If you are speaking to everyone, you are speaking to no one.
One of the biggest mistakes often made, not just by insurance agencies, but by businesses in general, is trying to speak to everyone in their marketing and sales messages. They figure, “if I cast a wide net, I will get more prospects.” Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The broader and more general the marketing message is, the fewer amounts of prospects you will actually attract. Worse, you will end up attracting the wrong type of prospects.
On the flip side, have you ever read an ad, marketing email, or watched a marketing video and said, “that’s me,” or “I feel like they were speaking to me directly”? If so, the marketer did a great job creating a message that targeted “you.” Great marketing and sales messages are written for a specific target market. Not for everyone.
For example, if you have watched a Subaru car commercial in the last few years, you can easily understand their target markets. They focus on families, dog lovers, and “outdoorsy” adventurers. In addition, they do a great job at story telling through humor, or tugging at your heartstrings, while subtly selling their key benefits such as, reliability and safety. If you related to these commercials, you are in their target market.
Here are the four and half steps to developing great marketing messages.
Step one: Know Your Target Market
The first step in crafting the right message is to know your target market. Remember the three Ms of marketing, Market, Message, and Media. Target market is step number one. In our last blog, Squirel!..., we discussed how to identify your target market. If you haven’t read it, I recommend reading that blog first before you read this one, and work through the target market worksheet. Remember, the further your drill down, the better your message will be.
For example, your target market may be families. Although this is a good starting point, it would be even better if you drilled down to:
You can drill down even further by ethnicity, profession and other demographics.
The point is, the further you drill down, the easier it will be to craft your message.
Step Two: Understand Your Target Market
The second step to crafting a great marketing message is to understand the psychology of your target market.
Returning to the example of the Subaru commercials, their ads that targeted families illustrate how they focused on the psychology of their target market. They knew their target market cared about the safety and reliability of their vehicles.
Through heartwarming story telling, one commercial told a story about a boy and a puppy growing up in the same car. Another commercial told the story of a dad cleaning out the car, finding memories of his daughter growing up, and ultimately handing the keys to her to pass down the car. One commercial told the story of “I’m Sorry,” as they showed teenagers calling their parents after they were in an accident. If you’ve never seen these commercials, go to their YouTube channel and take a look. See if you can narrow down their target market as you watch these commercials.
To better understand the psychology of your target market, the first step is to put yourself in their shoes. Start by ask the following questions:
A great exercise is to create your target market persona, or “avatar.” An avatar is essentially a person that represents your target market, but on a more personal basis. This will help you get deeper into the psychology of your target market. Using the above target market example for life insurance:
Target market avatar:
Status: Married to Jane with 2 kids (boy 4, girl 2)
Income: $63,000 individual, $131,000 combined
College: Univ. of Anytown
Location: 8 miles from the office
By creating this avatar, you start creating more personal messages because you are speaking to just one person, John. By speaking with John only, you are creating a more targeted personal message that will help attract everyone who is like John. You can take this one step further by creating one to two additional avatars that fall into your target market. Their concerns and problems many be slightly different, so your message will adjust according to their needs.
To help you with this process and to help you get dive deeper into your target market’s psychology, we have developed a marketing message crafting worksheet to assist you in creating the right message to your target market. You can download the worksheet here.
Step Two and a Half: Repel
Another critical component in developing marketing messages is to also understand who you don’t want to target, or who you want to “repel.” The goal isn’t to offend your unintended target, but rather have them say, “this isn’t for me,” so you don’t waste time or money on the wrong prospects.
For example, If you are that same life insurance agent and only want to sell to affluent individuals, then your marketing and sales messages should be focused on the affluent individual. By doing so, it will also repel the individuals who don’t fit your criteria. It’s not about generating more leads. It’s about generating the right leads.
A humorous example of this was the Geico TV ad that featured a “grandma” that was playing a candy crush game with a real hammer, crushing candies on the table. While it served its purpose of re-enforcing their slogan of “15 minutes can…”, it also demonstrated their target market isn’t the “grandma” or the technically challenged.
Even though the examples thus far have been TV ads, marketing messages are really for every medium you utilize. This means your website, social media, emails, brochures, elevator pitch, sales pitch, and anything else that’s communicated to your target market. Every medium you utilize, the message needs to be consistent and focused on your target market.
Step Three: Solve Your Target Market’s Problems
Remember, solving your clients problems isn’t about telling them all about you. It’s about leveraging your unique selling proposition and understanding the steps above and creating solutions for them. This doesn’t start during the sales process when you are finding the right coverage for them. This begins in the marketing messages you create when you are trying to attract your target market. This is what will separate you from the competition.
A good way to create messages that solve your target market’s problems is by addressing their questions or concerns. To flush these questions out, ask yourself:
You can go beyond five for each topic, but five should be the minimum starting point. By creating marketing messages that “answer” the most common questions your target market asks, you present yourself as an expert who can solve their problems.
By answering questions that should be asked, you not only demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, but also demonstrate to your target market that you care about their needs.
A word of caution: Speak in their language, not yours. Insurance has many industry terms and jargon. Don’t lose your audience before you even begin. Talk to them in the language they use and understand.
Step Four: Adjust and Repeat
Creating the right marketing message isn’t easy. Most likely, you won’t get it the first time, or even the second time. The right marketing message takes fine-tuning over time as you get to know your market better. Also, your target market may change or shift over time, so your marketing message will need to change with it.
Experiment with different message formats like story telling, client case studies, and other ways to share the message. In next week’s blog, we will dive into the third M of the three Ms of marketing, “Medium.” We will review the different ways you can deliver your messages to your target market.
Be patient and work the process. There are no shortcuts in marketing. Anyone that tells you that is trying to make a quick buck off of you. Download the checklist and work through the questions. It will help you get on your way to better understand your target market, and create the right messages to attract them.
As always, I love to hear from you and what you’ve done to craft great marketing messages in your agency. Please comment below.