Running an insurance agency or business is no small task. The industry is competitive and ever-changing, and for many, insurance in its many forms can be confusing.
So, first of all, kudos! You’re running a challenging, yet incredibly rewarding business. It takes patience, empathy, skill and endurance. Within this competitive world, it can be difficult to put your name and brand ahead of others. The following tips can help you do just that easily and with more financial efficiency.
No. 1: Be Present And Active On Social Media.
A social media presence is a must-have these days. People turn to various social media channels — be it Facebook, Instagram or Twitter — and the plethora of product/brand review sites out there for the latest updates and news on anything, including services or businesses they’ve used.
Receiving a negative review online or via social media is concerning. But don’t let that hold you back. If your business receives a bad review, address it thoughtfully and quickly. Creating social media accounts for your business helps build your brand, connect with others in the community (hyperlocal or more broadly) who may need your services, and find prospects via your friends or followers.
With an average of 2 billion monthly active users and 1.32 billion daily users throughout the world, Facebook is the No. 1 social media platform. In fact, 40 million small businesses have pages on Facebook, and 75% of brands use the social network to promote their posts. If your business isn’t on Facebook, jump on board.
There are opportunities for paid digital marketing through social media and online ads. But most small businesses (approximately 47%) spend less than $10,000 on digital marketing, with the majority using social media (62%) and a website (61%) to market themselves, according to Clutch’s 2018 Small Business Survey. If your budget allows, try some paid advertising on these media channels. But it’s best to make use of the “free” advertising social media platforms can provide by promoting your business’ products and services.
No. 2: Buy Local … Really Local!
Aside from digital marketing, advertising in your local community is a great way to get your name and services out there. But depending on where you live and the type of advertising you’re interested in, it can be a drain on your budget.
So, think smaller and localized. An agent I know places print ads in the programs for his local high school athletic activities, music programs, theater productions and more. The cost is relatively inexpensive, and you can pretty much guarantee a number of those holding the programs will go through it page by page while waiting for their son or daughter to take the field or stage. This agent has received hundreds of leads throughout the years, with prospective clients saying they saw his ad in the program and decided to reach out with some questions.
Think about other local businesses or organizations that could offer the same type of inexpensive exposure. Are there local youth sports teams you can sponsor at a low cost? What about community events that need sponsors and/or advertisers? Can you run an ad in a local church bulletin or a homeowner’s association newsletter? Look for various options to support others throughout your community. In turn, you’ll gain their appreciation, respect and business!
No. 3: Network, Network, Network!
You’re not the only small-business owner or employee out there, so connect with others who are in your same boat — albeit a different industry, product or service. Learn how they market, sell and grow their business. You might discover something you could implement into your business.
There are a host of professional organizations out there seeking new members or supporters. Consider your local chamber of commerce, Small Business Administration community groups and industry groups. Take advantage of events with opportunities to speak to an audience. This is a perfect way to let others know who you are, what you do and how you can help them.
This requires time and effort. But these events are relatively easy — and free — ways to put yourself out there, lend your expertise and build your book of business.
No. 4: Generate Market Referrals
Reach out to your existing customers — especially those who have been thrilled with your service. Ask them to share three to five names of friends, family or associates who they think will benefit from your services and products. Also, see if they’d be open to posting their review or recommendation online. In fact, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses, and 91% of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to a 2018 Bright Local study.
But don’t forget the customer base you already have. Studies show it can cost between four and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Make sure you have practices in place to check in on your existing clients to see if they’ve had life changes that warrant different insurance products. This is a proactive way to build your client base.
No. 5: Get Involved and Give Back
Volunteering with a local nonprofit organization — or financially contributing to one on behalf of your business — is a great way to put your name and services out there. More importantly, it’s an impactful way to give back to others. And giving back is good for business, as a SCORE survey showed 85% of consumers have a more positive image of a company that gives to charity. Giving can not only help create a positive image for your personal brand, it can lead to more people wanting to do business with you.
Your contribution doesn’t have to break the bank. There are so many worthy organizations that are grateful for any amount of money, and others need extra sets of hands at events. If you can find the time or budget to do either, you’re doing good for everyone involved.
We live in a fast-paced world with a barrage of messages telling us what to buy or who to call. And that’s just within the insurance industry! Take time to establish marketing goals that are easy on your budget yet beneficial to your bottom line. Do this, and you can continue to thrive in the industry — and help others, too.