We work closely with all our independent
insurance agency clients to determine and create the best agency management
experience for their business. Over the years, we’ve tackled the highest needs
of the time, ranging from accounting integration to cloud-based
system security. Our Partner Platform agencies have made one need clear in
the past few years: insurance prospecting software.
As small businesses, our Partner Platform agencies are working to keep up with the sales and marketing advances big insurance provides wield. Thanks to our hard-working, innovative team, we’ve been able to equip our agencies with the tools they need to promote client growth and retention, all within one system.
Among the many insurance marketing strategies out there, blogging continues to be a popular and useful tool across the years. We consider blogging an effective method and have the facts to back it up: websites with blogs have over 400% more pages indexed in Google than those without a blog, and more than 60% of consumers made a purchase based on a blog post.
As with any new process or strategy, start small
with your blogging and scale as you go. Begin with one or two posts a month and
slowly build as you get your footing. It takes time to establish your blog
presence, but the wait is worth it. Focus on the quality of your content
rather than the quantity to start.
2. Designate a point person/people
Ideas may flow freely, but action can be sparse.
Ensure you have a team or a team member heading up the blogging process.
Ideally, you should have a few individuals devoting time to your blog to
diversify ideas and spread-out responsibility. Still, there should be one point
person dedicated to moving things forward.
3. Generate ideas
The first place to look for ideas is other blogs in
the industry. Check out their topics and determine if any would resonate with
your audience. Check-in with your larger agency team, too. Discover the common
questions team members get from customers and ask what topics they think are relevant.
No idea is a bad idea at the start – this is the time to throw everything at
the wall and see what sticks.
4. Determine your keywords
To make your blog an effective marketing tool, you
want to use relevant search words reasonably often in your posts. Your locality
name plus “insurance,” or “insurance agency,” and other variations are an
excellent place to start for most independent agencies. Another great
combination is adding in your specialty for something, like “small business
insurance Houston.” These key phrases have a lower competition since they focus
on your local city or county, but they have a relatively high search volume.
Once you have a few phrases, you can discover more
using tools like Google’s keyword planner to
identify similar search phrases and rank your current terms by competition and
Before you start churning out posts, determine how
you will categorize them. Take a look at your topic ideas and determine how you
should group them (i.e., Auto insurance, Life insurance, Tips and Tricks,
etc.). Organizing posts makes it easier for someone to continue diving into
topics of interest, keeping them on your site longer, and increasing their
6. Spread the word
A blog without readers is like a tree falling in
the woods – does it make an impact? The answer is no. Once you have a few posts
up, begin sharing the news of your blog on your social media and via your
regular newsletters. Add a “share” button on each post so readers can let
others know about posts they enjoyed.
7. Make your website attractive to get your blog seen
No matter how great your blog content, if the site
it’s hosted on is out-of-date or difficult to navigate, it won’t succeed. Ensure
your agency has a professional, secure, and attractive landing place before implementing
your blog strategy.
Ever feel like the once critical phone call is now
irrelevant? You’re not alone. The rise of data-driven prospecting and digital
outreach sparked this rumor that phone prospecting is dead.
Yet, successful development teams still leverage the phone with insurance prospecting software for great results – in fact our Partner Platform agencies are emphasizing that a phone conversation is more important than ever. But how are they getting to that conversation?
The Facts Don’t Lie
Insurance prospecting software evolved, and savvy
agencies took these new tech advances and leveraged them to improve
time-honored outreach methods. Studies show there is no reason to put the phone
call to rest:
69% of buyers accepted one or more cold
calls in 2019
More than 80% of buyers said they set
sales appointments as a result of multiple contacts that started with a cold
Almost half of buyers say cold calls are
their preferred first contact
57% of C-suite executives report they
value information gained from phone calls with reps
These stats show phone outreach is alive and well.
It’s all about how you leverage it.
1. Start with a data
Data, gained through your insurance CRM, is your
starting point. Even though initial phone outreach is known as “cold calling,” these
calls shouldn’t be cold at all. The information gained from your marketing
automation campaigns and CRM should provide essential background
knowledge you can leverage to build a relationship right away.
2. Use more than one outreach method
While the prospecting call is very much alive for some, it
may not work for all. Your outreach efforts should be part of a multi-pronged
strategy. Content sharing, email, and social media are all elements of what
makes up effective, professionally persistent, data-driven outreach.
Whether via phone, email, text, or another method,
each of your conversations should contain an element of discovery. Focus on
understanding the person you’re talking to: what do they need most? What are
their barriers to purchase? Do they have any non-negotiables? The more you
know, the better you can tailor policy proposals to meet their needs, making
them more likely to choose your agency for coverage.
4. Make it easy to focus
Stay focused on the call and the prospect’s needs
at all times. Eliminate distractions: close your door, sign out of email and
social networking, and consider wearing headphones to block out other noise.
Show your commitment to the conversation by saying
the prospect’s name often, smiling, and leaving room for them to
talk. Over 60% of individuals surveyed said someone who listens to their needs
is more likely to win their business.
Keep the prospect engaged with a follow-up re-cap of
what you talked about, confirmation on your next communication (whether a call,
something you’ll email, or a meeting), and add in something they can use. That
“something useful” could be a link to client feedback, contact info for a referrer,
special offer, or any other content that provides more information. This
follow-up gives them a reference as they think it over, and it shows you care
more about meeting their needs than signing them as a customer.
6. Train your agents
Too often in sales, it’s thought you either have
“it,” or you don’t. Though there is some element of natural ability and
interest, successful agents grow from coaching and training.
Know your agents’ strengths and weaknesses and leverage
training to fill in gaps. Perhaps you need to bring in new agents to add to the
team or look to others in your agency who could grow into the position. To help
grow your group, establish mentorship and coaching, allowing team members to bolster
confidence and learn the ropes. And have a constant feedback loop for all team
members, ensuring each has someone to consult to assess growth and celebrate
As with all successful agency processes, you need
to review and improve your prospecting strategy continuously. Try different
outreach cadences, test various scripts, and add to training as is necessary to
help your team stay fresh and focused.
And keep your team equipped with the right
insurance prospecting software. Essential tools include your insurance CRM and
marketing automation systems as well as quality
communication tools like an up-to-date insurance agency website, integrated
email and texting, and a custom client portal. The easier it is for you to
connect with prospects, the better.
Data isn’t just for “big tech” and major
corporations anymore. Tech advances made data and analytics accessible to
everyone – including your agency. Modern agency software kept pace with the
rise of big data, and successful agencies now leverage data for everything from
customer service to prospecting. In fact, data-driven
businesses are five times more likely to make decisions faster than their peers,
meaning those who ignore data are left in the dust.
If you think gaining insurance referrals is more effort than it’s worth, you’re underestimating both the ease of gaining referrals and the impact of the payoff. Nielson found 84% of consumers trust recommendations or referrals over all other forms of marketing, and people referred by a friend are 4x more likely to make a purchase. Deloitte found those referred customers have a 37% higher retention rate than other customers.
This past year was one like no other. With the entire world forced to move to digital work rapidly, many industries felt growing pains and suffered from the sudden shifts. One industry that didn’t was insurtech.
The term “insurtech” applies to a variety of digital tools used in the insurance industry. Everything from a client portal to an integrated rater are insurtech. Overall, insurtech removes barriers in insurance, speeding up enrollment and claims processing, among other procedures, making it easier for agencies to grow their business and serve their customers.
In the latest of our “Behind Our Insurance Agency Software” series, we talk with Brad Ruben of IT services provider Archway Computing. Archway has been one of our industry partners for years, and we rely on Brad and his team to keep us and our community up-to-date on the latest insurtech and cybersecurity.
Brad Ruben has been working with insurance agnecy software since 1985, when he first helped a family friend install and run a Coast Premium Rater software as part of the friend’s insurance business. Since then, Brad founded Archway Computers to help independent agencies get the best insurtech and IT support at a price they can afford.
I talked with Brad about Archway’s partnership with SIS and the Partner Platform community, aiding agencies with IT services and providing expert consultation around insurtech and security.
Approximately 43% of all cyberattacks are on small businesses, and, in 2020, 12% were attributed to finance and insurance industries. In the age of digital insurance, your independent agency is part of that vulnerable small business group. And, this threat increased since the COVID-19 pandemic: researchers report a 30% increase in cyber-security breaches since the pandemic hit.
As a particularly vulnerable industry, insurance agencies must be mindful. The volume of files processed daily and the sensitive information contained in each mean insurance agencies are increasingly at risk. Yet, KPMG found that only 43% of insurance executives said their organization was protected.
Is your agency taking cyber attacks seriously? Here are some ways you can start.