I have a confession to make - I'm a reformed employee benefit broker. Prior to starting my inbound marketing company, I spent over 25 years in the employee benefits industry working for insurance companies, regional agencies and multi-national benefit consultants. Obamacare is transforming the health insurance industry. In the article below, I share strategies on how you can continue to grow your insurance agency in the new world of health insurance.
The uncertainty around the future of Obamacare has been resolved. For better or worse, the recent elections have ensured that Obamacare will continue to be implemented. To date, most SMB companies have done the bare minimum to deal with the impact of the legislation on their companies. They have delayed taking strategic action until after the November 2012 elections in hopes that the legislation would be repealed or replaced with legislation more palatable to SMB companies.
Now that the unpopular elements of the legislation are being implemented, businesses can no longer delay developing strategies to comply with the legislation and still hit their business goals. The major uncertaintly left in the legislation is how policies developed by academics in ivory towers will play out in the real world. Many small and mid-sized insurance agencies rightly feel threatened by Obamacare. As with most challenging business climates, opportunity coexists with peril. The opportunity that exists for foward-thinking insurace agencies is the use of inbound marketing to help SMB companies find good insurance agencies to help them when they search for answers on Google and through social media channels.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a series of processes that help insurance agencies get found on the web when buyers search for solutions to their problems on Google and other search engines. Once buyers find potential sellers on the web, inbound marketing converts those potential buyers to leads by exchanging content offers like eBooks, videos and whitepapers in exchange for contact information - typically an email address. Lastly, inbound marketing converts leads to customers by providing them with the appropriate information to help them as they progress through their buying process. Why are successful agencies turning to inbound marketing to help them stay successful? Because inbound marketing syncs their selling processes with their prospects' buying processes. A November 2011 study conducted by the DAC Group found that 71% of B2B purchasing decisions originate with a search engine query.
Why Is Now A Great Time To Start An Insurance Agency Inbound Marketing Program?
There are two primary reasons why now is a great time to start an insurance agency inbound marketing program.
Small and Mid-Sized Businesses Are Searching For Help As They're Faced With Developing Strategies To Deal With Obamacare
As mentioned earlier, many SMB companies have delayed developing comprehensive strategies to deal with Obamacare. They wanted to see the outcome of the November 2012 election before investing time and resources into strategies to deal with the long-term effects of Obamacare. The general thought was, "Why waste precious time and resources dealing with a law that may not exist when the onerous elements take effect?" Businesses can no longer afford that luxury - 2014 is right around the corner and that is when the real Obamacare comes into play. Eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions and ensuring that 26-year olds could be covered on their parents' policies were policies that were popular with most everyone. More and higher taxes, higher premiums and administrative complexity? Not so much. As these SMB companies begin to figure out how to respond, they're turning to Google and social media forums like LinkedIn for information and answers to their questions. Don't you want them to find you when they're searching for information? If so, now is the time to start your inbound marketing initiative.
There Is A Small Window Of Time To Claim High Search Engine Rankings And Social Media Authority
You had better believe that inbound marketing is a competitive arena. Your competitors are trying to make sure that they rank higher than you when a prospect types in, "how do insurance exchanges affect my benefits plan?" in Google. Inbound marketing takes time. It takes time for search engines to index your site and see that you're providing good information to searchers when they look for answers. It takes time to develop social media reach as you build your audience on your social media channels. If you have a 3 month jump on your competition, you have a competitive advantage. Conversely, if your competition has a 3 month jump on you, you'd better get cracking. Some industries like mine (inbound and social media marketing) are highly competitive because everyone is using inbound marketing to attract customers. Insurance agencies have a small window of time before everyone is using inbound marketing - now is the time to make sure you're out in front.
The health insurance industry is undergoing a transformational change. The hope that changes in political leadership would forestall this change no longer exists. Insurance agencies that adapt to the new environment have great opportunites. After all, businesses still need help to effectively deal with the new environment. You will need to change your business model. You might need to consider moving from a commission-based compensation model to one that incorporates consulting fees. You most definitely will need to use inbound marketing techniques to get found by prospects as they use search engine queries and social media conversations to find companies that can help them as they adapt to new realities. If you're interested in finding out how your agency can adapt, please schedule a no-obligation inbound marketing consultation with Rapidan Strategies.