The Foundation for Growth: Four Things Every Insurance Agency Should be Doing

4thMay. × ’10

Something Old, Something New

I talk to a lot of insurance agents.  Some are happy with their sales and profit growth, most aren’t.  That’s one thing most agencies have in common.  Some have little free cash to invest in marketing programs, some have literally invested over $100,000 in what they believe to be state-of-the-art marketing systems.  Even these agencies have something in common.  Almost none of them are engaging in the four basic tactics that cost almost nothing and deliver demonstrable sales results.  Two of the tactics are as old as dirt and two of them wouldn’t exist without the internet.  As much as anything, I think that shows that the insurance agent who achieves top quartile growth combines a little of the old with the new.

The New

Local Search

Almost all insurance shoppers turn to the internet at some point during their research and purchase process.  And increasingly they are presented with a short list of local businesses next to a map.  Informal research conducted by Confluency Solutions indicates that 80% of all insurance agents have not claimed their local listing with Google Places, Bing Local, or Yahoo Local.  Claiming and enhancing your agency’s business listing is free and takes little time.  That’s why every agent who cares about sales growth needs to manage their visibility in local search.

Email Marketing

Email marketing has been with us for so long that it hardly seems new but it was not possible without the internet.  Spam abuse has brought us tightened regulations (CAN-SPAM) and tightened email filters to keep out unwanted email.  Many agencies use email abuses as a rationale for not collecting and using email addresses.  But, as the Marketing Sherpa chart below shows, those businesses that use email marketing, have *not* seen diminishing returns over the last three years.

There are lots of techniques for gathering email addresses and obtaining permission to send out emails but the best place to start is with your customers and current prospects.  Intelligent email communications to the first group improves retention, account sales, and referrals.  Emails to the second group can introduce additional product (sales), expand your insurance agency value proposition, and maximize sales conversions.  And emailing to either group will have almost no impact on your marketing budget.  You can get money for nothing.

The Old

Lost Business Reclamation

Customers leave for a variety of reasons but always a variation on the ‘grass is greener on the other side’.  Often it isn’t.  Customers are frequently gone before you know you’ve lost them.  In those cases where an agency can learn about a potential customer defection before it happens, the customer is retained 86% of the time.  They just want to know you care.  And if you show them that you care, even after customers have left your insurance agency, you can win back that lost business.  You can pick and choose who you want back, and a process employing a few well placed phone calls, surveys, and emails can bring ex-customers back into the fold once you’ve helped them realize the grass really isn’t greener on the other side.

Managed Referrals

Most agencies get nearly 70% of their new business from referrals.  Nothing wrong with that, except that in most cases those referrals happen fortuitously.  A simple program, wherein you reward customers for referrals with small gifts and constantly promote – with your email, website, on-hold message, and conversation – the existence of your referral program, you can increase the number of referrals your insurance agency receives dramatically.  Of course, if you are employing the first three tactics discussed in this post, your percentage of new business from referrals will decline.  But there is nothing wrong with that – it’s all low acquisition cost.

This entry was posted in Customer Development, Email, Insurance Agency Communications, Local Search and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.