Independent agents are slowly accepting the fact that they need to reach out to millennials more effectively. Much of the generation that is now between the ages of 20-36 is entering its prime earning years and starting families and buying homes. Many agencies struggle with appealing to millennials because they rely more on shoe leather and phone solicitation and less on digital marketing. Face-to-face contact with millennials is critical on the back-end, but not without a robust, continual digital component on the front-end.
To better understand what strategies and tactics work with millennials and, just as importantly, what doesn’t work, we talked with Tony Canas, co-founder and chief motivational officer at InsNerds.com (https://insnerds.com). The group’s website contains many of the elements millennials prize — it’s highly readable, visually appealing, plenty of authentic testimonials and asks questions to draw visitors in.
Canas is a self-described insurance nerd with industry credentials (he’s also a middle-market underwriter with Liberty Mutual) and a passion for “insurance, technology and especially helping the insurance industry figure out how to retain and engage the younger generation of insurance professionals.”
“Some agents still hold the perception that digital marketing is still a fad and that it doesn’t bring in business,” says Canas.
“Many agents struggle just to stay alive, but a key reason for their difficulties with millennials is that success in this market depends more on astute marketing than on hard sales pitches.”
“For one thing,” he said, “I hate phone calls and so do other millennials. I don’t want to make phone calls and I don’t want to receive calls that I have not asked for. Speed is a major issue — voicemail is a turnoff. If I have to make a call, I want to get the answers I’m looking for right then.”
Canas says that agents need a variety of ways for millennials to communicate with them, including chat and texting as well as drop-down forms on the agency website.
“The agency website is not just an online brochure — it must be fully functional and mobile-optimized for any type of device and easily findable, meaning it must be SEO-optimized.” he said. “Sadly, so many are not.”
Social media is also essential, according to Canas.
“Every agency needs a Facebook page and needs to post regularly with original content,” Canas said. He also advises that agencies “take full advantage of reviews on Yelp. “Millennials talk to each other when they are looking for businesses to patronize and want to see what others are saying.”
Canas says one website he likes is Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Barber Insurance Agency’s website (http://www.barberinsurance.com). He says the agency uses a variety of techniques to engage visitors and incentivize them to take action.
“Our goal is to draw visitors in, speak their language and then educate them about the need to have insurance protection that’s built around their needs,” said Cheryl Fassenden, a partner at the agency.
“Millenials want quick answers, however, we will use examples they can relate to so they can realize the most value for their policy.”
The agency’s website features coupons from local businesses (“View Our Partners”), which Fassenden says their commercial clients love. The agency runs regular contests and uses social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube.
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