What sets me apart – The search for your own digital positioning

Anyone who wants to communicate meaningfully on the Internet should know what, how and with whom

In many cases, the search for good content of one’s own is not very strategic or even haphazard. This is because hardly anyone sets up their digital positioning sensibly right from the start. If this is done, meaningful content will result all by itself. Therefore, the positioning should be clarified in detail before the content strategy.

In workshops and presentations to insurance agents and brokers, as well as in sales and marketing at banks and insurance companies, I’m asked this one thing over and over again: “What should we post on social media?” Usually still combined with the question about good content for the homepage and other digital forms of presentation, all of which I would like to summarize under “Digital Positioning”. But just having to ask this question(s) reveals a much more fundamental problem.

In marketing and sales, the goal is to bring content closer to people outside the company, ideally customers and prospects, whose reception increases the chance of a successful contraction with our company or person. But the fact that this often enough requires a whole series of contact points with us and our content in advance, each of which we ourselves are not actively aware of or able to follow up on, is something we always tend to forget. This is one of the reasons why true digital positioning is needed to achieve sustainable success in everything to do with external presentation and sales, especially in the various stages of contract initiation.

Positioning comes before content

The insurance and finance industry, where I have been working for the majority of my professional years, is a little different than many other industries. When it comes to external appearance and digital positioning, it is sometimes like a small Gallic village full of indomitable Gauls who never tire of resisting the intruder – even if that intruder is called Reason and wants to transfer tried-and-tested behaviors from eCommerce and brand communication in other industries to this branch of industry. Someone then conjures up the magic potion from their pocket and puts the good ideas to flight. The bottle with the potion says: “We’ve always done it this way”. The most effective potion against reason.

At this point it should therefore be understood that before the optimization of websites, the creation of editorial plans with content (whether for companies or for individual agents or brokers), a very central element is often forgotten, namely to think about one’s own positioning. This must be defined in a binding manner and the conclusions drawn from it must serve as the pillars of everything we subsequently derive from it (including website content and content). But whether you believe me or not, almost everyone always asks about content without first taking the time to create its basis, the pillars, so to speak. Yes, there are also commendable exceptions here. But with the often blanket lack of imagination, both at the corporate and insurance agency level, you see this lack of foundation every single day on websites and in social media.

The foundation of successful positioning is already there

That said, one thing needs to be made clear here: I love the insurance industry. I love the financial industry. I feel very closely connected to both, and there are a very large number of very great people that I value, respect, and am immensely proud of their life’s work. And that’s exactly why it always hurts my soul when I see that so often little to none of it is translated digitally and gains visibility in digital positioning. The time factor always plays an extreme role here, of course, but for those where it’s not time, it’s either convenience, procrastination, or a lack of understanding about today’s relevant formats and the importance of solid digital positioning.

A strategically set up external presence is not only relevant for sales and marketing, it also touches HR quite strongly, because potential employees also look at how a company or an insurance agency appears on the web. There is no doubt that there are great things here, but as I wrote in the previous paragraph: There are so many more super good people and companies – but they are not recognized from the outside. That’s blatantly unfair! On the other hand, there are extremely resourceful and creative companies (especially in other industries) that manage to be extremely successful through good digital positioning and even make themselves look better than they actually are. But if you do everything right on the outside, this is precisely the impression you get.

The translation of one’s own success factor or growth potential.

We are all the good guys here, of course, so let’s stop talking about the black sheep. In principle, I hope that with a lot of educational work and a constant repetition of the step-by-step approach of positioning-before-strategy-before-content, at some point a critical mass will understand why you have to proceed this way if you want to have maximum success. And that any previously successful salesperson, or any company that gains more customers than it loses, has good reason to talk about exactly what is responsible for that success in digital positioning. And do so without a guilty conscience. But in doing so, I have one request: Don’t be generic!

Yes, it’s super-duper great if you’re a broker, agent, or financing advisor offering needs-based advice, or a bank that’s secure and stable in value. It’s just unfortunate that no one cares, because this is taken for granted and may be assumed by the customer. With every company that I know a little more deeply, I can think of much, much nicer and more differentiating criteria on the basis of which one can build up one’s own positioning. The same applies to people. After all, every person is unique, and 8 to 9 out of 10 have something exciting going for them. And the others are probably not to be found professionally in sales. That’s a great basis! And that’s what we’re working with now.

The most important questions for digital positioning

1. What do I want to communicate about?

What topics are important for you to communicate? As an agent or broker, for example, you decide at this point whether you want to communicate about yourself (as an expert), about your team, about regional topics, or about the topics of a specific target group, for example. If you are a larger company, several topics can be defined at this point, but again, less is more, as we want to stay pointed in our communication to hit.

2. How do I want to communicate?

Do you want to do self-marketing, or would you rather show proximity to your customers? Is it about being perceived as the local hero in your area with your regional topics? Or do you, as a company, want to be perceived as particularly open and approachable towards your employees? Are you even the collection pool for tomorrow’s generation of financial geniuses because you also try out unconventional approaches with them?

3. Who do you want to reach?

In marketing and sales, new customers should of course be reached first and foremost. But what about existing customers? How many people can you meet in person each year, or even spend a reasonable amount of time with in a video conference or on the phone? These people should also hear from you on a regular basis so that you can “refine” them in the near future, right? But in doing so, your communication needs to be modified a bit. And what about potential employees? Of course, companies are asking themselves this question in particular, because finding good people is more difficult than ever. And then, of course, you have to make sure you look good in the press.

4. Where do I want to communicate?

It is also an important question at the very beginning, on which channels the messages from points 1-3 should be communicated. The website is set for both agencies and companies, but then? Does it make sense to play on all channels, or does it make more sense to concentrate on the main networks of the previously defined target groups? Should one save time by posting identically on all channels? (No, you shouldn’t, because each channel has its own language and rules. In addition, Google doesn’t like duplicate content. But more on that soon at morethandigital.info).

At this point I would like to provide you with the extensive matrix I developed for the positioning topic of insurance agencies, but unfortunately this goes a bit too deep into topics I regularly work on in coaching sessions and workshops with clients and therefore I cannot make this freely available. Even if it doesn’t work as a magic bullet without expert advice and intensive work with it. But let me tell you this: If you consciously ask yourself these four W-questions just once and work them out together with someone, you will definitely come up with some approaches of your own already, which might be even better than mine. But in any case, you’ll already be asking yourself the right questions – and, conversely, you’ll know what you want to communicate in the future. Right?

Die Vorteile von Digitalisierung und digitaler Transformation in Vertrieb und Marketing der Assekuranz nutzbar zu machen - das ist die Passion von Sebastian Heithoff (*1986). Der selbstständige Unternehmensberater stieg 2007 in die Versicherungsbranche ein und ist seit 2012 digital unterwegs. Mit Heithoff Consulting setzt er auf die Kernbereiche Digital Enablement und Digitale Positionierung.

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