Distinguishing yourself in the insurance marketplace depends heavily on the actions you take to pull policyholders into the fold. You must endeavor to separate your business from the pack, a group of small business owners who at first glance appear to be very much alike. The two-pronged attack of advertising and marketing strongly correlate, but each campaign must be designed separately. Advertising is mostly static. You can utilize radio, television, and newspaper spots, and if placed in the right slots, these efforts may likely draw prospects who shop for agents through such mediums. Marketing plans, on the other hand, are largely defined by how you dynamically seek to create a customer base. What daily activities should you pursue to ensure you’re not just one of those generic, smiling faces on a billboard?
Use Your Circle of Influence
It’s a strategy promoted by most every captive insurance carrier in the marketplace. Simply make a list of family and friends, pick up the phone and give them a call. That communication should not be a solicitation. Rather, let that call be an announcement of what you’re doing and where you’re located. Follow up with a mailing containing a business card (refrigerator magnets work best), a brochure, and a quick handwritten note. The fact that you took the time to personalize a letter will resonate with close friends as well as acquaintances. Use a postage stamp, not a metre, and hand-address the envelope. It’s these personal touches that set you apart. Your relationship with this circle of influence already has you a leg up on the competition. Supercharge it.
Build a Website
Having a website is a must in the insurance industry. With the advent of the digital age and the decline in readership suffered by newspapers, more people shop for services online than in printed media. A 2014 study conducted by GfK revealed that more than 40% of Canadians shopped online for financial services. However, merely building a site and letting it ride is not enough. Be certain to use search engine optimization techniques so that your business not only exists in cyberspace but can be readily found by shoppers in your market.
Build a Referral Network
Referral networks integrate advertising with marketing. Unlike pricey radio and television ads, referral marketing is free. You can seek out other professionals whose businesses align but don’t compete with your agency. Realize that these accountants, attorneys, or financial consultants have the same dilemmas that you do: how to create a loyal customer base. Building on a foundation of trust, these informal agreements see you sending customers one way in hopes of receiving a few prospects on the road back. You look out, observe a sea of competitors and wonder where you should focus marketing and advertising efforts. Take uncomplicated steps to assure that your insurance agency rises with the tide. Start with who you know, who you should get to know, and how these relationships can generate potential customers and drive revenue.