MarketingDid you know that your target customers need to hear your marketing message at least seven times to influence a buying decision? The best marketing programs provide high volume exposure and repeat touches in the market.  This poses no problem for the big insurance giants who appear to have unlimited funds. For the independent insurance agent, however, it requires careful planning and creative thinking.

Unfortunately, many independent agencies, strapped for time and resources, focus on having prime office space, state-of-the-art computer equipment, and expensive office furnishings, but neglect to allocate the funds necessary to market their agency.  In fact, when push comes to shove, the marketing budget is often the one that gets cut.

It is important to note, however, that you don’t need to break the bank in order to effectively market your agency.  The fundamental secret to creating a high-impact marketing plan on a limited budget is to optimize what you have and focus on capturing the customers that will provide a return on your investment. Instead of hiring an expensive advertising agency that is incapable of cost-effective marketing tactics, use some of these low-budget marketing initiatives instead.

  • Website Strategies:
    • Have an easy to remember website address that relates to who your insurance company is or what you do. Also, make sure you list your website address in all of your agency materials.
    • Provide helpful insurance information to website visitors. Answer common coverage questions or offer helpful home/auto maintenance suggestions.
    • Don’t over-do it! There are ways to create an impressive site using less-complex template or open source approaches.
    • Don’t let your site stay stagnant. Refresh your content and add new material as often as you can.
  • Social Media Strategies:
    • Use social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to share relevant, educational, informational or entertaining content – not to self promote.
    • Join and actively participate in local online groups on LinkedIn
    • Locate a niche/ group where you can be an expert and offer helpful insurance hints and suggestions.

Here are a few quick links we stumbled upon with additional information on using LinkedIn for insurance:

  • Email Strategies:
    • Include a promotional message and your website address as part of your standard email signature. If you have social media accounts, invite people to “Like,” “Follow,” or “Join” you.
    • Run your email copy through a spam detection tool (i.e. EmailExam, Acxiom Digital, or Lyris Content Checker) to ensure your emails will not be caught in a spam filter.
    • Send email reminders when policy renewal dates are coming up.
    • Send monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly client newsletters.
    • If sending bulk mail, provide clients and potential clients with an easy opt-out email process. Sending email to people who want themselves to be removed from your list projects a poor business image.
  • Direct Marketing Strategies:
    • Create a more effective list by using demographics, psychographics, and some of the other list segment tools available.
    • Before committing large sums of money to full-blown programs, test your mailing and telemarketing in small quantities first. Also, use the information you learn on every program to make the next work better.
    • Postcard mailers have a low production cost, the first-class postage is more cost efficient, and work very well. Drive interested parties to a web form or a toll-free phone number.
    • Use two color printing instead of four-color printing. This will save money and pull as much response as would a four-color mailing.

We here at SIS understand the challenges of our clients and the importance of budgeting wisely when owning a small business. Through our experiences, we have noticed some additional cost saving marketing techniques include sending handwritten personal notes to prospects and customers, creating content that can be used in multiple marketing scenarios, and partnering with larger insurance businesses to increase credibility.  Also, build a successful co-op relationship with your insurance carriers enabling you to offer competitive products and pricing.

Aside from providing a solid software platform to help agencies run better, we aim to provide assistance to our agency partners in every way we can. For that reason, we have taken the time to research and write about areas such as this that we feel would be of benefit to independent agents.  In cases such as this we are able to draw from the knowledge of the marketing team at NuGrowth Solutions, our parent company, and Agency Marketing Partners, the insurance marketing arm of our business.

If you would like to find out more about our core competence – our Partner XE agency management system – and how it can help you as you strive to streamline workflow and build your books of business, please contact us at 800-747-9273 or sales@sisware.com.

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