The next thing to work on is your marketing plan. Banks and other investors are going to want to know how you plan to attract and sell to new clients.
A marketing plan is more than just tactics and a budget. Like other business documents, it’s a guide. Only, it’s dedicated to your marketing strategy.
It will help you identify and reach your audience. As well as define how you will connect with clients to retain their business.
Here is how you can create an agency marketing plan for your new insurance agency.
Step 1: Research
Before you get to the fun part of all the marketing ideas, you first need to do research and set the stage.
Great news if you already did this work for your business plan. You can reuse this information if the marketing plan is a separate document.
Before you start your marketing plan, answer these three questions.
Who is Your Competition?
List your direct competitors.
What are their strengths and weaknesses? Where are the opportunities and threats? What can your competitors offer consumers that you can’t?
Identifying your competition will help you discover your agency’s competitive advantage.
Who is Your Target Audience?
Describe your target audience. These are the people most likely to become your customers.
It may be tempting to go broad and say everyone is your target audience. But, focusing on a specific group of people helps make your marketing more effective.
When defining your target audience, think demographics. Like age, gender, home ownership, etc. Also, think about psychographics that influence consumer behavior. Like lifestyle, hobbies, values, attitudes, etc.
The Small Business Administration has a list of free sources that can help you identify the demographics of your city or area. Psychographics can be harder to come by, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
Why Would a Consumer Choose You?
Use your competitive research to identify why a consumer would choose you.
Is it because of your location? Because you’re going to make it convenient to buy whichever way the consumer prefers? Because of your contributions and presence in the local community?
Your unique selling proposition needs to be clear. Keep it simple and focused on what’s going to bring people to your agency.
Step 2: Write Your Marketing Plan
You’ve done the research on your target audience. This is where you explain whom you are trying to reach with your marketing.
Be descriptive but concise. Include any demographic or psychographic data you have.
Goals & Objectives
List your goals. Where do you want to be in the next year? Next five years?
Goals need to be broad. Something like “Have a $1 million book of business” or “Have 10 percent market share in my area.” The goal for your marketing plan can tie back into your business plan.
Objectives are breaking your goals down into smaller, measurable pieces.
For the first year of your agency, think of the following when setting your objectives:
- How many leads do you want to get a month?
- How many quotes do you want to do a month?
- How many sales do you expect to close in a month?
After the first year, consider those same questions plus the following:
- How many clients will you retain?
- How many clients will you cross sell other lines of business?
Marketing Strategy & Tactics
Now for the fun part. How are you going to achieve those objectives?
Strategy and tactics are not the same thing. Strategy is the broad plan for how you will achieve your goals. It is your vision. Tactics are the smaller, specific steps of the broader strategy.
Think of strategy as your why. What is your purpose for the marketing tactics? Tactics are the actions you take. Strategy doesn’t change often, but tactics can come and go based on technology and trends.
Tactics without strategy are unfocused and isolated. They’re not nearly as effective because you don’t know why you’re doing it. Strategy without tactics don’t go anywhere; you won’t get any results.
Here are some examples of marketing strategies and the tactics that support them:
1. Establish thought leadership and insurance expertise.
2. Attract organic website traffic and generate leads.
3. Use lead providers to supplement other lead sources and fill sales pipeline.
1a. Write weekly blog posts.
1b. Create and publish monthly videos that answer popular customer questions.
1c. Share content on social media.
1d. Answer questions on social media.
1e. Use social media advertising to promote content and increase reach.
1f. Build an email list and send content to subscribers.
2a. Build a great insurance agency website with quote forms (or that has live quoting).
2b. Optimize website for search engines to find and index.
2c. Use target keywords in website content.
2d. Update website content quarterly.
2e. Find backlink opportunities like referral partners and other local websites.
2f. Ask clients to leave reviews on Google or Yelp.
3a. Use a comparative rater to respond to purchased leads quickly.
3b. Use an agency marketing system to automate follow up to leads that didn’t close immediately.
Now that you have your list of marketing tactics, assign a cost to each one. What insurance agency software and technology do you need to implement your plan? What does that technology cost?
With our example tactics above, here are some questions you should answer:
How much do you expect to spend in advertising? Are you planning to hire outside expertise to help with the more specialized parts of your plan, like search engine optimization? How much will that cost? How much do you expect to spend on buying leads?
Organize your budget into areas like website, social media, local marketing, and advertising. You can break up each of these areas into individual line items. For example:
- Website Design
- Website Maintenance
- Website Optimization
- Local Event Sponsorships
- Other Local Events – Attend or Host
- Social Media Advertising
- Other Online Advertising
- Print Advertising
- Radio & TV Advertising
If this is your first time doing a marketing budget, it can be intimidating. Remember, a budget needs to be fluid.
You want to be able to adapt it as needed as the year goes on. But, you can stick to it as long as you’re measuring your marketing.
The most important section of your marketing plan is how you plan to measure your marketing. How will you know if your marketing is successful, unless you measure it?
In this section, list how you plan to measure your marketing tactics. Also, include how you will determine if each tactic is successful.
For example, using Google Analytics you can track visitors to your website. What report or alert does your website use to tell you when a visitor converts into a lead?
Using your comparative rater you can track lead source and closing ratio. Your agency management system can track retention. Also, it can help identify the success of cross selling activities.
The critical thing is to think through each tactic. How will you tell if it worked? Include those tools in your plan.
Don’t just throw a bunch of marketing tactics into a document and call it your marketing plan. Take the time to develop a thorough plan. It will guide you through what you need to do next when you’re unsure. It will also help you know when your marketing is successful.
Got a question about starting an agency you’d like us to answer in a future post? Leave it in the comments below.
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 three daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder