Growing a successful agency isn’t easy. You’ve got a million competitors, major players dominating the market and the whole of Silicon Valley licking its chops at the opportunity to disrupt your space.
But don’t get discouraged. Your competitors will arrogantly rely on technology, massive budgets and longstanding reputations, leaving you to rely on something much better: community.
To help get you started, here are 10 outside-the-box strategies and unique marketing suggestions that will grow your agency and boost performance this year:
1) Deck out your squad. Invest in making cool t-shirts, jackets or polos that not only promote your insurance agency, but force people to recognize your brand.
Special suggestion: Make employee jerseys with nicknames and distinct or funky colors.
2) Work from anywhere, except from home, Friday. Let’s face it—your insurance agency isn’t getting huge amounts of foot traffic every day. Why not give the team a little morale boost and spread your brand’s message to the local community with a weekly work from anywhere, except home, day?
Special suggestion: Wearing those new uniforms, have your team take over the local Starbucks or library where each employee must ask at least one person who does their insurance and turn in the name on Monday.
3) Write online reviews. Every so often, you’ll go out for a team lunch, do a team-related outing or purchase items for your office. Well, that’s another opportunity to promote your brand while also promoting others.
Special suggestion: Create a few online review accounts, such as with Yelp or Google+, and review the places your squad regularly patronizes or takes over on work from anywhere Friday.
4) Highlight locals doing well. Want your insurance agency to be promoted across your local neighborhood? Start by promoting those around you. A good place to start is with a monthly social media post highlighting a prominent community member’s accomplishments.
Special suggestion: On work from anywhere Friday, hand-deliver the award to the winner. Don’t forget to post a picture on social media.
5) Do some basic PR. Local publications are always looking for stories. Find local editors on Twitter and ask to write a segment on something risk-related for their publication.
Special suggestion: In the article, highlight your clients and share their stories. Don’t forget to plug your brand at the end!
6) Lend a hand to other local businesses. You’re not the only business that wants more customers. Start helping local business contacts and clients gain more business by promoting their sales, specials and events. Who knows? Maybe they’ll return the favor.
Special suggestion: Kill two birds with one stone—share local deals in your agency’s weekly email.
7) Get unconventional referrals. Most insurance agencies already have connections with the local auto dealer, repair shop and real estate agent. But what about other inherently influential businesses like daycares, nail salons or Mary Kay salespeople?
Special suggestion: A fathead or sponsoring a wall of a business that has a lot of foot traffic would go a long way.
8) Create a local rewards program. Incentivize referrals by taking your referrals program to the next level. Collaborate with your partners to create a communitywide rewards program.
Special suggestion: Make a loyalty card for your clients and incentivize them with special deals from your referral partners.
9) Sponsor local elections. Ride the coattails, attention and fanfare that local elections get. You definitely don’t want to pick a side, but you can promote the election in itself.
Special suggestion: Make your presence felt at the polls by encouraging people to vote, both online and off.
10) Hold a contest. Better yet, ride the coattails of every local event! Stay on top of local trends, hashtags and events, and use them as a chance to engage with new and existing customers.
Special suggestion: Using the pictures you post on Instagram, run a photo or caption contest and give a reward to the winner.
Cam Bob III is author of The Digital Insurance Agent and founder of Infinity Leads, a digital advertising agency exclusively for insurance agents.