"If you are writing about baloney, don't try and make it Cornish hen, because that's the worst kind of baloney there is. Just make it darn good baloney." - Leo Burnett. There are many funny observations about the advertising industry. It has a reputation as a cutthroat and sometimes deceptive business. The good news is advertising simply doesn’t look like it used to. In addition to the old standbys, there are some new, exciting ways to promote your business, reach a wide audience and grow.
Before You Begin
The insurance industry can be highly competitive and with so many agents available, it is important to craft a well thought out campaign to set yourself apart from the pack. There are some key steps necessary to have a successful insurance advertising campaign, regardless of which type of advertising you are using. Your advertising campaign should also have a clear beginning and end with a budget and goals that are determined prior to implementation. You need to always keep your return on investment or ROI in mind. You also need to establish ways to track your advertising and your ROI. These simple steps will allow you to execute, track and determine the success of your advertising campaign.
It is also helpful to identify your ideal client well before you start advertising. If you have a specialty niche that you excel in, advertise to those strengths. If you are an insurance agent that specializes in working with seniors, your key demographic and how you target them will look considerably different than someone who specializes in working with millennials. Some advertising platforms allow you to gear your ads directly to a specific audience. You will not be able to take advantage of that type of advertising unless you have identified your key demographics.
Referrals can be current clients, employees, or networking partners and can be organic or paid resources. A personal referral is one of the most valued sources of information for a prospective client because someone they know and trust is giving a recommendation. These most often come from an existing client who appreciates your services. You can use a portion of your budget to thank your referral sources. This can come in the form of discounts on products and services or a small thank you gift. If you decide to focus on increasing your referrals as part of your advertising campaign, make sure to have a system in place to track and thank your referral sources.
Another method to increase direct referrals is networking. This can be done through a formal networking group such as joining the chamber of commerce. These types of groups offer many mutual referral opportunities. As you refer business to your networking partners they will in turn do the same for you. Building your referral base could also be less formalized and consist of inviting the lawyer across the hall to a golf game or lunch. Another strategy may be to host an informational seminar that targets your ideal referral group. For instance, if you sell homeowners insurance you may host a seminar for real estate agents. Finding your target referral groups and networking successfully can be a great way to generate new business.
- Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is quickly taking the place of, or at least supplementing, old advertising strategies. While you can still advertise on billboards and in the yellow pages, this is not where the majority of prospective new clients are looking to find you. Online searches now provide a plethora of information to anyone looking and this is the place to focus at least a portion of your advertising. Digital marketing can consist of many different platforms and efforts so it is important to do your research and find out how to make the most of your time and money.
- Website and online presence
Your website is like your online business card. It needs to have all your important contact information. It needs to look professional and it needs to instill confidence in your prospective customers. Your website can also be so much more. This is your opportunity to promote your brand, set yourself apart from competitors and demonstrate that you are a subject matter expert. In addition, when your website is designed to perform well with search engines, they can actually help drive people to your site. You can pay to rank higher in search results, but you can also design your site to help improve your visibility on search engines.
Your website should be user friendly, multiple platform friendly and bug free. Search engines pay attention to how your site performs. If your site is not mobile friendly or has broken links and other issues, it will hurt your rankings. You site also needs to contain fresh content. Blogging is an easy way to give your visitors helpful information and keep your site engaging with regularly posted new content. This not only improves your ranking with search engines but is also an opportunity to demonstrate that you are a subject matter expert and trusted resource.
- Social media
Social media can also be a key part of a successful advertising campaign. There are so many available platforms, each with their own target demographic, advertising rates and strategies. This is another opportunity, where it pays to do your research. You could spend unlimited time and money trying to tackle every platform or you can divert your advertising dollars to the platforms that are most utilized by your ideal customers. If digital technology and advertising is not in your comfort zone there are digital marketing companies such as Regenuity that can help. Regenuity can perform search engine optimization (SEO) and social media research as well as review and optimize your website and guide you to getting the best ROI possible. The Regenuity team can also maintain and update your website, content, and social media channels if needed. They work with you and your budget to tailor a digital strategy that delivers trackable and concrete results.
Insurance advertising is a constantly evolving process. Make sure to stay ahead of the competition by developing a comprehensive strategy. Digital marketing needs to be an integral part of that plan or you risk missing the bulk of your prospective new client base. When done right, advertising can be the best way to grow your business.