My Dog is the Best Salesperson I Know – Popular Blog Post

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July 14th, 2019

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This blog, posted just prior to Memorial Day weekend 2010, remains one of the most read in our history.  Enjoy.

My Dog is the Best Salesperson I Know

Posted on May 28th, 2010 by John Scranton

I like to think that I am a capable salesperson.  I inherited the sales “gene” from my father, and I have been able to make a career of selling or helping other organizations sell.  However, a truly honest assessment shows that I am not even the most skilled sales professional in my own home.  That distinctive honor goes to my dog.  In case you are wondering, he is a three-year old hound mix named Flash.His sales methodology is simple, and he produces consistent results.  Borrowing a few principles from my friends at Dale Carnegie – Flash is genuinely interested in others, he shows sincere appreciation, and he makes those around him feel important.  He does this with no expectation of receiving anything in return.  As long as his survival needs have been met, he is happy to invest all his time in others.

The results speak for themselves.  He literally has a fan following in our neighborhood.  He eats more bacon and steak than any dog I have ever known.  His formula for success is to provide value without expectation, and he is rewarded without fail.  Now if I could only get him to supplement his efforts with a few cold calls.

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June Trucking Lead Gen Results – 12.9 to 28.5 Exclusive Appointments Per Month

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July 7th, 2019

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Trucking Agency LeadsThese were our recent trucking agency lead generation results. They could be yours!

  • 1 to 5 Power Units   – 28.5 New Prospect Appointments/month
  • 5 to 25 Power Units – 15.6 New Prospect Appointments/month
  • 5 to 75 Power Units – 12.9 New Prospect Appointments/month

These appointments are exclusive to your agency, specific to your target market, and expecting to discuss trucking insurance with you. Start building your trucking pipeline today, to ensure great results!

Contact us at (518) 222-6392 for a 15 minute trucking lead gen discussion – and learn how and why other agencies are succeeding with this proven lead generation solution.

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I Want Leads Like I Want My Morning Coffee

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July 7th, 2019

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When I was an agency producer, I wanted leads like I wanted my morning coffee. I craved them and sometimes could not function well without them. The only problem was – most of the leads that came across my desk were a waste of time.

“John – Call my buddy Bob. He needs insurance for his business. 555-1212. He is expecting your call.”

Um, ok. What does Bob need? Is he in-profile? Is he calling every agency in town? Who knows.

So, I would call. Maybe find out he needs insurance because he was cancelled for non-pay or losses. Maybe find out he doesn’t have a business, just an idea that he is researching. Maybe have a great conversation, get a competitive quote, only to find out he won’t leave his current agent. Rarely did a “lead” from someone within my agency or my professional network result in a sale.

Fortunately my sales and marketing methodology has matured over time. I no longer want leads – although I crave coffee more than ever. Now I only pursue prospects in my target profile. I only make warm calls. I only talk to people that have a level of interest in my organization’s solutions and that I know I can help.

How? Highly targeted prospect lists, eMarketing, web seminars and warm calls. No more chasing bad leads – only chasing quality prospects identified through an integrated marketing strategy.

Originally Posted on May 14, 2010 by John Scranton

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Treat Your Clients Like Southwest Airlines Treats Babies

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June 28th, 2019

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Fotolia_39839825_XLMy family returned home from vacation this weekend by flying Southwest from Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood Airport.  From the moment we entered the terminal, I was pleasantly surprised by the extra attention and flexibility Southwest’s employees offered to the needs of my infant daughter.  We were guided to a special terminal to check-in, whisked though security with no wait, and offered an extra seat on the plane at no charge for our child’s numerous supplies.  At every opportunity, we were provided with service and care above our expectations.

Meanwhile, my brother-in-law and his wife flew from a different airport on a different airline.  Their original flight was delayed, then after finally boarding they waited on the tarmac for nearly three hours only to learn they would be deplaning and their flight would be cancelled.  The following morning they returned to the airport at 7am to learn their flight was again delayed and eventually cancelled.  Finally they were able to take separate flights to separate airports to begin their journey home 24 hours behind schedule.

Our travel experiences show the vast disparity in service and customer care offered by different airlines.  The question is: what type of service does your organization provide?  Do you treat your clients Southwest treats babies?

Originally Posted on March 25, 2013 by John Scranton

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5 Sun Tzu Quotes You Can Apply to Business

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June 23rd, 2019

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  • Insurance Agency LeadsA leader leads by example, not by force.
  • Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
  • The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
  • Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
  • If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

From the Archives – Originally Posted on February 25, 2013 by John Scranton

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13.1 Leads Per Campaign – Trucking Email Marketing Metrics

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June 16th, 2019

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Insurance Agency Websites - Insurance Agency MarketingCheck out these trucking email marketing lead gen metrics:

  • 3 Quote Form Requests per Campaign
  • 10.125 Click-Through Leads per Campaign
  • 13+ Leads per Campaign

Many trucking agencies have yet to capitalize on email marketing lead gen programs. StartUpSelling can help your agency generate exclusive email marketing and appointment setting leads. Start building a robust trucking pipeline today, to ensure great results in 2018!

Contact us at (518) 222-6392 for a 15 minute trucking lead gen discussion – and learn how and why other agencies are succeeding with this proven lead generation solution.

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On-Demand Webinar: Insurance Lead Gen for Trucking & Other Niche Markets

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June 9th, 2019

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Check out this on-demand webinar revealing successful strategies for insurance agencies generating leads in transportation and other niche markets:

* Supporting producers with effective lead gen
* Building a prospect email list
* Appointment setting tips & strategies
* Creating a lead handling process
* ROI tracking and refinement

Watch the webinar here: https://startupselling.com/johnscranton/trucking-webinar/

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5 Keys to a Successful Content Marketing Strategy for Insurance Agencies

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June 9th, 2019

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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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Agency Exclusive Trucking Lead Gen Packages Available

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June 2nd, 2019

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Trucking LeadsGrow your trucking agency with 13.4 to 25.1 exclusive appointments per month (depending on your power unit profile). Here are a few of the important services your trucking lead gen package will include:

  • Prospect List Creation Based on your Target Trucking Profile 
  • Custom Call Pitch & Ongoing Pitch Refinement
  • Experienced Appointment Setting Professional
  • Creation of Custom Lead Handling Process
  • No Bullpen, Auto-Dialers, Delays or Dropped Calls
  • Instant Lead Alerts with Detailed Prospect Data

Contact us for a 15 minute trucking lead gen review – and learn how and why other agencies are succeeding with this proven lead generation package.

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How Insurance Agencies Maximize Their Social Media Investment

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June 2nd, 2019

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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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How to Keep Your Insurance Agency Email Marketing Campaign Fresh and Effective

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May 19th, 2019

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Insurance Email MarketingEmail marketing is here to stay. While there are some naysayers who try to assert that email marketing is “dead,” wise B2B insurance marketers have discovered the incredible power of email marketing over the long-haul.

Scientific evidence supports this perception. Even though there are competing marketing channels (i.e. social networks, mobile apps, online advertising campaigns, etc.), email remains a vital and central component of an effective B2B marketing strategy. In research conducted by eMarketer in 2014, researchers found that “email is one of the most widely used and established of all platforms.”

And in a study conducted by Adobe, researchers studied email marketing opportunities and trends. They found that not only is email an effective marketing strategy for the company, but it’s undergoing “a remarkable transformation.” Just as the world of marketing has been transformed by the internet in general, new technologies and consumer expectations are driving new ways of thinking about and using email marketing to reach target consumers.

First of all, consumers today expect email to be personalized and relevant to their interests. Gone are the days of “one-size fits all” email campaigns. In today’s mobile lifestyle, consumers continue to relay on email that reaches them directly in ways that are meaningful to them.

Design Email Campaigns that are Mobile-Friendly

Readers today open 61% of their emails on mobile devices. 80% will delete emails that “don’t look good.” Marketers need to ensure that their emails are optimized for all viewing scenarios, including mobile. Mobile responsive designs will increase open rates by 16-17%, and click-through rates by up to 24%. (Adobe, 2014)

Use Data to Tailor Messages to Subscriber Segments

People today are inundated with information. Email messages need to be personalized and relevant to the needs and interests of the individual. Using data tracking and retargeting technology, marketers can adjust the messages according to the histories and interests of the target groups. Using post-delivery insights, marketers can update the message based on new information. The ability to make emails more dynamic gives brands a chance to deliver a more relevant experience.

Ensure Content is Robust and Compelling

Content is vitally important in today’s world of email marketing. Stay abreast of trends and technology; be prepared to engage the reader and compel them to take the next step in the sales funnel.

Understanding consumer expectations and new email trends, as well as exploring ways to meet those expectations and play to those trends will garner an increasing ROI on their email campaigns and will breathe new life into customer relationships.

Many insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers outsource their email marketing campaign management 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 email marketing strategies for insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers.

Originally posted by John Scranton on July 7, 2015

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3 Reasons Insurance Agency Telemarketing Campaigns Fail – And How to Fix Them

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May 19th, 2019

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Insurance Web MarketingProblem 1: Bullpen – The bullpen mentality has long been a fixture in the telemarketing industry.  Pile cheap labor into cubicles, toss them call sheets and say go.  Better yet, off-shore to a bullpen in India.  This creates a bevy of issues, beginning with a noisy and distracting environment.  This is not a professional representation of your business.

Solution – A professional and articulate person working from a quiet office.

Problem 2: Auto-Dialers – When a computer manages your telemarketing campaign, your prospects hear clicking, strange noises and connection delays before they hear the voice of a real person.  That is, if the call is not dropped.  To be sure, this method increases the number of dials per hour.  But at what cost?

Solution – A system of best practices which allows a caller to actually dial the phone 25 times per hour.

Problem 3: Don’t Understand Your Business – Your business and products/services/solutions are complex and nuanced.  Your unique expertise sets you apart.  If your telemarketing partner does not understand your business at both a strategic (project manager) and tactical (caller) level, your value is lost and you are simply asking to submit a bid.

Solution – Engage with a telemarketing partner who specializes in your industry.

For more information about Insurance Agency Telemarketing, contact us today.

Originally Posted on October 6, 2016 by John Scranton

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Why Do Commercial Insurance Agencies Need a Professional Online Presence?

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May 15th, 2019

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Insurance Web MarketingOne of the most common questions insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers pose is “why do I need to invest in my online presence?” This is an excellent question that needs to be addressed.

Corporations prefer companies with a strong online presence.

First and foremost, today’s buyers expect to be able to visit an insurer’s website. A study by J.D.Power found that 52% of insurance shoppers start their shopping process online, and 73% visit at least one insurer’s website at some point during their shopping experience.” Potential customers will compare your website, social networks, testimonials and reviews, and other elements of your online presence with your competitors and usually choose the company they “like” the best.

Businesses are buying more online.

As much as consumers are buying online, businesses are buying more. Forrester Research Inc. predicts that B2B sales next year will likely more than double. The online presence of your agency builds your search engine findability and boosts your business in Google ranking.

Gives your business a competitive edge.

You have competition online. If your direct competitors don’t have a strong online presence yet, they will. Establishing – and enhancing – your online presence gives your business the competitive edge it needs.

Increases brand awareness and recognition

As the insurance industry becomes more competitive, one of the biggest challenges agencies face is how to build their brand.  The internet is available 24/7. This means that potential customers have the opportunity to become aware of your business at anytime, day or night. Having an online presence is like having billboards up all around town. Your online presence is an advertisement of your brand that never sleeps!

Increases trust and credibility

Companies are nervous about buying from insurance agencies they don’t know, especially businesses that seem “spammy” or lack integrity. Your online presence can help to dispel these fears if done right. Your website needs to be high quality; your content needs to be professional (and be spelled correctly, grammatically correct and easy to comprehend.) Your images and graphics need to be attractive and have a high resolution. You need to answer your prospective customer’s questions in a way that shows you understand their needs and point-of-view. Your agency needs to show consistency to demonstrate trustworthiness and reliability; customer reviews and testimonials will go a long way to establishing trust and influence the decision making process.

Learn about your customer

Successful agencies, brokers and wholesalers know that they need to establish and build relationships with their customers. Your online presence helps you do this through content and through listening tools. Being able to listen to the needs and wants of the companies that buy from you helps fine tune your offers and expand your business offerings in ways that will be attractive.

Measure your effectiveness to increase your ROI

The effectiveness of your online presence can easily be tracked and analyzed, giving you important data that can help you make improvements. Measuring the performance of your business gives you valuable information that will put you ahead of your competition.

While having a strategic online presence that is research-based and relentlessly executed does require an ongoing investment, an internet presence that is done right can have a major positive impact on the future. Regardless of your business type or size, don’t let the low-hanging opportunity of building equity in your online presence slip through your fingers.

Originally Posted September 2016 by John Scranton

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How Smart Insurance Agencies are Saving Time and Generating Quality Marketing Content

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May 15th, 2019

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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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Unleash the Power of Social Media Marketing

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May 9th, 2019

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Insurance Agency Social Media MarketingFifty-five percent of insurance consumers say they would use one or more of a variety of insurance services offered through social media – a number too big to ignore! (Accenture, 2013.) In today’s online world, consumers and business owners go to the internet when considering a purchase of any kind. They usually start with a Google search to learn more about the available alternatives to read user-generated reviews. They often go to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn before making a buying decision. At each stage of the buying cycle, opinions are being formed about the products and agencies being considered.

For us in insurance – an industry built on both products and services – internet reviews and social media play an integral part in credibility. Potential clients, especially millennials, trust advice they find on social media about the best insurance products, agencies, brokers or carriers.

Here are some ways your company can stay up-to-date with a strong online presence that supports an online community:

  1. Use the internet to facilitate better communication between brokers and customers.
  2. Stay in-touch with your clients and their important life events. This will help you provide a more personal and relevant online experience for your clients.
  3. Use the internet to keep your company modern through current marketing campaigns. This helps to build trust and demonstrates credibility.
  4. Use social media to introduce new ideas and innovative products. Be sure to use mobile applications too.
  5. Implement a social media customer service plan. “Consumers that have a positive social care experience are nearly three times more likely to recommend a brand to other and nearly 40 percent of companies experience a 10 percent reduction in support costs from implementing social care, with greater customer satisfaction.” (Accenture, 2013.)
  6. Use social media as a claims management tool. This allows carriers to interact with customers throughout the claims process and helps to accelerate the recovery process.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on May 18, 2015

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The Importance of Content Marketing for Insurance Agencies

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May 9th, 2019

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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, and the most successful companies use multiple social media platforms. LinkedIn is both the most popular and the most effective for content promotion for business to business marketing. 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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