Email Marketing is Not Dead

What comes to mind when you think of email marketing? For some, it feels like the “old school” of digital, given all of the advancements in social media marketing and overall digital advertising and many still wonder if email marketing still works. Old school or not, email marketing still produces the highest ROI for businesses with an average of $38 for every $1 invested.

Here’s an example of how we have helped a client leverage email marketing to generate contact forms through their website.

The Background

Kahrl & Company Insurance is a 100-plus year-old independent insurance agency based in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, with additional locations in Mt. Gilead and Sunbury, Ohio. Like many insurance agencies, they offer coverage in home, auto, health, life and commercial.

I sat down with Kahrl & Co owner, Josh Kirby, in the summer. Up to this point, we had partnered with them to run brand awareness digital display ad campaigns on Knox Pages, an online news platform in Knox County.

The Need

Like most businesses, lead generation and prospecting was essential to his business growth. He shared that oftentimes this happens through auto insurance, since it’s a pain point that everyone experiences. That conversation then will open doors to cross-sell into other policies.

Though the brand awareness marketing campaigns that we run on Knox Pages are valuable from an awareness perspective, I recognized that ultimately his need was insurance leads. He was using a variety of avenues to try to achieve this, including home magazine ads, print ads, radio streaming ads and even direct mailers. However, no one can take direct action from these ads, and because of that, it is really difficult to monitor results.

The Path

Knowing Kirby had already tried targeted mailers, I recommended considering a targeted email advertising campaign. The campaign had 3 components: (1) an initial email sent to 30,000 email addresses, (2) a second email send 14 days later to openers from the first email, and (3) a 30-day re-targeted ad campaign (at least 1 Kahrl & Co ad would appear somewhere on an opener’s web usage throughout the day).

We targeted their audience to 2 different segments. The first segment included females between 30-50 with children, homeowner, married with a household income above $50,000. The second segment targeted married females between the ages of 51-60 with an income above $50,000. Both segments were geo-targeted to the 3 counties where Kahrl & Co have physical offices.

In our first email we focused on 3 common frustrations that people feel when dealing with insurance companies, positioning Kahrl & Co as a different solution. By highlighting frequently experienced pain points, we were able to emphasize Kahrl & Co’s quick customer service (no long phone trees), custom service (not a one-size-fits-all approach) and thorough and easy-to-understand policies (no more having to decipher a bunch of fine print on your own).

We sprinkled multiple call-to-action buttons throughout the email that allowed people to find their local office, fill out a contact form to chat with a local agent and explore options for home, auto and commercial insurance.

We followed up the first email with a second email that focused on two client stories – one from a homeowner who switched and saved a lot of money, and another from a local business owner who combined his business policies through Kahrl & Co. We wanted to leverage social proof from real life stories to support the solutions to the 3 pain points in the first email. 

Again, we included multiple call-to-actions to encouraged people to request a quote and find their local agent. 

Meanwhile, after someone opened one of the two emails they would begin seeing a Kahrl & Co ad within their regular internet usage for 30 days. 

The Outcomes

The first email had a 14.67% open rate (4,400 of 30,000 emails) with a 2.44% click rate (732 total clicks). The highest link asset clicked was the testimonials link (22.27%). This wasn’t surprising since we were targeting top of the funnel leads, and a common step is to explore social proof. 

The second highest link clicked on was the button to find a local office (14.62%). From this email we also saw 54 clicks directly to their webform to request a quote. 

The second email was sent approximately 2 weeks later. Out of the 4,400 emails sent, we received a 15.48% open rate (681) with a 1.52% click rate (67 total). This time we saw a 1 click difference between the testimonials link (26.87%) and the request a quote link (25.37%). 

The digital display ad campaign delivered nearly 45,000 impressions to the 4,400 email openers over 30 days, receiving a .16% click rate. 

Overall, in the span of 30 days we were able to drive close to 800 clicks into Kahrl & Co’s website, with over 70 directly to their request a quote page. We cannot say for sure whether all 70 of those visitors completed the form as that would be tracked through the client’s analytics account, which was not within the scope of our immediate project. However, if we assume even a 20% form completion rate, that would provide Kahrl & Co at least 14 brand new leads in a single month. 

Considering the competitiveness within the insurance industry and that it’s viewed kind of like going to the dentist for many people, the results we were able to achieve through a single email marketing campaign were very encouraging. Just think what could be achieved with an ongoing strategy!

Interested in seeing how email marketing might work for your organization? Let’s talk!