What does it take for a life insurance agent to be successful at marketing online?
Right now there’s a massive opportunity for agents looking to develop their brand, reach new customers and improve their sales funnel online. But for some, having and maintaining an online presence feels foreign and daunting, especially when there’s so much advice out there about how to do it right and where to start.
The most important thing for life insurance agents to know is that you don’t have to be an expert to succeed; you just have to start somewhere.
The second most important thing is knowing that online marketing is a different sort of animal than traditional marketing, and even though it’s not necessarily any more complicated, you do have to learn and implement a different set of skills.
Here are a few ways that life insurance agents can overcome any hesitancy about marketing online and get started on the road to digital freedom.
It Will Require a Mindset Shift
If you’re used to connecting with customers in person, it may feel strange to conduct business solely online and over the phone.
Face to face sales are vastly different than attracting someone online and then selling them life insurance over the phone, and you won’t be able to read people the way you do in person.
Online marketing comes with different efforts and expectations. When customers buy in person, they’re willing to give up their time and energy to meet with you and hear what you have to say.
Online marketing is different. Prospects can spend only a few seconds on your site, decide it’s not worth it and click away. Your prospects need to know there’s an immediate payoff for spending time on your site. You will have to sell first, connect second.Your prospects need to know there's an immediate payoff for spending time on your site Click To Tweet
This may require an entire mindset shift – you will need to be able to explain clearly why someone should buy from you without knowing anything about them first.
You need your website to look professional and provide immediate value (critical information and/or instant quotes) to build a sense of trust if you want any chance of converting a visitor into a lead. You have to make a solid first impression and a compelling reason for a person interested in buying life insurance to contact you.
The Prospect Pool Will Be Larger
Online marketing can also be a challenge because the pool of people you have to sell to is much larger than a local pool. You’re not contending with a Rolodex list, or a single neighborhood or community; you’re contending with everyone who has access to the Internet.
That doesn’t mean that everyone will buy from you or even that they should. It just means that you will have access to more people than you did before, which means that you will need to know and understand your ideal customer in order to see results.
In short: You have to pre-emptively narrow the pool down before they even get to your website. You will have to identify your ideal customer, sell to them, and forget everyone else. I talk about this in my book The Digital Life Insurance Agent in more depth.
Without identifying an ideal customer – one that’s much more narrow than “anyone who needs life insurance” – you won’t be able to identify the best marketing strategies to use. You will be shooting in the dark.
There Are Different Types of Online Marketing
There are also different types of online marketing that you will need to be aware of (not all are created equal, and some will work with certain ideal customers better than others), including:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) – The process of getting traffic search results
- Search engine marketing (SEM) – A paid version of SEO
- Content marketing – The creation of media and content (blogs, etc.) that is distributed to potential customers
- Social media marketing – Engagement with potential customers on social media channels
- Pay per click advertising (PPC) – Similar to SEM, but not limited to search engines
- Affiliate marketing – Referral marketing where you share profits with other companies or marketers
- Email marketing – Email customers (with permission) valuable content about your business
There tends to be a lot of confusion about which method is best and where to start for the best results. Part of the problem is that each strategy works, but may have different outcomes depending on your audience.
For beginners, SEO and email marketing are often the easiest place to start and net the best ROI. For those wanting to expand their marketing efforts, PPC, SEM and affiliate marketing are a great next step.
Content marketing can create a lot of benefit, but it also has upkeep that other marketing strategies don’t (especially if you don’t like writing). Most businesses take this step once they’ve already established their marketing strategy and really want to drive leads.
You Will Need to Automate
One thing you will learn quickly about online marketing is that it is surprisingly time-consuming.
Marketer Loree O’Sullivan estimates that marketing is a 50- to 75-hour time commitment each month, on the conservative side. The good news is that there are also shortcuts available to you that free up your time. Automation is one of them.
Automation can help minimize the most time consuming tasks like:
You will have to decide which tasks are taking you the most time, which (if any) can be done by using an automation service, and which service will fit your needs. Consider the tasks that need to be done, how much money you can allocate if you’re outsourcing that automation, and how much time you will need to learn a new tool or system.
Keep in mind that most automation tools require some initial setup, but that they will ultimately save you time in the long run.
You Will Need to Test and Optimize Your Methods
In real life, it’s slightly easier to know whether or not your marketing efforts are working. Either you’re taking phone calls and having meetings, or you’re not. You’re either selling life insurance, or you’re not.
Online, things become a bit more muddled. You could have a great homepage that sells an online visitor right away, but maybe your contact form doesn’t work and prevents them from contacting you. Maybe your value proposition is good, but your site loads slowly and people are clicking away too soon.
Maybe links on your site are broken or maybe you didn’t word something right and it confused prospective customers. How do you know whether or not a marketing mistake was your fault or the Internet’s fault?
That’s where testing will be a necessity. Tracking your website’s analytics (Google Analytics is a great – and free – place to start), performing an A/B test, and manually checking on links and landing pages will be a part of your marketing strategy.
While it may feel overwhelming at first, the most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Prospecting online isn’t something that comes naturally for most people, and while some have been doing it longer and found strategies that work (hence all the marketing advice), it’s still a relatively untested territory for most.
The best place to start is by laying aside any preconceived notions about what to expect and to brush up on the basics. Begin by learning more about your ideal customer (your niche), and then choose one or two marketing techniques that might appeal to them.
Automate any small tasks that are taking up too much of your time, and test your methods over time to see what’s working and what’s not. Double down on the campaigns that are working and continually optimize them.