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Email Marketing Helps Sheltra Insurance Get the Word Out

Owning a business is in Jessie Sheltra’s blood: The owner of Sheltra Insurance in Yuma, AZ, says the idea to start her own business came from other family members who have done the same thing. Sheltra is an independently owned and operated insurance office that offers multiple carriers with a variety of insurance options to fit clients’ needs. It currently has four employees, including Jessie. That means time and resources are tight, especially when trying to market the business.

We caught up with Jessie to learn why she considers email marketing and the encouragement of her customers to be the best ways to get the word out about her business.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I’ve been in business since 2004. My inspiration is my family, who are also business owners. They taught me that good customer service is the key to being successful, along with communication and an enjoyable experience. If you can truly understand what a customer needs, you’ll be able to launch a successful business.

How do you get the word out about your business?

We primarily use 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 I’m able to change how I market, to whom, when and how often. I’ve used email to help inform customers of changes or enhancements to specific products, and about 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?

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 they’ll continue to work with us.

The final issue is always, did the customer read the email and find it convincing? Many times our customers will call us after they’ve received an email to ask more questions or to 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 it’s still significantly less time than other marketing we’ve tried.

What advice would you give to another business that wants to begin using email marketing?

The most important advice I would give is:

  • Know your products, know your customers
  • The more reliable your information is, the better
  • Make sure the content is fresh, relevant and up-to-date
  • Make sure the message really aligns with the call to action
  • Always give the customer an opportunity to respond

Have you ever found anything "unexpected" at Staples that you never knew we carried? What was it, and how do you use it?

Whenever I shop at Staples.com, or visit my local Staples store, I am always happy to see the new technology that’s available so I can consider new ways to improve my office’s productivity. Sometimes I also find unexpected gadgets or do-dads that help make the office fun, too, which helps keep my employees in great mood throughout the day and create an overall friendly and energetic work environment.

Finally, do you have any advice for others who want to grow their business?

Two things: First, you always need to earn a customer’s business. Never assume you’re the only game in town. And also, remember that you are your business too. The customers need to believe in you as much as they believe in your product.

How does your business make more happen? We want to know! Share your story with us in the Comments section below, and we might contact you for a future article.

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