January is only a few weeks away, meaning 2018 is almost here. With open enrollment almost behind us, it’s time for benefits brokers to begin thinking about their strategy for next year. The two biggest parts of that strategy revolve around client retention and attracting potential new clients to your brokerage. The latter is often an area of frustration for brokers, but that is where creative marketing can present a significant opportunity for growth.
With increased competition from other brokers, HR outsourcing companies, and national PEOs, marketing is becoming more important than ever for brokerages of all sizes. The benefits effective marketing can provide are well documented, but how and where to get started can be a challenge.
By taking a look at some of the biggest and most popular trends in the marketing world, brokers can alter their strategies to meet potential clients on their turf and increase the likelihood of attracting new clients to grow their book.
Let’s dive into 5 marketing strategies all benefits brokers can add to their repertoire in 2018 that will help grow your book.
1) OPTIMIZING EMAIL IS CRITICAL
Email marketing is still a big part of just about every company’s overall marketing strategy. However, the way businesses today approach email is significantly different than in years past. With the rise of marketing automation software, it is easier than ever to personalize email and meet the lofty expectations of users.
By focusing on optimizing your emails instead of sticking with the status quo, brokers can increase the chances of someone opening and engaging with email content. This can be done in a number of ways:
- Updating email layouts to today’s standards
- Greater focus on catchy subject lines that grab people’s attention (and increase the chances of opens and clicks)
- Dynamic and audience-specific call-to-actions (CTAs) that encourage engagement
- Changing up email content to avoid being stale
- Inclusion of video and image content
These are just some examples of how brokers can optimize their email marketing in 2018.
2) BE ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND OTHER ONLINE GROUPS
We have written before about the importance of social media for marketing. Even though the social network landscape has changed in recent years, it is still a valuable tool that brokers can use to their advantage.
Social media can help brokers create an online/digital voice. This can help you be seen as a thought leader within your area of expertise. In addition to attracting new clients, thought-leadership can help brokers in other ways (we’ll discuss shortly).
Being active on social media, sharing relevant content, and engaging with current and potential clients can be invaluable to brokers in 2018. Social media is still an incredibly popular digital resource for both B2C and B2B companies, and when coupled with content marketing, can be a differentiator for brokers.
3) TRY OUT CONTENT MARKETING
Creating original content sounds like a major undertaking that some may think is a waste of time. However, content is critical in today’s marketing world. It also presents creative brokers with a unique opportunity to drive traffic to your website and bring in new clients.
What exactly makes for good content? One of the best and easiest routes to start with is creating a company blog where you can write about news and thoughts that pertain to your industry and/or clients. Blog content is great for SEO and social media, and adds a new element to your site, especially when updated weekly or bi-weekly. One new blog post per week can do wonders from a content perspective.
In addition to blogging, videos and visuals are more popular than ever, and marketers from all industries have taken notice. Creating a company YouTube account and trying out video content can be extremely valuable, especially when a creative flair is included. On the visual side, infographics and similar content are also very useful. There are free online tools that can help create a simple infographic, which can be a great email and social media topic.
4) CONTRIBUTE TO INDUSTRY PUBLICATIONS
For brokers who like to write, looking into how to contribute to industry publications is a great way to increase your exposure and brand. For example, sites like BenefitsPro and Employee Benefit News (EBN) have guest writers contribute articles every week.
Not only does being a guest contributor help establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry, but it is a great way to get valuable backlinks to your own website and content, which is extremely valuable for search engine optimization (SEO). Backlinks are also great for getting referral traffic to your website. You never know when someone who is referred to your website could turn into a future client!
Increasing your or your brokerage’s visibility online is critical for marketing success, especially for non-paid marketing. While content marketing and guest contributions may take some time before your see an ROI, these are important practices in the long run.
5) MAKE SURE YOUR EMAIL DATABASE HAS ACCURATE INFORMATION
We have already touched on ways to improve email marketing strategies in 2018. But any great email campaign can be doomed from the start if your database is filled with inaccurate data. Things like outdated or incorrect email addresses and companies, missing information that leads to higher bounce rates, or too many duplicate records can make email marketing harder than it needs to be.
By doing periodic data cleaning, brokers can increase the likelihood that their emails get delivered to exactly who they want, which will drive up open and engagement rates. The more people opening and clicking emails, the greater the odds of getting a valuable new lead and potential client.
In addition, accurate data leads to better analytics that can be used to direct your future email marketing campaigns. Being data-driven with your marketing efforts is important, and can help unlock which areas have better results than others. This can help brokers determine where to focus their marketing efforts.
MARKETING CAN BE A BENEFITS BROKER’S DIFFERENTIATOR
With all the competition brokers face today, standing out from the crowd in a positive way is more important than ever. This is where marketing can prove to be a valuable resource and business strategy. Increasing visibility is critical for all businesses, and increases the chances of a potential client finding your company. Creative marketing can be that major differentiator for brokers in 2018, and can help lead to a successful year.
Want to learn more about PEOs? Check out our eBook, How Well Do You Know PEO? This eBook provides an overview of the PEO industry as well as helpful information for brokers and employers!