Is there a “right” customer for your insurance agency?
I love this question, because both new and experienced agents ask it.
Here’s my answer: The “right customer” for an agent is a buying customer. If you’re a captive agent, your customers may be defined as a Line-10-eligible customer; independent agents have the ability to define their customers more freely. I like to encourage agents to step back and take a look at all of the things that make a “right customer”—including factors from their own agency. Take a look:
How To Find The Right Customer
1. Become the “right” agency.
First and foremost, agents need to think about the attractiveness of their own offerings. For most agencies, this means diversifying their products and offerings as much as possible. Independent agents should try to partner with as many carriers as possible to appeal to the range of consumers in their communities—the more carriers you can write, the more opportunities you’ll have to make customers out of people from all walks of life.
From a product perspective, many agencies will focus only on auto insurance or only on home insurance. However, agencies that can expand their offerings beyond P&C into commercial and life insurance, for example, will improve their agents’ chances of finding additional customers.
Want to run a successful agency? Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves.Check out 5 Smart Ways To Set Up Your Auto Insurance Agency For Success to learn more.
2. Make your office the “right place” for potential customers—in person and virtually.
Whether you’re a new agent or an experienced one, make sure your office will attract the type of people you want to attract. If your decor has an outdated look and your biggest avenue of growth is young professionals, update your space to make it more inviting. If you’re in an affluent community with established clientele, your office space should reflect that.
This recommendation isn’t just for physical office spaces—your website and social media platforms should also be representative of and inviting to the type of customers you want to work with. Make sure your website is updated and optimized for mobile customers, and simplify your methods of contact. Can they text or email instead of call or set foot in your office? Your insurance marketing should match the types of customers you want to draw in. (Tweet this!)
Once you’re confident that you’re offering as much (or more) quality products as your competitors and have a welcoming space, the next biggest opportunity is to prospect and find new customers.
3. Identify your target customers.
Many agents target only people they think would buy their products, or sell only to people they know through their insurance marketing activities. These strategies may work for a while, but won’t likely be a consistent source of high-value customers or referrals.
Instead, start by asking yourself these basic questions: What kind of people does your agency (or carrier) typically write? This is a great starting point, because if your carrier typically writes married homeowners with good credit, targeting single twenty-somethings who rent or drivers who need an SR-22 isn’t a good plan. With this basic information, you can begin to be a little more precise about your ideal customer.
4. Network, network, network.
Meeting and becoming involved with your community is a key part of successful insurance marketing. Consider the following:
- Go to networking events. Get involved in your local chamber of commerce, present at business fairs, and attend and sponsor community events. These are great low-cost ways to get your agency’s name out there and build momentum. And if your community doesn’t have these types of events, set them up yourself! You could also consider hosting coffee hours or dinners for prospects, or helpful seminars—all these functions serve to connect you to local people you may be able to help.
- Consider online networking. Simple, no-cost actions like joining and engaging with LinkedIn or Facebook social media groups give you exposure to people who are looking for insurance products you may be able to help them with.
- Join insurance networks or insurance clusters. Consider joining a group of local insurance networks that provide high-level, back-end support, and share tips, best practices, and more. By joining, you can get your brand name out there, but you’ll also be able to connect with and learn from other pros in your industry.
- Sponsor community events! From your local farmer’s market to Pop Warner football to Little League, sponsorships are an inexpensive way to promote your agency name. Community members in search of specific services often look for familiarity and name recognition, and you want your agency to be one they can name off the top of their head when thinking about insurance.
5. Focus on online advertising (and consider traditional media).
One of the biggest things for insurance agency marketing—and one too many agents miss—is having an online presence. (Tweet this!) If you invest a little bit of your marketing budget toward optimizing your agency website, chances are high you can see an excellent ROI with leads generated through your site. (Just make sure you have a form leads can fill out on your website in addition to your office email address, phone number, and physical address—and then be sure to check your form submissions!)
That’s not all the insurance marketing you should be doing online—local insurance agencies should focus their time and effort on avenues like Yelp and Facebook. More advanced agencies can consider dabbling in Google paid search or SEO. Just keep in mind that the latter options require insurance marketing specialization and a time requirement many agents don’t have.
Finally, traditional media can still play a role in your insurance marketing.
- Direct mail gives you the ability to target and segment the correct customer type within the radius you choose.
- Buying spots on local TV and radio stations can help you build a brand name. Local billboards are an option, too.
- Newspaper ads are still a thing! Depending on your clientele, many older, affluent families still read newspapers and look at the ads.
The key with each of these types of media, whether online or traditional insurance marketing, is to measure your costs: Are your efforts and expenses really bringing in leads that convert to profitable business? Measure and track each source to make sure you’re not wasting your money, and then make changes to your marketing mix when necessary.
6. Consider partnering with other local businesses.
In the insurance industry, finding partners is actually really easy to do! Consider other places your customers and prospects go—banks, real estate offices, financial planners, car dealerships, accountants—these are all significant opportunities for you to generate leads. Ask to partner with them and cross-promote each other’s businesses.
7. Capitalize on your own referral program.
A strong referral program is often a missed opportunity for a lot of new agents. They may think they’re so new that it will take a while to build up their referral business, so they don’t even start—this is a mistake! To find out everything you need to know to create and sustain a successful insurance marketing referral program, check out our article, 8 Things You Need To Know About Insurance Referral Programs. Referrals are too powerful to let slip through your hands, so make sure you’re discussing referrals with all your customers!
8. Purchase insurance leads online.
Once you have a ballpark idea of who you should be targeting, it’s time to start working with a reputable, data-driven marketing partner (like EverQuote) to help find your best prospects. Whether you’re building your online presence and not quite getting the number of leads you’d like to organically, or you just want high-quality leads to boost your producers’ pipelines, you can partner with EverQuote as a part of your well-balanced approach to utilizing all different types of media.
Our leads come to us with an unbiased request—they’re consumers who are already looking for insurance products. Then, we work to provide that lead information to agents. Combined with the work you’re already doing (like getting referrals), using leads from EverQuote can help you pinpoint the right people to be targeting. Based on the information provided on our extensive form, you can look for common traits among applicants, narrow the pool, and use that information to further refine your ideal customer personas. Additionally, the ability to assess your “on bind/on policy” performance will save you a lot of money along the way—and help you grow your agency faster.
Additionally, if your ideal customers change, EverQuote’s Customer Success team can work with you to develop a roadmap that shows the ebbs and flows of your agency, and can help you make more educated decisions when working with your ideal customer.
Additional Steps For Insurance Marketing
Once you have information about the leads you’re actually closing, you can begin running targeted marketing campaigns focused on those groups. For example, if you are a locally-focused P&C agent who does well with families, you could consider sponsoring a youth sports team in your area. Or, if you're an agency who serves multiple customer types over a large area (for example, an entire state), you’d likely want to focus on digital marketing and perhaps regional print ads (newspapers, etc.).
Where To Find Out More
You can spend your career trying to figure out who your “right” customer is all by yourself—or you can partner with us to get a deeper look at your insurance marketing.
Click here to schedule a consultation. It’s 100% free—and it could change the trajectory of your insurance agency for the better.