Besides being affordable, text messaging offers quick ways to:
Start new conversations or resume ongoing ones
Answer client questions
Send invoices and reminders
Follow up on website contacts
But what can texting do that emails or phone calls can’t? Well, keep reading while we explore the benefits of SMS insurance marketing and the problems it solves.
The problems text messaging solves for insurance agencies
Streaming TV and online news make advertising your business in print or media difficult. Many independent agents simply don’t have the resources to run a large-scale print or media campaign like the large national agencies do. To grow their customer base, they have to make do with website contacts, phone calls, and word of mouth.
But with text message marketing, agents can advertise as well as convert inquiries into customers. And once those customers are committed, text messaging frees you up. Instead of being tied to the office, you can answer questions, make contacts, and even talk with your clients from anywhere. Text messaging helps you deal with the problems of modern communication, including:
Unanswered phone calls
Nobody answers the phone anymore. It is easier to screen calls with caller ID, and consumers are so sick of robocalls and solicitations that many just leave their phone silenced. There is around a 2% response rate for phone calls, meaning that if you make 50 calls, you might have a single conversation.
Text messages, on the other hand, have a 45% response rate. Sending 50 text messages yields 23 conversations, and it saves both time and your voice. Also, because any good text marketing plan includes batch messaging, you only have to type a message once. When you’re ready, click send, and that’s it—no more endless dialing with no answer.
Email was once the communication of the future. But now, if you’re looking for speedy reads and responses, text messages are the way to go. Text message response rates ate 7.5x higher than email, and the average time to answer a text is 6,000% faster than email.
How insurance agents use texting
You can’t provide a good customer service experience if you never reach your customers. We’ve established that texting is more efficient than phone calls and email, but how can using SMS help your business? Well, the insurance business is all about establishing new relationships and managing ongoing ones. The best way to do both of these is through quick and effective communication.
Text messaging can help you keep those communication lines open. You can chat with leads via one-on-one message or established customers in a text blast, send billing and other reminders, answer customer questions, and more. Texting offers you flexibility as well as the creativity to tailor your messages for the greatest effect. Let’s look at the finer details of text marketing a little more closely.
One-on-one and bulk/blast messaging
Most of your one-on-one conversations will be with leads from your website, while bulk messaging is excellent for existing policyholders and new customers. With text marketing, you can:
Connect with potential and current customers at their convenience
Contact all your clients at once
Receive a high number of responses to your texts
Interact with prospects who may not be able to take phone calls or send emails at a given time
While one-on-one messages are used frequently, bulk texting is still uncommon among insurance agents despite having a 98% open rate. You’ll want to continue using SMS to communicate directly with your policyholders and prospective customers.
Answer quick questions
Why should your clients need to take the time to write an email or make a phone call when they just have a simple question? They don’t, at least not when you have text marketing. From questions about coverage to billing issues, your clients can reach out whenever is most convenient for them, and you can respond when the time is right for you.
A texting service that integrates with your calendar makes it incredibly easy to schedule meetings on the fly. You can also send your clients meeting and appointment reminders. A sample meeting text could be:
”Hi, Susan. This is Clay Morris with Cornerstone Insurance Company. Thank you for your interest in working with us. Does either 2 pm or 4 pm suit you to discuss your needs?”
Manage invoicing, payments, and notifications
Use text reminders to ensure that commitments are met. Send time-sensitive messages about enrollment deadlines and dates, upcoming payments, and renewal notifications. You can also use this to reach out if you need some additional information or paperwork. For example:
“Mile High Insurance Brokers: Adele, thank you for speaking with me today. Unfortunately, I am missing one last document necessary to complete your paperwork. Please get back to me via a call or a text at your earliest convenience.”
Send automated birthday texts
Insurance is all about building relationships. Sending happy birthday texts lets your clients know that you’re thinking about them. And sending a text is faster and more ecologically sound than sending a postcard. Personalizing contact this way yields up to an 8% return on investment and can help cement the family-type relationship your clients are looking for.
Ask for online reviews
Reviews can truly make or break a business. And in insurance, where the relationships are essential, you need as many positive reviews as possible. Just text a link to a potential or current customer and ask them to spend a few minutes and leave you a review. If your clients need help writing a quality review, let them know that brief is best, clarity is key, and to emphasize the personal.
Getting started with SMS marketing
If you’re interested in exploring insurance agent advertisement via text, there are lots of services out there. Do your research and pick the service that best meets your needs. At Appointible, we offer a complete texting platform with multiple functions and integrations. Text marketing is our job, so just relax and let us do what we do best.
Pick the best option for you
Start by visiting our website to sign up for a free 30-day trial. Yes, free. We don’t even ask for a credit card until you decide on a plan. Once you’ve made the commitment, there are no additional fees or penalties to change or cancel your plan.
Our basic plan gets you 500 texts per month for $25. Our largest plan offers 50,000 texts per month for $625. If you need more than 50,000 texts a month, contact us to learn about our individual plans. We can customize the perfect plan for your agency. If you pay for a year of service upfront, you’ll enjoy 20% off the yearly fee.
Next, you’ll want to decide the best way to handle your phone number. You can pick a local 10-digit phone number (a 10DLC number), a 1-800 toll-free number, or we can turn your cell or landline into a text-enabled number. This is typically the best choice for existing businesses because your number is a huge part of your branding. You can still make and receive calls – the only difference is that you will also have the option to text with your clients.
Take advantage of keywords
Keywords are something you will want to think about. Other industries use keywords to subscribe customers to contact lists and target messaging to specific groups. Insurance is a little bit different in that so much of your business is existing clients. Keywords won’t really help them; you’ll want to rely on two-way messaging to have conversations with your established customers.
Keywords can help all customers in one area, though. Make the claims process simple by letting any client text “CLAIM”. Our automated response with a link to claims paperwork will allow anyone to start a claim at any hour of the day or night, even on weekends.
New or prospective customers are precisely the people who can benefit from keywords, though. If prospective clients want information on health insurance, they can text “HEALTH” to your number and receive an automated text with a link to more information. “AUTO” and “HOME” can get customers basic information, with the understanding that they can contact you directly for more personalized data.
Once everything else is set up and you’re ready to start text marketing in earnest, you need to make people aware that you offer texting. Advertise on your website, including having a form where clients can sign up to receive messages. Social media, mailings with small freebies like magnets or stickers, and targeted print and media ads are effective ways to spread the word that texting is now available.
Insurance is a little bit different from some of the other industries that use text marketing. While other businesses use texting effectively to increase their customer base, in insurance you will use it primarily to build on your existing relationships. You want to make everything as smooth as possible for your customers, so you will be using SMS messaging primarily to communicate client-specific information in one-on-one and two-way messages. There will still be space to use bulk texts and message blasts, but that is not the primary goal of text-based insurance marketing.