Converting the maximum amount of leads into customers is absolutely crucial for independent agents. The HubSpot team even reports that this is the number one priority for 69 percent of companies over the next 12 months.
Of course this is often something that’s easier said than done. The Ascend2 team explains that nearly half (49 percent) of businesses have a “long sales cycle” that requires a lengthy nurturing process.
And let’s face it, sometimes leads start to go cold — even those that initially looked promising. But successful insurance agents learn over time how to reheat those leads.
Here are some practical strategies for turning lukewarm leads into hot ones.
Run an Email Drip Campaign
Consistent, subtle exposure is the name of the game here. The goal is to get a lead to take notice of you so that they know who you are and that you’re capable of handling their insurance needs.
One of the best ways to go about this is with an email drip campaign, B2B Social Media Book author Jeff Cohen writes at Oracle. In fact, he reports that 78 percent of marketers cite email as being the most effective means of nurturing leads.
Marketer Joe Stych elaborates on this concept in Zapier saying that the process involves sending out emails to provide people with the right information at the right time so that you’re able to stay in touch with them. The idea is that the perpetual dripping will help a lead remember you, increasing the likelihood of them seeking you out for their insurance coverage.
Here’s an example.
Say that you had a lead that expressed some initial interest in your company, but it never panned out. You could use an email drip campaign to subtly remind them about your services and the types of coverage you offer. You might provide them with insights, tips and other helpful advice to better inform their decision and prove that you’re a credible agent they can trust.
This brings us to our next point.
Use Email Segmentation
It’s not enough to just send your leads content. Cohen says that it also needs to be relevant. Otherwise, they’re simply going to ignore it, regardless of how many touches there are in your nurture campaigns.
Email segmentation can be very effective in this. This technique involves breaking your email list into smaller groups, known as segments, to whom you send highly targeted emails, Mary Fernandez, founder of Persuasion Nation explains. And when done right, it works like a charm.
According to MailChimp, segmented campaigns have a 14.31 percent higher open-rate than non-segmented campaigns, and a 100.95 click-through rate.
This means more of your leads will open your emails and ultimately click through to the link containing your offer. This can of course have a tremendous impact on your overall conversion rate.
Fernandez goes on to discuss some specific ways you can segment your leads, which include:
- Inactivity: If someone opted in for a free insurance consultation but never followed through, you could remind them of the steps they need to take to receive it.
The key is to really zone in on each person’s specific needs and wants and send them the content they’re looking for.
Personalize Your Interactions
You can take it one step further by tailoring your content individually.
There’s a correlation between personalization and effective lead nurturing, lead generation expert Johanna Rivard at Marketing Insider Group writes, and it’s integral to helping move people throughout the different stages of the sales funnel.
“Think about it this way,” Rivard says. “Would you rather receive a marketing message reflecting generic industry and company updates OR would you prefer a message that provides you with relevant information that’s relevant to your needs and position?” She argues that virtually everyone prefers the latter.
And this isn’t just something that people wish for. It’s something that more and more have come to expect.
Research conducted by marketing engagement platform Marketo found that nearly 80 percent of consumers are only likely to engage with a company when an offer is personalized to reflect previous interactions. By 2020, over half of all consumers will expect companies to make relevant suggestions, Devin Mcginnis at Salesforce adds.
As email marketing specialist Jordie van Rijn puts it, personalization is one of the top drivers of providing real value with your emails.
So the more personalized you can be with your messaging, the better. If you’re dealing with a lead who expressed interest in a particular type of P&C insurance such as a tenant’s package, you would want to tailor your content uniquely for them and provide information on how it works, what is covered and how much it costs.
Get a Conversation Going
Lead nurturing is a process that takes time and isn’t something you want to force.
Some independent agents get themselves in trouble by trying to push everything all at once, Todd Molloy at Functional Funnels warns. Some become a little too preoccupied with getting their sales pitch out and obsess over immediately selling insurance coverage. But approach can be detrimental because people naturally become closed off, and you’ll never hear from them again.
However, it can easily be avoided simply by having a real conversation. Molloy says you shouldn’t sell them anything during outreach. Instead, focus on establishing contact and getting them to reply. Once you do that, you can continue the conversation and build rapport — something that’s critical to ultimately making conversions.
A particular technique that tends to work well for getting a conversation started is “the nine word email,” Molloy adds. You simply use the following nine words:
“Are you still looking at getting [insert your service]?”
The reason this works is because it naturally creates curiosity. And if they’re at all interested in purchasing coverage, there’s a strong likelihood that they’ll reply.
Use a Variety of Outreach Methods
Up until this point, we’ve mainly focused on email simply because it’s one of the best ways to turn up the heat on leads. But it’s certainly not the only form of outreach.
It’s also important to implement a few different approaches, especially if you’re not getting results with email, president of AgenciesOnline, Valerie Jordan writes. One technique she specifically mentions is using social media, which can be especially potent today. Rumana D’Souza at PrizmMedia agrees, saying that you may want to send a connection request on LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter.
You could always take the more traditional route and send them direct mail or call them too. The personal touch of a telephone call often makes sense if a lead’s initial interest level was high.
Tap into your database, CRM software or any other resources you have with customer information. This should increase your odds of making a connection if you’re not successful with email. But once again, you don’t necessarily want to go for the hard sell.
Yaniv Masjedi, CMO at business communication company Nextiva suggests that you begin by touching on an interest they’ve displayed in the past and take it from there.
Above All Else, Be Helpful
One of the main reasons customers choose independent agents over larger companies is the level of attention they get. The one-on-one connection where an agent acts as a trusted advisor is very appealing. Matt Robertson at classic car insurance company Leland-West says that the best independent agents help customers understand the often complicated world of insurance and communicate it in a way that’s easy to understand.
You can often kickstart a relationship and get lukewarm leads to take notice by going out of your way to be helpful. The team at Haley Marketing writes that addressing a prospect’s biggest challenges is a great way to do this. This might include how-to tips on matters relevant to that person, such as topics relevant to his job. So, if your lead is in human resources, you might forward an interesting article on new hiring practices.
Regardless of the medium you’re using, place your emphasis on being helpful and the rest should fall into place.
Bringing Cold Leads Back to Life
It’s less expensive and easier to bring cooled leads back to life than generate new ones from scratch, The Masterminder Exchange cofounder and Studio 15 CEO Jia Wertz writes at Forbes. After all, they’re already in your sales funnel and have some knowledge of your offerings. It’s simply a matter of reawakening their interest and reminding them why you’re worth doing business with.
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