12 Ways to Increase Retention and Renewals with the Smarts Newsletter Success Strategy
You just can’t find a more powerful and versatile marketing tactic than newsletters. But as with any tactic, you must have a strategy to go with it.
Why Insurance Newsletters Are Like Toothpaste
Take a look at the statement from the American Dental Association on a package of Crest toothpaste. Pay particular attention to the part in italics.
Crest toothpaste has been shown to be an effective decay preventative dentifrice that can be of significant value when used as directed in a conscientiously applied program of oral hygiene and preventative care.
The part in italics tells you Crest is pretty good stuff, but only when it’s used as part of a sound strategy. Toothpaste is just a tactic and however good that tactic is, it’s the overall strategy that delivers the results.
You can say the same thing about insurance newsletters. Just sending them out without a sound strategy would be careless. Sun Tzu in “The Art of War” said the same thing in more vivid language almost 1500 years ago:
“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
That’s why we sell our insurance newsletters with a strategy — and a guarantee that if you follow our strategy you risk nothing because if you don’t make all the money you paid for your newsletter back plus a profit, we will REFUND every cent you paid us.
After many years of working with all kinds and sizes of independent agents, with different product lines and target markets, we’ve learned not only what keeps insurance agencies top of mind, but what helps them build their business. If you follow these twelve steps you will achieve amazing success with your newsletter strategy. We guarantee it.
12 Ways to Increase Retention and Renewals
- Publish well-written, reader-friendly content Many of the top insurance writers in the country write our newsletters. Our managing editor has been an insurance journalist for over twenty-five years. Our newsletters have been endorsed by many different agent associations, including the National Association of Health Underwriters. Read some of the many testimonials we’ve received about our content on our website.
- Style it as uniquely your own
Set up your masthead with your logo, contact information and photos. Match the color of your newsletter to your main corporate color. Give your newsletter a unique name.
- Include Custom articles
If you’re hiring us to create a newsletter for you, why do you need custom articles? Well, even though the purpose of your newsletter is primarily to educate readers about insurance, you also want them to learn about your agency, your people, your products and how you contribute to the community. This strengthens your relationships — and helps you get referrals. Suggested topics for your custom articles:
- Tell readers about yourself and others in your agency — your specialties, your accomplishments, even your failures and how you overcame them. Help people relate to you on a personal level.
- Present “thought leadership” positions by agency principals on insurance issues. You could discuss consumer-oriented changes you are working to advance as a committee member of one of the associations you belong to. You could also offer “thought leadership” on non-insurance related community actions you are involved with. This material could also be re-purposed as news releases.
- Write about community events that the agency and its members support and participate in.
- Feature clients and their businesses. This is a great way to get pass along publicity, so think about getting extra copies for the business you’re showcasing.
We can make this all easy for you. If you don’t want to provide us with text, we can interview you and write the story for you.
- Use PRINT newsletters
If you’re serious about increased retention and getting more referrals, PRINT newsletters are without question your best option. We offer email newsletters but we suggest you supplement your PRINT newsletter with email, not vice versa.
The Myth of Email ROI
Email newsletters cost less than print but in most instances they significantly under-perform print in impact and return on investment — despite what email service providers like to tell you. If you send emails to several million consumers and get 0.001 per cent conversion, that is a good ROI that would cost far more with print mail. But that is not the kind of business that insurance agents are usually targeting. Apples and oranges.
Even after emails have cleared all the spam filters, the best open rates for email are typically only 25-30%. This means at least two thirds of your mailing list will never see your email newsletter. Even if they do, studies show that when email letters are opened, readers spend only 15 to 20 seconds reading them.
Compare that with PRINT newsletters where the open rate is virtually 100%.With mail boxes a lot less cluttered these days, your PRINT newsletter stands out and gets noticed. PRINT has durability. People engage longer with PRINT and they hang on to PRINT newsletters to read later and pass along — plus you can hand them out, put them in presentations and display them in your waiting room.
Would you send your mother an email birthday card?
Some of our customers send PRINT newsletters to most of their contacts and send email newsletters to opt-ins and low priority contacts. Most of our clients who use email and PRINT send both to reinforce their message.
- Use email newsletters, too
Some people do prefer email. That doesn’t mean your email newsletter is going to have the same impact as a PRINT version, but you have to respect their wishes. Plus you want to get as much visibility as you can even if only a fraction of your readers open your email newsletter. One advantage to email is that it is trackable. Analytics will tell you who opens your newsletter and the articles they read, which can be very useful for understanding the needs of particular prospects.
- Publish monthly
You know the expression, out of sight out of mind. Two- or three-month intervals are a long time if you want to stay top of mind. Studies show your retention and referral percentages will substantially improve with a monthly newsletter.
- Extend your distribution. If you are exchanging referral business with accountants, attorneys, real estate agents, doctors and other businesses around town, make your newsletter available to their walk in traffic. Also ask them to periodically send one of your newsletters to their lists, at your expense of course, including a note from them suggesting why their contacts might want to consider doing business with you. You would reciprocate the favor.
- Use your website to build your mailing list
Ultimately, there are only two reasons to have a website: to make a sale now or to make a sale in the future. Most people don’t visit insurance agency websites to make a purchase now but they might be willing to do business with you in the future. So offer them something valuable in exchange for their contact information. Like updates on how changes in health care laws will impact their business or how they can save money on commercial or personal insurance or how to protect themselves from cyber liability and other kinds of new threats to business. These are all topics covered regularly in your newsletters.
- Ask for referrals and testimonials.
Your newsletter will get you “passive, reactive and accidental” referrals from readers. To learn more about how to increase these referrals and testimonials, read our free report:
- Post articles to social media
You want as much visibility as you can get. So we give you a word file of every edition of your newsletter, that you can use to post articles from on Facebook and other social sites. For an additional monthly fee of $29 you can also get access to our archive of back issues containing thousands of insurance articles. You get access to post the text and images.
- Post to your website
We can set up an automatic website feed of your newsletter. The cost is $29 per month.
- Include inserts
Take advantage of your monthly distribution opportunity. Include a “free standing insert” with information about special products, seminar announcements or anything else. You should also include a reply card, as a reminder to readers that you want them to contact you. The reply card published with each issue has check boxes next to the article titles that readers can select for more information.
IF, AFTER IMPLEMENTING THE SMARTS NEWSLETTER SUCCESS STRATEGY FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS, YOU DO NOT SEE A MEASUREABLE INCREASE IN YOUR RETENTION AND RENEWALS, WE WILL REFUND YOUR MONEY 100%.
If you’re an insurance producer who sincerely believes that to succeed you should try to serve your clients first, you’ll appreciate our newsletters and our philosophy. We believe that the only way for insurance agents to escape the mediocrity of being a commodity provider is to focus on adding value and developing strong client relationships. We take pride in how our newsletters play an important role in this process. We prefer to work with agents who believe this, too.
If you have questions or would like to discuss your marketing goals, please contact our president, Jim Whitaker. Jim has spent many years as an insurance marketer and publisher and is available to answer your questions and help you evaluate whether the Smarts Insurance Newsletter Success Strategy will work for your agency. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-762-7879.
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