Content MarketingBy now, most insurance agencies and wholesale brokers have realized the power of content marketing as a critical element of social selling. Content marketing is a powerful tool for attracting potential customers, making connections and building relationships with your target audience.

Content marketing isn’t easy. But if it is done correctly, content marketing works in every industry, in every business, every time. All too often businesses don’t adequately prepare for the demands of developing and executing a successful content marketing strategy.

In practice, content marketing is hard work. You need to have a strategy so that search engines (such as Google) and your target audience can find you. It’s the hard work of sharing valuable, relevant content that your audience is looking for that captures their attention.

Here are 5 keys to successful content marketing:

  1. Take content marketing seriously – Content marketing can be an efficient and powerful way to grow your audience and your agency. For content marketing to work, you need to invest, prioritize and execute. In order to achieve serious results, content marketing must be taken seriously.
  1. Build relationships first – Content marketing is a long-term strategy. Success is no longer measured by the size of your email list, but by the size of your audience. When we build relationships first, those relationships turn into your audience. That audience then becomes your customer or partner, which turns into revenue.
  1. Stop overtly selling – People (including people in your target business audiences) are tired of being sold too. They are savvy consumers who understand the connection between where they are consuming content and who provided the content. Always selling pushes your potential audience away because they will seek other sources of information.
  1. Focus on your specialty/ies – The era of generalization is gone. People look for experts in the specific area of topic for which they are seeking. From a search engine and brand-building perspective, specialization is a pillar of content marketing success.
  1. Invest in your content marketing strategy – Content marketing can have a very high ROI if done right. Doing it right means investing in bandwidth, tools and people. You need to have all of the parts of an online marketing funnel functioning well in order for a content marketing strategy to be successful. You will need to invest time and money in order to see the results you are seeking.

Want to learn more about how you can gain a competitive edge with a content marketing strategy? Contact StartUpSelling and we will be happy to help you explore how content marketing can benefit your company. Call us today at (518) 222-6392 to get started.

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1As more and more business-to-business organizations are embracing the power of social selling, content marketing is fast becoming an important technique to success in the new marketing dynamic of social media marketing. This includes middle market P&C and large group benefits brokers.

Understanding the role content plays in the sales funnel is a key element of designing a winning strategy. Knowing how to use online content to attract a potential customer, make a connection and build a relationship that leads to a deal is critical to your online marketing effectiveness.

In today’s internet-based world of commerce, successful sellers are content creators. Today’s customers recognize the value of information to help them make buying decisions. The best social selling teams and representatives are content creators who know how to deliver the right content to the right customer at the right time in the sales cycle. Research shows that consumers spend a great deal of time online self-educating – searching, reading and researching. Many have made a buying decision before even reaching out to a company representative.

  • 90% of customers start their purchasing decision with a search engine. (Forrester) Provide the type of content that will get you found early in their search efforts. LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Search are top B2B search networks. This is the “secret sauce” to beat and differentiate yourself from your competition.
  • 46% of buyers consume content weekly. 37% spend time daily to better understand business problems and solutions, reports ITSMA/CFO. Another study found that buyers will consume at least 3-4 content pieces to help them make a purchase decision.
  • 45% of buyers require person-to-person contact in the buying process, reports ITSMA/CFO. Customers are looking for expertise and answers to their questions. LinkedIn and Twitter are excellent avenues for demonstrating your expertise through content.

There are three important reasons to use content to build your social selling advantage.

  1. Unique, relevant content will differentiate your company from your competition. People are tired of being sold to. When you offer useful, distinctive, remarkable content you are signaling to the potential client that you are here to help. People will naturally gravitate to sources of beneficial information, where they will be turned off by relentless inundation to try to get a prospect on the hook.
  1. Content can address common sales objections. A well-crafted article or blog post can help answer frequent questions or protestations before they even become a full sentence.
  1. Content marketing will help move prospects through the stages of buying. At each stage, the customer will be hungry for the next stage – so make sure you give it to them! Your bottom line will thank you!

Interested in learning more about you can gain a competitive edge with a content marketing strategy? Contact StartUpSelling and we will be happy to help you explore how content marketing can benefit your company. Call us today at (518) 222-6392 to get started. We’d love to hear from you!

Originally posted by John Scranton on July 28, 2015

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1By now, astute insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers understand the value and importance of content marketing. Content marketing refers to creating and distributing relevant content using online frameworks such as websites, social networks, blogs, white papers, videos, e-zines, e-newsletters, etc. Many agencies struggle with the workload issues, motivation and inspiration needed to keep up with a long-term content strategy.

Here are some strategies that may help you plan and stay on top of your content marketing goals:

  1. Take time to curate content to explore new, interesting ideas. Use content curation tools like Feedly, Pocket or Evernote to help you discover, track and easily locate articles, videos and other relevant content your clients will appreciate.
  2. Use social media sharing tools like Buffer, PostPlanner, Hootsuite or SendSocialMedia that allow you to find and post to your social platforms directly from your internet browser, saving time and effort.
  3. Organize a team to help. The process of implementing content strategy is fraught with many nuances and challenges and requires an understanding of content creation and an established pattern of interaction between all members of the team. A strong content development team should include a content strategist, developer, copywriter, designer, SEO expert and other company representatives as needed.
  4. Assign the primary responsibility for content to a single project manager who will assign duties, provide oversight, ensure quality control standards are met and deadlines are met.
  5. Develop a content strategy that includes: target audience demographics and buyer persona, a primary message, secondary or tertiary messages, a compelling offer or “hook”, calls to action,  multiple types of delivery methods (i.e. blogs, social network posts, graphics, videos, webinars, articles, white papers, resource guides, etc.).
  6. Set regular meeting times to review issues as well as progress.
  7. Evaluate the results of your content strategy and refine future planning as needed.

Many insurance agencies, brokers or wholesalers outsource content creation to a competent marketing  firm. Outsourcing is a cost effective option because it eliminates the need to hire, train, supervise and compensate a digital marketing team. Contact StartUpSelling today to learn more about effective content marketing strategies for insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on June 26, 2015

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How Insurance Agencies are Maximizing Their Social Media Investment

  • Posted on August 14, 2017
  • by John Scranton

1Insurance agencies and wholesale brokers are investing in social media content creation as a valuable tool for attracting new clients and retaining existing ones. Social media content creation drives lead generation because it answers questions and conveys expertise to prospects. Business professionals and decision makers prefer to work with organizations that have a strong online presence because it gives them the opportunity and freedom to conduct their own research on their own terms when it best fits into their schedule.

The most successful insurance agencies are investing in social media. And, perhaps most importantly, they are producing more content.

Here are five strategies that the most successful insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers are using to maximize their social media dollars.

  1. Ensure a social media expert oversees the company’s content marketing strategy. – The most successful companies make sure there is at least one person that is designated to be in charge of executing the content marketing goals that the company has set.
  1. Have a documented content strategy. – Write down your goals and what indicators you’ll use to prove your success. Make sure you communicate your goals with your digital marketing team.
  1. Use a variety of tactics. – In this age of multi-media consumption, competition for audience attention is fierce. The smart investors realize that the wider they cast their net and invest in more tactics, the more new customers they will attract. Here is a list of possible content marketing tactics your organization could employ:

* Social media postings
* Articles on your website and prominent directories
* Blogs
* Digital Newsletters
* Case studies
* Videos
* White papers
* Webinars/webcasts
* Infographics
* Research reports
* Microsites
* Mobile content
* eBooks
* Mobile apps
* Digital magazines
* Podcasts
* Virtual conferences
* Annual reports

  1. Use social media more frequently. – B2B companies use an average of six social platforms, up from five last year. (Content Marketing Institute.) As expected, LinkedIn is the top social media site used by B2B marketers, while Facebook is a close second. The sites that have seen the most growth this last year include SlideShare, Google+ and Instagram. Social media drives awareness of your company which in turn impacts lead generation.
  1. Produce more content. – While it may seem obvious, producing more content is an effective strategy for attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. It may be very intimidating for an insurance agency to produce a quantity of content because it can be time-consuming and needs to be consistent.

StartUpSelling specializes in insurance marketing, web marketing and lead generation services. We have successfully created, launched and maintained marketing and lead generation campaigns for a vast array of insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers. We deliver elite service and solutions at competitive price points. If you would like to maximize an investment in content marketing for your insurance organization, give us a call at 518-222-6392 today!

Originally Posted by John Scranton on June 22, 2015

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1Struggling to increase the number of visitors to your website? Wanting to improve the conversion rate of visitors to your site? Is your marketing strategy not achieving the results you had hoped it would? Searching for fresh ideas that will help you reach a larger audience and provide your corporate clients with the information they need, when they need it?

Content marketing might be the answer. Consider developing content that is applicable to your visitor’s needs and easy to understand. As a result, you will experience significant improvement in search engine rankings, traffic and conversion rates.

Here are some recommendations for brightening up your online marketing presence and implementing a successful content marketing strategy:

  1. Brainstorm ideas that reflect the company mission Is the content you are producing reflecting the questions, needs and real-life problems your audience is facing? Spend time contemplating the story behind your brand and what it truly stands for. What is it you want to say at the most fundamental level? Take some time to review your company mission statement and the content you are currently producing. If the two don’t align, get your team together and come up with a more cohesive plan.
  1. Develop a strategic plan You will need a plan that demonstrates how your content strategy will increase sales revenues and be worth the investment. In order to do this, you will need a strong plan and case studies.Create a detailed road map that focuses on aligning your content with the company mission. Build trust with your audience by giving them content that they want and need.Start by gathering factual information and creating a strong plan. Make sure your plan answers the following questions:
  • How will the company mission be reflected in your content strategy?
  • How will our content help our clients?
  • How will we know what our clients need?
  • How will we measure our success?
  • What specifically is the plan (i.e. road map)?
  • Who will be accountable for ensuring the project stays on track?
  1. Design a content strategy that is based on applicable, consistent and useful content. Your clients are business owners who are experts in their particular field/trade. Take the time to research to find out what difficulties and challenges they face and what would make their job of selecting a broker or wholesaler easier.Make sure your planned content will answer your user’s questions and will convey a consistent message about your company.
  1. Track the results Analyze the visitor data for your existing content. Review metrics such as bounce rate, time on site and goal conversion. Review your search visibility and make sure your content ranks well in search engines for keywords higher up the funnel.The insurance industry is steeped in tradition – it is not always easy to break away from widely accepted tactics – even if they are not working very well. Providing your potential clients with expert advice that is easy to understand and access will invite potential companies to visit your site often and enjoy spending more time on your website. In turn, they will be more likely to choose you and recommend you to others.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on June 17, 2015

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Content marketing refers to the approach insurance agencies and wholesale brokers use to create, curate, distribute and promote information (content) your clients and prospects will find valuable. The goal of content marketing is to drive sales, fill the pipeline and help your company grow.

Content marketing, when it’s done right, offers value that is separate from the products and services you sell. When you share content that is educational, entertaining and useful to your audience, you will drive engagement, awareness and sales for your brand.

Here are the types of content that marketers use that can help promote your company:

  • Social media postings
  • eNewsletters
  • Articles on your website
  • Blogs1
  • In-person events
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Photographs, illustrations and other images
  • White papers
  • Online presentations
  • Infographics
  • Webinars/webcasts
  • Podcasts
  • Research reports
  • Microsites

Content marketing is an investment in your company. Unlike a verbal strategy, which can be forgotten or misunderstood, published content can be referred to, modified and reused over time.

Struggling with keeping up with a consistent marketing strategy? Take the time to develop a content strategy and plan and follow it very closely. Frequent publishing is important for any organization that wants to grow their online presence.

The most effective marketers use social media more than any other tactic; on average, the most successful companies use an average of seven social media platforms. According to the research, LinkedIn is both the most popular and the most effective for content promotion for business to business marketing. (Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 2015.) Regardless of your industry or company size, a blog should always be the hub of your content marketing efforts.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on May 22, 2015

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Etail Goes Retail – Amazon’s Opens NYC Bookstore

  • Posted on May 31, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

What’sAmazon Etail Goes Retail up with this, Amazon the king of Etail is opening retail bookstores? This sounds like an April fools story rather than a new strategic initiative. But as it happens, the latter is true as Amazon opened the first of three New York City retail book stores in May.

It was reported that the first Amazon store occupies 4,000 square feet, carries 3,000 book titles, and is located at Columbus Circle. It also carries Amazon tech products like the Echo and Kindle, and faces all books outward for easy viewing of the covers. Signs underneath the books note the Amazon online star rating (only 4 stars and up are selected for the store) and the total number of reviews for each book. Amazon Prime members pay a preferred rate, while non-members pay a higher rate.

To add a further touch of irony to the story, the store is located in a mall that once included a Borders bookstore. Will this be a trend for the giant Etailer, identifying retail opportunities once the retail competition has been decimated by their more efficient Etail model?

Amazon likely envisions a new type of retail opportunity, because the traditional retail book business has hardly been robust. According to The Street, Barnes and Noble continued to see declines in their 2017 comparable store sales, expecting a drop of approximately 7% for the year. Then again, Amazon’s new books store is not the same animal as Barnes and Noble, taking a page from the Apple Store concept with their own Amazonian twist. With malls trying to reinvent themselves, as more and more retailers shut their doors, a national chain of Amazon retail book stores would be a warmly welcomed surprise.

Looking for assistance with your marketing and lead generation – contact the experts at StartUpSelling for a complimentary marketing and lead gen review.

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Video is a High Priority for Effective Insurance Marketing

  • Posted on April 28, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Video MarketingToday people are spending a large percentage of their time online watching video. This is uncharted territory for many businesses, and is applies cable to all devices including tablets, mobile phones and smart TV’s. In the future most people will be viewing content instead of reading it.

Video marketing provides you with an effective way to satisfy the need for information. Key points of video marketing are as follows:

  • Create fascinating content that will engage your audience
  • Enhance your content by using advanced technology and functionality
  • Include a call-to-action that leaves the viewer clear about what you want them to do
  • Share your videos socially to create the greatest reach

In the age of technology, it’s imperative for insurance agencies and brokers to deliver information that is easy to consume; video marketing does this very well. We all know the phrase – a picture is worth a thousand words. If this is true, than a video can not only paint the picture, it can convey your message with a new level of depth.

Do not ignore the opportunity of video marketing. It gives your organization a chance to be creative, captivating, relevant and to show thought leadership. Video is a must have for a current marketing strategy, engaging clients,  increasing website traffic and improving meaningful interactions.

To learn more about video marketing for insurance agencies and brokers click here.

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3 Reasons Why Blogging is Effective and Fulfilling

  • Posted on April 21, 2017
  • by John Scranton
  1. Insurance Agency MarketingContent Conveys our Expertise and Value Proposition – If you read 2 or 3 entries of this blog, you will learn what StartUpSelling provides, why we feel it is important and how we believe we are different. This sounds like information that would be included in a sales pitch, but in a blog it is woven into the fabric of useful and educational information. Blogging allows prospects to learn and glean valuable insights without commitment, and allows the writer to deliver their marketing message – at the same time.
  2. Its Another Venue to Interact with Clients and Prospects – Some prospects like to talk on the phone, some like to interact via email, some like to connect on LinkedIn. Others like to read your content for weeks or even months before they develop an interest in the source. We regularly have conversations with prospects who explain they have been following our blogs and over time realized that their needs exceeded what they can read about and implement internally – now they enter our pipeline.
  3. Blogging Allows me to Share What I Learn Expeditiously  – When I am working with clients and colleagues or learning from other industry experts I pick up many useful insights and concepts. A B2B blog gives me the opportunity to quickly apply that insight and pass along the information. A few minutes ago I had a reminder of the value of a blog, now I am sharing that reminder with you.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on January 30, 2012

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From the Archives: Irresistible Blog Titles

  • Posted on November 2, 2016
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency MarketingI just clicked on a LinkedIn post titled Irresistible Something. Or was it Blah Blah Irresistible? I can’t recall, but I had to click. Because, well, it was irresistible!

I would have passed on a good or even a great post, but irresistible? No chance. The lesson here is that social media postings, blog titles, email subject lines and website verbiage are significantly impacted by subtle nuances.

The web marketing landscape is cluttered with noise, but there is room in the long tail to be exceptional and gain mind-share from coveted prospects. I challenge you to find the subtle changes that make your content irresistible.

Originally Posted on March 28, 2013 by John Scranton

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