The average American receives more than 100 emails a day, according to Radicati Group, with an average open rate of 23% and click-through rate of just 3.2%, according to Epsilon. For brokers, who need to sell to succeed, this can make it a tough medium for sales. But it doesn’t have to be.

During the digital Insurance Agent Summit last week, Jeremiah Desmarais of the Denver-based Agency Growth Academy said that by using better subject lines and automating follow-ups brokers can change those numbers to their favor.

When Desmarais started as a broker he recalls having zero experience and zero marketing knowledge while working for a small firm in Chicago with no marketing budget. All he had was email because it was cheap, as well as ineffective fax blasts.

Bloomberg/file photo

He learned what works and what does not work in trial by error. “I’ve made so many mistakes and [spent] billions … of dollars executing on ideas that didn’t work,” he said. “We tried stuff and as it started to go, I realized some strategies that worked well and others didn’t.”

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For example, he has found that emails with graphics do not convert but those without graphics convert much better. By doing that, he produced 250,000 new leads monthly, he said.

Subject line
One of the main keys to an email is the subject line, or headline to an email, Desmarais said. “It needs to resonate with you; a headline is an ad for a story, think of subject lines the same way.”

“If you don’t have a good subject line, [the email] won’t get opened and if it doesn’t get opened, you can’t get across your marketing message,” Randy Schwantz, CEO of The Wedge Group, a Dallas-based brokerage consultancy, said in a follow-up call.

Agents should be creative in their email marketing, Desmarais added, which will achieve the hardest task of getting the emails opened. To do this, he suggested using the person’s first name in the subject line or using numerals.

Numerals work, he said, because when someone scans text the brain is programming to look for value. Such subject lines with numerals, would include “17% savings over another [benefits] policy.”

Follow-up
Since so many sales happen after the first meeting, it is important to automate, Desmarais said. “Businesses that use automation outperform their peers by 42%,” he said. “If you are looking to get a competitive edge, we all should be automating.”

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For email, the best way to automate is to use different email plugins, such as FollowUp.cc. This plugin will set automatic reminders to follow-up and email the broker to follow-up with a prospect.

Another thing FollowUp.cc does is, for example, if when talking to prospect who asks the broker to follow-up with them in four months, the broker can write that email now and set it to send in four months.

But, Schwantz reminds agents that email is just one part of multi-channel marketing, and allows agents to stay in front of prospects of them when they want to buy. “You are positioning,” he said.

Further, if the right system is in place, agents can create behavior scores that show when a prospect opened an email, watched a video, read an e-book, etc. “You can tell who is engaged, turning the anonymous into the known,” Schwantz said. “E-mail and a digital presence enable you to do that.”

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