E-mail marketing is a fantastic way to maintain contact with your customers, develop new relationships, and grow your book of business. That’s the good news. The bad news: The secret is out and consumers are getting bombarded with marketing e-mail. To make sure your campaign is successful you’ll need to follow best practices. Here are four tips that will help you make your next e-mail campaign more successful:

1. Balance marketing messages with quality educational content
The reason you’re sending your e-mail is to market your insurance products, but avoid the temptation to push your offer until after you’ve given your readers something of value. If you give them good content, it ensures that your e-mails get opened and read. If you don’t, your e-mails will quickly get deleted without ever being opened. I recommend at least a three-to-one ratio of educational content to marketing.

2. Test, test, and test again
It’s amazing how changing a few words in a subject line can triple (or more) a campaign’s response rate. Before sending your campaign to your entire list, set aside a segment to test different variations. You can test subject lines (try putting your agency name and a hyphen before the subject), the from address (try your name and the agency name), and the offer. You’ll want to track the open rate and click through rate. With time, you’ll learn what works for your market.

3. Provide a clear call-to-action
Your e-mails should always lead your readers somewhere. This can be a resource to learn more, a calculator, product details, or a quote request form. Make sure the instructions are clear, the link is separated, and you tell the reader exactly what to expect. Use the phrase “Click here to” in your link – “Click here to learn more” is much clearer than “learn more.”

4. Avoid the red flags of spam
Spam filters can kill your campaigns before you even get started. Follow a few simple rules to greatly reduce the risk of having your e-mails go into the black hole of spam filters. Avoid using “sale,” “discount,” “free,” or other common spammy words in your e-mail. You can easily test your campaigns by signing up for free accounts at Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! and sending your campaign to your new addresses. No matter what you do, don’t mention Viagra!

More e-mail marketing tips.

Aaron Kassover, managing partner of AgentMethods LLC, has spent the last 10 years helping insurance carriers, agencies and brokers bring their services online. He has applied this knowledge to the development of AgentMethods, a Web site platform for insurance agents, agencies and brokers. For more information, visit Aaron’s Web site at www.agentmethods.com.

Check out more sales & marketing articles from Aaron Kassover.