In order to compete against major carriers and captive agents, independent insurance agents should have their own inbound marketing presence, brand, and insurance marketing strategy that is focused on connecting with and staying “in front” of customers. These activities can help agencies benefit from five crucial ROI “levers”.
In other words, agencies can use social media, content creation, email marketing, and other inbound marketing activities to help them…
• Retain current customers: Agencies should focus on connecting with and staying in front of current customers through a blended strategy of inbound marketing efforts. Actively creating and posting relevant content on the agency’s blog, e-mail newsletter, or social media pages ensure that the agency is on the forefront of their minds, whether they currently need new insurance or not.
According to Insurance Networking, “There is simply very little reason for customers to like a carrier when their primary relationships reside with agencies”. Building and maintaining these relationships is key for marketing independent insurance agencies. For example, an agency that actively blogs about insurance tips, local news, community events, and different policy options can connect with their community and establish themselves as a “go to” resource. Engaging with current customers through these media outlets – from responding to blog comments to connecting on social media – can help improve customer retention.
• Convert more consumers: Modern consumers have begun to integrate social media and user generated content into their decision making process. In fact, it has been shown that millennials trust user-generated content 50% more than other media. This means that in order to compete with other companies, independent agencies need to embrace these forms of media and work them into their insurance marketing and sales efforts.
One way to look at it is this- Before a consumer makes the final decision to get a quote or to purchase a policy, chances are that he or she will check the agency’s website and social media pages first. Factors such as the website design, content, or ease of use can all contribute to the consumer’s overall impression of the agency. Also, if an agency is actively interacting with their social communities, it shows consumers that the agency not only is up-to-date, but also that they care about their customers and community. Even if a prospect does not “like” or “follow” the agency’s page, the fact that they know it has a complete and updated profile or positive online reviews can go a long way in the decision making process.
• Round-out current customers: Let’s say someone bought a homeowners insurance policy from an agency. Now, they’re getting married and want to look at their life insurance options. If their agency posts a new blog about the different types of life insurance policies, wouldn’t it make sense for the couple to immediately go to the agency for help, rather than to a carrier?
This situation is just one of many examples that show how independent agents can utilize their insurance marketing strategies such as blogging, social media, email campaigns, website content, and other inbound marketing efforts to round-out the accounts of their already existing customers. Customers may not know that an agency offers a wide variety of products, or that it offers discounts for multiple policies. By posting about these things, agencies can take even more advantage of their current customers.
• Increase referrals: As we’ve already discussed, user generated content, like reviews, have become an integral part of the consumer purchase decision. In fact, the user generated content that makes up blogs and social media channels has been shown to be more effective than professionally reviewed and written content when it comes to purchase decisions. So, in order to compete today, independent agencies need to take advantage of and collect positive user generated content about their business.
This could be done through reviews on Facebook, Google or Yelp, as well as through customer testimonials featured on the agency’s website. Having this type of content readily available can help improve the amount of online referrals the agency receives. Hearing first-hand from other customers about your agency’s personal touch, quality customer service, local convenience, and other qualities will help entice prospects to choose the agency over another option.
• Create new opportunities: Let’s say that an agency has 50 followers on Facebook. If one of its followers shares a post from the agency, it can be seen by every “friend” that individual has. In this way, engaging with local consumers and businesses via social media is another chance for agencies to increase their network and expose themselves to new audiences. This insurance marketing strategy can be used by agencies to open themselves up to new prospective customers as well as business partners.
Ultimately, if agencies are interacting with customers and branding themselves through inbound marketing and other insurance marketing sales techniques which target modern consumers, they can effectively compete with the other players in the market and thrive.