InBuzz Insurance Marketing Blog

Insurance Marketing Overview: From Start to Success

[fa icon="clock-o"] Nov 1, 2017 7:59:00 PM [fa icon="user"] Zach Emly [fa icon="folder-open'] insurance marketing, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Planning

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Insurance marketing is a process. Learning it takes time, implementing it takes time, and even exploring all of your options takes time. 

If you want to understand, implement and have successful marketing efforts for your insurance agency then you have to be willing to put in the energy and resources. No one can do this for you. 

We can however, provide you with everything you need to understand, implement and have success in your insurance marketing initiatives. This article outlines most of what you need to wrap your head around marketing and will help you on your way to successful implementation. All you have to do is be willing to go through the resources and put in the effort. And oh yea, you might need a little patience ;-)


Changes in Marketing Trends over the past decade

Over the past decade, there have been huge changes in marketing trends. Where social media was just coming into the equation to now, where it seems to dominate the insurance marketing space.

Insurance has always been heavily reliant on sales but marketing was just an additional part of agency success IF an agency wanted to invest in it. Now, marketing is becoming almost a necessity for insurance agencies which is a HUGE paradigm shift. For most, it completely changes their view of how an insurance agency should run.

One of the biggest shifts in marketing is that it is no longer just a tactic to bring more people to your insurance agency. It is intertwined with how consumers shop and how sales people are now selling.

Sales process then and now.png

<<Do you really know or do you just think you know how people buy in this day and age? Find out here.>>

There are a lot of changes to be aware of, but the biggest change to note is that insurance marketing is not going anywhere. With how consumers now shop and the expectations forced upon agents. They must set aside some of their traditional means of doing business and adapt more modern means of doing business.


Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing

Just like when computers entering the scene completely changed the way agents do business, (could you imagine doing business without a computer today?) the emergence of Google, social media and how the modern person is constantly connected has changed how we do business and market our businesses.

I want to take a moment and break down the older, traditional means of insurance marketing compared to digital marketing:

 Traditional Marketing   Digital Marketing 
Post Cards Email Marketing
Newspaper Ads Video Marketing
Radio Ads Digital Ads
Billboards Social Media 

<<Do you avoid digital strategies because your ways work or because you don't understand the digital marketing strategies? Here is a guide that will help you understand it better so you can be an informed decision maker>>

In the past, we tried to force people to hear our message. There was not a better way other than to broadcast why we were the best in hopes that people would see our message and respond.

But now, consumers are inundated with so much information, that much of the traditional means of insurance marketing are being ignored. With digital marketing however, we can create marketing messages in a way that people will receive them when the timing is right. We can create marketing messages that are actually beneficial to the consumer and timely.

We are not just telling people what to buy, we are now able to provide them with the information necessary when they need it. This gives us an amazing opportunity to create marketing that consumers will actually search out and be happy that they received it.

Do not think of digital insurance marketing as a new way of shoving our message down the throats of consumers. Let's instead think of it as a mutually beneficial system of communicating with consumers.


Where do you begin understanding it all?

Honestly getting started is the hardest part. In the past, most agents would simply put up a billboard or do a large mailer and it was very hands off. Call someone, tell them what you want, check it to make sure it looks good and then it’s off. In most cases you could simply use one of your company’s ads so the only thing you had to do is contact an ad agency to get your advertisement out.

Now you have so many options and experts are telling you to be everywhere at once, it is extremely overwhelming.

Honestly, if you want to begin to understand digital marketing and make it work for your agency, you need to do it in bite sized pieces. Learn a little bit, then try a little bit, learn a little bit more and do a little bit more.

Many agents either do not take the time to learn anything or they want to learn everything at once which limits their ability to execute.

The best way to start learning is by reading blogs, watching videos, attending webinars, etc… Try reading an article or watching a video a couple times a week. You would be surprised at how 10 min a week can really help you understand insurance marketing.

In addition to consuming content you also have to try things. Without being in the process you will not be able to accurately gauge how things really work or how you can make them work for your agency.

So learn a little and try a little. Learn a little bit more than try a little bit more. Can you dedicate an hour a week to begin understanding insurance marketing? 


Determine what initiatives are right for your agency and which are not

In your journey to understand insurance marketing, you will be bombarded with a ton of information. Experts are all going to tell you that one initiative is a necessity over another. The problem with this as you try to learn is that you will have one person telling you that Instagram is where you need to be, while another says Facebook, while another says video, while another says blogging, and so on...

One of the best things about marketing in this day and age, is also what makes it one of the toughest aspects. It is the fact that your insurance agency’s marketing should be unique to your agency.

Everyone is going to do something a little bit differently depending on their agency’s culture and needs. This means that you will have more work as an agency to make marketing effective but it also means that there will be less competition in your sector.

But how do you determine what marketing efforts are right for your agency? Ask yourself these three questions:

  • What is unique about our agency?
  • What are our agency’s goals?
  • What resources (time, money, man power) are we willing to invest in marketing?

The main factor that will determine what you dive into is your agency’s goals. It obviously does not make sense to invest in something that will not help you meet your goals. You must also consider what makes your agency unique because it will be a major push factor in what you do and how you do it. We must also be realistic in our resources. Most agencies can’t do it all because they do not have the man power so it limits what they can do.

Just like your insurance clients have to know their options to make an educated decision, so do you. You have to know how different marketing initiatives work and this will take some work but it is not impossible.


Create a marketing plan

A marketing plan for your insurance agency is key in aligning your efforts for success. It will help you lay out what methods of marketing you should use and which should be ignored. If you choose to skip this you may find your marketing way off target 6 months or a year from now.

planning quote.png

A marketing plan should include all the key concepts of your marketing but can look different for every insurance agency.

It can be a generic layout that will highlight what you are doing and why, or it can discuss every detail.

My suggestions for your marketing plan is that it should at least highlight these five areas:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • How

Do this for your agency. Who is doing what, when, where and how. And also do it for who your marketing will reach with what, when it will go out, where you will publish it and how you will execute.

By creating a marketing plan you will better understand what you are doing on a day to day basis and will help keep your marketing in line.

<<Do you have a marketing plan or know where to get started? We wrote an article to help you create one>>


Implementing your marketing plan

Don’t think for a second because you have a plan that you have things all figure out. Yes, your plan will be there to guide you but many struggle to implement the plan because they were not prepared.

In order to implement a plan, you need a few steps:

  • If you have not done so already, set responsibilities and expectations. Who will do what and what outcome do we expect to see.
  • Next, set aside time on your calendar for your personal commitments. Insurance marketing only works when the boss also commits. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment but you have to have some skin in the game as well.
  • Assign someone to keep the marketing team accountable and ensure things get done. Even if you are by yourself, maybe think about hiring a consultant or finding a success partner to keep you going. One of the biggest reasons agents fail at marketing is because they get too busy and their insurance marketing efforts fall by the wayside.
  • Meet on a regular basis to see where projects are at and to get ahead of any potential issues that may arise.

Insurance marketing takes effort. If it was a matter of flipping a switch then every insurance agent would be doing it. You do not have to completely focus on marketing but you have to do your share on a weekly basis to ensure the marketing plan is being implemented for success.

<<Do you have something in place to ensure you implement successfully or are you just hoping it works out? Here is an article dedicated entirely to implementing a digital strategy.>>


Assessing your marketing efforts

Your marketing will take time. But you should only let so much time pass and spend so much money on something that is not working before you abandon it.

Sometimes things are not working and it is OK to ask “why,” instead of just throwing resources at something for marketing sake.

Before you jump ship though, ask yourself these 4 questions to ensure you are not prematurely quitting:

  • Have I given the necessary amount of time required for the specific effort to work?
  • Have I been faithful in actively engaging or have I only engaged occasionally?
  • Am I doing it right?
  • Is the future expected outcome worth it for me to press on and spend my energy on it?

Ultimately it is up to you whether or not you choose to stay with an activity but it is wise to examine what is going on with your marketing.

Spending $500 in digital ads with no return may warrant jumping ship, but posting three blog posts in a three month period may mean you did not do your share.

<<Don't ignore the numbers if your insurance marketing efforts are not working. Here is an article that will point you in the right direction if your marketing is not working the way it should be.>> 


Final Advice

Marketing is now tougher than ever, but can be more effective than it has ever been. There are a lot of things to understand and a lot of things your agency can try but understand that you do not have to do it all.

When executing your insurance marketing methods, be realistic about what you can do and what you will do. Don’t expect to write 5 blogs a week, but don’t make excuses to why you can’t spend 10-15 minutes a day investing in your marketing.

Insurance marketing is a process, but if you put in the work you will see results. Maybe not today, maybe not this quarter, but eventually you will see the transformational power marketing can have on your insurance agency.

We can only discuss so much in a blog post, so if you have questions or you are stuck and don’t know what to do, then reach out to us. Drop a comment below to get a conversation started or simply reach out to us personally. We will help you take your insurance marketing to the next level.


Zach Emly

Written by Zach Emly

Zach started out his marketing career as an intern for a small insurance agency. With the use of blogging, social media, and email marketing, he helped explode the agency's growth. Now Zach is using his experience to help other agencies learn and implement digital marketing practices within their businesses. Have questions for him? Email him:

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