A marketing plan is the set of objectives, strategies and tactics that make up your marketing activities designed to achieve your financial goals. But don't let that definition intimidate you. It might sound like a complicated task, but putting together a marketing plan is basically answering three simple questions.
1. Where is your agency right now?
2. Where do you want to be a year from now?
3. How do you plan to get there?
Where is my agency now?
Before you start coming up with marketing ideas that are going to help your agency grow, you need to set a benchmark, the place where your agency is starting. It is tempting to skip this step, but don't because by looking back and seeing how your marketing changed your agency, you will be able to identify which ideas worked for your agency and which didn't, so in future plans you don't waste time or money on marketing that didn't work.
To determine your agency's benchmark, you should answer the following questions:
- What are my current sales, in both dollars and number of policies sold, for the year?
- Who are my current clients? How did they hear about my agency? Why did they decide on my agency over my competition?
- Why does my agency lose clients?
- Why does my agency lose potential sales?
- Who are my competitors? How is my agency different from the competition? How are we the same?
- Does my agency have any niches or specialty areas that the competition doesn't have?
- What am I currently doing to market my agency? Which marketing tactics work for my agency? Which ones don't?
- What am I currently spending on marketing?
Where do I want to be a year from now?
Once you've established your benchmark, it's time to start thinking about where you want to go. In other words, you need to set some goals. It will be tempting again to skip ahead to the ideas, but don't because then you won't know where you should be headed, and the marketing will be less effective.
When you set your goals, make them specific. Then, when you've completed the first year of your marketing plan, you will be able to more easily measure your success. An example of a non-specific goal would be "Close more policies." while a specific goal would be "Close an average of 10 new auto policies and 5 new home policies a month."
Don't just focus on new sales. Set goals for other areas of your agency like renewals/retention, service, cross selling opportunities, referrals, and reviews and testimonials. One area that often gets overlooked in a marketing plan is employees. They are as much an audience you need to market to as current clients and prospects, especially since you will need their help implementing your marketing plan.
How will I get there?
Now for the fun part... marketing tactics. This is where you write down your ideas of how you are going to reach your goals. Get creative. Mix marketing tactics that traditionally work for your agency with some new ideas.
Your tactics might look like this:
- Build an email list of prospects and create an email marketing campaign about why they should contact my agency for a free comparison quote/policy review.
- Provide quote forms on my insurance agency website for online visitors to request a quote.
- Create a quarterly referral program where current clients can be entered into a drawing for a prize for every person they refer to my agency.
- Use social media to promote my referral program.
- Use a monthly newsletter to provide helpful information and risk management tips to my current clients.
- Sponsor a table at a community event to spread awareness of my agency and get new leads.
Once you have written down your ideas, create a calendar and outline what you're going to do when. You don't have to do everything at once. Schedule the recurring ideas, and then add in one-time ideas as needed or when appropriate.
Hold yourself accountable to your plan
That's it. You've just created a marketing plan. But don't forget about it throughout the year. Open it up at least once a month to hold yourself accountable. Are you accomplishing what you wanted? What's working? Do more of that. What's not? Do less of those ideas or maybe tweak them to see if a change will improve their results.
About the Author
As vice president of marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s growth through marketing and drives the overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and public relations. Becky has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their two daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder