The new normal is something out of a George Orwell novel, or so it seems. The vast majority of the population are donning face masks as they scurry in and out of businesses and are spending an exorbitant amount of time at home and on their devices. It's a strange, new world we live in, and in order to continue to grow in the insurance industry, it's important to utilize the digital world to its full potential. Below we'll cover some important tools you should be using in order to keep your business connected and growing during these challenging times.
In a relationship business where the idea of meeting face to face is no longer feasible, it's important to utilize video chat and messaging tools to keep in touch with existing clients (if you aren't already doing so). You've worked hard to establish good working relationships with your clients and you don't want those to fade away now that you can no longer meet in person. There are so many communication tools that work easily and well and the best part...they're free. Zoom is one of the most popular video tools out there, but Skype, Google Meet and FaceTime are very user-friendly and they all get the job done well. (And FaceTime isn't just for mobile devices, if you have a Mac, you can use FaceTime with your clients on their Macs or their Apple mobile devices.)
Your older clients have adapted and have learned how to use the online world to feel connected. They know how to order groceries and takeout online, they now communicate with family members and attend church digitally. They access Telehealth resources and meet with their physicians via video chat. They get their prescriptions filled online and delivered to their homes. They've learned to embrace technology out of necessity and without technology they would feel lost. It's important to remember that your clients need to hear from you, and by embracing these tools, it makes staying connected and conducting business easier than ever.
Reviews & Online Presence
During these challenging times, it's important to have an updated website and a robust social media presence. 90% of consumers use the internet to find a local business and 82% of consumers read online reviews before they decide to do business with someone. If your website doesn't reflect current information and you have no online reviews, consumers will move on to the next insurance agent in their Google search. An online presence is absolutely critical now more than ever. Your existing clients will benefit as well. If they have questions and can find the answers on your website, that's one less phone call they have to make. Your website and online reviews reflect your business, so you want to be sure your online advertising is an accurate representation of your services and your reputation.
Email marketing is not dead and it's a fantastic way to let your clients know you're thinking about them. There are numerous email marketing providers out there and Mailchimp is one of the most popular services. They offer a free version for small businesses which will allow you to upload up to 2,000 contacts, give you access to their content studio, numerous pre-built templates and even automation. Sending out informative pieces or updating your clients about important news is made easy with a service like Mailchimp. Constant Contact is another robust email marketing service that bases pricing on the number of contacts you upload to their system. You'll get access to marketing automation, mobile-ready templates, reporting and many other features.
Submitting Electronic Business
The beauty of technology is that it allows for so many things to get done faster. This includes submitting applications, receiving payments and getting answers to questions. When you submit your business online and stop the dated paper applications, your underwriting gets approved more quickly, which means your policies get approved faster, which in turn means you get paid faster. It may seem daunting at first to make the switch from submitting paper applications and doing things the old fashioned way, but when you submit a few e-Apps, you'll get the hang of it in no time...and wonder why you haven't been doing business this way sooner. The electronic application also ensures you complete the app properly. It reduces the possibility for errors and omissions and it frees up your time to work with even more clients. Your clients can sign their applications digitally and get their policies faster than ever. Hands down, it's just a win/win for everyone.
The New Normal Isn't All Bad
The concept of social distancing isn't something that normally comes to mind when one thinks of the insurance industry. It's tried and true ways of meeting face-to-face for decades across from the kitchen table or in the client's living room is now a thing of the not-so-distant past. However, with this new normal, it's important to realize that business doesn't have to grind to a screeching halt. By implementing the use of technology in your every day business life you'll find you're actually better equipped to manage and even grow your business. How long this will be our new normal is very uncertain as COVID-19 rates continue to climb, but one thing is for certain, technology will continue to keep us connected and will be our best resource for accomplishing all that we need to in order to thrive.
The statistics are staggering and social media has a powerful presence when it comes to doing business. If the above numbers aren't enough evidence for you, Snapchat has 255 million users, Pinterest has 250 million users and Tumblr has 640 million users.
We've created a short survey regarding the use of social media. What we're interested in knowing is which platforms you currently use to network and get your information from.
We'd appreciate it if you would take a 60 second survey to let us know which platforms you use regularly and find most beneficial. You'll also be entered into a $100 cash prize drawing by completing the survey.
You HAVE to have a digital presence. We ALL know that. You can't escape it. If you're not online, your clients and FUTURE clients will NOT find you. Google is what everyone does when they want to research ANYTHING. But, do you HAVE to have a website?
We say NO, and we'll tell you why...
When you Google something, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) pulls up the highest ranking (researched) results. If someone is researching insurance agents, you don't have to have a website to show up on the list.
What you DO need to have though, is an online presence. Your name and agency will show up in ANY online results, and that can be a business facebook page. A FREE page that allows you to advertise your services, share updates about your agency and give you that much needed digital presence.
Don't get us wrong, having a website is HUGELY beneficial, and if you have the budget, by all means build a website. But if you don't...
We'll even help you if you need assistance.
Read more on creating a facebook business page...
If you’re looking for ways to find new clients in 2017, hopefully you have a game plan already put into place. And if not? Have you considered these options?
Do you have a website? If not, are you building one for 2017?
Creating a website does not have to be daunting and expensive. Just having a landing page with your contact information can often times be enough initially. There are so many options for creating a web presence. It’s endless and you can have one in a matter of hours. WordPress, Squarespace, Weebly and Wix are all options that allow customers to build sites on their own without hiring a web designer. IXN Tech is a company we personally recommend for building insurance websites.
Do you have a Facebook page at the very least?
Not your personal Facebook profile, but an actual business page to let the world know you’re online, where they can come to your page and find relevant industry news, updates and contact information. Building a Facebook page is something everyone should absolutely do, and it can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. If you have a personal online presence, then it only makes sense to have one for your business and your brand as well.
Have you run ads on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter?
If you’ve never thought about running a Facebook ad or an ad on LinkedIn to find potential clients, what are you waiting for? You can run ads and target specific demographics to alert your potential client base that you’re on social media, and you’re keeping up with the times (and looking to grow your business). Both sites, as well as Twitter, have step-by-step directions on how to go about running an ad. You decide your budget and you decide how long you want your ads to run.
Take the time to research your advertising options on the social networks mentioned, and build that Facebook page today. In a matter of minutes you can have an online presence and you can use your personal contacts and existing clients to help spread the word about your business profile. No one will know you’re out there, if you don’t tell them.
If you don’t have an online presence, you’re missing out on an enormous opportunity. More and more small businesses are understanding the need for a digital presence, and although it may seem overwhelming and overly crowded out there on the Interweb, it’s absolutely necessary for your business to expand.
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.