If you asked the average American what insurance companies they know, many of them would be able to mention the GEICO lizard, Peyton Manning with Nationwide, or even JK Simmons telling you that Farmer’s “has seen a thing or two.” These industry giants spend billions each year on their advertisements in an attempt to make their brand a household name.
As an independent insurance agent, how can you compete with this kind of massive global marketing? How can you convince a potential client to come to you instead of just searching for the nearest GEICO agent? Here are a few strategies that every independent, personal lines agent should be using.
Build your Image as a Neighborhood Insurance Expert
Whereas these insurance giants might be hard to compete within reach and budget, you have the advantage of being part of your client’s community. Insurance can be an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people because they aren’t sure if they’re paying for the right coverage and services. Sure, getting an online quite is easy, but consumers rarely know enough about insurance to feel confident they’re getting what they really need. Offering the service of someone who lives in their community, cares about the community, and treats clients like family can alleviate that discomfort.
There’s a famous story about comedian Jerry Seinfeld in regards to marketing yourself. The comedian was approached by a young fan who asked him how to get better exposure for his own act, and how he should market himself. Seinfeld seemed almost taken aback by the question, and responded “just work on your act.” The point he was making was that if your content is there, if you have something worth saying that people want to hear, the exposure and success will come. Make sure your value, your product offering, your service, is what makes people want to come back and speak well of you.
If every client you serve walks out of your office feeling confident in their coverage, and happy about their experience, they will refer their friends and family. According to Invesp, 88 percent of consumers place the highest level of trust in a brand recommended by a friend. Word of mouth also leads to 5x as many sales as a paid promotion. If you do not build a word of mouth reputation for excellent experiences, marketing cannot make up the difference. Plus, word-of-mouth is free.
Sponsor and Attend Local Events
Going along with being a community expert, sponsoring local events helps build your reputation as someone who supports the community. And, in addition to building your reputation, events are chances for you to communicate with possible clients, interact with current clients outside of your office, and display your logo and any merchandise that you have. This is why so many brands devote large portions of their marketing budget to events, rather than ads that people can quickly skim over.
Consumers care that where they spend their money also helps to support their neighborhood. Giving business to a place where you know your money puts food on a table and pays for a child’s college is much more appealing than putting money towards a CEO’s vacation fund. GEICO and State Farm might be insurance giants, but some people dislike them for exactly that reason — they don’t know me, and they’re too big to care. Becoming someone known for their involvement in the community can help sway people more than you might realize — and, nothing speaks louder than your actions.
In addition to supporting small business, people care about supporting brands that support and use good businesses practices. As companies like American Family Insurance struggle with lawsuits over poor employee practices, millennials will turn towards smaller companies that they know have good practices and are supporting good causes. Helping sponsor the local fair, doing giveaways at a local sports games — these are ways that you as a business give back to the community, and in doing so earn their respect.
Increase Your Digital Presence With SEO
In 2018, nobody should be surprised about the effect that your digital presence can have on your company. With 95 percent of Americans owning a cell phone, people rely on Google to find out where they can learn more about insurance. It’s critically important to ensure that when someone googles insurance in your area your agency is near the top of search results.
Search Engine Optimization, generally referred to as SEO, is the practice of optimizing your website with specific keywords that help you rank higher on Google. Search engines such as Google rank websites based on their content, their reviews, and geographical location. Though nobody knows the algorithms exactly, ensuring that your website mentions your location, your services, and houses your reviews can go a long way towards people finding you.
As an ASNOA agent, one of the services you can take advantage of is the ASNOA marketing kit. ASNOA offers services such as branding assistance, custom email templates, CRM personalization, and even website creation.