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As an insurance advisor, Peter Vitale works with independent insurance companies on a daily basis. Quite frankly, a lot of them have trouble. It seems that every time you turn on the TV, you see an insurance advertisement or get bombarded with digital advertisements.
With all of this contradicting information being published among consumers, it is no wonder that they are confused about insurance and see them as complicated, opaque products. The good news is that an independent insurance agent is in the ideal position to help consumers understand all of this information. Insurance companies looking to strengthen their position in the highly competitive market can offer insurance advisors such as Peter Vitale unique marketing and brand development advice.
Tips for Marketing Insurance Companies
Effective marketing has never been more important to independent insurance agencies. With so much information online diluting the value of independent insurance, many consumers fail to realize the many benefits that an independent insurance agency offers. This is where good marketing can help you grow your business and retain your valuable customers.
Create a comprehensive service sheet
Your auto insurance customers may not be aware of the depth of coverage your agency offers. You can even reach out to another agency for things like umbrella coverage or business insurance. It’s probably not because they don’t like you or your service; it’s just that they see you as the “auto insurance guy”. Don’t let this stereotyped experience happen to you again. Make a list of all the insurance products your agency offers and make sure each of your clients has a copy.
Try fishbowl marketing
This timeless method works and is free. In order for this technique to work, ask local businesses if they can leave a fishbowl and some forms at the checkout or other high traffic area. You can even offer a monthly gift card (which you buy from the company) as a giveaway that draws on the leads you collect. You will need a small fishbowl sign that asks consumers to put their contact details in the bowl for a free insurance quote. You won’t get rich with a single bowl, but if you use your marketing efforts with this surprisingly effective method, you are likely to generate a fair amount of new business. According to insurance expert Peter Vitale, passive marketing techniques such as the classic fishbowl can still be effective and do not require large up-front investments by the insurance company. Besides, who doesn’t love to win something?
Create an email signature for your business AND personal correspondence
Have your business information in front of your customers without opening your mouth. You can do this by creating an email signature with your company name and contact details that will be automatically attached to all of your email correspondence. You can already do this with your business emails, but have you programmed a similar signature for your personal communications? After all, the lines between your business and personal life as a small business owner are a bit blurred. You want your friends and family to remember that you are selling insurance.
Update your website
If you haven’t done much with your company website in three or more years, you are likely to lose more customers than you are gaining. An outdated website sends the message that you are behind the times and not on the cutting edge of technology. Peter Vitale reminds business owners that having a digital presence is vital and is often the first encounter between a prospect and your brand. Are you making a good first impression?
The money you pay a professional web designer to update your website will most likely pay off. As you work on your website, take some time to add new content that is optimized for search engines and your local market. Make sure your website can be viewed easily on different screen sizes. Many consumers only use their smartphones to make shopping decisions.
Getting your business presence known in the local community is key to getting people in your neighborhood to turn to you for an insurance product. A great way to do this is to volunteer. Maybe you can practice small league sports (and donate t-shirts with your company logo on them). Perhaps you can moderate the night of entertainment at the folk festival or become active on site in the Chamber of Commerce. The more people you see and get to know, the more you can grow your business organically.
Build a library of product videos
Have you ever wished you could talk to the people who visit your website in the middle of the night? You can. By creating a short product video for each of the insurance products you sell, you can share your expertise with prospects around the clock. Simply post the videos on your website, perhaps the relevant product page, and share your knowledge of the product with your customers and potential customers. Uploading these videos to social media platforms is a great way to increase your reach and share your expertise with a wider audience.
Offer simple offers
As an industry, insurance professionals tend to get bogged down with the paperwork and processes involved in preparing a quote and writing a policy. The average home insurance application process takes 20 to 30 minutes. In today’s fast-paced world, it may seem like an eternity to potential customers, says insurance innovator Peter Vitale. Often times, you already have some, if not most, of the information about your customers. Why make them repeat it for you With new customers, consider what information is important in order to make them an exact offer. If not absolutely necessary, leave it for later or you may not get a “later”.
Be proactive about comments and complaints
If you are active on social media with your business, make sure you hire someone to monitor comments on your posts. A comment, especially a negative one that can go unanswered for days, sends the message that your company doesn’t care about its customers. Well, you might not have seen the comment, but you will likely never get a chance to explain. Avoid such situations by monitoring your pages at least once a day. Conversely, it is just as important to have a dialogue with satisfied customers in order to maintain the personal touch.
Increasing your marketing efforts for your independent agency doesn’t have to mean revising your budget. As you can see from the suggestions above, many so-called “guerrilla marketing” techniques take a lot more time than money. It’s really just about working smarter than working harder. Try some of the suggestions above and you will likely be pleasantly surprised at how much new business is attracting.
About Peter Vitale
Peter Vitale knows about insurance marketing. He has been in the insurance industry for nearly two decades, first as a senior sales representative and now as insurance advisor and owner of Bloomfield Insurance Group in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Peter Vitale’s primary focus is helping small and medium-sized insurance business owners be more successful. In his advisory role, he supports agency owners in the creation and implementation of marketing plans.
Peter Vitale graduated from Oakland University in Michigan with a BA in Business Administration and lives in the Oakland County community where he grew up. When he’s not working, he is actively involved in community affairs and sits on the board of directors of the Eastern Michigan Better Business Bureau.