Coach urges agencies, advisors to pursue direct marketing
Consumers are changing how they find business providers and buy. Much of it is shifting online, and Craig Wiggins of Craig Wiggins Coaching said the biggest threats to local agencies and advisors are fewer and fewer consumers willing to do business with local agencies and their cold calls, plus direct-to-consumer corporate marketing that bypasses local agents and advisors to dilute local agency marketing impact.
People don’t answer their phones like they used to, Wiggins said, and consumers don’t want to be pitched over the phone by strangers. Wiggins, a top-10 U.S. insurance agency with $40 million in annual premium, advises that agency marketing is critical, and he recommends two key strategies to overcome the shift: direct mail and using “centers of influence.”
Centers of influence means working with product leaders for referrals in a related industry, such as auto dealers, Realtors, home services, and other professionals. Direct mail is an essential component of what is called “inbound marketing.” That means you create compelling resources and information to attract people to call or email you.
Wiggins said in a blog post, “I absolutely love direct mail for several reasons, but one of the biggest is because it gets prospects calling you. Instead of beating your head against the wall trying to reach people, these prospects actually call you.”
Marketing research by Royal Mail MarketReach, Mail and Digital, and other companies found that 63% of consumers are more likely to take printed mail more seriously than email, and 57% said they feel more valued when receiving direct mailings. Another 55% said they feel that direct-mail communications give them a better impression of the organization.
Good direct-mail campaigns connect emotionally with recipients. This is accomplished by color and design of the mailer and a message that connects with consumers relevantly. Are they buying a car or a house? Getting married? Having a baby? Your design and messaging open the doors to hearts and minds.
Your marketing must explain the value and benefits of your products and services and how they make a difference in your customers’ lives. Whether a prospect or an existing customer, your messaging should emphasize what’s most important to that customer.
Craft your marketing message to show you understand what
your customer is going through in life and that what you offer is relevant to that. It is your value proposition, your company mission, the why behind what you do, not just a discount or bragging. This is what you stand for and what you will never water down.
When you decide to start or boost your marketing, take some tim
e to consider what you do best and like to do. Consider the type of people you work best with and how what you bring to the market is valuable to the specific kind of customers you are looking for.
Doing this helps you not only to understand your customers’ needs, but also how to “talk” with them through your marketing message. If you focus on people who enjoy a specific hobby or vocation, for example, couch your message in that vernacular to attract attention on a deeper, emotional level.
Mailer design follows with graphics, art, and color that might relate to the target you’re pursuing.
When customers respond, be ready to continue the conversation in the same context. Sales reps must be briefed on your campaigns and targets so they create a seamless, authentic interaction that builds trust and confidence early in the interaction.
These broader marketing concepts will help you and your team better connect with prospects and existing customers to generate
calls, gain leads, and close sales. It will also help you be more personal and authentic in your marketing.