Role of Marketing in Insurance
Insurance companies, no matter their size, need to be constantly building their customer base if they want to stay competitive and profitable. There are many different ways for an insurance agency to reach out to new clients, so it’s important to choose the ways that will have the most impact and focus marketing and advertising efforts on those specific areas. Whether your agency is well-established or just starting, you can always step up your marketing by looking into a new area.
First of all, it’s important to understand the strengths of your agency and what makes your insurance company different than all the rest. Look at the plans you offer and the price points, of course, but also evaluate your customer service side as well. Being able to provide friendly, helpful tech support and answer most questions customers have about insurance plans is becoming as important to some customers as the cost of the plan itself. Having a system in place that ensures current and potential customers can get information quickly — since today’s world moves faster than ever — can be a key strength separating one agency from another.
The marketing strategy will want to focus on these strengths in a way that allows the message to be about those advantages. Consider your resources and your team. An incredibly efficient agency might focus on the speed with which they can get answers quickly; an agency with a lot of industry contacts might focus on the variety of insurance packages they can offer.
Personable people make good service a notable highlight; coverage options mean a competitive price. Review your current strengths and decide what makes sense to be the central message from your agency.
Most new customers traditionally find insurance agencies through word-of-mouth, based on recommendations from current customers. This is a critical way to find new clients, and yet, the agency is entirely dependent on their existing clients to do so. To take advantage of this, make it as easy as possible for current clients to refer you.
- Brush up on the insurance company’s website. Make sure it’s professional-looking, that it contains helpful information and other content and that it gives an easy way to contact your agency with questions or for a quote.
- Make sure current clients are highly satisfied with the quality of service and coverage they have. Before they leave or hang up the phone, be sure to ask whether they’re pleased with the results and if there’s anything else they might need. Make sure all agents are leaving a good impression on their customers.
- Make business cards or magnets with the agency’s information on them, including a phone number leading directly to a person and the website address. Encourage clients to take them, to give out to other people.
- Consider offering a small reward for every referral, like a one-time discount or a small gift card. It lets people know you appreciate the business being brought in and makes your clients more likely to remember to recommend you when an opportunity arises.
In addition to customer referrals, agents can use their own professional and personal networks to help attract potential new clients. To encourage this, consider things like a community day, where your team might get involved in a local volunteer project.
Connecting with people on a personal level makes referrals and suggestions much more meaningful, and more likely to stick. It also never hurts to give back to the community and will help the agents feel more engaged with their work.
There are so many aspects of online marketing that it’s easy to get lost. Remember, the top priority of your insurance business strategy is to build awareness and interest in your particular agency and its brand. Spend resources on the kinds of marketing that best reflect the brand and will easily get the message across. There’s no need to do everything; depending on location, size and specialty, some will be more effective than others.
- Website: As mentioned above, having a clean-looking, professional website that’s easy to navigate and contains useful information is key to an online presence. Consider hiring a designer to be sure the look is inviting and engaging, but easy to update from the back end. Keep information current and check thoroughly to make sure everything works both on computer and mobile platforms.
- Website Content/Blog: One way to draw readers to a website is to regularly post interesting things for them to see, watch or read. For this, you’ll need to offer knowledgeable information that will help readers understand why they need your insurance products and what your agency can do for them. Consider hiring a professional or technical writer for this content; in order for it to stand out among the millions of internet sites, it needs to be excellently and flawlessly written. And don’t stop with words: photos of satisfied customers will help personalize your brand and brief videos with agents remind consumers that there’s a skilled individual waiting to help them.
- Social Media: Pervasively everywhere, social media has become a key part of life for many people, so it may seem an obvious place to start, but do consider whether your agency fits the type of social media you’re looking to set up. An insurance company marketing long-term client relationships and stable packages may not have much use for a Twitter account, for example, but could likely use Facebook to its benefit.
- Advertisements: Social media, content websites, even Google — advertisements are everywhere, and that can be used to your benefit. Offering promoted posts and advertisements on Facebook can increase the number of hits your page gets; likewise, a Google ad or a sponsored link can increase traffic. Many advertising agencies will tailor this as needed to a known demographic, which can make costs reasonable. Ask them what insurance ad ideas they might have, if you’re stumped.
Customer relationship management is the industry name for the set of strategies, tools and processes used to examine customer relationships and work to improve them. CRM software, or a CRM agency, will help streamline the existing information on clients, examine current growth and customer relationships and make suggestions as to how the business can expand and where it should focus its efforts.
CRM packages start with current customer information. They’ll build an automated database so that the contact information is available for access no matter which agent is working with that particular customer that day; this includes customer history like policy changes, previous phone calls and so on. This saves time and makes sure the customer doesn’t have to spend their valuable time repeating information.
They can also automate processes, like sending reminder emails to existing customers when it’s time for a policy renewal, highlighting potential changes or new deals. This level of service helps agents keep up on where customers are at any point in their policy cycle, which lets them adjust their service to fit that individual’s specific needs.
CRM services also make it easy to reach out to new potential customers. By integrating CRM with the business website, queries looking for information or a quote can be directly sent on to the first available agent, for example, including all available contact information. Over time, historical data can be used to project customer base expansion and identify new opportunities for advertisements or special offers. It’ll make it clear which advertising efforts have been fruitful and which have not, so that going forward you can spend your time more efficiently on marketing strategies that will yield the most fruit.
In order to be successful, all the elements above need to be streamlined into a coherent marketing plan that makes strategic sense. Individual efforts in certain areas can be fruitful, but being able to combine methods into a powerful overall plan is the best way to effectively grow clientele and build the business.
- Research: This step includes defining the agency’s strengths and its message, and researching target groups that will respond positively to that message. Also, research the competition — local and online — and compare their latest offerings against yours. Determine what differentiates your agency and add it to the message.
- Objectives: Review the agency’s short-term and long-term goals. If possible, break down goals to monthly targets, to help the company understand what you’re working toward. Setting a target for new customers is a good start, but also consider milestones like daily hits to a website, questions answered or the number of phone queries. This will help focus on the methods being used, not just the overall outcome.
- Choose Tactics: Looking at the goals should help narrow down marketing options. Decide what you want to do, how you intend to do it and what your budget is for it. Budget is important: employee hours cost the company, so be careful about the division of work between internal and external resources. For things like building a website or maintaining a social media presence, it can be more effective for the cost to hire a professional, so don’t assume everything will be done with the agency’s existing staff.
- Measure: Keep track of new customers as well as loyal customers who choose to expand services. Consider asking how they heard of you — was it a personal referral, an online ad, a Google search? Listen to what’s working to bring customers in, but also what’s keeping customers with your agency. Then recycle this information, compare it to the objectives set and reevaluate your tactics as needed.
Insurance today is such a competitive field because the competition isn’t just local, it’s online as well. Customers don’t even have to leave their house to get a quote and sign up for insurance policies. So the marketing plan also has to focus on what your insurance agency offers over those other options, especially if you want to encourage office visits over online signups and phone calls.
This is another piece of the strategy and objectives to consider; your agency may want to reward office visits or you may want to do your best to automate things online as much as possible. What sort of service best fits the brand of this agency? Keep in mind, also, that this focus might change over time.
In the end, that’s the best kind of marketing plan: one that fits the strengths of the agency while also representing what the agency is looking to grow into. Tailoring the marketing strategy makes more sense than simply, say, buying out a set of online ads or printing a bunch of brochures: It focuses resources and will have the most impact with the most value. While it might seem like more offerings means more business, remember that it’s also about the quality of offerings, and the quality of service, not just the number of things in your insurance portfolio. You’ll draw in more customers who’ll stay longer by focusing on the things that build that important customer loyalty.