It's easy to think that in order to compete with large companies, independent agents must also increase their marketing budget. Here's why spending more or marketing isn't the solution.
Insurance marketing has always been competitive. However, it is particularly difficult for small independent agents to compete with large insurance companies that have multimillion-dollar marketing budgets.
It's easy to think that in order to compete, independent agents must also increase their marketing budget. But that's not the solution. As independent agents, we must take our marketing and make it more effective.
Large insurance companies take a blanketed approach to marketing. They create a stock advertisement or article and disseminate it to their local agents who copy and paste it to their website or billboard. Blanket marketing is great if you have large sums of money to get your logo and business name in front of every single person in the country. But targeted marketing is meeting your clients where they are, leading to higher quality clients that you can retain for life. It's the secret weapon of the independent agent.
To get started with targeted marketing, think about your most loyal clients and what they want. Ask yourself:
- What does my community care about?
- How does my community perceive insurance companies?
- How would they view our agency in a negative way?
- How would they view our agency in a positive way?
- What can I do to be viewed positively?
- Who do I want as a client?
Answering these questions will give you clarity and vision for your marketing. Rather than trying to do what large insurance companies are doing, do what they cannot. Be present in your local community—go to antique car shows, write blog posts about flood zones on your local river, and support a local school's baseball team.
Sometimes the average insurance consumer may have a negative perception of insurance agents. You can overcome that by helping your community get to know your agency staff personally. Highlight your employees on social media, on your website or in your newsletter. Highlight their personal lives first and their work second. If one of your agents writes a book or runs a 5K, highlight that.
You can be an asset to your clients because you are connected to your community. Make sure your clients know you for who you are and not a stereotype. By doing this, your marketing will stand out from all the bland blanket marketing that people see every day.
3 Marketing Areas to Localize
1) Website. If you are targeting a county, write about insurance in that county. A state? Write about insurance in that state. What you write on your website is one of the first things people will see.
2) Social media. While it is unlikely you will get leads directly from social media, people will look at your social media accounts to see what you are interested in. Show them you're interested and involved in the same things they are.
3) Emails. For every cross-sell or up-sell email, have two or three emails that are designed to help your customers. Upcoming snowstorm? Send them a helpful blog post you wrote that is catered to your local community.
Wesley Gehman is an internet marketer specializing in local search engine optimization (SEO).