Blogs in an Insurance Agency Ecosystem

5thNov. × ’08

Blogging remains a foreign concept to many insurance agents and many larger businesses as well: only 12% of Fortune 500 Companies are using blogs in their communication mix. But smaller companies have caught on to the business benefits of blogs. A recent estimate put the number of business related blogs at over 850,000. Unless your insurance agency has an active blog (or two), you are missing on an effective and virtually free way to get more customers, quality control information you provide to consumers, and increase website content and generate more site traffic (i.e., even more new customers).

One tool, one tactic and a multiplicity of benefits. What are you waiting for? The trick is to find a way to take a concept unfamiliar to many insurance agents (blogging) and embed that concept in your agency practices in a way that quickly breeds familiarity.

Here is how a blog might fit into an agency ecosystem:

  1. Blog set up with all producers and CSRs with ‘author’ permission (that is, everyone can post to the blog).
  2. Your insurance agency web administrator monitors your blog weekly

Scenario:

  • Customer calls or emails CSR or producer with a question.
  • CSR or producer determines if question is account or customer specific, or applicable to a broad cross section of customers or prospects.
  • If the question is account specific, the CSR or producer can answer the question via email or on the phone.
  • If the question and answer have broader applicability, the CSR or producer post the Q and A to the agency blog, then email the blog post link to the customer.
  • Agency website admin reviews blog posts weekly; content is edited for accuracy, etc. Some content, with small modifications, can be moved to the agency website as an FAQ or article.

In the above scenario, the blog posts substitute for email content, and they present little extra effort. Responsibility for blog content is distributed across all staff vs. becoming a burden for one person; and by extension, responsibility for website content refresh is also shared. The blog would be a resource first for individual customers and insurance agency staff, and later, a resource for a wider audience, either as blog posts or edited posts migrated to agency website content.

Someone in the agency will have to review content for quality periodically; this is probably not being done now (with emails and phone conversations), and would constitute an additional task. But quality reviews are a good practice for a number of reasons. Using a blog as outlined above makes quality control possible in a way that would be far more difficult to manage with emails and phone conversations alone.

I can see some objections to inserting a blog into daily communications, but all objections will basically boil down to this consideration: Blogs and other Web 2.0 tools are routinely used by other businesses, and growing number of consumers – especially Generation Y. Is your agency willing to adapt to new communication tools to improve agency service and acquire new customers, or are you satisfied with the status quo? If capturing new customers and improving the quantity and quality your agency can deliver for basically no cost are objectives for your agency, then there is really no valid objection to blogging.

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