Are you Still Buying Space in Yellow Pages?

Still not convinced your insurance agency should cease advertising in the Yellow Pages, YellowPages.com, and other paper directories? As we travel and speak with agents around the country, I still hear that many continue to cling to Yellow Pages advertising. Recent moves by former Yellow Pages giant AT&T should convince remaining skeptics who still buy Yellow Pages directory ads.

using yellow pages

According to an USA Today article, nearly 32% of U.S. households are wireless only, according to CTIA-The Wireless Association, up from 10.5% in 2006. The article also stated, “First it was street corner phone booths and home delivery of telephone books. Now, landlines are on their way to becoming part of American telecommunications history.”

AT&T agreed to sell a majority stake of YellowPages.com to a private equity firm. Revenue from the Yellow Pages unit has shrunk 30% in two years, as consumers continue to shun phone books in favor of the Web. Verizon also spun off its directory business to shareholders in 2006, only to see it file for bankruptcy three years later.

There are a few remaining pockets of Yellow Pages usage, e.g., the elderly and certain rural areas. Deals can be had if you decide to continue advertising in the Yellow Pages. But if you do, make sure you create a way to track business that comes to your agency via this channel.

Is Print Dead?

It seems that most articles about digital marketing proclaim the death of print. Most articles that cover marketing tend to focus on electronic versus traditional print and direct mail options. My wife, Karen, certainly enjoys reading electronic books more than paper books.

is print dead?

We’re all buried in the amount of emails we receive daily—and most of them are marketing messages. Using digital marketing—whether by creating email campaigns or participating on social platforms—to market your products and services makes sense. It’s relatively inexpensive and has the potential to put you in front of a large number of prospects that you might not otherwise connect with.

But, to paraphrase Mark Twain—the reports of the death of print may be greatly exaggerated.

In fact, I am starting to see indications that traditional direct mail may have a better response rate—when used appropriately—than the much talked about digital marketing channels. This view is supported by a recent survey by the Direct Marketing Association. They found that although direct mail response rates have decreased from 4.37% in 2003 to an average response rate of 3.40% today, these rates remain well above those for digital channels and 10 to 30 times more effective than email.

Here are two ideas on how you can incorporate print into your overall marketing strategy:

  • Personalize letters: People are receiving less snail mail than ever. Your personalized letter will stand out. This may be especially true for younger consumers—everyone assumes they only want digital communications.
  • Send thank you notes: I recently received, in the mail, a note card from a participant in one of my presentations thanking me for the information that I shared. It made a much different impression than receiving the same thanks as an email.

That’s not to say that digital marketing is not valuable. It should be used by insurance agencies. Taking a balanced approach to your marketing activities tends to provide a better return on your investment in the long run.

These findings show that in spite of the growth of smartphones and the constant attention to reaching the mobile consumer through digital channels, there should still be a place in your marketing plan for reaching customers and prospects the old-fashioned way.

7 Reasons to Join me on the HIGH-TECC Caribbean Cruise

1) It is affordable! For less than the cost of a typical night’s stay in a hotel, you get deluxe accommodations, sumptuous food 24 hours a day, myriad amenities, and exotic ports of call.

2) It is tax deductible! The cruise will have pleasure time, for sure, but it really is about your business and features several conference sessions, so it is a deductible and truly is a genuine business expense.

3) It will give your business a formidable “edge up” on your competition. The theme of “Making the Most of your Internet Presence” will give your agency the extra life it needs to pull ahead of the crowded field of competitors.

4) It provides camaraderie with like-minded people. The participants at this year’s HIGH-TECC will be those people who, like you, want to make both strategic and tactical changes that impact their agencies and have true impact on their bottom line.

5) It is the perfect mini-conference. The HIGH-TECC cruise is a perfect place to combine the latest up to date information that will benefit your agency with travel and fun, all without taking too much time away from the office.

6) Great price. Steve Anderson routinely charges $2000 a day plus expenses for his consultation — and agents are happily paying that because of the real world impact this advice brings to their agency. For dramatically less than that, you get a world-class cruise AND get to spend quality time in a small, intimate setting working on your business with Steve as your personal guide.

7) Great activities! No matter if you prefer a wine tasting, swimming, or simply relaxing around the pool all day talking to fellow travelers, it is YOUR choice. There is an activity for any taste and any age! Now, join Steve on the HIGH-TECC 2011 cruise today!

In less than one month we will be together on the high seas enjoying sun, salt air, and extraordinary conversation on how your agency can be among the elite few who are making money by effectively (and strategically) leveraging their Internet presence.

I look forward to seeing you at HIGH-TECC!

Who Owns What?

I spend a lot of time talking about generational differences. This infographic from the Pew Research Center is very interesting. It shows the results of a survey they conducted looking at generations and the gadgets they own. Click on the graphic to get the full details…

generations-and-gadgets

Click on the graphic to get the full details…

Understanding the Post-Recession Consumer

Understanding consumer behavior is a key to making sure your agency will continue to prosper.

In this TED talk by John Gerzema, co-author of the book The Brand Bubble, he says there’s an upside to the recent financial crisis — the opportunity for positive change. Speaking at TEDxKC, he identifies four major cultural shifts driving new consumer behavior and shows how businesses are evolving to connect with thoughtful spending.

How is your agency changing to meet the needs of your clients as these cultural shifts take place?