Agents often ask me for ideas about how they can make their on-line presence more effective, particularly in terms of attracting more eyes to their websites. I am certainly not an expert but I have collected many ideas over the years and try to stay as current as possible with them. I often share them with my clients but thought I would also start doing so on some of my blogs.
Here is one idea that has proven successful for agencies that write commercial lines. Consider conducting brief, monthly interviews with the owner or owners of small businesses in the area, who are your current clients. Use YouTube videos if possible. Interview a different client each moth.
After brief introductions, ask them to describe their business operations in two sentences or less, adding a few comments about how their services benefit the community. You might ask a few other related questions and even add some comments ...but keep it all short and to the point. It can be helpful to have the interviewees comment on what they do in the community and what might be scheduled events of possible interest to others. They might also want to briefly describe a claim that occurred and how your agency may have helped in the resolution of it. (But don't make the interview a "love-fest" about your agency.)
Then post their interviews on your agency website, as "featured client/guest of the month" or something of that nature. Also, share the interviews on your social media accounts and give a copy to the interviewees for posting to their accounts, if they desire.
Always be prepared! (Who said that?) Before you talk to carriers about possibly accepting you to represent their respective companies, you must do your research about them. With the technology at-hand these days, there really is no excuse for not being knowledgeable about each carrier's history, news, current published plans and at least a little bit about everything in-between. It helps you "stand-out" from the competition. You can also talk to other agents who already represent them. Among your other preparation strategies, you need to show initiative in the form of interest in them as potential business partners.
Just as importantly, don't get caught in a discussion with them without a written marketing plan. It does not have to be elaborate and some carriers will require that you complete one in their desired format. However, when you are asked if you have a written marketing plan and you have to answer "No", it puts you in an uncomfortable position and saddles you with a decided disadvantage.
A good marketing plan does not normally have to be a complete business plan, with extensive financial projections. Carriers are typically more interested in how you are going to attract and write the desired, profitable business they want. Additionally, the marketing plan does not have to be ten-plus pages in length. A few pages will usually suffice - definitely think quality vs. quantity. Start with general contact info, of course with experience backgrounds, including specialties. Then describe your agency operations in a couple of paragraphs. Next, express your strategies for acquiring the prospects you will hope to turn-into clients and carrier customers. It is important to be realistic. You should expect to be asked exactly how you are going to implement each strategy and the obstacles you may need to overcome to do so. Be as specific as possible.
There is a lot of free information available, to give you some good ideas as to what to include. I can also provide you with my thoughts, if you want them. I collect marketing strategies.
Always be prepared. It will serve you well in your efforts.
A very successful commercial insurance producer told me this recently. He said that when he is on a sales call, particularly a business luncheon, instead of the usual amount of small talk before starting to get down to business, after exchanging a few general pleasantries, he asks his prospects and clients to help him solve a business problem or issue that is current for him.
“Unrelated to our business today, let me take a minute to run this by you. I’m wrestling with this, to develop a workable solution. What are your thoughts?”
He said that getting their opinions demonstrates to them that you value their thinking on a matter that you have been considering. Nothing too deep or serious of course – you certainly don’t want to destroy your main purpose for the meeting – but he said it has really helped him connect with his prospects and clients. He added that as a valuable side-benefit, he has heard some great ideas that helped him solve some of his outstanding issues.
Recently I was reading an article about the importance of marketing messages and the author made reference to this statement from Albert Einstein: “If you cannot explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” If you don’t understand your business, how can others be expected to do so?
Old Albert knew his way around an equation for sure but it sounds like he was also well aware of other aspects of life.
For we who are involved with marketing – and that is just about everyone, in one way or another – it is important to take the time to prepare your own marketing message. As Einstein suggests, it needs to be simply stated. You may only get one chance to relate it to a potential client or business associate who can refer you to clients.
John Jantsch, marketing guru and author of many great business books, including “Duct Tape Marketing”, refers to this part of your marketing message as a “Talking Logo”. He describes the importance of it as “…a short statement that quickly communicates your firm’s position and forces the listener to know more”. I like what John has to say. He himself makes his many useful messages simple but meaningful.
My Talking Logo is: “I help independent P&C agents get the appropriate markets for their specific needs. I help them make more money.” I hope it passes the “Einstein test”.