Why Agents & Brokers Must Plan Their Content Marketing Around Their Customers, Not Themselves


Why Agents & Brokers Must Plan Their Content Around Their Customers, Not Themselves

The less your content marketing is about you, the more you’ll get from it

People pursue marketing for obvious reasons.

They want more.

More leads. More sales. More policies per customer. More referrals. More retention.

But, your market wants none of that.

They don’t show up at the marketing party to hear about what you want.

In fact, they don’t show up to hear about you at all.

They are there for themselves. (And, in the insurance space, reluctantly at that!)

Remember the difference between novice marketers and advanced marketers?

Novice marketers approach marketing with the question ‘How much can I get?’

Novice marketer's ask 'How much can I get'?

This is perfectly natural. And, while it’s completely necessary to remember why you’re marketing – to get more something – in order to succeed, you must set it aside.

And, ask: what do my customers and prospects want?

MOST AGENTS DON’T KNOW.

It takes digging.

You can’t just know their words.

You have to know their heart.

That’s why advanced marketers flip their thinking around.

The advanced marketer asks 'How much can I give?'

Their fundamental question is, ‘How much can I give?’

Give value. Give meaning.

They’ll notice you. Appreciate you. And never forget you.

Make a list. Then ask some real prospects or customers if you got it right.

  • What do they worry about with their insurance?
  • What do they worry about with their safety and protection?
  • What do they worry about with their family or business?
  • What do they want most for their insurance to do?
  • How can they prevent claims from ever happening?
  • What are they confused about? What are they uncertain about?

Great marketing isn’t about you. It’s about them. The people you most want great relationships with.

It’s easy with a PLAN (and a mess without one).

Going willy-nilly on your content never works.

Once you’ve developed a sense of the problems or questions your prospects and customer have, put them in order.

Which ones need to be answered first? Second? And so forth.

You don’t need to answer them all at once.

If you understand your customers, this will be easy. And, the benefit is huge. You’re simply being asked what kind of relationship you want with your marketplace – and how you can earn that relationship. How you can give in to that relationship before you try to take out of that relationship.

Ask yourself, ‘What should I say to this person so they will trust me and want to do business with me?’ And, put it in logical order.

If you think this through once, you’ll have a much better product and get much higher results. If you look at the last 12 months of agency-to-customer communications, you’ll almost always discover three things:

  1. There’s not enough. There’s no ‘earning power’ in communications that don’t exist.
  2. They’re empty. They lack the thoughtful, interesting, and sometimes delightful value of great content. (Great content = great agency. I guarantee that. Why? Because it means they’ve really thought through their portion of the value chain and decided to make a difference. This never fails.)
  3. They’re disorganized. They’re not just spotty in frequency. They jump from here to there without logic. One week they talk about this… the next week about that. Rather, think like an engineer. A marketing engineer. You’re building a year-long marketing system. Because you design it in advance, it is purposeful, elegant, and efficient. Most agents do the opposite. They’d be like a crew of construction workers designing the Golden Gate Bridge as they build it, inch by inch. It just doesn’t get the job done.

Let’s address the issue of ‘how many times’ for a moment. Many agents have told me that ‘nobody wants to hear from an insurance agent’. These agents are anxious about delivering outbound communications to their customers. Naturally, they’ve never done it – and they don’t want to be perceived as a nuisance.

They’re right, their customers probably don’t want to hear from ‘an insurance agent’. But, they may want to hear or see some valuable information on how they can protect their home. Or about an impending disaster. Or preparing for one. Or about reducing the premium on their worker’s comp.

Or about a million other things that are important to them.

And, being the people they are, they also like to connect with people. People who somehow make their lives or their day a tad better. They like to surround themselves with a tribe they trust.

And, content delivery delivers another gift. You.

So, it’s not about how many. It’s about how much. How much will you give? How much value will you add?

My long-time client, Claudia McClain was a guest in the podcast I host for Agency Revolution, the Connected Insurance Podcast. She has one of the highest customer retention rates in the US, approaching 97% over an eight-year period. One of her secrets is to communicate. ‘We communicate with our customers between 20 and 24 times a year’.

My guess is that she could push that number way up. But, sadly, it’s 20-24 times more than most agents.

I don’t want to hear from a bookstore. But, I do want to hear about literature and non-fiction that is tightly matched to my varied interests. Amazon does that. Over 300 times a year. And, they know my interests so well, I’m delighted because I’ve found treasures I would never have otherwise.

Besides, if you’re emailing – and you should be – you should welcome a few unsubscribes. It’s okay. They’re in control. Don’t sweat unsubscribes! The only way not to get them is not to communicate!

Figure out how often you’ll deliver content – or answer questions. Then, lay it out on a simple ‘editorial calendar’.

A good editorial calendar will answer the basic questions like:

  • What are we going to offer?
  • What problem will we solve?
  • When will we do that?
  • Who is responsible for what pieces of the puzzle?
  • Who will write or design or video?
  • Who will publish it?

The magic of ‘WWW’ planning: what, when, who.

Put your plan together. If it involves a team, use it to measure your progress and hold each other accountable.

The Content Marketing Institute has an excellent, free, and simple marketing calendar you can download immediately.

I like this calendar because it’s simple. No need to complicate it more than necessary.

Plan your content first. Save time later.