In order for an insurance agency to have success, it has to have successful marketing strategies. It is rare for an agent to survive on referrals alone. The hard part is not knowing that you need to have marketing, the hard part is knowing what type of marketing to do.
This blog post will show you different marketing ideas along with their estimated costs so that you can plan an effective marketing strategy for the future.
Items needed to have an effective marketing plan
Before we get into the actual marketing ideas, it is important to highlight tools you should use when implementing any marketing strategy. These tools will allow you to better identify your ROI and increase the effectiveness of your strategies.
Before starting any marketing initiative you need a plan. How will this attract business? How will you handle the prospects who call in? What will you do with the people who are interested but you never close the deal?
Many marketing strategies are dead before they ever begin. Too often insurance agents throw up a billboard or send out a flyer with no plan of how that will actually generate business. There is no follow up to secure the prospects as they come in. Then leads start falling through the cracks.
If done right, marketing will generate a positive return on investment again and again and again.
You will need some type of analytics. When I talk to insurance agents about different marketing campaigns they have had, the first thing I ask is how it went. Most of the time I get responses like “Good, I think” or “I’m not really sure, but we’ve just always done it.” As a general business rule, if you spend thousands of dollars on marketing you should have some idea on how much money that brings in.
We personally use tracking phone numbers to know how many people call from a certain campaign or send them to a website page so we can track who goes and what they look at. It is important to know how much you spent on a piece of marketing, how many leads did it bring in and how much revenue did it generate.
With this information you will be able to ditch the marketing strategies that don’t work and invest more into the ones that do work.
Do not forget to get your co-op money. Many agents we speak with either do not use co-op provided by carriers or do not track it to know whether or not they were refunded. If you are not aware, co-op is essentially free money your insurance carriers provide to help you market as an agency. This can take a large chunk of your advertising costs away. Occasionally you will find that some of the marketing you do is completely free do to co-op money.
Not using this is like leaving free money on the table. Talk to your companies about what is available.
Hopefully this is enough information to get you started off on the right foot. The more fine tuned your process, the more effective your marketing will be. Now let’s get into some marketing ideas for your insurance agency.
Below are ideas for you separated by costs.
Higher Cost Marketing Ideas
Marketing will take money. Let’s just put that out on the table now. It is a part of doing business. You have to pay to keep the lights on, the phone systems working, the internet up, and of course you will have to pay for marketing. Do not let this fact keep you from doing it.
Just like you need a phone to turn a prospect into a client, you will also use marketing to bring in revenue. You can not do everything, but here are some options that you can pick and choose from.
Wrap your car (or a company vehicle) $3000+
Many businesses are now wrapping their business logo and information around their vehicles turning it into a mobile billboard that they never have to take down. It looks as though you have a really cool paint job, but the wrap can actually be removed at any time.
Here is an example of an insurance agency we’ve worked with who wrapped their smart car.
Once the car is wrapped, you can keep it that for as long as you like. This can be a pricey option but can be one of the longest lasting marketing advertisements available.
TV Advertisement $0-$2000 (plus local station fees)
Local insurance agents do not do TV advertisements often because of the price but occasionally you can get a decent spot on your local channels for relatively cheap.
Most business owners do not have the man power, tools or knowledge to make a TV video but fortunately you work in the insurance industry. Your carriers offer TV commercials you can use.
With Trusted Choice you can get a 30 second TV commercial for free. All you have to do is pay the station fees and Trusted Choice will provide you with an agency branded commercial to air.
One of the most common forms of marketing for insurance agents is the use of billboards. It is rare to go into a new city without seeing a billboard for an insurance agent. This is the norm for insurance agents.
Many insurance companies already have billboard advertisements you can use, you just simply have to slap your logo on it and put it up. The ease of using billboards as a marketing tactic is probably one of the biggest driving forces for agency usage.
The price really varies on billboards based on your location, the type of billboard and the billboard agency you purchase through. If you are looking for a cost effective billboard, digital billboards are becoming more common and have a much lower price tag then the standard.
Host a community or local event $1000-$5000
Who says marketing has to be all about advertisements? One of the best ways to promote your business is to get out in the community.
When we talk about hosting an event, we are not just talking about being one of the sponsors with 100 other local businesses mentioned in the back of some paper pamphlet. When you host the entire event, your name is the local business highlighted.
Often times this means your agency name on a t-shirt or other memorabilia (without mention of other businesses) and a banner with your agency name. Depending on the type of event, you may even get the opportunity to say a few words to all the people attending.
Medium Cost Marketing Ideas
Like I mentioned above, marketing costs money, but you do not have to spend thousands to go big. Here are so more marketing ideas that are slightly lower in cost.
Join a Chamber of Commerce or other networking groups $150-$500
One of the best ways to sell insurance is by building relationships. Joining a local Chamber or networking group will help you reach out to and build relationships with other professionals. However, these groups have more to offer then just networking.
Many of these groups send out information to the community promoting their businesses or provide other opportunities to marketing. Often times you can market yourself to other members through the group’s marketing channels or some will even provide you with a list of names from current and past members that you can market to.
Newspaper Ads $150-$500
Just like billboards, newspaper ads are a very common practice for insurance agents. You can use one of your company ads or create your own.
While many agents promote a specific line of business, (e.g. “get a term life insurance quote”) you can use ads to promote anything about your business. If you are putting on an event, doing a give away, or want to promote a value added service you offer, then newspaper ads may be an option.
These ads vary in price based on the size, the amount of people reached and the specific publication. Keep in mind that many publications are willing to negotiate price especially when they have not filled up their entire ad space and it is getting close their deadline.
Direct Mail $100-$500+
Another common form of insurance marketing is sending direct mail to clients or potential clients. You can send a postcard highlighting a specific service or send a letter introducing your agency and what makes you different.
The amount of money per household reached is relatively low. The price varies based on what type of mail is sent, the number of people you want to reach and any current promotions going on.
Host a Contest or Give-away $100-$500
One way to get make people notice your agency and to generate leads is to do a give-away. You can do this at a fair, local event or through our own agency. When people sign up for the contest you can use it as an opportunity to give out information about your agency and to collect their information (name, email, phone number, etc…).
Not only do people have a little more knowledge of your agency through the information you have given them, but you can also use their information to contact them and potentially earn their business.
The more enticing the offer the better response you’ll get. You can choose to give away multiple $20 gift cards or you can give away something big like a new tablet, gift set filled with community offerings, or anything else of your choosing.
Being philanthropic is a great way for your agency to get known in the community. Donating your time and money is great. While you are giving to the people why not make it fun also?
One way to do this would be to host a contest. You could do a “quotes for charity” contest. For every new person who calls in to get a quote you can donate a set amount to a charity of their choice up to a certain amount.
This is great way to donate to charities while also getting quotes.
Inexpensive and Free Marketing Ideas
You do not have to break the bank marketing your insurance agency. Even agencies who are limited in their budget can still pump out some great marketing initiatives. In fact, some of the best ideas are relatively inexpensive.
These next marketing ideas can all be done with less than $100.
Trusted Choice.com $0-$98 (OH IIABA member pricing)
If you are an IIABA member you can claim your Trusted Choice profile for free. This is an online website where consumers can find agencies based on their wants and needs. Trusted Choice does the marketing and all you have to do is customize your profile.
The Advantage leads program gives you priority over other agents who only use the free profile. For a personal lines profile it is $49, commercial is $79 or you can bundle and only pay $98.
Online ads $10-?
You can do an online ad just about anywhere online. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google, blogs, etc… These are usually pay-per-click which means you only have to pay when someone actually clicks on your ad.
How much you spend is up to you. You can set the ads to close after so much money has been spent (that amount is up to you) but the minimum to start an ad is usually around $10.
Start a blog/website
Many agents are trying to get a piece of the online pie by getting found online using their blog and/or website. There are millions of search queries for different insurance terms a month. These are not just price shoppers either, serious buyers (both commercial and personal lines) are looking for agents online. According to LIMRA, 71% of individuals research life insurance online before purchasing.
Building a blog or website with authority can enable you to market your services online with an unlimited capacity.
More businesses are engaging on social media and for good reason. Social media marketing allows you to show the culture of your agency and express what makes you different in a very personal and visual way.
Where most marketing is more sales oriented, social media allows you to show prospects what you are all about and gives you the ability to reach multitudes of people as followers like and share your information.
One form of marketing with a great ROI is email marketing. With the right tools, you can send the same email to thousands of people with the click of a button. As long as you have an email address you can market to your clients and prospects alike.
Think about your book of business. How many mono-line home or auto policies are there? Think about what you could do if an automated email went out to all of these people urging them to bundle and you would not have to pick up the phone unless they want to add a policy.
Have you ever thought about all the lost business or individuals you failed to close a sale with? With email marketing you could send a message to all of these people reminding them why you are different and asking them to let you quote them again.
Email marketing lets you round accounts, keep in touch with leads, get back lost business and retain customers for close to $0.
Not all free marketing has to be actual marketing. Just getting out in the community and donating your time is a great way to get your name out.
When people see what you do in the community they can get to know you and can build a level of trust that other agents may not be able to. It does not just have to be you though. Encourage employees to get out and donate their time also.
Write for Local Publications
Many newspapers, business publications and blogs are constantly looking for experts to write for them. This is an opportunity to show your expertise, reach a large amount of people and the best part is that it is on someone else’s dime. All you have to do is write.
Participate in an expert panel
Having an event where community members can come ask and questions is a great way to get in front of a crowd. Suggest the idea to your local library, fire and police departments or Chamber of Commerce.
You could have a generic panel where people coming can ask questions about the different business. You could host a panel on something relevant like when the Health Care Reform was first instated. You could also do something non insurance related like discussing the latest technology and showing visitors how to use it.
Not only will you have the chance to hand out business cards and show your expertise, but during down times it gives the opportunity to build relationships with the other business experts.
Get help creating a marketing plan
80% of a marketing tactics success is the execution. Just spending money on marketing in hopes that you might bring in business is not a good plan.
With so many options it can quickly get overwhelming and your marketing can become ineffective.
In order to have success with marketing your insurance agency and to see a real ROI, you need to have a plan. You need to know what are the best practices, what tools you need and what are the best ways to execute the plan. We can help.