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As we mentioned some time ago in our blog post about insurance brokerage industry trends for 2021, the future of insurance is unwavering digital. Insurance brokers are adapting to the needs of a younger customer base by tailoring their offers to fit their needs and taking their offers online is one of the main ways in which this is being done.
Insurance buyers today want to be able to not only buy their policies online, they’d like to manage their claims and renewals in the same way. No one wants to spend hours on the phone with their broker only to have to sign and scan massive amounts of paperwork just to buy an insurance policy for their business. Today’s insurance buyers want to acquire coverage quickly and easily and, if possible, without having to talk to anyone.
Since all signs point towards the proliferation of “insurtech” and the evolution of online brokerage services and digital insurance products, it’s no surprise then that the marketing efforts of insurance brokers in 2023 will need to focus more heavily on the online realm as well.
In this blog post, we’re not going to talk about one-off promotions that insurer brokers and agents can run to attract a handful of new clients. We’re going to focus on the long game; building and implementing an insurance broker marketing strategy that leads to sustained business growth for your brokerage.
Overcoming the Obstacles of Marketing Insurance
Being an insurance broker certainly isn’t what it used to be. The profession used to be very hands-on and clients were very typically found through personal connections and word of mouth. If you needed to buy business insurance, you’d probably ask a family member or a business associate who their broker was and whether they would recommend working with them.
But that’s not how the majority of younger buyers approach finding coverage today. One of the biggest hurdles that insurance brokerages need to overcome is this reliance on old business models that require recommendations, phone calls, and personal meetings to occur before a policy is sold.
While recommendations are obviously still important to today’s consumers, they would much rather do the legwork themselves. Younger business owners looking for insurance today want to do the research online and make decisions on their own based on their findings.
In order to enable them to do so, today’s modern insurance brokers and agents need to break down two main barriers that represent the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of insurance brokerages and their potential client base:
Lack of Trust
According to a recent survey, 43% of U.S. adults do not trust insurance companies. This is a disadvantage that insurance brokers have to deal with from the get-go, which means that extra effort must be put in to prove to clients that they can be trusted and that they have the client’s best interests in mind.
The best way to earn the trust of today’s buyers is through transparency. If you’re already working towards making it easier for your clients to purchase insurance, make sure that they know exactly what they’re getting.
Remember, insurance brokers didn’t get this reputation of being untrustworthy out of nowhere. Complaints of hidden fees, unclear wording, and small print in policies became synonymous with the profession over time. This is why today’s insurance brokers need to work twice as hard to make sure that they are communicating clearly with their clients in an attempt to win their trust.
Lack of Clarity
According to the same survey mentioned above, 72% of consumers say that the insurance industry uses words and wording that are difficult to understand. Purchasing a business insurance policy is a complex process that usually involves a significant amount of money. What makes the process even more complicated is the language that brokers use in their everyday communication.
That’s why today’s brokers need to make a concerted effort to avoid this disconnect in communication caused by the complex and specific jargon that’s often synonymous with the industry. Being able to translate complicated concepts into language that laypeople with no prior knowledge of insurance can understand will be imperative for brokers moving forward.
Buyers today want to be able to understand what they are buying without needing someone to explain it to them. They want to be able to read about your brokerage services and insurance products online and be confident that they understand the insurance offer and how it can help protect their business.
Marketing Tactics for Modern Insurance Brokers
There are close to 50,000 instances of someone entering the term “business insurance” into a search engine like Google every single month. What is your brokerage doing to get your business on the radar of the people performing these searches?
The following marketing strategies represent best practices; tried and tested modern marketing tactics that any insurance brokerage that desires to grow and expand its client base in today’s technology-reliant insurance landscape should be both aware of and ready to invest in.
Implementing Search Engine Optimization
Hopefully, your insurance brokerage has a website. However, it won’t matter how good your website is if no one sees it. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) needs to be the first course of action found on your list of best insurance broker marketing tactics.
A staggering 93% of all online experiences and interactions start with a search engine, with Google accounting for more than 90% of those searches. The purpose of search engine optimization efforts is to get your website to the top of the page for the search terms or “keywords” that are most important to you.
Are you a brokerage based in Chicago that specializes in selling insurance to restaurants? If so, your top SEO goal should be to appear at the top of the page when someone enters “restaurant insurance Chicago” into Google.
SEO is a very meticulous and challenging job, especially since Google is constantly making changes to its algorithms that determine what factors the search engine takes into consideration when ranking websites.
It’s a process that requires you to invest a lot of time and effort into in order to see real results, which is why it’s a job that your brokerage is better off outsourcing to a professional agency if you don’t have the budget to hire a dedicated, in-house SEO team.
Once you’ve made some SEO progress and you start seeing an increase in traffic to your website, then it’s time to make sure that your website is optimized to convert these visitors into policyholders.
Optimizing Your Website
A majority of your most important marketing tactics should be built around your website. Your website is the central hub that will serve to inform potential clients about your business and hopefully convince them to buy a policy from you.
You could be the most reliable insurance broker or agent on the planet with decades of experience behind you, but if your website looks bad and functions poorly, no one is going to want to trust you with their business. Like it or not, the credibility of your business is intrinsically tied to the first impression that your business makes, one that’s commonly made online and through your website.
Here are some of the most important website factors that need to be optimized if you’re serious about converting visitors in 2023 and beyond:
- Speed: Visitors hate slow websites. According to a customer survey published by Kissmetrics, 47% of customers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less.
- Security: Have you implemented HTTPS on your website yet? If not, you should. It’s one of the first things that visitors look at to see if your website is secure. In this day and age, cyberattacks are constantly on the rise, and protecting the data of your business and its clients is absolutely imperative.
- Responsiveness: According to data from Statista, in the third quarter of 2020, mobile devices generated almost 51% of global website traffic. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your website features responsive design, meaning that the design and appearance of your website change dynamically based on the screen size and orientation of the device being used to view it.
- Clear Language: As we’ve already mentioned, the people buying business insurance today are no longer just Baby Boomers. Make sure that your messaging coincides with how Millennials and Generation Z business owners prefer to be addressed and informed. Keep it simple and clear.
- Interaction: Try to make it as easy as possible for potential policy buyers to get in contact with you. Make sure that your contact information is conveniently located on your website and, better yet, install a live chat feature that will enable you to field their questions in real-time.
Leveraging Content Marketing
One of the best ways to improve your SEO and build confidence and trust in your business is by demonstrating your insurance expertise via strong content marketing efforts. While most people equate content marketing with blogging, it’s really made up of a variety of different types of approaches.
The basis of content marketing is creating and distributing content that is valuable and relevant to your visitors and potential clients. Having quality content helps you to attract, convert, and retain clients by demonstrating that you are someone who understands the insurance industry and someone who can help them get the coverage that they need.
With content marketing, your website is no longer just a commercial page that aims to sell insurance policies. Including high-quality content can turn your website into a valuable insurance resource that provides education and guidance to business owners who want to learn more about insurance and better understand why they need it.
Creating Video Explainers
While creating digital videos certainly falls under the umbrella of content marketing, it’s one type of content that should be stressed if you’re looking to attract new clients in 2023.
According to a very recent survey performed by Hubspot, 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day. Younger audiences prefer to learn through watching videos, and marketers are well aware of this.
According to IAB, marketers are increasing digital video budgets by 25% year over year. Using video explainers is especially effective in complex and often confusing industries such as insurance.
Explainer videos need to be short in order for them to work. This forces marketers to distill their ideas to the bare essentials in order to expound concepts in very relatable and understandable terms.
To get an idea of how videos can be used in insurance, take a look at the video explainer we created for our Startup Package that aims to explain, in as simple terms as possible, why venture-funded startups need insurance:
Highlighting Positive Client Experiences
Do you know what Net Promoter Score (NPS) is? It’s a client satisfaction metric that measures the quality of a business’s service based on whether clients would recommend that business to others.
NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of clients who responded with a 6 or lower (on a scale of 1-10) from the percentage of clients who responded with 9 or 10.
The general NPS of the insurance industry is fairly terrible, with a recent analysis by ClearlyRated putting it at about 17%, which is all the more reason to highlight customers who enjoyed doing business with your brokerage.
No matter what industry you are in, online reviews and recommendations are incredibly important to your overall marketing strategy. No amount of self-praise on your website is going to help you build a good reputation if your clients are saying otherwise.
Online reviews are especially important to younger buyers.
According to consumer research performed by Bright Local, 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 93% say that online reviews influence their buying decisions.
Here are two marketing ideas for leveraging positive customer reviews and recommendations that can be quickly implemented:
- Reputation Management Software: There are many options to choose from today if you want to install reputation management software on your website that encourages clients to leave feedback after working with you and makes it incredibly easy for them to do so.
- Client Success Stories: Get your brokers or agents to contact clients that they know have had great experiences with your brokerage and ask them if they would like to participate in a client success story. When putting together a customer story, businesses usually ask their satisfied clients to talk briefly about the great experience they had doing business with them in order to turn the conversation into a promotional story via blog post or even a video testimonial.
Partnership marketing or co-marketing is another great tactic that can help brokers cast a wider net by joining forces with other organizations. Teaming up with other businesses can give you access to different channels of promotion and distribution in order to help widen your audience and increase brand awareness.
Of course, co-marketing works best if the organizations that you are working with have some type of cross-over with what you do, meaning that they cater to businesses that would most likely need your services as well. Partnership marketing tactics are really only limited by your creativity and can include any of the following approaches and more:
- Affiliate Marketing: In affiliate marketing, partner brands promote your business in exchange for financial incentives. This is a type of partner marketing in which having a mutual audience with your partners is fairly important for getting the best results.
- Content Cooperation: Content exchanges are another great way to promote your brand and paint yourself as an expert in your field by, for example, writing articles as an expert guest on your partner’s blog and addressing their readers.
- Bundling Products: This approach can also take many forms, including discounts, giveaways, and other types of promotions in which your products and partner products are offered to buyers as an attractive package deal.
- Referral Programs: In this approach, your customers become your partners by referring your products and services to others in return for incentives such as cash rewards, discounts, or gift cards, for example.
Facilitating Continuous Engagement
Insurance brokers need to invest serious efforts towards staying in contact with their clients and making sure that they return when they need to renew their insurance policies.
It’s a fairly difficult customer cycle to manage. You’re not selling a product once to complete the cycle, nor are you charging the customer on a weekly or monthly basis like a subscription-based software company would, for example.
Brokers need to be able to tip-toe the line between remaining top-of-mind for when the time is right to contact clients to renew and being downright annoying.
One of the best ways to achieve this is through calculated and well-thought-out email marketing campaigns. Email marketing allows you to strengthen your brand and stay connected with your clients even when you don’t need them to make another purchase.
What’s most important is that you’re not just sending emails for no particular reason. Put together a strong content plan that will provide engaging, targeted content that your clients will appreciate and that will help educate them about insurance and how various types of policies can help their businesses thrive.
And while it’s certainly not a huge source of leads for insurance brokers, being active on social media is definitely a good way to build your brand and establish yourself as a trusted insurer while staying top-of-mind for clients that have already worked with you.
Maintaining an active and strong presence on social media and using paid advertising to send reminders and make the renewal process more fluid can go a long way towards your efforts of retaining existing policyholders and eventually turning them into brand promoters.
What tactics can insurance brokers and agents employ to grow their books of business in today’s rapidly-changing business insurance landscape?
What trends can we expect to see in 2022 as the landscape of the insurance brokerage industry continues to rapidly evolve?