As an agency owner, you’re probably struggling with how, when and where to spend your precious marketing dollars. Undoubtedly, you have an endless stream of marketing sales pitches coming through your door … your phone, your email, your browser, your mailbox … on a daily basis. So, how do you know what actually works?
Unfortunately, that’s much too complex a question for this single blog. We are, however, going to discuss a marketing opportunity you may not have considered—event, or experiential, marketing.
After all, insurance agencies need to capitalize on every opportunity to build awareness, establish relationships, promote goodwill and earn the trust of the community. The one-on-one interactions that event marketing provide are perceived as more genuine and less sales pitchy than other advertising or even social media communications. Top insurance agencies understand that trust-building with potential customers begins with offering information, guidance, advice … friendship … without any strings.
Getting out of the office gives you the chance to show your face—rather than just your logo, your personality—rather than just your policies, your value—rather than just your pricing.
Experiential Marketing may seem like a strange technique for an insurance agency. Let’s face it. You’re selling an intangible product that no one truly wants to buy. Your little 10-foot booth at the town festival may end up next to one selling kid face painting and 5-cent homemade cookies. Good luck in that situation.
"When it comes to luck, you make your own." ~Bruce Springsteen
If you do find yourself in a precarious position like the one above, there’s always a way to turn it to your advantage. Engage the waiting parents in conversation. Let them know you agree that kids and family come first … in all situations. Tell them that’s what drew you to the insurance business in the first place … taking care of families in their greatest times of need.
And, don’t hesitate to bring your own cookies and face painters along. You can absolutely secure a prospect in the time it takes to draw Spiderman on a pudgy little cheek.
Live events are an ideal opportunity to partner with a related businesses. Loan officers, real estate brokers and home inspectors are all looking for the same customers, the ones buying homes, the ones about to need a new homeowner policy. It may take a little convincing and a few lunches with the other guy, but co-marketing benefits everyone. You and your co-brander gain customers, and the homeowners save time and gain confidence in their choices. Plus, you can split the cost of the balloon twister!
Lucas Hathaway, Farmer’s Insurance agency owner from Kennesaw, Georgia, says events are his number one go-to when it comes to marketing. “When I started as an agency owner, I was frustrated with all the ‘traditional’ marketing approaches. I didn’t want to sit for hours making cold calls, didn’t want to race five other insurance agencies to get a client on the phone and didn’t want to spend thousands on passive marketing for which I couldn’t do a real ROI analysis.”
He goes on to say, “Active, engaged community marketing completely transformed my agency. I went from barely making it, to a top producer in the span of a couple months. I’d say 90 percent of the business I’ve built has derived from event/experiential/guerilla marketing. While this approach may be labor intensive and time consuming, it is well worth the incredible ROI. And, the best part about it, we have real relationships with our clients living up to our value proposition—we treat you like family! If you are a new agency owner getting started, your best marketing dollar is spent doing this type of marketing. The insurance agency owner of the future is out of their office, engaged in the community.”
It comes down to this. Event marketing may seem like a step outside your comfort zone, but it gives your agency the opportunity to stand out. And, with so many agencies in every town across the country, knowing where to turn can be overwhelming for the average family, who just wants a simple and honest insurance buying experience. Getting in front of your potential customers is more than half the battle. You already know that there is simply nothing better than face-to-face interaction to capture that emotional connection critical to sealing the deal. So, get out from behind that desk, leave the suit and tie at home and go have some real conversations with some real neighbors.