A marketing plan for an insurance agency is so important in aligning your marketing with your agency goals. We often see that the agents who have no marketing plan rarely benefit from their marketing initiatives. This causes frustration for the agent and a loss of funds where marketing should bring some sort of positive outcome.
The point of this blog post, is to show you what should be included in your marketing plan so that you can utilize it in a way that 1) focuses your efforts on the right efforts and 2) allows you to turn marketing from a mess into a focused strategy.
Start with your Missions, Vision and Value statement
If you don't have these established already, it is time you do so. This is the written form of why your business exists and what your business is all about. Marketing aside, knowing what your mission and vision is will help you business focus on what you do best and help you remember why you are doing it in the first place.
So, let's take a look at those mission, vision and value statements. What do they say?
Take these statements and put them boldly where you can see them on your marketing plan because your marketing should help you further your mission not distract from it. If this is not considered while creating your marketing plan you will have a bunch of marketing efforts that have nothing to do with your work as an insurance agency and it will quickly feel like you are running two businesses. A marketing business and an insurance agency.
Define your agency goals
Again, if you have not defined your agency goals, it is time to do so. By clearly stating your goals you will be able to utilize marketing in a way that will help you achieve them.
So, what are your agency goals? Do you want to close more opportunities? Do you want more people to know who your agency is and what you are doing? Do you want to generate more leads and sales? What does your agency hope to achieve in the next 6-12 months and even 1-5 years?
Once you know what your agency goals are, it is time to break them down into different departments. How will sales help the goal? How will inside sales help meet the goals? How will management help meet the goals? And of course how will marketing meet the goals?
For your insurance agency's marketing plan you do not have to include the other departments, but you have to figure everyone's goals first to determine where marketing fits in the puzzle. For instance, if one of your agency goals is to sell 20 additional commercial lines policies every month, then marketing's goal may be to generate enough leads to sell write 2 commercial lines policies every month. This may be different for each agency so for now let's just say that in order to write 2 policies we will need 10 leads.
If you're not sure what the goal should be don't worry too much about it. Set what you think is an ideal goal and then you can adjust as you get the necessary data to do so.
List of the efforts that can help you meet your goals
Now we will finally begin to get into some of the actual initatives marketing should or should not get into. At this point, you want to list everything that can help you meet your goals.
For instance, if we keep the same goal from above (10 leads a month) then we will list every initiative that will help us generate insurance leads.
So you could include the following:
- SEO and Blogging
- Sales Emails
- Facebook ads
- Google ads
You get the idea. But you want to list everything. Even if you are not sure how something will work or if you even want to do it. The point of this section is to put it all on the table so that you don't miss anything and so that you can accurately assess what will help you meet your goals.
(Here is an article on generating insurance leads online if you need some ideas.)
This step will also help you put in perspective things you wanted to do for your agency but do not help meet the agency goals. As you will find out, we begin to chaff away at all the initiatives we do because we think they are a "good idea" and only focus on what we know will help us meet our goals.
Select the efforts you will use and explain why
When selecting your efforts, think about the resources you have available. Sure all of us would blog, put ads everywhere, use every social media channel, and create this beast of a marketing machine with a full marketing staff but many of us do not have the resources or the knowledge to pull it off.
Instead we need to focus on what we have now, and create what we can do now. So, if your agency is only you (the agency owner), a front desk person, a producer and a CSR you may struggle pulling off something large such as a blog unless you are willing to put in the time yourself.
However, this is not to say that you can not plan for the future and think about what efforts you really want to get into 6 months from now or a year from now, and begin working to get what we need for those efforts.
Set a realistic time frame of events
I say realistic because many agents jump into marketing and expect to buy a new website, get a new blog and start attracting leads within the first couple of weeks but it is simply not going to happen that way.
We have seen the process go from a couple of weeks to getting started to a couple of months. It all depends on what you want to do and the necessary resources you need.
Here are a couple different scenarios as to what I mean.
1) You want to start blogging to generate leads. Your website was built on a Wordpress platform so at this point all you would need to do is start using the blog feature. You will need some education as to what to blog about, and a person to blog, but besides that you should be able to get your first blog out in a week or two.
2) Same scenario. You want to start blogging. Your website currently has no blog feature so you need to either set up an external blog or buy a new website that has a blog. In this situation you will have to take time exploring your options, spend time getting things set up, review for changes, and of course still learning what to blog about. This process may take a couple of months.
Go through all the efforts you want to get into and put them into a timeline. What will be done week 1, week 2, week 3, etc... And don't forget to include finding the people, and taking the time into consideration for them to get up to speed.
The main reason for doing this is so you know whether you are staying true to your plan and if it is meeting expectations. Too often agents say that their marketing is not working for them and when we take a look, we realize that 90% of their time has been spent on the set up and have not got into the actual producing part of the marketing.
This is like having a new producer and as they are doing their intro paper work and doing their initial license test, you fire them because they have not sold a policy yet. You need to know the expectations of your marketing just like you would know the expectations of a new sales person or employee.
Now that you know what you want to do and the expectations of what it will take, you can now get started on your marketing efforts. At this point, you have done the back end work and need to take your first step.
This first step could look different for every insurance agency. It could be beginning the hiring process to find a marketing person, it could be to find a new website vendor, or it could be actually jumping into an initiative such as posting on Linkedin for the first time.
Now here's the challenging part.
It is not necessarily the first step that trips people up, but knowing the first step to take. People want to start blogging, they want to jump into email marketing, they want to get more active in social media and they want to try video. So what do is the first step to take?
Well, honestly, that depends. You can look back at your time frame section of the marketing plan to get an idea but even this sometimes is hard to determine what to do first. But we have found that at this point the best first step is to get some help.
You can stumble over your feet for a few months (or a couple years like we did) but having someone help you implement your marketing plan can make things so much easier.
Analyzing and Adjusting
Once you begin to implementing your strategy it does not mean it is time to throw out the marketing plan. As you begin working the plan and begin capturing data you will need to adjust the plan.
Are your efforts generating the results they need to be? If not, why not?
Does marketing need to add to or adjust their goals?
Should you shift the focus and resources of one marketing initiative to another?
Revisit your marketing plan every 6 months to a year so that you can analyze the results and adjust where necessary. By doing this, you will eventually make your marketing more successful year after year after year. That is after all, the end goal of a marketing plan right?
If you have questions on marketing or establishing a marketing plan, let us know in the comments below!