Marketing Tools & Resources For Insurance Agents
At The Premier Agency, we believe in providing our agents with the tools, resources, and training they need to be successful in this competitive landscape. In addition to our accessible promotional opportunities and generous 50% co-op advertising program, you will find a number of additional tools and resources all designed to make you more successful as an agent. In addition, The Premier Agency has partnered with a local, independent marketing consultant that will provide free, no cost marketing advice and strategy review sessions to help ensure you are getting the most out of your marketing dollars.
Creating A Marketing Strategy As An Independent Agent
Creating a marketing strategy is perhaps one of the most important components of a successful business plan. As an insurance agent, we understand that you need to get the most out of your marketing dollar so developing the right strategy is critical. Listed below, we have outlined some important components of a successful marketing strategy and offer some thought provoking questions that you need to answer
1. We recommend the first step in your journey start at a self-evaluation and really take a detailed look at what your agency has to offer. Take some notes, jot down a few bullet points because we are going to elaborate on these later. Think about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is called a SWOT analysis. Your agency may offer a lot to the clients you serve, but there are always opportunities. Self-evaluation is not a one-and-done process, this is something you should revisit often to help grow your business.
- Think about your strengths. What do you do well? What products/services are you most familiar with? Do you have a good pitch? Are you great at networking? Do you have a strong referral base? These are only a few examples of what make a great insurance agent.
- Next up, let’s look at your weaknesses. Weaknesses don’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. This could be something that you just know inside of you that you need to work on. This might also be something that you have never tried before. Weaknesses help us identify and focus on a challenge to better our future. In addition to the questions asked in the strengths section, some weaknesses might be in your follow-up, customer service, paperwork process, product knowledge, or resources… Again, to get the most out of this, you have to really think and be honest with yourself.
- Opportunities are usually the easy part, however some people confuse weaknesses with opportunities. Opportunities are more geared around things that happen outside of your business. Like the 50% co-op program that we offer here at The Premier Agency, or our in-house graphic/flyer design team, or our administrative professionals that help you with your paperwork. Other advantages that we would place in opportunities are things like external relationships with key referral partners, Chamber of Commerce or other membership organizations, or maybe a technology or resource that helps you to be more competitive than another agent. These are all things that we need to leverage to help your business grow.
- Lastly, threats! Threats are things that could ultimately end up hurting your business such as fulfillment issues, negative carrier publicity, changes in industry regulations, staffing issues, cash-flow problems, and more.
Here is a visual to help you put it all together:
When your done with your self-evaluation, give us a call so we can review your SWOT analysis and help you put together a game plan to leverage your strengths and provide additional support to help you with your opportunities, weaknesses, and threats.
2. Step two in developing our marketing strategy is to identify our target markets and goals. This is an important step, and one that you really need to get right. All too often, we see agents shoot for the stars and set unrealistic expectations. While we applaud that go-getter attitude, we also need to make sure we aren’t setting ourselves up for failure. The first part of this step is to identify our target market, and while this may seem easy, there is a lot too it. Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is targeting consumers by age. Low and behold, there is way more to it than that. What about those who are turning 65 and just starting to learn about Medicare? When should you start courting those individuals? The second part of this section is target markets. While targeting the retirement community down the street may be tempting, it is not the only opportunity to consider. Especially in the digital age, more and more seniors are turning to the internet for resources and information. Nailing down exactly who, what, when, where, and why takes time and a lot of consideration so that you don’t waste your marketing dollars.
3. Next up, we need to develop our message. So what is your pitch? What is your angle? Getting your message right can really make or break your sale. The key here is personalization. People buy from people. That is really the easiest way to put it. We call this concept “humanizing the brand”. You have to be able to relate to your customers, tell a story to lighten the mood. At the same time, you need to make sure to properly educate and inform your clients about what they are purchasing. You need to be the expert in your field and perfect your craft. Knowing the ins-and-outs of a plan is critical into establishing that trust and authority.
4. Let’s get creative! As a part of our suite of marketing tools and resources, our in-house graphic design team can really help bring your vision to life. Do you need a dynamic leave behind? To you need a presentation that really brings your story to life? Let us help! Being creative, developing dynamic visuals, and education pieces can really help capture an audience!
5. Next up, let’s look at some of the places to get your message and creatives out there. In this part of your marketing strategy, we are going to look at the placement of ads, your online presence, and how to get your name out there. Now, let’s be clear, there are 1000+ marketing channels out there and you can’t do them all, so we need to be strategic. We want to focus our efforts on a few key places and dominate. As an example, if you want to be successful in a networking group, you need to attend. Not one or two meetings, but all of them! Or maybe you want to look at social media. Should you post once or twice a week? Or how about once or twice a day! Do you have a website? Do you have unique content on the site and some dynamic visuals to keep your target audience engaged? The key here is consistency and persistence. Document out exactly what your game plan is and stick to it!
6. What is your advertising and marketing budget? Pretty important we know how much we are going to spend, right? Always remember, at The Premier Agency, we co-op most qualified marketing and advertising programs at 50%, which will really help your money go even further!
7. Evaluation time! Before we go for liftoff, we need to set some goals. What exactly are we looking to accomplish with our marketing strategy? Do we need 10 leads per month? How are you going to get them? Your measure of success should not be limited to simply leads…
Setting Up Google My Business
Think of Google My Business as the gateway to Google and local search. The key here is paying attention to the details! Fill out as much as possible! We would also recommend that after you set up your listing, download the Google My Business app from your phone’s app store. This will help you more easily manage your profile on-the-go. You will also learn that Google is big on images and video right now. From the Google My Business app, you can post to your GMB page, create special offers, and upload images and video right from your mobile device! For a step-by-step guide to set up your Google My Business page, click here: https://www.google.com/business/.
Prepare for AEP
Let’s Talk About Your Website
A well-designed website can truly make or break a business in this market, so we recommend getting this right, the first time! At The Premier Agency, we have a couple options for you when it comes to websites. We offer an affordable templated option that is ready to go out of the gate, and a custom option through our preferred marketing consultant. Or option 3, you can build a site yourself. No matter which option you choose, we are here to help you! The goal here I to create a place where consumers can go to educate themselves on the products/services that you offer and to attract new business by increasing your visibility in the market. On your website, we encourage our agents to create unique content that explains their products and services in such a way that it provides consumers with a seamless experience all the way around. Think of a website like an extension of you… You want to make sure that message comes across the exact same way as if you were sitting right in front of that potential client. This way, when you do get in front of them, they aren’t getting a different explanation. That synergy between you and your website is what will help establish you as the trusted authority in the industry.
Listed below are some of the components we feel are important to a well-rounded website:
- Well designed and functional. Websites should take users on a journey, it should guide them through a process or educate them on a solution to a problem. Your site should reflect your company, your products, your services and ultimately your brand. It is also important to be visually appealing, polished and professional. Allow white space, uncluttered layouts with quality photographs and graphics look and let your message shine through.
- Make sure it is easy to use! Ease of use is a big deal, especially with our senior community. Clunky sites that are difficult to navigate and find information are often disregarded as consumers search for a better option. Create obvious, logical navigation with clear hierarchy. Use consistent layouts and visual cues for functionality across the site. Your site should satisfy both ‘searchers’—coming for something specific, and ‘browsers’—just looking. Help users accomplish their tasks quickly with onsite search, and keep them engaged by suggesting related content and minimizing dead ends.
- Optimize for mobile. With more and more users turning to their mobile device to find local businesses, optimizing your website for mobile is vital. The growth of mobile and tablet devices is not slowing down and you just don’t know what your next visitor will be using. Optimizing for mobile will improve both the experience of your visitors and your SEO Rankings.
- The better the content, the better the user experience. We get it, you know the insurance business like the back of your hand. You know the ins-and-outs of the various products, services, and carriers, right? Then talk about it! The biggest mistake that we see agents make is that they keep their content brief and to the point. Remember, you can’t rank if you don’t talk about it! Use language that makes sense to your audience—avoid jargon, corporate speak and acronyms. Explain your “Why.” Visitors have short attention spans: spell correctly, be accurate, be relevant and update regularly. (Some tips here.) Blogs and social media updates are great ways to add fresh content, which keeps visitors returning and helps SEO strategy. Yes, keeping things fresh requires a bit of investment. No, you can’t do without it.
- Don’t forget those personalized images! Personalized images and video are important success factors. Believe it or not, people relate better to images and videos of the actual agent than they do stock photos… We know getting in front of a camara can be challenging, but you need to do it! Stage your shots, maybe get someone to take a picture of you in the community, doing a seminar, or even meeting with a client. All of these things will help clients better relate to you and get more out of your content!
- Last but not least, make sure your contact information is all over the place! This more/less falls under the ease-of-use bullet point, but it is worth mentioning again. Don’t forget to put your contact information in the header, footer, and anywhere else that makes sense. Another #protip is to make sure to feature your social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, and any other social site that you are active on!
Don’t forget about Google Analytics
What is Google Analytics you ask? Think of Google Analytics as a neutral third party that will help you measure and understand what people are doing on your website. You can see how much traffic is going to the site, what pages they are visiting, and what pages need improvement overall. To get started with Google Analytics, click here: https://analytics.google.com.
We also recommend that all of our agents take a course to get more familiar with how to use GA! Here is a Google Analytics course for beginners: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/course/6.
Let’s set up some more local listings!
Local listings are great resources to help drive traffic and visibility to the website. More importantly, it is a SEO attribute that can help get your website ranking. There are literally thousands of local listing sites out there, but we’ve narrowed down the list to a handful that make the most sense for you as an insurance agent. Please note, most of these sites are free to create a listing. Keep in mind, this is an open door for them to try and sell you something. While nobody wants their inbox filling up with spam, the barrage is usually short lived and fades over time. Here are a few recommended local listing sites:
Get those reviews!
Reviews are probably one of the most important components of a well-rounded marketing strategy out there. All of the major search engines have acknowledged that reviews are a contributing factor to a business’s online ranking. So how do you get reviews? Don’t overthink this. You do a great job for your clients, right? Why wouldn’t they want to leave you a review… The biggest challenge most agents have is asking for the review. Don’t be afraid to just bluntly state, “I’ve worked really hard to develop a comprehensive program to protect you and your family. With that said, I am trying to grow my business and connect with other amazing clients just like you… Would you mind helping me by providing a review on Google, Yelp, or Facebook?”. Again, this may come across awkward the first two or three times, but it needs to be a part of your sales process each and every time. Another #protip, you can create a special business card with the link to your Google My Business page, Yelp, or Facebook page! These are great leave behinds and can help remind clients to leave that review long after you have left! Another #protip, leave the links to your review sites on your contact us page or the footer of your website. These are easy to find areas that can make it easy for a customer to connect with you!
It’s time to talk about social media!
Social media is one of the most powerful resources you have available to you as an insurance agent. Social media provides you the means to connect with a very large, diverse audience, all from the comfort of your office or home. With that said, not all social media platforms are created equal. One of the top questions we get is “What social media platform should I use?”. And the answer to that is simple, the one you can consistently engage with. One of the biggest challenges that we see with local insurance agents is a lack of engagement. It doesn’t matter what platform you want to use, they all have their advantages and disadvantages, but if you don’t engage with them, you will likely not see much success. What we recommend to our agents is that you pick one platform and perfect your craft. That means that you are posting regularly, engaging with consumers, posting into groups, and so on. As a rule of thumb, we recommend agents start with Facebook. With over 2 billion users, it is the go-to platform for most people. While 65% of the users are under 35, the largest growing segment is our 55+ crowd!
If you need help creating a Facebook business page, click here: https://www.facebook.com/business/pages/set-up
- Claim your Facebook vanity URL
Once your Page has 25 Likes, you can claim your vanity URL, meaning you can direct fans to a URL like “facebook.com/YourBusinessName”. This helps visitors to find your page and makes it easier for you to promote your page on other marketing materials.
- Change/update Facebook cover photo
The Facebook cover photo is an often-overlooked area for some self-promotion. If you’re holding a contest or giveaway, your Facebook cover photo can act like a promotional billboard. Show off the prizes you’re giving away and a link to the contest for all of your visitors to see.
- Complete your about page
You’d be surprised at how many Facebook about sections are left barren. Completing the about page of your business page is crucial. Your Facebook business page can often be the first place your visitors head to after a Google search. Make sure all of your information is in order including your website, social links, and contact information.
- Include Like buttons on your website and blog
Having Facebook Like buttons on your website and blog can direct traffic from these channels to your Facebook Page, turning blog readers and customers into social media fans. Entice them into liking your Page with a CTA – for example, “Like our page to stay up to date with the latest products and promotions!”
Facebook media comes in all shapes and formats making it a perfect way to hold a Q&A session with your followers. Post a start date and time for questions. Then post an update to request questions from your followers. Answer those questions live, pre-record a video, or just simply write in some replies. The choice is up to you.
- Facebook Live
Broadcasting to the world is no longer a function capable by only large media companies. Anyone can now jump onto Facebook and with a click of a button, broadcast to their fans live. There are many creative ways to use live video. Use it for events, inside looks, Q&As, etc. Experiment with Facebook Live and start interacting with your audience in real time.
- Create eye-catching images to go with your posts
Visuals are a powerful tool in the social media marketer’s toolbox. Visuals have the ability to communicate emotion and meaning in milliseconds. Attaching each update has been proven time and time again to outperform content without visuals.
- 70-20-10 rule
If you’re having trouble finding a balance of content to post to your Facebook page, follow the 70-20-10 rule. Post original valuable and engaging content 70 percent of the time. 20 percent of the time share content that your fans would be interested in. Then feel free to be self-promotional 10 percent of the time.