This latest piece, which looks at how you can use tech to tailor your insurance marketing strategy. Different customers, territories, niche products and more. Interesting insights by Katie Jameson, Director of EMEA Marketing for Act-On Software
Let’s start with the obvious. When used well, marketing is an essential component for businesses looking to grow their customer base and build awareness. But what about when it’s randomly thrown together? We often forget that untailored messaging, spam, or irrelevant content can ruin customer relationships or the potential for leads.
Standing out in the insurance space is no small feat. According to EY, only 35 percent of insurance customers are satisfied with their current provider, which leaves 65 percent of the market for potential churn. Most offerings are also very similar – carriers often use quality of service as a distinguishing factor with slogans like “You’re in good hands” or “Here to help life go right.”
Some even revert to using incentives such as “save 15 percent or more when you switch.” But I’m here to share how many other insurance businesses experience success: The personalisation of marketing messages using email, the web, and multia-media content.
Personalising messages at scale with limited resources can be achieved through marketing technology — specifically, marketing automation. In the insurance sector, those ahead of the curve use this software to consolidate and update legacy technology, automate marketing tasks such as policyholder onboarding or renewals, and for larger brokerages and carriers, establish a regular cadence of internal communications to keep agents smart and well informed. This ensures any and all communications are tailored and personalised, which helps drive leads, web traffic, revenue, and more.
The good news is that getting there isn’t actually as complicated as it might seem, but where do you start? Building on my experience at Act-On, these are five top tips that insurance marketers can adopt to successfully implement a personalised marketing strategy.
1. Get organised, consolidate, and update your tools
Many insurance organisations use disconnected legacy systems; however, syncing them to seamlessly transfer data will help fuel personalisation for marketing. Good data is an essential component of personalisation at scale, so the first step is to get organised with your existing data and clean it up for accuracy, accessibility, compliancy, and automation.
To better connect your systems for the newly cleaned data communications, consolidate the data management tools you need by identifying your most impactful and least impactful software programs. Companies will often have a variety of different programs that have been implemented over the years, yet rarely are they all necessary and integrate with each other. Consolidated and synced software programs enable transferable data, laying the groundwork for successful and streamlined personalisation.
2. Leverage your newly consolidated data to build personas and segments
It’s a simple, though frequently overlooked question: Who is your ideal customer?
Before you hit the ground running with a personalised marketing strategy, you need to determine who your target audience is in order to create a personalised journey toward becoming a policyholder and maintaining customer retention. What are your persona’s demographics? Are they in a specific geographical location? What are they looking for in their policies? How do they prefer to engage with you as the insurer and what kind of content do they find valuable?
Once you identify these personas, your marketing strategy will begin to take shape — especially how you can personalise their experience with messaging, communication channels, and types of content. The “how” here is through segmentation; marketing automation leverages the data discussed above to deliver real-time personalisation, and you’re able to build out segmented marketing campaigns for these defined personas.
As an example, Act-On recently worked with Physicians Insurance to help the company better understand its customer base. The company’s revenue comes primarily from maintaining its core book of business, so retention is key. With Act-On, they were able to strategise how they engage different audience segments — insight that led to the creation of three bespoke monthly customer newsletters which provided educational resources and thought leadership content. The results were email open rates as high as 31 percent for existing clients, and these regular communications contributed to customer retention rate of more than 95 percent.
3. Define your personalised journey for each segment
It’s vital to create unique paths to get the different segments converted into policyholders. Always resist the temptation to group targets together under one strategy. You know your audience, so follow the ‘digital breadcrumbs’ and understand when, where and how your different personas and, thus, segments, may prefer to receive updates and communications.
Some are more likely to be active at a certain time, others have different product needs or big life changes, and some clicked through from the last email you sent but didn’t make a purchase. You need to ensure that you utilise this data – no matter how granular – to shape your strategy and provide meaningful messaging to a diverse population at every stage of the customer journey.
4. Execute on personalisation
In order to be successful in marketing, you need to be able to track, measure and analyse behaviour in order to sell smarter. Leverage your data to personalise communications beyond the already mentioned segmentation — through tracking cookies (with the prospect or customer’s permission) to adapt to their engagement behavior, or utilising your broker management system’s data to identify customers’ needs for cross-sell or upsell opportunities.
For instance, a prospect’s engagement history on your website reflects they gravitate toward the cheaper insurance products — so mirror your messaging with cost-conscious tonality and content. Or your BMS/CRM identifies customers with home, auto, and umbrella insurance; they clearly care about protecting their possessions, so how about cross-selling them on life insurance to protect their families, too?
5. Adapt, optimise and maximise results
Lastly, optimise your campaigns based on triggers in the policyholder or prospect’s engagement behaviors. For example, the person that was looking for an auto policy, is now pricing boat insurance — that’s a great opportunity for you to adjust your communications to include boat messaging. Optimise subject lines in emails and create tailored content for additional journeys.
Ensure that you continually share and sync this with the sales teams, including any behavioural patterns that you’ve noticed, such as whether your leads have opened emails or engaged with specific content, which can help conversations be more productive and informative. It’s vital for measurement and marketing accountability across the business, but it will also help you continually improve your operations. You can develop KPIs that are specific to challenges or niche audience segments, which will help focus your organisation on improving service.
Establishing an at-scale personalised marketing engine may seem daunting, especially for a smaller insurance marketing team, though I assure you it is possible with big payoffs. They key is having the right, methodical approach and strategy, coupled with technology (marketing automation) that optimally drives your efforts to execute personalised messaging and serves as an essential data resource to leverage behavior engagements.
This article is sponsored content, produced in association with Act-On Software.