Social channel: Reference social channel and offer/incentive and adding other company social channel links.
  • Benefit: Include the benefit of the action and ongoing benefits.
  • Cross-reference: Offer other company resources of interest based on what incentive was selected and/or demographics.
  • Privacy: State your privacy policy.
  • Subscription: Advise opt-in how to unsubscribe.
  • Referral: Add Social Sharing options to what was downloaded so that the recipient share with their network. This will extend your reach.

Follow the five steps mentioned and you will never think about buying lists again because you will be generating a much better class of leads on an ongoing basis with this pre-qualified list building strategy.

Learn more
Download or view Mass Transmit’s webinar for Insurance Professionals on “Using Email Marketing To Do More With Less.

  • Steven Gan

    Thanks for sharing your article which I found to be a nicely organized approach to obtaining leads. I think the road map you outlined is pertinent to not only the insurance industry, but any industry in which one is trying to obtain connections with individuals who might be interested in using their services.

    I presently have about 3,200 connections on LinkedIn and a newsletter that goes out to 55,000 email recipients every two months. I say the latter stats because I have a lot of potential leads and contacts who could be interested in my services, but the challenge is trying to nurture those contacts to become a real potential prospect.

    Over the past two years, I have tried different approaches to understanding the process of taking a lead from just a name to someone who actually might buy my services. Based upon my experience, the more I am able to engage someone in a non-buy-my-services discussion over the long term, the better I am able to forge a relationship, and then eventually make a pitch to see if my services can be of use.

    Specifically, I have a discussion group on LinkedIn with about 1,500 members and there are many lively topics. I have found that through the exchange of ideas and opinions I have forged some nice relationships, and a few have turned into actual business for me. I believe that most people are at least open to hearing my pitch if they know and understand a little about me. However, reaching that point does take time, sometimes a few weeks and other times several months. Whatever on-line approaches someone endeavors to use to obtain contacts and leads, I think they should be prepared to understand that it will still take time.

    Thanks again for sharing your article.

    Steve Gan

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