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Why you shouldn’t buy email lists and what to do instead

February 24, 2023 by ClientCircle

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Whether you’re starting out as a new insurance agency or are simply looking to grow your leads, it can be tempting to purchase a list of emails. However, this can backfire and do much more harm than good.

Here are the top three reasons why you shouldn’t purchase email lists and what to do instead.

1. There could be significant repercussions

You don’t know with certainty where the people on the email list live, their age and if they’ve consented to being contacted. For example, do you know if anyone on the list is a minor or lives in a country or state that has strict data privacy laws? Regulations such as GDPR and the CAN-SPAM act regulate data privacy and unsolicited email marketing, and you want to abide by all the rules.

2. It damages your email reputation

If you’re sending strangers unsolicited messages from an email list you purchased, many of them will mark your email as spam, damaging the reputation of your IP address. For-sale email lists often contain spam honeypots—email addresses designed to catch spammers. If your email reputation is damaged enough, your IP address could be put on a blacklist, preventing you from being able to send emails.

3. The return on investment is low

Do you respond to unsolicited emails? Probably not. And prospects on email lists likely won’t either. This means the money you spent to purchase the list won’t lead to many new customers, if any. Businesses that sell contact information are often selling the same data to other companies too, so your email will just be lost in their inbox.

You may have received advice to simply not use your real business email address or domain to communicate with prospects and to set up a look-alike email or domain instead. Don’t do it. In addition to violating the email rules we shared above, you will create confusion and compromise the integrity of your business. It’s just not worth it.

So, what are your options for generating more business without buying lists?

Collect more client emails

Start with the data you have and clean it up. If you’re missing the email addresses of your own customers, you’re missing out on opportunities to cross-sell to them via email. Encourage your team to enter email addresses in your management system as they’re talking to clients. You’ll be able to communicate with them about their policies and show them any coverage they may be missing down the road.

Partner with other businesses

Build relationships with other businesses and professionals in your area. Realtors, mortgage brokers, home inspectors, car dealerships and financial advisors are all working with clients who need insurance. Introduce yourself and your agency to these networks and tell them about the services you provide. Send them thank you cards when they refer prospects to you and don’t forget to recommend them in return if your clients, friends or family members could benefit from their services. Provide an extra special touch by sending them a birthday card each year, so you stand out as an agent who goes the extra mile.

Send unique, targeted content

The average person receives around 100 emails per day. You want to stand out with messages that feel like they were written just for your customers instead of being sent to a mass list. Try sending an article or podcast they'll enjoy. They may forward your email to friends who will be impressed by the personalized service you provide.

Focus on generating warm leads

Warm leads are more than eight times more likely to convert than cold leads. When people are shopping for insurance, they often ask their friends or family for recommendations. If you’ve kept your current customers happy, they’ll be likely to recommend your agency. When that warm prospect reaches out, you’ll be working with someone who is much more likely to become a customer. And don’t forget to send the client who referred them a thank you note so they’ll continue to recommend you in the future.

Be available to prospects in a way they prefer

Having an online chat option on your website and on other platforms you use is an approachable way for people to get in touch. When prospects are shopping online, they can reach out with questions or request a quote without needing to pick up the phone. Making the experience easier for them creates a great first impression, so they know they’ll receive quick, personalized service once they become a customer.

Try something different

Create a memorable experience by sending prospects a handwritten card. It’s unlikely other agencies would take the time to write a card to them. It may just be the personal touch they’re looking for in a long-term insurance agent.

You have options for growing your agency without damaging your reputation. If you’re looking for a way to do all these things and more, ClientCircle can help.

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*Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.