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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1Educational webinars are a  valuable resource for insurance agencies and wholesale brokers. They are especially potent when they explain how to use new technology or share detailed information about a policy or regulatory mandate.

Webinars have certain advantages over other educational delivery systems. Webinars don’t require the time or expense of travel. And participation in webinars doesn’t necessarily require an extensive network.

Here are some webinar delivery strategies that can improve the experience for webinar participants.

  1. Choose topics carefully. Take the time to research and survey your clients and prospects to before the selecting topics. Many organizations implement polls or ask their community members to vote on topics for possible webinars.
  2. Concentrate on subjects that can be taught through short presentations. Stay away from subjects that require long explanations or lengthy discussions.
  3. Focus on training, not analysis. A webinar is not the place for debate or customization to make it relevant for all audience participants. They are a better delivery avenue for training or sharing objective information on a discrete topic of shared concern and importance.
  4. Create opportunities for engagement. Online meeting technology now allows participants to submit questions or make comments in real-time. A skilled presenter or moderator can bring questions or statements into the discussion. Smaller regional or interest-based discussion groups that can be scheduled after the webinar presenters have signed-off.
  5. Give participants the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise or knowledge. In cases where the webinar counts toward professional development credits a measure of mastery – a quiz perhaps – can be offered at certain points during the webinar or at the end. If participants can gain professional development credits or achieve recognition for their participation they will listen more closely.

A well-planned webinar is an extremely valuable experience for agents and brokers alike. Web seminars can then be recorded and added to insurance video channels and website video libraries, increasing website traffic, expanding reach and conveying expertise.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on May 11, 2015

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5 Tips for Your Insurance Video Marketing Strategy

  • Posted on July 3, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Picture1Wondering what content to include in your video strategy?

  • Insurance clients have many questions. Use video to educate and share important information about your business.
  • Share big announcements. Are there major changes in the industry? New information your customers should know about? Changes in your business? These are all great topics for videos.
  • Add video-recorded customer reviews and testimonials to your website. This adds a human touch to your business and allows customers to feel connected while also establishing your credibility.
  • Integrate video into your email marketing campaign. Or, take a screen shot of your video and add a link to the video on your website. Email is one of the best ways to connect directly with your consumers and it makes a great way for them to engage with your content. This will also drive traffic to your website!
  • Demos, trainings, interviews and live event coverage are all good opportunities to share more information about your business without seeming pushy or spammy.

There are lots of other ways to incorporate video into your marketing strategy so get creative!

Originally Posted by John Scranton on May 5, 2015

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Wedding Plans & Marketing Plans

  • Posted on June 29, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Social Media StrategyMy wife and I attended weddings each of the last three weekends.  While we enjoyed the celebrations, I took note of the planning and coordination which allowed each event to proceed successfully, providing an enjoyable experience for the guests.  Many different skill sets are required to put a wedding together – here are just a few:

  • Caterer
  • Florist
  • Band/DJ
  • Limo Service
  • Printer

A wedding planner or a highly involved bride & groom must bring all of these vendors and typically many more together seamlessly to deliver effectively.  This is a massive undertaking – even for a one day event!

Many businesses attempt to internalize their marketing needs, assuming it will be like planning their own wedding.  They assign a marketing director the tasks of website management, email marketing, social media marketing and more.  If the marketing director has access to a highly skilled marketing team, or if the campaign were to only last one day, this might be a reasonable task.  But marketing is a process that takes time, constant nurturing and many different skill sets.  Marketing is more akin to hosting a wedding 7 days a week.

The most effective solution for many organizations is to outsource their marketing needs to a savvy agency that is well versed in managing the talent needed to consistently deliver results in the various marketing campaigns required for sustained growth.  This requires access to an arsenal of expert web developers, email marketers, social media marketers, graphic designers, callers, SEO specialists and coordination of their activities by a senior marketing expert with extensive business experience.

Before you assign a member of your team the designation of marketing director – or permanent wedding planner – make certain they have access to the resources required to succeed.

Originally Posted on July 6, 2012 by John Scranton

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ItAmazon Buys Whole Foods was less than three weeks ago when I wrote, Etail Goes Retail – Amazon’s Opens NYC Bookstore. In that blog I discussed Amazon’s foray into retail bookstores, an interesting brick and mortar venture for a company that is a notorious retail killer. But that announcement pales in comparison to the explosive news on Friday, that Amazon agreed to buy the Whole Foods grocery chain for $13 billion!

Opinions were rampant on the potential reasons and impact of this paradigm shift. Stocks of traditional grocery chains and pharmacies suffered heavy losses during the day, as investors may have feared increased competition and concerns about market disruption. Amazon is now a behemoth with $136 billion in revenues in 2016, dramatically increasing from $10 billion in 2006. During this ramp up, Amazon has left their imprint on everything from shipping, to books, to electronics and online video.

Can Amazon reshape and rebuild retail? They will need to change the perception of Whole Foods, a chain many think offers choices that are too limited at price points that are too high. One thing is certain, it will be interesting to compare and contrast the Whole Foods of today, with Whole Foods a year from now.

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The Insurance Elevator Pitch

  • Posted on June 19, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency VideosThe insurance elevator pitch is a succinct summary used to quickly describe your insurance agency or brokerage, products and services. It should include your unique value proposition, and must be delivered within the time span of an elevator ride of 30 to 60 seconds. This can be much harder than you think, and should be scripted, rehearsed, and timed. The elevator pitch is a fundamental component of your insurance marketing efforts.

Ask a variety of people in your agency or brokerage to tell you their version of the elevator pitch. Don’t be surprised if the pitch varies dramatically from person to person. Does the pitch adequately describe your value proposition? Does it highlight the products, services and solutions which best showcase your agency expertise? Did the pitches even sound remotely alike?

Your sales and marketing efforts are built upon a well articulated and easily repeatable value proposition, which should be a component of your elevator pitch. If you cannot communicate your value proposition in less than 30 seconds, or stumble when trying to express it, it’s time to write it down, rehearse it and communicate your value proposition with everyone in your agency. Once that is done, turn it into a 30 to 60 second elevator pitch. Practice makes perfect, try repeating both of these in monthly management meetings and sales meetings, and it’s important to note that your elevator pitch might vary based on your target niches (P&C versus Group Benefits for example).

Here are a few best practices when it comes to your insurance elevator pitch:

  • Be succinct – 30 seconds is best
  • Create empathy – For example, “We work exclusively with contractors” or “we work with trucking companies with 5 to 50 power units”
  • Verticalize – a vertical pitch is easier to differentiate
  • Be different – Everyone says “save money” and “great service” – what are your top 3, unique differentiators?
  • Transfer enthusiasm!
  • Close with a call to action – what’s the next step for your prospect

Let’s review a sample pitch, which would run 30 to 40 seconds depending upon cadence:

We’ve been helping trucking companies with insurance and risk management needs for over 50 years. Everyone at our agency is a trucking fleet expert, in areas including CSA, specialty cargo, certificate fulfillment, and owner operator services. Because of our access to extensive markets and deep industry expertise, we provide creative coverages at the best possible rates, and help protect our clients’ bottom line. We know trucking insurance is one of your biggest costs and our creative approach will help meet your unique requirements. Can we set up a 15 minute meeting to discuss your specific needs?

Your elevator pitch might be designed to include industry jargon to convince prospects of your deep expertise, it might highlight your most important products and services, your top differentiators, or your service centric approach. Regardless of what your final elevator pitch includes, practice makes perfect, it should roll off your tongue effortlessly. Remember, 30 to 60 seconds is all you get before your most important prospect walks out of the elevator, and your opportunity may be gone forever.

Originally Posted on April 14, 2015 by John Scranton

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7 Reasons Every Insurance Agency Should Blog

  • Posted on May 26, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Social MediaIndustry experts say that great insurance marketing begins with a quality. Insurance agencies brokers that do not blog consistently (at least once a week), are missing a big opportunity to impress prospects and clients, and to help improve the effectiveness of their insurance websites. Here are seven reasons that agencies and brokers should have a quality blog:

  1. Drive Website Traffic: A blog, preferably with original content, helps drive clients and prospects to your insurance website. It gives them a reason to visit, and a reason to stay.
  2. Convert Traffic Into Leads: Quality blogs will help convert visitors into interested prospects. Prominent and professional “Calls To Action” will glean prospect information and increase inbound inquiries.
  3. Establish Credibility: Demonstrate expertise by offering timely and topical blog content. High quality blogs answer common questions prospects and customers might have.
  4. Content Baseline: Use your blog to share or repurpose your content in many ways. Send the blog link to prospects, leverage the blog in eMarketing campaigns, share the blog with social media, join and create groups on LinkedIn and post your content to these groups.
  5. Convert to Case Studies, Online Publishers and Vlogs: A succinct blog can be converted into a one page case study, 400 word article or even a recorded video. This repurposed content further extends your messaging, expertise and audience.
  6. Improve Insurance SEO: Blogs help improve insurance search engine optimization. Your original content is indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing, and helps prospects find your insurance agency website through organic searches.
  7. Insurance Website Stickiness: Blogs can and should be one of your most visited website areas, with the longest visit duration on your website. Website visitors impressed with a blog, will be impressed with your expertise.

Some insurance agencies and wholesale brokerages lack the time or resources to create a consistent and professional blog. In these cases they can outsource this important marketing initiative to a proficient insurance agency marketing firm. For more information on territory exclusive Insurance Agency Marketing Solutions visit: http://www.startupselling.com.

Originally published March 9th, 2015 by John Scranton.

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