We are all aware that the landscape of the insurance industry is ever evolving, and the upcoming new year will be no exception. Over the past year, we have seen tremendous changes within the industry from the state of the market, to premium increases, to the integration of advanced technology in everyday tasks, to insurance company withdrawal from markets, and it is more important than ever for independent insurance agents to stay ahead of the game. With the new year being right around the corner, lets dive in to a comprehensive guide that will set your agency up for success in 2024.
EMBRACE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS
The integration of advanced technology has grown tremendously over the past year within the insurance industry, mainly through the use of AI, and is only anticipated to further develop, so if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to embrace these technological advancements and explore their potential for enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and overall effectiveness within your independent agency. In this day and age, customers are focusing more on the individual experiences they have with your agency rather than the products the agency is trying to sell, and leveraging technology is an easy and accessible way to make sure customers receive those personalized experiences. Technology also enables your independent agency to provide round the clock assistance when it comes to customer questions or concerns through the incorporation chatbots and customer self-service portals, further enhancing the customer experience by swiftly addressing concerns and promptly resolving issues upon redirection to an agent.
DEVELOP A STRONG MOBILE PRESENCE
Statistically, mobile devices generated 49.78% of all site traffic and visits, while desktops accounted for the remaining 50.22%, with the mobile users’ share increasing by 5% in 2023, states Christo Petrov in techjury’s recent blog 51 Mobile vs. Desktop Usage Statistics For 2023. With mobile being predicted to surpass desktop traffic and become the preferred platform in the coming years, it is crucial to have an established website that is both user and mobile friendly. Consistency is a key factor for maintaining your brand image, and one effective way to achieve this is by ensuring your website is equipped with a responsive design that automatically adjusts its appearance according to the screen size. Utilizing SEO should also be at the top of your to-do list in 2024 as forward-looking independent agents are working hard to set themselves apart from the masses in an effort to increase new client numbers and retention. While there are various SEO strategy paths you can take to enhance your agencies online visibility, geo-targeting is an essential strategy when it comes to increasing your agencies rank amongst local businesses by targeting specific surrounding areas for increased website traffic and conversion rates.
BE CONSISTENT WITH COMMUNICATION AND CONTENT
In the current market state, it is essential that independent insurance agencies remain consistent with their communication and digital content as we head in to 2024. Clear and reliable communication builds trust with clients and fosters lasting relationships. When everyone is looking for answers on how maneuver this hard market, your agency should be making consistent efforts to provide the necessary help when and where it’s needed. When it comes to social media content, we can all admit that first impressions matter, which is why it is also important to remain consistent with what you post on your website and across your various platforms. If your agency consistently shares updates on social events but neglects to refresh the website with new products and offerings, a disconnect occurs. This disconnect can lead customers to question your legitimacy and consistency. After all, if you’re not consistent with your own business, why would you be with them?
NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK.
Networking within your industry through conferences and events is a great way to create opportunity for collaboration with other independent agents and mutual growth. If not for collaboration, networking with various agents in your area can provide the advantage of seeing what works and what doesn’t for your competitors, while also aiding in the preparation of your own marketing and sales campaigns. Building strong relationships with carriers, underwriters and industry leaders is equally as important as it not only facilitates further collaboration, but also fosters professional growth and keeps your independent agency updated on industry trends and regulatory changes.
ACKNOWLEDGE THE IMPORTANCE OF CYBER-SECURITY
It is crucial that independent agencies and the industry as a whole recognize the importance of cyber security in the insurance sector as we head into 2024. With continuous development of technology and the implementation of AI in the industry, cyber-crime rates are anticipated to increase, with insurance companies being at the top of the list when it comes to hacker and cyber-crime targets. In order to protect private client information in the coming years, tighter cyber security requirements and control measure polices must be implemented amongst agencies, such as multi-factor authentication, regular security training, and end point detection. Offering cyber-security education to both agents and clients not only raises awareness about what to watch for and how to address it but also has the potential to prevent cyber-crime against your agency before it can manifest. Last, is it mandatory that your independent agency have as full cyber insurance policy in effect.
EXPERIMENT AND ITERATE
In a constantly evolving industry, marketing trends undergo continual change. While certain trends may prove effective for other agencies, not all of them will be suitable for your specific agency and that is NORMAL. To discover the most effective strategies for your agency and target audience, it’s essential to experiment with various marketing tactics until you identify the optimal fit. You can start by testing different subject lines in a particular marketing campaign and monitoring the open rates and click-through rates. Additionally, experiment with reaching potential customers through social media using both direct messages and feed posts, and observe which approach generates more interest. Through persistent trial, error, and adjustments, your agency will ultimately discover a system that aligns most effectively with both your objectives and the target audience you aim to attract to your business.
Implementing all or even just one of these strategies into your independent agency’s 2024 marketing plan is essential when it comes to navigating success in the new year. Make the resolution to embrace the change and innovation within the industry and learn to use it to your agencies advantage in the effort to further grow your business in 2024.