Big shout out to our friend Mark Reilly, managing member of inBuzz Group, for penning this fantastic piece about content marketing with Zywave.
I know that we are all getting bombarded with messages on how to improve our SEO and generate more traffic that converts. But I also know from the small business owners I talk to, especially independent insurance agents, that there is still a few impediments. One is they are not really knowledgeable and a little afraid to jump in. But I also hear more often that “I don’t have time!” or “I don’t have anything to say!”
I really struggle with the last two and often attribute it to the first reason. If ultimately we are sales organizations, the “I don’t have time” card is not a credible one to play. I have yet when challenging someone on this been able to get them to, beyond a broad general statement, define what keeps them from creating content.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it
I recently sold my insurance agency to a larger national firm. Before that, I had an agency that went from almost going out of business to one that was growing and prospering. In 2008, the economy was in a tail spin and my location and core footprint was in northwestern Ohio, auto country, and it was in poor shape. We were losing almost 15 personal lines clients a month to foreclosure and bankruptcy.
We knew we had to change our model or perish, as many small businesses did. We saw the change in the marketplace and decided we needed to invest in positioning ourselves where the buyers are.
We started in earnest with our transformation in 2009-2010. We focused on inbound marketing and even though we were clumsy at it, we began to see improvement. In 2010-2011, we began seeing about 15 new business opportunities a month, and when we sold our agency, it had grown to, on average, 115 leads every month. We also thought this would be a B2C project attracting auto and home opportunities but it was anything but. We saw 70-80% of our opportunities coming from businesses.
Another thing that really was an eye opener was that a large percentage of these leads came to us when our bricks and mortar business was closed.
The disconnect for insurance agents and most small businesses
There is a real disconnect between the digital consumer and most small businesses. If we have any digital presence for most of us, it is a stagnant and static website. Many of these sites have not been touched or updated, and the only thing they rank for on Google is the name of the business, and sometimes not even that.
If I asked you who your major competitor was, what would you say? A direct writer? A large agency across town? Online insurers? I hate to tell you but our major competition is just the online buying experience. We are being compared to Amazon, and not favorably.
A term being thrown around a lot is market disruption. It is this decade’s answer to “Thinking outside of the box.” Now there is a lot of information that supports this and it will have a direct bearing on our industry.
There was a JD Powers study that asked millennials and boomers how they buy insurance and how they want to buy insurance. It shows that both us old folks and the younger generation have the same desire to deal with agents who use technology. But it also shows that we offer this to the customer the least.
Mark Reilly has been the owner of an independent insurance agency for nearly 30 years as well as a managing member of inBuzz Group. He is a well sought-after speaker and teacher in the insurance industry. His first adapter approach to technology has made him a thought leader in insurance digital marketing and an expert in sales. Learn more about what Mark is up to now by visiting his site http://www.inbuzzgroup.com/about-us