Agents and brokers must continue to react to the changing trends in the insurance sector to thrive. Here are three strategies to use digital marketing to connect with consumers.
For many people, 2020 has provided ample time to reconsider their life, health and property-casualty insurance needs. As we move into 2021, agents and brokers must continue to react to the changing trends in the insurance sector to thrive.
Notably, marketing in the insurance industry has been turned on its head as everyone redefines the new normal. Last year's messaging is no longer relevant.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused consumers to lose their jobs, experience lapses in coverage, drive their vehicles less frequently and more. Some insurers are building loyalty by giving customers a break on premiums, while others are finding different ways of impacting customer retention.
The more impactful trends, however, involve how customers prioritize insurance and interact with their agents and carriers. Consumers are more frequently turning to digital channels to reach their insurance carriers—but many companies don't have adequate marketing technology (MarTech) strategies to keep up, according to McKinsey.
Up to 21% of consumers who reached out to their life insurance companies through digital channels had an unsatisfactory experience, according to Bain & Company. And 12% of respondents who reached out to p-c companies through digital channels said the same. Insurance is supposed to make the most difficult times in customers' lives easier to bear, not harder.
The impetus is on marketers to communicate that customers can have the affordable coverage they need—and that it's easier to use thanks to advanced technology in the insurance industry. The following strategies for digital marketing can help insurance companies connect with consumers:
1) Consult new data to craft better messaging. Your customer bases will continue shifting as peoples' lives keep changing. Customers who were employed may no longer be, or they might now be self-employed. Others who used to have long commutes may work mostly or entirely from home now. Build a better MarTech strategy by understanding who you're talking to and adjusting your messages accordingly.
As with most MarTech strategies, data is key. To craft your new messaging, use the data you have to define your best customer. Then, find more profiles that match theirs. This can be done through social media look-alike programs, direct mailing lists, or digital and broadcast media. Once you know who you're talking to and what they need, consider sending your message to them directly.
2) Migrate communications to digital channels. Many insurance companies have on-site call centers that have been critical to their success. For independent agents and brokers, call centers aren't nearly as common. But as the pandemic has caused almost everything to become remote, technology in the insurance industry is coming to the rescue.
Boost your customers' experiences by using available technologies to move the process online. When a call is absolutely necessary, prioritize call center staff and calls accordingly—but use all the MarTech tools at your disposal to simplify matters. When customers need live service, for example, digital tools such as call scoring, interactive voice response systems and surveys can help ensure they reach the right people in a timely fashion.
3) Make it easy for customers to reach you. People aren't just more remote than ever, they're also busier than ever while dealing with the changes spurred by COVID-19. To ease their insurance journey, provide plenty of options for them to contact you, whether it's by text, phone, chat, email, social media or direct messaging.
Establish how customers and prospects prefer to communicate, and then stick with those methods. If you can provide value at every point, customers will be more inclined to retain their policies. Time is one of the most valuable commodities we have and helping clients save it is an effective way to encourage customer loyalty.
Insurance agents and brokers need to be more accessible than ever before, and they must communicate that accessibility to existing and prospective customers.
The companies that thrive beyond 2020 will be those that can demonstrate a need for their product, provide clear communication lines to customers and address changes in the insurance sector with improved MarTech strategies.
Ann Dieleman is the executive director at the Professional Insurance Marketing Association (PIMA).
Angela Daisy is the managing director at Value Group Direct and also serves on the PIMA Executive Board of Directors.