Employers have different options when getting employees access to benefits and health insurance. On one side, they can work with insurance brokers. On the other, they can provide coverage through a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) or use direct-to-employer (DTE) software. The insurance industry is more competitive now than ever before and keeps pushing out brokers. How can you feel confident employers will choose to work with you? In this week’s post, we share three marketing strategies to differentiate your insurance agency from competitors to help you grow and retain your book of business.
Why Is It Important To Differentiate Your Insurance Agency From Competitors?
While employers continue to rely on insurance brokers for expert advice, they seek more help navigating the ever-changing workplace and shifting employee needs. One of the biggest transformations is the increasing number of millennials in the workforce and, consequently, the hard task of catering insurance to the two larger generations in the US: millennials and baby boomers.
According to a Nielsen study, baby boomers control 70% of the nation’s disposable income and millennials will account for 75% of the global market in 2025. The challenge lies in understanding the distinctive traits of these two generations to prevent exclusion: millennials are less likely to use a local agent, they prefer to research, ask for quotes, and file claims online. Baby boomers tend to prefer face-to-face communications.
PEOs and DTEs are rapidly adapting to the new landscape. What can you do to ensure you are the employer’s first choice? Differentiation is the process of distinguishing your services from others. If you are able to differentiate your insurance agency from competitors, you will be able to get ahead of PEOs and DTEs. Below, we share three insurance marketing strategies to help you edge out the competition.
1. Become A Thought Leader
When talking about the Insurance Marketing Funnel: A 3-Step Process, we highlighted one of the biggest mistakes you can make when implementing your marketing strategy: trying to sell insurance at all times. The marketing programs you build should focus on each and every stage of your customer journey, including the pre and post-purchase stages to guide your prospects through the discovery and engagement phases.
Implement a thought leadership strategy to position yourself as a leader in the insurance industry. The key is to demonstrate your values and expertise instead of simply talking about them. When competing with PEOs and DTEs, you need to establish your credibility and stand out. Show your understanding of the various questions, roadblocks, and problems employers encounter at each stage. The more effective you can be in delivering the right experience to the right people at the right time, the better you can differentiate your insurance agency from competitors.
For example, start a weekly series in your blog based on prospects and customers’ questions such as “Do I really need to offer vision and dental benefits?” or “How do I know if my company is ACA compliant?”. You can even be more specific and answer questions about your specific geographical area. By doing so, you will become the trusted advisor and the expert who provides informed recommendations. When employers look into the different options to provide insurance for their company, they will choose the option that seems to “get” them.
2. Segment Your Audience
Do you speak to your boss the same way you speak to your friends, or your family, or the cashier at the grocery store? In your everyday interactions, you tailor your language to the person you are speaking to. Why not do the same in your marketing efforts? In today’s world, the modern customer demands a personalized digital experience. Mass marketing won’t be effective to differentiate your insurance agency from competitors.
Your groups are different. They belong to various industries and they have a diverse number of employees. Hence, their needs are unique. Your marketing programs need to be relevant and tailored to match their preferences. In essence, audience segmentation is a duty you can’t skip. Segmenting your audience means to group your customers or prospects by similar characteristics. Once you have a segment, you can make your marketing more personal and relevant. Personalized marketing gives your audience a sense of identity, which will boost engagement and customer retention.
For example, a good place to start is by grouping your clients according to the number of employees. Establish different marketing programs for smaller groups (between 2-100 employees) and bigger groups (more than 100 employees). The needs of smaller groups won’t be the same as the needs of bigger groups. Most likely, smaller groups won’t have an HR department making the decisions while bigger groups probably will. Target each group with relevant content and calls to action specifically formulated to appeal to each of them. You can start by focusing on helping smaller groups with administrative tasks and supporting bigger groups with employee engagement.
3. Establish A Competitive Advantage
Once the insurance plans are picked and open enrollment is completed, the role a broker plays can feel reactive. If you want to boost client retention and meet the ever-changing employer needs, it is key to offer your groups greater value beyond what is expected.
Your competition is known to offer customers additional services such as human resources services, compliance support, and payroll. In this landscape, offering only health plan coverage is not enough if you want to differentiate your insurance agency from competitors. By incorporating a technology solution that can assist employers from hire to retire, brokers can fill the holes in their service and compete more effectively against PEOs and DTEs. To stay relevant, brokers need to pivot from just handling transactions to providing more value associated with benefits and HR.
Adopting a technology solution and rolling it out to your entire book of business will significantly reduce the time employers spend on administrative tasks, which means they can focus on strategy and employee needs. Companies will see in brokers the perfect partnership to achieve their goals.
Implementing these three strategies to differentiate your insurance agency from competitors is key to grow and retain your book of business. The changes transforming the workforce won’t stop here, and insurance brokers need to stay on top of the trends to be proactive instead of reacting when it’s too late. Become the thought leader in the insurance industry, segment your audience, and offer technology to your groups to keep being the trusted expert and advisor employers are looking for.