What impact has content marketing had on your insurance business?

For many agents and carriers, the answer would be little to none. As an industry, we’re certainly not overflowing with case studies (at least on the independent insurance industry side). 

Some might use this as proof that content marketing (and online business in general) has little return on investment.

However, look at the success of TrustedChoice.com: over 57,000 leads were generated and subscribed in 2014. Much of TrustedChoice.com’s traction is the result of classic content marketing.

Now consider what Direct and Captive insurance companies have accomplished with tightly woven stories and characters (Maxwell the Pig, The Mayhem Guy). Sure, their marketing and advertising budgets are enormous, but we can learn from their focus on storytelling and consistency.

Then we simply scale our activity to meet the needs of the community we serve.

Unfortunately, twenty years after the widespread adoption of the Internet, as an industry we still haven’t embraced content marketing at critical mass. Subsequently, we’re leaving the door open for the likes of Google, Amazon and Overstock to come our house and dip their hands in our honey pot.

This is at least in some part due to a general apathy, negativity and misunderstanding towards what opportunities are available to insurance agents on the Internet.

I will take some of the blame for this. It’s been my mission for five years to help insurance agents grow their business online, and its obvious we’re not there yet.

However, you had to want to come along for the ride.

Where there is apathy, negativity and misunderstanding, I see opportunity.

Here’s why, and what you can do to take advantage of it …

The 2015 Cost of Online Business Survey

Copyblogger Media recently released their 2015 Cost of Online Business Survey. I took some time this weekend to comb through the results and see what this report had to offer the insurance industry. What I found, were opportunities.

1) Generating Website Traffic Is Still a Struggle

According to the survey, generating website traffic (26 percent of respondents) is still the biggest challenge to online business.

Opportunity: Generating traffic is a solvable problem. In many cases, lack of traffic has to do with poor headline quality, limited depth in content, and a lack of consistency in publishing. By  committing your agency to creating high quality content which answers the most important questions to the insurance consumers you serve, it is extremely possible to generate consistent, profitable traffic to your agency website.

2) Limited Time to Publish Content

The second biggest challenge to online business is finding the time to create content (14 percent of respondents).

Opportunity: Here’s the thing about having limited time: having time is as easy as making time. Your competitors are making excuses for why they don’t have time. If you choose to “find” the time, more content and ultimately more success is waiting for you.

3) No Variety in Content

When asked what type of content online businesses publish the most, 69 percent responded “Articles.”

Opportunity: Text-based “articles” are great for ranking in Google. But not every insurance consumer who visits your site wants to read text-based content. Some want videos, some want audio, some want images. There is an immense opportunity for agencies willing to dial up video to share their message.

Just like Petschauer Insurance:

4) All the Work Done By One Person

77 Percent of respondents to the Copyblogger survey indicated that they were the sole creator of website content.

Opportunity: Most agencies (most businesses) tap one person in their agency with the content creation responsibility. The unfortunate truth is that one person (one voice) is not enough to separate your agency from everyone else. The agencies able to create a culture of content creation, where multiple people inside the agency are generating content, are going to win.

5) Social Media Alone is NOT Enough

52 percent of online businesses indicated that their only content outreach tactic was social media sharing.

Opportunity: Sharing your new blog post to Facebook is widely understood as a best practice in content marketing and something we should all keep doing. However, sharing to social media is not enough outreach to generate the traffic you’ll need to grow your business. Find other businesses in your local community, starting with your clients, and ask them to share your articles with their audience. Then reciprocate for that business when they need it.

6) SEO Ignorance

The results found that 76 percent of the responding businesses performed their own SEO activities and another 13 percent completely ignored SEO.

Opportunity: SEO is important. Additionally, SEO isn’t as complicated as it used to be. There are Local SEO best practices that your agency can follow to ensure you’re maximizing local visibility in the search. Use the resource below to make sure you have a comprehensive Local SEO checklist:

7) No Use of Audio

76 percent of respondents indicated they do not currently have a podcast.

Opportunity: I’m not advocating that you run out and start a podcast today. However, audio in some form can be an extremely valuable part of your content marketing. Use a service like SoundCloud to share short thoughts, updates on local news, interviews with local business professionals and testimonials from customers who don’t want to do video just for a few ideas. It’s all about a varied content strategy.

Enjoy this great infographic from Copyblogger which supports the 2015 Cost of Online Business Report:

Announcing The 2015 Cost of Online Business Report [Infographic]

Like this infographic? Get proven online marketing advice from Copyblogger Media that will give you an unfair business advantage.

The Rub

With new mega-players entering the market, such as Google, Amazon and Overstock, it’s easy to become pessimistic about the Internet’s impact on the insurance industry.

My hope is that you’ll embrace the opportunity that online business presents to the insurance agencies willing to step forward.

Agency Nation is here to help, and so am I.

Thank you and good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley

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