SMS research suggests that SMS marketing gives you an open rate of almost 95% and a response rate of 45%. That means out of 100 text messages sent, 95 people will read them within the first three minutes. Definitely a tool insurance agents want to have at their disposal! With the popularity of SMS on rising, SMS marketing for insurance agents will likely see a sharp increase. When you compare this to the efficiency of email marketing there is no contest. SMS marketing wins hands down. But how do you take advantage of SMS marketing?
The main reason SMS is such an effective marketing tool for insurance agents is that it actively engages the customer better than other communication channels. People are bombarded by thousands of marketing messages every day and have learned to block these from their view. However, the feeling of a buzz in your pockets will almost always get your attention. Combine this with the fact that text messaging is the primary communication tool for millennials – a consumer group that grows in importance every year – and it’s clear why SMS marketing is such a powerful tool.
The power of SMS marketing
Many companies have turned to SMS or texting to reach their target markets because of it’s effectiveness. The low barrier to entry associated with getting started add to the popularity of text messaging as a marketing tool.
“Texting allows businesses to do many of the things that traditional media does, without having to invest in hardware, labor, printing, or media buys.” said Luke Wilson, chief revenue officer of EZ Texting. “Because text messages appear on our mobile phones, they feel more personal.”
However, if we begin to see insurance agents begin to use texting with things such as drip campaigns and automatic sends “it will turn a highly personal channel into a spam inbox,” said Dennis Hegstad, co-founder of texting platform LiveRecover, “If you treat SMS wrong, the customer sentiment can go from interested to neutral to negative real quick.”
Text message marketing isn’t for every industry though. Insurance agents that use it need to ensure their texts are helpful and relevant rather than intrusive or worse, illegal. Here’s how to incorporate texting into your digital marketing strategy and stay legal.
SMS Texting Solves 2 Problems for Insurance Agents
Problem #1 – People Don’t Answer Their Phones
- According to Pew research the response rate for phone calls can be as low as 2%. That means 50 phone calls to get a single client conversation.
- SMS text messaging, on the other hand, has a response rate of 45%. That mean 50 text messages you send out will yield 23 text conversations. Now we’re talking!
- Millennials, in particular, are famous for avoiding phone calls. A Pew study found that 63% of millennials use text messaging every day, but only 39% reported that they use the phone daily. This disparity is expected to continue to grow.
Problem #2 – Email is no longer a valid communication channel
- The average response time for a text message is 6,000% faster than email
- Response rates to SMS marketing are 7X higher than email
- People get too many emails in general
You must find the right time and reason to text
There is a time and place for text messages. Find an appropriate reason to send a text. For example, you can reach out by text message to:
- Schedule a time for a meeting or call
- Ask questions about their needs
- Answer a question that came up in a previous discussion
- Send a Birthday text
In general, we recommend the following when writing insurance text messages:
- Keep it short: keeping a message as brief as possible allows the recipient to scan it and respond before you lose their attention.
- Aim for clarity: while text messages should be short, they shouldn’t be cryptic. Ensure that the SMS will make sense to the recipient.
- Make it personal: use the recipient’s name, location, or previously-specified areas of interest to know that the message is for them.
Brett Fulmer, Co-Owner of Newport Beach Insurance Center has his agents immediately follow up with a text when they receive a new website lead.
When texting 1-on-1 with clients, keep it simple and easy to respond. “Use simple Yes or No questions”. For example, a good text might be “would you rather me call you at 1:00pm or 6:00pm?” versus “when would you like me to call you?” because it takes less effort on the prospect’s side to respond.
What is the legality around text marketing?
Text message marketing is a very effective way to stay in touch with your customers, but you have to do it legally. This means you first must secure the legal right to communicate with customers via text, lest you run afoul of Federal Communications Commission regulations.
Once you have your customer’s permission, just make sure your text messages are on brand and valuable, rather than being spammy or worse, intrusive.
SMS Texting within your AMS
In the past, insurance agents would have to use their business or personal phone to send text messages to customers and prospects. But not anymore. Now, with the right Agency Management System (AMS), you can send texts right from your browser, even while you’re on the phone. It’s the perfect way to send account details, reminders and follow-ups.
Any time a customer responds it will go back into the AMS as a response note which you can then attach to the customer record. This allows you to quickly see the conversation thread of each your customers directly inside the AMS.
SMS Texting is the way of the future to reach your customers. If you are not taking advantage of this tool you are at a disadvantage compared to your competitors. CaptaIMS offers texting and power dialing plans from right inside the AMS. Our AMS is simple to use and packed with features such as telephone dialing, sms texting and shared calendars.