In the evenings after work and on weekends this week, you'll find me glued to my television. It's the same scenario in August every four years.
I love to watch the Olympics. I love watching these athletes who have worked so hard for so long see their dreams come true. It is inspiring to witness their stories and the history they make during the competition.
Elite athletes like the ones competing in Rio the past two weeks can teach us a lot, and not just about sports. Their discipline, passion and commitment for their sports can apply to agency marketing.
Here are the top five agency marketing lessons you can learn from the world's best athletes.
Goals Are Important
Whether it's a medal or a championship or personal best time, athletes set goals for themselves. Achieving a goal is how they know they've been successful.
Without a goal your marketing is operating without a target. No clear plan. No clear definition of what success looks like.
What would marketing success look like for your agency? Would it be an email campaign that gets 10 leads? Would it be a drip campaign that improves your closing ratio 10 percent? Would it be 25 quote requests a month on your insurance agency website?
You don't have to wait until the New Year to set goals. Set some for the next week or month. The important thing about goals is that you make them specific and measurable. That way you know without a doubt when you've achieved them.
Training Pays Off
What the most elite athletes know is that practice is critical to achieving goals. The only way to improve and get a faster time or a better score is to practice, practice, practice.
I don't know a single athlete who won championships or set world records in their first game or race. They accomplish these feats by training for them. It is their dedication to improving and a focus on their goals that gets them there.
The only way to get better at email marketing is to do it. The only way to get better at SEO is to do it. The only way to get better at blogging is to do it. The only way to get better at social media is to do it.
Notice a pattern?
Improving your agency marketing doesn't come from wishing. It comes from doing.
Competition is Motivating
Athletes live to compete. It doesn't matter the sport. The competition fuels them. It lights a fire in them. Another person or another team to beat is what motivates them.
There is no shortage of competition in the insurance industry. And it's not just captives, direct writers and other independent agencies. There are also the startups who see opportunity in insurtech solutions.
This competition is not a bad thing. It's good.
Competition can help you push your limits. It can motivate you to improve even more than you think is possible.
Feedback Can Make You Better
Elite athletes know they're not going to win every time. It's disappointing to lose, but they don't let it stop them.
They use those moments to learn how they can get better. But they're also learning when they win. They look at every game or race for feedback on where they can improve.
Measuring your marketing activity is critical if you want to succeed. It is the only way you'll know what is working and what isn't.
What should you measure? Everything. But here's a short list to get you started.
Insurance Websites - Unique visitors, traffic sources, conversion rate, time spent on your website, bounce rate.
Email Marketing - Click-through rate, conversion rate.
Social Media - Comments, post likes, post shares, mentions, retweets.
Other things you need to track - Lead sources, retention rate by acquisition period, time as customer, quote follow ups, agency performance.
Remember... You can't improve what you don't measure.
Improvement is Ongoing
Once athletes achieve one goal, they make another. They don't stop reaching. They don't stop trying to improve.
Athletes understand if they want a chance at repeated success, they can't be complacent. They have to set a new goal every time they reach one.
This drive to never stop improving also applies to your agency marketing. I don't mean don't celebrate your successes. You absolutely should.
But, when you achieve a goal, aim higher the next time.
What athletes accomplish is inspiring. Let their dedication to excellence and commitment to training motivate you to become a better marketer.
Which athlete inspires you and why? Tell us in the comments.
About the Author
As vice president of marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s growth through marketing and drives the overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and public relations. Becky has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their three daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder