As buying behaviors shift over the years, insurance agencies look to marketing to better reach consumers and grow their businesses. While it’s not without its challenges, marketing can help insurance agencies overcome stagnant growth, improve ROI and breathe new life into their agency.
In this blog you will find several marketing strategies for your agency to consider. Find the strategies that look intriguing and jump in!
Before we begin
Every strategy you implement should be in alignment with your goals and with your customer’s journey. Marketing is about connecting a consumer to your solution and giving them the power to make the decision. You can’t use marketing as a way to “trick” someone into doing business with you.
So, before you begin implementing different marketing strategies consider these questions:
- Who are your Personas?
- Who do you want to reach and what’s the best way to reach them?
- What are your goals?
- What are you looking to achieve with your marketing strategies?
- Is there a plan?
- Don’t simply jump into a strategy in hopes something happens. Reverse engineer your strategy and lay out a plan that will meet your goals.
You can spend all the money in the world on marketing, but at the end of the day, if you aren’t strategic with how you approach it, you won’t see the results you desire.
That being said, let’s dive into some marketing strategies your insurance agency can implement.
1. Referral Marketing
I’ve heard many say that referrals are the life blood of an insurance agency and it makes sense. There’s no better lead than a warm referral. So if all this is true then one marketing strategy for insurance agencies to implement right away would be referral marketing.
There are two areas of focus for referral marketing:
The most obvious source of referrals is going to be your clients. Every insurance agency would take more referrals but the #1 reason why many do not get them is because they do not ask.
When it comes to referrals, your salespeople and CSRs should make it a habit of asking. But, there are also opportunities to ask through your marketing efforts.
In order to get more referrals through marketing your agency can create onboarding campaigns and referral campaigns when you bring new clients into your agency. You should also include your referral incentive information in all your newsletters and marketing material.
Another source of referrals which is extremely underrated is from referral partners. What do I mean by “referral partners?” I’m talking about the networks of similar industries that tend to refer business to one another. Realtors, mortgage brokers, attorneys, even other agents who don’t sell the same products as you can all be seen as referral partners.
One way of referral marketing is to stay front of mind with these referral partners so that when they have a client you are the first one on their recommendations list. Using your marketing to build strong relationships with these people can lead to referrals month after month.
2. Retention marketing
A new customer costs 5 times more to acquire then it does to keep a current one. So it makes sense that this would be a good place for your insurance agency to begin marketing.
A few years back, our insurance agency used Rocket Referrals to measure our net promoter score and to see where our clients stood. A small percent loved us and had no intentions of leaving us, a very small percent planned on leaving us and there was nothing we could do about, however, there was a large portion of clients who liked us, but if something better came along they may consider leaving.
Every agency has their clients who like them but will leave as soon as someone better looking comes along. This is where your retention marketing comes into play. Use marketing to strengthen the relationship with these people turning them into clients who love and have no intention on leaving you.
At some point you need new business coming in, but retention marketing is a strong ROI positive strategy for agencies.
3. Content Marketing
In this digital era, buyers are more educated, and they are going online to do their research. There is a lowered trust of salespeople and many buyers prefer to do as much online as possible before speaking with a real person. You likely do the same.
Take a look at your marketing and sales initiatives to date. Is there a place where buyers can research online through you or is speaking to a sales person your only option?
With content marketing, we allow consumers to research so that they can determine whether or not our solution is right. With content marketing we use multiple forms of content, blogs, video, graphics, etc… to walk consumers through their buying journey.
This gives them the ability to make educated decisions but it also builds trust between the consumer and the company/solution.
Content marketing is hard work but at the end of the day you have shortened your sales cycle, you’ve created educated consumers and you’ve established a relationship of trust which goes beyond price.
4. Digital Ads
As we shifted our lives into the digital world advertising quickly followed suite. While many treat digital advertising platforms as online billboards there are many more benefits than the traditional advertising insurance agents were once used to.
There are a number of benefits that comes with digital ads:
- The ability to target based on demographics and behaviors.
- Better analytics
- Lower cost and commitment compared to traditional advertising
- The ability to retarget
Just to name a few.
Instead of throwing up a billboard and hoping a good prospect drives by, you can now advertise everywhere a prospect goes online. Use digital ads as an opportunity to reach prospects that you otherwise never would have met.
5. Email Marketing
Can you name someone who doesn’t have an email address? Your prospects and clients may say they don’t have an email address but are they being truthful? If people have smartphones, computers, social media, google accounts or use online services then they need an email address.
Most people have email addresses and check them daily, making email marketing a very profitable form of marketing for insurance agencies.
Email marketing can be used effectively many ways:
- Lead nurturing
- Segmented messaging
- Remarketing / win-backs
And the list goes on.
Email marketing is all about communication which is why the uses are so numerous. This also means we need to treat it as a conversation and not a system to spam our prospects.
When it comes to email marketing (and really all marketing strategies) it is about adding value to the recipient.
6. Social Media Marketing
As consumers, a majority of our time spent online is on social media, which explains why it should be a strategy in a business’s marketing mix. Over the years social media has evolved and so has the way businesses can use it.
Here are a couple different ways insurance agents can use social media as a marketing strategy:
Using social media ads gives you the ability to reach consumers where they spend most of their time online. The best part is that you can target based on their demographics and/or behaviors. This means you can create a targeted message for each one of your niches.
What do your social media accounts say about your business? When I want to know about a business I go online. I check out a number of things but one of the main places I go is social media. I go there to see what they are all about and what others are saying. Ultimately, I want to know if they are worth my time and money.
Using social media as a branding tool allows consumers to get a glimpse into your culture and helps them decide if they trust you.
Social media is a very vast world with many platforms in which each platform has its own nuances. Keep in mind that you can have an overarching social media marketing strategy, but you will want to customize that strategy based on the platforms you choose to publish on.
Have you ever thought about what makes us like a business, brand or individual more than another? Sometimes it’s a superior product, but often times it’s their branding.
Branding is more than your agency’s logo and colors. It’s what people think of when they hear your agency’s name or see your logo. Branding shows who you are as a business and allows consumers to decide if you are the right fit for them.
Before a consumer does business with you, they will check you out online. There is a number of places they will go:
- Your Website
- Social media
- Review sites
- They will even take note of how you interact with people
If a consumer were to check you out online today, what would they think?
Branding likely won’t generate many leads on its own, but it will improve the likelihood someone becomes a lead and can also improve your marketing and sales results.
8. Sales Enablement
Believe it or not, but marketing can be used for more than branding and generating leads. Many businesses are discovering that marketing can actually improve sales results through sales enablement.
Traditionally marketing and sales have been siloed in their functions. Marketing focuses on branding and marketing while sales would go out and sell independently. Now, the gap between marketing and sales is diminishing and organizations that remain siloed struggle to see results. Sales enablement bridges the gap between the two and creates a unified buying experience for the consumer.
Here are a couple of ways you can use marketing for sales enablement:
- Create marketing content to use in the sales process for education and trust building.
- Use marketing data to identify where a prospect is in the buyer’s journey.
- Nurture leads with drip marketing until they become sales ready.
Sales enablement can lead to shortened sales cycles, and it can increase sales conversion rates. The ultimate purpose of sales enablement is to improve sales results, efficiency and effectiveness.
If you research sales enablement you will find many different strategies, thoughts and uses. But I’m a simple person and I like to think of it this way. What holes can marketing fill in the sales process?
Once you begin answering that question you will begin seeing various uses for marketing to enable sales which ultimately will create a smoother, more impactful process.
88% of consumers research products online before purchasing. But you don’t need stats to tell you how important Google and search engines are. If you have a question or are thinking about whether a solution is right for you will likely go online. You’re online reading this blog after all! 😉 While consumers have many ways of researching online the #1 way for them is through search engines such as Google. And how to go about getting these searchers to find you is through SEO.
It’s important to know that there are two types of SEO that you can focus on:
When you type a question into Google it will populate a number of websites that match your search query. Sometimes there are ads at the top an bottom of the search engine, but the rest of the populate results are called organic results. Organic SEO is the practice of getting your website into one of those organic results.
Think about how you use Google and other search engines. Generally you ask a question or type in a problem you have. It’s usually along these lines:
- What is [blank]
- How to [blank]
- The best [blank]
- Tips for [blank]
People look for ideas, tips, insights, answers, etc.. on search engines and SEO practices are what allow a website to land in the top spots of Google to be found.
When it comes to SEO think about the problems your ideal client has. Think about the questions they ask. “What is that policy? Why do I need it? How much does it cost?” All these questions that your prospects and clients ask in person are also being asked online.
Addressing these questions and problems online through your website, blog or Youtube channel, is the key to generating traffic from an organic SEO strategy.
Have you ever Googled “restaurants near me?” Many web searchers who go online want a local result. They want a business that is near them. Wouldn’t it be upsetting if you were hungry and were looking for a restaurant but instead of finding one near you Google showed you the best restaurants all across the world?
People often times want local businesses. Restaurants, mechanics, accountants and even insurance agencies. Local SEO exists as a way for searchers to find businesses located close to them.
By focusing on your local seo strategy, local searchers will more easily be able to find your business online.
10. Influencer marketing
Have you ever heard a product mentioned in a video or podcast so you looked it up online? When I mention influencer marketing I’m not talking about TikTok or Instagram shout outs but rather using a trusted voice to reach your ideal audience.
Your ideal client likely takes advise or consumes someone’s content. Maybe it’s in the form of podcasts, or Youtube videos. Maybe they like to follow certain people on social media for life tips, business advise, or whatever. Marketing through these people makes your solution more trustworthy and can get you in front of consumers who normally wouldn’t find you. That’s the power of influencer marketing.
You’ve likely seen this from large organizations and brands but how could an insurance agency utilize this marketing idea? Simply take the fundamentals of this tactic and modify it for your business.
You can find local influencers or advertise on platforms that you know are commonly visited by your prospective clients. Or, If you have clients who have influence in your community you can ask for an interview or testimonial.
11. Remarketing and Retargeting
Has your agency ever had a prospect who said no after you quoted them? Have you ever had a website visitor leave without contacting you? Have you ever had a good client leave for a bad reason? Don’t think of these people as lost opportunities. With remarketing and retargeting you can bring these opportunities back to life.
Remarketing and Retargeting are different strategies, but I included them together because the nature of the two are very close and often times they are used together.
Have you ever looked at an item or company’s website online then turn around and see those very items advertised to you across the web? That’s retargeting.
98% of your website visitors leave without contacting you. Think about that for a second. For every 100 people who is interested in your solution and comes to your website only 2 of them contact you. This means the other 98 people who are in some way interested in your services leave, most likely never to land on your website again.
With a retargeting and remarketing strategy you can stay front of mind and be there when they are ready to buy.
12. Up-selling and cross-selling
Generating new opportunities is great but what if you could grow your revenue from the book of business you already have?
Take a look at your current book of business. How many of your clients are mono-line auto or home policies? Are there clients who have bare bones coverage based on their assets? Would any clients benefit from an umbrella? Do you have clients who have separate policies with different agents?
With the right tools you can segment your database and use drip marketing to up-sell/cross-sell to these clients.
I hate the term up-selling because it sounds like we are ripping off our clients but the reality is that we need to let our clients know that there is more available to them. If you don’t tell them they need life insurance, or an umbrella, or that they can save money by bundling their policies together then who will?
Your up-sell or cross-sell strategy should focus on educating your clients on solutions available and the benefits to them.
These are conversation you should already be having with your clients which is why every insurance agency should use this type of marketing strategy.
13. Win-back campaigns
Every business has clients leave. Some for valid reasons and some simply because the grass looks greener on the other side. But how many businesses attempt to win back these clients?
Use this strategy to let past clients know that they are always welcome to come back. In your marketing remind them of the reasons they came to you in the first place and keep the lines of communication open. This keeps your agency front of mind and makes it less awkward for them to come back.
Using win-back campaigns as a marketing strategy is an affordable and pain free way to get back good clients.
Traditional Marketing Initiatives CAN still work if done right
When discussing insurance marketing many people suggest digital strategies because they work but also because we live in a digital world. But I believe too many of us have dismissed the effectiveness of some of the “old” ways of marketing.
Many of these traditional marketing tactics can work but we can’t approach them in a valueless way we did in the past.
Let me first discuss what changes we need to make in order for these methods to be effective and then we can dive into some of these strategies.
Here are some changes you need to make with your traditional marketing strategies:
- Find a way to present value instead of simply offering quotes.
- Give them the opportunity to dig deeper and research.
- Make it a unique experience.
- Make it measurable.
When it comes to traditional marketing initiatives, we must change our thinking from “it’s a numbers game” to “how can we be strategic?” As we discuss the different traditional marketing strategies I will show you ways to make them more strategic.
Even in a digital world the best way to grow your business is by meeting people. As much as insurance has become transactional it is still a people business. Generating leads from marketing is great, but knowing someone in real life is even better.
However, between living in a digital era and facing social distancing measures, networking has taken a creative turn. Where a bulk of networking was done in person at conferences and events, now it is done online and through personal introductions.
So, if you are a great networker and this has been a strategy that has worked in the past it still can. Begin connecting with professionals on LinkedIn, join social media groups relevant to your niche, and if you have close relationships with people who know people you want to know, then ask for an introduction.
15. Cold Calling
No one likes cold calling. I’ve never met a salesperson who was fond of it and I’ve never met anyone who enjoyed being on the receiving end of it. So why is it in this post you ask? Well, the reason is because it can still work. We just need to approach things differently.
In order for cold calling to work, you have to approach it with the prospect’s problems in mind. When cold calling, you have about 5 seconds to present value as to why they shouldn’t hang up the phone. This means you need to be very focused and strategic with your cold calling.
This also means that robocalling, generic scripts, and offering low value offerings (quotes, saving money, etc.) won’t work.
Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. If you were on the receiving end, what would keep intrigue you and what would make you hang up the phone?
16. Direct Mail
Even with the amount of junk mail we receive direct mail can still work. But again, not with the old ways of spamming “we can give you a quote.” Let me give you a personal example of how our digital marketing and sales business bought a digital software package from a direct mail campaign.
I won’t go into all the details, but here’s the summary of what happened. One day we got a large package in the mail. It was a glass maze with our logo in the middle. Come to find out, the sender was a marketing automation software company who wanted to buy us lunch and demo their product. But they didn’t just send that to offer us a demo. They sent it with a letter that addressed our pain points and discussed how they specialized in working with businesses such as ours where their competition didn’t cater 100% to our needs. Long story short, we switched to their solution.
You don’t need to send a big elaborate gift to prospects (though it can work). The success of their direct mail campaign was that they addressed the pain points we were struggling with, showcased how they were different, but they also gave us some information to research.
If you intend on using direct mail you need to do the same for your prospects. Discuss your prospects pain points, how you address their issues, and then instead of giving them a phone number or your general website address, give them something specific to research.
Getting the most out of your strategies
There are so many ways to market an insurance agency! For many, the biggest issue isn’t coming up with ideas, but rather being strategic and effective with their marketing efforts. Every one of these strategies can work for your agency, but there’s a few things you must do:
- Be strategic – You must know why you are executing that particular strategy, what the end goal is, and how it will achieve that goal.
- Add value – Marketing should not be a creative way for you to offer quotes. Focus on their pain points and open the door for them to understand how your solution can help them.
- Make it measurable – Don’t make assumptions with your marketing. Track and measure the campaigns so you have a clear picture of what is working and how well.
Insurance agents have many strategies at their disposal. Unfortunately, many agencies hardly scratch the surface of their marketing strategies and in turn never really get the most out of their efforts.
If you see marketing as a key element in your growth, then jump in. Take note of the strategies that are applicable for your agency then create a plan around those strategies.
I hope these marketing ideas have got the wheels turning and you’re ready to grab hold of the opportunities in front of you. It may not happen overnight, but if you are willing to dedicate the time and energy into your marketing strategies then you can begin to watch your agency grow month after month just like ours did.