Digital marketing avenues for brokers

The ease at which we can now access information has enabled businesses to interact with existing customers and potential clients in real time. Audiences have grown accustomed to engaging and interacting with multiple brands simultaneously and insurance brokers need to reach their customers online.

Nick Hill, from Hillster Marketing, works with companies from all areas of the insurance industry and believes that, “Digital channels are a vital part of the marketing mix. You only have to look at your own actions to see how often you use digital avenues for anything and everything.”

According to him the five most important ways brokers can market themselves in the digital world are:

1. Have a good-looking website – it doesn’t have to be big or expensive, but if people look for you on the web, first impressions count.

2. Use the right channels – have a plan and focus on the channels that will work best for your business. LinkedIn is great if you are targeting specific industries and Facebook is better if you are chasing smaller businesses in specific geographical areas.

3. Educate don’t just sell – the rule of thumb is 80 per cent education, 20 per cent sales. Video content gets much more traction too – if you are using LinkedIn, upload the videos directly rather than share a YouTube link. Aim to post regularly, not just when you ‘get a moment’.

4. Don’t just post, broaden your reach – most brokers Hill knows struggle to get a large, engaged social following. There is little point in posting lots of content that just reaches a limited audience (unless that audience is your target market). By using your partners/sponsorships you can boost your reach without the need for thousands of direct followers. Paying to sponsor updates can be a good way for cost effectively reaching more people.

5. Integrate your offline and online activities – Use your offline activities to help provide content for your online channels and use online work to promote offline activities. Not only will this boost your content, but also reduce the resources you need.

Hill believes that the five biggest mistakes brokers make when it comes to marketing and branding are:

1. Not doing anything – if you sit behind your computer and do nothing your business will shrink, not grow. Successful businesses are based on strong relationships, with clients, prospects, suppliers and stakeholders. Every hour you aren’t doing something to achieve this, your competitors are.

2. Having an outdated look and feel – if your website/social channels and other online presences look tired and disinterested people with assume you are.

3. Wasting resources in the wrong place – everyone has limited resources, including time, work out what the most valuable business is for you and focus your marketing activity on developing that.

4. Not having a useful database of clients and prospects – means you won’t be able to tell them something about you, educate them on an important aspect of their insurance or cross sell/up sell or even send them a thank you note for their business.

5. Check your social channels regularly – even if you don’t post all the time you don’t want someone to have left a negative comment on your profile that you haven’t dealt with.

Hill also stresses the importance of actual face-time with clients, “Just don’t forget the importance of personal, face-to-face relationships too.”