Jun 21, 2020
This is the second to last episode in our email marketing series. If you haven’t listened to the others, I’d encourage you to start with episode 47 for the email marketing series and if you want to learn a little more about marketing, listen to episodes 44 and 45.
If you are someone that is investing in social media you might be thinking, “do I really need to do worry about email marketing?”
My answer to this is
if you aren’t, you might be out of business before everyone else.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and whatever new platform is developed is rented space for you. Today, they are all free. Today, they control what people see, unless you pay them. It’s basically a pay to play game for them. So if you aren't paying, not many people are seeing your content.
When FB first started with the business pages, as a trainer, I was telling everyone to create one. Those that did, those early adopters, had their pages seen...for awhile. Then FB went public and then they needed to start making money. So then the business pages weren’t seen as much and if you wanted your business page to be seen, you had to pay. Now its advertising
The newest thing is groups. Build your community in a group. For now, everyone is seeing what is posted in your group. Before long, FB will have ads in the groups and you’ll have to decide how valuable it is.
I don’t fault FB. They are a business. Businesses need to make money. In the case of social media, it’s offered to the consumer for free, they get use to things, it’s almost like an addiction but AI decides what the consumer sees. The people you want to target might not be in their sightline.
By having the email addresses, you own it. You aren’t dependent on paying FB or even worrying about if FB exists because you reach your prospects and clients on your terms. Personally, I think that’s much better than having your business dependent on another!
It’s really important to understand that social media is rented. You don’t really have people’s contact information. It’s hard for you to reach out to them.
With email marketing, you are in their inbox and as long as you are sending valuable content, they'll keep you there!
Ok, enough about that.
I’ve used Constant Contact as my ESP for many years and I’ve been one of their partners for a long time as well. Since I’m not actively doing marketing for others today, I reached out to other CTCT partners in our community and asked them what they see as good ways of growing your list today.
Some of the ideas I’m discussing today are coming directly from them and these are people who are working with clients everyday, helping them with their marketing. If you want to check them out, check out the show notes at thebusinessofinsurance.com where I’ve linked to their websites where they were available.
Website - This is a no brainer and can be done a few different ways. In episode 47 I suggested you do a website audit.
Where are you collecting email addresses on your website?
In my opinion, you should have some form of email capture on almost every page of your website. From giving things away to just getting more information, if you don’t ask, you won't’ collect.
This ties into what Amy Morales of Kapeesh Marketing says because she feels that many small business owners feel embarrassed or too modest to ask customers to follow them online or join some kind of digital marketing effort. Just as these business owners champion "shop small" and "shop local," they should feel empowered and completely capable of asking friends and customers to support them online and join them on an email list.
I think some of this is because we don’t want more emails in our inbox so why should we ask other people for their email. I understand this but if you are sending out valuable information, people should be happy to get your emails. It’s the people that send out useless information that people will unsubscribe to.
I’ve seen this a lot over the years myself. I even see it today with the clients in my CEO roundtables at Select Business Team. People don’t want to seem pushy or upset anyone so they don’t ask for the emails and they don’t put the tools on the website or other platforms to get people’s contact information.
Just start with capturing an email, then you can get more sophisticated to capture other information.
Now I’m in complete agreement with Vee Tanner of The Biz Tech Wiz who says, don’t put ‘sign up to get my newsletter on your website.
That worked 20 years ago, but it doesn’t work today. Not many people are going to knowingly sign up for your newsletter today. Some will, but many of us are in email overload, so we only want emails that we can use or benefit from!
I recently started playing pickleball and I’m interested in playing in a particular community so when I found out someone was sending an email in that community about pickleball, I did sign up. It’s valuable to me!
So while some people in certain circumstances will sign up when it says sign up for our newsletter, you would be better off calling it something else. If you just have the newsletter then say something like Get Information On Protecting Your Family or if you are focused on the B2B market, say something like Get Details on Managing Your Business.
Ideally you want to say something about staying in touch and offering something to download or get my free checklist or tool that benefits you. Amy Morales says this is what is working and can be done in several different ways.
So, what can you give away? This is the million dollar question many of you will ponder.
Throughout this email marketing series, I’ve given you a few ideas but here’s a few more:
The topics for what you can give away are unlimited. It will take time to develop or you can purchase a white labeled piece which will save you a lot of time and probably money if you purchase it this way.
Michael Loschke of Arista Advisors suggests that you have to have a compelling value proposition and the key objective is to become a close trusted advisor. He follows the advice of financier and philanthropist, Michael Milken's and suggests creating deep emotional relationships" (something to which every agent/sales pro should aspire) - Health, Wealth and Children. BTW, the latter is often pets for seniors and empty-nesters. ;) Ask people join your list by phone or email or online zoom, "He’ll say to people, our clients receive special email offers and content on health, wealth, and children. May I add you to our VIP list?"
Webinars - Citrin Cooperman is a large CPA firm and they have been doing almost weekly webinars on PPP loans during the pandemic. They hit the market early with their webinars and now they are pivoting to other topics but when they started the webinars, no one else was doing them. They kept going when others only did a few. Now they have pivoted but they’ve built up a loyal following because of what they offered during the pandemic.
It’s not too late to start doing webinars around the pandemic. One of the hot issues that I’ve been reading about is mental health. Kaiser Foundation put together a return to work guide and a large portion was focused on addressing mental health. Aetna is doing a big webinar in June 2020 and a section is on mental health.
Does mental health apply to insurance? You decide.
While webinars are a great way to offer a service, if you promote the webinars on social platforms, when people sign up for the webinar you now capture their email address. During the webinar, I would offer another opportunity to give them something and have them sign up directly into your email platform to show that they signed up, but you could use their email address from signing up for the webinar and upload into your ESP pretty safely.
Workshops are very similar to webinars but are face to face. In 2020, I’m not sure how many people you will get to attend an in person workshop because of Covid. If you are listening to this podcast in 2021 or 2022, it might not be an issue at all!
Like with webinars, your workshop topics can be about anything that will bring people together and help you grow your prospect list and email list. You can advertise them on your social platforms, send snail mail invitations, promote through your referral partners, put up flyers in different venues. Everything is focused on getting people to register or attend so that you can obtain their email address and you can stay in touch with them.
There is a larger agency outside of Baltimore that started doing events a few years ago and 20 people showed up, now they have close to 100 people showing up every month. (at least prior to Covid they did)
They’ve built their list by having these monthly events with speakers and inviting people - growing their list and their prospects at the same time.
Networking events - Networking events is another strategy you can implement for growing your list. I like to call it offline to online. They could be from ones you put together or ones put together by chambers, associations, social organizations or anyone bringing together a group of people for the purpose of meeting others.
One way you could build your list from these events is sending out a nice to meet you email afterwards, and having a link to give them something that they have to sign up for to receive. Or maybe you have a link to a webinar you are offering and you send them a link in the nice to meet you email.
Technically, if you have their email address you might be tempted to add them to your email list and you might be able to do this without getting into trouble, but if they sign up for something themselves, you are pretty much in the clear if you were ever reported.
Again, get creative. If you go to a business networking event, maybe you have link to a business resource or maybe, and yes, I’m bringing up podcasting again, maybe you ask the person you met to be a guest on your podcast and you have them sign up on your website to get the details and that puts them into your list.
Another thing you could do is have people text to join your list. I’ve done this at speaking events in the past. I’ll ask the audience if they want to get a copy of the slides. Most people do so I’ll have a text number set up for them to text right there, they put in their email address and then they are emailed the slides. I now have their email address and am building my list!
Jason Silver also suggested using a QR code. Other ways you could do this is to put it on the back of your business card. If you are in an office and clients come to your office, you could have them scan the QR code right there to get something.
Jonathan Blotner - https://blotnermassmedia.com/ Contest marketing - sign up for a chance to win xxx maybe it’s a photo contest, Their friends vote on the best photo and the one with the most votes wins, but the votes have to be verified with their email address. You might need to work with your marketing team to create and implement this, but I think it’s a great idea.
We’ve talked about giving things away on your website, having contests, having webinars, hosting events and attending events. There are many ways to grow your list but you have to be intentional about doing it.
Part of marketing is about nurturing relationships. Some people will find you on the internet, some people will be referred to you but not everyone is ready to buy when you talk to them. So what is your strategy to get them to like you, to trust you, to try you and get them ready to buy from you.
Email marketing is one tactic that you should be doing consistently. In the next episode I'm going to talk about marketing automation. It is how to take all of the ideas I’m talking about here for growing your list and automating the processes. For the most part, once the process is set up, it works automatically. It’s how you build your list even in your sleep!
I hope the ideas we’ve been talking about are helpful.
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ABOUT THE HOST
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.
SPECIAL KUDOS TO OUR CONTRIBUTING CONSTANT CONTACT MARKETERS:
Amy Morales of Kapeesh Marketing and Make it Pop: Small Business Marketing Podcast heymakeitpop.com says that many small business owners feel embarrassed or too modest to ask customers to follow them online or join some kind of digital marketing effort. Just as these business owners champion "shop small" and "shop local," they should feel empowered and completely capable of asking friends and customers to support them online and join them on an email list.
Most often it is that 1 on 1 conversation with clients and customers where they agree to join a list. Simply asking every client and customer when you shake their hand or meet with them if they're interested in receiving updates from you (and if they agree have them fill out an opt-in form) can be a great, engaged list builder.
Jason Silver suggested using a QR code.
Michael Loschke of Arista Advisors suggests that you have to have a compelling value proposition and the key objective is to become a close trusted advisor. We propose offering significant value in the form of useful content. For 10 years, I have repeated financier and philanthropist, Michael Milken's advice for "engendering deep emotional relationships" (something to which every agent/sales pro should aspire) - Health, Wealth and Children. BTW, the latter is often pets for seniors and empty-nesters. ;) Asking by phone or email or online zoom, "Our clients receive special email offers and content on health, wealth, and children. May I add you to our VIP list?"
Vee Tanner of The Biz Tech Wiz don’t put ‘sign up to my newsletter and stay in touch but using ‘download, get my free checklist or tool that benefits you is working
Jonathan Blotner - https://blotnermassmedia.com/ Contest marketing - sign up for a chance to win xxx maybe it’s a photo contest, Their friends vote on the best photo and the most votes and the email address verifies the votes.