What the Top Insurance Agencies Know About Marketing (That You Don’t)

November 16, 2016 Becky Schroeder


strategy maoDo you ever wonder what the best agencies are doing to be so successful?

Do you struggle to understand online marketing?

What the top agencies know about marketing can help you better market your own agency.

Find out the seven lessons about marketing that the top agencies already know.

1. Marketing is an investment.

Marketing is not a cheap or quick fix. It takes time for any marketing strategy to start working. It takes focus.

The top agencies understand that marketing is an investment of both time and money. They also understand that marketing is an investment in their future.

As I like to say... 'Time spent in the business will buy dinner tonight. Time spent on marketing the business will buy dinner tomorrow night, next week, next month, next year.'

Lesson: Think of marketing as an investment in your future.

2. Everything is marketing.

You may think of marketing as advertising, your insurance agency website or email marketing. You're not wrong. But, you're also not right either.

Marketing is everything you do that communicates your promise to clients. It either fulfills or breaks that promise.

Marketing is the way you answer the phone. It's how long it takes you to answer the phone.

Marketing is the emails you send to clients regarding their policies. It's helping clients with their claims. It's the way you handle payments.

Top agencies get that everything they do is marketing. They work to improve their systems and processes as a result. They respond to quote requests quickly. They make it easy to get a quote, make a claim or submit a payment.

Their websites are easy to navigate and offer helpful information. They are consistent in their brand and messaging and put their logos everywhere.

Lesson: Look at every way your agency interacts with clients through the marketing lens. You'll find ways to make small changes that will build on each other.

3. They're not marketing experts.

I get it. Hiring a marketing expert can seem expensive. But, hiring an amateur or trying to do it yourself when you don't have the skills or experience can be more expensive.

Selling insurance takes a special set of skills because you're selling a product consumers don't want to buy. Marketing may not be in that skill set for you because it takes a different mindset than sales.

The top agents know this. Scott Cornelius of ECI Agency and an ITC customer, said, 'After several failed attempts to create my own website and build my own internet marketing plan, we decided to let the experts take the ball and run with it.'

You have a few options to tap into some marketing expertise and skills for your agency. You can outsource to an agency marketing firm. You can hire someone. Or, find a person on your team who would like to take on the marketing responsibilities.

Lesson: Stop doing it all yourself, and delegate what you can to marketing experts.

4. Marketing can take time.

As much as we all wish otherwise, marketing does not have immediate results. When you implement a new marketing tactic, you may start to see small results. The bigger results like leads don't happen instantly.

You're not going to get a ton of traffic to your blog posts in the beginning. If you use email marketing, your list will be small at the start. On social media you're not going to have a lot of followers right away.

These tactics take time to build an audience. When they start to work, the momentum builds on your results, and you start to see the needle move.

Top agencies get that marketing takes time, and they don't give up. They understand that marketing results build on each other. They wait six months or more to give the new tactic time to start working.

It is hard to put time and effort into something that isn't getting the results you want in the time frame you want. But, you can't quit after only a few months. You definitely won't get results then.

Lesson: When trying a new online marketing tactic, give it at least six months, if not more, before you quit.

5. It's good to get out of your comfort zone.

You can't build an agency today the same way you could 30, 20 or, even, 10 years ago. What worked then does not always work today. You have to try new things and get out of your comfort zone.

Top agencies know that staying stagnant and doing the same things may help them maintain their business. But, it's definitely not going to help them grow. They continually look to find new ways to reach consumers and spread awareness.

Sharon Robles of Robles Insurance drives for Uber as a way to meet new people and share her insurance story.

'I'm not meeting anyone sitting behind my desk. Driving for Uber I've got a captive audience. I love talking to people. I'm not in their faces about it. I'll ask them questions and inevitably my riders ask me questions, which allows me to give them my elevator pitch. I started in August and have given about 500 rides. So far I've written one policy. Like anything else, expecting immediate results means you may quit before it happens.'

Lesson: Don't be afraid to try something new.

6. Measurement is critical to success.

You cannot know if any of your marketing is actually working (or not) if you don't measure. It's easy to think three leads a month from online advertising is good.

That is until you actually calculate your close ratio and return on investment by lead source. You might end up realizing it's not worth the money you spend.

Top agencies measure their marketing. They're tracking how many leads they get each week and month by lead source. They know their close ratio by lead source. They identify how much business they write each week and month. They know how these metrics compare to the previous month and the same time in the previous year.

If you're not already, make it a priority in your agency to ask every new prospect how they heard about you. Add this information in your agency management system so you can run reports on this data.

Look at your traffic and where it comes from in Google Analytics. Review your email marketing statistics, but go beyond open rate. Look at the number of leads or cross-sell opportunities that come from marketing sources.

Lesson: Start measuring your marketing so you can know for sure what marketing to keep and what to stop wasting money on.

7. Email marketing isn't dead.

I've heard agents who either think email marketing is dead or provides no value. Email marketing is the single best tactic you can use for your agency.

It has the highest return on investment than any other marketing tactic, and it has for years. Consumers have said that their preferred method of communication from businesses is email.

The ability to segment your audience and send targeted emails at the best time makes it effective. Plus, the amount of tracking you can do means you have insight into exactly how this tactic is working out for you.

Top agencies get this and are seeing the results. 'I sell at least one policy a month to potential clients who receive my newsletter. It keeps me on their minds,' said Pam Wilson of Wilson Family Insurance and an ITC customer.

Lesson: An email address is the most important piece of marketing data you can get from a consumer. Start building your list, and try email marketing.

Take notes from what the top agencies know, and you can improve your agency's marketing.

Not sure what you should be doing to market your agency? Get a free agency marketing consultation, and find out.



About the Author

Becky Schroeder

As Chief Marketing Officer, Becky Schroeder is responsible for driving ITC’s overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include creating and documenting processes; establishing metrics for managing those processes; developing content strategy and generating leads; and developing marketing strategy. Becky was named an Elite Woman in Insurance by Insurance Business America in 2016. She 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 three daughters.

Follow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin More Content by Becky Schroeder
Previous Article
ICYMI: Top Trends for Today's Insurance Website
ICYMI: Top Trends for Today's Insurance Website

Today's insurance agents need to stay on top of website trends in order to compete in the modern marketplace.

Next Article
Better Passwords: The First Step in Securing Your Data
Better Passwords: The First Step in Securing Your Data

The first line of defense against a cyber attack is the passwords you use to log into your insurance agency...