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How can Blogging help in an insurance agency?

July 27, 2010 Leave a comment

With time an insurance agencies blog can help retain business and bring in new clients.

There is no better place to put the ideas and ways that you are different from the agency down the street than a blog. A blog that looks and reads well, that provides timely information and  tackles interesting topics can be a valuable resource to everyone. This is an agencies chance to show the world and  local community the ideas and ideals that set them apart.

An insurance agency can describe why a client or prospect should stick with A rated carriers or explain what AM Best ratings are and why one might care. Topics could and should range from coverage issues and new concerns to things that are happening in the agency and community initiatives the agency  partakes in.

Generally the difficult part of the blog is the process.  Who is going to write it? What are they going to say? Can we be sued for it? Are all the checks in place to ensure we are as protected as possible? Answering these questions take time, energy and can be a real pain, but the pay off in the end will be well worth it.

After you have the process down then it comes to content creation. That is as easy as looking into the resources for your individual state or risk specialty. There are tons of new coverages and products coming out monthly, so many that it’s hard for even the agent to keep abreast of everything.

There is a slew of opportunity to use health care reform to educate your current clients with brief weekly or monthly synapses.  Use the blog to write about something cool a client or prospect is doing. Could there be a better way to endear the agency to them?

Blogging can be a great way to educate the public about a new product or risk. Think “Cyber Liability”. Providing a service to educate prospects and clients on the risk and pitfalls of not being covered may open up the chance at a crossell. Of course there is the old guard that will want to hold on to that information and will say “We can’t give that great knowledge away for free! People will come and learn from it and buy insurance elsewhere.” Bah on that. If folks want the information, they are going to get it. But if it is your information they are getting educated on, over time a percentage will choose that it’s  a wise decision to buy from the agency that is unafraid to spread the word.

There are a few keys to a successful blog. First and foremost a blog needs to have a voice. Not some monotonous boring lecturer but a voice that clients and prospects can connect with. The content needs to be fresh, timely and relevant. There is nothing worse than visiting a blog that hasn’t been updated in months and months. Posts needs to be as short and information filled as possible while retaining personality. The information needs to be important to the industries that are within each agencies sweet spot.

There are a few things that dont need to be in a blog. This CSR getting a designation or the cool salesman of the year award to producer x are all better served being spread through different media.  A blog is the agencies time to shine, a time to offer the community a service and access to some of its insights. Through the open exchange of information the agency has a oppurtunity to become a trusted resource. Once that happens the sales will follow.

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Twitter in an Insurance Agency

July 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Most insurance agencies have heard of Twitter, but few I know are utilizing it. Unfortunately Twitter is not as tangible a service as Facebook or Linked-in, meaning it can be more difficult to understand and the return the agency receives  might not be immediately felt. I believe that in an intangible product market such as insurance that Twitter can be extremely powerful and impactful.

Agencies have producers, clients, insurance products, value added services and competitors and are constantly looking for ways to make themselves stand out. Using this new media to secure current clients and hopefully gain new ones from prospects with products and value adds seems like a no-brainer.

What happens when the agency that provides insurance becomes much more than that, what if it becomes a huge proponent of their clients brand? What if on the weekends individual producers were using the product, service or other offering and talking it up on Twitter? What does that turn the relationship into? Does that make it more difficult to fire an agent if a competitor comes in with a slightly lower price? What if Twitter were used to ensure that clients and prospects were aware of the gamut of value added services that are offered or kept them up to date on the latest risk that might affect them? Inversely, if a competing agent has been lauding the accolades of a client or prospect on Twitter and both agencies offered similar coverages and VAS, is there a chance if losing the client? Is that something an agency wants to chance? Twitter creates and strengthens relationships, but it takes time just like any other relationship building process does.

Another advantage of Twitter are the insights into happenings of the client or prospect. It is criminal if your a producer in this day and age and your client has a Twitter account that is not being followed.  It needs to be mandated that this happens throughout the agency. What better way for a competing agent to get a toehold on existing clients than utilizing this burgeoning market?

I have a scenario in my head where a producer goes through his client and prospect list and finds out who’s on twitter and starts talking them up. Beginning to build or strengthen relationships utilizing this new avenue. Who ever is on the other side of that twitter account has some connection with C-level folks, they are obviously getting direction from someone. In most cases we are not talking fortune 500 clients we are talking 20-80k revenue accounts looking for any advantage they can get. If those clients are not currently utilizing Social Media wouldn’t it be neat if their trusted insurance advisor could increase word of mouth exposure by showing them the goodness that is Twitter.

What happens to that producer in the eyes of the client when a competing agent comes in offering similar coverage at 5-10% less. If the producer is on twitter always talking them up do they risk losing him as a source of free advertising. Do they risk alienating him? Do either of these 2 questions come in to play when the decision is made? I think yes, for mid market accounts  depending on local referrals and word of mouth advertising twitter will be a huge source for them in the future.

So if you are a producer or know a producer, show him Twitter, show him a prospect he is working on or a current client and what they are posting. It doesnt matter if you believe in this or not, its happeneing. We have to get our heads around it to start to take advantage of it. I can promise you that if you are not  figuring out how to use this to your advantage someone else is using it to theirs at your detriment.