The direct to consumer (DTC) sales model has all but changed the way that insurance companies do business with customers. And technology is altering the way that people engage with insurance providers. As digital tools streamline interactions and transactions, consumers have become increasingly familiar with being in the driver’s seat of these engagements.
From Warby Parker to Casper, the first-wave of successful DTC brands upended the retail world by bypassing the middleman and working directly with consumers. In addition to web-specific, direct distribution retail, these influential brands benefited from social media marketing and a vibrant brand presence across a variety of digital channels.
We’re starting to see these trends disrupt nearly all consumer-facing industries. While there are inherent differences between selling, say, mattresses and life insurance, the DTC model is making waves across the insurance marketing industry as well. What this means is that insurance companies must be able to provide authentic, engaging digital brand experiences.
Marketing insurance companies: the benefits of personalization.
Insurance marketing teams can do this by providing a personalized customer experience and expanded digital efforts. According to this insightful article from McKinsey & Company, data activation and personalization are the core of modern marketing. The piece discusses how personalized marketing can be broken into four stages: data foundation, decisioning, design, and distribution. Furthermore, these stages can be summarized by the following four actions:
- Assembling a real-time view of engagement
- Mining data to identify important consumer signals to act upon
- Testing and learning data design elements
- Measure and incorporate learnings across existing systems.
Want to see how these actions fit into your digital marketing strategy? Here are just a few tips for insurance agencies looking to expand their digital brand experience.
1) Ensure accurate data collection with tracking & analytics
Let’s first consider the data foundation stage. Because they have data collection already integrated into their workflow, many insurance companies and agencies are already at an advantage. As more and more processes are handled online, customers are required to exchange personal data in exchange for products and services. And while insurance companies have a myriad of touchpoints available, it’s crucial that businesses know how to protect and leverage their data to better understand and retain customers.
For example, insurance companies may have dozens of engagement points for both prospective and current customers. Signals such as website visits and engagement on various social media channels only expand data sets. And many companies may already have the elements in place to construct a complete view of their customers. But oftentimes, these data points exist across different parts of their organizations.
From ensuring that analytics services like Google Analytics are properly installed, to tracking key events on a company website, setting up tracking to measure these interactions is a critical first step in driving a customized marketing program.
2) Reach prospects with targeted content
Once you’re tracking important interactions, data-driven marketing can help you discern which pieces of content you should send to specific customers—and on which channels. Insurance marketers can use advanced analytics tools to send content pieces based on specific customer actions. Signals can be basic user behaviors or complex activity mined from customer data.
These signals become triggers, which in turn, prompts your organization to send content to reach various stages of the buyer’s cycle. Regardless of your level of sophistication, creating content without an understanding of your audience is like shooting fish in a barrel. Content marketing is a comprehensive marketing strategy that uses strategic creation and distribution of relevant and valuable content to attract an audience with the goal of driving more business.
Targeted content marketing is one of the foundations of any SEO strategy—as one cannot exist without the other. For example, SEO keyword research doesn’t mean much if you don’t use keywords wisely across your content development efforts. Ultimately, the goal of any content strategy should be to create web pages and content that search engines and users can find and understand. By incorporating targeted content syndication into your strategy, you further ensure that the right eyes are receiving the right content.
3) Improve segmentation with conversion rate optimization
Data can help your insurance company deliver customized content to prospects. But it can also help improve the efficiency of your ad campaigns, content offerings, messaging, and product launches. As we’ve mentioned before, big data can help product teams establish a baseline for iteration and improvement. Similarly, conversion rate optimization (CRO) can help you refine ideas for engaging customers and creating offers and other assets around their actions.
CRO is designed to make the most of your digital investments by creating value from your current website traffic. It also straddles the lines between marketing, product, and design. The overarching goal of any marketing strategy is to convert leads to paying customers across different channels, right? Because CRO involves testing copy and design elements on your website to improve the user experience, you could argue that it’s a function of UX or design. And because product is concerned with anything that affects the purchasing funnel, you could make a case for CRO as a function of product marketing.
Rather than split hairs, however, let’s just say that optimization and testing are cross-functional techniques that any modern insurance marketing team needs. And, like other functions discussed in this blog, its success largely depends on your organization’s ability to collect and analyze data—and implement effective marketing strategies based around these insights.
Delivering optimized digital marketing insurance services.
Jumping back to the McKinsey & Company blog, you may notice that we’ve yet to discuss the distribution stage. According to the article, distribution systems refer to the tools or technologies that deliver your ads or content to end users (such as ad server or content management systems). While most insurance agencies likely have a preferred marketing stack to deliver marketing material, it’s important that your technology has an integrated feedback loop that enables your team to track customer responses, engagement, and conversion data.
Ultimately, data-driven marketing in the insurance industry is based on your ability to track your customer’s needs, interests, and behaviors—and provide customized insurance packages around these data points. And if your marketing efforts are disconnected, it makes it that much harder to provide the personalized DTC experiences that your customers have come to expect.
At Workshop Digital, everything we do is driven by data. We create digital marketing solutions driven by custom analytics and set up tracking to ensure you’re measuring important interactions. But we also provide human-driven, customized reporting to ensure you’re able to make sense of everything. Need help interpreting your data collection strategies? Contact us today to talk about all things digital.