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7 Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From an Unlikely Source

Thought leaders from this industry share insights into how virtually anyone can build a sizable following and generate real results.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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While to some people marketing seems to come naturally, for most other people it can be a pain. Pouring money into marketing is never the solution. The best way to build an effective marketing machine is to build a community of active, loyal readers who amplify your marketing efforts.

Perhaps surprising to some, one industry with great sources of inspiration and proven marketing strategy is ... insurance. Yes, you read that correctly. Insurance doesn't have to be as tedious and boring as people think.

We've spoken to the top players in insurance to get their best marketing advice. Their insights can apply to virtually any industry - insurance and beyond.

Here's how they would recommend you build out your marketing strategy:

1. Content is king (but it can't be boring).

"Content is king, if the kingdom is interested. And if you think you're in the insurance business, you've lost already. This is a winner-does-more economy and one of the biggest assets you have is an engaged audience.

'Engaged', is the keyword here, as it requires independent insurance agents to be both experts and entertainers; meaning you have to discover your customer's interests.

Too many agents start with an unachievable goal of generating excitement over an insurance clause, but all you need to do is move beyond the technical jargon on to broader topics such as business, strategy, humor (definitely humor), etc.

So remember, don't set marketing goals within the context of insurance. Widen your conversation and conversion will follow." - Shefi Ben Hutta, Coverager

2. Build relationships through your content.

"Advertising has commoditized the consumer perception of insurance products. By leveraging new technology and focusing their marketing on an improved customer experience, independent insurance agents can harness their most valuable asset, human relationships.

We call this, 'Digitizing the soul of your business.' The independent agents that are winning in the digital marketplace aren't 'selling' insurance, but rather building relationships with would-be customers one piece of content at a time. Video is a particularly powerful tool for establishing digital relationships which in turn de-commoditize the insurance product." - Ryan Hanley, Agency Nation

3. More transparency = better relationships.

"Create a culture that is trustworthy and transparent.

Consumers today have access to information like never before, including what other people say about your company through online reviews. Who you are as an organization can be something magical or it can be menacing, and it is top-down leadership that creates that culture. Being transparent with your team, partners and clients develops a bond of trust that will pay off dividends long into the future." - Jeremy Hallett, Quotacy

4. Be yourself, not your business.

"Building and maintaining relationships is core to sales. Promoting organic messages and monitoring customer trends are part of an agency's overall marketing effort and social networks serve a variety of public relations functions.

...Regardless of what you do or the type of communication being created - there is no magic potion - just be yourself." - Rick Morgan, WAHVE

5. Use social media effectively.

"Marketing begins with visibility. That's why insurance companies with billion-dollar budgets saturate advertising media. Small insurance agencies can level the playing field by making effective use of social media to locally network and communicate their value proposition in the form of relevant, authoritative information, responsive communication and customer testimonials." - Bill Wilson, Insurance Commentary

6. Video is an untapped marketing channel.

"An underutilized marketing tool for independent agents is video. Start by creating a YouTube channel that includes insurance coverage explanation videos and quick answers to frequently asked questions. But, don't stop there. Insurance sales people can also use an inexpensive webcam to create a video email follow-up to a phone conversation. Video can also be used to deliver a virtual video insurance proposal. People buy from those they know, like and trust. Video is an excellent way to build face-to-face trust with prospects and clients." - Steve Anderson, The Anderson Network

7. Use digital marketing to amplify traditional marketing.

"The rise of mobile computing and the 24x7 availability of the internet have forever changed your insurance buyer's journey.

These changes haven't made traditional sales and marketing methods like cold calling, mass mail, and being available for walk-in's obsolete, but they have reduced the impact they will have on your business.

Digital marketing such as online content and drip campaigns are great ancillary strategies and tactics to help you amplify your traditional sales and marketing activities." - Marty Agather, Trusted Choice

Want more advice? Checkout Hurdlr's Independent Insurance Agents Marketing Tips

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