Thursday, October 30, 2014

Text messages
may not be as visually appealing as apps, but they do what they’re meant to do—get the word out. Insurance companies have jumped on the mobile marketing bandwagon with no plans to leave anytime soon, and find texting a particularly helpful tool.

It’s no secret that Americans love to text. Time reported young adults send an average of 109.5 text messages per day, and that was in 2011. Insurance companies are harnessing consumers’ proclivity for texting by creating ways for customers to pay premiums by text among other things. Texting and other forms of mobile marketing not only attract a larger customer base, they’re also highly cost-effective. Studies indicate an astounding 90 percent of texts are read within 20 minutes of delivery, and out of the 91 percent of Americans with mobile phones, 63 percent have messaging capabilities and 48.9 percent of those have unlimited messaging.

Text Takes the Lead

Truly a “dream medium” for insurance companies, mobile compares favorably to its marketing counterparts, such as direct mail, email marketing, cold calling, and television and radio advertisements. The latter is very expensive and generally does little to “strengthen brand identity,” while direct mail has a response rate of less than 3 percent. Email marketing’s “open” rate is less than 10 percent, and cold calling isn’t much better. For every 10 people that hear an insurance company message, only about two of them make an appointment.

And while people are rarely interested in the above ad mediums, they usually look at a text message the minute they hear their phones “ding.” There’s no spamming in the cellular world, and people would rather receive a text than an email. While “opting in” to receive a text message from a business is necessary to avoid harsh spamming penalties, people prefer texts to emails, and opting in makes it easy to build a substantial mobile database.

Top Use Cases

Mobile-savvy insurance agents use texting for three main reasons: appointment reminders, special occasions and e-newsletter-type communications. Quality mobile marketing systems allow users to pinpoint exactly when a text goes out, such as one day before an appointment. Special occasion text messages, like texts for a birthday, demonstrate effort on the part of the sender, and mobile “newsletters” can include information about regulatory changes, links to mobile websites or whitepapers, and much more. Sending special “VIP” customer messages is another effective strategy.

Text messaging is an inexpensive advertising method that makes measuring ROI easy, contributes to better relationships with customers, and strengthens brand recognition with prospects. It’s clearly a win-win-win-win for the insurance world.