In the online marketplace, your website is always open for business.
Whether you like it or not, people are trying to find your business and learn about your services at all hours of the day and night. And when they arrive at your digital doorstep, they will form much of their future purchasing decisions based on the impromptu interactions that they have with your 24/7 salesman.
In this arena, your website is either working for you or against you. It is either a testament to the quality of your business, and the strength of your reputation, or it isn’t. We suggest putting the same care into the curation of your online storefront as you do with any other aspect of your business.
The Digital Suit
You ever hear the phrase, “dress for the job you want”? Well, in digital marketing, dress for the leads you want.
What does this mean specifically? It means giving your website the design it deserves. Strive to build a website that looks and feels as intuitive as possible. Remember that your customers are spending almost all of their time on websites - Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Google - that constantly work to make their user experiences as smooth as possible.
Just as these web-giants strive to create near-perfect websites, so should you.
Sleek, lean design and quality content is the name of the game. Post relevant blogs, talk about the things that your customers are searching for, and answer the questions that they have in exactly the format that they seek. Make your website the place that customers actually want to visit to educate themselves on the insurance that they are about to buy.
Once your beautiful and content-rich website is passively attracting prospects who are broadly interested in insurance, it will be a no-brainer for those prospects to seek out your business when it comes time to actually make a purchasing decision.
So you’ve built the website of your dreams. You’ve equipped it with top-notch content. Now it is time to get your dynamic masterpiece in front of the right eyes - and as many of them as possible.
Customer targeting is, without doubt, the first step.
Customer targeting involves deep research into the exact type of person who is likely to buy your products. Use this research - whether it’s finding patterns in spreadsheets or conducting interviews with producers and current customers. The goal is to create what’s called a buyer persona. A buyer persona includes all sorts of data: income level, age, company size, interests/habits, location - whatever characteristics separate your business’ target market from the sea of people who will simply waste your time.
Once you’ve fleshed out your buyer persona with qualitative and quantitative data, you are ready to figure out what channels you should go through to reach the customers that best fit this buyer persona, and to decide what exactly those channels should look like.
The ultimate goal is to best direct the viewer from reading through content, to filling out a form, to signing a policy with one of your producers. Taking the time to think deeply about what makes your ideal customers tick will allow you to stick out in their minds as the one business that not only provides their desired service, but - in a somewhat indescribable way - gets it. Not only do they need you - they like you, too. This - this spark of human connection in an age when, within 4 years, 85% of our business interactions will occur without another human - is the emotional bond that is the secret to inbound marketing.
Just remember: to transform an emotional connection into a sale, your 24/7 salesman requires a good amount of behind-the-scenes work.
It means picking up the phone when a form submission comes in; speak to a customer before your competitor does, and you’re already halfway to a win. It means constantly updating your content to focus on real world issues and real world queries. Overall, it means researching and analyzing best practices, and treating your 24/7 salesman with the same gravitas your normally reserve for your top-performing human salesman (i.e. your 9-to-5 salesman).
A Single Message
As the best 9-to-5 salesmen do, it is absolutely vital that your 24/7 salesman maintains a single marketing message throughout the entirety of your online strategy.
Reaching out to customers through social media, search engines, advertisements, email, print - even phone - could seem like it has the potential to disorient your prospects.
Don’t worry: as long as they are receiving the same great service and same great message, guided by a strategy customized specifically to them, they will appreciate the fact that you are meeting them where they want to be met. In turn, they will feel more comfortable coming to you, and coming back to you, for all of their insurance needs.
In 2016, the biggest insurance companies are increasingly staking out positions in the market. For example, business owners policies were historically sold by small agencies with the flexibility to invest face-to-face time into their sales processes. Just this past month, a direct writer upended this industry standard by debuting a digital quoting platform for business owners policies.
The moral of the story is this: the only way for us “little guys” to compete against the “big guys” in online insurance sales is by reminding customers of the independent insurance agent’s value-add - on whatever media channel those customers happen to trust most.
Protect yourself - and your customers
Inbound marketing requires a multi-channel approach. However, the fact remains that in this day and age, most customers prefer online interactions.
And when it comes to online interactions, the little green lock at the start of your URL is the very definition of trust.
While it doesn’t look like much, this little green lock signifies that your website is a trusted source of information. As long as you back this security up with a website that looks and feels trustworthy, the leads will flow in like beer at a frat party.
Earning the little green lock isn’t easy, but totally worth it: customers - especially young, digitally-native ones - who see it are infinitely more willing to give you their trust, their personal information, and ultimately, their money. Without it, the website you poured thousands of hours and dollars into might as well be a typo-ridden get-rich-quick scheme punctuated with too many exclamation points; in other words, no one under the age of forty will spend more than two seconds on it.
The last - and perhaps most important - step in building your 24/7 salesman is… you. To achieve digital marketing success, you need to live and breathe the mentality of a digital marketer.
Don't neglect your leads. Strive to make the best content possible on the internet. Get your hands dirty. Listen to the needs of your customers and offer them solutions to the problems that they bring up. Listen well enough, and you’ll be solving your customer’s most pressing problems before they’re even thought of, let alone brought up.
Understand that a lead-generating online presence is never truly finished. There is always room for improvement. There is always a larger market to reach. There is always a competitor doing something better than you.