Georgia d'Esterre, Head of Marketing at Holloway Friendly talks about protection advertising.
What protection advertising works and what doesn’t?
Advertising is something all UK protection providers should consider if they want to get themselves in front of a larger Adviser and customer audience and help grow the awareness and understanding of such a vital insurance
It can be incredibly beneficial for your company, your brand and help you attract new customers as well as retain your existing ones.
Advertising income protection can create negative connotations or feelings, and some people are put off with anything which is too salesy in its approach. We would recommend using the 80/20 rule with only 20% of the content you push out focussing on your product or service. It’s better to focus on the positive elements that IP will bring if you ever need to make a claim, such as paying your bills and maintaining your way of life.
This way of advertising often provides much better results.
Case studies are a great choice to advertise your services as they are relatable to your potential audience. When customers or Advisers see the positive effect that income protection has had on real people the message is far more likely to resonate with them and create a need for the product.
With any social media advertising, it’s important not to pigeon-hole your activity. Exploring subjects surrounding income protection offers other perspectives and widens the demographic that you can advertise to.
When advertising to Advisers, we find that it’s best to ask them questions in the content you are using and encourage them to get involved in conversations around IP. Give them tips or new angles to consider which will help them engage with their clients around the need for IP
We are passionate about encouraging Advisers to make the most out of their businesses; this is one of the reasons why we launched our own platform, Kaleidoscope (www.seeIPdifferently.co.uk)
Giving advice and guidance isn’t just to increase the amount of protection that Advisers write, but it also helps to nurture relationships and gain new ones.
Do consumers respond to protection advertising?
Typically, consumers are harder to target than Advisers however; they definitely respond to certain activity and should not be ignored. Highlighting what income protection is, why they should be getting it and how much it costs are just some of the snippets you should be including in any advertising targeted towards the general public. You can also discuss the different options which are available to tailor the IP plan so it can be affordable for all budgets
Directly promoting your business, products or services does not work as well for this market – There is a lower consumer understanding about what IP is and why it’s so important so just to push out product messages would be pointless. It is better to educate customers about the need for IP, how it works and how to access it.
A good approach is to talk around the subject of Income Protection using thought-provoking messaging. For example, you could talk about state benefits that consumers would typically receive if they were off work due to injury or illness and ask if this would be enough to cover their bills- and what would happen to their way of life when they can no longer pay their bills. . Similarly you could talk about the options available to those who are self-employed who may not get sick pay and also tackle the myth that the Government will look after them if they get sick.
When using social media to talk to consumers, you should look to test what they respond to. Generally, best practice includes the use of short captions, bold colours and emoji’s help make eye-catching posts.
It’s worth noting that consumers do engage with boosted posts but they prefer not to do this in public ways. Instead of sharing or commenting on posts, they will like them or click for more information.
This may be because income protection and subjects surrounding it can be seen as sensitive topics that people would prefer to keep to themselves.
On our boosted posts for example, comments and shares are relatively low however saves and clicks are usually higher than what you would see in other industries advertising through social channels.
Are the results better advertising to Advisers or customers?
We find that generally, Advisers are easier to advertise to – they are more responsive when it comes to material on income protection as they already understand what it is and know its importance.
This means if they do see a post or advertisement about income protection they are far more likely to be open to acknowledging and engaging with it. 70% of our social media advertising budget is allocated to targeting Advisers. We chose to allocate this much as we do not sell our services directly to the end consumer.
When choosing content to push out to Advisers, you should also consider sharing other industry-related articles. These might feature new information or things that would be useful to share with their audiences. Your budgets may not allow for you to create your own PR however industry experts like Cover Magazine and FT Adviser regularly push out content like this.
As mentioned previously, it is still important to allocate some budget for advertising to the general public however as you need to encourage demand.
If you’re choosing to only speak about your business in advertisement posts, you should expect a far better reaction from Advisers than you would consumers. Consumers generally like posts that do not feel like direct advertising so you do have to think creatively when advertising to them.
Has social media advertising opened up opportunities for protection providers?
Social media advertising should have opened up new opportunities for all protection providers using it. Gone are the days of print outs in magazines, which would have only been seen by a handful of people. We now have a whole ocean of Advisers and customers to engage with; all protection providers should be using social media to actively reach these people.
Other industries are already incredibly active on social media but protection still seems hesitant to join in. Whilst it can be more challenging to sell income protection over a chocolate bar or makeup product, it’s still a vital service that many are unaware of. It’s our job to raise awareness and educate those who aren’t sure what income protection is and make Advisers take note of who we are.
Social media also gives you the incredible opportunity to have a two-way relationship with our Advisers and Members. We can engage with those who comment, like or share an advertised post; we can respond to queries or complaints and we can receive feedback directly from both which helps us to constantly improve the services we provide.
Social media algorithms are designed to encourage the reach of posts that encourage engagements so building an active community should be a priority.
Is it time to ditch TV campaigns and instead use social?
Income Protection Providers coming together to share stories on how we have helped customers and the positive impact having this type of cover could only be a good thing. No one gets up in the morning thinking ‘I need to buy some income protection today’. There is still a real lack of knowledge around income protection, what it is, how it works and why it’s so important. There are also some myths which exist in the protection industry which also need dispelling and the more we join together to educate customers the better the outcome should be. Using social media to share stories would have a far-reaching effect and would be a great way to reach new customers and get the message out there, especially with Millennials and Generation Z who also have a need for IP, it isn’t just for Gen X and baby boomers.
We’ve been doing campaigns which share personal stories over the past year and we think they are the direction protection providers should be heading.
Television advertising, whilst not obsolete, can only target specific demographics depending on what time slot you choose. Social media campaigns truly showcase the work you’ve done as a society; you can truly paint a picture through these channels, making advertising feel more natural and less forced.
Case studies and personal accounts are perfect advertising material. We use them whenever we can as sharing these stories offers another perspective and can make people realise that the need for income protection is a necessity and one that becomes a reality all too often.
Finding case studies of those who have made a claim due to different reasons to share on social channels is a great way to further the reach of your adverts. For example, we told the story of Diana, one of our members who had suffered from burnout and depression. This case study enabled us to extend our reach to those who may be interested in reading about mental health or have suffered themselves.
Just make sure you do get permission from those mentioned in any case studies before you begin to share their story.