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SMS & Push Notification Best Practices For Insurance Agencies

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An Overview of SMS

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing (short message service marketing) is a technique that uses permission-based text messaging to spread promotional messages. When a five-digit code is texted, that user's phone number is then stored by whatever SMS marketing software is issuing the texts. Like email marketing, CAN SPAM is then required with each text message that allows the user to reply to stop.
 

Why Insurance Agencies Should Use SMS

If you are an agency looking to increase engagement with clients here are some encouraging data points for using SMS marketing as part of your marketing mix:
  • SMS has a click-through rate of 19%.
  • On average, people read text messages within 5 seconds of receipt.
  • SMS affordability per impression is lowest in the industry, on par with email marketing.
  • SMS traffic reached more than two trillion impressions in 2020.
(Source: Emarketer 2021)
 

What Business Marketing Challenges SMS Solves

Historically, SMS marketing messages have been best used to facilitate transactional communications from businesses to their consumers. Think billing, paying invoices, and post-purchase surveys. As SMS marketing has evolved and become more common, users are now more willing to receive marketing communications from businesses as long as the messages are timely or positioned as exclusive.
 

Some SMS Marketing Best Practices

  • Get Permission: Include opt-in in new preference center, create SMS opt-in email campaign to launch SMS, or include opt-in as part of future event RSVP signup.
  • Keep Messages Concise: Messages should be brief and to the point and direct users to what to do next. No one wants to read a long paragraph in a text message.
  • Make Opting Out Easy: Using text 2 or reply back to stop. SMS complaints are even more impactful on delivery than email marketing.
  • Use a Brand-Friendly Short Code: SMS marketing messages must be sent from a five- or six- digit number.
  • Use Fun Conversation Starters: Text “Quotes” to our short code to get a copy of the latest quoting plan lineup.
  • Respond in Real Time:  Set up auto-responders based on replies the user texts back, so the SMS campaign flows like a conversation with a friend that always text messages back fast. EX: “Text 1 to RSVP”, Reply: “Great. We will see you at The Client Overview Webinar on May 22nd!”
 

An Overview of Push Notification Marketing

What is Push Notification Marketing?

Push notifications are messages sent directly from a user-installed mobile app (WBBroker) or website that displays on a user’s mobile device while in either an active use or locked device state of operation.
 

Why Insurance Agencies Should Use Push

If your agency has or will have a mobile app, here are some data-driven reasons why you should consider using push notifications:
  • Recent data shows that 55% to 60% of all mobile users opt-in to receive push notification messages.
  • Push notifications can increase app engagement by up to 88%.
  • Sixty-five percent of users return to an app within 30 days when push is enabled.
  • Push notifications can boost app retention rate up 3X to 8X.
  • Push notification open rate benchmarks are 50%+.
(Source: Egoi 2021)
 

Communication Challenges Push Notifications Solve

Push notifications help deliver timely and relevant information to users even if the user is not active in one of your apps. They can also be used for transactional-based messages while users are engaged with your app.
 
 Some Push Marketing Best Practices
  • Personalization is Priceless: This requires gaining insights about your users’ behavior and preferences while using your apps. The goal should be to use both behavioral data from the app along with information that your users provide to make push messages hyper-personal.
  • Customize Permissions: As with SMS, you should have notifications options for push notifications in app that allow users to choose which type of notifications they receive.
  • Keep Messages Concise: Push notifications should be brief and to the point and direct users to what to do next. Use 60-90 characters for Android and no more than 120 characters on iOS. Include images when appropriate as images increase CTR.
  • Make Turning Push Notifications Off Easy: Make sure users can easily find notifications settings inside the app to turn off notifications.
  • Leverage Location Whenever Possible:  Data shows engagement increases significantly, when notifications can be personalized based on location.
  • Data Driven Updates For Logged-In Users: Use the information available within the app to tailor the content in push messages.
  • Always Provide Action in Alerts: If a user cannot either log back in to your app or click directly on the notification to complete an action, you should not be sending a push notification to them. Push messages should always provide an actionable next step.
 
About the Author: Kalup Alexander is Digital Marketing Director for The Word & Brown Companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in New Media Communications and Marketing from Oregon State University, and has been at Word & Brown since 2014.
 

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