Why search for clients when you can get them to come to you?

You might actually need to do a bit of both. But, in healthcare, one should take precedence over the other.

Here’s why.

Marketing strategy has two principal categories: outbound and inbound.

Outbound involves more traditional customer outreach:

Hey! Come check out this cool product I’ve got!

Inbound involves a subtler, more symbiotic approach, utilizing value-based materials that guide the consumer toward your product or service.

I hear you’re facing an unexpected problem. My website has an article that might help!

Both strategies have merit, and marketers will often rely on a combination of the two.

But:

You’re in telehealth

Your business is providing solutions to healthcare challenges. Educational materials and gentle guidance are expected of you—and it’s only natural your marketing efforts would lean heavily on an inbound plan.

Also: People can be pretty skeptical when it comes to their health.

Aggressive outbound tactics, such as manipulative TV campaigns or disruptive pop-ups, can read as impersonal, creating unwanted distance between your practice and your audience. (Anyone searching for expert care won’t necessarily trust an overly persistent pitch.) 

So, while your ultimate marketing mix is up to you, an inbound strategy will no doubt take up a big portion of your program.

Inbound marketing has a proven track record, and its practice, by design, exudes empathy and professionalism—two of the most desired qualities in telemedicine.

What follows is a blueprint for building your inbound marketing plan for attracting patients and adopters to your service without the hard sell.

Get social

Sometimes the negative effects of social media outweigh its advantages.

This is not one of those times.

Inbound strategy is founded largely on organic engagement: unsolicited interactions between you and your most coveted consumers.

And with social media, you’re essentially served free interactive platforms on a platter.

Why wouldn’t you use them?

With 82% of the US population currently in possession of a social networking profile and 50% of those users employing social media as a research tool for products/services, it’s a safe bet a social media strategy can drastically increase your market reach.

This survey ranks social media among the top four most effective digital marketing methods.

Why is social media such a successful marketing channel?

Maybe because a lot of it is raw and unscripted, providing you with honest, in-the-moment feedback from real-life targets.

The infamous “like,” “favorite,” and “subscribe” buttons can give your practice near-instant insight into which types of content, events, announcements, or other telehealth offerings have the power to delight users and keep them engaged. Public comments and private DMs can also hone your inbound marketing technique by providing added perspectives on audience pain points and flagging areas of interest for potential telehealth consumers.

Social media provides you with honest, in-the-moment feedback from real-life targets.

Basically, social media is a no-brainer for your telehealth practice.

However, there are a few cardinal rules to remember:

1. Do your research before deciding on a platform (or two, or three…)
Depending on the age, location, and cultural background of your prospects, some social media platforms might be more impactful than others. Conduct patient polls and leverage your CRM to find out where your ideal audience spends the bulk of its online time. And don’t be afraid to mix and match your channels as needed.

2. Keep it current
Many social media platforms are biased toward high levels of engagement. (So, the more users who interact with your post, the more likely other people will get to see it on their respective feeds.) An easy way to encourage engagement is to focus on up-to-date topics, breaking news, or content related to the time of year. (Think: “Tips for avoiding heat exhaustion this summer” or “How to fight this winter’s flu strain.”)

3. Ask for feedback
Another way to encourage engagement is just to ask for it. Invite followers to weigh in on content or offer their comments and queries about telemedicine. A simple “What do you think?” at the end of a text post can spark an ongoing conversation and possibly even improve your rankings.

4. Set goalposts
Get a sense of the results you’d like to see before you get started. Are you aiming for a specific number of followers? A protracted increase in likes and shares? Define what social media success means to you ahead of time, so you can pivot to a new strategy if one or more channels come up short.

Build a catalogue of content

There’s no way around it: Content is the alpha and omega of your inbound strategy. It’s the bait and the hook: the most effective way to capture and maintain your audience.

How’s it done? Some basics first:

Content is any material that provides value for prospective customers, helps convey the benefits of your service, or both.  

While the word “blog” might spring instantly to mind here, valuable material can come in a myriad forms, including articles, white papers, eBooks, videos, podcasts, infographics, emails, newsletters, and more. There are no rules and no limits whatsoever in terms of the “what.”

But, as hinted above, it’s the “how” that gets tricky.

No matter the format, the best content should exhibit several qualities at once. It should be tantalizing but also informative; stylish but practical; engrossing but educational. Enough head-turning imagery and eye-catching headlines to generate clicks, blended with enough genuine, thought-provoking, problem-solving substance to lure prospects back for more.

Here are some tried and true strategies to help achieve this feat:

Hit the refresh button early and often.

News happens fast. Tastes change frequently. Trends come and go.

Make sure you keep your content front and center by deploying a rotating schedule of up-to-the-minute material. Examples include:

  • Update your blog at regular intervals with breaking industry news, relevant interviews, or expert editorials on developments in telehealth.
  • Post recent patient reviews detailing positive experiences from the past month or, even better, the past week. Prove to prospective clients your practice is open, thriving, and ready to welcome new patients.
  • Produce a series of videos, podcasts, or real-time webinars to tackle patient questions or discuss new happenings in medicine (tips on protecting against COVID variants, for example). Content series come with an in-built sense of anticipation and they inspire direct participation. Plus, real-time formats like webinars offer a huge advantage by giving you immediate access to your audience.
  • Craft educational materials such as white papers or eBooks to synthesize contemporary research and present it to patients and adopters in digestible terms. Expand on these assets as new industry findings become available; this will show your practice is well aware of current dialogues in the medical field.
  • Broadcast seasonal content featuring advice on staying healthy as the weather changes. Again, this can incite audiences to keep returning as new content becomes available.

Optimize what’s in your control.

Obviously, some pieces of content have a life of their own. Social media posts, for example, might generate comments you can’t edit for clarity or reconfigure for keyword targeting.

But for those items you can control, techniques for optimization will serve you well.

Chief among these is SEO (search engine optimization), the granddaddy of digital marketing.

SEO strategy is incredibly complicated (its many intricacies are beyond the scope of this post), but here are some points to consider when building your own SEO procedure:

  • Length
    Longer content can boost your search engine positioning. Shoot for 1000+ words for each long-form article, eBook, white paper, etc. Just remember to keep your text meaningful and succinct (readers can spot filler a mile away).
  • Keywords
    A comprehensive strategy for embedding applicable keywords (i.e., words frequently searched online and/or words uniquely pertinent to your desired audience) is a must for your inbound marketing plan. Keywords should be selected with care, paying special attention to specific benefits your practice has to offer, as well as to any localized vocabulary that can enhance geo-targeting (for smaller, community-based practices).

    Your selections should then be placed strategically throughout your text, leaving room for updates as necessary. (Note: A keyword analysis tool can help you spot shifts in customer search habits, allowing you to tweak your content and keep in step with consumer behaviors.)
  • Signals
    Different aspects of your content send different signals to search engines, ultimately providing information on your site’s perceived levels of quality and credibility. Such signals include links to your content from other domains (achievable via link or post exchanges with affiliated organizations or citations in digital news publications) and positive reviews you acquire on third-party platforms. In theory, the more signals you have, the greater your chances of moving up the search engine ladder.

Consider your consumers’ POV

It goes without saying your content should always speak to the needs of your prospects.

Materials should only cover information your target audience is actively invested in. They should likewise be guided by consumer research obtained through patient histories, user surveys, and customer analytics.  

But there’s more to it than that.  

You should also consider your audience’s preferred method of intake, in addition to how well your content is received over time. To do this:

  • Make sure each content asset incorporates a flexible design, viewable across all devices. (A video that can’t be formatted to a smartphone is as good as no video at all.)
  • Establish a system for tracking performance metrics: as in, how many people are reading, watching, or otherwise engaging with your content, and how often. (See our installment on telehealth websites for ideas on which metric markers to trace.)

Always keep “warm”

Once people begin to consume your content on a regular basis, what do you do with them all?

This is where lead nurturing comes in.

After you’ve hooked a possible client, he magically transforms from “unknown prospect” into “active lead.”

You’ve caught his eye. He’s no longer just a casual observer; he’s sincerely interested.

And interested parties will usually offer some sign they’re committed to getting to know your practice. They’ll give up their email address to download your latest white paper. Or they’ll sign up for text alerts using their cell number.

From this point on, your task is to keep your lead “warm” by getting in touch again and again.

Most marketing teams choose email campaigns as their primary game plan for warming or nurturing leads. This is mostly thanks to email automation tools that integrate seamlessly with customer databases and can send multiple personalized messages in one go.

And, since 78% of marketers report a definite uptick in email engagement over the last year, a robust email strategy will probably be well worth your time.

Some thoughts to keep in mind as you build your email campaigns:

  • The object of email is to remain front of mind. As with long-form content, “hot” topics will help you. Announcements for upcoming events, exclusive analysis of recent medical research, or in-house videos can assist in generating audience buzz.
  • Your master list of contacts should include patients both past and present. Unless a person has explicitly requested to unsubscribe from your emails, you should always keep them in the loop.

  • Less is more. 59% of consumers unsubscribe from an email list because they feel they’re receiving “too many emails.” Aim for a happy medium between “no emails at all” and “please stop sending messages.” Some initiative is good. Too much is not.
  • Calls-to-action (CTAs) are your friends. People need runway lights to get from A to B. Wherever possible, add an email postscript detailing digital “next steps” for the reader ( “Click to hear our latest podcast episode” or “Sign up for tomorrow’s webinar”).
               

Take it offline

Up to this point, we’ve talked about inbound marketing as a purely digital strategy.

But the truth is, inbound can also benefit from good old-fashioned legwork.

That’s right: It might be worthwhile to get out and meet real people.

Or at least provide them with real, physical outreach materials.

Many of your potential adopters will likely be older individuals—meaning they’ll probably have more reasons to seek healthcare, but less of an inclination to communicate digitally.

The key is to meet prospects where they’re most comfortable. And, in some cases, they might be more responsive to a flyer in their mailbox than a message in their inbox.

As part of your broadscale market research, you should understand your consumers’ general profiles. Information surrounding demographics such as:  

  • where your prospect lives
  • how old your prospect is
  • whether your prospect has a family

And preferences like:

  • what services your prospect is looking for
  • what hobbies your prospect has
  • which businesses/organizations your prospect is attracted to

will help in brainstorming channels for interpersonal connection offline.   

If your practice is mostly local, you might want to explore partnerships with community centers (schools, gyms, houses of worship, etc.) or popular hangouts (bookstores, coffeehouses, theaters, and the like) to garner support. See, if any of these organizations are willing to host an evening of telehealth trials, a talkback with a neighborhood specialist, or a kiosk featuring telemedical literature.

However, if you’re looking to cast a wider net, these tactics might not be all that practical.

In fact, if you’re hoping to reach potential users on a massive or even national scale, inbound marketing shouldn’t be your only play.

You might want to go bigger: which means you might want to branch out.

The next installment in this 5-part series will cover useful tips for outbound marketing in telehealth and help acclimatize your practice to the world of external advertising.


This is the third of a 5-part series. You can read the others here:

In the past few months, the Indian lending ecosystem has witnessed many new pacts between banks and NBFCs. Experts believe that these co-lending/co-origination pacts will help lenders improve their credit outreach and significantly extend accessibility for many underserved borrowers in the country. 

According to a report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Indian MSME segment faces a credit deficit of nearly $240 Bn.

(Source: https://accaindia.co.in/contenthub/Articles/images/ACCA_june.pdf)

Another emerging challenge to Indian lenders was highlighted by the Chairman of SBI, Mr. Dinesh Khara, when he called on the banking sector to increase their green lending activities to invest in sectors like renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure, while simultaneously helping other sectors like agriculture, to mitigate the effects of climate change.

To address the challenge of the rising credit gap within the underserved economy, RBI has introduced this new model of partnership between banks and NBFCs.

In this article, we will decode the Co-Lending Model (CLM) and why it can become a key to winning more market share for Indian lenders.

Introduction to CLM

What is Co-lending?

Co-lending is an arrangement where banks and non-banks (NBFCs) can form agreements and engage in priority sector lending.

In India, RBI proposed a framework for co-lending, known as the co-lending model (CLM), in 2020. According to the master directions from RBI, financial institutions must direct 40% of all lending activities towards priority sectors as they contain many credit-starved borrowers. The list includes:

  • Agriculture
  • MSME
  • Export Credit
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Social Infrastructure
  • Renewable Energy

Although Indian banks have ample funds and can offer loans at significantly lower rates, stringent regulations and poor outreach infrastructure hamper their ability to extend credit to the unorganized segments (that also contain many borrowers in these priority sectors). NBFCs, on the other hand, due to their agile nature and less stringent regulation, enjoy greater penetration into the market.

While NBFCs usually have agile frameworks, they can still suffer from liquidity crises.

An example of such a situation was the 2018 IL&FS crisis. It was fueled primarily by the lack of asset and liability management (ALM).

The crisis was a wake-up call for many NBFCs to create an adequate pool of credit. Additionally, to ensure that there aren’t any future liquidity crises, RBI in 2019 issued guidelines for all NBFCs to build a Liquidity Risk Management Framework. It would create a more regulated flow of credit and would result in improved credibility of NBFCs.

In this next section, you will find out about requirements for banks and NBFCs to enter into the CLM.

How does co-lending work?

How does CLM work

Banks and NBFCs were forming pacts to pursue new markets well before the introduction of CLM. Previously, RBI had released a notification on 21st Sept 2018 titled Co-origination of loans by Banks and NBFCs for lending to priority sector highlighting rules and regulations for the parties involved in co-lending.

On 5th Nov 2020, RBI released another notification titled Co-Lending by Banks and NBFCs to Priority Sectorthat served as a revision to the 2018 directions. 

Under this new version, all NBFCs (including HFCs) can enter co-lending pacts with partner banks. RBI mandated that some bank categories under Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) cannot enter co-lending pacts with NBFCs. These banks include:

  • Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)
  • Small Finance Banks (SFBs)
  • Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs)
  • Local Areas Banks (LABs) 

Here’s what you need to know about CLM 

  • The bank/NBFC involved must formulate a board-approved policy that shall contain all the details regarding the exercise. The master agreement must be audited periodically, internally, and externally. The agreement must ensure adherence to the laid-out guidelines. Also, banks shall not enter a co-lending arrangement with any NBFC belonging to their promoter group. 
  • 80% of the total credit risk under this model shall be on the bank’s loan book and the NBFC should bear the rest 20% of the risk. While engaging in the activity, inter-alia, the partner bank must adhere to the outsourcing guidelines and not outsource its part of the credit sanction to the NBFC.
  • The participants will pool all their funds required for lending activity within an escrow account – same for repayment.
  • For customers, the NBFC/HFC shall be the interface for all activities. The partner bank can choose to undertake its share of the loans in two ways:
    • During the formulation of the master agreement, the bank can choose to mandatorily take their share of loans and conduct the required due diligence to check if the prospective borrower matches their risk appetite or not. Banks must conduct the screening in adherence to all EKYC and AML guidelines laid out by the RBI.
    • The other arrangement is for the NBFC to disburse 100% of the loan amount and then present the case to the bank. The bank can then ‘cherry-pick‘ these cases and finance them accordingly. This arrangement will be akin to a direct assignment transaction. The partner bank must adhere to the terms mentioned in the guidelines on Transactions Involving Transfer of Assets through Direct Assignment of Cash Flows and the Underlying Securities while taking the loans in its portfolio.
  • A co-lender can assign loans to a third party only with consent of the other partner lenders.

Also, at any time:

  • The NBFC must have the ability to generate a unified statement for any customer via the appropriate information sharing mechanisms with the partner bank.
  • The interest rates charged to the borrowers will be all-inclusive interest. It means that the partner bank/NBFC can mutually decide, and charge interest based on their risk appetite.
  • The lenders must disclose all the details of their arrangement upfront to the customer and take explicit consent before signing them up.
  • Lenders must set up a robust grievance redressal mechanism. Any complaints against the participating entities must be resolved within 30 days. If not addressed, the borrower can escalate the issue with the concerned Banking Ombudsman/Ombudsman for NBFCs or the Customer Education and Protection Cell (CEPC) in RBI.
  • Both the banks and the NBFCs must create and implement a business continuity plan to ensure uninterrupted service to their borrowers till repayment of the loans under the co-lending agreement or in the event of termination of co-lending arrangement between the co-lenders.

What are the challenges associated with CLM?

Although CLM has many benefits, there are a few challenges in the model that can reduce its efficacy. For instance, there are challenges in the way banks can undertake loans from NBFCs. We earlier mentioned that it can be done in either two ways:

  1. By mandatorily taking their share of loans per the guidelines from the Master agreement from the partner NBFCs and then conducting due diligence
  2. By choosing their share per convenience from the basket of loans that the NBFCs have financed already

If we go by the first approach, there lies a risk in increasing the overall timeline of the journey. While banks can, in theory, rely upon the NBFCs to perform required checks. But if they choose to conduct these checks themselves with their relatively stricter due diligence (which banks prefer usually to avoid bad loans), it can overturn the advantages that NBFCs bring to this partnership.

In the second approach wherein the loan takeover by the partner bank is akin to digital assignment transaction, there are many aspects that pose operational challenges for the model. In order for this partnership to become successful, banks must address these challenges first. Some of these include – adherence to direct assignment guidelines, security creation and recovery, the takeover of loans and credit enhancement.

Thus, both the partner bank and NBFC will have to shape their policies in a way to maximize the flexibility of this arrangement while keeping in mind the convenience of the borrower.

What are the benefits of CLM?

CLM brings many benefits to the lending ecosystem. For example,

  • It helps improve the relationship between banks and NBFCs.
  • Creates a room for NBFCs to raise funds swiftly.
  • Allows banks to enjoy greater flexibility while allocating more funds to underserved markets.
  • Provide greater operational flexibility and bring down the loan interest rates to increase access to credit for millions of underbanked borrowers.
  • Allow HFCs to enter co-origination pacts with banks (note that this was not allowed in the 2018 version of the co-origination framework).
  • Borrowers can enjoy competitive interest rates, highly affordable loans, and access to higher loan amounts.

How can Digital improve the efficacy of CLM?

How Digital Innovation can Improve CLM

Over the last two years, India’s digital infrastructure has seen many innovations such as UPI, Digi-locker, e-KYC, e-Sign, OCEN, Account Aggregators, and more that have vastly improved the odds of success for CLM.

Now, the overall efficacy of CLM depends on the achievement of KPIs such as increasing the accuracy of credit profiling, lowering the cost of borrowing, faster TATs, minimal credit risk, higher operational flexibility, convenient repayment schedule, and more. A robust digital stack can help co-lenders create a truly paperless process that will significantly bring down the overall application processing time.  

For example, LeadSquared hosts many capabilities to support co-lending needs such as:

  • One time API integration to simplify the flow of data between multiple lending partners
  • Rich data analytics and reporting to give you a 360-degree view into the customer lifecycle journey
  • Workflow Builder to build highly flexible and agile borrower journeys in just a few clicks
  • Straight Through Processing (STP) for an end-to-end automated and completely paperless journey
  • Partner Onboarding and Management for a seamless co-lending experience
  • A robust Debt Recovery platform to minimize loan delinquencies and maximize collections
  • Pre-screening functionality with checks such as Aadhar, PAN, CIBIL, Experian, and more

For example, Profectus Capital, a leading Indian NBFC was able to increase its funnel quality by over 70% using pre-screening capabilities offered by LeadSquared. Also, they were able to achieve 60% higher process efficiency and optimize their spending on DSAs by nearly 55%.

A robust tech stack will ensure that banks and NBFCs can make the most of their co-lending partnership and maximize the financial inclusion of the Indian borrowers.

Before we wrap up, let us look at some of the co-lending pacts signed in 2021. 

List of Co-Lending pacts signed in 2021

Co-lending-pacts-in-2021

2021 saw many banks (majorly public sector) and NBFCs come together to bridge the credit gap in the underserved segment. Housing finance and SME finance deals comprise nearly half of all new deals made in 2021. Here’s the list of the co-lending deals in 2021 so far. 

Co-lending Deals Between Banks and HFCs

  • Yes Bank – PNB Housing Finance
  • Yes Bank – Indiabulls Housing Finance
  • Central Bank of India – Indiabulls Housing Finance
  • Central Banks of India – IIFL Home Finance
  • Indian Bank – Indiabulls Housing Finance
  • Indian Bank – IIFL Home Finance
  • Punjab National Bank – IIFL Home Finance
  • Punjab & Sind Bank – Indiabulls Home Finance

Co-lending Deals Between Banks and SME Finance NBFCs

  • Bank of Baroda – U GRO Capital
  • IDBI Bank – U GRO Capital
  • Bank of India – MAS Financial Services

Other Co-lending Deals

  • SBI – Paisalo Digital
  • Yes Bank – WheelsEMI
  • SBI – Vedika Credit Credit Capital Ltd. 
  • Indian Bank- Indiabulls Commercial Credit
  • SBI- Save Microfinance
  • Karur Vysya Bank – Chola Financial Services
  • IndusInd Bank – Indel Money
  • Prest Loans – U GRO Capital
  • MAS Financial Services – CredAvenue
  • Zip Loan – U GRO Capital

Conclusion

There is a rising credit demand in priority sectors that needs to be addressed.

The formalized framework of CLM supports and enables banks and NBFCs to cooperate and enjoy many benefits that were not available to them previously like greater penetration and swift access to funds.

By introducing CLM, RBI has already taken a positive step towards complete financial inclusion. It is now up to the lenders on how they can make this a successful initiative.

To make the most of their CLM partnerships, lenders must implement the right policies and use digital lending tools for agile operations.

To understand how LeadSquared Lending CRM can help supercharge your co-lending process, check out the free trial now!


FAQs

How can NBFCs raise funds for lending?

There are multiple ways by which NBFCs can raise funds. Here are a few:
– Loans from banks – usually long term but low-interest loans
– Raise funds via Non-convertible Debentures (NCDs)
– Via Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
– By issuing commercial paper for short term loans
– By co-lending with banks
– Through Bonds
– By securitization of assets

What is Priority Sector Lending?

Sectors in the market that do not receive adequate and timely credit are classified as Priority Sectors by the RBI. Any lending activity to these sectors falls under Priority Sector Lending. Since these are heavily underserved/underbanked, RBI has mandated Indian Banks to direct 40% of all lending activities into them. A few examples of such sectors are Agriculture, Education, Renewable Energy, MSMEs, Housing, etc.

In our last post, we talked about why starting a blog can be important for insurance agents. Adding a blog to your website helps you reach your target audience online and establishes you as an authority in your field. Consumers today are searching for their insurance products online, so having a digital presence is more important than ever.

If you’re new to blogging, generating topics can be the hardest part. Here are 12 insurance blogging ideas that you can use to get started.

1. Focus on a specific type of insurance

Many consumers have some basic knowledge of insurance, but don’t really understand the different types of policies and how they work. A great place to start with your blog is to focus on a specific type of insurance and do a deep dive into how it works and why your customers should buy it. This is a particularly effective way to explain complex products that consumers may not already be familiar with.

2. Answer your FAQs

Keep getting the same question over and over again on a specific topic? Turning frequently asked questions (FAQs) into a blog post is a great way to clear things up for both new and returning customers. A lot of other people likely have the same question and are searching for answers online, so these posts can be very effective for search engine optimization (SEO).

3. Discuss a current event

Current news stories or trends make excellent blog post ideas. Talking about local news stories is a great way to connect with your local customer base, but you can also talk about broader national or global events. For example, many people have wondered how COVID-19 will affect their health insurance, and a blog post could be a good place to address that.

4. Feature a new product or service

If your agency is offering a new type of insurance, a blog post is a great place to promote it. You can explain how the product works, the benefits of it, and how to sign up.

5. Clear up common insurance myths

There are a lot of myths about insurance out there, and you can use your blog to clear them up. Not only are insurance myths confusing, but they can actually prevent your customers from getting the coverage they need. A blog post addressing a common insurance myth builds credibility with readers and shows you care about them.

6. Discuss location-specific issues

Consider blog topics that are specific to your geographic insurance market. One effective way to do this is with weather-related topics. For example, if you serve a market in the southeastern United States, you could talk about the types of insurance coverage you need for hurricane protection.

7. Partner with local businesses or events

In the same vein, you can use your blog posts to partner with other businesses in your area and talk about local events. For example, if your agency is sponsoring a local festival, you can discuss the event in general and give a shout-out to the other companies that are participating. This is a great opportunity to cross-post on social media and reach new customers.

8. Go step-by-step

Sometimes simple is very effective when it comes to your blog content. There are many aspects of insurance that can seem very complex to the average consumer. A blog post is a great opportunity to provide step-by-step how-to guides to make things easier for your clients. Some examples here could be how to file an insurance claim or how to renew your insurance policy.

9. Share your best tips and tricks

Consumers are always looking for ways to make life a little bit easier. You can translate this into a blog post by sharing a list of tips related to the type of insurance that you provide. If you specialize in life insurance, you could share a list of healthy living tips geared toward older adults. If you focus on car insurance, you can share safe driving tips. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and share tips that your customers might not have considered before.

10. Feature your team members

If you want to make your agency feel a bit more approachable, consider featuring a standout team member in your posts. There are many different ways that you can approach this. You can have your team member share some of their unique insurance knowledge or tips, or you can feature some of the work that they’ve been doing recently. This can be particularly effective for team members that have won awards, completed additional training, or are involved in their community.

12. Structure your posts around holidays and seasonal changes

If you’re struggling with writers’ block when developing a blog post, consider any seasonal challenges that your customers might encounter. Winter-proofing your home, car, or business is a common challenge for many people and can be an excellent blog topic. You can also talk about specific holiday traditions and how they affect insurance coverage or claims.

13. Feature a major client

This could be a very effective approach for insurance companies that work with corporate clients. If you have a long-term client who has continuously used your services, you can feature them in a blog post. Not only does this give your business a very positive review, but you can use this as an opportunity to cross-promote to your clients’ audience as well.

Source: https://www.chubb.com/why-chubb/our-stories.html

These are just a few blog ideas that you can use to help your insurance agency stand out online. Don’t be afraid to really get creative and tackle new topics that are most important to your audience.

The traditional academic path to “adulthood” generally goes: graduate high school, go to college, and get a job.

But in these changing times, high school graduates look at the next phase of their lives in various ways. 

While heading to college after high school is still the preferred option for many students, there’s been a steadily growing interest in several other post-high school options, including the military, vocational schools, paid apprenticeships, and entering the workforce.

Today’s high school students also appear to be much more comfortable with taking time after high school to explore their options. For many, that means taking a gap year, traveling, or spending time volunteering for causes they care deeply about.

In fact, the number of Americans who consider college to be very important steadily decreased from 70% in 2013 to just over 50% in 2019.

Gallup

Additional surveys indicated Covid-19 shutdowns have further lowered public confidence in the importance of attending college after graduating from high school.

Shifting marketing resources to meet a changing world

Higher education institutions spend a significant amount of time, effort, and money marketing their programs to those considered “non-traditional” students.

However, considering the recent downturn in annual college enrollment numbers, most colleges and universities have found themselves increasing the proportional share of their marketing budget typically earmarked for traditional recruitment of high school students. In other words, many colleges and universities are finding it more and more difficult to connect with and recruit their traditional Generetion Z core audience.”

Consider A 2019 report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center which showed college enrollment of “traditional students” has decreased by 13% over the last 10 years. This downward trend is expected to see an additional 15% decrease over the next four years, in large part, a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the continuing trend of declining student enrollment, the negative effects of COVID-19, and the rapidly shifting views surrounding the importance of attending college right after high school, colleges and universities find themselves not only allocating additional time, resources, and funding toward recruiting today’s high school students, but also trying to connect with these students in new and effective ways.

Effective digital marketing strategies to reach high school students

Marketing your college or university to high school students requires that you know your students and go where they are. To put it very simply, your prospective students are online and mobile!

86% of today’s high school students own an iPhone and spend anywhere from 6 to 9 hours each day using it! 

1. Understand what today’s prospective students care about

From a prospective college student’s point of view, deciding on a college or university is really about finding a school that’s right for them. When marketing to your future prospects, it’s essential to understand what they care about most. For some students, the right fit is about future opportunities and career viability, while for others it’s about finding a supporting culture with values similar to their own. For others still, it all comes down to the tuition and fees.

The point is colleges and universities need to show students all of the exciting opportunities their campuses have to offer them. To do this effectively, higher education organizations need to create and fine-tune the messaging surrounding the value they offer while also using a variety of ways to communicate with them.

2. Leverage the influence of high profile and successful alumni

Remember, students watch more than they read. In many cases, the benefits offered by your institution are best conveyed by alumni. High-profile alumni, like actors, singers, professional athletes, and even social media influencers, are an added bonus! 

Work closely with your alumni networks to identify former graduates who are willing to be brand ambassadors for your university, then use the power of name and brand recognition by mentioning the achievements of alumni in your content efforts.

When possible, take this opportunity to the next level by partnering with high-profile alumni to endorse your school in your marketing campaigns.

3. Harness the power of the right social media platforms

Many colleges don’t recognize students rely on social media as an integral part of their college search process. Students spend an average of 5 to 7 hours a day engaged in online entertainment, with the majority of this time spent on social media.

The social media channels teens use today constantly evolves. It’s important to point out, when researching colleges, today’s incoming college students use a variety of social media platforms that are very different from the ones they use for daily entertainment purposes.

For example, according to the RNL 2021 High School E-Expectation report, up until last year, Facebook and YouTube continued to be the primary social media platforms students considered most useful for college planning. However, in the last year, high school students report that Instagram has become the preferred social media platform for their college search needs.

In addition, while teens tend to use Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok for their daily entertainment purposes, they prefer to use Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter as part of their college search process.   

4. Publish useful content

As important as it is to use the right social media platform, it’s equally important to post the content your prospects are looking for. Prospective students report social media platforms are most helpful when they are initially trying to learn more about a college and right after they’ve read about the college on a website or from something they’ve received in the mail.

The most compelling social media content, according to high school seniors graduating in 2021, includes photos, videos, student takeovers, invitations to virtual activities, and livestream events. 

While livestream events appear slightly lower on the list of the most compelling social media content, it’s important to point out the number of students who report watching livestream events from colleges and universities has doubled over the last two years—a clear sign of the growing importance of live streaming as an effective tool for introducing your campus to interested students.

5. Follow up the way your prospects prefer

As we learn more about what the post-pandemic world looks like, it’s evident parents and students are going to require a combination of virtual and in-person communication. Considering this, it’s imperative to provide students and their families with simple and convenient ways to communicate with the college admissions office.

While virtual meetings over platforms like Zoom are effective ways to meet and interact with families, surveys of high school seniors show that sending and receiving emails with admissions advisors, especially if the email offers videos, surveys, and other interactive tools, remains their preferred method of communication. 

Interestingly, 90% of students also indicate they are open to using text messaging as a way to communicate before, during, and after the enrollment process. Additionally, live chat features are becoming increasingly popular, with 80% of students reporting that they find live chats to be helpful in learning more about a school.

Build relationships with your future students

Transitioning your marketing strategy to include proven digital strategies specifically designed to build interactive relationships with prospective high school students and their families is an essential step in meeting the enrollment goals of your college or university.


Your telehealth website is your digital home.

And, as with any real-life residence, your website behaves as a social and cultural touchstone.

The chief messenger of who you are and what you do.

An integral part of your branding.

The virtual “welcome mat” you roll out for all your patients and users.

Translation?

A dull, disorganized, or mismanaged site can yield fewer visitors at your virtual “door,” and can ultimately hinder the growth of your practice.

Let’s consider some stats:

  • A user can determine whether they “like” your website in just 5/100ths of a second.
  • 38% of consumer surfers will leave a website if they find the layout “unattractive,” while 88% consider themselves “less likely” to revisit a website after a subpar experience.
  • Between 40 and 60% of surveyed consumers are looking for expanded virtual health solutions such as 360° digital “front door” services that facilitate a seamless, point-to-point patient journey.

These findings suggest a website on its own just won’t cut it: it has to be engaging enough to compel users to stay. (Which makes sense: Why would anyone trust you with their wellbeing if they can’t trust you to run a beautiful, optimally functioning site?)

A website on its own doesn’t cut it: it has to be engaging enough to compel users to stay.

Plus, there’s the practical element.

A website can also serve as the primary tool for supporting crucial telehealth components, including (but not limited to):

  • Appointment and prescription management
  • Electronic health record (EHR) access and updates
  • Paperwork/consent form filing
  • Email Q&A with doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, etc.

Ultimately, a website is fundamental to your telehealth program as well as your efforts to build an audience.

But what makes a telehealth website? And, more importantly, what makes a telehealth website great?

1. UX

Admittedly, “user experience” (UX) is a fairly broad term, encompassing a wide range of website functionality.

That said, it’s also the point from which all website success ebbs and flows—and the underlying premise upon which your entire site will be judged.

As a result, there’s no shortage of things to think about when crafting a captivating interface. The non-negotiables are:

A welcoming design

Not that your website needs to generate a warm and fuzzy feeling per se, but it does need a sleek, responsive design that’s easy on the eyes (and brain). With most users making split-second decisions on whether they want to engage with a site at all, your webpages should be instantly alluring and should entice users to get clicking as soon as possible.

Some ideas on how to do this include:

  • Use videos and images to enhance visual stimulation.
  • Be consistent when it comes to logos, grammar, spacing, etc.

An approachable interface

Run a quick search for “UX best practices” and you’ll undoubtedly come across words like “seamless,” “intuitive,” and “accessible.”

Allow me to synthesize:

Your webpages should be sensitive to users and easy to navigate––putting all applicable information on full display.

Ways to streamline interface interaction include:

  • Implement plans for mobile optimization to make your site cleanly readable––and easily navigable––on personal tablets and phones. (85% of Americans already own a smartphone, so odds are someone will try to access your site on a small screen.)
  • Cut out the middleman wherever you can. Investigate asynchronous tools such as digital intake forms, screening surveys, or bot-powered Q&As. These can save patients and staff extra time and energy ahead of telehealth appointments.
  • Integrate whenever possible. Your website should play well with other solutions like point-of-sale software, patient databases, or office calendars. Make sure your web developers can incorporate these types of services into your overall site design.

Definitive calls to action

You’ve successfully attracted a user to your telehealth website. Well done!

Now the real work begins.

Once someone arrives at your site, they’ll be looking for a clear sign as to what to do next.

Avoid customers getting lost in the digital wilderness by asking yourself about ideal next steps in your consumers’ journey. After a visitor has landed on your site, are you hoping they’ll sign up for your newsletter? Watch a YouTube video about your award-winning staff? Schedule a telehealth consultation?

Whatever you decide, be sure to leave obvious breadcrumbs for your user and lead them directly to the finish line. Create unmissable calls to action (CTAs) so visitors will know exactly how to proceed. (Think: “Sign up for blog alerts here” or“Get in touch via the form below.”)

2. Compliance

You deal in healthcare, so you know the drill.

Any processes involving personal/protected health information (PHI) fall under the jurisdiction of federal laws governing health record liability and security.

Your website is no different.

Any site you build should feature applications that are 100% compliant with legal standards. Bear in mind these standards can (and will) change over time, so part of your job will be to stay up to date on any legislative developments.

As of 2021, proper website procedures require compliance with (among others):

  • The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), effective as of 2003, which includes guidelines for patient data confidentiality.
  • The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) of 2009, which puts teeth in HIPAA’s privacy laws, further extending them to electronic data.
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) criteria for EHR.

When constructing your telehealth website, be sure developers are aware of these requirements and know how to execute them appropriately. If you’re planning on outsourcing your web development, ask your provider about compliance features such as data anonymization and encryption services before proceeding (veteran telehealth web designers like Cardinal and Topflight will ensure these functions come standard).

3. Content

A full calendar of well-written, informative, and meticulously researched content is a necessary cog in your website machinery.

In fact, content is an indispensable piece of your overall inbound marketing strategy: a practice that relies on substantive, educational materials to bring curious consumers to you, rather than trying to force the issue by deploying less palatable, “in-your-face” advertising. [More on inbound marketing in our next installment.]

A full calendar of well-written, informative, meticulously researched content is a necessary cog in your website machinery.

Start thinking about how your practice can best offer genuine insight and actionable advice to patients and providers who have lingering questions about telehealth.

Some examples:

  • A weekly blog highlighting up-and-coming telehealth industry techniques and devices (there’s evidence such articles can pack a bigger punch than normal ads)
  • A video series hosted by in-house specialists to address patient FAQs
  • A podcast featuring interviews with nurses, technicians and other staff.


Whichever type of content you choose (and you can choose several), remember the point is to demonstrate credibility in your field and to provide website visitors with impactful information they probably won’t find anywhere else.

Such content programming results in a win-win for everyone concerned:

  • Patients and providers get real-world guidance surrounding telehealth practices and the latest in telemedical news, while at the same time…
  • Your marketing team establishes your website as a go-to authority, drawing potential customers into your orbit and––by extension––exposing them to the many advantages of your service.

Put in more traditional marketing terms: Your content marketing efforts help push prospective clients further down the “sales funnel,” coaxing them from the proverbial “awareness” stage to “consideration.”

But keep in mind: It’s likely you’ll need an extra team (or teams) to help you with all this content output.

Depending on your budget and chosen media, it might be a good idea to begin researching potential candidates for blog writers, videographers, and/or graphic designers to help round out your content lineup.

Keep in mind too: You’ll also need at least one teammate who’s well versed in search engine optimization (SEO) practices.

This team member should advise on trending industry web searches (to generate ideas for future content); optimal keywords usage (to appeal to target users); and best-practice formatting, all of which can help boost your web rankings. These SEO hallmarks are critical to website operations, if only because SEO has the power to increase your traffic by a factor of 10 (over organic social media posts).

Bottom line: SEO brings more eyes to your site. And more eyes mean more chances to expand your telehealth practice.

4. Metrics

Traffic volume and traffic quality aren’t the same thing.

Website performance metrics are essential for understanding what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and what you should do going forward to capture the hearts of your most sought-after patients and users.

As such, your web strategy should always embed mechanisms for tracing key engagement markers such as:

  • Scroll depth
    How far a visitor makes it through a specific page on your site.
  • Bounce rate
    The share of visitors who “bounce” back to Google after spending only a small amount of time on your site.
  • Downloads
    The number of people who downloaded a piece of gated material you provided.
  • Views
    The number of times someone watched your video(s).
  • Appointments made
    The number of visitors who chose to sign up for a telehealth session via your site.

Such data can provide a much-needed heads up on how well your website is retaining audience attention.

It can also help inform your next moves.

Notice a lot of visitors aren’t moving past your homepage? Maybe think about reconfiguring the design. Got a blog post no one’s reading? Delete it and avoid posting any similar subject matter for a while.

Let your metrics be the strongest driver of content edits, updates, or changes.

Last but most assuredly not least, metric analysis is a must because it can guide you through your overarching inbound marketing plan: your top-to-bottom program for bringing new patients and adopters to your doorstep (as opposed to the other way around).

Which, as you’ve probably guessed, involves a lot more than just a website.

Note…

Yes, we have a telehealth series going here. Next up: an in-depth discussion of inbound strategy… and why your telehealth practice won’t get far without one.  


This is the second of a 5-part series. You can read the others here:

  • Why You Need a Telehealth Marketing Plan
  • Why Your Telehealth Website Has to Be Amazing (and How to Get It That Way)
  • Inbound Marketing Strategies for Telehealth Practices
  • Outbound Marketing Strategies for Telehealth Practices
  • The Telehealth Tools You Need to Power Effective Growth Marketing
  • It takes a robust digital marketing strategy to stand out in the crowded field of insurance sales. And, of course, you want to be found when prospective clients turn to the Internet when they’re looking for a new insurance policy.

    Does your website feature a blog? Let’s look at why it should—and some tips for getting started.

    What are the benefits of blogging for insurance agents?

    Let’s start with a strong foursome:

    1. Builds authority and trust

    Your blog will showcase your agency’s expertise and knowledge to help foster the trust you need to bring new clients aboard. Many potential customers have very minimal knowledge of insurance, and they want to make sure they can trust their insurance agents.

    Well-written blog posts featuring helpful information about insurance coverage helps convince potential customers you know your stuff. You can begin to build the trust it takes to make a sale even before the customer meets you.

    This post from Ethos Life is simply about answering questions for those considering term life insurance.

    2. Grows your online presence

    Your blog grows your website, and with it, your digital presence. If you create just one post per week (we’ll give you 2 weeks off), you expand your site by 50 pages a year. That gives search engines, social media users, and other publishers 50 reasons to send traffic your way.

    Your blog content gives you much (or all) of what you need to publish and distribute authority-building content via popular channels including social media and email. You can even automate the distribution of the additional media. Marketers refer to this tactic as “repurposing.” Fifty posts per year gives you a lot of content to experiment with.

    Additionally, your blog can drive traffic to your website with an effective SEO strategy. A potential client could find your business just by conducting a search with a simple question about insurance.

    Potential clients are going to Google to ask the questions you’re capable of answering.

    3. Develops your “why”

    Renaissance Alliance writes (paraphrased), “The process of blogging gets you and your staff to think creatively about how to tell your agency’s story in fresh ways—particularly to younger audiences.”

    You might think of that as developing your “why.”

    4. Injects a human touch

    “A blog can help make your website and business more personal,” writes Scott Smith. He suggests publishing some blog posts about your agents and how your agency is contributing to your community.

    This blog post actually covers 21 benefits of blogging—including some that overlap with our top four—but here are a few others worthy of mentioning:

    • Connect with partners—Blogging allows you to connect and team up with influencers and leaders who can be instrumental in building your business.
    • Grow your email database—Your blog should inspire people to opt into your email newsletter list.
    • Get (and stay) customer focused—By blogging, you’ll learn how to speak in your customers’ terms, perpetually improve this vital skill, and grow more in touch with your audience’s wants and needs.
    • Generate publicity—As mentioned, business bloggers establish authority. Stick with it and demonstrate you know your niche and you’ll get asked for interviews frequently.
    • Get strategic—You’ll get in the habit of examining your site’s analytics and gather insights about what does and doesn’t appeal to your audience. Your marketing will get more strategic by day.
    • Learn—Writing leads you down a road to perpetual learning.

    Blogging tips for insurance agents

    In order for your blog to generate the best results, you’ll need to have an effective strategy. Here are four helpful tips to keep in mind when developing your blog.

    1. First, consider the reader

    While your blog is bound to be an important part of your marketing strategy, your posts shouldn’t sound like sales copy. Your primary goal when choosing topics and writing your blog posts should be to make sure you are providing as much value for your readers as possible.

    Consider what motivates your target customer. Why are they looking for insurance? What is most important to them when choosing a policy? If you aren’t sure how to answer these questions, consider surveying or interviewing your customers to get some helpful insights into their behavior.

    You can use this information to help select topics that are going to be most relevant to your readers. For example, if your customers are most concerned about affordability, you might want to focus on how companies calculate premiums and discounts, rather than promoting expensive add-ons.

    Additionally, you’ll want to make sure your blog provides real value for the reader. Ideally, most of your blog posts should answer questions your reader have about insurance or provide new information to help them make informed decisions. Even if you’re covering a relatively simple topic, try to add new information or approach it from a unique angle to offer more insight.

    2. Explore location-specific topics

    It’s wise to focus on types of insurance and issues specific to your region.

    For example, if your area is prone to hurricanes, you might publish articles about flood insurance for residential or commercial properties. If you sell auto insurance, you could write about comprehensive policies and how they cover weather damage.

    3. Get serious about search

    The first page of Google captures as much as 71 percent of search traffic clicks, and the majority of users never go past the first page.

    While search engine optimization (SEO) is a topic for another day (and a big one), understanding and executing basic SEO practices can significantly accelerate your success.

    If you’re going to make blogging a consistent part of your marketing, consider investing in professional SEO services. A professional can help you with other key parts of your SEO strategy, including keyword research, on-page optimization, linking, and more.

    4. Prioritize readability

    Today’s consumers are bombarded with information online. If something doesn’t grab their attention right away, they’re sure to move on.

    To keep your readers’ attention, keep it simple. Use clear language. Explain anything you suspect may need it. Avoid jargon or industry terms that your potential customers might not know.

    Keep sentences concise and clear to get your point across effectively. You’ll also want to make sure to keep your paragraphs on the shorter side. Large blocks of text on web pages tend to chase away impatient readers.

    Break up your blog posts with subheaders to make it easier to skim. Listicle blogs are often very successful for this reason. The reader can skim the blog to get an idea of what it’s about before deciding if they’d like to read further. If you want to break things up even further, you can also add photos or infographics.

    Want ideas for your insurance blog? Here are 12 good ones.