Filed Under:Your Practice, Sales Marketing

Email Marketing: A Study in Demographics

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Email marketing isn’t glamorous or cutting edge, but it is still one of the best ways to reach out to clients. It is also inexpensive. Any insurance agent with an electronic address book can start email marketing today and can continue throughout the year for practically nothing. Furthermore, the demographics of email marketing make this one of the sweet spots for insurance agents. Here is a look at why most big brand name companies haven’t abandoned email — and why you shouldn’t either.

Why email?

“Hasn’t email been replaced by social media networks and fancy widget apps?” you might ask. Actually, according to a recent 2012 survey, 77% of consumers stated that email was their preferred way to receive promotional messages. For adults over the age of 35, email was preferred by roughly 80% over direct mail, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, mobile apps, LinkedIn or telephone solicitations.

Email is preferable because it is perceived to be a safe medium that is minimally intrusive, easy to save and painless to access. The study looked at content, immediacy, accessibility, privacy, formality and initiation of message delivery, and found that email scored the best out of any form of communication medium as rated by consumers.

Another recent study revealed that email is a much better driver for online purchases than social media. This is partly because almost everyone has an email account, while the number of different social media platforms segment and divide viewers. In addition, many large companies block social media sites from their employees, but they do not block email access. Then there is what I call the star successful email factor: The most successful people I know don’t belong to any social media networks, but they do use email. How about you?

Email demographics and tools

Email also has the advantage of age. Email has been around for a long time and it has been studied at length. Users have been divided into large demographic groups according to location, socioeconomic data and what kinds of email accounts they hold. For example:

  • Gmail users are more likely to be young, affluent males without children.
  • AOL users tend to be women between the ages of 35-64 with children. They tend to be overweight.
  • Yahoo users tend to be women between the ages of 18-49 with children. They tend to be overweight.
  • Hotmail users tend to be younger unmarried women 18-34, without children.

Studies have even looked at which types of email account holders have higher response rates and when during the day a message is most likely to be read by a given group. Two large online marketing websites, Market Research and eMarketer, specialize in online marketing tools and reports. Here is a quick look at the type of information each provides:

MarketResearch.com

Market research.com provides extensive paid reports including a variety of demographic reports. An extensive search engine makes it easy to search for reports by age, location, date, socioeconomic status and buying habits. There is an advanced keyword search section to further refine search criterion.

eMarketer.com

eMarketer provides a free daily newsletter, which includes articles and a blog about online marketing. In addition, eMarketer covers a variety of the social media marketing developments.

Using demographic research in email campaigns

Demographic research makes it possible to further tailor email campaigns to your client list. Timing and content should provide email that is most relevant to your area and clients. For example, older AOL users can be targeted all day, while Google users are best reached in the evening or during their lunch hour.

Email demographics combined with client data make it possible to send out even more directed emails. The opportunities are almost endless. Targeted emails are essential because they are more likely to be read rather than deleted.

Here are a few tips for composing email:

  • Offer industry information that is important to each group of clients. For example, “Congress Weighs Changes to Medicare Funding,” should be sent to older clients, while “5 Ways to Save Money on Your Insurance Premiums,” could be sent to anyone nearing policy renewal.
  • Send out amusing information. Nothing is more appreciated than a good laugh. Insurance does not always need to be serious!
  • Send out promotional offers that are relevant to your client list.
  • Send out short PR announcements; for example, “ABC Insurance has recently added Dr. Doyle to our staff to help answer all of your health insurance questions.”
  • Do not send out useless, long or directly promotional emails.
  • Always include a signature with additional contact information.
  • Send email regularly, but not too often.

Convinced yet? As a businessperson, email is one of your most useful marketing tools, and it’s how your clients want to be contacted. Implement these tips and see what a difference they make in your practice.

For more from Lisa Pluth, see:

Google+ for Agents: Sowing Seeds for Tomorrow’s Business

Social Media: Researching the Competition

The Agent Face in Facebook

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