Gone are the days of limited technology use by older adults. Now you can reach your audience in a myriad of ways online, and we’re here to show you how.
When you tap into digital marketing, you tap into a powerhouse. Did you know that the average company dedicates as much as 72 percent of their marketing budget towards digital marketing? There’s a reason — going online yields results. Let’s explore some basics of digital marketing and ways you can increase your online presence.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing, also called online marketing, is simply the use of the internet and other forms of digital communication, typically on a computer, laptop, tablet, or phone, to promote your business to potential customers. You can cast a wide net with ads on social media or a single line with personalized email campaigns.
Why Is Marketing Online Important?
While utilizing traditional marketing is still useful for insurance agents (think billboards, mailings, pamphlets, etc.), digital marketing should play a part in your marketing strategy. Why? Because adults aging into Medicare are more technologically savvy than ever before, and that number will only continue to rise.
Check out these statistics:
- 81% of those aged 60 to 69 use a smartphone
- 67% of those over 65 use the internet
- 86% of those over 65 use email
- 75% of those over 50 say they use social media regularly
If you’ve heard older adults aren’t using technology, we hope these numbers show that’s a myth. Meet your prospects where they are and take your marketing online.
Digital Marketing 101
There are lots of different approaches and ways to market yourself online that we won’t get into now. But here are some pointers to keep in mind as you’re brainstorming your digital marketing strategy.
1. Create Quality Content
No one likes to view spammy marketing. Always strive to create high quality content for your viewers, which means crafting advertising that’s comprehensive, helpful, accurate, easy to understand, and applicable for your target audience. The benefits of high content quality are numerous and include building trust, developing relationships, and generating more leads.
2. Tell a Story
Create a story about your typical client. Think about who you’re trying to reach, where they like to go, what they like to do, what challenges they face, and how you can help. Let that story influence the way you market your business. For example, those turning 65 might feel confused about signing up for Medicare. In your marketing, you could say something like, “Confused about Medicare? I can be your guide.” Then you might list your services. Address the consumers’ pain points and anticipate their needs.
3. Follow the Data
Fuel your efforts with data instead of just throwing marketing at the wall to see what sticks. For traditional marketing, consider where in your community older adults might visit and then do some research online. For example, you could search how often do older adults visit the library, movie theater, grocery store, etc. Or you could lead your own informal investigations by visiting places around your community and taking note of the clientele.
One thing’s for sure, you can follow the data above about technology use among older adults. That’s why online is the next place you can expand your marketing strategy. Let’s get digital.
Top Tips for Digital Marketing
You can go as broad or as narrow, as much or as little, as you’d like when it comes to digital marketing. Some of these suggestions take time up front but not much time in upkeep. So that you don’t get overwhelmed, start with one and build up slowly.
List Your Business on Google
Google dominates the search engine market, boasting 92 percent of searches worldwide, so listing your business on Google is a great way to raise awareness of your brand and drive traffic towards your website. Creating a business profile on Google means that consumers will easily find your business information when they search “insurance agents near me” or something like it. Google makes the process free, easy, and personalized. This is one of the quickest and easiest recommendations on this list, and that’s why we’ve listed it first. You can list your business right after you’re done reading this article. (You don’t need a website to get started.) You can get started by following these instructions.
Get a Website
If you don’t already have a website, we think you need one. Why? Because 93 percent of business purchase decisions begin with a search of websites. A website for your insurance business lends you credibility, generates leads, showcases your brand, shares information all in one place, and provides hands-off customer service.
Ritter can help you with Shop & Enroll, our one-stop shop for collecting electronic Scopes of Appointment (eScopes), sending prefilled applications, and enrollment. When you register for a Shop & Enroll site, we brand it with your agent information, so any client visiting your page will see your name and contact information. You can even create a landing page, a page before your Shop & Enroll site that gives you room for more information about you and a picture.
If you want to go a step further and create a full-blown website, that’s great and something we suggest for agencies especially. We recommend working with Advisor Evolved or AgentMethods, two companies who specialize in creating websites for insurance agents.
Harness Social Media
Having a presence on social media is another great way to digitally market yourself. Almost half of Americans over 65 say they use Facebook, a 30 percent increase since 2012.
We recommend starting with a Facebook page for your business, since Facebook is the most popular platform for older adults. Setting up a page is simple, but you will need a personal profile before making one for your business. After it’s set up, get posting! Don’t forget to engage with anyone who interacts or comments on your page with a like or reply comment. Provide a link to your Facebook page on your website and encourage your current clients to like your page. Looking for post ideas? Consider sharing articles from our consumer-facing Shop & Enroll blog. Read these instructions to learn how.
Make your life easier by employing a company to manage your social media presence, like our partner ReminderMedia, or signing up for an automated marketing software, like ConstantContact. That way, you won’t have to spend time every day managing your accounts.
We go in-depth on social media in our comprehensive guide, Social Media Marketing for Insurance Agents. Download your free copy today!
Don’t forget about staying compliant when using social media. Current regulations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services require that you include certain disclaimers when writing about Medicare Advantage and Part D. Check out our post on agents as third-party marketing organizations
Capitalize on Email
Email communication is the cornerstone of online involvement for those over 65. Roughly 85 percent of people over 65 use email! If you aren’t using email, then you’re missing out on opportunities to raise awareness, convert leads, and retain business.
Email marketing takes many forms:
- Monthly or weekly newsletters
- Lead nurturing emails
- Welcome emails
- Transactional emails, like appointment reminders
- Emails triggered by events, like birthdays or holidays
- Cold emails
Start small by sending just one of these kinds of emails to a small list of people and then build up slowly from there. We recommend starting with Ritter’s ready-made weekly Shop & Enroll blog newsletter. Remember, when writing an email, pay attention to message, tone, grammar, and formatting.
But who will receive your emails? Begin building your email list by adding email addresses to a spreadsheet before moving to the next step. A simple place to start is asking your current clients if they’d like to receive a weekly newsletter. Remember, only send emails to people from whom you’ve received permission to contact and include an opt out option on all emails!
Remember, only send emails to people from whom you’ve received permission to contact and include an opt out option on all emails!
The next step that will take your email marketing to the next level, and ultimately, save you a lot of time is finding help from a third party. We recommend working with our partners, AgentMethods or ReminderMedia, to automate and streamline your strategy. You can also try the DIY route by signing up with a service like ConstantContact.
Don’t forget to check out the tips here on how to stay compliant when emailing.
Make or Share Videos
Video marketing will really take your strategy up a notch. Those over 65 favor YouTube over any other video platform, so consider extending your social media reach beyond Facebook by setting up a YouTube channel. Provide an icon that links to your channel on your email marketing and website, and don’t forget to share any videos you post on your channel to your Facebook page. You can also embed your videos on your website. Ask for help if need be! Contact your website administrator or hire your neighbor’s tech-savvy son for a few hours every month.
The content of your videos should showcase your personality and expertise. Consider subjects such as:
- Medicare Parts 101
- When & how to enroll in Medicare
- Get to know me
- Office tour (if you have an office)
- Services offered
Instead of recording yourself with your phone (which is an option), consider using a video production company. This may sound scary, but many companies offer competitive monthly rates to make your videos, and some, like Animoto, FlexClip, and Canva, even offer free trials or starter packages so you can get your feet wet before committing to a paid version. You can also hire a freelancer or local student to help you.
Establish Pay-per-Click Advertising
Pay-per-click, or PPC, advertising is a model of marketing where you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your ad. You can place ads on various platforms like Google and Facebook. Have you ever noticed that oftentimes the top few search results on Google have “Ad” before the website URL? That’s PPC advertising. Or have you ever been scrolling through Facebook and seen a post labeled “Sponsored” come across your feed? That’s PPC advertising, too.
PPC advertising might seem like overkill, but the benefits are numerous. It’s cost-effective, produces fast results, is easily tested and controlled, and allows you to target ideal prospects; however, the process can seem complicated once you start digging for more information and unearth phrases like keyword bidding and auction process. You can go the DIY route and follow AgentMethods’ guide to PPC or search for a company who can set up PPC advertising for you.
Note: If you decide to try Google Ads, make sure you follow all necessary G2 regulations for health insurance advertising.
Ask for Reviews and Testimonials
Considering 93 percent of consumers say that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions, it would benefit you to ask your satisfied clients to leave online reviews. Places where your clients can leave reviews include your business Facebook profile, My Business listing on Google, and review sites like Yelp and Trustpilot. When someone leaves you a positive review, it’s an online referral! Check out our listing on Google for some inspiration.
Make sure you engage with reviews, too, by responding with a word of gratitude and a “I look forward to serving you more in the future.” Respond to any negative reviews, as well, to show that you’re an agent who cares about making reparations and serving your community.
Search engine optimization (SEO), is a set of practices used to improve your performance in organic search results (those that you don’t pay for). Since most people only look at the first page of search results, it’s important to optimize your online presence so others can actually find you on the web. What’s the point of putting all this effort into digital marketing if nobody sees it?
SEO can quickly seem overwhelming and complicated, like another language, and involves practices like applying relevant keywords, link building, and establishing authority that helps Google’s algorithms favor your online materials over others. We recommend searching for companies or freelancers who can optimize your digital marketing for you. If interested in a DIY route, check out Google’s SEO Starter Guide or download HubSpot’s Complete SEO Starter Pack for free.
The Final Word
As you can see, you could easily fill up your days simply marketing yourself digitally and not have any time left to actually sell insurance. That’s why we recommend:
- Starting small: Just pick one of these suggestions to focus on for now. Then, grow organically.
- Strategizing: Think critically about what you want to accomplish and write down your digital marketing goals.
- Getting help: Hire a temporary or permanent marketing assistant. Utilize Ritter’s resources and partner connections.
- Persevering: Keep going. You will face challenges, and you can figure them out!
Online participation isn’t going away anytime soon, so go create that Facebook page and Google business listing! If you’re not already partnered with us, register with Ritter and request a Shop & Enroll site to take advantage of all its digital marketing opportunities.