By Chris Paradiso
DIVE INTO DIGITAL
Whether for growth or retention, digital marketing is a powerful tool
Digital marketing is still one of the best ways to promote, nurture and grow your agency. However, a focus on growth (new business) can be very expensive. Because of this, you want to pay attention to and invest in retaining the clients whose trust you have already earned. This strategy is about 15 times less expensive than getting new clients and will lead to a massive increase in your agency’s profitability margin—but that is only because the average agency hasn’t put an exact cost on acquiring new business versus retention.
Your agency’s approach to digital/social marketing can have a significant impact on how many clients stay with your agency. A range of strategies is designed to help reduce the client churn rate. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most effective techniques we have used in our agency that you might want to try.
The best way to make sure that clients and prospects read your digital content is to use personalized messages with great visuals.
Content calendar. Many prospects and clients expect a regular stream of new content to ensure that your agency stays engaged with them. By building a content calendar, you can plan when you are going to release new content and what topics and visuals you will be putting out.
In this calendar, you should also indicate on what social and digital platforms you’re going to release content. For example, some content might perform better as a blog post as opposed to being released on LinkedIn. Sometimes a direct-emailed agency newsletter will perform better than a topical email.
The key to fine tuning this strategy is to track results. A quick example: If you direct-email a digital newsletter, make sure to review the open ratio and identify days and times that work best for this option. It’s also a great idea to maintain a communication calendar that will help you keep track of how often clients interact with your posts, emails, and brand (we use HubSpot).
The calendar also will make it easy for you to keep track of important times and dates. For example, you can send out an alert 30 days prior to a client’s renewal, which often will be the reminder they need to renew their coverage with your agency.
Automated email campaigns. Email is still one of the most effective ways for you to communicate with a modern audience. It’s estimated that most people check their email about 18 times a day. It’s also one of the least expensive ways of communicating in today’s world, and you can send messages for a wide range of purposes. For example, here at Paradiso Insurance we email our clients 70 days prior to their renewal, letting them know we will be calling them in the next two weeks to review their coverages. If we have to leave a message when we call the client, we follow up with a second email. Your emails must be about more than just marketing because specific email content will have a greater impact on your email open ratios.
An automated email campaign can support your communication strategy in a number of ways. First, you’ll be able to gather plenty of data about your clients’ behaviors. A great example of this is when our marketing team accidentally sent out a safety email on a Friday at 4:00 p.m. when it wasn’t supposed to be sent until Monday afternoon. What this mistake taught us was that this specific group liked to get emails late on Friday afternoon; we knew this because the open rate was about five percentage points higher than that of our other emails. This data is invaluable if you pay attention to it.
Automated emails also can be useful for setting up alerts for client birthdays or holidays. Set it and forget it; these kinds of email communications are not a lot of work and are not taxing on your time.
This type of email also can deliver outstanding results for your financial bottom line. They can save your agency time, allowing you to focus on other tasks. They also have a higher conversion rate. What’s more, it’s estimated that these messages will have 89% higher click-through rates.
Personalize it (content). The best way to make sure that clients and prospects read your digital content is to use personalized messages with great visuals. When clients or prospects open the news and see their first name, they are more likely to read on. Personalization is a great way to make people feel that you genuinely care about them and their needs. Here are some ways you can create more personalized content.
First, you will want to keep track of the critical dates in your clients’ lives, like birthdays and anniversaries. You also may want to use communication to celebrate a company or individual milestone or a change of job or career. You might want to collect data about client interests (or use DONNA, a data program that lists their hobbies and provides other info), allowing you to send more personalized communications. FYI, locating this data can be difficult if you’re not using the DONNA product (www.aureusanalytics.com/donna).
Another reason you may want to create more personalized content is to build loyalty and brand awareness. The more personalized the content, the more effective you’ll be in recruiting your clients to get behind your agency’s community outreach programs.
Educate. In the digital age, information is king only if you put a great visual strategy in place. You want to be sure that your clients will find reliable information about your agency’s areas of expertise. This process will help them make more informed choices and gain a deeper understanding of what your agency can do for them. To most people, insurance is both complex and boring. You can explain difficult concepts in an easy-to-understand way that will help you build client trust.
You may want to consider making educational content available only to clients to ensure that you can gather data about who is accessing your content. You can use this information for future improvement. It can also give clients an incentive to remain subscribed to your social channels.
Attracting new clients is on everyone’s mind. Yes, we all have to write new business—but remember, it’s a lot more expensive than focusing on retention. Therefore, it’s essential to be sure that you are retaining as much business as possible. Either way, you can use digital marketing to ensure that people have a great customer experience with your agency. Try to implement some of the strategies we use in your organization to lower your client churn rate. Retention is the solid foundation of every successful agency!
Chris Paradiso is president of Paradiso Financial & Insurance Services in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. His agency won PIA National’s Excellence in Social Media Award in 2013. He also heads up Paradiso Presents, LLC, which provides social media consulting, seminars, and workshops to help agencies thrive in the online marketing world. Contact Chris via email at email@example.com.