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Customer Spotlight Interview: Sheltra Insurance on Email Marketing
Meet Jessie Sheltra -- shes a business owner and a fan of email marketing. Learn how she manages to run her business with the help of email and the encouragement of her customers.
How long have you owned your business and what was the inspiration behind starting it?
Ive been in business since 2004. My inspiration is my family, who are also business owners. They taught me that good service is the key to being successful. Along with great customer service, communication and an enjoyable experience are also important when starting a business. If you can truly understand what a customer needs, youll be able to launch a successful business.
What does your business do?
Sheltra Insurance is an independently owned and operated insurance office. We offer multiple carriers with a variety of insurance options to fit the clients needs. Our main objective is fulfilling the needs of our customers and building longstanding relationships now and well into the future. We currently have four employees, including myself.
What types of advertising do you currently use?
My business primarily uses print marketing, which includes magazines, yellow pages, community guides, billboards, building and car signs, and email marketing. We also host community events. However, I have found that email marketing is one of the most successful and rewarding tools available.
Why did you decide to start using email?
I began using email because as the years progressed I noticed clients using emails as their preferred method of contact. Emails are also more reliable and efficient than print. With the use of different templates Im able to change how I market, to whom, when and how often. Ive used emails also to help inform customers of changes or enhancements to specific products and/or agency services as well. This has allowed me to be in constant contact with my customers and future referrals.
How do you define success when it comes to email marketing?
Email marketing has worked well and we continue to see higher response rates, open communication rates and referral rates. We define success based on referrals and how often our existing customers obtain additional insurance policies through us. Clients allowing our company to help them with other insurance needs or services is the best way possible for us to grow. Email marketing helps us to reaffirm the relationship with our customers and keeps us top of mind so theyll continue to work with us.
The drawback of email marketing is you cant always be sure if the person receives the email. The final issue is always, did the customer read the email and find it convincing? The only way to know for sure is if they respond. Many times our customers will call us after they have received an email to ask more questions and/or speak about a certain insurance policy. But putting the information out there in the first place allows us to be top of mind.
What have been the biggest benefits of using email marketing for your small business?
The biggest benefit of email marketing is the savings. I no longer have to pay for shipping, stamps or paper goods. The biggest expense is the time it takes to tailor the content and create the right template, but its still significantly less time than other marketing weve tried.
What advice would you give to another business that wants to begin using email marketing?
The most important advice I would give is:
Always leave an opening for the customer to want to respond to you. You need to earn their business, not just assume youre the only game in town.
Jessie concludes with one more bit of advice for other small business owners: Remember that you are your business too. The customers need to believe as much in you as your product."
Interested in learning more? Check out the Business Hub's Email Marketing section.