April 20, 2014

Best practice email marketing


“Best practice email marketing is continuing to thrive thanks to more sophisticated targeting and the growth of wider online channels…”

 While direct mail is still very present as part of the marketing mix, the advancement of the internet in recent years has meant budgets have been re-invested online and volumes have decreased dramatically. Direct email marketing when used with best practice in mind is much more cost effective and can significantly reduce buying cycles with consumers now being able to navigate direct from an email to a website in a matter of seconds. For insurance companies who are constantly trying to reduce marketing budgets while targeting increased revenues, email marketing working together with other online channels is still having a considerable impact. For insurance companies who use email, the key success factors are consumer targeting, tracking and measurement.

Targeting – While the key buying indicator for any insurance company has long been the renewal date, there is much more data available to build a more in-depth profile of insurance companies prospects. This not only enables more tailored messaging but also provides insurance companies with the opportunity to better develop product propositions ready to market. Many direct insurers send out pre-approved quotes based on prospect profiles and these have proven to be much more responsive than standard offer based communications.

Tracking – In the past, email marketing campaigns have been measured based on open rates, click through and conversions relating to value. More recently, integrating web analytics with email has become a much more insightful way to track an individual’s activity on a website once they have clicked through from an email or any other channel. Tracking and understanding what has been browsed as part of the buyer journey provides the insight to better personalise future email campaigns. Marketing insurance companies can easily afford to keep in regular contact with their prospects because email is such a cost effective channel. However, this is only worth doing with the right contact strategy.

Measurement – Typically Insurers measuring marketing success has long been focussed on CPA (cost per acquisition), however with the wider use of online channels understanding the true path to conversion has become more complex. Consumers tend to visit a website many times before completing a purchase, more so for higher value purchases such as insurance. Each time someone visits a website they don’t always arrive via the same channel so connecting up all the channels that lead up to a sale is very important in order to attribute the right value of success to each channel. Many online businesses are now starting to share the value of sales across all online marketing channels and email should not be discounted from this. Developing email lists is a very valuable exercise as part of any direct marketing strategy, but understanding how email works within the wider online marketing mix is essential to understanding its true value.

The industry is supported and regulated by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), where you can find lots of useful information about best practice.