Let’s talk about half-measures, and doing things “in-house”.
Being in an insurance marketing agency has allowed me the unique opportunity to see a lot of companies in different stages of their online marketing efforts. From their expectations to their willingness to make those expectations happen, there may seem to be endless ways people can approach online marketing, but from my experience, I can say that it boils down to two habits.
Pitfalls: A Tale of Two Insurance Agencies
Before deciding on whether you can benefit from a digital service, you should understand where your company stands in their branding & marketing practices.
There are two main types of reactions when it comes to Insurance Marketing:
- The Active Risk-Taker: The Active Insurance Agency has a lot going for them. They’re entrenched in their community, and spend a reasonable amount of time putting their name out locally with events like little league sponsorships, blanket drives and etc.Local charity events are a great way to connecting with your community, while contributing to a cause.They’re willing to work on their local branding as they outsource the day-to-day marketing minutiae to a company like Neilson Marketing.To them, digital marketing is another one of their many growth avenues.
When coordinated along with traditional branding methods, their digital efforts act as an aggregator (a funnel, if you will) for all those other campaigns to siphon into, ensuring better returns across the board for branding and lead acquisition. Their online leads net will always be strong since it all flows to one, user-convenient, place.
The nature of going online involves taking a leap, but it shouldn’t be the only method of expansive outreach. The Active Risk-Taker understands this, and is always willing to test ways to grow their presence, which in turn results in their online strategy — more often than not — being doubly successful.
- The Cautious: The Cautious Agency get’s stuck in the muck of small details, insisting on a “professional” (and non-compelling) content voice to focusing on what seems to be the next big thing in online distribution. By making assumptions, they’re unwilling to approach a prospective audience half-way, or look at the data on distribution efficacy.Paradoxically, a lot of these types of companies also tend to just “let things run” when they contract with marketers. Sure, that may be great news for some Marketing Agencies, but at Neilson, we’d rather have our clients succeed by utilizing our expertise. We love finding you new opportunities for branding and expansion, and you can bet we’ll always suggest something to you.On a personal level, I know there’s a lot of fear that can plague anyone who takes a leap into digital marketing. With so much noise and misinformation out there, the mind can become paralyzed against making effective decisions. I know, because I’ve personally been there. The only way to progress is by taking action, leaving any failures and mishaps in the past to augment your successes in the future.Most types of micromanagement is the enemy of productivity, as all these articles on Google have tried to get across over the years.Being realistic is important, there’s no reason to have an over-reach of risk — that’s just not smart — but the inherent nature of doing something different is always in itself, an exercise in risk, even when it comes to expanding your visibility. Sometimes it benefits to reasonably embrace the nature of your enemy to move on.
Luckily, performance metrics are much more concrete than ever. Digital marketing has done well for millions, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work for you — if you keep at it.
While the market evolves, old players will retire, no longer being your future prospects. The old, established list of opportunity begins to shrink in this natural course of events, and it’s clear that staying static is just as risky as not making changes.
Why Should I Hire An Insurance Marketing Agency?
DIY is fine, but only if a single action reaps long-term benefits. Unfortunately, marketing isn’t like that.There are plenty of reasons why you should be my client, mainly that I’m actually pretty good at what I do, and so is the whole rockstar team here at Neilson Marketing Services. Still, it’s an exercise in logic, so let’s go down this road together with a little thought experiment utilizing some questions:
Why can’t I just do this myself? There are plenty of robust tools online that seem to “automate the process”.
ANSWER: If you’re the decision maker, you’re probably already busy making, well, decisions. If you think you can “in-source” this work to some eager employee, keep in mind that there are very few and far-between cases where people just “pick up” internet marketing. And, most likely, you hired them to do other work in the first place.
Marketing is a full-time job, there are no half-measures that automate the process, just tools that make it more efficient. Silicon Valley knows it, and every established brand lives it.
I’ve seen plenty of people just assign digital marketing to some associate without any training or relevant certifications, and the results can get pretty nasty. From having your site slapped with a removal from Google due to following so-called SEO shortcut blogs; to a lot of sites not gaining traffic at all due to allegedly “safe” (aka fearful) SEO practices.
Additional Note: From Hubspot to Raventools, ask yourself: What are their success stories? Did these success stories have strong branding or additional marketing tactics on top of that? The answer is most likely yes. Most –if not all– success stories from self-service tools engaged in additional campaigns that likely helped drive traffic to a website.
What about building an in-house marketing team?
ANSWER: Cost, and expertise. That’s it.
If you can afford to keep a permanent staff of digital marketers, content producers and let’s say for costs purposes, you contract programming specialists on a need-basis, then building an in-house team isn’t so bad as long as you can create a very good campaign strategy. Also, most importantly, if you have the experience to be able to find the right talent — which is harder than it sounds — since everyone with a computer can make baseless claims to being an internet marketer these days.
Talented and experienced or not, that’s about 3+ additional paychecks per month, plus the monthly costs of tools, hosting, management and administration. Our biggest plans utilize over 10 specialists with a combined 80+ years of experience, at the cost of around 1/6th of a single full-time marketer, maintenance and SEO tool’s costs.
If you want to test out digital marketing, companies like us would be your solution.
I still think I can do it myself.
ANSWER: With the right mind-set and a dedication to the long-haul, success is totally possible on your own. But besides the very partial cost-savings by bringing a D.I.Y. element to your marketing, you have to consider the cost of your hours.
How much is 10+ hours a week of extra time spent in the office not producing worth to you for the gains you may see? In a year that’s 520 hours. Assuming you modestly think your personal overtime is worth $32/hour, that’s $16,400 worth of your personal time spent — taking into account a website cost, that’s another $3,000 to $5,000 for a basic site with no on-page content. You’ll never get that back.
Time is our most crucial resource.Efficiency, short-cuts, smart-investments, high-yield strategies are all attempts for us to contract the time it takes to make gains in our lives. DIY is opposite.How important is time for you?
What Should I Consider Before Choosing An Insurance Marketing Agency?
- Hedge Claims: A realistic marketing company will never make grandious claims, they know that Insurance is a challenging market. They’ll ask you about your niches. That’s where your opportunity lies.
- Ask For Success Stories: Ask them for success stories, and their traffic growth examples. Make sure their examples are specifically for ORGANIC SEARCH.
- See Their Reports: Ask for a sample report, if they don’t focus on organic or at least, social media search results, they may not have a real SEO on their team.
- Ask What Their Monthly Deliverables Are: You want to see two major things in their deliverables: Content and Linkbuilding. If they’re missing either, there’s something shady going on.
- See for Yourself, Test Their Examples: One of the most interesting things I’ve noticed is that some marketers in our vertical use very shady practices (which is probably why their rates are lower). Go to a couple of the example site’s pages, copy and paste one of the sentences on that page into Google. See if there are duplicate results, if there are, congratulations, you just prevented yourself from throwing money away.
If you made it all the way down this article, it’s clear that you have an interest in improving your overall reach for potential clients. Personally, I want to thank you for reading this guide. I know it was a long piece of content.