As a business professional proficient in the art of sales, you have likely realized that the hardest product to sell can be your own brand. To optimize your time and budget, focus on these cost efficient best practices for marketing your insurance services:
1. Develop a Business Referral Partnership: Insurance sales is a relationship businesses. Establish a mutually beneficial referral agreement with another local business that you trust, like an account, car dealer, or home contractor. Make sure you each have copies of one another’s business cards in your offices to distribute to customers and prospects.
2. Enhance your Google Ranking: Consumers value convenience, and with so many searches for business services starting with a trip to a search engine, particularly Google, ranking well on Google Search and Google Maps, is essential. To help small to mid-sized businesses to control their presence across Google’s properties, Google offers a tool called “Google My Business.”
3. Make Your Business Cards Stand Out: A distinctive business card design will make your agency memorable and will set you apart from the competition. In addition, give prospects a reason to keep your card on hand. Add local emergency phone numbers to the back, such as the local police department, fire department, gas company, and electric company, so that prospects always have your card in their wallet or saved in an easily accessible place in their home.
4. Partner with Your Local Chamber of Commerce: A presence on Google is essential, but don’t forget the importance of your local businesses community. Make sure your agency is listed in your local Chamber of Commerce’s printed and online directories. Those new to the area in particular are most likely to turn to businesses endorsed by the local Chamber of Commerce when in need of professional services.
5. Write a Blog: Your prospects are likely researching topics online that relate to your services, such as: “Cost to insure my teen driver,” “How to manage flood damage,” or “How to obtain health coverage from the Insurance Marketplace.” Consumers are more likely to partner with an organization that they feel is creditable and knowledgeable. By consistently writing and publishing educational articles on your website, you will position yourself as a thought leader and industry expert. Not only will continual content help establish your industry expert status, but it will help your organic online search engine results as well.
6. The Power of Customer Testimonials: Ask your satisfied customers for a testimonial of their experience with your agency. Testimonials and endorsements lend credibility and help establish trust among prospective customers. Written testimonials can be placed on your website, or in print advertising, or you can record video testimonials and place them prominently on your website as well.
7. Mobile Optimize: With 80% of online searches being performed from a Smart Phone in 2015 according to SmartInsights, having a mobile optimized website is ideal for prospective clients searching for your services. Otherwise, if a prospect visits your website from their smart phone and can’t find the information needed because of the way your site is rendering on their mobile device, they will likely move on to a competitor’s site to get the information he or she needs.
8. Attend Local Networking Events: Your local chamber of commerce or other local business organizations likely host monthly or quarterly networking events. Attend as many as possible, and bring those memorable business cards with you! Not only will networking events help you to identify prospective clients, but you may also identify new businesses partnerships with future mutual referral opportunities.
9. Write and Submit Press Releases to the Local Media: Share the news that affects your agency with your community. Just hired a new adjuster? Recently promoted one of your agents? Offering a promotional period for one of your services? Sponsoring a local charity golf event? Share anything newsworthy with your local press. Not only will it help to get the name of your agency in the media, but the next time a local reporter is looking for a source to quote on an article that relates to your line of insurance, they will be more likely to remember you and reach out for a quote. This strategy will further enhance your position as a thought leader.
10. Brand Yourself: Invest in tasteful, branded, professional attire like golf shirts and button-down shirts with your company logo in the corner. Wherever you travel in your community for events, meetings, and volunteer opportunities, you represent your agency. Branding yourself will help identify you to prospects and will also help with your overall brand awareness.
11. Book Speaking Engagements: This is another reason that business partnerships and a Chamber of Commerce membership can be extremely valuable. Offer to speak at local events on topics relevant to your services. Let the organizers of local events know that you are available and willing to give presentations. They will be thrilled to call on you the next time they are building their agenda, and you will have an opportunity to continue building your reputation as a local, accessible, insurance expert, which will ultimately, translate into new business.
12. Wrap Your Car: To help build brand awareness as you travel around your community, invest in a car wrap and you have instantly become your own mobile billboard. If a full car wrap is cost-prohibitive, simple magnets can be custom created and fixed to the side of your vehicle at a more affordable price.
13. Partner with a Local Charity to Elevate Your Brand: By aligning your company with a charitable event or organization, you not only have the opportunity to give back to your community and make a difference to those in need, but you can help to increase your brand awareness and elevate the perception of your agency. Consider supporting a charity that aligns with your services for the most impact. Offer home insurance? Co-sponsor a local Habitat for Humanity project. Sell life insurance? Co-sponsor a local run/walk event.
14. Monthly Business Card Drawings: Place a fishbowl on your reception desk and encourage everyone who stops by to drop in their business cards to be entered into monthly drawing. Make the price valuable, like a $25 gift card to a local restaurant. Most importantly, ensure the contact information from all collected business cards is saved in your prospect contact files for future follow-up.
15. Award Yourself: Apply for local and regional businesses awards. Your local business media publications or chamber of commerce likely create annual rankings for “Best of the Best” in town, in your industry, within your business size category, etc. Many competitions are free to apply, and when you win, you will be able to promote your “Best of” designation as another level of credible distinction.
16. Create, and Continually Update, your LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn is a social media site that allows business professionals to connect with one another. Not only will this help you find business-to-business leads if you sell commercial insurance, but having a LinkedIn page that is continually updated with news, information, and links to educational content (time to re-post those blog articles again!) helps to establish your knowledge base and credibility.
17. Conduct an Annual Customer Survey: Survey your existing customers annually. A brief online or paper survey can easily gather satisfaction data. Once you have compiled the exceptional results of your survey, promote them! Add statistics to your website, print advertising, or even business card. Statements such as “100% of our customers would refer our agency to a friend,” or “99% of our customers rank our customer service as excellent 5 years in a row” are powerful statements for turning leads into sales, so long as they are factual.
18. Submit Educational Articles to Your Local Media Publications: After the time and effort you have put into developing additional blog articles, get extra use out of them by submitting them to a local newspaper. Reach out to the paper’s business writer and ask if you can submit a monthly article for an “Ask An Insurance Expert” column. The next time someone in your community has a question or needs a quote, they will remember you as their local expert.
19. Reward Referrals: Let your customers know that you offer thank you gifts for referrals. Financial incentives are the most appealing form of rewards. Consider a $50 gas card if the lead turns into a client.
20. Host Your Own Event or Seminar: Here’s our final suggestion to help establish you as the preeminent insurance expert in your community: host your own seminar or educational event on a hot topic impacting your industry. Be sure to invite all of your current clients and prospects by email, postcard, and phone. Consider co-hosting the event with one of your business partner and encourage them to invite their clients and prospects as well, a strategy that can help you both with cross sales.