How To Use Education-Based Marketing to Your Advantage
Who wants to “get educated”? Your prospects do! The fact is, 70% of people eligible for Medicare Insurance say they need more education. They’re literally begging for it. That’s why education-based marketing can be extremely effective at helping Medicare Insurance Agents grow their business.
In its most basic form, educational marketing is a strategy for attracting prospects by sharing knowledge with the purpose of providing value and building trust. This approach can be used as a consistent, over-arching marketing strategy that produces significant year-over-year results. In this article, we will pose and answer various questions in order to highlight how you can use this form of marketing to attract new prospects and ultimately increase sales.
How is Education-Based Marketing different than Traditional Marketing? Educational marketing is the process of educating your prospects rather than pitching them. This really is the key distinction. When an education-based strategy is fully adopted, keep in mind that “pitching” or overtly selling to a prospect at any point in their journey runs the risk of losing them right then and there. The aim is to establish yourself as an authority and have your prospective customers see you as a reliable source of knowledge. Pitching to them before they’re ready to purchase – before they come to you – can lead to the perception that you don’t care.
In order to avoid losing a potential client somewhere within the “purchase funnel,” you have to create multiple touch points and understand that the process of education is perpetual. For this reason, acquiring a customer can take much longer than using traditional methods, often requiring 6, 7, 8 or more contacts. The bright side of adopting this more extensive process is that you’re much more likely to end up with lifelong clients, or even referring advocates, because you’ve taken the time to develop a lasting relationship based on trust. This is often the key to success with renewal-based income through offerings like Medicare Advantage plans.
What tactics, mediums or materials can I use for Education-Based Marketing? As mentioned, multiple touch points are required to keep your prospects educated and you top of mind. Worry not, however, as these touch points could be as simple as a phone call or email. Other touch points you can effectively use to create value in the minds of your prospects include:
• Educational Events. Be they virtual or in-person meetings, educational events are clearly ideal for this type of marketing approach. Hosting weekly, bi-weekly or monthly webinars for prospects and/or colleagues can go a long way to establishing yourself as an authority in your field and increasing leads.
• Blogs. Write online articles that highlight your expertise and provide value through educating consumers.
• Social Media Posts. Social media platforms are inherently engaging, and you can use video, images, and infographics to share your knowledge in fun, compelling ways. Refrain from making every post about the insurance services you provide, however, as doing so is a sure way to lose an audience. The key is to ensure every post provides value to your followers.
• Printed Guides/E-Books. Giving away a free resource like an informative guide or e-book in-person or on your website is a great way to share your knowledge. And research shows prospects are more receptive to doing business with people who first provide them with something of value.
• Direct Mail. Direct mail still proves extremely effective at reaching the senior market and can be used to deliver informational materials and create another touch point along the consumer’s purchasing journey.
• Testimonials. Having others talk you up is a great way to educate prospects on the exceptional service you provide.
What tips can I use to make my Educational Marketing as successful as possible?
• Following Up is Critical. Because education-based marketing initiatives rely on the consumer letting you know when they’re ready to buy, failure to follow up is often the biggest reason why this marketing approach falls short. Agents need to follow up with prospects continually yet tactfully and invite them to upcoming events, direct them to a website, provide timely new information, ask them to participate in a no-cost phone consultation, etc.
• Avoid making prospects feel they’re being sold. Keep in mind the goal of educational marketing is not to sell, but rather to guide prospects to the point where they’re ready to buy. The approach should be to provide knowledge and value while expecting nothing in return.
• Educate on solutions, not products. While your end goal is to make a sale, your prospects’ end goal is peace of mind. Therefore, you need to educate consumers on solutions to their problems rather than on insurance products. As an example, we advise Medicare Insurance agents to educate prospects on the different parts of Medicare, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, Medicare Supplement Insurance, and Prescription Drug Plans. Though MA Plans may be the most lucrative product in this category, you want prospects to feel like they’re receiving enough of a holistic education to make an informed decision on the plan that’s right for them.
• Ask and answer questions. When adopting the education-based marketing approach, asking questions can often replace the traditional sales pitch. What further information do you feel you need at this time? Have I answered all your questions? Would it be okay to send you a free ‘Medicare 101’ guide? Asking questions like these communicates that you have your prospects’ best interest in mind and positions you as a valuable, go-to resource. In turn, potential customers will look to you to answer their questions, and you solidify your status as an authority in the field each time you do.
In closing, the age-old story The Hare & The Tortoise is probably a good analogy for Traditional Marketing versus Education-Based Marketing. Educational marketing is a slow and steady approach – results won’t be instantaneous. However, using education-based marketing, building relationships based on trust, providing value in each communication, following up with prospects & clients regularly, staying top of mind with your audience, and presenting solutions to your customers can pay huge long-term dividends in terms of both closing rates and referrals from lifelong clients. So, while you may not experience the short-term gains other agents who use traditional marketing might see, rest assured you’re likely setting a pace to win the race.
As a National Marketing Organization that works with thousands of independent agents, we understand you must generate leads in order to grow your business. That’s why we work diligently to provide the resources necessary for successful marketing. If this information is valuable and you want to know more about the services we provide our agent partners, please contact us at email@example.com or 888-745-2320.