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May 17, 2020


This episode is being produced for those of you who are business owners, marketing and sales.  

Listen to episode 45 before listening to this episode. Episode 46 is also worth listening to.

In episode 45 we discuss the marketing foundation, identifying your ideal client,  getting your messaging right and creating some content:

  • Do an email marketing website audit 
  • Do a review of what you are giving away to get email addresses 
  • Look at where the email addresses are going when you collect them. 

Today we’ll focus on two areas.

Why email marketing is important 

Segmenting your list

Email marketing is the best form of marketing.

On a recent webinar about email marketing. The host showed a picture of a Wall Street Journal article from January 2019   and the headline said “ Email is the hottest form of marketing.” That was even 15 months ago (from the date of this recording). FB, IG, TW, LI were doing well a year ago. So why would the WSJ publish an article like that?

  • You own it 
  • You control it and 
  • You determine where and when it is seen. (i.e. lands in someones inbox)  

Facebook, twitter, IG, LI all have algorithms and they decide what you see, when you see it and how much you see. That might not sound fair, but each of them are businesses. Each of them wants to make a profit. 

Most importantly, you might use one of those social media platforms but you don’t pay to get on the platform. So what do you expect to get for free?  I'm not going to talk too much about the pro’s and con’s of being on the platform, but from a business perspective, from a marketing perspective, it’s important to understand that these free platforms can do what they want. You then decide if you like their rules and want to take advantage of what they have to offer, and pay them to do so.

Learning Tip:

You don't own the content on social media platforms. They determine when you see things, who’s posts you see, what your viewing experience is like. 

If one of those platforms goes away that audience goes away.

Did you know that a few years ago Twitter was in financial trouble? They were considering going out of business? Since our current President uses the platform, a lot more people are using it and therefore, it’s not in trouble right now, but they were talking about closing down a few years ago. It wasn’t long ago that people were spending thousands of dollars to build their following on Twitter.  Imagine a company like yours that spent a lot of money and effort to build a following and then one day twitter went away. That was almost a reality for many people and businesses.

What good is it to have a thousand or fifteen thousand followers if you can only connect with them on social media - and then you can only connect when the algorithm says so!

Since most of you listening are insurance professionals think of this from a risk management perspective, 

How would you advise your clients to minimize a business interruption claim if twitter, FB LI went away. You tell them to get contact information, get the email addresses of the people they are connected with.

So truthfully one of the best marketing strategies that you could have is to build your audience on those platforms by having strategies in place to collect their contact information and the easiest first piece of data to collect is their email address. 

You have got to get their contact information so that you can be visible on your terms, not on someone else’s terms.

Not every email gets read, but by landing in the inbox you are at least seen! It’s a touch.

Also email isn't going anywhere. I don't care what anybody says, it's the way that people communicate. Until that changes, email is a super powerful form of communication.

Today yes people text, yes, people talk on the phone, yes, people are connecting on social and during this pandemic, virtually,  but the inbox is still there so at least for now and I'm going to say the next five plus years unless something new comes out, email will still be used.

And even if something new did come out, people have to adapt to that technology. Back in the 90’s it took people a long time to adapt to email. 

Most people are slow to change. For that reason alone, email isn’t going away anytime soon!

The second topic for this episode is your list. 

In the marketing world, it’s called list segmentation but that’s an industry term. Plain and simple, it’s managing your list.

It is important to know that managing your list is essential for your marketing success.

Some of you will have more work to do than others when it comes to your list. 

In episode 45 we talked about looking at how you are collecting email addresses. They will go into a list of some sort. Maybe it’s just an excel spread sheet, maybe it’s into your CRM, maybe it’s into your ESP. (emal service provider).

But once they enter your list, how are you segmenting them or is everyone going into one bucket?

How are you dividing them up so that when you send an email campaign (and I’ll explain campaign another time), what buckets are they going into or is everyone going into one bucket or the same list?

This is what is important. 

So your task for this episode is looking at your list. 

Are you breaking people's names out by personal and commercial lines? By Life by Health by home by auto?

Are you breaking them out by prospects vs. clients?

If you are focusing on commercial insurance, are you breaking them out by industry, like contractors, restaurants, consultants, startups, 

What about breaking out your list by referral sources so maybe it's your accountants, maybe it's your lawyers, maybe it's your real estate lenders.

By having lists, it opens up additional email marketing opportunities for you. You can customize the content to talk directly to the reader based on their list.

For the purpose of this example, let’s say you worked in NYC and most of your clients and prospects lived in the city. What if you were to send an email out about how the grading of the soil around the house can impact flood issues in a basement. If they live in the city, they are probably in a condo or an apartment so this information is not relevant. But if you worked in NYC and targeted prospects outside of the city that live in houses, this content would be relevant. So by segmenting your list of homeowners vs. condo’s vs. renters you would be able to target the right audience with your email.. 

Here’s another example: Let’s say your agency is in the rural part of the state where most people have farms. If you were to send an email that focused on the 5 things to consider when purchasing condo insurance, do you think your farmers would find it relevant?  Probably not. You’d be better off sending an article about alternative ways farmers can generate income. That will get their attention. 

If you don’t have your list segmented, it’s hard to customize your emails 

Again, keep in mind these are just examples, but hopefully it makes it clear about why segmenting your list makes more sense for the emails that you send.

When you send the wrong content to the wrong list, you begin to lose interest. People will unsubscribe. They’ll potentially report you as spam.. And trust me, you do not want anyone reporting you as spam. It’s the first way to get your email shut down.  I’ll talk more about all of this in another episode.

Having a segmented list allows you to focus your email marketing campaigns on the targeted audience.

How much you take your list and divide it or segment it is up to you. I will tell you from experience, the more you segment, the more success you will have. It also means more work but that’s what separates the winners from the losers!

If you are focused on golf courses and contractors, consider segmenting those two lists because while they’ll have some similar needs as businesses, they also have a lot of different needs that you can focus on in your marketing.

You could have each of them in a general business list and then have each of them in the contractor or golf course list. Breaking them out into  separate lists will help you target your messaging so they feel like you are speaking directly to them.

Another reason for segmenting your list is that you can personalize who is sending the email. 

Let’s say that you have 5 sales people in your office. 4 are focused on commercial and one is focused on personal. Each of the commercial sales people can create a list of their prospects and the emails to those prospects can be specifically from them, not a general email from the marketing person. It provides the sales person with more brand identity so that when they call the prospect,they’ll be more easily recognized and it also keeps the content focused on businesses from going to the stay at home parent.

If the agency sends an email from a name the prospect does not recognize, it’s possible that the recipient won’t recognize them as easily when they follow up for the business.

All of this takes more work but it is also how you get the best results. 

You might be thinking that you are selling insurance and you aren't a content creator or an email marketer. But in this business today we have to be multi talented or we need to hire someone to do this for us. 

If you need someone to help you with your email marketing, reach out for referrals. 

It’s so important to have good valuable content for your audience but personalizing it creates better results.

Here’s a recap of what we discussed today:

  • Understand why email marketing is essential - it’s not going away and it’s not controlled by algorithms.
  • Take a look at your list -  are they segmented and are the email addresses in the right list? 
  • What type of lists make the most sense for you and for your agency. 
    • Do you have personal vs. commercial, prospects vs. clients? Homeowner vs. renter? How many lists or how much you segment is your decision but the better the list, the better the results!

That wraps up this episode.  If you like what you’ve heard, please go to iTunes and leave a review. If you know someone that should hear this content, please share the episode with them.

If you want to learn more about marketing, join the FB group called the Business of Insurance. I’ll link to it in the show notes and I look forward to meeting you there!

If you want to connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, mention you heard the podcast in your request. It helps me identify the spammers from the listeners!

Until next time, keep creating opportunities..


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This episode of the Business of Insurance podcast is produced and hosted by Debbie DeChambeau, CIC, AAI, CPIA - an entrepreneurer, business advisor, insurance professional  and content creator. Her goal is to inspire you to think differently and explore ideas that disrupt the status quo. 

Debbie has an extensive business and marketing background with a focus of helping insurance professionals be more successful. 

She is the co-author of Renewable Referrals and produces three other podcasts, Business In Real Life and Divorce Exposed and Seniors We Love. 

 Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.