Learn how to make your insurance business grow to new heights with tips and tools in this guide, and serve your clients using Talage technology.Read More
Sending a text message may be something you only do in your personal life currently, but when used strategically, text can be a powerful marketing channel. The most widely used type of text message is SMS (Short Message Service), according to SlickText, which insurance agents can use to reach a broad range of prospects.
“[W]hile you might refer to a variety of different message types as simply a ‘text’ in your daily life, the difference is that an SMS message contains only text (no pictures or videos) and is limited to 160 characters,” explains SlickText, a text marketing platform.
So, when insurance agents use SMS marketing, they have to write something that will engage recipients. Yet there can be a fine line between sending an SMS that leads to sales vs. sending an SMS that seems like spam. Insurance agents need to pay close attention to how their SMS marketing is being received and be mindful of how they send texts so that they can stay on the right side of that line.
Use Cases for SMS Marketing
In many ways, SMS marketing resembles short-form email marketing. While you theoretically could send texts manually, there are several SMS platforms you can use to send out messages in bulk or at least add some level of automation to individual messages, much like you can with email marketing platforms. However, if used on occasion, SMS marketing can potentially be more effective than email.
“The combination of the immediacy, mobile push, and infrequent use means it gets your customers attention exactly when you want it,” says Omnisend, an email and SMS marketing platform. “Email is so widely used that customers expect it now. However, a well-timed SMS is effective because it’s not so usual.”
SMS marketing can be used for both existing customers and prospective ones, so you may want to consider creating separate lists as you would with email. For existing customers, SMS marketing can help increase engagement and improve customer retention. It can also be used to try to move prospects along the sales funnel and even generate new leads entirely, such as if you have permission to send an SMS to all the attendees of an event.
Some of the more specific use cases for SMS marketing include:
Using lead generation channels like search and social media can help you initially draw in prospects, but you want to do more than just catch leads’ attention. Ideally, you can also start a conversation. If you can do so by moving the conversation from online to text messages, that can feel more personal and hook leads.
So, for example, you could develop an SMS marketing strategy around getting leads from Google Ads to text you and start a conversation. “ Google Ads SMS empowers your team to add an SMS number to a Google search ad, along with a CTA asking leads to text in with their questions,” explains HeyMarket, a business text messaging platform. “Because SMS is such a fast and convenient channel, leads are more likely to text in.” From there, insurance agents can dive into a conversation and perhaps set up a meeting or send over a quote.
Sending Renewal Notices
For existing customers, SMS marketing can be used to help encourage renewals. As a renewal date approaches, and perhaps a customer has not responded to email renewal notices, an SMS could get their attention and lead to more sales. Maybe a customer had been meaning to renew their policy but forgot to do so because the email got buried in their inbox. So that SMS message could help clients take care of the renewal right away, especially if they can click on a link to complete the process from their mobile device.
A smooth renewal process, supported by SMS marketing, can also help improve lead generation in the long run. If you make renewals easy for your customers, they may be more likely to refer you to other business owners. Plus, you can have more time to focus on lead generation activities if you can automate renewal reminders.
Asking for Reviews
Another way to use SMS to increase sales is to politely send out messages asking for reviews. For example, you could use an SMS platform to automatically send a text about this a month after a new client signs up for a policy. That way, you’re not bombarding the client with requests right away, but you’re also not leaving things up to chance, hoping that clients decide to leave a review. Don’t ask repeatedly, but a nicely worded, one-time message requesting this favor could help you gain more reviews, which can then help more leads find you.
Pay Attention to Privacy and Preferences
As insurance agents start to leverage SMS marketing, it’s important to pay attention to recipients’ preferences. Like with other forms of marketing, analyzing data to see what works and what doesn’t can help insurance agents get more out of the resources they invest in SMS marketing. Insurance agents also need to pay attention to privacy laws and preferences, both to avoid falling out of compliance as well as to not annoy customers with too many texts.
Specifically, insurance agents should assess areas like:
Before sending SMS messages, insurance agents should make sure they’re following any relevant privacy and permission laws. Not only do you want to avoid seeming like a spammer, but you don’t want to do anything illegal. For example, as text marketing platform SimpleTexting explains, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requires recipients to “give businesses ‘express written consent’ before the business sends them automated promotional text messages. This written consent can’t be buried in a pages-long form full of legalese. It must be clear and conspicuous, so the recipient knows what they’re signing up for.”
If a recipient revokes asks you to stop texting them, you should also honor that. Following permission rules is not only important for compliance but also for providing a good customer experience.
While you may have permission to text certain leads and customers, you don’t want to overdo it and seem spammy, even if they never ask you to stop. The ideal frequency of SMS marketing messages can vary based on the type of business sending the texts and the recipients, but at the very least, put yourself in the recipients’ shoes. If you think it would be annoying to get texts from a business at a certain frequency, e.g. once per month, then stay below that amount.
You can also analyze data to try to find your ideal frequency. For example, if you see that you get more responses when you send SMS marketing messages once per quarter instead of once per month, then you may want to send texts more sparingly.
Types of Messages
Insurance agents should also pay attention to the types of texts that yield the best results. Do certain use cases, e.g., asking for reviews, prompt more of your requested actions than other texts, e.g., offering discounts to prospects who request policy quotes?
If so, your SMS marketing may be more effective by putting more effort into those high-performing areas. Try experimenting with different types of messages, including varying the length and tone of your SMS content, to see what yields the best results.
Integrating SMS Strategies
Using SMS can be highly effective for insurance agents, but to get the most out of this area, it’s helpful to integrate SMS strategies into your overall sales and marketing efforts.
These integrations can work in both directions. Sometimes, such as with search ads, you might take clients from one marketing channel to SMS. At other times, you might be engaged in an SMS conversation and want to take clients to your website or a landing page, such as to complete renewals.
Overall, insurance agents should think about not only how to have conversations within text threads, but also how to use SMS as part of achieving their sales and marketing goals. So, as you develop sales and marketing strategies, think about whether SMS could be used to deepen existing efforts like search engine marketing or kickoff sales efforts. From there, experiment with different types of messages and analyze your results to see what helps you generate leads and close more deals.