Insurance Agency Email Marketing And Multivariate Testing

Insurance agency email marketing can and should be one of the most powerful lead generation tools in an agency marketer’s tool box. And when it comes to insurance agency email marketing, multivariate testing offers a highly advantageous methodology to improve results, providing greater insights into email campaign optimization and conversion efficiency. A/B split testing offers a simplistic way understand multivariate testing. Split testing is an empirical approach used to determine optimum conversion rates (click-through rates for example) for an insurance website, landing page, banner ad or email campaign. This article will focus on multivariate testing for email marketing campaigns.

Let’s say that an insurance marketer creates two versions of an email campaign (we’ll call them email version A and B). The agency marketer wants to determine which of these versions has the more effective subject line. The split test works best if the emails are identical except for one modification, which in this case is the subject line. Agency and broker email marketing campaign variations can be can be dramatic or subtle. Each subject line can be completely different, or a one word change can be measured. Agencies can then measure the campaign fundamentals, differentiating including open rate and click-through rate to determine which insurance agency email marketing campaign was more effective.

For example, if campaign A yielded an open rate of 20% with 10 clicks, and campaign B yielded an open rate of 25% with 14 clicks, then the balance of the emails should use campaign B. What balance you may ask? Multivariate testing can use a small portion of your email marketing contact list. If the agency marketer used 10% for the A/B test mentioned above, the balance, or in this case the remaining 90%, can then be used to send the superior email, email version B. Superior is often determined by click through rate, but can also include criteria such as webinar registrations, newsletter signups, website traffic generation, etc.

Multivariate testing is similar to A/B testing, but can be used to test multiple insurance agency email marketing iterations at the same time. A simple way of thinking about this is an A/B/C/D split test, with each email using a different subject line. If the click through results of version D are twice as good as the other emails, then the balance of the email can be sent using insurance agency email version D. Agency marketers can opt for statistically significant test sampling, or they can ballpark their test emails, ensuring they have sufficient outbound test volume to yield credible results.

Multivariate split testing allows agencies to optimize their insurance email marketing campaigns to ensure optimum effectiveness, from subject lines to calls to action, to content density. Multivariate testing allows insurance marketers to continually measure and refine, and improve their insurance agency email marketing initiatives, to generate more insurance leads.

Insurance Agency Web Marketing and the Emarketing Split Test

When it comes to Insurance Agency Web marketing, the Split Test is an important tool, offering powerful insights into campaign optimization and conversion efficacy. A/B split testing is also used in traditional marketing and advertising, though for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on a specific aspect of web marketing split tests, namely insurance agency emarketing. A/B split testing is an empirical approach used to ascertain optimum conversion rate (click-through rate) for a website, landing page, banner ad or email campaign.

In the case of insurance emarketing, two versions of an email are created (version A and B), and are then compared for effectiveness. Typically the emails are identical except for one modification which can, or at least theoretically can, impact conversion rate. For example, Version A might have one call to action, while Version B includes two call to actions. Or Version A might have 3 bullets while Version B has 5 bullets. Variations can be overt, or quite subtle. Insurance agents can also test fulfillment choices. For example, which is of greater interests to prospects, on demand video, live webinars, a case study, blog entry or newsletter. A/B split tests can test the copy of the outbound messages, and/or the fulfillment used for the call to action. Insurance marketers can then measure important emarketing campaign fundamentals including open rate, unique click-through rate and total click-through rate to mention a few of the key metrics. Let’s review an email campaign example.

Perhaps your insurance agency has a database of 4,000 prospects and you decide to create an email campaign offering a webinar on PPACA Compliance & Pay or Play Penalties. Email Version A, uses a short subject line. Email version B is identical, but notes the speaker name in the subject line and the email copy. Your split test is sent to 2,000 prospects each. All other elements of the email and layout are identical. Your agency can then measure which campaign has the highest success rate by analyzing the response fundamentals of each campaign. Let’s look at some hypothetical analytics.

Let’s say that Campaign A yielded an Open Rate of 20% with 100 Unique Clicks and 150 Total Clicks. And Campaign B yielded an Open Rate of 28% with 140 Unique Clicks and 265 Total Clicks. The results of the A/B split test are obvious in this case, though in other instances the results can be subtle, or the split test can determine there is no effective difference between the campaigns. The important aspect of split testing, assuming your agency has the necessary skills and resources in place to execute and measure the results, is that it allows the opportunity to experiment and optimize with a modest incremental effort.

Multivariate testing is similar to A/B testing, but tests multiple email iterations at the same time. For agencies seeking to test more email elements at the same time, they can arrange two or more simultaneous split tests for their prospects. For example, in the scenario above, an agency can execute two A/B tests with four emails to 1,000 contracts each, and then measure the results. This would provide more granular results in a shorter time period. It’s also important to note that split tests do not need to be sent to the entirety of a database. They can be sent to a statistically significant sampling, and measured for optimization. Let’s say Version B outperformed all other versions, Version B can then be sent to the balance of the list.

A/B split tests, or multivariate split testing allows agencies to optimize their insurance emarketing efforts. It allows them to analyze click-through and open rates, subject lines, email copy, layout and call to action options. It’s a great opportunity for agencies to measure and refine, and to improve their insurance agency emarketing initiatives, to generate more insurance agency leads.

The Insurance Agency Elevator Pitch

An insurance agency elevator pitch is a succinct summary used to quickly describe your insurance agency, products and services. It should include your unique agency value proposition, and must be delivered within the time span of an elevator ride, in about 30 to 60 seconds. This can be much harder than many agents might initially think, and should be scripted, vetted, rehearsed, and timed. The elevator pitch is a truly important and fundamental component of your insurance agency marketing and insurance agency prospecting efforts.

A great exercise for agents or agency executives is to ask a variety of people in your agency to tell you their version of the agency elevator pitch. Don’t be surprised if the pitch varies dramatically from person to person. Does the pitch adequately describe your value proposition? Does it highlight the products, services and solutions which best showcase your agency expertise? Did the litany of pitches even sound remotely alike?

Some years ago, I met with the executive team and senior managers of a small company, which at that time employed less than 100 people. I asked each of the dozen people I met to provide me with an elevator pitch about their organization. Some people were taken completely by surprise. Others sat and thought, and struggled to articulate an elevator pitch, or even describe their value proposition. The pitches I heard varied drastically.

Elevator pitches are an important digital asset for every agency. They should be vetted, scripted, practiced, and preached. I call it an asset, as it is a fundamental component in the marketing of any agency. And every member of an insurance agency, from agent to receptionist, to customer service representative to executive team should be able to promptly and professionally deliver their insurance agency elevator pitch.

Your sales and marketing efforts are built upon a well articulated and easily repeatable value proposition, which should be a microcosm of your elevator pitch. If you cannot communicate your value proposition in less than 30 seconds, or stumble when trying to express it, it’s time to write it down, rehearse it and communicate your value proposition with everyone in your agency. Once that is done, turn it into a 30 to 60 second elevator pitch. Practice makes perfect, try repeating both of these in monthly management meetings and sales meetings, and it’s important to note that your elevator pitch might vary based on your target niches (P&C versus Group Benefits for example).

Here are a few best practices when it comes to your insurance elevator pitch:

Be succinct – 30 seconds is much better than 60 seconds (you may not have 60 seconds!)
Create empathy – For example, “We work exclusively with New York contractors” or “we work with trucking companies with 5 to 50 power units” or we specialize in groups between 50 and 150 participating employees”
Verticalize – a vertical pitch is easier to differentiate, allowing you to better articulate your unique pitch. “We insure restaurants addressing their unique risks.”
Be different – “save money” and “great service’ is something everyone says. What are your top 3, unique differentiators?
Transfer enthusiasm! You have to believe it for them to believe it.
Close with a call to action – what’s the next step for your prospect
Let’s review a sample pitch, which would run 30 to 40 seconds depending upon cadence:

We’ve been helping trucking companies with their insurance and risk related needs for over 50 years. Everyone at our agency is a trucking fleet expert, in areas including hazmat, specialty cargo, certificate fulfillment, HOS, group health, and owner operator services. Because of our access to extensive markets and deep industry expertise, we provide creative coverages at the best possible rates, and help protect our clients’ bottom line. We know trucking insurance is one of your most important expenditures, and our creative coverage approach will help meet your unique requirements. Can we set up a 15 minute meeting to discuss your specific needs?

Your elevator pitch might be designed to include industry jargon to convince prospects of your deep expertise, it might highlight your most important products and services, your top differentiators, or your service centric approach. Regardless of what your final elevator pitch includes, practice makes perfect, it should roll off your tongue effortlessly. Remember, 30 to 60 seconds is all you get before your most important prospect walks out of the elevator, and your opportunity may be gone foreve

Insurance Agency Marketing and Insurance Agency Lead Checklist

The days of relying solely on referrals or in person networking as an insurance agency lead generation strategy are coming to a close for many agents and agencies. New economies of scale offered by more efficient marketing methods are typically needed to supplement traditional marketing methods such as networking and referral generation. Producers seeking to carry their unique value proposition to targeted prospects, especially in the commercial insurance and group benefits markets, typically need an improved insurance lead generation strategy to increase the suspect and prospect pools in their respective pipelines.

The list of possible marketing and lead generation initiatives is hardly endless, though somewhat exhaustive, and can be daunting for many small to medium sized agencies and brokers. Defining the type of agency we should describe a small to medium in size is subjective, so in this case we’ll use financial parameters from $2 Million to $50 Million in commission revenues as an attempt to frame this group. Granted, though there is a major difference between a $2 Million agency and a $22 Million broker, there are also similarities when it comes to their respective marketing challenges. Once an agency exceeds $50 Million in revenues, they should be able to sufficiently staff up for most of the initiatives noted below. The skills necessary for these types of marketing initiatives are truly varied, and include all of the following:

VP Marketing (Marketing Strategist/Generalist)
Programmers for Websites (HTML, PHP, etc.)
SEO Specialist
Web Analytics Manager
eMarketing Manager
Blogger, Vlogger
Social Media Marketer
Graphic Artist
Telemarketer (Appointment Setter)
Video Specialist
Some of these skills may be combined into one marketing position (writer, editor, blogger for example), while others are disparate and would require specific skill set staffing of that position. Even larger agencies, those with $50 Million and greater in commission revenue, outsource some of these tasks when there is not an ongoing, full time need for that skill set. Video is a good example of this, as are graphic artists and SEO specialists.

Here are 20 insurance agency marketing and insurance lead generation initiatives every agency can leverage. Some of these are modest efforts, others far more comprehensive. How many of these insurance marketing initiatives can your agency check off?

Insurance Agency Marketing Plan
Updated Insurance Agency Website
Website Analytics
Web Visitor Identification System
Organic Insurance SEO & PPC Ads
Insurance Search Engine Marketing
Insurance Social Media Marketing
Agency ePublishing
Agency Blogging & Vlogging
Insurance Agency eMarketing
Insurance Web Seminar Marketing
Contact List Generation & Email List Generation
Agent Buyer Personas by target market
Prospect ID or other Prospect Qualification Methodology
Website Video Creation & Client Testimonials
eBrochures & Client Case Studies
Newsletter Creation & Distribution
News Releases
Insurance Agency Telemarketing & Lead Handling
Prominent, effective and measured Call To Actions for your website and all marketing materials
There are other marketing initiatives which can be used including snail mail marketing, traditional seminars, sponsorships, traditional advertisements, etc. Most of these leverage the skill sets discussed earlier and all of these can be considered, though a focus on digital and repeatable is usually advisable. Producers, executives and owners all seek to grow their book of business. Marketing is time and budget driven, and if done correctly, should provide an ROI driven formula to cost justify the investment.

Insurance Agency Web Marketing Plans

As insurance agencies create their marketing plans for the upcoming year, many will focus on insurance agency web marketing as a key marketing driver to generate insurance agency leads. Web marketing is not merely a trend; it is a new way of doing business, and one which agencies cannot ignore. The days of agency growth from a purely referral driven perspective are gone, as more and more communication becomes virtual in nature, as networking moves from handshaking to internet surfing, and younger buyers embrace digital communication over face to face meetings.

Yet what does web marketing mean these days? According to Wikipedia, web marketing “refers to the placement of media along many different stages of the customer engagement cycle through search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), banner ads on specific websites, e-mail marketing, and Web 2.0 strategies.” This serves as a reasonable definition for our discussion, as we answer important questions relating to insurance agency web marketing: Let’s begin by identifying the key components of an insurance agency web marketing plan:

Agency Web Seminar Marketing
Blogging and Vlogging
Insurance Agency Website Design
Insurance eMarketing Campaigns
Insurance Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Insurance SEO (Insurance Agency Search Engine Optimization)
Pay Per Click (Google PPC, LinkedIn PPC, etc.)
Social Media Marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, StumbleUpon)
Insurance Agency Telemarketing (augments web marketing)
Arguably, insurance agency web marketing always begins with a comprehensive insurance website redesign, unless the agency website was recently completed and is up to date. An insurance agency website must be graphically attractive, it should have current and compelling content, a blog (and vlog if possible), and industry news to mention a few important elements. Video is becoming increasingly more important as it provides a medium for the quick conveyance of information in a compelling and personal manner. Website video can also be leveraged on YouTube to further increase insurance agency internet presence. Vlogs, which are video blogs, can be very helpful to a website. Vlogs can be a talking head video, recorded PowerPoint presentation or even voice over photographs. They integrate the contextual power of a blog with the enhanced impact of a video or PowerPoint.

Content is king on the internet, and insurance agents should take great care in the creation of their website content. A graphically attractive website, short on content, will result in a sub-optimized insurance search engine marketing result, adversely impacting insurance agency SEO efforts and mitigating website stickiness and efficacy. These days, a key aspect of any insurance agency web marketing plan should include an annual review of website content. Further, the content should be of interest to both prospects and clients alike.

Social media marketing incorporates Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and StumbleUpon to mention just a few of the major opportunities, allowing agencies to dramatically expand their marketing reach. Social media marketing offers insurance agencies the ability to expand branding, share content, establish subject matter expertise and participate in discussions. There are many aspects of insurance social media marketing to consider. For example, a simple blog entry can be utilized in many ways to expand reach. A blog can be tweeted, reblogged, ePublished, and incorporated in a newsletter or eMarketing campaign. In this case, one blog is reused five times, though there are methods where one blog can be used ten or more times, dramatically expanding internet reach and enhancing cyber presence and insurance SEO. Why is social media marketing a critical component of an overall insurance agency web marketing plan? Social media marketing creates a cyber foundation for an agency to build upon. Ultimately, social media marketing, if used correctly, can become one of the key drivers for insurance agency leads. For the purposes of this article, we’ll add blogging and ePublishing to the social media marketing category since these are tightly interconnected. Blogs which are repurposed as articles can then be shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and StumbleUpon, helping insurance agency SEO.

Social media marketing along with insurance agency SEO help with organic search engine rankings. Another option is paid engine ranking placement otherwise known as PPC or Pay Per Click advertising. At the top and side of the organic SERP (search engine results page) are paid PPC ads. When an internet user clicks on one of these, your agency is charged a fee. These fees can range from under a dollar to $15 or more depending upon the competitiveness of the search term. For example, let’s say that your PPC keyword phrase is New York Business Insurance, and when someone types in that keyword phrase your PPC ad appears. Depending upon your budget and keyword phrase bid, you might appear on the top, and when someone clicks on the ad, you are charge a PPC fee, let’s say five dollars. The great thing about this is that the volume, efficacy and conversion ratio are really easy to track. The negative is, of course, that you are constantly paying out ad fees. Thus the difference between organic and PPC, and predicated on your insurance agency web marketing plan, you may have budget for only one or the other, or perhaps for both.

Web seminar and eMarketing campaigns represent a compelling outbound approach for agents. Agency webinars offer the ability to communicate on a high level with B2B prospects. eMarketing campaigns that offer educational content are much better received than insurance product offers or pitches. A long term approach to agency web seminar marketing can yield significant dividends, though it is important to note that eMarketing and web seminar programs can often take up to 6 months to establish a following.

Lastly, where and how does telemarketing fit in, after all, it is not technically a web marketing solution. Telemarketing, or in this case perhaps appointment setting is a better description, can be an important component of an overall web marketing plan. After all, these web marketing leads need to be followed up upon. If producers are busy with renewals, or if they only have time for warm prospects, the outsourcing an appointment setter can be very helpful to an agency’s overall pipeline building effort. For example, when doing an eMarketing campaign, all prospects who click through to an agency website and all webinar registrants should be called directly after the web seminar to ensure that the agency has taken advantage of their web marketing efforts. If producers don’t have the time to call, the calls should be done with a qualified appointment setter. After all, the primary purpose of any web marketing plan is to drive qualified leads into the pipeline