Most brokers understand how rapidly the industry is changing. Between customer behavior, Insurtech, and digital marketing, trying to keep up can be as difficult as me without morning coffee (trust me, it’s not pretty). The reality is industries across the board are experiencing shifts in one form or the other, all thanks to technology. I can safely tell you digital marketing is no more immune to it than the insurance industry. So what’s the latest and greatest in the digital marketing realm? Customer journey mapping, and it’s as relevant to your insurance agency marketing strategy as it is to digital marketers worldwide.
THE AGE OF THE CUSTOMER
This is a term attributed to the empowered modern customer. The average consumer has instant access to an encyclopedia worth of information thanks to an increasingly connected world.
The modern customer demands a personalized digital experience. They want communications to be highly-relevant, and tailored to match their needs, interests, and preferences. Customer expectations are at an all-time high, while their patience for sub-par experiences are at an all-time low.
We can all relate to this mentality in our own consumer behavior. If you check out a restaurant’s website for example, and they don’t have the experience you’re looking for in that moment, then you simply search Google for another option that has what you’re looking for. That ease of access to information is what defines the shift in digital marketing to focus on customer journey mapping.
No I’m not referring to Shark Week. How are your ideal customers finding your agency? For insurance agents, the customer base covers a wide variety of personas because everyone needs insurance. So, the answer is easy; everyone’s online! To explain it by the numbers, 71% of B2B researchers begin their research with generic Google searches (like “insurance agency near me”). On the B2C side, 81% of consumers do their research online before making a purchase.
Given this, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of establishing, expanding, and constantly optimizing your insurance agency marketing strategy across all relevant channels and touchpoints. Customer journey mapping goes beyond just simply having a website, LinkedIn page, and a working email account. It’s about asking yourself how do your ideal customers want to engage with you?
So many companies, and agents, make the mistake of deciding how they want to engage with their customers. It’s a poor experience if you’re, directly or indirectly, forcing your prospects and customers to adhere to your preferred modes of communication rather than giving them the experience they want.
When creating a customer journey map, it’s essential to look at the journey from their perspective. What are the common steps taken on their end to go from prospect to customer? What is their current experience like with your agency during those steps? (use some marketing research tools and surveys to get this information directly from your current customers). And, what opportunities are there for you to improve the quality of their journey?
Once you have the answers to those questions, lay out each step relevant to your customer’s journey:
- Expansion (up/cross sell)
- Brand ambassador
Once you’ve established what the path looks like, analyze each stage of the journey through their perspective. What are they:
- Thinking – What’s the cost? Is it an easy process?
- Feeling – Apprehensive, excited, frustrated
- Experiencing – What is there experience at each step? How do they complete an action?
And lastly, detail what opportunities exist for you to optimize their experience at each step; for example at the research stage:
- Provide additional channels for information – social media, blog, etc.
- More educational content – video, webinars
- Website – simplify forms, clean up landing pages
You can combine all this data into a table or chart for easier consumption. I recommend reviewing and updating your customer journey map at least once a year. As your agency grows, the customer journey will as well. Whether you take on new technology, strategies, or expand your product offerings, it’s important to reflect those changes in the customer journey map if relevant to their experience.
HOW TO COMPETE DIGITALLY
Given how competitive the digital landscape is, just working harder and doing more isn’t enough. You have to work smarter to keep up with the sea of competition online. Working smarter is what customer journey mapping is all about. The goal is to make the greatest possible impact with every resource available to you. This not only means capitalizing on data, technology and advanced digital marketing strategies, but also in depth knowledge of your customers’ complete journey.
The more you can understand about the various questions, roadblocks, and problems they encounter at each stage of the life-cycle, the more effective you can be in delivering the right experience, to the right people, at the right time.
Your digital presence is crucial for creating a true customer journey map; and figuring out what opportunities exist to improve it. Check out these previous posts on the Broker Tool Belt for insurance agency marketing strategies and tools to consider when deciding what opportunities to implement in your customer journey map.