Traditional vs. Digital
Insurance agents have always been known for their ability to market themselves, even before the advent of the Internet. The rise of digital marketing has created a sea change in the way companies promote their goods and services. Insurance agents are no exception.
Many old school marketing techniques that insurance agents used to employ are still viable today. In fact, when combined with new school digital marketing strategies, they can be more powerful than ever.
To illustrate the difference between these two approaches to marketing, one need only look at the channels they use to reach their audience:
Digital Marketing Channels
- Social media
- Display advertising
- Search engine optimization
- Google AdWords
Traditional Marketing Channels
- Direct mail
- Live events, seminars, and community involvement
- TV, newspaper and radio advertising
- F-to-Face meetings
- Phone calls
- Personalized correspondence (greeting cards)
5 Ways to Combine Old School (Traditional Marketing) with New School (Digital Marketing)
1. Combine Email with Direct Mail
Email marketing is ubiquitous. The average professional receives 126 emails per day. Most marketing messages, no matter how well crafted, never get opened, let alone lead to engagement.
When people receive physical mail, there is a 77% chance they will flip through it and view all the pieces IMMEDIATELY! This leads to much higher response rates for direct mail – 4.4% vs .1% for email.
To be sure, we are not suggesting you abandon email as a marketing strategy. Instead, we champion combining it with direct mail to increase engagement.
How to increase direct mail’s effectiveness with emails:
- Send Direct Mail Content to Clients and Prospects
Design and send out a piece of value-driven content like a newsletter or brochure.
- Shift to Digital Communication
Follow-up the direct mail with an email campaign designed to keep you top of mind with your target audience.
- Define Next Steps
Define a clear engagement path by linking to an optimized landing page.
This marketing one-two punch first gets a prospect’s attention and follows up with a path to engagement. What could be better than that?
2. Combine Social Media with Live Events
Deciding exactly how best to employ social media can be confusing. One of the most effective ways to utilize social media is to combine it with your live events. 96% of marketers say they now use this powerful strategy.
Social media and live events go hand in hand. Live events are great for building strong relationships and educating an audience. Social media is a powerful way to distribute pertinent details and information. It is also great for communicating and sharing in real-time.
How to supercharge your live events with social media:
- Before the Event
In the lead up to the event, provide deadlines, details, discounts, and a link to register.
- During the Event
Provide a hashtag, curate responses, and summarize information, and encourage attendees to share their impressions and network through social media.
- After the Event
Share photos and reactions to the event, and tag people who were there to expand your reach and make it easy for others to reshare your content, hopefully with their own testimonials about how great your event was! Link to a registration page for upcoming events to continue to grow your attendee list.
Next time you host a live event, use social media to make it as successful as it can be.
3. Combine Digital Campaigns with Referrals
Not enough agents ask for referrals. While 87% of clients are willing to refer a friend, relative, or colleague, only 7% of agents ask. What a wasted opportunity.
Agents avoid asking because asking is awkward, and we tend to procrastinate on tasks that make us uncomfortable. The best way to overcome resistance and leverage the power of referrals is to automate the ask!
How to leverage automation to ask for referrals:
- Create Quality Content
When you share valuable digital content, it acts as an online pass along card. When your audience receives your valuable content, they think more highly of you. When they pass that content to a friend, it serves as an endorsement.
- Use Automated Referral Campaigns
Schedule quarterly emails to go out to your customers asking them if they know someone who could benefit from your services. It is a perfect amount of time to keep you top-of-mind as a recommendation, while not imposing on your client base too frequently.
- Follow Up Either Face-to-Face or on the Phone
Take digital referrals into the real world by connecting with your most loyal clients by phone or in person. If you have helped them or delivered real value, they will be happy to refer you to others.
Referrals are the most powerful type of lead an insurance agent can receive. With digital automation, asking for those referrals just got a whole lot easier.
4. Combine Automation with 1:1 Relationships
Relationship marketing is a powerful way to improve your customer experience. When your customers feel like you are investing in the relationship with them without looking for a reward, they develop a sense of reciprocation. They want to work with you because they feel loyal.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of digital technology is the ability to improve 1:1 relationships at scale, but impersonal emails won’t do the trick. Marketing messages must be personalized and authentic to help establish a relationship. Enter greeting cards.
Automate Your 1:1 Relationship With Greeting Cards
- Build a Client/Prospect List
Using databases and online information capture, create a master email list. Segment your list by contact type to provide additional opportunities for personalizing messages.
- Send Greetings for Holidays and Birthdays
Acknowledging an important date in the life of your clients and prospects will help to cement your relationship
- Establish the Relationship
Follow up with clients emails, phone calls or in-person meetings
5. Combine Analytics with Client Feedback
Understanding your customers’ experience is crucial to improving your offering and growing your base. Agents should use all methods available to them to understand their customers and create personas to guide future efforts. Combining online analytics, social insights, and real-world interviews hits this important task from three angles.
Online analytics can be a little daunting to those of us not trained in the digital quantitative field. With a little effort, you can identify a few key metrics to track that reveal a wealth of information about which topics most interest your audience. Social is a little simpler. Every platform provides statistics that show the pieces that your audience engages with, shares and likes the most.
However, when it comes to knowing your clients, nothing beats an in-person interview. When you can look a customer or prospect in the eye and hear their concerns, experiences, and impressions first hand, you gain information that could transform your agency and how you do business.
How to understand customer experience better:
- Monitor Content and Social Analytics
Use online traffic, clicks, and time-on-page analytics to discover what interests your clients and prospects. Use social engagement scores to determine what is being shared and by whom.
- Engage in Client Feedback
Use surveys, phone calls, and face-to-face interviews to determine their pain points.
- Create a Customer Persona
With the information you gather, both online and off, create personas for your ideal customers that will help guide your content and marketing strategy.
If you can gather all of this information and create accurate personas, your customers will feel better about their choice to engage you. You will also attract the ideal prospect for your agency.
When Old School and New School Work Together – Everyone Wins!
Our industry is seeing sweeping changes to how we communicate, do business, and define our relationships, and evolution to keep pace is critical to make it in a competitive space. Insurance agents must continually evaluate and implement new technology, but it doesn’t require us to abandon the practices that helped to grow our agencies at the start. Combining what worked then with what works now is the smartest way to grow while we wait to see what comes next.