This is the final article in a seven-part weekly series, "Thriving During the Coronavirus," on how insurance agencies and companies should handle the pandemic and ways to work around new economic challenges.
I have carefully watched how local businesses I deal with have changed or improved their marketing during the pandemic.
My strong takeaway has been that businesses that have reached out in a personal way on a consistent basis – at least weekly, but sometimes more often – have been able to build more loyalty.
I am going to give you to some concrete examples of this with three local businesses where I live in Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Shifting to a New Business Model
The first is the most ambitious. This business has had to make a major shift from a three-location coffee shop to a curbside delivery and online retailer of custom-roasted coffees. The shop already did its own roasting, but it has moved to attempt to change its business model to a subscription basis. This is akin to you deciding to make your agency primarily an online sales organization.
The business is Little Waves. Part of their challenge in moving to an online retailer was a name change. They had been called Cocoa Cinnamon for years, but their move online triggered a copyright issue. Just the type of obstacle you need to pile on top of everything else.
They have used content formatted in multiple ways – emails, blog post, social media post – to tell their story and to keep in touch with customers. Here is their blog: littlewaves.coffee/blogs/news.
They have also added online classes: littlewaves.coffee/collections/education.
Read a few of their posts and notice how they tell wonderful stories that let you relate to their business. They bring you in and personalize your connection.
Now, I admit, your customers do not enjoy your insurance services every morning before they start their day the way Little Waves customers enjoy a cup of coffee. But that doesn’t mean you can’t provide a personal connection with your customers and prospects by telling similar stories – parables if you will – about how your insurance helped your customers in their everyday lives.
I am not suggesting you name names in telling these stories. Customer privacy is important in the insurance industry. I am suggesting you tell stories about examples which can relate to your customers experience which they may not connect with insurance or services you can offer.
Two quick examples – I am sure you will have more and better ideas:
Great Storytelling Works
Another really good example is Acme Foods. Their owner is a natural storyteller. He repurposes content for his blog in a weekly newsletter acmecarrboro.com/news/ that is something his readers have come to look forward to receiving. His short vignettes always bring up warm memories. Again, I admit your customers will not get the same pleasure from their car insurance policy as they may get from Acme’s Sangria, but focus on the storytelling, not the product.
Using Targeted Lists
My final example is Chapel Hill Wine Company. These folks have been doing multiple daily emails for a long time – way before the pandemic. I am using them for two reasons:
Check out their email newsletter archive: www.chapelhillwinecompany.com/newsletters/.
What You Learned
You may come away from this having learned only that I enjoy coffee, food and wine. Well, guilty.
I hope you come away from this with ideas of how to create stronger connections to your customers and prospects when you cannot take them out to lunch.
All the new habits and processes you form to deal with the changes being forced on you now are things which will hold long-term value for you and your business long after the pandemic has pasted. Take advantage of the change and opportunity and you will not only get through this well, you will thrive for years to come.
If you missed
"Part 1: How Your Insurance Agency Can Weather the Global Pandemic and Economic Downturn," click here.
"Part 2: How Your Insurance Agency Can Survive a Drop in Revenue Due to the Pandemic,” click here.
"Part 3: How Your Agency Can Thrive During the Pandemic and Avoid Layoffs," click here.
"Part 4: How Your Agency Can Thrive During the Pandemic by Playing Defense," click here.
"Part 5: How Your Agency Can Thrive During the Pandemic by Going on Offense," click here.
"Part 6: How Your Agency Can Thrive During the Pandemic by Becoming More Digitally Savvy," click here.