Do you know the difference between inbound vs. outbound marketing? Many insurance agents and agencies who are looking to get leads online are familiar with outbound marketing, but the most effective lead generation strategies have to do with inbound marketing. In this post, we will define inbound marketing and outbound marketing, introduce you to the best lead generation strategies, and show you how inbound marketing delivers quality leads to your inbox or call you.
Outbound Marketing Defined
Outbound marketing is what most people would call "traditional marketing," as this is how people have been reaching out to their potential leads and clients for the past few decades. This can include email blasts, cold calling, advertising (online and offline), and attending events and trade shows. It's called outbound, because these methods are all about pushing out your message to as many people as possible. Though outbound marketing is still widely used by many insurance and financial services agents, these days it's becoming less and less effective. People are bombarded with hundreds of interruptive marketing messages each day, but thanks to technology, there are also more ways to block out these messages, such as by paying for streaming subscriptions, more effective spam filtering, and ad blockers. Plus, because of easy access to information via the Internet, anyone can now quickly research their purchasing options online, without having to first talk to a sales person.
Inbound Marketing Defined
That said, if you're using any of the aforementioned outbound marketing strategies, then perhaps it's time to rethink your approach. Inbound marketing is an excellent way to generate more leads online. What exactly is inbound marketing? Well, unlike outbound strategies, inbound focuses more on attracting potential leads and having them come to you once they are interested in what you have to offer. The main difference between inbound and outbound is that instead of being disruptive and imposing yourself into people's lives, you make yourself easier to find primarily using online, inbound marketing strategies to accomplish this objective.
According to recent statistics, most prospects have made about 60% of their buying decision by the time they even pick up the phone to call a business. Think about it: the last time you made a major purchase, like a TV, a computer or even a car or vacation, what was the first thing you did? Most likely, you went to the Internet. You researched the different options, reviews on major sites and even reviews by real people before finally deciding on a given product or service.
The same thing is happening with insurance buyers. Instead of picking up the phone and calling a number they saw on a flyer, billboard or mailer, they first look at their options online. Who are these people serving my city or neighborhood? What do they have to offer? How much is it going to cost me? These are the things people want to know before they even talk to an insurance agent.
How Inbound Marketing Delivers Quality Leads Online
So, how does inbound marketing actually deliver quality leads online? Inbound marketing uses several different lead generation strategies, but the idea is the same: only people who are qualified and already interested in what you have to offer actually land in your inbox or call you.
The first step is to identify your ideal prospects. In many cases, this part is very similar to traditional marketing--you need to sit down, do research and really try to figure out who would want to buy your products and services. However, inbound marketing goes much deeper because we have what we call buyer personas. Buyer personas are more detailed than just demographics. With buyer personas, you actually create a fictional representation of your potential customers (based on studies and research) and create your inbound campaigns around these personas. Think about the characteristics and interests of your ideal client and create a campaign that attracts that type of consumer.
The next step is to actually get found by your prospects. Again, this is still somewhat similar to traditional marketing, but when you compare inbound vs outbound marketing, the big difference is in the methods employed. While outbound marketing relies on a wide approach - cold calling, putting up online advertisements, sending out cold emails and snail mail - inbound prefers to attract prospects via other means, like providing valuable content through SEO, social publishing, encouraging social engagement, social bookmarking and publishing accurate online directory listings, e.g., Google+, Yelp, City Search, YP.com, etc.
The main objective is to greatly improve your search engine visibility. Consequently, you will be more easily found depending on where your buyer is along the buyer’s journey in the inbound marketing methodology. With these methods, you actually pull in people who are interested in what you have to offer. You become a trusted expert for those given products and services in which you’re targeting. As quality traffic increases to your website, the higher percentage of time your team’s phones ring; you’ll also notice that your team will begin receiving more email inquiries about the services you offer.
Inbound marketing is based upon the idea that your potential customers are already looking for a solution to a problem that your product or service solves. They go online and enter search phrases, related to your products and services into Google, Bing or Yahoo. They also click on relevant social media posts they find on their Facebook, Twitter, G+ or Linkedin newsfeeds. Through the consistent use of approved content that your prospects are researching, you can actually attract the people who are already looking for a product like yours, rather than just blasting your message out into the world and hoping the right people will see it. And this is the crucial step in generating leads online that help you consistently build your book of business with quality clients that are happy to refer you. Your ability to multi-line also increases, because you become a reputable brand within your community--you become the “Go To Agent.”.
Of course, it doesn't end there. You can further narrow down your prospects and turn them into leads (and eventually customers) by using your website's quote page to capture your site's visitors information so you can can further nurture your relationship with them. Once you have their information, you can continue to engage with them using a series of compliant email templates based on where they are along the buyer's journey.
Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing: Your Method Matters
When it comes to lead generation strategies, inbound marketing is the way to go. Unlike the traditional methods of marketing, inbound ensures interested leads find you versus the other way around. Are you, and your team, tired of always “hunting” for new clients to build your book? If you’re in the competitive world of insurance and financial services, mastering inbound lead generation strategies will allow you to nurture those relationships as they move through the buyer’s journey. We would love to read your insights and experiences in inbound marketing vs outbound marketing in the comments section below.
If you are going to take inbound marketing seriously, among other online marketing strategies, you’ll want to ramp up your social media marketing. Facebook is the biggest network out there. Find out how to maximize your inbound marketing with our “Build Your Insurance Book of Business: Facebook Marketing Guide” here: