Want to strategically grow your agency? Start by identifying your target audience with these five questions.
If you asked the leaders at the 100 fastest-growing small agencies what they're doing to grow, you'd get 100 different answers.
They might tell you about their social media strategy, their Facebook ads, their niche-product multi-state search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, their community involvement, their digital onboarding and referral generation strategy, or the 95 other strategies that work for them.
The good and bad news is there is no silver-bullet strategy that works every time for every agency.
However, the things rapidly growing agencies have in common is that they have a growth strategy, and they have a target audience.
Whether you're a principal or producer, here are five questions to answer if you're looking to ramp up production in the new year:
1) Who is my target customer? The answer isn't anyone who can fog a mirror and needs insurance. Marketing is about delivering a compelling message to a person who wants what you have to offer. If you're selling cupcakes, your target customer is not gluten-free or following a keto diet.
If you're having trouble thinking of a target customer, do you have a favorite product to sell? What insurance problems do you like to solve? Who are your referral partners sending you that you have success writing? What do your favorite customers have in common?
The key is to be specific! Maybe it's an architect named Archie who needs a business owners policy, cyber liability and employment practices liability insurance. Or classic car Cam who needs home, auto, classic car and umbrella insurance. You can have more than one target customer, but each should be distinct. It's boater Barb, not Jane Q. Public.
The next step is to develop a persona for your target customer. The persona embodies the common characteristics, goals and motivations of your target customers. While you can make assumptions to answer the next four questions, it's strongly recommended you identify and interview five people at a minimum who match your target customer. The more conversations you have, the more likely you are to identify useful trends.
2) Where can I find my target customer? What are the demographics and background of your target customer? What social media platforms do they use? What associations or groups have they joined? How did they find their current agent?
3) What does my target customer want or need? What are their goals? How do they research insurance? How knowledgeable are they about insurance? Why and when would they shop for insurance? What parts of the quoting process frustrate them? How many quotes will they want? How do they want to review quotes? How do they think about price versus coverage? What about quote speed versus detailed coverage analysis?
4) What is the right acquisition strategy? Find out what types of marketing they would respond to—email, referral, direct mail, drop-in—and what imagery, phrases and ideas do they find compelling. What experience is most engaging? Would they prefer a single-message approach? Or would they prefer several contacts over time?
5) What is the right onboarding experience? You want to know if the experience you offer meets their needs. What do they expect from an interaction with you and your agency? What would knock their socks off? How should you stay in touch?
Use what you discover to build a persona that informs your marketing strategy. For example, if you discover your target customer infrequently uses social media, then Facebook advertising will be ineffective. Instead of throwing darts at a board, you can build a smart, engaging strategy that speaks to your target customer in a way that resonates, builds trust and increases the likelihood they'll respond.