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Email Marketing for Insurance Agents: 6 Ways to Grow Referrals

Travis Balinas
October 28, 2013

Email marketing for insurance agents is something that is often underused by agents and agencies for a variety of reasons. This is a shame too because insurance agents know that some of their easiest deals to close are the referrals from their existing policyholders. While you might be spending marketing dollars on buying new lead lists, sending out direct mail pieces, or even handing out branded products at local events, you’re already sitting on a treasure trove of referral gold: your existing policyholders.

Even if you already are using email marketing, chances are you’re not doing it correctly. Maybe you’re only sending out emails based on templates from your parent company. Perhaps you have some automated program wishing people a happy birthday message. Or perhaps, you’re simply not doing it often enough, or at all. Whatever the case may be, there’s always room for improvement.

In a nutshell, email is a direct line of communication to your existing policyholders and potential prospects. Not everyone is looking to buy from you right this instance, but when they are, whoever is top-of-mind is most likely going to get a phone call. That’s why email is so powerful. Stay in front of the people who will send you referrals in a good way (not through annoying email spam) and they’ll help your business grow. Be helpful, inspiring, and whatever you do, don’t sell.

Look at it this way. You get a lot of emails every single day, both to your personal address and work account. A lot of it is spam and you never see it (hopefully you’re not having that issue). Another chunk of it is actually something you need to reply to or is pertinent to your personal or professional life. The remaining bulk is stuff that you might check out if it looks interesting, but most likely you’ll send it to the trash.

This right here is why you need to be smart about what you write and send to your email contacts. Here are 6 ideas to help insurance agents succeed with their email marketing:

1) Help, Not Sell

A lot of emails that I personally get from insurance agents (whether they’re my own or got my name from a list), it’s usually about me needing to see what discounts I can get or the benefits of “bundling” multiple policies. These are not the things that I want to read after a long day of work. I want to be inspired, entertained, and informed. Try writing about things that are related to insurance but not meant to sell. Things like safety around the home, what should go into an emergency kit for your car, healthy recipes to try on the weekend, etc. And maybe this sounds like a daunting task (which it can be), and that’s why we can do this work for you.

2) Use Seasons As A Guide

Along similar lines, a good baseline for your emails is definitely the seasons. If it’s back-to-school time, write about deals in your area or a smartphone app that helps your family stay organized. If it’s winter time (and you live with snow & ice), write about how to stay safe on the road this winter. Holidays can be part of this too. Be creative with it and try to think about things that you find interesting to read that aren’t work-related.

3) Run A Referral Contest Through Email

Don’t abuse this option, but definitely reward your customers that send referrals your way. You could do something small like $20 for every referral sent your way. Or you could be more practical about it financially and make it into a contest. Buy something everyone wants, like an iPad Air or a $500 Amazon gift card. Run a referral email contest 1-4 times a year where every referral someone sends you, they get an entry into the drawing.

4) Run That Referral Content On Facebook

Take this referral contest a step further and run it through your Facebook page. There are plenty of apps for your Facebook page out there that make it so viewers have to “like” your page before entering the contest. Send the email to your policyholders, directing them to your Facebook page to enter. Kills two birds with one stone: you grow your social media audience and get new referrals.

5) Be A Local Expert

All of your policyholders most likely live in the same metropolitan area that you too live and work. There are tons of resources out there from free local newspapers at the grocery store to blogs and websites dedicated to your city. Find those resources and put together a monthly email that picks out 10 of the things going on in your area that look interesting. Help you become that person people look to every month for local events and information.

6) Plan Things Out And Be Consistent

And above all else, be consistent. If you send out 4 emails over the course of 2 months and then drop off the grid, that’s not going to help you stay top-of-mind in a consistent way. And if this all sounds like a great idea but you just don’t have the time for it, we’re always here to help put your email marketing on autopilot for you too.


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