Companies like Insuretech and Lemonade seem to have taken reaching and selling insurance to extremes. Agents are also being told they have to worry about posting on social media and blogging to remain relevant.
But there is a HUGE disconnect that does not make sense to agents and it seems as though their voices are going unheard when they ask questions on this.
Questions like: "If Social Media, technology and an online presence are so important then why has my online presence yielded nothing significant, while I am still generating many clients from traditional means?" Or "Is it really necessary to do everything these tech companies are doing? None of my current clients are buying that way."
To answer these questions and more you likely have, we need to really address what doing business in a digital age really looks like. What is necessary and what is not.
How the modern consumer buys
Buyers have more options than ever before and to find who can meet their needs they utilize technology. Many business owners see a lot of customers come by traditional means but do not see the digital path they took to get to that place.
An example of my most recent service experience (and how many people come to find an insurance agent) was this. First, I went to Google to find places near me who offered the service. I found 1 company called and they didn't give me what I needed right away, so I took to Facebook. Ask who were some good companies around me. I got a few names of places then once again took to Google to see reviews. Found a company and they were great.
No it wasn't their excellent service, or their 20 years of experience (sure that was a factor) but the biggest feature that I was attracted to was that I was able to find them and they responded quickly and efficiently.
In the past, the insurance process heavily relied on the sales people. Now the buyer is in control.
So what about you? Can people find you? When someone refers them and they check you out on Facebook what will they see? Will they find and choose you or one of your hundreds of competitors?
Knowing your target market
Before you are able to reach buyers you must know where they are and the things they respond to. What is important to them and what will provide value. Don't assume or place the values you think they appreciate.
Do you know who you want to reach? Do you have a set target or are you chasing down anyone and everyone who will hear you out?
There are far too many people to reach and each one has specific expectations of how doing business should go. It's very hard to approach business in the digital age without knowing exactly who you want to target. I suggest taking a few minutes now (yes, right now) and writing and creating a list of a few target audiences that you want to reach (this tool can help).
It can be something as simple as local HVAC contractors, or something more specific like a married woman with multiple children having a household income of $250,000-$500,000 who is beginning their search for retirement options.
People have options, so if you are simply giving everyone your standard sales pitch, you will likely connect with less and less people. By knowing who you want to reach, it will allow you to create the right message and makes the process for reaching them a more fluent one.
Reaching your target marketing
Once you identify who you want to reach you, where they are and what is important to them you can easily reach them. If they are on Facebook be there, if they are reading articles and are a self service type of people then provide those means.
Digital marketing is not just about everyone doing the same marketing that works. It is about establishing a way of communication based on your buyers.
Good news is that everyone is able to compete in their lanes. Goliath companies cannot compete in your lane.
Bad news is that this takes work. To find and create a custom message for your target takes efforts. It is not as easy as throwing up a billboard that says we offer insurance.
Create a prospecting/marketing plan to reach your buyers
In a weird shift of consumer buying behaviors, marketing has become nearly as important as prospecting. Digital marketing allows consumers to come to you and in the modern marketplace, consumers choose to seek services out opposed to needing a sales person to present it.
Because of this shift, your sales people need to know how to prospect and your agency needs to utilize marketing so that people come to you. And when your sales people prospect and the consumers check them out online, they must like what they see.
How do you do this?
Well, simply put, by using the information above and identifying where your target market, you can:
- Find where your targets are and what they do online
- Prospect in those areas and ensure you are marketing in those areas
- Determine what people respond to in different parts of the buyer's journey
- And create a marketing/sales funnel with content leading people through the buyer's journey.
Once you begin the process of creating a sales and marketing plan, you will find information begin to click and the process gets easier and you dive in.
If you need help getting started feel free to reach out. This can be a little confusing at first, but with a little guidance you will easily understand how to reach the buyers of your choice.
Putting it all together
We talked about a lot in this article and I really want to simplify the message I'm trying to portray.
So in short, consumers are using digital means to find services, though it may not lead to a direct or immediate sale. Reaching your buyers in a digital age is about being available where they are (online) and realizing that something like a social media post may not sell insurance but it might be the 1 factor that tipped the buyer to come to you opposed to the hundreds of other agents.
We need to realize that people are using Google to find services, they are using social media to decide whether or not to do business with you and while we will still get clients via traditional means today, the years to come will look drastically different.
I would love to keep this conversation going and hear your questions/comments. So use the comment section below and let's discuss what doing business in the digital age looks like.