In 2012 there were almost 40,000 independent insurance agencies in the US alone. With 39,999 other competitors, how do you ensure that your company stands out? With so many other companies with similar offerings, it is critical that you have an effective marketing strategy. Ideally, your marketing promotes your brand, builds your business, and generates new clientele.
To make your insurance marketing dollars go the furthest, you must first and foremost make a plan. You need to identify what you want out of your marketing campaign and how to get it. Don’t stop with a goal, create bullet point steps and timelines to support that goal and keep you on track. Whatever your ultimate marketing goals are, here are some ideas to get you started!
Know your Market and Understand Its Needs
First things first: you need to clearly define your target market. Who are your clients? What are their insurance needs? Having a comprehensive understanding of your clientele allows you to identify what insurance products to offer in order to cater to their insurance needs!
If you specialize in selling health insurance to seniors, your marketing efforts will be different than if you are targeting auto insurance to new drivers. Typically, each age group and generation will have different needs and communication styles. Make sure that your marketing plan meets the needs of your target audience, or you run the risk of making a big marketing mistake.
Make Yourself Known in The Local Community
People in the local community are normally your first line of potential clients. Hence, there is a need to establish the agency’s name in the local community. You can become part of the community by reaching out to business owners and community leaders. You can also advertise your company’s services within the community and on social media. The important thing to remember here is to listen to the people and try to adjust based on their needs. Establishing a good relationship with the community will definitely boost your company’s morale and reputation. This can be done through a variety of marketing activities like participating in community events, sponsorships, joining trade shows, conducting seminars and webinars, formal and informal question and answer sessions, etc. The agency’s agents should be able to establish themselves as “go to” persons when it comes to insurance needs and inquiries.
Establish A Simple Referral Rewards Program
Many agencies generate leads through a good referral system. Creating a simple rewards program for referrals will entice people to recommend your agency to their friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances. Rewards could include giving a slight discount on their premium, a gift card, movie tickets, really anything of value. Your clients will appreciate these efforts.
This helps to start conversations about your agency and to introduce it to many different social environments.
Aside from having your own referral program, it may also be good if you create partnerships with organizations in your local community. Perhaps you may contact your local driving club, the Rotary and Lions Club, local associations of certain professions in your community like teachers and accountants, small businesses within your community, etc. You can even team up with realtors and mortgage lenders. Explore the possibility of helping each other through your respective business activities.
Target The Millennials
Millennials are now the largest living generation in the United States. As they become adults and assume responsibility to make their own financial decisions, insurance carriers face the opportunity of designing and distributing insurance products that would appeal to this demographic.
Millennials are truly digital natives. A recent study indicated that millennials utilize the internet and search engines like Google for most of their inquiries. This means that they are accustomed to and comfortable finding their own information. They are more likely to be skeptical of solicitors and generally react negatively to being told which decisions to make. This should be taken into account when designing insurance marketing strategies for millennials.
Testimonials from happy clients add credibility to your marketing campaigns. Testimonials are a powerful marketing tool that can actually draw potential clients to the agency. Experts say it’s always better to use video testimonials. They can be fun, informative, inspiring, and they can entice prospective clients.
Maximize Your Use Of The Social Media.
Make sure that your social media pages are updated and that your posts are truly interesting to your existing and potential clients. Feature creative and aesthetically pleasing posts, photos, memes, etc. on your page helps you stay relevant and appeal to a wider demographic. Include a discussions section in your page and use it as an opportunity to open your line of communication with clients.
Should your existing and potential clients have queries and comments, respond to these immediately. Ask your clients for suggestions and pay attention when they complain.
If you have a website, make sure that your website grabs attention while at the same time, gives users easily what they need. Also if you have a website, make sure it has a blog that is constantly updated. This is to increase your google ranking and at the same time, to show that you are really an insurance expert!
Be Quick and Responsive
Be quick and responsive to an existing or potential client. Do not waste time. Make contact right away whenever you get a referral or an Internet lead.
Establish A Good Relationship With Your Existing Clients
Your relationship with a client should not end after making the sale. Try to maintain a good continuing relationship with your client. That way you are assured of renewals. You may even have the opportunity to get referrals from your existing clients. Experts also suggest following up with a client after a claim report. This is to show that you are really their advocate and that he or she is taken care of during the claims process.
In addition, you can do an annual review for clients to review their coverage and look for discounts. You can even surprise clients with something extra when they show up for annual review or life insurance appointment. Ultimately, make sure to maximize every opportunity available to build your client’s trust and loyalty.
Great E-mail Subject Line
Like it or not, clients judge the content of your email based on the subject line. A great subject line will increase open rates. So, if you want a client or potential client to open and read your email, consider crafting a catchy subject line. What use is substantial content if the potential client chooses to ignore it? Investing well in the subject line will ensure that your content is read. Some advice when crafting your subject line: Keep it short, direct, catchy, relevant and timely.
Your primary goal is to have the receiver open your e-mail and not ignore it. You don’t want your well-written content deleted or getting reported as spam, so make sure that you hit the right tone. Make it timely and relevant to the clients. Always take the time to improve your e-mail subject lines and content.
You might want to consider automation for your web marketing strategy. This allows you to schedule and posts everything from newsletter campaigns and emails to social sharing and others. This will also save you time and ensures your consistent online presence. This increases the likelihood of referrals and opens new doors for opportunities.
Keep Data Up to Date
You must update your email, newsletter lists and social sharing based on the needs and presence of your clients. With this, it helps if you check the database of your clients, and work from there. Remove the bad data and unsubscribed requests. Remember that keeping inaccurate data is bad for business and only takes up your time and money without a good outcome.
Keeping updated with your data reports allows you to determine who among your clients are most engaged and who is not. This gives you an opportunity to get in touch more with these clients and possibly get referrals from them. This also helps you avoid spam reports and keep the reputation of your company intact.
Update and Optimize Your Website
Don’t neglect your website! Because your website is essentially the online version of your business card, it’s important that you optimize and regularly update it to secure a top result in the various search engines. It needs to be professional and on point. Clients simply don’t use the phone book anymore. More often than not, if someone needs a service, he or she is looking online to find companies, reviews and ratings. You need to make sure that you catch the eye of prospective clients and can convert interest into sales. You can do this by using upgraded back-office tools to help you meet your customer’s needs. Also, since many clients now access websites through their phones, it is important that your website is mobile responsive and user-friendly. This is not only helpful for the clients; it will also come in handy for your agents.
Create and Utilize Videos
More and more marketers utilize videos in their campaigns. Billions of videos are being viewed every month, so it’s no wonder why more and more insurance agencies are adding video content to their marketing strategies. To a lot of these marketers, videos are the most efficient ways of reaching out to clients. However, you have to know what videos to post. Know the interests of your audience and post what you think appeals to them. You can post these videos across various platforms like e-mails and social media channels. The following are some of the basic videos you should post online to enhance your image and to strengthen your relationship with your would-be clients:
- Video introduction of your services
- Informative content about insurance policies and insurance in general
- Testimonials from your loyal policyholders
- Video content on the current trends and updates of the insurance industry
Re-evaluate Your Materials
It sounds simple but as insurance agencies grow the mission statement or brand can become convoluted. What is your company’s mission statement? What sets you apart from everyone else? Does your current brand reflect those things? Does your brand, from the logo on your business card to your personalized license plate, reflect the same things? Consistency is key.
While you are reevaluating, don’t forget to look back at 2017 and find out what worked for you. Did you have the most success with direct referrals, cold calling or paid leads? Spend the time analyzing your data so you can focus on your most successful practices moving forward.
Creating a memorable logo is an essential starting point when launching your own insurance agency. It’s best to work with a professional to create a clean, uncluttered logo that instantly communicates your corporate message to your customers. Make sure it’s eye-catching!
Mobile is Mandatory
Americans today are increasingly connected to the world through their smartphones and other mobile devices. Over 95% of people now own a cell phone of some kind. It is vital that you make your insurance website mobile-friendly so your customers can easily access your information when they need it. Consider creating a mobile version or app for your agency.
It is common that people need to contact their insurance agent in times of crisis such as a natural disaster, car accident, or injury case. Handing out small wallet-sized cards with all your contact information will come in handy for current and prospective clients. Of course, it should also include your professionally created logo.
Become active in the community where your business is located. Join a local networking group or your local Chamber of Commerce. Strategic partners for insurance agencies can also help drive insurance sales. Take the time to get to know real estate agents, mortgage lenders, estate planning attorneys, and others in your area. Making sure that people know who you are is critical to marketing yourself locally. The more connections, the better.
Create a Referral Program
A referral network is one of the best ways insurance agencies grow their business. Customers are your best referrals. Offer an incentive for your current clients to spread the word about your agency.
- Your staff should mention the referral rewards program to every client when they make a sale
- Remind customers of the referral program when you follow-up with a satisfied customer after a claim
- Post the details of the referral rewards incentives frequently on all of your social media accounts as well as your website
- Make a great graphics and share it on all your customer-focused emails
- Take a photo and post it on social media of the people who actually earn the reward to add to credibility to your referral program
Over 91 percent of online experiences start with the first page of Google search results. With Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, your insurance ads will appear above the organic listings when people search for your services. It’s relatively inexpensive, but it can be a bit complicated at the beginning, so do some research to find the best way to allocate your budget for PPC before you begin.
Approximately 68 percent of Americans are on Facebook. This provides an enormous opportunity for insurance agency advertising. Facebook makes it relatively simple, guiding you through the setup process and helping you target your ad according to demographics, interests, behaviors, and connections. Facebook advertising can also be targeted to people near your agency’s location, allowing for more efficient use of advertising funds. Ryan Hanley, insurance marketing expert, and guru suggest “Test your advertising chops in Facebook first. Once you’ve figured out cost-effective methods for generating new business from Facebook, hire someone to handle your Google PPC for you.”
Automated Email Program
A sophisticated and impactful email marketing program is essential to the survival of any type of company and can immensely benefit insurance companies. Do some research to discover which third-party businesses offer the features you require. Some of the best include Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, and AWeber. These companies will assist you in sending to send out emails on a regular and automated basis to your current clients (also called “email drips”). Email can be used to thank them for their business and to encourage referrals. When you consistently follow up with clients, they’re more likely to send you referrals because they are reminded of your business.
Consistent Email Details
Have a great email signature with links to your social media profiles and website. Remember to use your logo in your email signature, too. It will remind the prospects and customers of your insurance agency’s brand and image.
Outstanding Customer Service
Show your customers you genuinely care by helping them when they’re in trouble, responding quickly and effectively, or providing sympathetic feedback. Going out of your way to help a customer will benefit you in terms of customer retention and word-of-mouth. When you provide customers with outstanding service, they show their appreciation by providing referrals.
Listen to your clients, new and existing. When a customer believes their concerns and issues are being heard, they feel valued. By honestly answering all questions, trust is built between the agent and the individual.
Contact every client after a claim report. Be their advocate and make sure they are getting taken care of during the claims process. This builds long-term loyalty.
Support Your Team
Your internal staff deserves recognition as well. Customers appreciate low turnover at their insurance agencies. So, celebrate each sale! Ring a bell, cheer, provide rewards and get your team excited each time an insurance policy is sold.
Experts also suggest events to generate leads. Events combine traditional advertising and personal contact. With events you are able communicate the value of your services to more people at a time than having one-to-one contact with your prospects. Most of these people are already concerned with insurance issues, so your important task is to turn them into high-quality leads. You can organize seminars, Q and A sessions, dinners, local sponsorships and charity events. Organizing seminars on relevant insurance topics allows you to reach a large audience of interested people at the same time. These activities will help you raise your profile in the community. Volunteering at causes will strike a chord with your target audiences and is also a great way to increase your agency’s popularity, trustworthiness, and credibility within the community. Word of mouth exposure is still a good way to generate leads.
Demonstrate your services and how they can help people. This can take the form of free seminars, webinars, your social media presence and more. You can offer complimentary reviews of existing policies for a local church, lodge or community. When it comes to promoting yourself and your agency, the sky is the limit! This is where identifying your most valued customers and key demographics can ensure that you are devoting your time to the most appropriate audience. For instance, if you are a Medicare expert and specialize in offering health and life insurance to the elderly, offering seminars at senior living facilities is a natural fit.
Your website and social media will also be critical in establishing your expertise. Both provide you an opportunity to give potential clients important and relevant information and establish yourself as a trusted subject matter expert. If a person is constantly visiting your website to answer questions about insurance, it greatly increases the likelihood that they call you for help.
With so many tips and tricks to help you make the most of your advertising, you need to pinpoint your strengths and objectives. Resolve to market your insurance agency and have measurable goals in place so you can look back in 2019 and marvel at your success.
Realize Your Full Potential
It is clear that marketing plays a vital role within the insurance industry. Marketing is essential in finding, closing and growing every insurance business.
At Agent Support Network of America (ASNOA) we help independent insurance agents, captive agents, and principal agency partners dramatically increase their business value and revenues. ASNOA offers a comprehensive program to help small insurance organizations compete in today’s marketplace.
- Training: Our courses and packages are designed to be the most accurate, easy-to-use, and comprehensive. We guarantee each student will pass their exam on the first attempt.
- Direct Carrier Access: No matter how small you are starting out, our program provides access to top-tier market insurance carriers.
- Support: We provide on-going assistance with administrative and support tasks. We take care of the details so you can focus on the big picture of building a profitable business and increasing revenue.
ASNOA Can Help
ASNOA has over 60 years of combined experience in the industry. If you’re ready to start your own insurance business, we are here to help. ASNOA will provide opportunities to increase your income, optimize customer retention, and close 80 to 90 percent of your quotes. Our expertise will allow you to remain independent while realizing your full potential. Learn more about what we can do for you as an independent or captive agent or a successful agency.
To become an ASNOA affiliate or a principal agency partner, or if you would like to know more about the benefits of working with us, email or call us at 866-484-9849 today. We look forward to meeting you!