Does Your Agency Need a Digital Marketing Strategy?
If you read the headline and are still unsure, then let’s clear it up: Yes, you need a strategy, because you want to get leads, make sales, and grow your business with today’s consumers.
In fact, it’s never been so important for independent insurance agents to have such a strategy. Consumers of all ages — not just millennials — are going online to shop for insurance (but not necessarily to buy insurance … more on that in a bit). You ought to be there.
A digital marketing strategy is important
Make no mistake, COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the consumer shift to eCommerce. According to a June 2020 article in Forbes, the pandemic has propelled this shift an estimated four to six years ahead of its pre-COVID-19 projections.
It follows that more people are shopping online for insurance than ever before. But at the same time, the independent agency model retains its appeal to many. Why? Because insurance is complex stuff. People want to know that they’re properly covered and are getting good value for their money. They may enjoy the convenience of websites and apps when shopping around but don’t always trust them when making the buying decision. They trust you.
The consulting firm Accenture states, in its 2021 Global Insurance Consumer Study: “Insurance can be an emotionally complex business for consumers — they need the freedom to choose methods of interaction most comfortable for them. Those methods may change depending on the type of interaction they require at any given moment. Context matters more than ever when personalizing service.”
So it may be less reasonable to expect that you’re going to spend a lot of face time with insurance shoppers. Instead, you more often may need to meet consumers on their turf. This means being there when they’re online, and being ready to provide help when they realize they can’t go it alone.
The question is, when online insurance shoppers realize they need help, are they finding your agency?
That’s where your digital marketing strategy comes in.
A digital marketing strategy should be customized for your agency
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy. However, there are some key tactics your agency should probably be employing. For instance, make sure you’ve claimed your free Google My Business profile so your agency at least appears on local searches. And any digital marketing strategy ought to devote resources to an updated agency website, regular content publication, and an active social media presence.
Then there are activities such as search engine optimization, monitoring your online reviews (responding to the negatives and leveraging the positives as a proof source for your agency), and email marketing to both current and former customers. Any of these tactics, properly executed and maintained, can help drive leads.
Your agency’s specific needs may be different from others’ needs. Where you’re located geographically; what lines you’re trying to grow; your agency’s overall digital capabilities; and your current marketing mix, budget, and level of experience all may make a difference in your digital marketing strategy. You may need to experiment a bit and figure out what works best for you.
Yes, there’s help
The good news is that there are experienced service providers who specialize in leveraging digital marketing tactics to help small businesses grow.
Independent agents appointed with Progressive, for instance, can benefit from our partnerships with several such providers. Through our new online tool, the Digital Marketing Playbook, agents can see curated selections of these providers’ solutions (with special pricing for Progressive agents) based on their level of digital marketing experience.
So yes, you need a digital marketing strategy. It’s essential to generating leads and growing your business. And there’s help, with carrier partners who can direct you to service providers who know what agencies need to win with digital marketing.
Maria Mills is Progressive’s director of agency marketing. Since joining in 2002, she’s worked in various finance, acquisition, and media roles before joining the Agency Sales and Distribution team. Today, she’s focused on strengthening agency engagement through unique partner programs and agent experiences.
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