Using distribution lists for email marketing? You’re doing it wrong

January 10, 2013 Laird Rixford

Recently, I talked with a prospective (now) customer about how many distribution lists AgencyBuzz supports. I asked about his current email marketing strategy and why a large amount of mailing lists was important to him. What he said shocked me. He had a distribution list for almost everything: auto prospects, home prospects, auto customers, home customers, auto lost, home lost (these were repeated for each line of business his agency offered), age groups, cities, primary agents, referral sources, and many more. I admire his organization as many agencies that do email marketing do not even categorize their lists and simply send untargeted, mass email blasts.

However, this setup can cause long-term problems. Each time a contact changes status, someone has to manually move the contact from one list to another. This manual list maintenance is time consuming and can be an error-prone strategy. I want to suggest a better way.

Auto Segmentation

Segmenting your contact list based upon data and metrics within the account records. allows you to send targeted mailings to a subset of your entire list without having to manage them in multiple distribution lists. Here are some of the best segmentations that are given to you in any state-of-the-art email marketing system.

Birthday & Age
With a contact's birthday, you can not only send birthday greetings, but you can also segment contacts by age to target them based on demographic needs. As an example, you can now send a mailing on long-term care insurance to all contacts within your system that are between the ages of 50 and 60.

Agency Contact & Location
Does your agency have multiple agents and/or locations? If so, segmenting your lists by the contact's primary agent or location allows you to send targeted mailings such as office closings, new employees or direct touch communications that solidify the agent/customer relationship.

Referral Source
Did you get a lot of leads from a special community event that your agency sponsored? Segment your contacts based upon referral source. Send them emails about how it was great to meet them at the event reminding them how fun and awesome your agency is. Then next year send another email inviting them to this year's bigger and better event and, asking them to invite their friends.

Categorize your lists according to distances from a certain ZIP code so you can send hyper -targeted mailings about events that are going on within your customers' specific neighborhoods. Community events, road and school closures and other helpful local information engage readers and strengthen your relationships with people in your community.

Ever have a carrier stop offering a program that many of your customers have purchased? Have commission terms changed? Send your customers updated carrier information, and let them know you can offer something better if they're interested.

Line of Business
This segment can take the most time to manage when using distribution lists. AgencyBuzz, however, makes it easy to move clients from one relationship status within a line of business to another, reducing the chance of errors from copying contacts from one list to another. Simply select the new relationship status for the line of business, and you are done. In this easy-to-use section, you can manage this contact's status within an unlimited number of product lines.

Cross Sell
The above section makes it easy to create cross sell segmentations as well. For example, just tell the system to send a drip marketing campaign to all contacts who are homeowner customers but not a prospect or customer of automobile.
There are many other ways that you can segment your lists, such as hobbies, newsletter interests, SIC Codes, anniversary dates, employer, and policy expiration dates (xDate).

Segmentations are only limited by your marketing system or the data that it contains. If your data and system allow it, you could theoretically send an email to all motorcycle owners between the ages of 30 and 40 with families who do not have a life insurance policy with you.

I really had a hard time thinking of a situation where you would need to place contacts within a distribution list. The best one I came up with is if you offered a specialized newsletter that catered to a specific hobby or personal interest.

I hope that you now take a new look at how a reliance on distribution lists may limit your ability to properly target your contacts with meaningful communication. Many of the segmentations and features above are already included within AgencyBuzz. To learn more, feel free to contact us today.

Oh yeah, AgencyBuzz also supports unlimited distribution lists, both public and private.

About the Author

Laird Rixford

As CEO, Laird Rixford is responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership for the company. Rixford has a proven executive management track record and has more than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship and insurance technology. An expert in insurance technology and marketing, Laird is a recognized public speaker and has presented at industry events across the United States.

Follow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin More Content by Laird Rixford
Previous Article
Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Hit Publish on Your Next Blog Post
Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Hit Publish on Your Next Blog Post

To improve your blogging, ask yourself these nine questions before you publish your next blog post on your ...

Next Article
Operation Agency Success: AgencyBuzz and Email Marketing for Insurance

Learn more about how insurance agency marketing system AgencyBuzz helps agents with their email marketing.