I’ve touched on insurance agency omnichannel marketing in previous blogs, but this week I’ll take a deeper dive into what this strategy incorporates, and how brokers can use it to optimize their own.
Omnichannel marketing is a consistent and uninterrupted customer experience across multiple channels. Now at first glance, this may sound like what you’re doing already because you have a website, various social media pages, and regularly send out marketing emails. However, plot twist, that’s actually multichannel marketing.
OMNI VS MULTI – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
According to TechTarget, omnichannel is defined as a multichannel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated customer experience. When a true omnichannel experience is provided for a buyer, they can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store and the experience would be seamless.
What sets omnichannel marketing apart is the extent of integrations and connectivity on the back end between channels.
The multichannel experience is what most brokers currently implement; meaning you have a website, blog, Facebook, and LinkedIn page for your agency. However, in most cases, the experience on each channel is inconsistent with another. For example, your agency’s website may be full of informative content, contact info, regular updates, etc. Then when a user visits your social media pages (on LinkedIn or Facebook), there’s no contact info, the last post was in 2016, and there’s no active engagement.
With an insurance agency omnichannel marketing strategy implemented, if someone calls your agency, visits your website, LinkedIn page, emails, or visits your office, the experience, information, and processes will be seamless no matter which route they choose along the buyer’s journey. Consistency across the variety of different ways a consumer can choose to engage with your agency is what’s at the core of insurance agency omnichannel marketing.
THE CORE OF OMNICHANNEL
Establishing such a fluid customer experience requires strategic efforts for internal and consumer-facing processes. The following steps will help you build the core attributes needed to implement an insurance agency omnichannel marketing strategy.
- Create a customer journey map
- Structure inter-departmental coordination and agility
- Build a mobile responsive website
- Automate your marketing
- Provide your audience with easy to use technology
- Make your brand voice consistent
Create a Customer Journey Map
This step is listed first for a reason, without understanding your buyer’s journey it’s impossible to implement an insurance agency omnichannel marketing strategy.
When creating a customer journey map, it’s essential to look at the journey from their perspective. What are the common steps taken on their end to go from prospect to customer? What is their current experience like with your agency during those steps? (use some marketing research tools and surveys to get this information directly from your current customers). And, what opportunities are there for you to improve the quality of their journey?
The more you can understand about the various questions, roadblocks, and problems they encounter at each stage of the life-cycle, the more effective you can be in delivering the right experience, to the right people, at the right time. For a complete walkthrough on building a customer journey map, read my blog Insurance Marketing: Customer Journey Mapping.
Inter-departmental coordination and agility
A common problem companies run into when attempting to implement omnichannel marketing is an organizational structure that fosters isolation between departments. For many companies (insurance agencies included) sales, marketing, HR, and customer service all operate mostly independent of each other.
Strategically restructuring the roles of various departments can spread the responsibility of the customer experience on more than one or two departments. This provides employees with a clear understanding and appreciation for how their responsibilities are contributing to an omnichannel strategy in relation to others. That, in turn, sets clear expectations that can streamline communication between teams resulting in quality customer service.
When internal communication is swift and fluid, the result is a seamless customer experience that puts you a step ahead of the competition.
Mobile Responsive Website
Google’s mobile-first index ranks search listings based on the mobile version of the content your company shares online – even for listings shown to desktop users. So if your agency website is not optimized for mobile, then your target audience googling ‘HR and benefits solutions’ during work hours from their desktop will not find you. You can see why having a mobile responsive website is crucial for implementing a true omnichannel experience.
Your agency’s website is a crucial channel to the overall experience, and is relevant to users who engage with your website on different devices. If a person visits your website on their desktop, laptop, or mobile, the experience must be consistent. That can only be accomplished by having a mobile responsive website.
Does your website meet Google’s mobile requirements?
Not sure if your agency’s website is up to par? You can test your website at Google’s mobile friendly test tool.
Marketing Automation Software
As an insurance agency grows, the number of marketing and business tools it utilizes also grows. Managing all of these tools on different platforms can involve a lot of time and budget, which is inefficient in today’s market. That is why it’s extremely helpful to have one system that connects all of your platforms and allows them to work together.
Hubspot is an effective marketing automation platform to get you started with implementing an omnichannel experience for your target audience. You name it, Hubspot probably does it. A one stop shop for your marketing and sales needs, Hubspot is self-defined as an “inbound marketing and sales software that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers”. Check out my previous blog on Top Picks: Insurance Agency Automation Software to learn more about Hubspot and similar tools.
Provide Your Audience with Technology
Omnichannel marketing requires the use of consumer-facing technology solutions. Bank of America for example uses their app to provide their customers with the ability to deposit checks through the app or to schedule appointments. This makes the customer experience as seamless as if they were to do the same processes at home on their desktop or at a Bank of America branch.
With the rise of HR software, benefits brokers are now in a position to provide their groups with online enrollment tools that streamline relevant processes – from plan comparison to updating employee information.
Providing your groups with an all in one client portal will complement your omnichannel marketing efforts, and strengthen your agency’s brand in the process.
A Consistent Brand Voice
Establishing a consistent and unique brand voice provides prospects and customers alike an impression of relatability, trustworthiness, and authenticity; it makes communication congruent. This is at the heart of insurance agency omnichannel marketing.
Many brokers focus on having one or two digital channels that are consistently updated. Yet modern consumers engage with brands on a variety of mediums. While copy on your website and Facebook page may be consistent, your LinkedIn page may be barren, your emails might have a more sales driven tone, etc. Having a consistent brand voice is crucial to insurance agency omnichannel marketing.
Examine copy on your website, social media pages, email campaigns, ads, online listings, etc. to ensure your brand voice is consistent across all channels. Also ensure your messaging for special promotions remains in sync with your overarching tone and agency values. Nothing is wrong with adding layers to your agency’s brand voice, but it must be done strategically to avoid conflicting messaging in your copywriting.
Omnichannel marketing requires a massive amount of effort to do it right. However, the broker market is becoming more and more competitive.
As direct-to-employer solutions grow and compete with brokers for market share, it’s imperative for insurance agencies to establish a strategic advantage by leveraging their expertise and combining it with the expectations of modern consumers.
Omnichannel marketing is that strategy for brokers. Do not rush into rolling out this strategy. Take the time to research your buyer’s journey, rollout relevant solutions for each stage of the funnel, and structure your organization accordingly under one goal – creating a seamless, fluid customer experience.