There’s a reason why some insurance agents have a constant flow of insurance leads and prospects while others struggle to generate a few. These same agents spend the majority of their time helping clients while others spend their days selling. As the year comes to a close, and you reflect on the year’s performance, there’s only one question to ask yourself:
How can my agency win with less effort in 2018?
The insurance agents who’ll make winning look easy in 2018 will take the two steps to do so. These two actions are the reasons why they’re consistently getting new leads and converting those leads into clients who refer friends.
The first step is to have a well-thought-out plan.
Professionals always have a plan. Pilots have a flight plan to help them map out their routes and reach their destinations. Architects strategize and iron out plans before large construction projects. And army generals follow military operation plans throughout combat missions. Like them, insurance agents should have an insurance marketing plan to help them protect more consumers from everyday risks.
The second step is to build your marketing infrastructure. Your marketing infrastructure is the set of the systems that bring in new insurance leads, nurture those leads, and convert them into clients who refer! The biggest difference between insurance agents with balance and agents who spend most of their day selling is marketing infrastructure.
In other words, the insurance agencies with the best strategy will win in the new year. A solid insurance marketing strategy would cover how you’ll win new clients, service current clients, and improve your marketing infrastructure.
There are 6 key components to building a strategy for your agency’s insurance marketing. These components can be segmented by pre- and post-sale planning that address new business and current clients alike.
Pre-Sales: How Are We Attracting Prospects?
The first step to crafting your insurance marketing strategy is to define a target audience. Your target audience is THE ideal market segment for your insurance agency. An example of an audience could be local suburban families, restaurant owners, or even first-time drivers.
Now, just because we’re defining one audience doesn’t mean you can’t market to people outside of it. Choosing a target audience simply ensures that you have laser-focused marketing, meaning you’re allocating your marketing budget to reach potential best fit clients. When developing a picture of your ideal clients some important questions to consider:
What types of services do I prefer selling?
Which services did well in 2017?
What are some similarities of the clients I won in 2017?
Which clients were most profitable?
The second step to your new year’s insurance marketing strategy is to hone your message. Your message is the unique selling proposition (USP) that you present to prospects. Aligning your USP with your target market, or ideal clients helps you to resonate and engage with your best prospects. Your message essentially should answer two questions:
Why should our prospective clients buy?
Why should our prospective clients buy from us?
The final step in strategic planning before the sale pertains to the marketing channels you use. Beginning with an audit, you should determine the effectiveness of your current channels. Review the data from past years and try to tie your marketing channels to your sales. This is easier than you think! Secondly, you should source and evaluate new marketing channels for new opportunities. When deciding which channels to use, pay attention to:
Which channels worked most effectively?
Which channels weren’t effective?
What new marketing channels should we be utilizing?
Post Sales: How Are We Keeping Clients Happy?
Increase Client Lifetime Value
The vast majority of your opportunity in 2018 will lie in increasing the lifetime value of existing clients. Existing relationships are typically easier to do more business with. Because it’s an existing relationships, growing the client relationships also cost less in terms of overhead (client acquisition costs). Relationship planning should be a two-step process. First, existing relationships should be segmented based upon the value of the relationship. This will allow agents to identify which relationships are valuable to the agency and which relationships should be terminated. Second, mapping cross-sell opportunities to individual client segments will help you identify business opportunities.
Which clients relationships are valuable to our agency?
Which client relationships are more of a burden to our agency?
Where are our opportunities to cross-sell (increase client lifetime value )in 2018?
Improving Client Service
The second part of post-sales planning comes with identifying room for improvement in client service. To many consumers, insurance is a commoditized-service. You and I know that it is most definitely not. However, as a result of this perception, client service can be a significant differentiator for many insurance agencies. When evaluating the value of your agency’s client service reflects on:
What did our clients enjoy about your client service?
What didn’t our clients enjoy about your client service?
How can we improve our fulfillment?
Which leads to me the final portion of post-sales strategy, the holy grail for insurance agents, REFERRALS!
New business generated by existing clients represent the best of both of worlds for an insurance agent. Referrals are low overhead, like existing clients and they grow agencies, like new business. Referrals ultimately come from your agency’s brand. What is it about your brand that makes people tell others?:
Which relationships generated the most referrals?
How can we leverage relationships & partnerships to drive referrals?
How can we build our brand value in 2018?
Now that we’ve planned for new sales our focus should shift to how will be built and improve our marketing infrastructure. Your agency’s marketing infrastructure supplement it’s daily activities. It boosts our day-to-day work and protects us during slow periods. Building a solid infrastructure will help us to generate lead easily, reduce time wasted on low-value activities (* cough* cold calling *cough*), and compile client analytics.
Strong marketing infrastructure consists of 3 components. The components include lead generation, lead nurturing, and sales conversion systems.
Some insurance agents are pure-hunters. Some insurance agents are pure-farmers. Some insurance agents hunt and farm. Agents who are pure-hunters focus on cold calling, in-person contacts, and community outreach. Agents who are pure-farmers rely on thought-leadership, advertising, and online marketing. No one route is the end all be all, so it’s best to combine the two practices. However, for strictly lead generation, farming techniques are best. Why? Because consistent lead generation, like farming, requires you to invest time, money, and effort to yield a large result.
When building lead generation systems identify the follwoing:
How are we reaching our prospective clients (are they coming to us or are we going to them)?
Is hunting or farming more effective (how should we allocate our time) ?
Are we building our online presence?
How are we growing our insurance leads database?
Insurance leads have varying degrees of quality. A small minority of insurance prospects will be ready to buy right now. The rest are not. Of those not ready to buy, some will simply never buy from you and others would buy if the timing was right.
Lead nurturing is where “farmer-agents” see the most return. Lead nurturing is the process of turning prospects who are willing to buy at some point into clients. Lead nurturing could mean producing engaging online content, establishing industry thought-leadership, and/or educating prospective clients. When evaluating your lead nurturing processions question:
How are we establishing ourselves as experts with our target audience?
How frequently are we staying in touch and/or adding value to our leads?
Are we engaging with prospective clients on the platforms they use most?
The final step of our marketing system is it’s sales conversion process. How are we turning those leads we’ve spent the time creating and nurturing into our raving fans? The first thing we want to do is convey trust and credibility. The second is to make it easier to buy from you. Now you may be asking yourself, how can my marketing infrastructure build trust and make it easier to buy? Firstly, your prospects are going to judge you by your cover. Today, with over 80% of consumers doing online research before buying, your online presence is your cover. Perception is reality, agencies with strong online presences are perceived to successful agents. Secondly, you could be making it harder to buy from you. Often times we have unnecessary processes that are preventing our buyers from buying. If you want to improve your win rate in 2018, ask yourself:
How can we strengthen our agency’s online presence?
Are there any roadblocks in our processes that are holding potential clients back?
How can we make it easier for our prospect to buy?
Our advice and template wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s written if we didn’t practice what we preach, so we have created an exclusive “insurance marketing playbook” template that specifically helps you execute the points made in this article. Grab the FREE template with this link or by clicking on the picture below.
PS – When you creating your 2018 insurance marketing playbook, reach out to us (@infinityleads) – if you have any questions on getting the most value from your strategy!