Reaching the right prospects at the right time using the right strategies is a must for successful insurance marketing. And this inevitably begins with top-of-funnel marketing — a stage that revolves around connecting with an audience and building general awareness.
This is where a potential customer is just starting to do research about insurance products, determining what their exact needs are and figuring out what type of coverage they’re looking for, says Justas Markus, CEO and cofounder of search engine optimization agency GetFound XL.
Here are 10 top of the funnel marketing tips independent agents can use to get on the radar of more prospects and begin the lead nurturing process.
1. Create a Professional Insurance Website
We live in a digital age where nearly two-thirds of small businesses relied on their website to connect with customers in 2018, explains Michelle Delgado at B2B ratings and reviews firm Clutch.
However, independent agents are lagging behind in this department, notes New Horizon Insurance Marketing, where in 2017, only 8.8 percent of agents on LinkedIn had a website. And of the ones that did, 34 of 50 failed in website effectiveness.
One of the best ways to connect with upper funnel leads is to create a professional insurance website. More specifically, it needs to have an intuitive layout and design, be fast loading and be fully optimized for mobile, writes the team at branding company Brew Agency. You’ll want to include a contact form so leads can easily reach out to you with questions or inquiries.
2. Develop Educational Content
The internet is arguably the greatest research tool of all time. And you can bet that customers use it to learn more about different insurance policies, what’s covered and what isn’t. In fact, nearly 90 percent of people pre-research their purchases before they buy, according to payments news and trends publication PYMNTS.
Considering that customers are 131 percent more likely to buy from a company after digesting their educational content, according to Charity Stebbins at search and content intelligence platform Conductor, this can have a huge impact on your agency.
To target top of the funnel leads, it’s important to develop robust educational content. Ecommerce and growth marketing writer Jacinda Santora says content at this stage should be informative, easy to understand, address initial concerns and show leads that your product is a potential solution to their problem.
3. Rev Up Your Blogging Efforts
Blogging remains the go-to content medium for many independent agents. Molly Clarke, director of digital marketing at data intelligence platform ZoomInfo, says successful lead generation can be attributed to blogging for nearly seven out of 10 businesses.
In-depth content with longer word counts between 1,140 and 1,285 words tend to rank well in Google, according to Ramona Sukhraj at digital sales and marketing company IMPACT. Also, 71 percent of marketers use visual content because it’s more engaging than just text alone.
So be sure to write comprehensive content that goes beyond the surface level and delivers real value, and incorporate plenty of visuals like images, graphs, charts and infographics.
4. Learn SEO Basics
More than nine out of 10 online experiences start with a search engine, reports Pat Ahern, a partner at marketing service Junto. So it’s critical that you have at least a basic understanding of SEO and follow best practices.
SEO is a wide umbrella, but Keller Tiemann, founder of insurance marketing platform Leadsurance, recommends learning how to perform keyword research, optimizing basic on-site page elements like titles, headers and meta descriptions and adding internal and external links.
He also suggests using free tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These can provide you with valuable data on the keywords users are finding and the pages getting the most visits so you can refine your strategy over time.
5. Establish a Strong Social Presence
“Similar to search engines, social media is another area that’s ripe for attracting new top of the funnel leads,” writes the team at marketing automation platform Salesfusion. “Developing a strong social media strategy in which you share content with your networks, engage with others (especially influencers) and encourage your employees and customers to advocate on your behalf can help attract new followers and leads alike.”
Ryan Hanley at Agency Nation notes there are four key networks independent agents should focus on at the moment — Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. All have solid user bases and offer a platform for agents to build awareness during the critical top-of-funnel marketing stage.
6. Leverage the Power of Video
The common denominator among upper funnel prospects is that they’re experiencing some type of pain point. They’re conducting research so they can better understand it and come up with a viable solution, says Jonathan English, managing director at Skeleton Productions, a video marketing agency.
Video is another way to connect with these prospects and help answer the questions. Promotional videos, which explain your brand’s background, your mission and philosophy, tend to work well for forming an initial connection.
An explanation video is valuable too, writes Jesica Mraz at Yum Yum Videos. Explainers are short animated marketing videos that highlight what your agency does, how coverage works and why a prospect should buy from you. It’s another way for getting your foot in the customer’s door.
Also, educational and how-to videos are great approach when breaking down complex insurance terms and letting leads know which type of coverage is best for their needs.
7. Make Content ‘Snackable’
Lead generation expert Robbie Richards talks about the value of creating “snackable” content that prospects can easily digest. For instance, it would be smarter to point leads to a well-written article that provides an overview of what’s covered under homeowners insurance rather than a lengthy 150-page ebook.
You need to provide information to leads, but not overwhelm them.
8. Invest in Influencer Outreach
Influencer marketing revolves around the classic idea of a celebrity endorsement but incorporates it into modern day content-driven marketing, says Influencer Marketing Hub.
“An influencer can help with both those who are researching and those who want the answer presented to them,” explains marketing writer Ben Allen. “Influencers can discuss those symptoms and problems that can be a natural introduction to the top of the funnel.”
Say for example a home renovation contractor in your area with a large social media following wrote an article on insuring a homeowner’s assets. They might mention your agency and provide a link to your site so their audience could easily find you and learn more. The trust and rapport they’ve already built with their customers could spill over to you, making it easier to put your name on the map.
9. Master CTAs
Marketing professional Mindy Lilyquist defines a call-to-action (CTA) as a statement that’s intended to elicit an immediate response from a prospect. Common CTA phrases include “click here,” “sign up,” “subscribe” and “contact us.”
Writing effective CTAs is critical for capitalizing on top-of-funnel leads and compelling them to take the next step, which could mean having them email or call you to discuss their insurance coverage options.
Tips for creating CTAs that work include using enthusiasm to provoke emotion, using pricing information on discounts and promotions and using urgency statements, like “get your free consultation through the end of the week,” writes Billy McCaffrey, customer success manager at CMS platform Acquia. He recommends getting creative and running A/B tests to see which CTAs perform best.
10. Avoid ‘Spray and Pray’ Techniques
Finally, every move independent agents make in their marketing efforts make should have a purpose.
“Without a purpose, you can end up with an advertising campaign that hits the market but doesn’t have any real impact,” says Tyler Walsh at Farmore Marketing. “We call this ‘spray-and-pray marketing’ — advertising your business anywhere and everywhere, hoping that people will notice you, praying your hard work pays off.”
In other words, clearly think out all of your top of the funnel marketing strategies and base your decisions on concrete data rather than simply throwing something on the wall and hoping it sticks. Also, use tools like Google Analytics to see the big picture on website visitor trends and determine which techniques are having the biggest impact.