Inspiring brand loyalty these days can be challenging. Many experts argue that building loyalty is no longer just about offering the best prices or strong customer service, but rather the entire experience a consumer has with your brand, its products, services and your employees. So, how can a national company, like a major insurance company, effectively and efficiently build this loyalty with not only its end customers, but with the insurance agents, and other third-party sales channels, that share and sell their products?
One common way is for marketing to create “moments” or touch points. A popular moment is introducing new customers to the company through an onboarding campaign.
Marketers know and love these types of campaigns because it can work so well to get a new customer familiar with your company and products. However, onboarding campaigns can present challenges when executing in local markets. For example, an insurance company has to consider how to create and implement effective marketing campaigns that will speak to consumers, AND has to identify ways motivate and engage the local agents who ultimately sell their products and run these marketing campaigns.
We’ve been fortunate to work with many clients across industries to run impactful, streamlined and efficient onboarding campaigns. Here are five key insights specific to the insurance industry, but can be applied to any company.
1) Offer campaigns rich for personalization.
Customizing onboarding campaigns and marketing materials is more than adding an insurance agency’s logo to a postcard or a personalized name field in a letter. Developing marketing materials specific to common moments in consumers’ lives goes a long way in establishing brand loyalty.
Send a young auto insurance client different materials, messages and promotional items you would send a couple with children, or even a more established adult. Create campaigns relevant to the time or year or region customers live in. Set up an email newsletter that shares seasonal tips, such as preparing homes for winter weather or tips for home safety during hurricane season.
With the right tools and systems in place, marketers can create and offer campaigns for local insurance agents to choose from based on demographics of their consumers. This provides more relevant and compelling information, and helps form a bond between the agent, the client and your insurance company.
2) Bring local insurance agents into the conversation.
Making sure your brands and products stand out is a common challenge among local sales channels. You’re asking your local partners to sell your products and actively promote them, sometimes over competing brands.
The best way to do this is by positioning yourself as a partner. Seek out their input and suggestions when appropriate. Consider sending out quarterly email surveys, soliciting insight during regional meetings or speaking to top sellers. You’ll discover great ideas for new and current campaigns, and demonstrate that you value your local team’s input.
Also key to partnering with local agents and sales channels is to offer adequate training on marketing campaigns. Work closely with agents to make sure they understand the importance of properly executing onboarding campaigns, what type of information they need to collect from customers to make the campaign a success, and how to run the campaign, especially if you are using technology or system, like an MRM system. It’s important they understand the process, and how simple it is, to remove barriers between strategy and execution.
3) Consider incentivizing agents.
Incentives can be a powerful motivation for local insurance agents and sales teams to share your company’s message. Consider offering promotional items, rewards or local marketing budgets to encourage participation. Tracking these programs can be simplified with a budget management system, where users can request, review, approve and use funds in one portal.
4) Align internally.
Marketing departments can face challenges working with local insurance agents and with departments at corporate headquarters as well. Work with internal departments and colleagues when brainstorming, strategizing and creating customer onboarding campaigns and other brand loyalty initiatives to get everyone on the same page, and ensure you’re not competing internally for consumers’ attention. An MRM system can help schedule campaigns, and allow local insurance agents to only select one marketing campaign at a time so you can be sure you’re spending wisely and strategically.
5) Track, evaluate and adjust campaigns.
Once customer onboarding campaigns are live, it’s critical to evaluate impact. Track visits to campaign landing pages, email opens, website downloads and other important consumer behaviors. This can help you identify what’s working and ways to improve campaigns in the future.
An important tip to keep in mind: Be sure your dashboard adequately captures the information you need. Build evaluation tools that reflect your campaign’s goals and strategy to help focus on what you need to know, and filter out the noise.
Customer onboarding campaigns are just one way to inspire brand loyalty. What are other ways your company works with consumers, and the agents that sell your products and services? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @vya_systems.