The consumer marketing landscape is rapidly changing, not only in how people seek information but also how they interact with brands in an increasingly digital world.
Digital marketing can embody a wide range of concepts, but the definition can be pared-down to marketing products or services using digital technologies, such as the internet, mobile devices or other digital platforms. Digital marketing also includes search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), social media paid advertising, content and email marketing, display ads and geotargeting—to name a few.
How do you know what’s right for you? And how do you remain competitive in the digital marketplace as an independent insurance agent or agency? Start by identifying and understanding your goals.
Trying to reach a new marketing segment previously unacquainted with your agency? Display ads targeted to a niche segment or SEM may be good options. Looking to drive awareness and increase word-of-mouth exposure around your agency? Developing a social media campaign around your brand may be the way to go. Hoping to increase your retention rate or enhance your engagement with current clients? Adding personalization to your emails can be an authentic way to connect.
You can certainly start small and don’t need to jump all in at once. One of the best things about the digital marketplace is the ability to continually test different tactics and reach new audiences.
Some of this may feel intimidating and out of your comfort zone. For some extra words of encouragement, I would like to share one of my favorite quotes from Alvin Toffler, the businessman and futurist, who states, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
I find this quote fitting as the consumer landscape is continuing to evolve and businesses will need to adapt and grow by doing things differently than they always have.
As the digital marketplace evolves, the path to identifying and nurturing leads will also change. Here are three ways to get started:
1) Diversify. Diversifying your marketing strategy by reallocating some of your existing budget to digital marketing can help your agency get ahead of the competition. Unlike some traditional marketing outlets, digital marketing budgets can be fluid—if one tactic is not working, you can readjust where you focus your efforts.
Finding the right mix involves testing. If digital marketing is new to your agency, it’s good to start small. Try implementing one social campaign or leveraging a digital tool that helps you connect with your community on a personal level.
2) Identify your target audience. It is crucial in marketing that you are connecting with your prospective and current clients, not only where they are currently, but also throughout their decision-making journey.
You won’t be able to position what you’re selling to meet your current and potential customers’ needs without knowing who they are and aligning your services. How well do you know your customers’ backgrounds, their goals and their challenges? How well do you understand their interests and needs? Where can you identify new and parallel segments to target?
If you’re trying to reach a younger demographic, you will need to get in front of that group through the channels they best like get their information—not necessarily where or how you have done so in the past.
3) Implement and quantify. Once you’ve set your goals, determined your budget and identified your target audience, it’s time to get started and execute your digital marketing initiative. Digital marketing can consist of a wide range of tactics set at different points of the customer journey and in conjunction with other forms of traditional marketing. Developing the different parts of your campaign is only a piece of the strategy.
Some tactics may be better defined as an awareness phase and should not be expected to end up as leads. When considering the success of one tactic over another, you need to keep in mind each tactic’s intended result, compare your outcomes equally and then readjust as needed.
The most important piece of the journey is to get started, no matter how small that may be at first. Also, don’t be afraid to try something new. With digital marketing, readjusting along the way is part of the process and provides information that can build the foundation for your business and clients.
Data and analytics are crucial elements in your road to digital success. Having a digital footprint provides data and insights to be able to optimize what’s working, eliminate what isn’t and even help you identify a new audience.