As the news headlines confirm, and as the national conversation within the realms of social media further attests, insurance – specifically, health insurance – is a topic of contentious debate. The confusion, partisanship and economic stakes are part of a huge maelstrom of unforeseen chaos, in which brokers and insurance vendors must not only weather this proverbial storm; they must transcend this situation with effective communications and intelligent marketing.
The irony is that these professionals have a policy for almost every condition – including personal, property, life, investment and casualty – except one: Insurance for themselves, in the form of a strategic marketing plan, which enables brokers and vendors to increase their online recognition, distinguish their brand and earn the trust of the public.
To forsake this opportunity amidst a national crisis is tantamount to self-destruction and a refusal to succeed.
I write these words not to discourage brokers, nor to attack the Act or take sides in a fierce battle among politicians, citizens, and federal and state civil servants. Rather, I arrive with a simple but powerful reminder of hope: That brokers must channel their vast knowledge about the insurance industry, as well as their command of the nuances involving the purchase of health insurance in particular, into a thoughtful and effective position of preeminence.
Understanding the How and Why of Digital Marketing
All of which brings me to the how and why of this matter, which is also the source for my creation of the Agency Growth Academy, an online destination for brokers to learn the core principles of successful insurance marketing. Indeed, I believe insurance brokers possess significant wisdom about issues at the forefront of the nation's economic future and the fate of tens of millions of potential clients throughout the United States. We need these brokers, men and women of great distinction, to provide much-needed clarity amidst the confusion surrounding topics of great significance.
And yet, surveys suggest that only one-third of brokers or advisers (of 200 profiled) use social media to promote their practices, with another 29 percent reporting they have no online presence. These figures demand action, which explains my launch of a five-week, online boot camp for brokers to garner increased respect and prosperity within this environment. And, among the many digital points of attraction (such as Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, Google+, Twitter and other notable sites), brokers need to better establish themselves in this arena by a variety of means.
Though the focus is on brokers, the point about effective marketing is a universal one. The how is just as relevant to a technology executive as it is to a real estate developer, with the same urgency for a banker or a lawyer. Every professional, with their specialized training and practical experience, has a service to offer.
At this time, brokers have an essential one to present to all citizens and businesses. But, without the how, that same professional will face the otherwise avoidable question of “Why not?” As in, “Why am I not more successful and visible? Why is my career at a standstill?”
The fault does not rest with a broker's training or wisdom. Indeed, a broker is wise because he or she lives by the flexibility of his or her training, sharing information the way consumers want to hear, see or receive it.
The training is there, yes, but what remains unfinished is mastery over the venue to showcase that teaching: The power of marketing. Specifically the use of the Internet as a means of distributing news and solidifying a broker's reputation as an expert, who can demystify an entire industry (or at least the part most people choose to follow) with the persuasiveness to engage and secure new clients.
The Digital Universe: Vast and Worthy of Exploration
Bear in mind that the real mystery is the complexity of something like the judicial system, the tax code, the stock market, and the terms and conditions of the insurance industry as a whole. We entrust experts to handle these issues – to inform us of our rights and responsibilities – and to do so in plain English. Brokers excel at that task, which earns them referrals and repeat business.
In the digital universe, things are different. People want answers – they want your answers, as a broker, to critical questions of national import – and they want that information to be instantly available and instantly intelligible. Those demands may be high and the rapid-fire, real-time nature of digital marketing is a learned art.
Now is the time to practice and refine this art, so brokers can succeed and their credibility can soar. Trained by their respective agencies, brokers should, however briefly, leave the boardroom for boot camp. From there, progress is inevitable.
Jeremiah Desmarais is an award-winning insurance and business marketing strategist and digital marketer with over 23 awards, and ranked among the Top 40 Marketers Under 40 in the US. He is widely recognized for his strategic revenue boosting and design initiatives at companies such as GoHealth, Applied Systems, the United Nations and over 100,000 insurance agents internationally.