It’s no great revelation to say that people rarely behave the way that you want them to. People do strange things, and I’m one of them. We humans do many unexpected things and many times, they are unprofessional. Many people have their own unknowable agendas and make decisions that don’t make any sense at ALL.
This is why content marketing can be difficult. It’s corralling all of the confused and unpredictable people of so many different backgrounds, and guiding them, with insurance content, through the many different stages of a carefully structured buying process. Careful is the key word.
Many inbound marketers put an awful lot of time, energy and effort into understanding how buyers function as consumers: what really triggers them to seek out information on insurance, what questions do they have, what options are they looking at, what is the duration of their purchasing cycle and who do they report to. These are all very important questions, but I think that we sometimes fail to realize that our customers are humans first, and consumers second.
With that being said, the reason someone chooses to consume or ignore your agencies content, why they visit or leave your agencies website, or why they buy or pass on your insurance products may have nothing to do with the strength of your arguments or solutions.Track that decision back to its root and you may find that it had more to do with a grumpy early Monday morning or an overflowing email inbox.
Let’s remember that we are humans and we have great days, good days, fair days, and bad days. Our mood has a big impact on how we react to the world around us.
Our prospects and our clients are NOT robots; they’re real people, with real emotions. This should influence every new piece of content you and your agency creates. Let me share what I find very frustrating.
1. We Are Not Always Rational
Content for the Irrational Buyers
Start small. The likelihood that you or your agencies marketing team is going to persuade anyone to reorganize their entire day or their business based on a few agency blog articles or a white paper is highly unlikely. But, the consumer might be interested in reading one or two paragraphs on your agencies blog. We humans are on overload when it comes to content, so let’s make sure we are writing interesting content with a great visual. The key is to hit them right off the bat so that they spend a few minutes reading your content. The key is to leave an impression because we just don’t know what buying stage they are in.
We need to meet prospects where they are in the buying process. Don’t try to drag them where you want them to be, it’s not about you but it is all about them! Start by building up trust through your agencies content. At the content level, narrow your agencies focus to a single, well-defined problem and provide them with a single, well-defined solution.
Prospects want solutions, but make sure you tell a great story when giving them the solution. People put themselves within the story and it can be very effective.
2. We Have A Ridiculous Amount Of Other Things Going On
LinkedIn recently released an article consisting of a list of the most over-used words within the profiles found on their professional networking site. I bet you can guess the top three: “driven” “motivated,” and “passionate”. I’m not going to disagree that these words are not over-used. In my personal opinion, which usually gets me into trouble, these words don’t even pertain to 90% of the people that are using them. If everyone is so “PASSIONATE” about their jobs and their careers, why is so very difficult to get people to call you when they have read an amazing article and they have questions. WHY?
If your prospects are all so “DRIVEN,” then why are they NOT driven enough to spend 5 minutes reading your agency blog, when those 5 minutes could change their career for the better? Either they’re not really driven or your content isn’t what they’re looking for. The real question is, do you have the answer to the “WHY”
Content for Prospects Who Would Rather Be Doing Something Else But……
Keep it short (but not too short!) Your blogs need to have about 800 words but remember to keep your agencies content focused. Readers and prospects will not shovel through useless content that’s not relevant to them or their problem. A major “no-no” is to try to aim content at multiple personas it simply does NOT work. Write focused content and stick to the one persona because that is a proven strategy.
The key to your agencies success is focused content.
Shorter is almost always better, but do not write a 50 word blog post – you can’t put any meat in a 50 to 100 word article. Try to keep your blog posts around 800 words, and stay away from the 25,000 word articles that people do not have the time nor the energy to read. As we talked about, write focused blogs targeting one persona. Remember; don’t try to take on the world in one single blog post. Remain focused on one problem and provide your readers with one solution.
3. We Humans Are Unprofessional
I’m never surprised when, after speaking at an insurance event about blogging and content creation, insurance agents tell me that they would like their content to maintain a “professional” tone and in a “professional manner”. Yes, I get it. I get why they say it but we need to remember who we are writing these blog posts for? Yes, our audience. Stop with the articles about your agencies new BOP product – no one cares. 99% of people don’t even know what a BOP is.
Where am I going with all this? “Professional” is different for each and every one of us. I’m not saying that we should start posting pictures of nude people in our blogs or that we should start using obscenities. What I am saying is that your articles need to be fun and they need to tell stories so that people can relate to you and your agency. Most of the time, agents want to talk about products and what they do. Instead, try talking about the problems that your audience face and offering them a solution. To many of us insurance agents, “professional” is much different from most of our prospects and clients, so let’s keep that in mind when we are creating our content.
Traction for your agency and its content
On the other hand, where’s the fun in your writing? If your agency content hasn’t received much traction thus far, why not try adding in some humor? What do you have to lose?
Even at work, people like to be entertained. Don’t you? Ask yourself: During your work day, do you have a couple browser tabs open at all times with YouTube videos, live sports, celebrity gossip, Yelp, Moz, whatever you like—the stuff you actually want to consume during the day. My guess is that you have. We all need a little humor or a little fun in our day!
Please, have mercy on these people who are unprofessional (ourselves included). Let’s not bore our audience to death with the 10,000 words of dry insurance jargon – let’s give them solutions to their issues in a fun way. It will allow your agency to bring in an ROI from your content creation.
How to Create Content for Unprofessional Buyers
If you and or your agencies marketing team is have trouble being funny, try going for the dramatic route. When you put pen to paper, take your agencies real experiences because we all have stories. Talk about the nightmare client who was never happy. The time you were unprepared for new client meeting. Talk about what you learned from these experiences.
People are enthralled by real life stories full of drama. They are not interested in our insurance jargon.
Good luck with your insurance content marketing strategy and remember – Keep it REAL