Gaining Maximum Impact from Your Agency Newsletter

Out of sight, out of mind. It’s a basic human tendency with as many implications to marketing as it has to more personal areas of life. One of the most common marketing mistakes is to quit marketing to a prospect once the initial sale has been made. Client retention is of great value and, in a competitive marketplace, is often difficult to ensure. It is important to work just as hard to keep your current clients, as it is to generate new business. One of the most optimum ways to remain top-of-mind among clients is through an ongoing newsletter campaign.

Whether in an email or print format, effective newsletters can inform clients about relevant issues, promote products and services, reinforce the agency’s professional image and get the point across that keeping them informed about issues related to their insurance needs is one of the agency’s utmost priorities.

The Value of Newsletters Is Proven

While newsletters provide more intangible and hard-to-quantify benefits than other marketing techniques, such as advertising or direct mail, they are no less valuable to the insurance agent. Enhanced customer loyalty, knowledge and improved client relationships are key contributors to successful sales. Standard & Poor’s recently released the results of a thorough survey-based study conducted in conjunction with Northeastern University that underscores the immense marketing value of newsletters for the insurance and financial services industry.

The survey of 4,000 financial services and insurance clients found that respondents “rely on newsletters as an information source, find value in the content and are often motivated to act as a result of what they read.”

A full 83 percent of respondents read most or some of the articles and three quarters of survey participants found the content so valuable they saved articles for future reference.

The most impressive evidence of a newsletter’s marketing value is the action the respondents take as a result of reading newsletter articles. To varying degrees newsletters were shown to generate website traffic, produce referrals and urge clients to consult with their advisor about topics discussed in the newsletter.

What Makes a Good Newsletter?

Every marketing tool is a direct reflection of the agent and the agency. As such, every aspect of a newsletter should reflect professionalism and be consistent in quality. Effective agency newsletters have the following traits:

· Informative Content

To be truly useful and thought provoking, the primary goal of the newsletter should be to educate clients on topics related to their needs.

· Keep Direct Self-Promotion Secondary

Educating clients is a form of indirect and effective self-promotion that helps foster a relationship of the agent as a trusted consultant. Any direct self-promotion should be secondary to providing focused, timely and informative article content.

· Short, Concise Articles

Clients will probably only give a few minutes to absorb the key points of newsletter articles so it is best to focus on a few informative articles written in layman’s terms.

· Clean, Attractive Design

If the newsletter looks cluttered and is hard to read, clients will likely not give it the time it deserves. Develop a professional design that is consistent from issue to issue.

· Prominent Contact Info

Contact information should be prominently located for easy reference and to ensure that clients are clear about who sent the newsletter. Refer readers to a website, email address and phone number where they can get more information and assistance regarding any of the article topics.

· Consistent Distribution Schedule

Determine a distribution frequency and establish a regular production schedule. The Standard & Poor’s survey revealed that more than half of the respondents had a negative reaction to the suggestion of canceling a newsletter program, including the impression that the agent’s clients were no longer important to them, the value of the company’s service had diminished or that the company was struggling financially.