Regardless of how long you’ve been in the insurance industry, knowing how to reach your target audience is an ongoing part of running a business. Your customers are out there—you just have to find them!
In fact, the market for insurance agents is booming right now. In the last few years, mobile queries for “insurance near me” have increased by over 100 percent. Potential clients in your local community are already looking for you and it’s your job to convince them that you’re the person to trust with their insurance needs.
But with increased demand also comes increased competition. With other insurance agencies hot on your heels, both locally and nationally, how are you going to stand out? That’s where having a well-thought-out marketing plan comes into play.
When it comes to marketing, there are plenty of tactics that can take your insurance business from good to great. But you don’t have to do everything. We’re here to walk you through some of the most effective insurance marketing methods so that you can make informed decisions about what will work best for you.
Turning Your Marketing Strategy into Actionable Steps
The first step in working toward a strong marketing campaign is to build a plan. At this point, you may not have all of your insurance marketing ideas down on paper, but that’s not a problem.
Starting to work out key information like the demographics of your potential customers and what your business goals or objectives are will help to guide you when it comes to determining which marketing strategies you want to run with and which you can leave on the shelf. Remember, it’s not just about connecting with new accounts, but also retaining your insureds.
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Once you have a marketing plan template created, it’s time to break down your strategy into action items. What elements can you work on now that will help drive new business? Where should your priorities be when it comes to your marketing efforts? What efforts will likely pay off long-term but require investment now? What do we need to do to start seeing results in key areas?
These can be difficult questions to answer when you’re just getting started, whether you’re new to the insurance industry or are transitioning a bustling business from a traditional to digital marketing focus. But reflecting on and understanding what options are available to you and how different tactics can fit into your overall marketing plan will always be time well spent.
Offline Marketing Ideas for an Insurance Agency
While the buzz in marketing these days may be focused on digital channels and online marketing, forgetting about traditional marketing would be a mistake. Let’s take a look at some of the most important offline approaches that you should consider building into your insurance marketing strategy.
Think back to the last time you were looking to buy something. We can bet that you probably asked your friends or family for a recommendation before starting your own research—and it’s exactly the same with insurance products.
Having happy customers spread the word about your business is the oldest method of marketing out there and it still works just as well as it did hundreds of years ago. In fact, a 2019 study found that three-quarters of small businesses considered word-of-mouth referrals and peer-to-peer recommendations to be one of their most effective marketing channels.
But how do you encourage current clients to leave a positive review or pass along your name to someone in their life looking for an insurance policy? Incentives like referral programs, where you can offer a discount on their next service if a new person signs up because of them, are great low-effort, high-impact ways to market your business. It’s a win-win for both you and your insureds.
There’s no better way to integrate your team of insurance agents into your local community than by supporting other business owners.
Look for ways that you and a few businesses could form a partnership that’s mutually beneficial for everyone. Could you provide a discount on a commercial insurance policy if a local shop agrees to put your business cards by the register? Does the cafe on the corner offer gift cards that you could purchase as a giveaway prize for the next person who registers for a life insurance policy?
Working with other businesses in your area is a great way to expand your audience, making use of their customer network and sharing your own in return.
Approaching people in their homes with a cold sell can seem like a daunting experience, but it’s definitely a tactic worth considering if your target audience isn’t full of frequent internet users.
The key here is to be personal and friendly, rather than coming across as a pushy or demanding salesperson. Remember that your business is about helping your customers to solve their problems and how you specifically can provide a solution to that.
Budget for marketing materials like a short one-sheeter that you can hand out to these potential customers that outlines all of the residential services that you offer, along with your contact information like phone number and email address so that everything they need is easily accessible. Don’t be afraid to follow up with phone calls to any interested individuals after your door-to-door meetings.
Events and Sponsorships
Not everything in marketing has to be about direct sales. One of the most effective ways to get new insurance leads doesn’t even have to be about selling at all.
Holding local events like educational classes, where participants have to register and provide a contact method like an email, is a great way to provide value to prospective customers without any pressure on their part to commit to purchasing something from you.
It may seem counterintuitive to give away your knowledge for free. After all, attendees could easily take away the information they’re looking for and go straight to a competitor to buy their next insurance policy. Yes, you run that risk with this type of marketing, but you’re more likely to be top of mind when they’re thinking about insurance if you provided them with helpful information during an educational workshop.
If hosting a class or workshop isn’t for you, consider sponsoring other community events, a local sports team, or nearby school events.
Traditional advertising like billboards, newspapers, television, or radio can still be incredibly effective insurance agency marketing channels.
If you’re new to this type of marketing, consider setting aside some budget to work with a vendor like an advertising agency to help you buy ad space. Businesses in the finance and insurance industries typically spend around 9 percent of their overall company revenue on marketing every year, but how you choose to break this down by channel will depend on who your audience is and where your qualified leads are more likely to come from.
If your target audience is primarily online, spending a large amount on traditional advertising may not make much sense. But if you know that most residents of your town subscribe to the local paper, an ad there may be incredibly effective.
Digital Channels to Use in Insurance Marketing
For most small businesses, the future of marketing is in digital. Particularly in a competitive industry like insurance, having a strong online presence will help you to stand out and stay on top. Here are a few of the best approaches that you should be considering.
With so many different social media platforms to choose from, knowing where to start can be a challenge. But as with everything in marketing, it’s all about understanding where your audience is.
Demographically-speaking, social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter are generally more popular with an older audience, while Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok are used by the younger generation. If you’re working with commercial customers, LinkedIn is a good channel for insurance agents to use for prospecting new clients.
Short on time? Consider using a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule out your social media posts. Use automation to your advantage so that you can still be present on these platforms without needing to spend all day posting in real-time.
Not only is social media marketing a great way to expand your reach and highlight your services, many of these platforms can provide a hub for customer testimonials and online reviews. For example, the “Review” tab on your Facebook page will likely be one of the first places that a new account will look when they’re researching your business online.
SEO and Website
No matter how big or small your marketing budget is, building an agency website is one of the most important marketing tools you should be using. Creating different pages through blogging and informational resources that outline your services, otherwise known as content marketing, not only makes you look professional, but also helps you to appear on search engines like Google thanks to a method called search engine optimization, or SEO.
When prospective customers are looking for the services you offer but don’t know your business name to search for you directly, SEO will help you appear higher up in search result pages so that your website is in front of those customers.
Your insurance website should also be making use of a tactic called conversion rate optimization, or CRO, by making it straightforward for new customers to move through the different stages of lead generation.
For example, your contact information should appear prominently in your website design and be linked from your service pages to make it easy for a potential customer to move from the educational stage to the “ready to purchase” stage where they can contact you.
Just like offline word-of-mouth recommendations, online reviews are a crucial part of building your business. You can quickly and easily set up a business listing or business page on platforms like Google My Business and Yelp, which have built-in areas for customers to leave their thoughts about working with you.
It’s really important that you take some time each week to check for any new reviews and respond to them, whether they’re positive or negative. Especially with negative reviews, prospective accounts will be looking at how you respond to those situations and are trying to resolve those situations.
One of the easiest ways to reach your customers is through email marketing. Particularly if you plan to implement some of the other marketing strategies we’ve outlined, there’s plenty of opportunities for you to collect contact details for a monthly email newsletter or to highlight particular services.
Don’t forget about your existing customers too! Email marketing is a great way to improve retention rates with your current clients by sending them information about insurance products that may interest them.
Take Your First Steps in Marketing Your Insurance Agency
It can feel incredibly overwhelming when you think about all the different marketing ideas and opportunities that are available to you, but it doesn’t need to be. Choose a few to get started with and go from there.
Tactics like SEO and CRO take longer to see results than direct advertising or event marketing, so it can be helpful to invest in those first to get the ball rolling, especially as these are often less costly to invest in upfront. Social media is a good place to test out messaging, and metrics are easily trackable to see what’s working well and what may need adjusting.
Effective marketing is about taking small and decisive steps toward your goals. Even if something doesn’t work well this time, keep testing and trying again.