Post-COVID-19, insurance brokers face a content marketing environment with new challenges like a higher claims volume, high rates of policy cancellations, and customers with new concerns and priorities.
Insurance agents have been affected by COVID-19, just like their customers. Thus, brokers need ways to address new expectations and help their customer base navigate a slew of new challenges. Here’s how content marketing can become a powerful tool to create connections and make your business more resilient.
How is the post-COVID-19 world expected to change for insurance companies?
Brokers face major headwinds:
- Major portions of the U.S. economy have been shut down (with another lockdown expected in the winter of 2020-2021). Additionally, a significant number of small businesses have either temporarily or permanently closed. As a result, they are either reducing or canceling their insurance policies, which is reducing premium revenue for brokers and commissions.
- Brokers are running into difficulty with their offline marketing programs. Those programs are not as effective as they were before COVID-19, and it’s making many brokers scramble.
What unique challenges do agents face?
Brokers are also facing some specific challenges. Prior to COVID-19, they traditionally relied on word-of-mouth marketing, personal networking, event attendance and direct mail for most of their customer acquisition marketing or policyholder upsell programs. But many of those options have been impaired or completely put on hold.
This poses a difficulty: How can you attract new policyholders and expand the existing customer base? The solution is digital marketing.
However, for many in the industry, digital marketing is new territory. It’s not that these brokers don’t have social media accounts or websites. They do. Where they’re having trouble is with leveraging these resources in a manner that consistently drives engagement, leads and revenue.
Just as insurance requires deep, specialized skills and experience, so does launching, optimizing and scaling content, as well as running social media and influencer marketing programs. The bottom line is that most brokers don’t have these capabilities in house. So, they’re struggling to take advantage of their marketing channels.
However, if brokers can’t push into these new areas, they will be forced to over-rely on their existing impaired programs. The result is higher costs and stagnation in policyholder acquisition.
What are insurance agents’ worst fears?
Unfortunately, higher policyholder acquisition costs are only half of the problem. Brokers are also rapidly losing commercial customers because many companies are, indeed, going out of business.
As these businesses shut down, their policies get canceled. If you have a significant amount of policyholder churn and not enough new customer acquisition, you risk going out of business too.
To put it simply, your risks align very closely with how the overall economy performs. If you haven’t transitioned to digital, you’ll see little new business coming in and an increasing amount of churn — a recipe for failure.
Turn the tide: Implement an action plan now
Take a moment here, step back and understand something crucial: The world has changed permanently. While the economy will eventually bounce back over the long haul, customers are canceling in droves right now. So, to be proactive and best prepare yourself for success in this new landscape, take a look at these strategies.
New questions and priorities
Customers are asking new questions about their policy and wondering whether their coverage is an expense they can justify and whether it still fits their new situation.
At a time when every dollar counts, there is more scrutiny that goes into picking a new policy. Some customers might consider new products like life, health, event cancellation and business disruption insurance. Others may reevaluate perks and find new value in things like telehealth coverage.
How to address these new priorities
Pivot your messaging to reflect these new concerns and emphasize value. Your content marketing campaign should feature new products and perks your customer base could benefit from during the pandemic. As an agent, you are uniquely positioned to help people find the best fit for their budget. It’s something you could emphasize in your content.
Start by researching your audience to understand how COVID-19 is impacting them. Also identify their top priorities and pain points. You can then create an editorial calendar to address new topics and update existing content to stay organized and prepared.
Example: State Farm and the emphasis on value
State Farm recently updated its homepage to adopt a message that is primarily about value. Customers can now use an interactive tool to get a quote. The quote request is next to copy about “surprisingly great rates,” a message that anticipates a rebuttal about cost concerns.
If you keep scrolling, you will find more concrete information about savings in terms of percentages. This focus on value helps users make a decision when shopping for a policy on a budget.
A digital-first experience
Many insurance brokers rely on traditional marketing methods like word-of-mouth marketing or networking to find new customers and upsell. COVID-19 has disrupted these traditional channels and calls for a digital-first experience.
Brokers should prepare for an increase in claim volumes and customers who might seek assistance via digital channels. Specialty lines of insurance, including travel, short-term disability, event cancellation and business interruption, are expected to see high volumes of claims.
Rethink your digital presence
Here are some strategies you can use to adapt your marketing program to the digital landscape:
1. Assess your current online presence
Is your current online presence adapted to a digital-first approach? Making your website more professional help your audience feel more comfortable with your capabilities and relevance.
Additionally, review the different channels you have been using to connect with your audience. Ask yourself how switching to a digital-first communication strategy changes which channels your audience will prefer using, as well as what kind of content prospects and existing customers will expect to find on each channel you use.
2. Identify new channels
You can extend your online presence by identifying new channels. Determine new platforms to use to reach out to prospects and make content easier to access for existing customers. This could include joining new social media platforms like LinkedIn for B2B marketing or Facebook and Twitter for retail and commercial policies.
Making your content mobile-friendly can also help you deliver a better experience for smartphone users who research insurance-related matters on the go.
3. Focus on nurturing leads and relationships with existing customers
An insurance policy isn’t something a customer buys on an impulse. You can use different methods, including social media and email series, to stay in touch with leads and turn them into customers.
The key is to keep delivering content that reflects current concerns and pain points. Periodic emails and social media posts with messaging centered around value and relevant perks in a post-COVID-19 world will feel especially helpful.
However, remember that nurturing shouldn’t be limited to prospects. You can use these strategies to nurture relationships with existing customers as well. Focus on content that educates them on their current policy and informs them about other products they could benefit from.
4. Rethink your sales funnel
Find a way to capture new leads on your website. This means gated content.
As the name implies, gated content provides something of value, like an e-guide, e-book or other information, in exchange for personally identifiable information (PII). Examples of PII are names, phone numbers and email addresses.
Gated content gives insurance brokers like you the ability to convert website visitors into leads. When you couple this approach with a lead nurturing program, those leads can quickly become new policyholders.
A digital-first approach means you need to capture leads, upsell or renew policies with online forms. Use strong calls to action to encourage people to use these forms, and expand your content campaign to include new formats like e-books and webinars so that you can offer something valuable in exchange for PII.
5. Measure your results with content analytics for insurance agents marketing
Use content analytics to measure how well you meet your audience’s new expectations, identify new bottlenecks, and get a better idea of the topics and content formats your audience is most interested in.
Example: Social media nurturing with Farmer’s Insurance
The Facebook profile for Farmer’s Insurance contains messaging that informs people about policy perks. Also, they display inspiring posts about the company’s philanthropic efforts. Facebook users will also find content about challenges linked to COVID-19.
This social media campaign uses relatable messages about the pandemic without letting this topic dominate the conversation. Posts about policy perks always include a link and call to action to help users progress in their journey to learn more about the policies offered.
The effect of COVID-19 isn’t uniform across the insurance industry. Thus, it’s crucial for insurance brokers to carefully assess how the pandemic is affecting their customer base to develop a resilience strategy.
Diversifying your customer base can protect you if one of the industries or customer profiles you typically work with is severely affected by the pandemic (or some other disaster in the future). Diversification options include developing a B2C marketing campaign if you mostly sell insurance to individuals or working with a wider range of industries or business sizes.
How to use content marketing to diversify your customer base
The following strategies will help you build a diverse customer base for a more resilient business.
1. Adopt a consistent voice
Now is the perfect time to reflect on your branding and the tone that you feel is most representative of who you are. A well-defined voice will help you remain consistent as you publish content on different channels and reach out to different niches.
2. Look for partnerships
For B2B content, partner with experts in the niches you want to target. There are plenty of opportunities to develop content about how an industry is adapting to a post-COVID-19 world through interviews or guest posts.
3. Find alternatives to word-of-mouth marketing
One of the downsides of switching to a digital-first approach is that you can no longer rely on word-of-mouth marketing for client acquisition.
You can solidify your presence in new niches and keep acquiring new customers in existing niches by using alternatives like shareable content on social media or referral incentives. You should also keep an eye on reviews published on Google, business directories and social media. Managing your online reputation by making things right when a customer leaves a negative review or thanking the users who leave positive reviews can help with customer acquisition.
4. Segment your audience
The risk of diversifying your efforts to make your business more resilient is that your content might not feel relevant to all your prospects or existing customers.
You can remedy this problem by segmenting your audience. A logical way to do so is to have a group of prospects who have yet to purchase a policy and a second group of your existing customers. You can also segment your audience by industry, business size or needs.
Most importantly, structure your site to help visitors find content that is relevant to them. In addition, segment your email list to always send content that feels personalized.
Example: Willis Re and audience segmentation
Willis Re uses a simple and modern design to present its different services and help users find content that is relevant to their unique needs.
This Willis Re page uses text blocks with noticeable headers to describe different industries or pain points. The text blocks sum up challenges unique to each segment and connect these problems to the solutions offered.
While you must recognize that there are some very real threats to your insurance business, you can take steps to keep it running smoothly. You can take action and build a resilient business by replacing traditional marketing methods with a strong digital presence anchored in content.
In conclusion, focusing on content allows you to meet the needs of customers who are facing new challenges due to COVID-19 while also allowing you to deliver the best experience possible as you replace traditional marketing methods. Content marketing for insurance brokers can also unlock new possibilities in terms of customer acquisition and diversification.
If you have a content program that you want to update, download our e-book 100 Mistakes Businesses Make When Starting, Optimizing and Scaling Content Marketing Programs. To learn more about how Tempesta Media can help you streamline your content creation process and deliver quality content at scale, contact us today.