From where I stand, insurance brokers are vastly under-marketed online. In the commercial insurance space, brokers are still the predominant buying choice for business insurance and benefits, but that's only because of convention—not usually effective online marketing.
In a changing market full of eCommerce-based insurance and direct selling by carriers, insurance brokers today need to redefine their role in helping businesses make better insurance decisions. And that means getting out in front of buyers using customer-centric content marketing.
Challenges for Insurance Brokerages in 2017 and Beyond
Among the most common worries for business insurance marketers is the fear of a changing buyer—a new generation rising in the ranks and making decisions that their predecessors made differently. Whether you're a broker, carrier, or agency, everybody worries about the new generation.
However, more important than millennials and Gen Xers gaining management roles is the fact that brokers have lost their positioning as the main holder of insurance knowledge in the marketplace.
As the rise of the Internet changed how we share information, brokerages never kept up, and so the challenge today is how insurance brokers can regain their footing as the best source of knowledge in insurance.
Proof: Insurance Brokers Don't Rank First in Search
One of the best forms of proof that insurance brokers aren't the thought leaders in business insurance is that rarely do brokers come in first on organic search results for major searches in insurance.
Search "workers comp insurance." Who comes up? Progressive.
How about, "best workers comp insurance?" ICW Group.
If you search "best broker for business insurance," no broker even shows up on the first page.
In Google's eyes, the best thought leaders and authorities on business insurance today are (1) large insurance carriers that sell direct (usually online), and (2) insurance trade media.
Brokers have plenty of legitimacy to be the top authorities on sound insurance decision-making, but as an industry, they've largely failed to compete with other insurance sectors in digital marketing. And as WordStream has shown, insurance is already the most expensive category for paid search online!
Brokers Are Ripe for Content Marketing Because They Understand The Value of Advice
The key for brokers today is that they have to start out-competing other insurance players by building a plan based on their strengths. What's great about brokerages is that generally speaking, their customers are very satisfied. According to this study by JD Power, commercial insurance brokerages already have high customer satisfaction, largely because of quality advice.
With a strong customer base and a value proposition based on guidance and knowledge, insurance brokerages are ripe for highly effective content marketing. Content marketing takes some of the advice that brokerages provide customers and gives it to prospects to attract their attention.
High quality content is what Google is paying attention to for ranking websites, and it's absolutely vital for being seen as a thought leader in any industry. There's no reason why insurance brokers can't compete in an advice-centered marketplace.
3 Steps for Brokers Looking to Become Thought Leaders
1. Begin Publishing a Blog Wholeheartedly
There are few examples of top insurance brokers publishing content online regularly. But none shine. For instance, Willis Towers Watson, a top player among brokers, has a blog that publishes regularly, but there's so much technically wrong about it, that Google doesn't give it much credit. A few problems:
The blog is not mobile-responsive
It's treated as separate from the Willis website, and it's somewhat difficult to navigate to
None of the content is gated by a form, which prevents lead generation
The key is to blog wholeheartedly, using the latest technique, strategy, and marketing research that turns content in lead generation for your company.
2. Build on the Strength of Your Customer Happiness
The strength of insurance brokers in today's market is that they've maintained relatively happy customers because of how much value they provide to HR departments and business owners. Brokerage marketers have to build on that strength. Focus on turning customers into referral generators by marketing to them directly.
Consider nurturing your customers with content, by repurposing blog articles into newsletters, developing online customer resource portals, and building up a strong social presence.
3. Focus on an Inbound Approach—Using Conversion to Turn Attention/Engagement into Leads
One of the biggest problems in insurance marketing at-large is the lack of focus on lead generation. Unlike technology industries where downloadable content is often traded for contact information, the commercial insurance market as a whole has been slow to adopt inbound marketing.
Check out the guide below to learn how inbound marketing can be used to drive attention and turn that attention into identifiable leads that your sales team will actually value.