One of the biggest obstacles keeping insurance agents from seeing success with their digital marketing and sales efforts is time.
You know your agency needs to do more with sales and marketing to generate opportunities but there never seems to be enough time. No time to learn different strategies, no time to create content, no time to execute new ideas. Many insurance agents feel like they are just spinning their tires.
If you are an agent or belong to an agency that wants to generate more opportunities but never seems to have enough time in the week then this post is for you. We are going to show you how to find the time for digital marketing and sales.
Are you focusing on what’s urgent or important?
We are all busy. We have our daily tasks, obligations, meetings, email, phone calls, appointments, and not to mention all the interruptions that slowly steal away our time. But are the tasks we’re busy with more important than tasks that lead to business growth?
In Steven Covey’s Time Management Matrix, he breaks down where we spend all of our time using four quadrants. If we take an honest look at our own work lives we can probably agree that much of the time we spend is on less important tasks.
Where are you spending your time? Using the graph above, the items in quadrant 1 & 2 are where you should be spending your time and quadrants 3 and 4 are distractions.
If you look at your daily tasks how many of them are really distractions?
I understand calls, emails, and conversations can feel important and unavoidable, so here are a couple of ways to unlock time for digital marketing and sales.
How to shift from non-important tasks to the important ones
If you feel like you are putting out fires all day it is hard to picture how you can even adjust your tasks to tackle more important work such as digital marketing implementation. However, there are two really simple actions you can take to make this change.
- Schedule time in your calendar. Go ahead, block off time every week that you will dedicate to marketing and sales. Spend this time learning, creating content, making connections, whatever you need to do.
- Remove non-profitable items off your desk. At some point, you need to bite the bullet and push things off your desk. Maybe you can kick one of your weekly meetings or at least make it bi-weekly. Should all the little issues fall on your desk or should your staff have more authority to deal with problems as they come up?
By schedule important tasks ahead of time and removing non-essentials out of the way, you can clear up quite a few hours a week to focus on generating opportunities with your marketing and sales.
Mark Reilly was an agency owner, sales manager, took sales calls, and still had time dedicated to building a successful inbound marketing strategy in his agency. Here’s how he found the time:
Look at your schedule this way. As someone charged with the success of your agency, is your time better spent accepting payments, making policy changes, and processing cancellations or generating opportunities to grow your agency?
Remove Time Barriers and Hinderances
We mentioned above that it is important to focus on what’s important and not just what seems urgent. In addition to that, you can find time in your day by eliminating your agency’s time barriers.
Time barriers, or time traps, are areas of inefficiency that keep your agency operations sluggish.
Here are some examples:
- Spending too much time on things that don’t matter
- Being inefficient with how the agency markets and sells
- Juggling too many tools
- Constantly jumping into new software and new strategies before seeing results
When your business operates with these hinderances your productivity drops and growth becomes an uphill battle.
It’s not just your agency operations that cause hindrances either. Many of us have our own time traps that keep us from doing what we need to do.
- Social Media
- Unnecessary online browsing
- Bad time management
- And again, doing labor-intensive tasks that would be much better suited for someone else in the office.
When you can eliminate time barriers then your agency can reach the same results with less effort. This gives your agency more time back to begin focusing on needed tasks that can bring about much-needed improvement.
Create the right type of content
Aside from the learning curve associated with digital marketing, the most time-consuming part is creating content. Blogs, videos, emails, etc. It can take an enormous chunk of time out of your week especially if it’s not leading to results.
Many insurance agents are told that if they just create enough content or are consistent week after week that they will see results. That’s simply not true and it can lead to an extensive dedication of time.
Instead of random blogs, videos and newsletters, content should focus on consumer pain points and topics that help navigate the insurance buying process. Think about the type of content that would lead you to find a provider.
Would you like information that answers your questions (costs, comparisons, this or that, etc…) and if a provider can get the job done? Or would you prefer to see their community engagement and random safety tips not associated with the service you need to buy?
When you focus on the right type of content a few things will happen:
- You can create less content because the content you do create will work.
- If you know what type of content to create production time decreases.
- Content planning takes less time because you have a better understanding of the content that needs to be created compared with coming up with 100’s of topic ideas.
Creating the right type of content doesn’t necessarily save time but it allows you to be more productive with your time. Instead of creating lots and lots of content you’re not sure will do anything, you can focus on content sure to generate opportunities
You may not have time to write blog after blog after blog and make video after video after video. But if you create the right content you can see better results with less work.
Spread out the work
One mistake agents make is that they believe they have to do all things. When one person is stuck doing all of the marketing work then it becomes overwhelming for one person and the results taper off.
At our old insurance agency, we spread out the work among four people at first. Then it moved on to 7. Our marketing team consisted of a team of four. The owner/sales manager, the COO, and then two of us in the marketing team who had our own special skills. Later, once we saw the power of inbound marketing, and some of the disconnects we had, we brought our sales team in on the work. They were the ones enjoying the dozens of opportunities generated each week after all.
So, who should be involved in the digital marketing and sales initiatives at your agency?
My suggestion: The entire staff.
That’s right, I believe most of your staff should be involved in some way. Here’s why, who hears customer issues and worries the most? Your CSRs. Who knows what prospects are looking for and what questions they ask in the buying process? Your Producers. And who writes the content that’s supposed to help eliminate prospect pains and navigate them through the buying process? Marketing.
Do you see the disconnect? The staff who truly knows what customers are dealing with (producers and CRSs) need to be involved with the staff who knows how to package and deliver marketing content to strangers (marketing).
Not only does this make for more effective marketing, but with everyone taking a piece it means less work for one person to manage.
Hire an in-house marketer
Maybe I am biased because I was one of the marketers at our insurance agency, or maybe it’s because I see how the agencies succeeding with digital marketing have in-house marketers. Either way, I believe it’s a necessity for most agencies.
Having a marketer, or marketing staff in-house makes sure that the work gets done. If you are the owner and you’re trying to work in marketing between client appointments and operational meetings then there is a high probability marketing is going to fall by the wayside.
Yes, you will have to pay and train someone. But two things will happen:
- It frees up space on your desk.
- It allows the work to get done.
Where many agencies go wrong, is they look at marketing as an expense. Sure, you may be at a loss at first, but with a good in-house marketer they will eventually begin generating more opportunities and become ROI positive in the long run.
Hire a Guide
My last suggestion is to hire a marketing guide or coach. As business owners, we spend a lot of time learning, trying to decipher what we should do, and executing. With a guide, we can bypass a lot of frustration and wasted time.
Here’s what your time commitments look like when attempting digital marketing on your own:
- There’s a long learning curve.
- There is a lot of time spent researching.
- There is a lot of time spent trying to piece together all the little bits of information from across the internet.
- Even if you are making sense of the information you find you need to spend time deciding which strategy is right.
- You will make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes the first time they try something. This isn’t bad it’s just part of the journey. But how much time will you spend going down the wrong path before finding out you were doing wrong the whole time?
- Getting past analysis paralysis.
When you hire a marketing coach/consultant, they can remedy many of the above issues by telling you what you need to do, how to do it, and why you need to do it this way. It can save a lot of time and headaches in the long run.
How to know if a guide is right?
I completely understand if you have skepticism towards hiring a marketing consultant. How do you know if you won’t get ripped off? How do you know if they won’t steer you in the wrong direction? How do you know if they are going to get you the results you’re looking for?
You may never know 100% if a marketing coach is right, but here are some ways to find if you think they may be a good fit.
- Look at reviews. Not all consultants have reviews and sometimes it’s hard to know if reviews are legitimate but this is a good place to start.
- Look at their content. What are they posting online? Does the content they create give you confidence in their ability?
- Contact them. The absolute best way to know if a consultant is right for you is to contact them. Do they try to sell you immediately? Do they provide value even before you do business with them? Do you get along with them? There’s only so much you can gather before actually connecting with them.
Sometimes you have to take a risk. Spend time with them. If they don’t work out, connect with another one.
Think about it. Even if it costs more time and money than you originally thought it would, it’s worth the risk to find a consultant who can lead your agency to dramatic growth. Hiring a guide can save you a lot of headaches and a lot of time.
It all comes down to this….
What’s your priority and what do you want to accomplish within your agency?
Many insurance agencies have been shrinking or are stagnant and are looking at digital marketing as their ticket to a vibrant business. But the issue of time is lingering over them.
If Digital marketing and sales are the things that are going to help propel your agency, then you have to find the time. Take an honest look at your agency. Are all the other “priorities” on your desk really priorities?
So, it all comes down to this…
Are you willing to take a risk in order to make room for digital marketing?