By David Berkowitz, online editor,
Premise: Aon needed to efficiently communicate with clients and prospects. YesMail
helped the insurance company deliver newsletters that yielded a click-through rate topping 35%.
This was a pilot e-newsletter program for Aon, and it was being run by three people
whose background was in insurance, not e-mail marketing.
At the outset, goals included raising awareness, educating readers and providing
“mitigation and risk transfer solutions on a variety of subjects in the technology space,” according
to Steve Keogh, director of Aon’s Technology Group. As the campaign progressed, the focus shifted toward
driving revenue and branding.
In January 2001, Keogh and colleagues Kevin Kalinich and Patrick Donnelly started sending out
the opt-in, text e-mail newsletters with links to news stories relevant to Aon’s relationship managers. The
newsletter was published using Lotus Notes, but its limited functionality led the trio to evaluate roughly
a half-dozen e-mail marketing technology vendors before going with YesMail.
The average click-through rate for each newsletter is 35.1%. The rate reached a high
of 68% for a January 2002 issue.
Aon’s subscriber base stands at about 1,500, but due to a random sampling of pass-along activity,
Aon estimates that the number of message recipients is roughly 10,000 to 15,000 weekly.
To put the results in perspective, Aon also sends out a 12-16 page quarterly offline newsletter
with a CPM of $550. Aon’s NetNews carries a $66 CPM, just 12% of the hard copy’s cost.
Keogh comments, “Different publications serve different purposes. I think the hard copy
that we send, while it is expensive, serves a purpose. I’m not sure an electronic format would be the best
distribution mechanism for that. With that being said, I think our weekly, no-advertising, no-frills newsletter
also fills a really, really big niche. They complement each other.”
The bigger picture:
The US insurance industry is committed to staying well wired. According to Gartner Dataquest,
information technology spending by insurance firms will nearly double between 1998 and 2005.
Marketers in the US remain committed to newsletters. Last year, IMT Strategies reported over
one-quarter of marketers sent out newsletters.
Lessons learned: “What I’ve learned more than anything is you shouldn’t do this stuff
without somebody who does this for a living,” says Keogh. “We could have done it in Notes. We would
probably be 10% as successful if we didn’t use YesMail.