What is eCollateral, and why is it an important aspect of insurance agency marketing in general and insurance agency leads specifically? Let’s begin with a definition of eCollateral. Marketing collateral is the collection of media used to support the sales of a product or service. This collateral is intended to make sales and marketing efforts more efficient and effective. Branding is usually incorporated in this type of collateral. eCollateral is the electronic version of marketing collateral, sometimes referred to as digital collateral or digital fulfillment.
Traditional, paper based insurance marketing collateral was always an integral part of an effective insurance agency marketing program, often tightly integrated to help produce insurance agency leads. Two decades ago, for example, agents would often “canvass” theirs prospects, snail mailing or physically dropping off targeted collateral. Today however, with so many agencies using web centric communication including personalized emailings, eMarketing campaigns and other web marketing initiatives, eCollateral is, or at least should be used far more often than traditional paper based collateral materials. And, of course, the eCollateral should be tightly integrated into an insurance agency or broker based marketing and lead handling process.
Many agencies do not have a well defined or documented lead handing process, and many agents still don’t have professional eCollateral to use for digital fulfillment. In the past, agents might have used the term “leave behind”, as they would leave behind an agency brochure after each sales call. Today, though there are still opportunities to do so, a significant portion of communication is email and web based, and quality eCollateral is a must for any agency.
As agencies invest more time and resources in digital marketing, including updated insurance agency websites, eMarketing, social media marketing, insurance SEO, blogs, ePublishing, and video to mention a few of the more common web marketing initiatives, it is important that agents evaluate their eCollateral offerings and integrate these into their insurance agency marketing and lead generation programs. This is often an underappreciated exercise, but it’s an extremely tactical important component for agents, and is something that can and should be used every day.
For example, let’s say that your agency received an inbound insurance agency lead. There can be many types of inbound leads, and they may cross over many types of products, from PLI to P&C to Benefits. Lead sources can be both traditional and digital, such as:
- Call in
- Web form
- Appointment Setting (Telemarketing Campaign)
- Response to email campaign
- Word of mouth
- Traditional Advertisement
- Pay per Click (PPC)
- Social Media
- Banner Ad
In this example, we’ll assume the inbound lead resulted for a web form which was filled out by a prospect from an email campaign. Your Producer called the prospect, qualified them and then scheduled an on-site meeting, for one week later. The next steps in the lead handling process are very important, require professional eCollateral, and should be well orchestrated. This Producer has an entire week to continue the rapport building process which was established in the initial conference call. It is an opportunity to demonstrate professionalism, credibility, organization, and attention to detail. He or she has one week to help set expectations for what should be a great first meeting. One example of a leading handling process which integrates eCollateral might look like this:
- Immediately email a professional Outlook invitation, including the agent’s contact information.
- 48 to 72 hours later, follow up with an email and attached eCollateral about the agency and/or specific solutions or information applicable to the prospect. This information should be professional and succinct. For example, a one or two page Company PDF or Case Study (or both). The Case Study should be directly applicable to the prospect’s needs, P&C, Benefits, PLI, etc. The eCollateral should be up to date, branded and convey the professionalism and value proposition of the agency.
- The day before the meeting, follow-up with a quick email, confirming the time, call in # or web meeting or other details.
This process would make sense for a meeting scheduled one week later, but would need modification if the meeting was scheduled closer to the initial conference call, or further out from the initial call. Regardless of the scheduling latency, a professional one or two page eCollateral PDF will help convey the professionalism and expertise of any agency and Producer. If your agency does not have a eCollateral content library for your producers, this should be a high priority marketing item.