How Independent Agents Can Communicate with Today’s Digital Consumers

Today, the business world is increasingly digital. Consumers constantly turn to online resources to find information, and independent insurance agencies need to be part of that landscape if they want to connect with clients.

The sheer volume of options can make developing an online strategy challenging. After all, as an independent agent, your time is valuable, so you need to know which approaches are more likely to yield results and resonate with your clients.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some standout options for communicating with today’s digital consumers as an independent insurance agency.

How to Communicate with Today’s Digital Consumers

Facebook Groups

While traditional Facebook posts and comments can allow you to connect with your clients and prospects, adding a Facebook Group into the mix is beneficial. With a Facebook Group, you still get to communicate directly with your clients, but you also create a space where clients can help one another.

It provides a simple platform where clients can ask questions and share experiences. Along with getting responses from your team, they can also gather insights from other insureds.

Facebook Groups also make sharing major announcements simple. The information is accessible to an engaged audience who gets notifications, increasing the odds that it’ll get noticed.

Client Toolkits

A client toolkit is an online central repository of helpful information and tools. This can be anything from how-to guides, checklists, FAQs, or other resources that clients may find valuable.

With a client toolkit, selling isn’t the primary goal. Instead, it’s about positioning your independent insurance agency as a go-to resource for helpful tips, tricks, and insights, drawing clients in with the wealth of handy information, increasing engagement, and bolstering your brand.

Videos on Social Media

Today, video is the content-sharing approach du jour. It’s one of the most popular mechanisms for enhancing engagement on most social media platforms and is a solid option for developing your brand’s voice.

Video can be a great way to share updates and/or helpful resources. Plus, most social media video formats are embeddable on websites, allowing you to add valuable ones to your client toolkit with ease.

Email Newsletters and Surveys

Email newsletters are a classic option for sharing information with clients. One of the simplest approaches involves sharing an overview of a blog, announcement, or similar content and then including a link that directs the reader to the actual post to learn more. Not only does this let you keep your newsletter short and enticing, but it also boosts traffic to your other pages.

When it comes to follow-up, emailed survey links are one of the easiest options. You can use them to gauge the client experience, giving you the ability to find any areas where improvement is beneficial.

How to Increase Engagement with Your Online Resources

At times, if you want to boost engagement with your online resources, independent agents should consider incentivizing participation. By, for example, sending swag, an eBook, or something similar after a client signs up with your newsletter, you’re rewarding them for engaging with your agency.

The incentive doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. As long as it is helpful or useful — providing value over being part of a sales pitch — it can potentially be a winner.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we understand the importance of engaging with your clients. If you’d like more tips about how independent agents can connect with today’s digital consumers, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

5 Creative Ways to Connect with Leads

As an independent agent, you’re always on the hunt for new leads. But lead generation can be surprisingly tricky. Many of the classic techniques are a bit tired. They won’t help your small insurance agency stand out from the competition, causing you to miss out on potential new clients.

Luckily, by using some creative approaches, you can do more than boost lead generation; you can start genuinely nurturing leads. Not only will you get more interest, but your conversion rates will also improve, allowing you to turn more leads into customers.

If you are looking for fresh, effective ways to connect with leads, here are five outstanding options.

5 Creative Ways to Generate and Nurture New Leads

1. Create Engaging Content

Today, we live in a content-driven world. Videos, blog posts, infographics… they all help you connect with an audience, including new leads.

The key to content, though, is to focus on making it engaging. The quality of what you produce matters, as many prospective clients will view what you share as an indication of your attention-to-detail, knowledge level, and more.

Your content also establishes your independent agency’s voice. Make sure you define the personality of your agency’s online presence and work to align everything you do with that perspective. That way, where you post on a single platform or several, it all feels cohesive.

2. Share Thought Leader Insights

A thought leader is a recognized industry expert that’s usually seen as being on the cutting-edge of an industry. Along with being well-informed, they share unique, powerful insights with the masses. They may answer questions on forums, post informative social media or blog content, guest write for high-authority websites (with a backlink in the piece), and more.

By positioning yourself as a thought leader, you boost your independent insurance agency’s reach and standing. It allows you to establish your expertise in a way that can connect with new leads, driving interest and online traffic toward your agency organically.

3. Become a Knowledge Hub

While social media posts and blogs tend to focus on timely issues, not all of that content is evergreen. Some of the topics become less relevant as time passes, making it less likely to keep generating leads.

Luckily, by using a secondary approach, you can overcome that challenge. By establishing your independent agency as a knowledge hub, you’re viewed as a resource that’s worth returning to over the long-term. Make sure to publish certain evergreen content like white papers, informative articles, eBooks, and other pieces that will be as valuable today as they will be tomorrow.

If you want to go the extra mile, offer some of it up on your website, but harness the best pieces’ potential by using them as lead magnets. For example, send the eBook only after a person signs up for your email newsletter. That way, you can get contact details for new leads.

4. Leverage Your Client Base

Your existing clients can be a great resource when you’re focusing on lead generations. Customer reviews are great for generating positive buzz, while webinars can keep clients engaged over the longer term. Case studies can also be powerful, allowing you to show others how your current clients benefit from your services.

When you go this route, you’re making your agency more authentic and tangible. Plus, it can bump up your relatability, humanizing your agency just a bit more.

5. Provide Useful Templates and Checklists

Simple templates and checklists can be great options for drawing in and nurturing leads. They provide the current or prospective clients with immediate value by helping them accomplish a task or handle a situation.

For potential clients, a quick checklist that helps people make sure they have all of the insurance bases covered could be a great start. Budgeting spreadsheets, how-to guides for choosing insurance plans, and similar options are excellent, too.

Just make sure that the templates and checklists are about providing value above all else. It isn’t about being salesy; it’s about being helpful. That way, your content is supportive and caring, a position that can work in your favor.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we understand the importance of lead generation and lead nurturing. If you’d like more tips about how independent agents can capture new leads and increase conversions, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

Updating Your Tech Stack for 2021

Today, technology is at the heart of nearly every insurance agency. Independent agents rely heavily on a range of systems, allowing them to organize operations, manage client data, attract new customers, and work more efficiently.

While your current technology may have served you well in the past, new advances emerge seemingly every day. If you don’t update your tech stack regularly, you’re missing out on cutting-edge features and capabilities that can take your agency to the next level.

Luckily, updating your tech stack for 2021 doesn’t have to be difficult. If you aren’t sure how to tackle it, here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Tech Stack?

Generally speaking, a tech stack is a set of technology tools that helps you manage your independent insurance agency. Usually, it features a combination of solutions, ensuring all of your major needs are covered by an effective and efficient tech system.

Precisely what you’ll be in your tech stack can vary from one agency to the next. However, for independent agents, most of the solutions are going to be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, allowing you to get robust tech at a fraction of the price of managing it on-site.

Updating your tech stack lets you tap emerging trends and harness cutting-edge technologies. You’re creating an opportunity to get the best of what the SaaS landscape has to offer, ensuring you aren’t held back by old-school software that isn’t designed to meet the needs of today’s leading agencies.

How to Choose New SaaS Technology

When you’re selecting new SaaS solutions, your main goal should be to simplify your technology and automate as much of your workflow as possible. It’s all about enhancing operational ease while simultaneously boosting the quality of your work.

If you aren’t sure how to begin building your tech stack for 2021, here’s a step-by-step process you can follow.

Understand the Tech Stack Categories

Updating your tech stack shouldn’t be a haphazard undertaking. It’s all about ensuring your critical bases are covered. One way to make that as easy as possible is to take a moment to learn about tech stack categories.

Each tech stack category is essentially a single functional business area independent agents usually need to manage. Here’s a quick overview of each one, as well as some example solutions.

Sales

Sales solutions make it easier to manage prospects, qualify leads, and pursue new clients. They provide opportunities for task automation, allowing you to streamline workflows, boost the efficiency of your sales team, and generate better results.

Some popular sales tools include:

  • Relationship Management (CRM) – Salesforce, Hubspot, Pipedrive
  • Meeting Software – Calendly, Google Calendar, GoToMeeting
  • Tracking and Analytics – Google Analytics, Tableau

Marketing

With marketing software, it’s all about generating highly qualified leads, crafting personalized purchasing journeys, and creating meaningful interactions that move contacts through the funnel.

Some widely used marketing tools include:

  • Email Automation (MailChimp, HubSpot, Marketo)
  • Social Media Management (Sprout Social, HubSpot, Hootsuite)
  • Social Media Presence (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok)
  • Digital Advertising (Google Marketing, Google Ads, AdRoll, AdHawk)

Collaboration

Collaboration SaaS solutions ease communication between your team members. These support messaging, file-sharing, video conferencing, and more.

Here’s a list at some popular collaboration tools:

  • Messaging (Slack, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams)
  • File-Sharing / Document Collaboration (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive)
  • Virtual Work / Video Conferencing (GoToMeeting, Zoom, Google Hangouts)
  • Task / Project Management (Trello, Asana, Google Calendar, Accelo)

Client Experience

Client experience solutions make it easy for people to do business with you. They simplify contact, payments, and similar needs, ensuring you can offer an optimal customer experience (CX).

Some widely preferred client experience tools include:

  • Payment Gateways (ePayPolicy, PayPal, ApplePay, etc.)
  • Website (Browser/device compatibility, website building tools)
  • Data Security (McAfee, DUO Security, Oracle, IBM Security, LastPass)
  • Client Referral Management (Rocket Referrals) 

Customer Support

With customer support tech, it’s all about boosting CX. These systems focus on critical areas like client communication and customer interaction, ensuring you can be reached whenever the need arises.

Here’s a list of popular customer support tools:

  • Live Chat (InterCom, Zendesk, Podium, LiveChat, Drift)
  • Self-Service (Chatbots, Online FAQs)
  • Phone-Based Support (VoIP, Text Messaging, RingCentral)

Review Your Current Tech Stack

After you get to know the types of solutions present in an independent agency tech stack, it’s time to review what you have in place today. Consider whether each system you have actually meets your needs, as well as what category it represents.

Essentially, you want to audit your tech stack to identify missing segments and to determine if it’s the best setup for you. If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated with a system, including because of clunky operation, a subpar toolset, or anything else, then it could be time to make a switch.

Keep It Simple and Effective

When you’re building your tech stack for 2021, keep it simple. It isn’t about getting every solution; it’s about choosing the right mix of systems based on your needs and goals.

When you decide to add a new piece of tech, or replace an existing solution with something better suited to your operations, create a roadmap for implementation before you begin. You don’t want to overwhelm your team by bringing in a ton of new systems all at once. Instead, pace yourself, bringing in new solutions after your team has had a chance to get comfortable with the last implementation.

By using that approach, you can update your tech stack efficiently, keeping everything simple and boosting your agency’s effectiveness every step of the way.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we understand the power of a great tech stack. If you’d like more tips about how independent agents can update their tech stack for the new year or how they can boost their business, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

Jumpstart Success: How to Crush Your 2021 Goals

The new year is classically a time when independent agents, like yourself, look to the future. Goal setting is typically a part of the equation.

Whether you call them New Year’s resolutions, career goals, strategic objectives, or anything else doesn’t matter; the purpose is the same. It’s all about identifying where you want to go and making it your mission to get there.

The thing is, goal setting alone isn’t enough. If you want to jumpstart success, you have to go further. Luckily, it isn’t as hard as it may seem on the surface. With the right approach, you can crush your 2021 goals. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here’s what you need to know.

Define Your Personal Goals

You can’t crush your goals if you don’t pick one to go after. After all, you can’t achieve success until you envision it, so let your imagination run a bit wild.

Spend a little time considering what you want to achieve. Jot down ideas as they come to you, even if they seem tiny or outlandish.

The purpose is to really reflect on what you want. If you’re struggling to come up with an idea, don’t be afraid to start small. Goal setting doesn’t mean you always have to go for broke. As long as the objective matters to you, keep it on the table.

Implement a Tactic

Once you’ve got some solid ideas, it’s time to refine them. If a goal is too broad, odds are you’ll run into trouble. That’s why you need to get a bit granular.

So, how do you get detailed goals? By implementing a reliable tactic.

SMART Goals

If you want to go with a classic goal-setting approach, try SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By going this route, you use the meaning of each letter as a guiding principle, empowering you to drill down into your ideas and refine your goal. Here’s a quick overview of what each point means:

  • Specific goals are well-defined. You need to know what you want to accomplish, why it matters to you, and what it might take to get there.
  • Measurable goals have a clear point of success. It’s a metric that lets you know you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do.
  • Achievable goals are realistic objectives. You want to make sure attaining it is possible.
  • Relevant goals feel worthwhile. What you’re trying to achieve needs to matter to you personally. Otherwise, staying motivated is going to be tricky at best.
  • Time-bound means having a deadline. It’s giving yourself a time constraint, creating a sense of urgency that can keep you focused.

Objectives and Key Results

The objectives and key results (OKRs) approach is another goal-setting tactic that may work for you. It’s a fairly simple (and incredibly agile) framework for creating meaningful, well-defined goals.

First, you identify an objective. Ideally, this will be a specific target that you can express concisely. They should be ambitious but reasonable. For example, “Improve work-life balance” is a potential personal objective.

Second, you determine the key results. Usually, these are deliverables or actions that allow you to achieve that goal. Using the “work-life balance” example again, a key result might be to “Stop responding to email at COB” if you tend to keep working after-hours.

The key results are what you’ll do to achieve the larger objective. They are crucial overall, but especially for goals that aren’t quantified or could otherwise be a bit vague.

Be Reasonable

As you set goals, make sure they are reasonable. While stretching a bit is fine, if you reach too far, you may topple well before you get there.

Make sure your objectives are challenging but technically doable. That way, you’re promoting growth and positive change in a way that’s inspiring, not frustrating.

Build a Roadmap for Success

Once you make achievable goals, it’s time for a roadmap. Essentially, you want to create a step-by-step process that gets you from where you are to where you want to be in the end.

In some cases, finding the lowest common denominator works. It can be a suitable beginning point, allowing you to envision what has to come next.

For others, working backward is ideal. You look at your final goal and figure out what has to occur right before you achieve it. Then, you identify the step that has to happen immediately before that one, and so on.

As you proceed, identify and align the proper resources. Additionally, treat your roadmap as a flexible framework. Obstacles do happen, so embrace the idea that you might need to pivot along the way.

Track Your Progress

Once you have your roadmap, it’s time to get to work. Start working your steps, moving ever closer to your goal.

Additionally, perform regular progress check-ins. If you’re working on personal goals, pause once a month to see where you are and what needs to come next. If you’re focused on team or company goals, have high-value meetings each week or month to sync up.

Either way, determine if you’re on target. Then, if you aren’t, start problem-solving to get back on track.

Rinse and Repeat

The approach above can be used for all kinds of goals, including on personal, career, and company levels. Work one angle and then repeat the process on another. In the end, you’ll have well-defined goals that can help you move forward in 2021.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

At ePayPolicy, we embrace the OKR approach. It lets us work from the top down, keeping our objectives and alignment clear.

If you’d like more tips about goal setting for independent agents, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

5 Ways to Speed Up Your Receivables with ePayPolicy

I’ve never heard an insurance agency say, “We really need to slow down receivables.” Have you? Of course not. Your cash flow depends on prompt client payment. Ultimately, speeding up receivables hinges on changing client behavior. 

Today I’ll share five tips to get paid faster, and how ePayPolicy can help.

Accepting digital payments is a giant first step. But I want to make sure you’re aware of all the ePayPolicy features to turbocharge payment collection (and reduce those dunning process tasks that are no fun for anyone).

Tip 1: Make sure clients know they can pay you digitally

Paying insurance premiums via ACH or credit card is easy, convenient, secure and (drumroll, please), instant. Yet some ePayPolicy clients tell us they’re still collecting too many checks! 

The key to geting more payers to break their check/cash habit is awareness! Here are some easy ways you can promote digital payment and increase client adoption:

  • Use the co-branded flyer in your dashboard to send out with your invoices and newsletters
  • Access the client marketing tool kit containing custom graphics and copy
    • Let your clients know you’re now accepting digital payments via social media
    • Send an email blast or include your new offering in your newsletter
  • Include a PayNow button in your email signature and on your website
  • Make digital the #1 payment option on your invoices

Tip 2: Make payment foolproof

Paying bills is a hassle. No wonder payers drag their feet. 

But we have the perfect antidote: Prefilled ePayPolicy Payment Pages. In the dashboard you can send a payment link that contains your payer’s information already filled out to simplify the process. The hard work’s done for them! This is convenient for all clients, but extra valuable for those who need that “extra nudge” to complete their payments on time. 

Tip 3:  Promote player-friendly features

As noted in #2, we want to remove obstacles to prompt payment.  Reduce (or eliminate) clients’ time and effort with features like save payment information and autopay.

When you pay the same vendor regularly, it’s a drag to re-enter your payment information every time. Many policies require multiple payments per year. Let policyholders know they can securely save their payment information (we use tokenization). They can even store more than one bank account, credit card or debit card.

For clients paying a variety of invoices throughout the year, AutoPay offers the ultimate convenience*. Just set it, forget it, and wait for the e-receipt confirming the payment was made. 

*Only available for integrated payment pages.

Tip 4: Create positive client touchpoints

Our new feature lets you send automatic invoice reminders for due and past due invoices on your behalf*. When the client clicks the link, the page prefills with their due invoices. And you score points for being so thoughtful. 

*Currently available with AMS360, Sagitta, AIM & MGA systems. (More coming soon.)

Tip 5: Integrate ePayPolicy with your management system

We typically think of management systems in terms of its benefits to agents and staff. But having everything in one place, including payment processing, creates a seamless user experience. Clients don’t have to search for invoices, they’re pulled directly from the management system integrated with ePayPolicy.  How easy is that? 

Let’s review:

The key to speeding up receivables is to get more clients to pay digitally. Digital payments are easy and convenient for them, and they put money into your account right away — when they pay. ePayPolicy is designed to make the entire process a breeze. Payer-friendly features like prefilled payment pages, automated invoice reminders, auto-pay and more make paying you a positive, convenient experience — and almost impossible to be late. All of these factors combine to encourage prompt payment, leading to better cash flow and smoother business for you. 

Try these tips and let us know the effect on your clients and your accounts receivable! Contact support if you need help setting up any of these features.

8 Tips for Staying Productive While Working from Home

Today, the working from home (WFM) paradigm is undoubtedly here to stay. WFM became the new normal the moment COVID-19 entered our lives, and many independent agents in the insurance industry have since discovered its virtues.

If you want to stay productive when you work from home long-term, you need to make sure that your home office works for you, not against you. That way, it’s comfortable, efficient, and boosts productivity. If you don’t know where to begin, here’s what you need to know.

Adjusting to the Work from Home New Normal

WFH is undoubtedly here to stay, and it does bring with it some advantages. You get to skip commuting, for one. For another, it gives you the ability to cultivate your perfect workspace. Plus, if you’re a bit under the weather, you don’t necessarily have to take a day off. Instead, you can curl up in some comfy clothes and tackle what you can, keeping productivity high.

Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t drawbacks. Being at home all day can get boring, and may even lead to some burnout. But if you take the right steps, you can stave that off and remain productive day in and day out. Here are 8 tips that will allow you to stay productive while working from home. 

1. Have a Designated Home Office Space To Work In 

While working from your dining room table may have worked for independent agents at the beginning of the pandemic, it’s not a good long-term solution. Not only is that setup not built to support great ergonomics, but it allows your work life to bleed into your personal one.

Instead, designate a space for working from home. This could be an entire room, a desk in an alcove, or anything else that lets you separate work from personal time.

2. Invest in a Great “Chair” For Your Office 

An uncomfortable chair can sap your energy and leave you distracted. Ideally, you want to choose a chair that supports your body well and promotes good posture.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use alternatives to traditional chairs. Some people do well on exercise balls, for example. Figure out what positions work best for you, and find an option that fits your workspace and style. 

3. Reduce Neck and Back Pain 

While working on a laptop occasionally is fine, the screen and keyboard positions aren’t great for your neck. Luckily, this is a pretty easy issue to solve. You can either create your own DIY stand, invest in a laptop stand, or add a monitor with a separate keyboard and mouse. That way, you can position your screen at the right height. 

4. Try an Adjustable Standing Desk

If you can invest in a new desk or enjoy small DIY projects consider switching to an adjustable height desk. Adjustable standing desks give you a chance to stretch your body when the need arises and reduces the chances that you’ll spend all day sitting. Just make sure to grab a mat as well so that you can keep your feet and back comfortable.

5. Keep a Set Schedule and Follow It

When your home office is only a few steps away at all times, it’s easy to let work creep into your personal time. This can increase your odds of burnout, mainly because you feel like you are “always-on.”

If you want to stay productive and reduce burnout, follow a set schedule. Define your work hours, schedule breaks, and lunch into your calendar, and completely disconnect when the workday is done.

6. Have a Video Call Space

As an independent agent, when you have a video call, you need privacy, quiet, and a distraction-free space, preferably with a solid background. This will help you not just look your best but sound your best as well.  Find an area in your home where you can make this happen. Ideally, it will be part of your home office. However, if you live in a smaller home, you may need to carve out a nook for these calls.

7. Have Water and Healthy Snacks Nearby

Hunger, thirst, and dehydration can all cause your productivity to tumble. Make sure it doesn’t happen to you by keeping water and a healthy snack accessible (thank you Costco). A nice water bottle and a stash of almonds in a desk drawer could do the trick. That way, when you feel hunger or thirst creeping in, you can handle it.

8. Tap into Nature 

Being close to nature can keep your mood up and help you stay productive. Try to place your work desk near a window so that you can use natural light. Bring some houseplants into your space for a touch of greenery. Not only will this make your workspace more pleasant, but it can reduce your stress levels, too.

Bonus Tip: Dress for Success

While you have the option of working in your pajamas, if you find your productivity dipping, switch things up. If you dress like a professional, your mindset will shift. It could be just the boost you need.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

WFH is part of the new normal, including for insurance agencies and independent agents. Take advantage of what the arrangement offers, ensuring you can stay productive long-term.

If you’d like more tips about to thrive as an independent agent, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

How To Guide: Finding, Binding, and Delighting Young Policyholders

By now, your client base likely includes some young policyholders consisting of Millennials (ages 24–39) and possibly some older Gen Zers (ages 8–23). Millennials have already surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation, (72.1 million), with another 20 million Gen Z Americans right behind them. They are our future.

Whether you’re reaching out to them as prospective clients, or as agency staff/managers), the more you know about the young policyholder generations the better. Spoiler alert: technology plays a central role in their lives, making  InsurTech solutions increasingly vital.  

Where To Market To Young Policyholders 

Let’s start with the obvious. Millennials and Gen Z (especially) are digital natives. They are used to multitasking with more than one digital device:  Millennials up to three and Gen Zers up to five screens at once! That gives you multiple opportunities to engage with them on their mobile phone, tablet, laptop, desktop monitor and/or TV screen. 

And what are they doing on these devices? 

  • They’re doing research, which includes reading and writing product/vendor/service provider reviews online.
  • They’re making purchases and paying bills (ideally, including their insurance premiums). 
  • They’re checking out and logging into provider websites. 
  • They’re using apps. Gen Zers, in particular, are crazy for apps.
  • They are active on multiple social media platforms. Facebook is an all-purpose choice. Businesspeople gravitate to LinkedIn. But to get in front of Gen Z you’ll need to be on Instagram (and their #1 love: Snapchat).
  • They’re receptive to digital ads, but not overwhelmingly so.

What Young Policyholders Value

Convenience and authenticity top the list. Both generations are fans of on-demand services. Millennials are self-reliant and like to find answers on their own. FAQ sections and AI chatbots provide that autonomy. Gen Zers, on the other hand, balance their tech agility with a craving for personal attention. Often described as the loneliest generation, Gen Z welcomes a caring, human touch. For example, they prefer brick-and-mortar stores to buying online.

Convenience also means conducting business when, where and how they want. They demand digital…everything (document sharing and signing, digital payments, you name it). Paper is seen as an environmental no-no.

In terms of authenticity, it’s said that these generations can spot a phony from a mile away. So don’t attempt to use hipster phrases, and don’t market “to” them. Be your own brand, and make them feel a part of what you are doing. (Tip: Google “co-creation” for reference.)

How Young Policyholders Communicate

There are some differences of note in their communication styles.  

Millennials process information through verbal and written language.They use IM (instant messaging), text and email. 

Like Millennials, Gen Z use IM and text, along with social media (but not email) to keep in touch. Images and visual content are the way to interest them. YouTube is a favorite channel, and videos on websites work well, too. Bring them into your story.

But, like it or not, you have a very small window to capture both generations’ attention. Millennials average 12 seconds. For Gen Z, it’s only eight!

You may find it useful to compile  buyer personas based on known psychographics as well as your agency’s experience with these generations. The key is to recognize the subtle and not-so-subtle differences and focus your engagement and client retention strategies accordingly.

How to Keep Them Loyal to Your Insurance Agency

If you’re a regular reader of our blog posts, these tips should be pretty familiar:

  1. Client-centric=mobile first. Stay away from old school media channels. These generations don’t use them.
  2. Be mindful of each generation’s technology and communication preferences.
  3. Provide a superior user experience (UX) across platforms.
  4. Emphasize solutions built on speed, security and availability (feel free to use ePayPolicy as your model for this!)
  5. Offer self-service options to honor their independence (e.g., FAQ, chatbots).
  6. Balance automation with human interactions. Gen Z, in particular, crave human breaks from all tech all the time

For those who absorb information visually, this nifty infographic summarizes several of the points above.

We also offer a series of articles on automating various client-facing functions: 

You might want to (re)read these with these up-and-coming generations in mind.

5 LinkedIn Advertising Mistakes to Avoid

Why You Should Advertise on LinkedIn

LinkedIn advertising is an exceptional opportunity that many agency owners overlook. Independent agents, like yourself, often use LinkedIn to showcase their expertise. The thing is, the platform can do so much more.

By embracing LinkedIn advertising tools, you can connect with a broad audience brimming with all kinds of professionals and companies. It’s a marketing dream.

If you are wondering why you should advertise on LinkedIn, and want to avoid LinkedIn advertising mistakes that can derail your campaign, here’s what you need to know.

Unique Opportunities

LinkedIn gives you the ability to target audiences that you don’t necessarily find elsewhere. You can choose to focus on certain industries, job functions, interests, member skills, and a ton more. This gives you the ability to tap the specific kinds of professionals, increasing the odds that your ads will reach the right audience.

Lower Competition

In comparison to social media behemoths like Facebook, competition among advertisers on LinkedIn is ridiculously low. Not only can this make LinkedIn more affordable, but it also means your campaign isn’t as likely to get overrun (or outbid) by a competitor.

Ease-of-Use

LinkedIn’s advertising program is a breeze. With a few clicks, you can get a campaign going, even if you aren’t a marketing expert.

Less Clutter

While LinkedIn is increasingly displaying ads, most users’ feeds aren’t as cluttered here as they may be on other social platforms. That means there’s a better shot your ad will actually catch their eye, and that can boost engagement.

5 LinkedIn Advertising Mistakes to Avoid

1. Ineffective Targeting

The whole point of social media advertising for independent agents is to reach the right audience. If you don’t choose the right targets, you’re throwing your advertising dollars into a black hole.

Ideally, you want to strike a balance. If your audience is too broad, many of the people who see your ad might not be interested. If it’s too narrow, you may miss out on potential customers.

Additionally, you don’t have to settle for just one audience. Instead, create several. That way, you can use different messaging in your ads, with each one focusing on what resonates with that specific group.

2. Overwhelming Visual Elements

Many entrepreneurs who are new to the social media advertising game put too much in their ads. If you have a ton of text, buttons, graphics, and other elements, looking at your ad might be visually painful.

Keep your ads simple. Make sure any images are clear, and that text remains readable. Limit the number of elements to just a few. That way, your ads aren’t a confusing mess.

3. Only Creating One or Two Ads

When it comes to LinkedIn advertising success, every independent agent or agency owner needs to embrace A/B testing. That process involves producing and publishing two ads, allowing you to see which one wins out when it comes to engagement.

Then, you can use that information to create two more ads. Do an A/B test with those. See what happens over the month. After that, refine again.

This approach creates an opportunity for continuous improvement. You just keep tweaking away, ensuring you achieve the best results possible.

4. Ignoring Performance Analytics

Performance analytics is a must-use tool. It lets you see what is and isn’t working. When an ad is doing great, you can direct more of your ad-spend to it. If one’s floundering, scrap it and try something new.

5. Overlooking Mobile Compatibility

Most people visit LinkedIn on their mobile devices. If your ad goes to a landing page that isn’t mobile compatible, it won’t look good if the viewer is using a smartphone.

Before you publish a campaign, see if the page looks good on different devices. If it does, great! If not, adjust it until it does.

 

Looking for More Digital Marketing Tips For Your Independent Insurance Agency?

LinkedIn advertising is an amazing tool for any business, including insurance agencies and independent agents. Take advantage of what it offers, ensuring you can reach your ideal audience with ease.

If you’d like more tips about independent insurance agency advertising, we’ve got you covered. Follow up on Facebook for more tidbits, tricks, and insights.

5 Tips for Attending Your Next Big I Virtual Conference and Tradeshow

Virtual events in the insurance industry are popping up everywhere. They provide insurance agents, like yourself, the opportunity to receive timely advice, network with peers, and stay up to date with the industry’s newest trends and technologies, all with one added benefit: you can attend from anywhere. This means it’s easier than ever to access the resources these events are offering. However, in order to make the most of this new environment, you have to switch up your strategy — that’s why we’ve put together this list of 5 things to do to make the most out of your experience.

1. Be Proactive and Get on Social

Unlike in-person events, you have to get in on all of the event’s action early. The best way to do this is on social media. Prior to the start of the event, see what all the buzz is about, find the event hashtags, and follow people that are going to keep you updated on the event’s happenings — the organizers, keynote speakers and sponsors. You can stay in the know on the most important sessions to tune into, the prizes and giveaways, and join in on conversations with other attendees. 

2. Review the Sponsors

Event sponsors are there specifically to talk to you and give you key information on how to improve your agency, workflow, and tech stack. And, they’ll incentivize you to stop by their booth — even if it is only a virtual one. At an in-person event, you might just wander around the exhibit hall and stumble upon (or be approached by) an interesting sponsor. However, it’s a different story online. You have to do your research on the sponsors, their offerings, key benefits, etc. and then seek them out.

3. Check Out the Speakers

Virtual events can be just as hectic as in-person conferences. There may be a broad selection of sessions occurring simultaneously, and some may limit the number of attendees. That’s why it’s important to do your research on the sessions and speakers ahead of time. Find the topics that interest you — what’s going to help you streamline your operations and keep you engaged, take the opportunities to ask questions during live events, and give feedback!

4. Prioritize Your Time

If you want to make the most of the virtual conference, formalize your schedule just as you would for an in-person event. Choose the sessions you’d prefer to attend in advance, block out the time on your calendar, schedule reminders with the direct link to the session in a note, and take any other steps that help you stay organized and focus. And don’t forget to set aside some time to check out the vendors and sponsors!

5. Collaborate and Network Outside the Platform

While virtual conferences typically provide attendees with access to communication tools, they usually don’t remain available for long once the event draws to a close. If you enjoy a speaker’s presentation, are intrigued by a vendor’s product, or cross paths with a fellow independent insurance agent that you want to connect with, reach out. Schedule one-on-one meetings, either during the event or after, ensuring you have a chance to converse.

If you’re attending with a team, set up a Microsoft Teams or Slack channel to discuss your conference experience. Share information, divide up sessions, and strategize how to approach the event and make the most out of it for everyone.

Looking for More Independent Insurance Agency Tips?

Virtual events may be the norm for some time, so it’s wise to take advantage of what they have to offer. If you’re looking for more tips for attendees or guidance that can help you navigate the post-COVID-19 landscape, we have you covered. For more tips, tricks, and tidbits, follow us on Facebook.