Driving quotes for Aviva through email frequency testing
Alchemy Worx uses increased email frequency to give a 48% rise in the number of quotes and 4 fold increases in clicks for Aviva Background.
Aviva UK Direct Insurance have retained the services of email marketing agency Alchemy Worx since 2004. Initially the UK’s largest insurer needed a partner who could quickly and efficiently improve their email production so that they could outsource parts of it and take pressure off their internal team.
"Working with Alchemy Worx means we not only get the benefit of specialist expertise in email, but also the flexibility of an agency that can scale to the campaign as it grows." -Zara Timms, Digital Marketing Manager, Aviva
As Aviva’s email program grew, so did their need for specialist email strategies to maximize the return on investment from their existing customer base. In 2012, Alchemy Worx started to develop a strategy for increasing send frequency so that the Aviva Acquisitions team could reach out more often to prospects and tell their brand story in the lead up to renewal. “Whether they are purchasing home insurance or shoes”, says Alchemy Worx CEO Dela Quist “consumers won’t engage with an email they don’t receive and won’t remember a brand that they don’t see regularly.”
Many insurers send just one email per year to prospects, sent in the month before they are due to renew their insurance, but Aviva wanted to improve on the return on these customers. To do this, Aviva and Alchemy Worx embarked on a new campaign in 2013 to reach out to prospective customers more often and throughout the year, rather than just ahead of their renewal date. As well as this, any increase in frequency needs to coincide with an increase in value, so that subscribers are willing to accept more email without having any negative impact on the brand. This leads to a need for creating multiple emails that offer valuable content in an engaging way. An effective contact and content strategy needs to be developed and all of those extra emails need to be coded, tested, deployed and analyzed. This had the potential to put a large strain on Aviva’s internal resource.
Based on past open, click and quote metrics from the email program, Alchemy Worx estimated the annual open and click reach (the number of cumulative unique clickers on a series of emails over a given period, expressed as a percentage of the unique delivered volume) of Aviva’s prospect email program, showing the cumulative increase each month. Based on research into patterns of engagement by email subscribers over time, Alchemy Worx estimated that Aviva could at least double the proportion of prospects clicking on Aviva’s emails each year by changing their email contact strategy.
In order to help Aviva increase their send frequency, Alchemy Worx proposed incrementally increasing the number of contact points for email across the year. The agency didn’t want to indiscriminately start sending one email a week without understanding where and how they could increase the value of the emails to Aviva’s subscribers. So they conducted surveys to determine what type of content they wanted in a newsletter, what elements of insurance were most important to them and what their perceptions were of email and frequency. From this they were able to create a contact strategy and content plan.
Prospects were sent different messages from month-to-month. The program afforded Aviva the opportunity to promote the benefits of its products in much greater breadth than they had been able to before and allowed them to include useful information on factors to consider when choosing an insurance policy. In addition to product-focused messages, the program included a content-driven newsletter with value-added content such as tips for looking after your car or property.
This new contact strategy was rolled out to small number of the prospect base, as a test to gauge effectiveness. Initially, the idea was to test the strategy over a year and to implement it for the entire base if effective. However, as the first three months delivered a significant increase in unique clicks, quotes and revenue, Aviva took the decision to roll out the whole strategy to the entire prospect base with similar results.
"When Aviva came to us about improving the performance of its customer acquisition email program, the first thing we wanted to do was breakdown the belief that sending one email per year was enough. While it may be a common practice, this strategy ignores the effectiveness of email as both an engagement channel and a brand recognition tool, particularly where long purchase cycles are involved." -Dela Quist, CEO, Alchemy Worx
The new strategy led to a quadrupling of both the number of unique clicks (304%) and total clicks (292%) from the emails sent. More importantly, this also led to a 48% increase in the number of quotes being requested by prospective customers and an improvement in email revenue of 45%. These figures were reflected in importance of email as a percentage of total online quotes.
In addition, the increased frequency made email the perfect channel to promote the launch of the Aviva Drive app, which has driven the highest number of downloads seen, prior to the launch of TV. As well as the tangible metrics, this strategy also gave Aviva more insight into their data using Alchemy Worx award-winning Business Intelligence team to report weekly and monthly. And with the success of this campaign for the Acquisitions team, the in-life marketing team are starting to explore ways to improve their own ROI with email.
“The success of the customer acquisition campaign has also meant that we’re looking into how an increase in email contact can benefit our existing customers strategy” said Zara Timms A sentiment echoed by Quist, “We’re delighted with the success of the campaign with Aviva and excited to have the opportunity to work with the team to engage their existing customers moving forward."