Last week I discussed how modern insurance marketing requires brokers to optimize the customer experience. An essential element to this strategy is marketing content. In last week’s blog I shared data that found Generation X and Baby Boomers prefer readable content. This week I’ll discuss in depth how to create and utilize one popular piece of content amongst B2B buyers to optimize the customer experience and help you generate more leads in the process; an insurance lead generating guide.
WHAT IS A GUIDE?
A guide (also known as an ebook) is a book publication made available in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, readable on the flat-panel display of computers or other electronic devices.
In the context of marketing, a guide is an opportunity to give detailed insight on an area of expertise, enhance reputation, and most importantly to generate new leads.
Creating a guide can be overwhelming. It requires long form writing, as well as a design and layout that is easy for the average person to digest. Before you tell yourself it’s not worth it, understand that guides are a powerful lead generation tool. In fact, research found that a whopping 80% of B2B buyers are willing to provide their email address for a guide.
With this statistic in mind it’s easy to see how a guide is a win-win asset for your marketing content strategy; your leads get informative content in a format they prefer (Generation X and Baby Boomers), and you get more leads into the sales funnel.
So now let’s get into it. I’ll walk you through each step of creating your insurance lead generating guide.
HOW TO CREATE A GUIDE
Pick a Topic
The ultimate goal of your guide is to generate leads. This means the topic you pick must be relevant to the needs of your audience. Pick a topic that will not only provide information on how to solve a pain point for your customers, but will also make it easy for your sales team to expand on how your agency is the ideal solution to solving that pain point. Consider the following when deciding on a topic:
- Pick a topic that is relevant to what your customers are looking for.
- Write on a topic you’re knowledgeable about. This doesn’t necessarily have to be about the service you provide directly.
- Write about it enough to create content that is viewed as valuable by your target audience and is worth an exchange of contact information.
For example, employers may be searching online for a complete HR and benefits technology solution. So if you provide a resource like a guide that walks through the complete suite of solutions your agency offers, you also create an opportunity for a sales conversation.
Of course there are a number of topics a benefits broker can choose from, here are some examples to ignite your creativity:
- Best Practices for Increased Engagement in Voluntary Benefits
- Common Questions About ACA Compliance Answered
- Getting the Best Benefits Package for your Business
- Why Online Enrollment
Once you’ve decided on a topic, it’s time to create an outline for your insurance lead generating guide.
Outline Your Guide’s Content
Set the stage for the content of your guide and ensure it covers all the relevant themes of your topic. Approach your outline by asking yourself what will the reader gain from reading your guide in its entirety?
The outline for your guide is almost like a crash course on your selected topic. For example, in our own guide “Why Online Enrollment” we covered the following subtopics:
- What is online enrollment?
- Why online enrollment?
- How online enrollment works
- Online enrollment with EaseCentral
- How to get started
Keep in mind that a guide doesn’t have to be long. The most important aspect to keep in mind when creating your outline is to cover what is needed to effectively educate your audience about the selected topic. When deciding on the length of your guide, consider your audience and the types of leads you’re trying to generate.
If you’re trying to capture a high number of leads then creating a shorter guide or white paper that subtly sells your lower priced products might be the best approach. If you’re trying to convert leads that will buy your high value products, then it would be best to create a lengthy guide that goes into thorough detail on the value of those products.
Writing Your Guide
There are times when I’m explaining a marketing strategy to someone who doesn’t work in the field and I start dropping industry jargon like SEO, PPC, and omnichannel. When writing your insurance lead generating guide remember to use language that is easy to understand. A guide isn’t meant to be scholarly, it’s meant to be easily consumed by your prospect. Write simply and clearly to convey your points. When using industry specific terms make sure you provide definition and context for those terms.
This type of writing isn’t limited to creating your insurance lead generating guide, you should also apply this style of writing for all of your marketing efforts, such as email marketing, call-to-action creation, and landing page production.
Check out my previous blog post for copywriting tips for brokers.
Incorporating images and graphics into your insurance lead generating guide is important. Remember, it needs to be easy to follow – visuals are key to accomplishing this. Use visuals to complement your copy and topic. Whether you add them during or after you’ve finished writing your copy, your visuals should serve to highlight an important point you’re making or deconstruct the meaning of a concept in an easy-to-understand, visual way.
The above image is an example of how we incorporated the use of visuals into our Why Online Enrollment guide. As you can see, we utilized imagery to make data easier to consume for the reader. When selecting images for your guide consider how they can be strategically placed to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material you’re covering. If you need help gathering visuals, check out some of my favorite free stock photo sites:
You can also search online for free guide templates. While these are a great resource to help you get started, it’s important to note that such templates won’t come in your agency’s brand colors. And, according to research from Salesforce, 75% of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage with your brand. I suggest working with your agency’s graphic designer to help format your guide and create visuals that will optimize the experience for the reader.
Quotes, Stats, and Facts
As I mentioned earlier, readable content mainly appeals to Generation X and Baby Boomers. All data shows that both of these generations value facts. Given this, it’s important to highlight quotes or statistics within your design – and you can use graphics to accomplish this.
Whether emphasizing a quote or adding a visual, keep all content within the same margins. If the copy of your guide is indented by 1 inch on each page from both the left and right side, keep all visuals within those margins.
PROMOTION AND LEAD GENERATION
Create a Dedicated Landing Page for Your Guide
As I mentioned earlier, 80% of B2B buyers are willing to provide their email address for a guide. Most companies provide guides for “free” at the small cost of contact information. This means guides are usually “gated” by a form on a dedicated landing page.
This is how you leverage a guide to generate leads. Create a landing page that promotes/describes the value of your guide and provides a form that visitors need to fill out with their contact information in order to access your content. This strategy provides an additional method to capture leads who aren’t ready to convert or are still in the research stage of the sales cycle.
You can use marketing automation software to create landing pages with forms. Check out my previous blog for some of my favorite marketing automation software.
Include Calls-to-Action (CTAs) in Your Guide
As defined by Hubspot, “a call-to-action (CTA) is an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It is, quite literally, a “call” to take an “action.” An example of a CTA is “click here”.”
Considering that leads will have to fill out a form to access your guide, use the CTAs within your guide to propel them further down the funnel.
For example, a CTA can lead to another offer, your webinar registration page, or even a product page. When writing copy for your guide find opportunities to insert CTA’s to related marketing content.
Promote Your Guide
Creating a dedicated landing page for your guide means you can share the URL across various channels to promote your guide. Since data shows that Generation X and Baby Boomers are the main age groups that prefer readable content, it makes sense to promote your guide on their preferred channels.
The chart above is data from the Global Contact Centre. It shows the massive gaps in preferred modes of communication by generation. Based on this data it’s easy to see that these generations prefer email. Here are some suggestions on how you can promote your insurance lead generating guide based on consumer preferences:
- Promote your guide through your blog by writing on a similar topic and linking out to your guide’s landing page.
- Send a segmented email to contacts who have indicated an interest in receiving offers from your company.
- Advertise your guide on your website. Feature a CTA or link to your guide’s landing page on your homepage.
Content is king and data is queen. Have analytics in place to track the success of your insurance lead generating guide. Marketing automation software tracks landing page visits, how many times the form on your landing page has been filled out, and captures contact data from leads.
Your analytics should show how many of those people ultimately converted into opportunities and customers for your business.
As I discussed in last week’s blog, modern marketing revolves around optimizing the customer experience. Creating content that your target audience views as relevant to their buyer’s journey is crucial to modernizing your marketing strategy.
Data shows that guides are popular with Generation X and Baby Boomers as they prefer to learn about a new business through readable content. They also provide valuable information relevant to solving a consumer pain point. These attributes make this a must have asset in your marketing strategy.
Following the steps I outlined today will provide a structure for you to follow as you go about creating your own insurance lead generating guide. Remember, the ultimate goal of your guide is to optimize your prospects’ customer experience, and provide you with an additional resource to generate leads. Subscribe to the Broker Tool Belt for more tips, tools, and strategies that will help you grow your book of business.
Don’t have time to create your own guides? We’ve made a few for employers that you can use.