If you belong to business groups online, listen to podcasts or have attended a recent live event you likely have heard the term marketing automation.
It sounds intriguing. The buzz and energy from conversations that surrounds it makes it sound like something you should be using. But what keeps agencies away (and what causes agencies to fail with it later) is that many simply don’t understand what marketing automation is and how to use it.
Don’t let not knowing keep you from reaping the benefits of marketing automation.
Let’s dive in an explore the different ways your insurance agency can use digital marketing and what to expect from it.
What to Expect from Marketing Automation
Before stepping into marketing automation it is vital to know what to expect. Too often do we we see people jump in not really knowing what marketing automation will do for them.
In general, here's what you can expect a well put together marketing automation system will do for you:
- Increased lead conversions
- More time back in your day
- Increased revenue due to cross-sells and more time spent selling
- Increased effectiveness with marketing and sales
In other words, marketing automation can help your insurance agency become more profitable and more effective in your marketing and sales efforts.
Many people hear this so they think "sign me up!" but don't understand how it actually gets those results. To understand how to get results with marketing automation you have to understand what it is and how it works.
How to use Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is technology which allows actions, communications, changes, etc... to happen immediately without internal human intervention. It does this through a series of "workflows."
Here is one simple example of how marketing automation works:
Let's say a website visitor is filling out a form on your website and they have to choose whether they are requesting personal insurance or business insurance help. Once they submit the form, if they select personal insurance your system will automatically send an email from Sue, your personal lines producer, if they select business insurance, they will receive an email from Bill, your business insurance producer.
Through workflows, marketing automation can be used for a number of different things:
- Business Development - Move potential clients through the marketing and sales funnel. You can also segment and nurture prospects based on their needs.
- Internal Processes - Create assignments, notifications, and communications for increased productivity among your team.
- Marketing Intelligence - Collect data and provide your team with actionable data to be used via patterns and behaviors. It can also use this same data to create customized or recommended solutions for clients and prospective clients.
These workflows work through various triggers and cues. Such as the personal or business insurance selection from our example above.
Why is it important to know HOW Marketing Automation works?
We talk about how marketing automation works simply so you don't think you are buying something you are not actually buying. It's important to realize that marketing automation takes input. You can't simply turn on marketing automation and begin generating new revenue.
Once you understand how marketing automation works, then you will be able to properly utilize in your agency in a meaningful way.
Examples of using Marketing Automation
Now that you know how marketing automation is utilized, we can discuss real life examples.
The uses and possibilities of marketing automation are [near] endless. So, in my examples I am going to cover many of the common uses insurance agencies find for marketing automation. But keep in mind that just because I didn’t include it or others are doing it doesn’t mean that it can’t happen.
Ways your insurance agency can use digital marketing:
- Automating Marketing (of course) – if a prospect or website lead shows interest in your business, you want to immediately connect them to the right marketing materials at that time.
- Nurturing leads – sometimes leads are not sales ready. In this case, use marketing automation to engage with them until they are ready to talk to sales.
- Sales follow ups – if your sales people are taking the time to craft the same email or to send the same marketing material to more than one person throughout the week then you are wasting time that should be spent selling. Use marketing automation to automate your simple everyday sales follow up emails and requests.
- Onboarding Clients – want happier customers that stay longer? Provide them with an onboarding experience, which of course can be completely automated.
- Generating Client Referrals – I’ve heard it said that referrals are the life blood of an insurance agency. So make the process simple and time it at the ideal times with marketing automation.
- Scheduling and posting across various social media sites – If you (or your marketing people) are signing into your different social accounts to post at different times of the day then you are wasting too much time. Use marketing automation to schedule your posts out in advance.
- Internal communications – Getting online leads are great. Missing opportunities because of lack of follow is bad. Automate the process by having a task to follow up with a lead automatically created.
- Re-engage lost accounts – What percentage of the accounts you quoted and didn’t write or who left your agency do you follow up with? Most often these accounts are forgotten about, but marketing automation can either remind you to follow up in a year or automatically send reconnection emails on your behalf.
- Request for Reviews / Renews – If you hav-e established set times when you ask a client if they would like to review their policy or renew with you then automate the process.
As you can tell, there are numerous ways of using marketing automation to help you save time and increase the effectiveness of your sales and marketing efforts. How one could use marketing automation is limited by their imagination.
Remember, marketing automation is simply a tool. It will not magically increase your revenue just by purchasing it. You need to look at your current operations and see how marketing automation can help you specifically.
WARNING Results Not Guaranteed
Too often do insurance agencies fall for the trap of “if you buy it leads will come.” Remember, marketing automation is just technology. Yes, it can help you reap all the benefits and do all the things listed above, but only if you put in the time to allow it to do so.
Technology is REALLY expensive, if you don’t do anything with it.
But, if you do decide to go down this road and find a way to properly utilize marketing automation, then you will be able to enjoy a positive ROI on your time, money and marketing efforts.
If you need a little help better understanding marketing automation feel free to reach out to us. We have tools that you can explore to help you see how it works first-hand.