The days of taking a “spray and pray” approach to marketing are long gone.
Focused digital marketing is the new norm, and customers have come to expect marketing content that is customized to their needs and interests. Digital tools have made it easier to reach the people you want to reach with relevant messages at the right time.
However, to reach those audiences effectively, insurance marketers must think through who is on each platform and what kinds of messages those people want to hear.
In my work as an independent insurance agency marketer, I’ve found it helpful to create marketing personas to help me identify my agency’s ideal customers. By creating these fictional personas, I can hone in on where different types of customers engage with content and what types of content will be most useful to them.
Personas have been part of marketing strategy for a long time, but digital tools make it easier to learn about your customers’ needs, habits and preferences.
Questions to create your marketing personas
To help build out marketing personas, I created a basic questionnaire to help me get into the mindset of different customers. I created five personas to represent different types of clients.
The first thing I do is give the persona a name – say “Amber Smith.”
Next, I define demographics. These start with the basics: How old is Amber Smith? Is she single or married? Where does she (and her spouse, if relevant) work, and what is their household income? What’s her education level? Does she have any kids? If so, what ages?
Then, I dig a little deeper: What are her hobbies and interests? What does her typical day look like? What are her favorite stores, brands, websites? How does she prefer to receive information? How does she find the companies she does business with?
The more detail I can create for this person, the easier it is for me to create digital content exactly for them. That’s because defining these demographics helps me determine what kinds of questions and concerns this person may have regarding insurance. I can identify the problems they may be facing that my agency can help solve, then craft specific marketing messages to address their questions.
Digital tools to help define personas
Digital tools take a lot of the guesswork out of defining marketing personas. I regularly conduct online research to examine the demographics of the people who already do business with my agency, learn about trends, and see how my area is evolving.
I live in Austin, Texas, which is an emerging technology hub, so I read Austin Business Journal to learn about business trends and what kinds of people and businesses are moving into the city. It’s a helpful way to track what changes we’re seeing in demographics, and what Austin might look like six, 12 or 18 months from now.
On the digital side, I use tools such as AnswerThePublic.com and Google Trends to learn what questions and keywords people are researching. For example, on AnswerThePublic, I can type in “cyber insurance,” and see that people are researching “what cyber insurance covers” and “how cyber insurance works.” That research may prompt me to create a blog post or video addressing those questions.
I might also look at who is engaging with our content online to see if we are reaching our ideal customers. Many social media tools have built in analytics that show you some of the demographics of your current followers. If the posts aren’t reaching the intended audience, it may indicate that I need to take a different approach.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out the best way to define personas and reach your existing clients, you can also just ask! There’s nothing wrong with sending out a quick survey asking clients how they prefer to hear from you or how they like to learn more about insurance.
Creating content for different platforms
Marketing personas are not only about who you’re trying to reach, but also how you’re going to reach them.
Digital marketing makes it easier to reach a wide audience, but you must think through which persona is on which platform. I’ve found that personal lines content works better on Facebook and commercial lines content works better on LinkedIn.
Crafting different content for each platform may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. You could shoot one video talking about flood insurance and then just slice and dice pieces of it for different platforms – using the parts about home ownership on Facebook and the parts about business flood insurance on LinkedIn.
One of the many benefits of digital marketing is that it gives you clear insights into what is working well and what is not. You can continually refine your approach by looking at how people engage with your marketing content.
No matter who you’re targeting or what platforms you’re using, digital tools can help you reach the right audience where and when they want to be reached.