For the independent insurance agent, generating enough leads to keep the pipeline full can be a challenge. One solution, while not a silver bullet, is the lead list. Neither panacea nor poison, lead lists can be an effective way to reach potential customers and grow your business.

What is a Lead List?
A lead list is a collection of names and contact information used to send out cold emails or make cold calls. A critical distinction to note is the difference between shared and exclusive lead lists. A shared list can be purchased by multiple agents—meaning there is competition and the risk that a prospect will be inundated and annoyed. Aged lists can be anywhere from 30, 60, 90, or more days old. These leads have expressed an interest in purchasing insurance—just not recently.

SPAM and List Quality
With lead lists, your agency doesn’t have any prior relationship with the person you are contacting. This cold approach could lead your agency’s communications to be miscategorized as SPAM. That is why it is critical you work from quality lead lists purchased from a reputable source.

The CAN-SPAM Act holds businesses accountable for sending SPAM to consumers. This act sets rules on how companies can engage with consumers in terms of digital marketing communications, and violations of these mandates come with very costly fines and reputational harm.

Among other things, the act stipulates businesses must:

  • Offer opt-out options to those who do not want to receive marketing materials.
  • Include an address when sending out emails or other communications.
  • Use legitimate email headers and subject lines when sending out marketing materials.

Determine List Criteria
Knowing your target customer will help in determining your list criteria. Think about your ideal client—what are their characteristics? Look to your existing customers and use their traits to create criteria. Including the right demographic criteria leads you to reach the ideal customers. Age and geographic area are examples of basic list criteria.

Keep it Current
Consider a lead list as the starting point to building a pool of qualified prospects. Remember it’s a dynamic database that must be maintained and reviewed on a regular basis. People move, needs change, what have you. Dedicate time to monitoring, updating and maintaining your lists. A campaign won’t be successful if the information on your lead list is antiquated. There is also the risk of hard bounces, which are permanent email delivery failures and considered a serious offense. It means the email addresses on your lead list are outdated, or the domains no longer exist, and the receiving servers are blocking delivery.

Scrubbing the List
A lead list is essentially the contact information of your target market. They have expressed an interest in buying insurance through behaviors like downloading gated content or subscribing to a newsletter. Before sending an email campaign or making cold calls, it is important to check your list to make sure the contact details are accurate, up to date, and meet your criteria.

Independent agents know that lead generation is pivotal to their success. Although not THE silver bullet, lead lists should have their place in your marketing strategy as supplemental to other lead generation efforts and to grow your book of businesses.