BY PATTI NEWCOMER
The insurance industry has been slow to adopt new technology. But in 2020, driven in part by the pandemic, professionals accelerated their use of modern marketing strategies. As a result, growth increased in key areas. Marketing made the difference between revenue growth and lackluster performance. In a recent survey designed to gauge independent insurance agencies’ perception of marketing’s value, respondents reported that enhanced marketing strategies delivered many business benefits, such as:
• stronger client retention
• improved client acquisition
• revenue growth
Virtually all respondents (98%) agreed that successful marketing strategies create a competitive advantage, and 96% reported that more effective marketing would grow their business.
THE SURVEY ALSO FOUND THAT:
- nearly 40% of respondents said that marketing increased their income by at least 25%
- more than half of these said that marketing has helped increase revenue by more than 50%
The survey revealed that the majority of independent agencies (98%) see the revenue-building value in marketing, but only 37% are “very comfortable” using modern marketing tools. This shows a major disconnect between the value agents see in digital marketing tools and their comfort level using them.
Also worth noting is that decision-makers stated they are willing to switch to different insurance networks to gain better technology platforms. Among those who responded, half expect their industry networks to provide modern systems. Clearly, agents want access to modern marketing tools, but need training to help them use these tools and systems effectively.
Adding new marketing activities can seem overwhelming to time-crunched insurance agents and brokers. The same survey revealed a distinct preference for marketing technology and software that supports day-to-day agency functions while streamlining operations. Agents are most interested in finding technology that can automate many marketing and operational tasks. This would allow agents to concentrate on those areas where they can add their own creative touch to servicing clients and attracting new prospects.
Studies show that videos can dramatically increase time on site and landing page conversion rates by 80%.
Pre-written content can be a key part of an automated marketing strategy. The majority of agents rated pre-written content “valuable,” including the 41% who consider it “very valuable.” Marketing platforms that let agents communicate across many channels are also essential when it comes to reducing the work for agents.
Must-have modern marketing channels include an interactive, mobile-friendly website, email, social media platforms and online events. Using professionally prepared content in automated, pre-designed campaigns to convert prospects to clients or to grow the average number of policies per client can effectively expand an agent’s book of business.
While the survey found that email is still a key part of any successful communication strategy, social media is now essential to agents’ strategies for attracting new business. Nearly half of all respondents acquired new clients from social media.
Not surprisingly, younger insurance professionals see more business value in social media than do their older counterparts. More than two-thirds rely on social media to build their brands, share special insights, and generate new business. A strong social media presence amplifies a broker’s personal brand and sharing relevant content demonstrates expertise. Some insurance brokers are still resistant to using social media for business, but those who do find that it increases client engagement, helps attract and convert leads, and drives agency growth and revenue. Whether an agent uses email or social media, the key is that consistently valuable communication helps to build and deepen client relationships.
One more piece to consider when looking at modern marketing options is the value videos can bring for brand enhancement. Some of the most effective videos made by insurance agents offer insights on market conditions, comment on industry trends, and show their fun personalities. Studies show that videos can dramatically increase time on site and landing page conversion rates by 80%.
Insurance professionals who add marketing strategies and tools are reporting higher customer retention and client growth rates. The industry can no longer rely on in-person meetings, lunches and webinars to build relationships. A digital footprint that’s authentic will resonate with current and future clients, and smart agents who embrace marketing will enhance their unique value in 2021. These will be the agents that grow their businesses, revenue and personal brand for years to come.
PATTI NEWCOMER is chief marketing officer (CMO) of FMG Suite. As CMO, Patti leads FMG Suite’s brand, product positioning and go-to-market strategy driven by data. Prior to FMG Suite, Patti was a marketing executive at Intuit, WorldPay US (now FIS), Wachovia (now Wells Fargo), Capital One and Procter & Gamble. Info: https://fmgsuite.com.