“There were roughly 38,500 independent insurance agencies in the US in 2012." If your agency is one of 38,500 others, how do you stand out? With so many other companies with similar offerings, it is critical that you have an effective marketing strategy. Ideally, your marketing promotes your brand, builds your business and generates new clientele. If you find your marketing is less successful in any of these arenas, review your existing strategy and materials and make sure you are avoiding these common marketing mistakes.
Common Marketing Mistakes Insurance Agencies Make
- Lack of consistent and quality effort
Effective insurance marketing requires a monetary and time commitment over a length of time. Many independent insurance agencies don’t or aren’t willing to consistently make these commitments, meaning they lose any real results that might be possible. If you start a campaign but don’t follow through it will be hard to determine any measurable results, positive or negative. Successful marketing requires planning, allocated resources, and time.
- Brand cultivation
Insurance agencies are a dime a dozen and you need to stand out from the crowd. Your brand needs to truly reflect your business and give customers an immediate sense of why your company is different from the rest. If you had to explain your business to a prospective customer in 10 seconds, what would you say? Experts write books and give seminars on how to create and build a brand. If you can find the heart and soul of what you do, discern what makes your business different, and communicate that to your customer base, you have mastered this step. Don’t overlook the importance of knowing who you are and how to convey that to your customer.
- Your logo should reflect your brand
One marketing mistake you should never make: don’t fall prey to the easy, generic graphic. Similar to your brand cultivation, your logo requires thought, effort and detail. Color, dynamic, size and message are all important. If you are struggling to create a logo that is truly representative of your business don’t hesitate to call in an expert.
- Community presence and participation
Your neighborhood and community offer an immediate pool of prospective customers. Get to know the people and businesses around you and build genuine relationships. The more you invest in others, the more they will invest in you. This will create mutually beneficial partnerships and generate positive word of mouth referrals. People typically prefer to support small or independent businesses over larger, big box companies, provided they can receive similar services and pricing. Investing time and effort in your community can pay huge dividends in the long run and create long-term, worthwhile relationships.
- Know your target audience and understand their needs
If you specialize in selling health insurance to seniors, your marketing efforts will be different than if you are targeting auto insurance to new drivers. Each age group and generation will typically have different needs and communication styles. Your marketing should reflect your understanding of your audience. For instance, the millennial generation has grown up in a digital day and age. Your marketing should reach out to them through social media and online strategies. Make sure that your marketing plan meets the needs of your target audience, or you'll be making a big marketing mistake.
What Insurance Agency Owners Should Know
Successful marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. While you do need a strategy and appropriate resources to support the execution of that strategy, you don’t need to spend millions of dollars for success. Good planning and execution will go a long way in making the most of your efforts and investment.
One of your efforts should be directed at your employees. Your staff have the power to be strong and credible advocates. Your employees should all understand and embrace your company culture and brand. They should be just as skilled at explaining your services and offerings as you are. They should also be included in community outreach efforts and relationship building with other professionals. Your employees are one of your best assets and need to be cultivated as such.
Marketing looks much different than it did twenty years ago and you need to adjust accordingly. If you are still sending out form letters and advertising in the yellow pages you should revisit your strategies. The internet and the vast amount of information available to anyone at any time has dramatically changed the way people shop for services. Prospective customers are more savvy and demanding when looking for someone to meet their insurance needs. Clients will often look for personal or professional referrals and may do research in advance in regards to products and pricing. The sales pitch and methods of a generation ago simply aren’t effective any more.
You can (and should), leverage social media and internet presence to keep your marketing current. Instead of selling to prospective clients, you should inform them. Use your expertise to share your industry and product knowledge with prospective clients. This will help build trust and brand recognition. When you are crafting your social media and online presence it should be with care. Continue the tone and purpose of your brand and use creative content to stand out. If you can become a resource for those who need your services, you can build a relationship of trust with your prospective client base.
If your marketing is not producing the results you are looking for or you don’t know where to start, call ASNOA. We work with independent insurance agencies to provide support services including management, finance, and marketing. We can review your current strategy and goals and help propel your marketing to newfound success--no marketing mistakes here.