The highest performing independent insurance producers have nailed every aspect of running their own agency, from industry know-how to operations, finances to – most importantly – sales and marketing. Ask any agent trying to build a book and they’ll tell you, marketing is often the toughest part.
Insurance marketing may be tough, but there are some rules and guidelines that can lead you more prospects, more leads, and more sales – in short, success.
Here are seven tactics that the most successful insurance producers implement when marketing their businesses:
1. Choose a Niche
You understand what differentiates you from the competition, and it’s not “exemplary service.” (C’mon. Everyone claims to offer the best service. You can do better than that.)
Selecting a niche is key to putting together your unique value proposition. Whether it’s construction insurance or specialty lines like e-commerce or commercial trucking insurance, having a niche gives you a unique vantage point in the industry and allows you to stand apart as an authority.
Sure, you can offer a variety of products to your clients. It would be silly not to ask your commercial clients if you can also help protect their homes, boats, automobiles, and more with personal lines. But when it comes to attracting new business, coming across as a jack-of-all-trades can make you appear as a master-of-none.
Choose a niche and identify your unique value proposition (UVP). The rest of your marketing efforts will all flow from there.
2. Understand Your Customer
Not only does choosing a niche market help you communicate your authority, it also helps you really focus in on and learn to understand one particular client base.
Understanding your ideal client is essential for marketing. It’s not enough to know the average demographics of your clients, like age and income level. You’ve got to know what makes them tick. Their biggest challenges, their biggest fears. Their hopes and dreams. What they need to survive and what they need to thrive.
Marketers call the process of defining your ideal client “persona development.” Personas are archetypes of your ideal clients. The most effective marketers don’t guess when they’re putting together personas, they use data and facts to paint a picture of their typical client. Having troubles defining your personas? Email out a survey. Interview new and existing clients. Ask “why.”
Persona development is important because your marketing efforts should revolve around your client, not you and not your business. Nobody wants to hear someone boast about how great they are. But most people will listen if someone is offering solutions to the very problems they’re struggling with right at that moment. Put your client at the forefront of all of your marketing efforts. It’s their journey. You’re just a guide to help them through it.
3. Document Your Marketing Plan
Paid ads? SEO? Email marketing? Whatever marketing tactic you’re implementing, it’s important to have a plan in place before you proceed. You can’t just throw a bunch of spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.
Do you know why most marketing strategies fail? It’s because the strategy only existed in one place: inside a marketers head.
That’s a big problem. If your marketing strategy isn’t documented, then it doesn’t really exist.
According to a 2018 Content Marketing Institute report, 59% of marketing top-performers reported having a documented marketing strategy. Report authors stated, “Our annual research has consistently shown that those who document their content marketing strategy get better results than those who don’t.”
Developing a marketing strategy doesn’t have to be overly complicated. You can create an effective marketing strategy by identifying SMART goals for your marketing efforts.
SMART goals are:
4. Embrace Digital
For years, insurance marketing meant network marketing and traditional advertising. But today, the most effective marketers understand that we live in a digital world. And these top-producing marketers embrace a multi-channel approach to bringing in more leads.
Here are a few elements that you may utilize as you digitally promote your business:
You need a website for your insurance business, period. If you’re not online, people can’t find you. And rest assured, when your best client refers you to one of their friends or colleagues, that potential new client is going to check you out online. Which means your website needs to set a good first impression for you.
But the most effective insurance marketers don’t just have a website. They have a website that works for them - fast, modern websites that collect leads via online rater and submission tools and that answer client questions with integrated chat applications.
If you’re marketing your insurance business, you’re doing content marketing in some form or another. Record a video talking about the 5 biggest myths surrounding homeowners insurance? You’ve just created content. Post that video to YouTube and then share the link on your Facebook or LinkedIn accounts, and you’ve just promoted your content. Write a blog about auto insurance and then send it to your email list? Content marketing again.
Content matters when marketing your insurance business. The most effective insurance marketers understand this, and they’re ready with a content strategy, editorial calendar, keyword research, and a list of topics they’re potential clients care about.
Print mailers are still a thing in the insurance world. But how much money would you save if you gave up the print game and invested in email marketing, instead? Email marketing is an essential tool for attracting and retaining customers.
99% of consumers check their email every day. Some consumers check their inbox as many as 20 times per day.
Conversely, a Gallup Poll revealed that less than 4 in 10 Americans looked forward to checking their mailbox each day. Older residents (aged 65 and older) are most likely to look forward to getting mail. 64% of people aged 18-29 and 63% of people aged 30-49 don’t think much about checking their mail.
So if your ideal client is aged 65 and older and enjoys getting your mailers sent directly to their home, then keep on printing and stamping those postcards. However, the same Gallup Poll revealed that 51% of people feel negatively about receiving an advertising card or flyer in the mail.
For the majority of insurance marketers, email is the best way to keep in touch with potential and current customers.
Google Adwords. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube ads. There are plenty of channels to digitally invest your advertising dollars. Unlike traditional advertising, digital advertising provides an incredible opportunity to get your business in front of a targeted audience - putting you in the right place, with the right people, at the right time.
Facebook ads, for example, allow you to target your audience in ways that go beyond basic demographic information such as age or income level. Want to target a life insurance campaign to parents of preschoolers who live within 10-miles of your office? No problem.
Sure, traditional advertising may have previously lured you in with boastful claims about how many listeners you can reach with a radio ad or how many readers subscribe to publication, but with digital advertising you get something even better than reach - you get specific targeting.
Like it or not, your potential and current clients are on social media. A social media use PEW Research Center survey of American adults found that the majority are using Facebook (68%) and YouTube (73%). The numbers go up for younger Americans; 88% of 18-24 year olds use a variety of social media sites with high levels of frequency.
Insurance producers who are winning the marketing game are utilizing social media to help increase their brand awareness, as an extension of their customer service offerings, to promote their content, and to connect with potential and current customers.
5. Test, Analyze, Repeat
Marketing your business is an ongoing process that requires continual testing and analyzing. Try something. Measure the results. Try something different. Measure results. Optimize the tactics and channels where you have success and don’t invest heavily in tactics or channels where you don’t. Test, analyze, and repeat.
6. Measure Results
The only way to truly know if your marketing efforts are working are to measure them. You can’t just guess if your email campaign is a success or get a feel for whether or not your Facebook ads are working. You have to measure your results.
But don’t get lost in your analytics. When you create your marketing plan and identify your goals, you should also have an idea of what you can measure to gauge your success. The number of visitors to your site may feel like an impressive measurement, but if your goal is to get more qualified leads than you need to look at conversion metrics, such as goals completed or email list growth, rather than monthly sessions.
7. Stick with It
Some of your marketing efforts may yield short-term payoffs, while others take time to show ROI. SEO, for example, is a long-game effort. The more you publish new content regularly, the better your chances are for ranking for various keywords and appearing on the search engine results page. It can take years of dedicated SEO efforts to result in a steady stream of organic traffic coming to your site.
Your insurance business depends on new business to survive. So marketing yourself isn’t an optional tactic for growth - it’s a survival tactic. Follow these rules and you can find success in the ever-changing world of insurance marketing, no matter what comes your way.