5 Lessons - The Modern fundamentals of Insurance Agency Marketing

AdrianHolloway

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Does the title sound or look familiar? If so, you probably recognize it from Ben Hogan's 'Five lessons - the modern fundamentals of Golf' - the inspiration for this article. In the book Hogan points out that his game really propelled itself to championship caliber after he fixed and mastered the fundamentals - grip, setup/stance, backswing, forward swing and swing plane. He stresses that, in essence, if he paid attention to the core fundamentals, then the rest would come naturally and proved it on many occasions, under varying conditions. Hogan is widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers to have ever lived and if his career wasn't interrupted by service to his country and a debilitating auto accident, more people would know about Ben Hogan - an extraordinary person and golfer.

But, this article is about the fundamentals of marketing and communications for an insurance agency (or any consumer facing business's marketing). In my opinion, if you can stick to nurturing these fundamentals regularly, then all the advanced and future enhancements will come naturally. It doesn't matter whether the role you play in the agency is Principal, Producer, CSR, Admin or any customer facing role, in more ways than one, these fundamentals should apply to you.

I will keep it high level, with supporting material for more details. So, let's get to it -

1. Website & Search Engine Optimization - These two go hand-in-hand these days. One is largely ineffective without the other. Clients will Google you to find your website and prospects will Google you to see if you exist. Clients and prospects will Google you to see if you are competent on a specific product. Carriers and Wholesalers will search for you to see if you are on the map. You website needs to be simple, succinct, mobile friendly and be ably supported by social media, blogs, articles, micro sites (a smaller version of your website on insurance related websites), relevant online directories and local review websites. Read my supporting article on insurance agency websites - which was first published on RoughNotes Magazine.

2. Social Engagement - Social media used to be the most cost effective and powerful way to communicate with clients and harvest prospects. A lot has changed in the past few years - most significantly, cutting through the fog and paid advertisements on people's news feeds has presented the most challenges. If you cannot get your great information to the top of people's social media news feeds, then it loses its efficacy very quickly. So, you either need to start paying for prime real estate or invest more resources into staying at the top (very similar to organic SEO on search engines). However, Social engagement remains in the top 5 as the most effective way to brand, re-brand, engage, communicate and energize your users and prospects. It will probably remain a mainstay (and a modern fundamental) for a long while, although with social media website vertical breakouts you will need to do some analysis to match your target demographic to the social media sites that match. In the meantime, the mainstays are Facebook, LinkedIn (commercial & benefits), Twitter and Google Plus. Here is a helpful article on Social Media.

3. Testimonials & Reviews - The numbers vary, but overwhelmingly more than 80% of all buyers read reviews before they engage (buy, email, request info, pick up the phone). Local reviews from Google, Yahoo & Yelp are still effective ways to energize your clients. They are also extraordinarily effective at uncovering customer facing issues and weeding out problems that are not apparent to anyone inside the agency. Have every new client review your agency at the time of binding.

4. Event Marketing - People still buy from people they know and trust. You are not able to meet every client, understandably. But, if you hold or attend a local event and meet 10 clients, then showcase that on your blog, social media and email marketing, you would have effectively 'met' many more clients and prospects. The human mind responds very well to images - pictures of people and pictures of places and events. Try to do something local or social (as it relates to you, your agency or your clients) at least once a month. It could be something that you personally like to you - a wine mixer, a visit to your favorite charity, a team birthday lunch, a team member's promotion party). And then, post it to your website/blog, social sites, etc.

5. Email Marketing - without a doubt, this form of communication remains the most effective way to engage and energize your marketing efforts. You can support email marketing with phone marketing, text marketing and fax marketing (state and federal regulations permitting), but this is a key fundamental to your agency's success. The complexities abound - deliverability, gathering email addresses, spam filters, content and so on, but if you cannot figure out how to make this effort a cornerstone of your marketing and communications, you are going to find the going pretty tough indeed. You may want to read a fairly comprehensive article I wrote on Email Marketing here.

So, in summary, these 5 modern fundamentals, if properly employed and are the fabric of your daily playbook, then you will find it much easier to hit those birdies and pars and post those great scores for yourself (individually) and for the agency as a team effort. Without these sound fundamentals, things become pretty difficult, taking the joy out of the game and negatively impacting those rewards. :-)

Adrian Holloway is president & CEO of INSOMIS Corp, parent company of CompleteMarkets.com, Insurance Marketing & Management Services, and TransformerMarketing.com.

Adrian is the named inventor of multiple technology patents and has been published online and in industry journals such as Rough Notes Magazine.

Adrian and his talented team are committed to providing value and support to all insurance industry professionals.
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