How Independent Agents Can Use Text Messaging to Improve Communication and Increase Sales

As communication methods evolve, text messaging is becoming a more prevalent means of conducting business in a market that’s learned to adapt to consumer needs and wants. Email software giant Constant Contact reports only 13% of insurance emails are opened and some studies show phone call answer rates are as low as 5%. Conversely, one report demonstrates 89% of consumers want to text their sales and service questions to businesses. These are just a few stats that reinforce a stark reality facing health insurance agents: incorporating text messaging into every available aspect of your overall marketing and communication strategy has advanced from “a good idea” to a necessary practice.

Here are three ways you can use text messaging to your advantage:

1) Lead Generation. The first method for using texts to increase leads is very straightforward, however a surprising number of agents don’t utilize it: include texting as an option for prospects to reach you in your marketing communications. For example, change your current “Call or email me today to schedule your appointment!” to “Call, text or email me today to schedule your appointment!” Simply adding a single word to your call-to-action can increase response rates.

A second way you can use text messaging to improve lead generation may not be as universally applicable but is worth mentioning. If you’re an agent or agency with a website, there are a number of online software platforms that allow you to add a chat box to your site. Chat messages are converted and automatically sent to your phone in the form of texts. This technology allows you to communicate with prospects in real time through your website. Not only does this open another avenue for customers to reach you, but it improves positive perception by communicating that you’re immediately accessible and you take your business seriously. Be aware that in the Medicare space there are some compliance guidelines pertaining to the use of chat boxes and we’re happy to provide you with more detailed information upon request.

2) Scheduling. Text messaging simplifies the process of sending meeting confirmations and reminders to prospects and clients. Consider the fact that it takes the average person 90 minutes to respond to an email versus 90 seconds to respond to a text message. Combine this with the typical open rate of 20% for emails versus an SMS open rate of 98%. The stats go on and on, but you can see where this is going. Text messaging is a vastly more efficient means of scheduling appointments and, in an industry that relies so heavily on scheduled meetings, this increased efficiency can have a significant impact on your bottom line – and your sanity!

3) Sales. In an age of reduced attention spans and online enrollment options, some prospects prefer very little communication. Text messaging keeps things quick and simple, from confirming requests to updating clients on the status of an application. Just remember not to text any confidential or identifying information.

For those concerned with receiving texts while driving, most phones/platforms have a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” setting that informs people who send you a message that you’re currently driving and will respond when appropriate.

If you’re a small, mid- or large-sized agency, be aware there are software programs that assist with automating the process of sending and monitoring texts; multiple agents can send, receive and schedule text messages through a central online platform that increases efficiency and provides management a better window into how these text communications are performing.

Texting has obviously been around for a long time and if you’re not making the most of its capabilities then you’re likely losing business to those who do. Whether you’re an individual agent or large agency, you can benefit from making text messages an integral part of your communication strategy.

As a National Marketing Organization that works with thousands of independent agents, we understand you must generate new leads in order to grow your business. That’s why we work diligently to provide the resources necessary for successful marketing. If this information is valuable and you want to know more about the services we provide our agent partners, please contact us at marketing@berwickinsurance.com or 888-745-2320.

Important: the information provided is current and accurate to the best of our ability at the time of posting. Compliance standards change often, and we advise regularly checking with your NMO partner to ensure you’re conducting business within current state and national compliance guidelines.

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