I’ve attended multiple employee benefits industry conferences this year and I always get questions about how brokers and agencies can become better marketers.
I get it. You have A LOT on your plate: compliance, regulation, cost increases, new products, BORs, new strategies (hello reference-based pricing and value-based care), effectively leading your own team, staying on top of the competitive landscape, how to handle Letter 226J and 227, etc., etc., etc.
Full disclosure: when we first started freshbenies, we didn’t have ANY idea how to market a business. Yes, I worked in a B2C marketing function in corporate America, but that doesn’t really prepare you for the B2B small business world. What I’m trying to say is that we learned everything from the ground up. If we can do it, you can do it!
To help out, I thought I’d share three of my favorite resources, as well as a few tips that might help you…
1. Duct Tape Marketing
I have loved this book and blog and podcast since I started learning about marketing a small business. The website accurately describes the founder: John Jantsch “has been called the world's most practical small business marketing expert for his systematic approach to all things marketing.”
As a small business owner, I agree that “systematic” is the only way to fit in the multiple activities it takes to drive awareness and leads today. These blog articles are delivered a couple times a week and have actionable, useful ideas. His podcasts usually last about 20 minutes, so it’s definitely easy-to listen-to, snackable content.
#2. Social Media Examiner
They go really deep on some specific topics (“How to Use Facebook Video Ads to Move People Through Your Sales Funnel”), but they do a great job on more general topics, too (“How to Improve Your LinkedIn Engagement”). Don’t miss their “Ultimate Marketing Guides” for Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.
If you’re looking to attend a great marketing conference - for yourself or your team - try Social Media Marketing World. While I haven’t been, I can recommend it based on the content that comes to me daily from Social Media Examiner. The conference is touted as “the largest gathering of social media pros, period!” I’d also recommend HubSpot’s Inbound Conference that our team will be attending for the second year in a row.
My first two favorite resources are more DIY. This final option is not. The founders of Q4intelligence are Kevin Trokey and Wendy Keneipp - they and their team know insurance agency marketing AND sales. In my opinion, what they do is a “one-two punch” for agency owners and leaders.
I often look to them for advice on our marketing and if I owned an agency, they’re the first people I’d call to help take my marketing and lead generation to the next level. They’re both highly-regarded writers and speakers and I recommend subscribing to get their insight.
Because they’re good marketers of their own service (sometimes the cobbler’s children DO have shoes!), their website concisely states what they do for their agency clients…
“Fill prospect pipelines, market your agency, and write new business with the Q4i Growth Platform… Your prospective clients will visit your website, your LinkedIn profile, and/or search for you online. What will they see? Is it a compelling story that makes them want to learn more? Or is it just another version of the same story they have from their current broker? Use your marketing activities to get people excited about having a conversation with your sales team.”
Now that we’ve reviewed a few resources, I’ll leave you with 3 tips…
TIP #1: Subscribe to some or all of these blogs and watch the topics that come across your email for 30 days. Even if you just read the headlines, you’ll be a step ahead. You can decide at the end of 30 days those you’ll stick with and hit unsubscribe on the others.
TIP #2: If you have someone overseeing marketing at your agency, pass on the interesting topics that come across your email to them. Better yet, ask them to sign up for these resources and discuss what they’re learning in touch base meetings.
TIP #3: If you’re considering a bigger lead-generating push and you don’t already have a seasoned internal marketing team committed to the task, get help from an outside consultant – and this is important - who knows the employee benefits industry.
Now it's your turn! What are your favorite marketing resources? What tips work best for you? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.