Marketing costs money, but some marketing definitely costs less than others if you have a little bit of know-how. Small business owners are experts in their fields, whether that expertise is about an in-demand skill or about what’s available for sale in certain industries. In lean economic times, businesses that capitalize on that expertise become authorities in their fields – and reap the benefits of low-cost publicity that authority status creates.
EZDiquote, a disability insurance firm that started local but grew to a national powerhouse, does exactly that. According to Regional Director Courtney Rogers, they use four different platforms to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in this highly competitive field. Each mode serves different audiences, and works synergistically so that each adds value to the other three “legs” of the platform. The end result: new leads every month. Some come directly from people shopping online for disability insurance. Others come from people who have used the resources for weeks or months, and thought first of the company when they came to a buying decision.
Static Web Content
The company’s simple website has a “Resources” tab providing links to basic information and tools for people interested in disability insurance. An article titled Disability Insurance 101 gives a “For Dummies”-level overview of what their product does, and who would find it important. This is basic education that serves three purposes:
- Establishes the company as an authority in the minds of readers who use the resource.
- Train potential clients in the basics of what they offer, allowing representatives to focus on individualization when a lead calls in.
- Provides opportunities for financial bloggers and other outside entities to link to their page, since it’s a solid and professionally-presented information source. This helps with SEO and further positions the company as an authority as well as a vendor.
Another tab on the EZDiquote website leads to a simple blog of insurance-related articles. Some of them are predictably commercial, offering information with a clear agenda, with titles like “Disability Insurance Offers Protection for Unexpected Events.” However, the blogs also includes more neutrally presented informational pieces like “The Pros and Cons of Company Provided Disability Insurance,” posts that have enough actionable education to give readers real value.
Why have a blog and a resource article section on the same website? The blog fulfills certain goals that the static resources don’t.
- Consistently updating content grabs the attention of Google and other search engines in a way that static content does not. The blog provides easy SEO.
- The wealth of different titles means potential clients can mine through the content for the articles most useful to them.
Staff at EZDiquote also write guest posts on personal finance blogs and similar resources, typically posts similar to both types of articles found on their own blog. Guest posts are especially powerful for the agenda-oriented articles. Any consumer will look at an article listing reasons to buy insurance with skepticism if found on an insurance agency’s site. That same article on a trusted personal finance advice site will get a very different reception. The key to success with this strategy lies in which sites the company targeted for guest posting.
- Sites with a high Google Page Rank perform better than those with low rank, for the simple reason that they attract more sets of eyes.
- Some personal finance sites make their money by providing strong content. Others sell space on their site to any company willing to write a guest post-cum-advertisement. Sticking with the former whenever possible helps the company maintain its high level of authority.
Some social media “experts” say it’s impossible to measure ROI on social media, but Rogers argues that it’s easy. He simply counts the leads generated by the company’s presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and compares them to those generated by other marketing investments – and they perform well. The strategy here is a balance of simple self-promotion and the kind of informational article they use in other branches of their education marketing plan.
- Twitter and Facebook posts consist of a mix between simple statements about their product, announcements of new content on their sites, and links to related articles from other authorities, such as the New York Times.
- LinkedIn strategy focuses on making real connections with existing and potential clients, forming relationships that give agents a chance to educate on a personal level. For this reason, the company doesn’t have a strong LinkedIn presence – but encourages all agents to do so as part of their regular duties.
The Bottom Line
In a rough economy, many companies give up on advertising. They argue there’s not enough money out there to justify spending big on attracting customers. EzDiquote, takes knowledge they already have, and shares it along low-cost channels. According to Rogers, this has helped the company survive and even prosper during the current downturn.
Article by Jason Brick