Why Content Marketing is a Must for Insurance Agents in 2016

Is content marketing part of your agency’s new year’s plan?

As 2016 arrives, insurance consumer buying trends continue to change at a rapid pace.

As consumers continue to evolve in how they research and buy products and services, you must analyze how your business is adapting (or not) to these trends.

The term content marketing is not a new idea. In fact, in the early 1900’s, John Deere, Michelin, and Jell-O all used their own magazine content to add value to their customers.   

Content marketing is simply the process of creating and delivering valuable and relevant content to a specified audience.  This type of marketing gains trust and authority with your audience and ultimately leads to an action taken by a customer to help drive profits.

The idea of using content marketing to help build your agency brand and long-term success in 2016 and beyond is no longer just a good idea.  It is imperative.  

To understand the importance of content marketing for your insurance business, all you have to do is look at your own buying habits.  

  • How many times per day do you pull your smartphone out of your pocket or purse?
  • How many times do you seek advice online for research, information, or to satisfy your curiosity?
  • How many random social media posts to you scroll by without even a thought to find specific content that is important to you?
  • When you see an advertisement are you more interested in the specific product or service or how that product or service adds value to your life.

These questions highlight 4 key areas of content marketing that will be pivotal for your insurance agency in 2016.  

1) You must have a mobile presence.

The most recent stats show that over 2 billion consumers now have smart phones.  Yes, that’s 2 billion with a “B.”  

If your agency website and online messaging isn’t optimized for mobile users, you are missing over half of your customers.  

This infographic courtesy of KPCB and eMarketer shows that in 2014 mobile use has surpassed desktop use for consumers.  

It’s not that desktop use has declined, it’s that mobile use has soared. In fact, 75% of U.S. households have internet access (U.S. Census)

Five years ago, the average consumer spent 40 minutes a day on a mobile device.  In 2016, that number is expected to jump to over 3 hours!

This includes content on websites, blogs, images, and other resources for your customers like having your own mobile app.   Here is how Paradiso Insurance in Connecticut is leveraging their mobile app.

Insurance prospects and clients are using their mobile devices more frequently and with longer duration.  

If your content is not relevant, functional, and searchable on mobile, many consumers will assume you don’t exist.  

2) Google searches

Mother Google continues to grow her presence in all walks of life including insurance research and buying decisions.  

If you were ever curious about the power and influence of Google, check out these stats from DMR

  • There are over 100 billion Google searches each month
  • Over half of all Google searches are from a mobile device
  • Google has an 89 percent share of the organic U.S. mobile search market
  • There are 50 billion web pages indexed on Google
  • 56 percent of users Google themselves
  • 25 percent of all Google searches return a knowledge graph answer or box (this means instant answers)

While these numbers are staggering, Google’s basic mission hasn’t changed since its inception. The goal of Google is to provide people with the best answers to their queries.  

The most helpful and and usable information always rises to the top in Google.

This means that even the smallest agency or individual agent that understands digital content creation and distribution can beat out the big boys with the right processes.  

If you or your agency is not producing helpful and usable content online for your prospects and clients, you are not being found on Google.  

3) Social media requires great content

Just being on social media doesn’t cut it.  Asking for likes, followers, and random updates from you or your agency’s social media platforms has little impact.

Social media does not work without engaging, valuable, consistent content creation and distribution.  

Successful business social media is about compelling stories. Stories that create emotion. Compelling stories spread through our followers on social media. Facts and data do not.

If social media were a car, the content is the gas that fuels it.  

Without the fuel, your social media strategy will take you nowhere.  

4) Consumers trust content over advertising

While I don’t believe that traditional marketing and advertising is dead, I do believe that insurance agents vastly underestimate the sophistication of today’s insurance buyers.

Most consumers don’t trust traditional advertising alone when researching and making buying decisions. Consumers are more open to accept content that provides value and is helpful to their needs.  

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, discusses the importance of content acceptance in his book Epic Content Marketing.  He references these stats.

  • 61 percent of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are more likely to buy from that company (Content Council)
  • People spend more than 50 percent of their time online looking at content (Content +)
  • 70 percent of consumers find custom content useful, and 78 percent believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them (CMO Council)

The point is that you don’t have to be the Huffington Post, New York Times, or the largest trade magazine in your industry to get people to engage with your content.

Your prospects and clients are simply looking for any content that will help them be more profitable, productive, successful, or maybe just help them sleep better at night.  

The Bottom Line

There are no barriers to entry in content marketing today. You have as much opportunity as anyone else.  

In the past, delivering content was complex and expensive.  in 2016, you can publish targeted content for your insurance prospects and clients in minutes.  

Does content marketing take time, hard-work, and consistency?  100 percent yes!

Therein lies your opportunity.  

Even though the vast majority of insurance consumers utilize content everyday that influences their buying decisions, most agents are still sitting on the sidelines when it comes to content marketing.  

The next time a prospective insurance client looks on their smartphone, performs a Google search, browses social media, or reads something that improves their life, maybe they will be looking at your content and not the competition.

Brent Kelly is the founder and CEO of BizzGrizz Marketing.  He helps agencies empower their producers through online training and consulting.

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