The days of in-person and over-the-phone sales are rapidly giving way to online transactions, even for relationship-oriented B2B businesses like commercial insurance. As this shift occurs, insurance agents need to add and adapt digital marketing strategies to sell more insurance policies online.
Doing so requires more than just shifting to online channels. If a print ad worked in the past, that doesn’t mean that simply putting up a digital banner or social media ad will yield the same results. With so much information available online, you want to be careful not to overwhelm prospective customers.
Fortunately, digital marketing activities can often be easier to track and improve upon, since they naturally can provide valuable data. For example, if you do run social media ads, you can test how many clicks you get on an ad that promotes low insurance rates vs. an ad that suggests you’re a valuable partner to help entrepreneurs get their feet under them.
Or, you might analyze how different types of email marketing messages perform. If you notice that, say, small business owners tend to engage more with your emails than mid-size business owners do, then you may want to alter your strategy. You could send out two different types of e-newsletters, for example, with one including more small-business-oriented content and one focused more on mid-size businesses.
As a result, you can form stronger connections online, gaining the awareness and trust of business owners to ultimately sell more insurance policies online. Essentially, insurance agents that can think like digital marketers and figure out what engages their leads and customers can improve their ability to sell insurance online.
“Digital marketers spend their time studying how people relate to one another online, creating content for online consumption, and mastering digital mediums. As you get more comfortable with marketing in the digital space, your readership, viewership, and sales will likely grow,” explains marketing platform Kajabi
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Demonstrate Value Across Touchpoints
Because of the sheer amount of information available online, direct pitches can be overwhelming. Imagine if your entire Facebook feed was full of brands saying why you should buy their products or if every Google search on digital marketing strategies pulled up articles that only explain why you should work with a certain marketing agency. It would be too much.
Instead, whether consciously or not, you likely consume content and other types of marketing where you become aware of certain brands and determine what to purchase at your own pace.
For example, a good digital marketing strategy to sell commercial insurance online could involve creating content that helps entrepreneurs solve business challenges. If you go for the sale too fast, leads might be turned off because they’re not ready to make a purchasing decision. But if you can provide helpful advice, they can start to trust your brand and eventually come to you when they’re ready to make a purchase.
“More than 70 percent of B2B buyers fully define their needs before engaging with a sales representative, and almost half identify specific solutions before reaching out,” finds Miller Heiman Group, which provides sales consulting.
That means that insurance agents need to demonstrate their value across multiple touchpoints so that potential customers can become aware of them during their own research process. To sell insurance online, agents often need to first connect across touchpoints like:
Instead of going right for the sale on social media, sharing helpful information can allow agents to build trust with prospects. Then, when business owners start identifying that they want to buy insurance online, they’ll know they can turn to you.
Even if a business owner knows they want to purchase insurance, they might not be ready to make a final decision. While they’re still in the information-gathering phase, you want to make sure that your website demonstrates value.
Don’t just talk about yourself and what makes you great. Offer insights that help clients, such as identifying some of the risks they may be trying to manage. Using sections of your website like an FAQ page or a blog can be a great way to dive into more helpful details.
You may start to acquire leads who sign up for your email list, but here too, they may not be ready to buy. Prospects typically don’t want to get bombarded by sales messages either; they want to reach out when they’re ready, not be pressured to buy insurance. So, your emails should also provide value, such as by sharing recent news that you think business owners would find valuable or including a roundup of events that entrepreneurs could attend to help them grow their businesses.
Establish Ways to Capture New Leads
Even though you don’t want to push too hard for selling insurance online, you still want to have the resources in place to capture leads and eventually move them through the sales funnel. Some of the ways to capture new leads include using:
If a lead visits your website and likes what they see, you want to make it easy for them to get in touch. A contact form can be an easy way for them to send you a message while also allowing you to standardize the information you receive, e.g., their name, email, and phone number.
A dedicated landing page, separate from your website, can also help you capture new leads. For example, if you share a social media post about first-time business owner sales tactics, you might include a link to learn more. That link could lead to a landing page that has more detail on this topic while also incorporating a form, such as to sign up for your email list to receive more insights. Eventually, you may be able to then use this information to try more direct sales pitches on occasion, but you don’t want to rush this process or go overboard.
Customer relationship management (CRMs) tools can help you keep your leads organized and allow you to track their movement through the sales funnel. For example, if you meet a prospect offline, you might include their info in your CRM. Then, you could add them on social media and keep up-to-date on their social posts from within your CRM. That could then help you identify how to eventually craft an insurance sales pitch, such as if their social conversations indicate they’re looking to manage risk and researching some options.
Streamline Online Sales
Using these digital marketing strategies can require patience, but when you do get to the point of trying to close deals, you don’t want to keep leads waiting. Since business owners have often already done some of their own research and you may have connected with them in some way through your marketing, you don’t need to start from square one with an introductory sales pitch. Make the sales process easy and efficient for customers so that when they know what they want, they can have it essentially right away.
That’s why using tools like Wheelhouse to streamline online sales can be so valuable. When prospects are ready to buy insurance online, they can obtain a bindable quote from an agent’s website on their own, rather than needing to wait for the agent to be available. Or, insurance agents can take prospects to a customized landing page where they can obtain these quotes, which can help close the deal through different digital marketing channels, such as social media or through online events like webinars.
Spending less time on the actual online sales process can free up time to focus more on these value-added digital marketing activities, thereby helping insurance agents sell more policies online.