A Guide To Digital Marketing Basics For Insurance Agencies In 2019

A Guide To Digital Marketing Basics For Insurance Agencies In 2019

digital marketing basicsThere are 5 “Pillars” that make up the basics of digital marketing.

SEO, E-Mail Marketing, Social Media Management, Content Marketing, and Pay Per Click Advertising.

In this article, we will take a look at each one individually.

You will see as we go, that most of the pillars overlap with at least one of the others. And all the pillars rely on a good foundation.

Once you have built this, that’s when marketing starts to make you money.

This guide aims to give you an easy to digest understanding of digital marketing.

I’ll include some real-world examples to show how you can apply them to your independent insurance agency.

The knowledge I lay out here can be used whether you decide to go the DIY route or you just want to be prepared when hiring someone else.

Are you ready to learn how to apply digital marketing basics to your insurance agency?


Let’s rock and roll.

The Foundation

Before we get to the 5 pillars you need to build a strong foundation. If you don’t, your pillars will have nothing to stand on. 

Your marketing foundation consists of three things:

  1. Knowing Your Audience
  2. Creating a Sales Funnel
  3. Building Your Website For Marketing

We’ll go over each of these right now.

Knowing Your Audience

What is it?:

Creating “customer avatars” to understand your client’s needs. Do this well before starting to put together a marketing strategy.

What role does it play in your strategy?:

It allows you to be specific and targeted with your marketing. This will lead to more sales.

How do you do it?:

I’ve mentioned that your agency’s website is the foundation. One that all the other pillars stand upon. And that is absolutely true.

But before you even start pouring the foundation you need to know who exactly you are building for.

This allows you to lay out things so that your marketing is appealing to specific crowds.

Do Spanish speaking clients use your agency because you are multilingual?

Do employees of a certain industry use your agency because of a discount that no one else in the area offers?

You create ideal clients on paper. Visualize their needs and pinpoint what drives them to buy.

This doesn’t mean that you have to have only one client in mind. You can create many different customer avatars.

You can then form a few smaller marketing campaigns directed at each of them.

Creating A Sales Funnel

What is it?:

Creating a virtual “path” with your marketing. It takes a cold lead and walks them through the steps to becoming a paying client.

What role does it play in your strategy?:

Helps you to focus your strategy. So that each piece is playing a role in pushing the client towards buying.

How do you do it?:

A funnel has 3 parts.

The first part is the “top of the funnel” and the purpose is to get clients in the door. This is usually done with PPC Advertising or Content Creation.

The second is the “middle of the funnel”. This is when the client has engaged with you. You need to put some work in to get them to stay around and become more invested with you as an agency. At this point, you want to offer them something small but valuable in exchange for their e-mail address.

The “bottom of the funnel” is the last part. This is the part of your marketing that gets them to pull the trigger and sign on the dotted line.

A Real World Example:

John owns an agency. He has a large Armenian population that is new to his area. As a result, most of them are currently renters.

Johns Top Of Funnel will be Facebook ads using some Armenian language and imagery.

His middle of the funnel will be offering a downloadable pdf in Armenian that will explain the benefits of renter’s insurance. All he would ask in trade for this pdf download is for the reader’s email.

His bottom of the funnel is an email campaign. It tells the story of a renter who was able to recover a good amount of money when their apartment was broken into.

The last e-mail in this sequence offers a discount on renters insurance that only Johns agency can offer.

Building Your Website For Marketing

What is it?:

Your website is the representation of your business. We at MiD recommend a WordPress based website.

What role does it play in your strategy?:

Your website is the center of your hub. All other marketing you create will build upon it and lead back to it.

How Do You Do It?:

Setting up a domain and WordPress website falls into the category of easy to learn but hard to master. It doesn’t take long and doesn’t cost much for the initial setup. The actual WordPress software is actually free to download and use!

After it’s setup is where things can get overwhelming.

Your website is the proper foundation for your entire digital marketing strategy.

So you want to make sure that everything’s done the right way. You have to make sure that is set up to accept potential clients as they reach the end of your sales funnel.

It should also be a way to give current clients a point of contact.

We wrote a blog post about how to build a WordPress website that can be found right here.

Now that we’ve built the foundation. Let’s dig into the pillars that make up the basics of digital marketing.

The Pillars

Pillar 1 – Search Engine Optimization ( SEO)

What is it?:

Search Engine Optimization is the techniques you use to get your website, and your agency found in search engines like Google, Bing, etc….

What role does it play in your strategy?:

If no one can find you, they won’t be able to buy from you.

How do you do it?:

If you pay attention to this article you will see the phrase ‘digital marketing basics” a lot. There is a reason for that.

That phrase is the “keyword” for this page. People are searching for that phrase about 1600 times a month.

You want the content you create to be relevant and useful. But you also want to follow SEO techniques at the same time.

Your websites pages and your blog posts should have your desired keyword in the content. They also need to be a certain length and contain optimized titles and a meaningful meta description.

This all falls within what Google considers an SEO friendly structure.

But don’t go stuffing and forcing in the keywords you want to be found for. If you use it too much Google may think you are trying to trick it.

Make sure you follow the guidelines Google has set out or you might get penalized!

Real World Example:

Mary owns an independent insurance company in a smaller town. Her main concern is being found when people search for “car insurance” in her local area.

The good news is Google is smart enough to know a searchers location. But Mary needs to make sure her Google My Business page is complete and optimized. This will help Google match up to her agency’s location with the searchers.

She also needs to make sure that every page of her website is optimized for On-Page SEO.

Mark Phillips has written an awesome guide to SEO that goes more in depth than I could here. Check it out over at https://www.monsterworkshop.ca/what-is-seo/

Pillar 2 – Content Marketing

What is it?:

Creating relative and useful content through your blog and other pages of your website.

What role does it play in your strategy?:

Creating relevant content for what you want your agency found for is a key part of SEO.

How do you do it?:

You should write about things your clients will find interesting. This helps with appearing in search engines like Google (S.E.O). It also beefs up your website.

Focus your articles on things in the insurance industry but also write about things that are happening locally. These articles are great especially if it’s something your agency is directly involved in.

This type of content is also something you can re-purpose into emails or create social media posts about.

See how this all starts to tie together to form your insurance agency marketing strategy?

Real World Example:

The best example I can give you is this piece of content that you are reading right now. This article is considered “cornerstone” content.

This article is full of relevant content about the keyword “digital marketing basics”.

It contains links to other relevant articles that either we have written or by others on the web. This helps My Insurance Design become a reputable source of information. These links, in turn, create some “good vibes” with Google.

Pillar 3 – E-Mail Marketing

What is it?:

Collecting clients email and storing inside a software in list form.

What role does it play in your strategy?:

Email campaigns allow you to stay top of mind with clients. Also leading them down a path toward an up-sell.

How do you do it?:

The middle of the funnel is where you are trading a cold lead valuable content in exchange for their email.

Once this happens, you will want to put them into an automated email campaign. Not only giving them more value but also leading them in the direction towards a specific action. Whether that’s getting a new policy or even just meeting with you.

The campaign will adapt depending on what they do during the time you are sending them the emails. Whether they click on a link or don’t click on a link, the software will keep track and do different things.

This is again keeping them on the move towards your end goal.

It is also used to touch base with existing clients before their renewals.

There are a few different list building software that makes managing and sending to an email list a piece of cake.

There are many software options for e-mail marketing. MailChimp is a great free e-mail software that you can get into and check out without the risk.

Real World Example:

Once you have a list of emails you can then segment that list into different categories.

Let’s target all of our current clients who own a motorcycle.

In early spring as the weather begins to warm up, we will begin sending out a set of automated e-mails that begins on the first of May.

These e-mails will help get us back into the clients “top of mind” at the right time.

We can inform them about the motorcycle policy options we have available and let them know what they need to do to get their bike back on the road.

Check out our more in-depth blog post about E-Mail marketing here.

Pillar 4 – Social Media Marketing

What is it?:

Posting to social media platforms on a regular basis. (Facebook, Twitter Linked In, etc…..)

What role does it play in your strategy?:

Staying active and accessible on Social Media with your current and potential clients.

How do you do it?:

No doubt you know what social media is. Chances are you use a few different platforms and channels yourself. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. The list goes on and on.

Having a social media presence on any of these channels is not enough to make your agency stand out. Social Media like everything else on this list is so much more than going through the motions.

There are strategies and techniques that apply to each of the channels.

What platforms and strategies you use will depend on knowing your client. You will have a better idea of this once you’ve sat down and put some time into your customer avatars.

See the overlap again?

Real World Example:

Tyler’s agency is very active on Facebook. They decide to run a Facebook ad in June.

This ad is directed at high school students.

Anyone who clicks the ad is lead over to a page on the website called a “landing page”.

This page is set up for the specific and sole purpose of people who interacted with the ad to “land” on.

Once they are on that page they are offered a downloadable pdf. It contains a “Beginner’s Guide To Auto Insurance. To to get the pdf they need to give their email.

They have now entered into a sales funnel and will be sent the start of an e-mail campaign.

Pillar 5 – Pay Per Click Advertising

What is it?:

Paying for advertising on social media platforms like Facebook. Or running ads right on Google’s search result pages with Google AdWords.

What role does it play in your strategy?:

You are able to get your agency and your content out to a larger audience.

How do you do it?:

We recommend Pay Per Click Advertising be one of the last things you look into once all your other pillars are solid.

Why? Because if you don’t do it right and don’t have the other systems set up you will be throwing money away.

PPC Advertising is a great way to add fuel to your insurance agency marketing strategy. But fuel only burns for a short time.

You want to use it to push your top of funnel messaging out to potential clients. But you need to have the rest of the strategy planned out so once that random (but targeted!) person on Facebook clicks on your ad they have started into one of your funnels without even knowing it.

Let’s Recap!


Phew. That’s about it.

By now, you should have a better understanding of the basics of digital marketing.

As you can see there are 5 different “pillars” that are built upon the foundation that is your website. Put it together and it all makes up your digital marketing basics.

But it’s like peeling away the layers of an onion as you dig into each one. On top of that, each will overlap with the others in some way, shape, or form.

If one piece is off, the whole thing isn’t going to come crashing down. But it can make the strategy itself less effective.

Who wants to waste money on an insurance agency marketing strategy that will fail? Never mind the time you spent putting it all together.

I hope this article made you more comfortable with the digital marketing basics we’ve talked about.

If you still feel overwhelmed or just want your agencies digital marketing done for you, visit our contact page and let us help you.

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Nick Line

Nick is the Owner of My Insurance Design. He lays in bed at night and thinks about digital marketing and how he can use it to help independent insurance agencies. It's pretty sad. He knows it.