Are you excited about your inbound insurance marketing?

You should be. I am. I’m excited to see what you can do. I’m excited to serve you and your fellow Agency Nation Pathfinders in the quest for world domination.

That’s why you’re here, right?

It’s an exciting time to work in the insurance industry.

Exciting and dangerous.

Exciting – because never before has there been such opportunity for insurance professionals to reach the clients their expertise and attitude suit best.

Dangerous – because never before has your competition had such opportunity to drive a wedge between you and the clients your agency serves.

In 2015, we fight to tip the scales in our favor.

Are you ready to go to battle?

See Also: Insurance Digital Marketing: How to Stand Out and Attract the Modern Insurance Consumer

Inbound Insurance Marketing Trends

The following seven inbound insurance marketing trends will serve as a content primer for Agency Nation to deliver in the coming year. This won’t be the last time I ask for you to open your mind, step outside the comfort zone and onto the gas pedal.

1) We All Become Marketers

The last thing the insurance industry needs is more producers. What is a “Producer” anyway?

Producers are salespeople, order-takers, slaves to the whim of the market. We don’t need more producers.

In the future, we stop viewing ourselves as producers or customers service representatives or principles or receptionists..

In the future, we all become marketers.

Every interaction, every touch, every communication, is an opportunity to round-out, up-sell, cross-sell and build fences around clients.

What? You’d rather work on your seven iron into an elevated green?

No worries, your clients just became a target.

2) Clients Expect Online Experience to Match Offline

online experienceUnfortunately, the obligatory “Website” that far too many agencies have thrown up on the Internet are simply not good enough.

Your clients assume their online experience mirrors the offline experience.

When someone visits your website does it scream, “I don’t give a crap about the Internet?” Sloppy, cheap websites are a direct reflection of your agency.

Consistency between online and offline experience builds trust with clients researching your agency.

If you don’t care enough about your agency to spend the $3,000 – $5,000 it costs to create, launch and maintain a quality website, why should your clients care?

We are being judged by our digital presence whether we’re located in rural Iowa or downtown San Francisco.

Sick of getting garbage business insurance leads? Take a long look at your agency website.

Speaking of inbound insurance leads…

3) Inbound Leads More Valuable Traditional Referrals

I’m jumping up on my soapbox for this one.

Nothing drives me more insane than when hearing an insurance professional claim, “Inbound Internet leads suck.”

Here’s the hard truth: The issue isn’t Internet leads, it’s the agency.

You want better Internet leads? Create a more valuable digital presence which accurately represents your agency and the specific types of clients you help.

This is the year that inbound leads (from all sources, not just the Internet) become more valuable than referrals.

How is this possible?

Inbound leads choose the agency they want to work with. This is the beauty of content marketing. You add value to the lives of those you serve, and in return you give these potential clients the opportunity to choose you.

This is scary as hell. I know that. Inbound marketing is a completely different methodology than you were taught (most likely).

But the truth is, no matter how much you wish we still lived in 1967, consumers have changed. You either embrace change or spend the next few declining years banging your head off the wall.

4) Storytelling as a Habit

Our job as insurance professionals isn’t just policy forms and risk assessments anymore.

We must become storytellers.

I’m not talking about Lord of the Rings storytelling, but rather creating content which provides prospective clients with the landscape of who we are, what we do, how we do it and most importantly, WHY we do it.

Telling the story of your agency answers the question, “Why.”

There are three C’s to business storytelling: Company, Client, Community (For more detail read The 3 C’s of Storytelling).

In 2015, more agencies will make simple content sharing a habit. Following the three C’s of storytelling, dripping content out about their company, clients and communities, more agencies will make storytelling a habit.

5) Niche Marketers Running Generalist Agencies

In terms of marketing, Google has killed the generalist agency. Not even GEICO and State Farm can market all lines of business to all people. Pretending to be a generalist online doesn’t scale because our content effort can never gain enough velocity to compete in that space.

In the future, insurance professionals will let go of their generalist marketing and focus on their niche expertise.

This doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t have an open mind to all forms of business. Different consumers choose different agencies for different reasons. More and more insurance consumers are choosing to do business with an agency because of its story. These consumers are willing to exchange technical expertise for pleasure of doing business.

This means that we must at once be a niche marketer, generalist agency.

Focus on growing the lines of business you want to write, but have methods in place (such as a strong MGA/Wholesaler relationship) to write the good business you’re not familiar with.

As an industry under attack, and this goes for direct, captive and independents alike, we can’t narrow our focus to ONLY the business we want to write and hope to be successful on a long-term basis.

Good business is good business.

6) Local SEO

If you’re a local insurance professional and your agency doesn’t show up in local search, you essentially don’t exist.

gatekeepers insurance expertiseOk. The customers you already have know you exist, but no one else does.

How could they?

The customers you don’t have aren’t the old-school, traditional insurance shoppers you built your business on. The customers you don’t have are the fast moving, technology using, experience before expertise insurance consumers we’ve all struggled to capture over the last ten years.

To have any hope of attracting new consumers, your agency must show up in local search.

This is why we created the Complete Guide to Local SEO for Insurance Agents.

Helping insurance professionals harness Local SEO is going to be a huge focus for Agency Nation in 2015.

I hope you’ll take advantage.

7) Tear Down Old Fences and Build New

Do your customers LOVE doing business with your agency? Or do you force them to do business the way YOU want to do it?

During one of my recent presentations on inbound insurance marketing, I had an insurance agency owner raise his hand and state, “This is all fine, but I want to sit across the desk from my clients.”

I responded with a simple, honest question, “Do you think your clients want to sit across the desk from you?”

For some of his clients,I’m sure the answer to that question is “Yes.” However, for a growing number of insurance consumers, I’d argue the answer is “No.”

For most of our industry’s history, we’ve built fences around our clients by using barriers. The process of changing insurance providers historically was an incredible pain in the ass. This barrier kept clients from leaving as long we provided adequate products and services.

Then “Save fifteen percent in fifteen minutes,” happened.

Is switching insurance providers difficult today?

The barriers we once used to fence our clients in are gone.

In the future, we will begin to build fences around our clients by using benefits.

Benefits such as:

  • eSignature
  • Online policy management
  • Mobile applications
  • 24/7 Call Centers
  • Co-branding campaigns

These are just a few of the benefits we can use to make our insurance services so valuable, that clients don’t even consider leaving.

The Rub

Are you excited about 2015?

I hope if you weren’t before, you are now.

What we have is valuable. This is why so many outsiders have taken aim at our industry. Complacency won’t win the battle which has already begun.

It’s time now to fight for what we’ve built.

We have the tools, but do we have the will?

I’m betting… Yes.

Thank you and good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley

What insurance marketing trends would you add to this list? Which trends listed above do you agree with or disagree with?

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