Email is the lifeblood of a good sales strategy. You don’t need to be the best writer or even have the best email system to be successful. All you need are a few ideas and some commonsense guidance to get more callbacks from your email prospecting.
 Subject lines
Research shows that 35 percent of email recipients open a message based on the subject line alone. So if your message has a bad or even a mediocre subject line, you’re already starting behind the eight ball.
Think of the subject line like the lens cap on a camera. Even the very best cameras will take the same dark photo if there is an obstruction. Don’t let your subject line be the obstruction.
Keep subject lines short, sweet and relevant. Email experts say that 65 characters is the ideal length of an email subject line.
Here are some suggestions that you might try to incorporate into your next sales email subject line.
Hello, [first name] — your new rates are almost ready to review.
How much is 10 minutes worth to you?
Your recent insurance rates for [specific item]
 Ask questions
Questions elicit responses. People want to share their knowledge and information when questions are directed at them. I would not recommend jumping right in with the meat and potatoes of your sales pitch, however. Saturated sales questions like that can be tough to digest for prospects in the investigative stage, so jumping right in with “What are you looking for in your insurance policy?” might not get your email inbox blowing up with responses. Softer, less direct approaches just might, though.
“Would you be interested in a free insurance consultation over the phone?”
“If I can save you $100 or more, would you be interested in a quick review of your policies?”
“Is there a good time to discuss what best fits your situation?”
Consider the placement of your question as well. Asking up front, or even in the subject line, might get different responses than asking at the end of your short sales email, when the answers might be more detailed.
Don’t ask more than two questions in the same email. Just one question is best so you’re not scattering directives in your email and confusing your prospect.
 Provide examples
Real-world examples or estimated models that closely resemble the real thing are a powerful asset to have in your sales arsenal. Life insurance agents often do this to model out a prospect’s financial landscape. When customers see examples of how a service or product impacts their life, finances and risk potential, they can more easily visualize the need or at least see the concepts you’re pitching in practical terms. This validates your approach and the service or product being offered.
You might be asking, “Well, how do I prepare an example when I don’t have much information on the prospect?’
This is where the email questions above are especially useful. Ask your prospect whether they are interested in having a personalized example, unique to their situation, prepared for them. This allows you to offer the example and gives you time to prepare one if they are receptive to your approach.
 Time sensitivity
The element of time is a staple of the ad world and for good reason. It gets a reaction. Recall the restaurant coupons with expiration dates or the latest TV commercial that says “offer ends soon.” This doesn’t translate directly to insurance leads, since you don’t have the ability to offer time-sensitive discounts, but it can be used more indirectly. Consider the following:
Is there a new law that is changing on a specific date that could impact your prospects?
What seasonal changes may impact your prospect’s coverage or premiums?
A different approach to this might be your own availability. An example would be to let the prospect know that you are available for the next two weeks for a phone consultation to focus on getting them the best coverage. Although you may still be available after that period, you’ve provided a window for them that puts a value on your time and effort. This shows that you’re focused on their needs for that period of time and offers a small hint at the scarcity of your time after that period.
 Personal touch
Personalization is a vital part of making people feel comfortable. We call friends by their first names for a reason and treating your prospects this way can disarm even the coldest shoulder.
Use your prospect’s name in your email subject line or as the greeting out of the gate. “Hi, thanks for your email, Josh” sounds better than “Hi, thanks for your email.”
Remember that personalization can be more than just calling your prospect by name. Try personalizing the experience by creating a “customized” analysis of their risk, future plans or personal situation. The more specific you make your pitch, the more you’re talking directly to your prospect’s needs and personalizing your service. That leads to prospect interest and ultimately more callbacks.
 Value selling
Value is not just cost-centric. Your prospects may find value in the amount of time you can save them, the comprehensive features of the policy you’re recommending, or the ease of transitioning them from one plan to another.
It goes without saying, however, that most people are looking for products and services where “best” and “cheapest” intersect. But what if you know you cannot compete with another agent or carrier on price? That’s where you need to focus on value selling.
In your prospecting emails, try to identify the value for your prospect immediately. If you know other agents or carriers can’t compete on the service level, leverage that and try to sell the sizzle up front, not the steak. Many customers are willing to pay more for significant value, provided it’s presented in the right way.
 Share content
You may have heard the phrase “Content is king.” If you have a blog, you should use it to share your latest and best content. This validates your expertise for your prospects.
However, if you don’t have a blog, you still can share content. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
Leverage data from your carrier to show prospects the market conditions.
Email prospects a tip sheet on common insurance mistakes that could cost them money.
Send a checklist of what to look for in an insurance policy, carrier or agency.
 Social proof
Social proof can be anything from testimonials and published quotes to awards and website badges, among some others. It’s a way to inform prospects that you’re not only worth your salt, but you can prove it!
Because insurance is an intangible product and customers are opting for you to act on their behalf for a “service,” leveraging social proof helps you rise above the numbers and validates you and your agency.
One study said more than 70 percent of Americans look at product reviews before making a purchase. Since they most likely will research who you are anyway, it might help make it easier for a prospect if you offer up your social proof for them.
Append your awards/recognition to your email signature.
Leverage a short testimonial in your email signature.
Add relevant and trusted website badges to your site or emails (Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, A.M. Best, Moody’s, SSL/Verisign, etc.).
Include your social profiles in your email signature.
 Use humor
Jokes can be lighthearted or whimsical, and can help you disarm the most stubborn person. But some discretion is essential if you go this route. I’ve seen some classy examples that related to the product or industry, and I’ve witnessed others that were cringe-worthy.
If you’re going to add a touch of humor, remember that professionalism is never a bad thing.
 Simplicity wins
Keep it simple! Complexity will kill even the best sales strategy. What that means is: Don’t waste their time or yours. Email marketing to prospects should be straightforward and easily digestible.
There are many ways to get more callbacks from your prospecting emails, and there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Go forth and test a few of these. You’ll be getting more callbacks and setting up new appointments in no time.