Business owners of all stripes have more challenges than ever before. This is especially true for agency owners as the insurance landscape is changing right before our eyes. According to the McKinsey study, “Agents of the Future – The Evolution of Property & Casualty Insurance Distribution,” the role of the local agent will continue to change as they encounter more and more competitive pressure from the big boys. This includes direct writers and even the carriers with which agencies work.
Commissions are predicted to head downward for agents who just want to be a go-between, whereas agents who deliver unique value will be richly rewarded. The two main things many carriers are asking the local agent to do are simply to attract quality clients AND retain them for the long haul. Easier said than done, and so it will take embracing some technology to help.
The McKinsey study also points out that today’s modern consumer wants to research insurance online and do business on their own terms and timetable. Over 71% of modern consumers use the internet to research insurance options, compared to only 6% who look in the Yellow Pages. My, how things have changed. How does an agent rise to this challenge? Today’s modern agent must fish where the fish are, and that is online. Agencies must have a digital marketing strategy for attracting customers and nurturing processes in place to retain them.
“To reach those target segments in the digital era, traditional local marketing tactics will no longer be sufficient. Agents will need to increase their digital presence, become more flexible in how they communicate with their clients (e.g., video chat, Twitter, Facebook), and find new and more effective ways to get in front of potential customers.” – McKinsey & Company Study: Agents of the Future – The Evolution of Property & Casualty Insurance Distribution
As marketers, we know that utilizing social media, blogging, email marketing, and a content strategy is all critical to your success in attracting customers. I recently read a marketing blog that echoed these same sentiments, but the author thought of these as a foregone conclusion. In other words, she assumed ALL business owners would be implementing these strategies already and so her question was, “What do you do next since everyone has caught on to it?” I almost laughed out loud when I read that. Certainly not all agencies are doing these necessary activities at this point, in fact, many agencies do not communicate with their clients nor even have a mobile responsive website that puts their best foot forward to prospects. To see how Google could be overlooking your agency’s website if it is not mobile-friendly, click here for Google announcement. To see what having a “responsive website” really means, click here. The answer to the author’s own question of “what next,” since everyone should be doing using technology to communicate with prospects and book of business, was to start differentiating your brand so that you stand out from the competition. The next couple of blogs in this series will focus on strategies for differentiating yourself.
Many agents have seen the decline of traditional marketing methods and have pulled marketing funds. However, they have not put those funds back into an effective digital strategy. It’s only a matter of time before the lack of marketing efforts results in a lack of new sales in the agency.
4 Must Haves for Your Digital Marketing Strategy
- Get into the 21st century with a mobile optimized and SEO-friendly website
- Use email marketing to communicate valuable info to prospects and clients
- Use social media to build your brand
- Start blogging to position yourself as an expert in your field
These are the minimums for engaging the modern consumer. If you cannot honestly check off those boxes, then do it, and/or get some help with your Digital Marketing Strategy. Next we will tackle helping you stand out from the crowd.