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Digital Marketing is Not Optional, It’s Essential

6 guiding principles for your digital marketing strategy

Digital Marketing is Essential_header_image-1

You lead a highly successful insurance company and are mostly satisfied with your current lead generation strategy. Your sales teams have been incorporating a traditional agent marketing approach. While it is working, you can’t help but wonder how you might identify and connect with customers more efficiently. Agents are aging, wanting more commissions, and finding it harder to connect with consumers. Recently at a regional conference, a few of your business partners mentioned that competitors and insurtech disruptors are utilizing several digital marketing channels online. Should you do the same and adopt a digital marketing strategy?

The answer is, overwhelmingly, yes.

More than ever, a digital marketing strategy is essential to your overall business strategy - no matter the company size. Every organization should not only have an online presence, but also take steps to ensure that the overall consumer experience strategy seamlessly weaves into all potential touchpoints in their target consumer journey, whether offline (and involves agents) or entirely online.

The methods in which brands connect with consumers today are vastly different from the traditional marketing channels of yesterday. With the proliferation of information on the Internet and the availability of search engine content, the brand awareness and product education process has completely transformed.

There are a lot of marketing and content forces vying for your audience's eyeballs. Building a strong business case to create and implement a digital marketing strategy is essential. These 6 principles can help guide you on that journey:

1. Meet them where they are

Instead of relying upon a company’s sales team to inform and educate them about a product, consumers are now starting their journey online, preferring to thoroughly research a product on Google prior to making any contact with a sales representative. With a wealth of readily available information online, this shift in consumer education has resulted in a greatly reduced trust in a brand, with 42% of Americans finding brands and companies less truthful today than 20 years ago.

The average American spends almost 24 hours online every week. Let that sink in a bit - that’s more than 3 hours a day, 96 hours a month, and over 11,00 hours a year. Simply put, no matter who your target market is, they spend a significant amount of time online browsing the web, posting on social media, or researching the difference between term or whole life insurance. Incorporating a digital strategy allows you to reach these consumers on their connected devices and continue to build upon the valuable customer relationship that you’ve established offline.

2. Make it personal

The beauty of digital marketing is that you not only have access to the wealth of user data that is gleaned about a consumer while online, but also have the ability to customize your messaging based upon user characteristics. Whether it’s a targeted email offering a customized white paper on ‘top business trends’ or a mobile display ad retargeting Moms who have recently “liked” your Instagram post promoting a Back-To-School campaign, digital channels and formats allow for very specific targeting designed to reach your ideal consumer. Targeted digital marketing ensures that the right potential customers are connecting with your advertisements online.

3. Test and pivot in real time

With traditional marketing channels like newspaper, print, or out-of-home, you have to wait until the campaign has concluded before receiving the final results and analysis. Any insights derived from post-campaign data has to be applied to future campaigns. With digital marketing, best practice is to continually analyze and optimize campaigns while they are live. By testing and adjusting to the best performing advertisements in real time, you can increase engagement and minimize poor performing ads. This constant optimization ensures that you are utilizing your marketing dollars in the most efficient ways.

4. Get the most out of your marketing budget

Whether you are the founder of an entrepreneurial fintech startup or a marketing executive at a Fortune 500 life insurance company, digital marketing channels can be tailored to any campaign budget. With traditional marketing, there can be high startup costs that prevent smaller players from incorporating TV or radio into their marketing strategies.

However, digital marketing is much more accessible to those who have fewer marketing resources and provides a clear consumer touchpoint with attributable results. This allows small businesses to “dip their toes” into the waters by targeting specific segments of the market with paid social media, search engine marketing (SEM), and/or display ads at a relatively low total acquisition cost. In addition, several digital marketing tactics such as content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and organic social media are completely free to utilize, only requiring time and a resource to develop and nurture. 

5. Target and attribute visitors most likely to convert

One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing is the ability to harness the data provided on the backend to track attribution. You can easily track and compile the means in which users were exposed to and engaged with your online advertisements. Through this information, each visitor can be categorized by and sorted into their stage within the buyer’s journey. Attribution insights will help you to determine which digital media channels and/or creative versions are resonating the most with your consumers and where there is room for optimization.

Consequently, retargeting users who have already been exposed to an advertisement previously is possible with the tracking ability of digital marketing. A heightened ad frequency allows for increased ad recall and brand awareness, both of which are essential in fostering the ideal relationship with a potential customer as they move through the Awareness, Consideration, and Decision stages of the buyer’s journey. For example, “Millennial Mark” has searched the term “what is life insurance” on Google and been directed to your website via SEO, but after viewing your FAQs page, he closed the tab and exited the website. You can retarget him with a mobile display ad on his iPhone, encouraging him to revisit the website and contact a customer service representative with any additional questions.

6. Interact with your audience

Digital marketing provides the opportunity to connect with your target audience on a one-to-one basis, which allows for a unique online customer experience that is personalized and tailored to the individual. The consumer experience is not just critical, but essential. According to a recent Walker study, by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. This is important in establishing a relationship with your target consumer, especially in engaging and nurturing them into loyal customers and even promoters down the road.

A digital strategy that takes advantage of contextual triggers (user data, device information) will help you to not only reach your ideal consumers, but also to more strategically interact and engage with them.

Let RGAX help you

Regardless of your company size, having a defined digital marketing strategy is key for your overall business success and ensuring that your company is well positioned for the future.  However, understanding where to start and determining what your digital marketing goals and objectives are can be overwhelming.

We get it. We understand where you are. We are here because we started with execution and are leveraging those learnings to help our clients build out their strategies.

That’s why we’ve spent countless hours developing rLinkage, our Insurtech solution tailored to help you launch and champion your insurance digital marketing strategy. rLinkage works by linking new forms of data with proven technologies in a centralized marketing hub. The platform is flexible and scalable, enabling insurers to adapt as big data pervades the competitive environment.

To learn more about rLinkage and a complimentary consultation, contact RGAX today. We are actively seeking carrier partners to implement rLinkage and develop additional digital sales and marketing solutions.

 

Written by: Donna Jermer

Donna Jermer is Vice President, Distribution Lead for RGAX. She is setting and building the strategic foundation for development and execution of RGAX’s innovative distribution initiatives, including the building of life distribution capabilities, agency services and ongoing distribution operations. Donna has more than 20 years of strategic marketing experience in multiple industries from financial services and consumer goods to retail.