Modern insurance marketing strategies can encompass a wide variety of choices in terms of channels, tactics and technologies. When you’re looking to create just the right mix under tight budget constraints, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
And to be fair, the insurance industry itself has experienced big shifts over the past decade, including many significant macroeconomic, social and regulatory changes.
As an insurance marketer, you’re probably focused on a host of evolving challenges – understanding big data, creating closed-loop lead generation systems and introducing complicated new products and services to meet emerging coverage needs. But you can’t forget about fickle customers who post bad reviews all over social media. And how do you handle increasing pressure from sales teams who see their competition using an array of interactive tools and apps that put commoditized, on-demand solutions directly into consumers’ hands?
Take a deep breath and don’t crawl into an empty cubicle. You’re not alone.
Remember, at its core, the insurance business (like digital marketing) is all about creating and nurturing relationships by demonstrating the value of your products and services.
To help you get ahead, here are eight insurance marketing ideas you should add to your digital marketing arsenal:
Inaccurate data can be a campaign killer. This is especially important when it comes to creating new solutions for underinsured market segments or growing new products and services in emerging markets. Given how quickly consumer behaviors and choices are changing, data helps your business stay nimble and increases the accuracy of your marketing decisions and campaigns.
Besides obvious deliverability issues, bad data can also have a negative impact on list segmentation, which in turn has repercussions for all your social media, email, content marketing or customer service and customer experience efforts. Accurate lists with clean data allow your team to be better poised to respond to both consumer demands and competitive threats.
Regularly clean up your lists, because you can’t use bad data from the past to help you plan your future insurance marketing campaigns. If you don’t know what’s worked — and, more importantly, why — it’s hard to leverage data to create new insights. Remove the uncertainty. Clean your data.
It’s also easy to get bogged down or confused by the amount of data from multiple sources. Data visualization tools are not only a great way to understand and interpret data more quickly, they also help you (and others in your company) see the reasons why certain recommendations make the most sense. It’s much easier to build consensus and get team buy-in when you can make collective decisions based on factual data points versus subjective opinions.
Sure, you have offline data like a customer’s name or address. Maybe even an email address or phone number. But what else do you know about your customer from their online behaviors or channels? If you’re using multiple forms of online marketing, such as paid search, SEO or content marketing, you already have additional, non-conventional resources to help inform your next campaign or product/service idea.
Where can I find additional data about customers?
Quit Selling and Start a Conversation
As an insurance marketer, it can be challenging to explain the how and why of insurance products and services. For example, Mintel recently reported that “only 31% of U.S. consumers think it is easy to find information when visiting their health insurance provider’s website.” Even fewer (29%) felt that the written information they receive from their health insurance provider about claims is easy to understand.
The reality is that many consumers don’t fully understand insurance or trust insurance companies. Most of the time, they know they need it but don’t really get into the nuances of deductibles, liability or coverage unless they have a claim. Furthermore, an EY Global Consumer Insurance Survey reports that overall trust of insurance companies has fallen below that of most other industries, including banking.
So how do you sell insurance in a crowded, noisy marketplace that’s confusing and sometimes scary for consumers.
Consumers simply do not want to interact or engage with content that doesn’t answer the “what’s in it for me?” question immediately. In a world where we are bombarded by information, sales pitches fall on deaf ears. Remember, you need to speak to humans the way they want to hear you: on their terms.
Today’s savvy consumer avoids or ignores phone calls and emails, choosing how and when to interact with a brand. Insurance marketers need to re-evaluate their lead generation and nurturing strategies to include the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant, shareable and consistent content that helps drive consumers one step closer to purchase.
You may think of SEO, websites, social media, email or blogging as individual techniques, but you really need these to work together in harmony as a complete marketing system to achieve true success. Consider how podcasts, webinars, videos, group sessions or online courses can add value to each interaction and bring potential customers one step closer to a purchase decision.
Have you clearly defined your audience and mapped the customer journey to the channels they use? If not, you may be missing some obvious opportunities. For example, over 70% of insurance agents use referrals and social media as a way to attract leads from millennials, yet only 30% of agents actually engage with their clients on social media. Fewer still use it to generate additional referrals.
The typical insurance company has so few live interactions with its customers that each one is critical. Even simple transactional or administrative tasks are incredibly important and can change the perception of your company.
Creating a customer journey map and aligning your marketing calendar to it is a great way to put the user front and center for the entire organization. It will quickly show how mobile, social media and other web interactions have changed consumer behavior and how your company needs to adapt to reach ideal buyers.
Social media and the insurance business fit well together. They’re both about nurturing relationships. If used correctly, social media is more than just a way to generate likes or followers. Rather, it can be your primary channel for starting one-on-one conversations about new products and services.
For example, real-time Twitter or Facebook Live can be used as a customer service tool to answer questions or interact with customers for immediate service. Apps and other interactive tools can help you upsell gaps in insurance coverage or provide quick, on-demand quotes. Ultimately, the goal is to build relationships and rapport based on trust rather than transactions.
And contrary to a popular belief, social media efforts are very measurable.
For example, suppose you create a promoted post that leads to a landing page with a white paper download on the top 10 ways to avoid a cyber attack. If you drive 2,000 people to the page, with a conversion rate of 10%, that’s 200 leads. Those 200 leads now begin receiving emails through an automated funnel. Assume that 10% of those leads schedule an appointment and your agents’ close half of those appointments. That’s 10 new clients. You now can determine that “it cost X to drive 2,000 people to our landing page, which ultimately led to Y clients.”
Word-of-mouth referrals have always been the cornerstone of the insurance industry. Most insurance agents still receive a large portion of their new business from referrals. And that’s across all generations, including much-desired (and underinsured) millennials.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 79% of people ask family and friends for referrals when shopping for insurance; 65% also ask colleagues and social acquaintances. As digital has evolved, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Yet, 70% of insurance agents ignore review sites, ranking them as the least effective lead generation source. They certainly can’t be effective if your company or agents are ignoring them entirely. Online reviews can even be a great tool for gathering intelligence — or even as a referral source. The answer? Don’t ignore review sites.
Personalization is a hot topic in digital marketing because companies are continually looking for ways to win and retain customers through improved customer experiences.
Digital personalization strategies are moving away from basic, Amazon-esque recommendations to the creation of individually tailored experiences in real time (or near real time).
For example, several auto insurers now offer telemetry-based packages that feed drivers’ information into a system that creates a personalized, accurate behavioral profile. Using this data, insurers can compare an individual’s data with that of other drivers in its database. This data allows companies to reward good (and loyal) drivers with premium discounts or even offer ways to reduce premiums on a sliding scale if they improve their driving habits.
And the reward for the insurance company? Real-time personalization increases engagement, optimizes conversions and improves customer experiences and loyalty for B2B and B2C companies alike.
Yet, like any new marketing tactic, it should be used with caution. There is a fine line between customization and creepy. As users voluntarily share data with brands, some concerns will arise for many people: Do I really want a company to have so much personal information?
Digital tactics and access to immense amounts of data enables insurance marketing to gain greater traction and more measurable results, but it also creates a lot of potential noise when developing campaigns. To cut down on the clutter and learn how to integrate emerging trends and tactics in your marketing stack, click here to subscribe to the J&C marketing newsletter.
Topics: Digital Marketing