I believe independent brokers are woefully behind in their marketing efforts and need to do some serious work to catch up. It’s common to get skeptical pushback on this topic, with people saying that insurance buyers aren’t looking online, so there’s no need to spend wasted efforts on marketing activities.

However, this couldn’t be farther from today’s business reality. Your clients are actively changing the way they do business and marketing their companies. And you may not get to call them clients if you don’t keep up.

What you don’t do can hurt you

In a recent discussion with an agency, I asked about their marketing strategy and was met with silence.

I commented that they had a good-looking website, so they must be putting some effort into marketing. Their response was in the form of a story:

Well, it may be visually appealing, but the content does not help us at all. In fact, it hurts us. We were in talks with a really good prospect that suddenly turned south. When we asked why we didn’t get the business, they told us they went to our website — as they should — and found nothing compelling that gave them confidence we were able to help them. A competitor who delivered better information got the business instead.

So there you go: not only are buyers looking at what you say on your website (78%, according to a DemandGen Report), they are using it to evaluate your capabilities.

This agency has come to believe that marketing should provide relevant information to help readers make a business decision. And theirs clearly did not.

Marketing is a reflection of your business

Marketing activities tell your buyers what you feel is important, and your website is the most obvious reflection of what they can expect as a client:

  • You will either be thinking about your own business, your carriers, your profits
  • Or you’ll be thinking about your clients’ businesses, their employees, their profits

Take a look and see what your site says to your buyers.
A head-in-the-sand approach does not prevent it from being true

In a similar conversation with another agency, they admitted to not seeing the value in online marketing, saying they had no proof buyers were actually looking for information.

While you may not have direct feedback like the first agency, it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. People simply move on when they don’t find anything interesting. The revenue you’re ignoring because you “just haven’t connected with social media” could be substantial.

Online marketing can be a significant contributor to company strategy and growth. However, it’s completely lost if you’ve passed your marketing efforts to the receptionist and the leaders are not engaged. In this scenario, there is no value in online marketing.

Instead, the CEO needs to take control of company communications, brand, image and strategy. The agencies that recognize this and create substantial resources aligning capabilities with client needs will own their market.

Keneipp is a partner and coach at Q4intelligence in the Seattle area. Reach her at wendy@q4intel.com.

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