We all know email is inexpensive. Yet diminishing deliverability rates and reader fatigue make significant email return on investment (ROI) elusive for some marketers.
Not so for Kestler Financial Group (KFG). This national field marketing organization, which serves the needs of independent agents, generated $5.5 million in sales in one month with its email campaign. It achieved an estimated $4,400 ROI for every dollar spent.
KFG uses email not so much as a marketing medium as a tool for exchanging valuable information with agents. Agents can significantly increase their sales and profits by using the sales ideas contained in KFG email.
It Started Organically
"When we started, we didn't even have an email list," said KFG's VP Jason Kestler. "We started to create emails offering agents our "Sales Ideas of the Month," and the list began to grow." In the beginning, these were text email messages that asked brokers to email or call KFG with data on quotes. But because the messages didn't contain a form to gather data directly from the email, response rates were minimal.
Response Rates Jump
The company turned to ExactTarget to create an interactive email containing a quote form and links to sales resources. Now, KFG sends bimonthly email messages that enable brokers to request an immediate annuity quote.
The new interactive message also makes it easier for KFG to provide agents with more, and better, sales ideas. This sample offers a CD-ROM full of sales tips.
"In the past, we sent emails that were asking for information but didn't give anything in return," said Kestler. "The trackability of email made us take a look at how we could add incentives for our brokers. Our emails now include sales information, personal incentives, and selling tools."
No Reader Fatigue
KFG emails brokers weekly. Because the company's constantly offering new, business-boosting information, the list hasn't experienced any reader fatigue. E-mail is personalized, including information on the broker's product types, such as annuities, long-term care, and life insurance.
With its tracking system, KFG can identify exactly when brokers request quotes, which is often after business hours. If the broker requests a quote at 3 a.m., the sales force has an instant opening, "You must be busy if you're requesting quotes so late at night..."
E-Mail Creates Competitive Advantage
Kestler says returns are unprecedented. "In one month alone, we saw quotes increase by over $12 million -- $5.5 million of which already converted to sales." CTRs (define) can be as high as 24 percent and open rates often settle around 50 percent.
"No one in our space is utilizing email this way," said Kestler, pointing out most competitive email directs brokers to Web sites, where the broker must log in with a user name and password. With KFG's interactive message, brokers can input data right into the email itself and hit the submit button. The broker gets sales information and KFG gets information to deliver a quote.
Stop thinking of email as an electronic letter. Explore making it an interactive form. It just may be the ROI-booster your campaign needs.
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Karen Gedney, an award-winning creative director and copywriter, shared her insights as a ClickZ Experts contributor from 2000 through 2009. She was known for her successful track record of achieving high e-mail response rates for Fortune 1000 companies and leading organizations. She died Nov. 16, 2010.
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