While some insurance agencies are using digital marketing strategies to drive business growth, many don't think they are applicable to their business. If you don't agree with me, look at 5 insurance agency websites in your market. You'll be surprised how many are brochure-ware sites that do nothing to communicate the agency's value proposition.
Consider this scenario - a producer has a great first meeting with a prospect that she has been targeting. She asks great questions and sets the stage to continue the sales process. She leaves the prospect's office and the first thing the prospect does is check out her agency's website. When the prospect goes to the agency homepage, he finds a brochureware website that looks like it hasn't been updated since 1991. What do you think goes through his mind? Probably something like this: "She seemed like a really bright professional. I hope she lands at a better agency."
Having a customer-oriented website is table stakes for insurance agencies in 2014. Even if you're not using your site for lead generation, you need to have a site that supports your producers and communicates your value proposition. It should also provide value for your customers, helping them solve problems and complete administrative actions.
If you're trying to generate leads in a competitive environment, you need to take it a step further. The average buyer completes 57% of their buying process before ever contacting a salesperson, according to the Corporate Executive Board. If your insurance agency isn't producing educational content that gives them the information they're looking for, you'll be elminated from their buying process without ever knowing it. That's why it's so important for knowledge-based businesses like insurance agencies to create blog articles, eBooks, webinars and videos to generate sales leads. Here's a graphical depiction of the digital lead generation process:
Here are 3 ways you can use content marketing to generate leads for your insurance agency.
Blog articles optimized for your targeted keywords will drive traffic to your website. Inbound marketing software provider HubSpot found that companies that blog 15 times or more per month get 5 times more web traffic than companies that don't blog. Many insurance agencies blog, but don't include lead generation paths in their blog articles.
Consider the illustration above and think through this scenario: I go to Google search and search for commercial insurance cost reduction strategies for non-profits. I find a great article on an insurance agency's blog and want to learn more. But I can't! There's no opportunity for me to register for a webinar or download an eBook. So I bounce to the next search result.
If you're blogging and you don't include lead generation opportunities, it's not a total loss. You're establishing site authority with Google and you will continue to drive more web traffic. My advice is to create lead generation opportunities and edit your articles to include them. Blogging is an evergreen tactic - an article I wrote in June 2013 had 373 page views in January 2014.
Consider the fictional blog artice discussed above, Commercial Insurance Cost Reduction Strategies For Non-Profits. Rather than send out a long-winded prospecting email talking about how innovative you are and who you work with, send an email to a non-profit executive with a link to your blog article.
Keep it brief. People decide whether to read or delete an email in about 3 seconds. Use a headline that communicates value to the recipient - answer the question, "What's in it for me?" Make the body of the email brief and tailor it to the recipient. Many people are reading email on mobile devices - keep your email under 200 words so that it will fit on the screen of an iPhone.
If you demonstrate value, they will click through to your blog article. If the blog article is well-written and includes a lead generation offer, many of the readers will want more information and opt in to your marketing process.
Social media is an excellent way to promote your content marketing and establish your agency as a thought leader. For most insurance agencies, LinkedIn is the most effective channel, but don't underestimate Google+, Twitter and Facebook. In addition to using your company pages to promote your content, your producers should be promoting content through their individual accounts.
Make sure your content is educational and helpful, not salesy. If you're helping people and adding your own twist to relevant topics, your audience will amplify your reach by liking and sharing your content. All of your social activity will expand your reach and promote your agency brand and value proposition.
Consider the situation we discussed at the begining of this article. The producer has a great meeting with a targeted prospect. Instead of the prospect visiting a sub-par website and getting derailed, he receives a follow-up from the producer. She sends him an email that says, "I enjoyed meeting with you this morning. Many of our clients share your desire to reduce commercial insurance costs. I thought you'd be interested in this article we published, Commercial Insurance Cost Reduction Strategies For Non-Profits. I'd be happy to review those cost reduction strategies with you."
If the article is helpful and educational, you'll advance the sales process with your buyers buy demonstrating your value prior to working with them. If it's really good, they will share it internally, helping you with the complex sales process that most agencies face.