Agencies have the tools available to better understand audiences, update message delivery channels and reach clients in the best way possible.
Basic marketing concepts haven't changed: Reach the right markets with the right message using the right media. That means knowing your target audience, crafting effective messages and delivering those messages in the most effective manner.
While these fundamentals are as important as ever, the methods and techniques independent agencies use to plan and execute marketing strategies have changed. The coronavirus pandemic has sharpened the need for agencies to embrace and deploy new technologies in their marketing. Agencies must use technology to better understand audiences, update message delivery channels and reach clients in the best way possible.
Appeal to Segmented Audiences
The same messaging through all marketing channels no longer works. While it still makes sense to offer a consistent experience for clients throughout a transaction, agents must now be able to reach and engage distinct demographic groups differently, offering targeted messaging depending on their needs.
“In 2021, the leading brands will shift away from executing unilaterally across all channels, assuming what worked in email would work on mobile and so forth," writes Matt Ramerman in Forbes. “This means they understand which channel has a higher value, so they can more fluidly and strategically optimize content and programs when it matters most, rather than using a broad-brush approach."
The tools to do this are at your fingertips.
Agency management systems (AMS) can offer valuable analytics to segment audiences. Meanwhile, website analytics can help you understand what areas clients and prospects are interacting with the most, and by reviewing which pages of content are getting the most clicks agents can initiate a call to action.
With this data, you can engage clients creatively and in the way they prefer. Millennials, for example, are now the largest segment of society and primarily do business with their smartphones, comparing products and services, reading reviews, and looking at pricing before ordering food, clothing and services online. Addressing these clients' needs will require independent agents to have technology that offers the same flexibility that is there when shopping online.
Some clients will want to engage with an independent agent before, during and after the sales pitch—from wherever they are. Agents can increase engagement by adopting mobile technology to encourage them to engage with you more often.
Since millennials are constantly monitoring their phones for news, video and texts, it is helpful to reach out informally via a Facebook post or an update sent through the agency mobile app. Baby boomers, however, may prefer a phone call or video conference from the comfort of their home.
Deliver an Interactive Experience
Independent agents are learning how critical it is to offer a more interactive experience for their clients from start to finish. By providing interactive content, your agency has more opportunities to engage clients and prospects.
One tool gaining popularity is a free online calendar, such as Calendly. You can send your calendar to clients to schedule their own appointments without emailing back and forth. Having an online calendar gives agents the ability to block off times for outbound calls and other business responsibilities. Clients like the flexibility and it gives agents their time back. Better yet, clients feel like they are in control.
Video is another affordable way to market an agency and can be shared through multiple channels: website, social media, agency mobile app, email or text message. A short video can deliver “the inside scoop" on products and encourage clients and prospects with a call to action.
Producing one- or two-minute videos can be helpful tools for answering questions, announcing webinars or virtual events, and providing staff recognition. If done correctly, a series of scripted videos by the agency owner or producer will engage viewers and strengthen the agency brand.
Finally, if your marketing efforts drive people to your website or social media platforms, make sure to update content on your website and social media frequently and use a consistent voice, images, and video to market your agency's value. Brand consistency is a marketing concept that is as important as ever.
The key is to learn how to reach each audience and using the best available tool to do so. If some independent agents believe they can get away with status quo tools and methods in marketing for the next couple of years, they are wrong.
The competition is active and if your agency is not modifying its tactics to offer a better communication experience through multiple channels, you'll likely fall behind.
Doug Coombs is the executive vice president and chief marketing officer at SIAA (Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance).