Email vs. Social: Navigating Owned & Borrowed Media Strategies for Independent Insurance Agencies

Nicholas Ayers
Nicholas Ayers

Co-Founder @ Better Agency

In the digital era, the marketing landscape is a dynamic battleground where visibility and attention is king, and customer engagement is the currency. For the savvy owner of an independent insurance agency, the choice between building a solid, direct communication channel through email and SMS lists, and casting a wider net with the ever-popular social media platforms can be pivotal. It’s a decision that can shape your agency’s future: do you focus on media assets you own outright or do you invest time in spaces where your voice competes with millions of others?

At the heart of this decision is a simple yet profound question: Would you rather speak directly to a room full of engaged listeners or shout from the rooftops hoping your message reaches the right ears? In this article, we’ll dissect the pros and cons of owned media, like email and SMS lists, versus borrowed media, such as your agency’s social media presence. By understanding the benefits and potential pitfalls of each, you can make informed choices that could elevate your agency’s communication strategy, strengthen customer relations, and enhance your market presence.

What is the difference between owned and borrowed media, and how do they impact my insurance business?

Owned media refers to the communication channels you control, such as your email and SMS lists, while borrowed media includes platforms like Facebook or Twitter, where your presence is subject to their rules and algorithms. For an insurance agency, owned media is a direct line to customers, offering a stable foundation for customer relationships. Borrowed media, while far-reaching, can change overnight with a policy update, directly affecting your visibility and engagement with potential clients.

Understanding the distinction is crucial. Owned media assets are akin to building a home on land you own, whereas borrowed media is like renting a space—you can use it, but you can’t dictate the terms of its use. An insurance business must balance both to maintain a stable marketing presence that can withstand the whims of borrowed media’s changing landscape.

How can I use owned media like email and SMS lists effectively to grow my agency’s client base and retain current customers?

To use owned media effectively, begin by providing valuable content that addresses your clients’ needs and concerns, keeping them engaged and informed about insurance related topics. Personalization is key; use data to tailor messages, making clients feel understood and valued. For growing your client base, employ targeted campaigns that offer useful information or services relevant to prospects’ insurance needs. For retention, regular updates, birthday messages, and personalized policy reviews can keep your agency top of mind.

It’s also vital to respect your clients’ inboxes and phones. This means sending messages at appropriate intervals and making sure that each communication offers something of value, be it information, a service reminder, or a community update. This approach will not only help in retaining clients but also encourages them to share your content, thereby indirectly expanding your reach.

What are the risks of relying too heavily on social media for my agency’s online presence and marketing?

Putting too much stock in social media can lead to instability in your marketing strategy. If a social media platform changes its algorithm, your agency’s posts could suddenly receive less visibility, which can affect client acquisition and engagement. Also, the platform may decide to monetize certain features that were previously free, potentially increasing your marketing costs.

In addition, social media platforms have their own rules which, if violated—even unintentionally—could result in your agency’s account being suspended or banned. This volatility underscores the importance of having your own media channels, like an email list, where you have control and are not subject to the unpredictable shifts in social media policies and algorithms.

How do I measure the ROI of owned media versus borrowed media in my marketing strategy?

Measuring the return on investment (ROI) for owned and borrowed media involves tracking specific metrics that align with your business goals. For owned media, this could include email open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates—how many recipients take the desired action. These figures give you insight into the effectiveness of your content and targeting. For borrowed media, engagement metrics like likes, shares, and comments, as well as conversion rates from social media campaigns, are important to track.

It’s essential to attribute value to these metrics in a way that correlates with your agency’s objectives, whether that’s generating leads, closing sales, or retaining customers. By analyzing these metrics over time, you can make informed decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget to achieve the best results.

What’s an effective strategy that combines both owned and borrowed media to maximize my insurance agency’s visibility and engagement?

Creating a strategy that works with both owned and borrowed media starts with aligning both with your agency’s goals. Use social media to attract and direct potential clients to your owned media platforms where you can foster deeper engagement. For example, share snippets of compelling content on social media and offer the full read through on your blog, where you’ve got a newsletter sign up form. This not only boosts your visibility but also grows your email lists.

Remember, social media is perfect for timely announcements and engaging content that can capture new leads, while email and SMS can be used to nurture these leads into loyal customers. Always aim to move interested social media followers onto your email list, where you have more control over the conversation and a better chance to convert them into clients.

What are some cost-effective ways to build and maintain my agency’s owned media assets, like email lists, while ensuring compliance with regulations like CAN-SPAM Act?

Building and maintaining an email list doesn’t have to break the bank. Start by offering value through your website—think free resources, newsletters, or community events—in exchange for email sign-ups. Make sure your sign-up forms are simple and clear about what subscribers will get. Depending on your CRM or email marketing platform if they charge for the number of contacts in your system you might want to regularly clean up your email lists.

Compliance with regulations such as CAN-SPAM is non-negotiable. Always obtain explicit consent to send emails or texts, provide clear unsubscribe options, and be transparent about how you use subscribers’ data. By following these best practices, you protect your agency from hefty fines and maintain trust with your audience, which is invaluable.

Understanding and harnessing the power of both owned and borrowed media can transform your insurance agency’s marketing strategy from good to exceptional. While the journey to perfecting this balance is ongoing, it’s clear that the benefits are worth the effort. If you’re eager to get ahead and want a solution that fits the unique needs of your agency, why not discover what Better Agency can offer? Book a demo at the link below and see how our platform can elevate your insurance agency’s marketing efforts.

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