I went to the RI Air show and subsequently got a really bad sunburn. While walking around the event with my two sons looking at all the cool airplanes, helicopters, humvess and the Blue Angels (btw – check out their website it’s pretty cool) I come across this sight.
These guys are literally everywhere. I cannot go a day without hearing a radio commercial, seeing them on a billboard, seeing a TV spot, or being confronted by one of their SEM ads on Google. I’m out for a nice day with the family and I see them at the air show. These guys are aggressive. They are going for market share. They are committed to being anywhere and everywhere consumers show up. It’s almost to the point of being ridiculous.
Let’s contrast this with what’s going on in the independent insurance agency space.
I recently spoke at the YBA in Napa, CA put on by the IBA West. The YBA stands for the “Young Brokers & Agents”. The topic was “SEO and Social Media”. In preparation for my speech I struggled about the content. I didn’t want to get too technical, but wanted to give folks enough “meat”. I ended up removing a lot of technical details and was concerned that I had taken too much out. Would the listeners feel that what I was sharing was too basic?
I began, by asking, “By a show of hands, who blogs at least once a month?” One person raised their hands. “What about Facebook pages for your business, how many have those.” Two raised their hands.
I was shocked. Here was a group of “young” agents. None of which were using even the basic SEO or social media techniques.
I’ve read forums posts by agents who still do not see the value of the Internet and are skeptical that any of the tools available (blogging, solid websites, SEO, SEM, Facebook, etc) can help them. All the time Geico, direct writers and lead providers are eating their lunch. It’s amazing.
The Internet is just as much about defense (keeping customers) as it is about offense (finding customers).
Some agents seem to ignore the fact that their current customers are using the Internet. They are being bombarded by the constant branding efforts too. It’s not just about having “great customer service”. You need to play defense. Agencies need to aggressively protect their customer base if they expect to survive.