Oh, those giant insurance companies with their massive marketing budgets. It seems like they’ve got ads running every commercial break. They even have that nice guy from The Office, John Krasinski, doing their I’m-your-friendly-and-smart-buddy voiceovers. How are you, an independent insurance agent, supposed to compete with that?

You can’t, at least not on their massive field. Instead you can focus on your own. Think of it this way…they may have the pro sports stadium, but you can still play ball over at your local park. Here are a few free or cheap ways that you can use digital marketing to make your agency’s presence known locally:

Company Website

As technology continues to evolve, websites may someday be the equivalent of a Yellow Pages ad. However, that day hasn’t come yet. A website is still the first place most people will look to find out information about you and your business, beyond the basics. Building a website doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Companies like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly have pre-designed templates and will host your site for just a couple hundred dollars a year.

When creating your website, make sure your site answers the big-picture questions that anyone might have about your agency:

  • Who (a brief and photo of you and any key staff members)
  • What (the products you sell)
  • When (hours that you’re available)
  • Where (area you service, physical location if you have an office)
  • Why (a value statement about your reason for being in the insurance field and what you have to offer)
  • How (ways to reach you, what the insurance-buying process is like when someone chooses you)

Google My Business

Have you ever Googled someplace that you want to go, and the results appear in a box informing you about their hours, phone number, company reviews and directions? All of that information shows up because of Google My Business. It’s a free (yes, free) service that allows you to ‘claim’ your business and customize some of the information that appears when people search for it on Google. Once you’re set up, you can edit your information as it changes, upload photos and see how many clicks you’re getting, too. It’s easy to use– and worth giving a try.

Nurture Your Customers Through Email Marketing

You’ve got email addresses for most of your customers, right? You might as well use them. Here are some ideas for how to reach out to your customers and prospects via email:

  • Send an email the month before a customer’s renewal is going to take place and offer to review their current needs and give them an updated quote.
  • Offer useful insurance-related tips or reminders about topics like winterizing the exterior of a home or checking their car’s tire tread on a periodic basis.
  • Impart a bit of insurance wisdom, such as when it makes sense to file a claim and when it doesn’t.

Email marketing is most effective when you have a strategy. Think through how often you want to contact each client, and what diverse types of content you can send. Be sure your emails are short, grammatically correct and don’t come so frequently that they are annoying. Set up a calendar and stick to it. If managing an email marketing strategy seems daunting, there are Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, like our integrated partner Blitz, that will manage the process for you – allowing you to focus on what matters, growing your agency.

Social Media

With social media, you have more latitude about what you post and how frequently you do it. But you should still follow dinner-party rules: avoid sensitive subjects like sex, politics and religion. Because social media makes it so easy to share articles and posts from other sources, it’s a fantastic way to fill your feed with valuable content that you don’t have to generate yourself. Just be thoughtful about what and how often you are posting to your social media pages.

You can often re-purpose the same post across multiple social-media platforms. Facebook is still the most widely used service, and Instagram and Snapchat continue to grow in popularity, especially among those who are 35 and younger. Twitter, on the other hand, has slower new-user growth rates.

Using any of the four digital marketing strategies above can expand your reach; combining all of them is even better. Your agency can have a robust digital presence with very little money and without too much effort. Which means you may even have time to catch a few reruns of The Office.

Joe Perniciaro

With more than 30 years of sales management experience and 15 of those as president of Franklin Insurance and Financial Group, Joe is a powerhouse of industry knowledge for agents. He was also the agent/owner of three Allstate® Insurance agencies and an independent agency owner in Tennessee before he joined Hometown Quotes in 2013. He is licensed in property and casualty, life and health, and holds his Series 7.

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