The Other Kind of Marketing – Brand Yourself and Sell More Insurance

In the insurance industry, when we speak about marketing we are most often referring to marketing risks to the insurance companies we represent. Albeit a critical aspect of any agency’s success, this marketing is not the only thing an agency needs to expend its resources on. There is the “other kind of marketing,” often underestimated and not fully understood in the insurance industry, which many agencies simply do not concentrate on at all.

Because of basic misconceptions, insurance agencies are often put off by traditional marketing efforts, which is to find creative ways to move consumers towards their product or service. On the one hand, the industry as a whole seems to be stuck in a time warp when cold-calling and door-to-door sales and other types of interruption marketing held the keys to the kingdom. No new strategies are implemented because agencies believe the old ones still work. The misassumption that marketing strategies and branding are too expensive for the individual agencies and agents makes many think that these strategies are exclusive to the big money insurance companies.

The nature of the modern-day consumer and the rise in the competitive and price-based nature of the market place call for individual agents and agencies to develop innovative marketing strategies in order to maintain an edge in the industry. The advent of the National Do Not Call Registry, Caller ID and email Spam Blockers, for example, make the traditional means of interruption marketing like cold-calling, and mass emailing less effective. Agents must become more creative and begin to take advantage of things like the Internet, newsletters, and article marketing. An Internet based marketing strategy requires very little work and very little out-of-pocket cost.

You need to brand yourself as the insurance producer. It is nice to have a company web page listed on your business card. It is a place for prospects to learn more about your company. However, you need to distinguish yourself from all of the agents out there. Lets face it. Most independent agencies have access to the same markets and the same prices; so what else do prospects have to base their choice on? The agent. An easy way to do this is to create a web page that brands and markets you.

Once you have a web page setup for yourself with content that enhances your image as a highly qualified professional and an industry leader, then you are ready to turn your web page into a fully automated marketing machine. Your web page will become a place to gather prospects’ contact information. You can achieve this by offering a newsletter. There are numerous companies on the web that can help you set up a fully automated newsletter. At this point you are no longer engaged in interruption marketing but the much more successful practice of permission marketing. Additionally, you create a space for yourself to show off your industry knowledge and give yourself a reason to stay in touch with and in front of prospects on a regular basis.

The most critical part of your new marketing strategy will be to drive traffic to your web page and then get permission to contact prospects. Use as many strategies to gain traffic as possible. Firstly, there is old-fashioned offline marketing, (i.e. brochures, letters, and faxes), that draws attention to your web page and a reason to visit the site. You will also need to do as much online marketing as you can. It is affordable and incredibly effective so you should do this as much as possible. Some online strategies to become visible on the web include, search engine optimization, advertising on related sites, article marketing, and pay per click advertisement.

Mobile Marketing – Branding on the Go!

With the proliferation of SmartPhones (3G iPhones), and now SuperPhones (4G Android OS), it has never been easier for consumers to connect on social media channels, surf the web, and make purchases online wherever and whenever.

When an advertisement sparks your interest, pertinent and relevant information is immediately available on your SuperPhone. New technology enables you to simply scan QR Codes with an App on your SmartPhone, and be instantly connected to a website, a video clip, phone number or to whatever the online marketers opt to link to that QR Code.

According to ComsScore’s new Mobile Metrix 2.0 report highlighted USA SmartPhone users vs Desktop users on Facebook:

SuperPhone: 441 mins. per month (7 hrs. and 21 mins.) vs

Desktop Computer: 391 mins. per month (6 hrs., 31 mins.)

Shared Advantages

Mobile branding shares many of the same advantages of Internet marketing. However, the First Mover Advantage (FMA) for marketers and businesses, unlike more traditional forms of media, is that the results of Internet and mobile marketing are measurable and traceable. Online marketers can now see the efficacy of certain Internet campaigns, they can track who is accessing their website, the means of access, and the duration of the visit. The consumer may feel somewhat uneasy with this tracking feature, but marketers find the information invaluable when determining the effectiveness of campaigns and the measurable results attained. Additionally, although the cost of mobile and Internet marketing is considerably less than traditional media, it offers a local and global reach. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on TV commercials that are broadcast in but one specific region and language, when at a fraction of that expense, your mobile message would enable you to reach potential customers on a global basis 24/7/365? On the flip side your mobile client is always moving, easily distracted and highly demanding. Speed of execution and a focused and relevant content strategy are critical to your campaign’s long-term and short-term success.

Mobile Website Checklist:

– Create a Mobile Search Plan

– Understand Search Engines for Mobile(Google Mobile, Bing Mobile, Yahoo Mobile, etc.)

– Add a Click-to-Call Button and Additional CTAs

– Build a Mobile Website Map and Keep Your Code Clean

– Optimize Browser for SuperPhone Speed

– Install a Sensor to Confirm Browser Device (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.)

– Keep it Simple with Streamlined Features (I.e., avoid flash intros, etc.)

– Be aware that Websites are designed to be viewed on a 20″ monitor vs a 3.5″ HD SuperPhone

First Mover Advantage

Acknowledge that the mobile device has become the ultimate source of information and research for many global users. Only a handful of B2B and B2C companies actually tailor their websites to mobile devices, thus the user-friendly mobile website optimized for a mobile search is an indispensable component of any company’s brand marketing and business development plans. If your site is not easily accessible, your target audience instantly exit your site and enter your competitor’s.

Business Marketing, Branding and Opening Doors – 5 Success Tips

Do you find yourself thinking back on your business history of working for others?

Back when I worked for the church and then as a FHA Loan Officer, it was all about excellence – reading all the latest business books and quickly gaining a reputation as the person that was going places.

It was a simpler time: do your job with dedication, anticipate future needs and take care of this before being asked.

  • The result? Business was growing 33% a year, management had me as the number one person to watch, and my own financial growth was going way up.

As an entrepreneur, things are different. Knowing all aspects of the business and doing more than a great job is required. It’s about the overall experience you provide:

  • What image does your business portray?
  • Connection: Have you identified your market and the simple elements of branding that would help you connect with them?
  • The Marketing Plan: How do you communicate your brand through online marketing, social media and direct mail?
  • Are you crafting promotional materials and creating marketing campaigns that get results?
  • Do your clients know what to expect or is each contact with you a different experience?

And – it is about understanding yourself and how you operate.

5 Success tips to implement in your business if you’re looking for success and sustainability:

  1. Develop a way to connect with your clients – branding
  2. A marketing plan– Your market wants really good content and connection- is your sales site giving that?
  3. Share your project and ask for partnership with industry celebrities
  4. Create systems, which support you: client intake system, outgoing client completion documentation, how you gather – and use – email addresses, surveys, testimonials, etc.
  5. Follow-up. Let your clients and prospective clients know you care by following-up on a regular basis – offering value, your own product/service information and affiliate offers.

How your business is perceived by others, especially your clients, begins with you. What needs to be recreated, reworked and changed to bring your business the big impact?

Working as an entrepreneur, on your own, can be an isolated feeling. Trying to find your way and answers can happen through books and online training. But, getting focused and aligned with your clients and opening promotional and marketing doors can flow much easier and more quickly with a mentor – a coaching business entrepreneur. I have certainly found that true. Let me know what you think.