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3 marketing tips for life insurance professionals

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“In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy,” Jean Paul Getty said more than 50 years ago. No, he wasn’t talking specifically about the financial services industry, but his message rings true for marketing professionals in the financial advice-giving business even today.

While the life insurance industry can be complicated at best, marketers must constantly evolve to innovate right alongside the changes that are taking place. Below are three lessons from leading insurance marketing pros in the industry who are, by all accounts, doing it right. 

1. Millennials are digitally savvy, and you should be too 

Millennials — those born between 1980 and 2000 — make up 25 percent of the United States population and represent $1.3 trillion in spending power, according to numerous reports. They are a more diverse and confident group of people than older generations, and favor personalized products and services. 

As such, to connect with this group you need to treat your brand like a person, said Greg Vodicka, an expert on emerging trends and millennial behavior who spoke at the recent LIMRA 2015 Marketing & Research Conference. Millennials want to feel the authenticity and ideas behind a brand in order to connect with its messages. And they want that message delivered simply. 

According to a Mintel report, 59 percent of millennials prefer to engage with their financial institutions through email. Marketers will need to use technology to enable in-person interactions — and the sweet spot is between the digital and physical worlds. 

2. Successful social media programs are data-driven 

So, your firm is using social media – great! But your program is only as good as your data (qualitative and quantitative). Social media metrics can tell your marketing team where you are, but also where you need to go, according to Kyle Woods from Thrivent Financial. Financial representatives in Thrivent’s field program can use Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter to connect with clients, and she’s learned some interesting things from a qualitative standpoint. 

For example, original content performs six times better than non-modified content. She also learned that “generosity content” – e.g. posting about volunteering with Habitat for Humanity or doing good in the community – resonates with clients and does well for her agents. 

Similarly, Dana Lynch of OneAmerica looks at four quantitative metrics to benchmark how her team is performing and to see how they can improve. 

  • Account adoption (active social accounts) 
  • Account activity (posts) 
  • Reach (connections) 
  • Engagement activity (responses) 

When tracking trends, Lynch said it’s important to focus on why there might have been significant increases or decreases in the data. She tries to look at cause and effect, paying special attention to how these numbers align with overall product sales or revenue. 

3. Even great content needs a smart call-to-action 

When creating content, one of the big lessons from the LIMRA conference came from Sarah Hedges and Matt Nelson of MassMutual regarding “calls-to-action.” They say that for every piece of collateral their marketing team creates, the end goal is often getting a producer in front of a client. But they never pitch specific products. A brochure might end with, “call your financial professional,” but they’ll never tell a client to “buy this product” or “pick this annuity” because that language is too self-serving. 

Marketing life insurance can be a tough business, but today, there are more opportunities to connect with clients than ever before. Digital technology gives marketers and advisors almost unlimited options in how to deliver and test their messages across channels and platforms. By driving content toward conversations, harnessing a data-driven social media strategy an understanding millennials, marketers can become innovators.