In my last post, I may have left you with the impression that I think email insurance newsletters are never useful. That’s not true. I did point out that many agents have switched from print to email delivery of their client newsletters from a desire to automate everything. And there does seem to be an overriding faith these days that technology is just better in every way; so, like sunscreen or duct tape, you should just apply it everywhere.
But I wouldn’t say, though, that email is never a good way to communicate information, particularly in the form of a newsletter. In fact, I would say quite the opposite in many situations. It’s just that an email newsletter is a different kind of communication than a print newsletter.
Email newsletters are a lot like social media. They help build relationships within the communities that subscribe to them. When you post on Facebook, you are nurturing your relationship with those people who find and follow you there. The nature of the medium, where users can respond with a comment or a like, is immediate and much more intimate than anything print affords.
If you have those kinds of relationships with your email newsletter followers — the people who faithfully open and read your email newsletters — that is a very good thing and nothing to scoff at. The trouble is that this is more the exception that the rule, since only 25-35% of email recipients will open and read your newsletter, and probably even fewer will do it regularly.
A print newsletter differs from an email newsletter because its main purpose is to advertise. People don’t need to open your newsletter and click. They just see it there. It’s like the difference between push and pull marketing. Pull marketing engages, gets people to seek you out because they see your 800 number, they hear about you from others or read about you. Push marketing puts the product on the supermarket shelves or knocks on the door with a sample — or sends something in the mail, like a newsletter, that forces you to see it.
It used to bother me when checks came in from our subscribers and the check stub would show the company’s expense allocation listed as “advertising.” Well, I’d think, these newsletters are a service, they keep customers informed; they’re a customer service tool. But really, they are primarily advertising. They keep your name out in front, so that people see your name and think of you on a regular basis. They keep you “top-of-mind.”
This is why many agents use both email and print newsletters. They each do the work of building your business, but in different ways.