Staff Up or Outsource Your Insurance Agency Marketing?

  • Posted on February 13, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency MarketingMost agencies know they need to improve their marketing, embark upon a digital marketing program, embrace social media marketing and update their website. All of these are important to the long term success of an agency. To accomplish this, agency owners need to determine how and when to spend valuable budget dollars. This invariably leads to the question of adding staff, attempting to leverage inexperienced internal resources, or outsourcing marketing initiatives. Let’s review these three options.

Option 1 – I’ll use a recently graduated family friend: It is a rare occurrence when this option will work out for most agencies, and it’s one of the most expensive options they can select. The fully burdened cost is likely to exceed $50,000 a year, and the recent graduate likely “doesn’t know, what they don’t know”. These inexperienced resources need to understand website development, insurance agency emarketing, social media marketing, and insurance agency search engine optimization. There are 5 different skill-sets needed for this list, plus the overall experience necessary to successfully execute these initiatives. So not only does the agency pay the $50K, they also pay for all of the on the job mistakes, errors in judgment, technical deficiencies, and industry inexperience.

Option 2 – I’ll hire a marketing VP: This is likely a better solution than option 1, albeit requiring even more budget dollars. An experienced marketing VP (let’s call this person a $100,000+ resource) will bring both knowledge and know how to the table. Yet even with this resource the agency will undoubtedly require specialized skills and tools in the areas of web development, insurance agency search engine optimization, insurance agency emarketing, graphic design and more. A variation on this theme is to hire a seasoned marketing manager, perhaps a $75,000 a year resource with some of the experience and skills noted above.

Option 3 – I’ll outsource my marketing to an insurance agency marketing firm: There is a well known paradigm called “Good, Fast, Cheap”. In this paradigm, you’re supposed to pick which two of the criteria you want (Good and Fast, Good and Cheap, Fast and Cheap). But in our new internet based world, it is possible to get all three, services and solutions that are good, fast and cost effective. Agencies can select an experienced insurance agency marketing firm, and get all of the services mentioned above at a lower cost than even Option 1, the inexperienced college graduate.

Agencies thinking of outsourcing some or all of their important marketing initiatives should contact the insurance agency marketing experts at StartUpSelling. For more information on territory exclusive insurance agency marketing and lead programs, call (518) 222-6392 for a complimentary insurance agency marketing review.

Originally Posted by Alan Blume on May 15, 2014

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Using Insurance Agency Webinars to Fill the Sales Funnel

  • Posted on January 19, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency WebinarsLet’s say that I am making a micro marketing plan for the ensuing two weeks, and I want to ensure that I have a plan of attack that will yield a certain number of clients in the balance of the month.  This process begins with the “closes” but ends with “eMarketing and web seminars.”  Let me explain this basic micro marketing concept.  The numbers and ratios are aggregated, based on information from our clients and colleagues, but represent an accurate representation of many agency producers.

  1. You would like to add 3 new clients over the remaining 3 weeks of March
  2. You close, on average, 40% of proposals, so you will need 7 or 8 proposals.
  3. You have 4 proposals outstanding and need 4 more to achieve the 8 noted above.
  4. You convert 60% of your appointments into proposals, so you need about 7 appointments.
  5. You schedule 1 appointment every 5-6 calls to eMarketing and webinar prospects.
  6. You need to 40 warm leads from eMarketing and webinar campaigns.
  7. You typically yield 50 interested prospects from an eMarketing/webinar campaign.
  8. You need to run 1 eMarketing/webinar campaign.

Insurance MarketingWhen properly executed, insurance agency eMarketing and insurance agency webinars identify vast numbers of interested prospects.  A lead generation campaign like this dramatically simplifies your task of filling the top of the sales funnel, improves conversion and closing ratios, and allows you to reach your sales goals with much greater efficiency.

Originally Posted on March 11th, 2011 by John Scranton

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Insurance Agency Marketing – Consistency is the Key

  • Posted on January 17, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance MarketingFor the past decade, StartUpSelling’s most successful clients have shared a common theme: consistency. Each client in this elite group launched their unique insurance agency marketing campaign and never wavered – unrelenting in the delivery of their message and value proposition to their target market. Prospects know their names, understand their areas of expertise, and are open – even eager – to engage in a dialogue. This is the goal of marketing and lead generation, and it can be accomplished by a targeted and consistent approach.

A client once described the marketing and lead gen campaign StartUpSelling designed for his agency as “continual and relentless” – and that was exactly the goal. By sending targeted email campaigns, running educational webinars and engaging interested prospects with follow up calls, the initiative carried the agency’s message to target prospects and capitalized on opportunities created over time.  Building momentum and cache as the campaign developed.

I call up the image of Andy Dufresne chipping away at the wall of his cell with his tiny rock hammer in Shawshank Redemption. He never wavered, consistently inching toward his goal. We have an advantage that Andy did not: digital marketing. We are working with a jack hammer instead of a rock hammer, and if we apply pressure consistently over time, marketing and lead gen campaigns with unearth tremendous value.

Originally Posted on January 15, 2014 by John Scranton

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Our Days of Cold Calling are Over [From the Archives]

  • Posted on December 21, 2016
  • by John Scranton

Do you like cold calling? I know there are some of you out there who truly enjoy cold calling. It can be exciting, and if you can deal with rejection, it will eventually be effective. But in my estimation, most salespeople view cold calling like eating their vegetables: it is not something they enjoy, but understand it is required for growth.

However, the owner of an agency recently told me that “our days of cold calling are over.” How? Is he going out of business? Actually, he is experiencing significant growth and looking to add producers. Insurance agency marketing without cold calling, but how? An effective web marketing strategy that includes:

  • eMarketingInsurance Agency Web Marketing
  • Web Seminars
  • Content-Rich & Current Website
  • eCollateral
  • Client Testimonials
  • Website Video
  • Social Media
  • SEO

Insurance agency lead generation no longer has to revolve around telemarketing. In the web 2.0 era, agencies both large and small can embrace the cost-effective tools available to us to expand their pipeline without spending hours cold calling.

Posted on July 28th, 2010 by John Scranton

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Tip #5: Measure and Refine

The final tip is by far the most simplistic, but also very important.  As you work through the process of defining your profile, crafting your value proposition, identifying interested prospects and reaching out to them (as outlined in tips 1-4 below), you must measure the success of each step.  Is your profile accurate?  Is your pitch effective?  Are your email messages deliverable and attracting the right prospects?  Are your phone calls generating in-profile activity?  Determine what works and what does not – then refine your approach and repeat the steps.  There are no shortcuts in marketing, but these 5 tips will provide a guide to move you along in the process.

Originally Posted on July 23, 2013 by John Scranton

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Insurance Content MarketingTip #1: Clearly Define Your Target Prospect Profile

A wise man once told me: “If you try to be everything to everybody, you probably won’t be anything to anybody.”

Attempting to develop deep expertise in many areas is a very challenging and often futile objective.  How likely is it that the best pitcher is also the best hitter, or that the best quarterback is also the best linebacker?  This logic also applies to insurance sales – particularly when creating a marketing campaign.

For example, I previously worked with agents who specialized in unique niche markets such as car washes or fire departments.  In each case, the agent knew nearly everything about the risk – not just from an insurance perspective, but from a business perspective.  If you can discuss car wash equipment or ladder trucks intelligently prior to taking applications, you present a distinct and highly marketable advantage.

A message of value was created as a result of a clearly defined target prospect profile.  In these examples, the profile was defined by industry – but size, location or product could also be key characteristics of an ideal prospect.  This tip is a crucial first step to the development of an effective insurance agency marketing campaign.

Originally Posted on June 10, 2013 by John Scranton

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v3-thmbThis is a story you have probably seen several times. It is sort of a business proverb. Most famously shared by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in ‘Built to Last’ – this is a story told to new Nordstrom employees and exemplifies the superior customer service they are expected to deliver. At first glance this story shocks most of us. It defies capitalism.

I recently read ‘Made to Stick’ by Chip & Dan Heath. They examine this story from a different perspective. Why does the statement convey its message so effectively? They argue that the act is unexpected and powerful – so powerful that it changes the service paradigm in the mind of a new employee.

Reading their thoughts triggered two questions: 1 – Should I be shopping more at Nordstrom? 2 – Do we provide service at this level in the insurance business?

The first question is up to my wife, so we will skip that for now. But the second question is one we should all examine carefully. To be candid, my experience with insurance agencies indicates that we do not. This would be equivalent to servicing a policy for a competing agency while they are receiving the commission. An idea that makes most of us cringe.

So I will throw down a challenge to you all and to myself – seek out an opportunity to provide unexpected, superior service to a client or prospect. This is something you can do this week. And if your good deed is powerful enough – you might shift your organization’s service paradigm for the better.

Originally Posted on May 25, 2010 by John Scranton

 

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StartUpSelling Insurance Marketing Team Publishes 2,000th Blog

  • Posted on November 15, 2016
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Web MarketingStartUpSelling’s team of insurance marketing and lead generation professionals are pleased to announce they recently published their 2,000th blog post. Visit their blogs to learn about:

If your insurance agency would like to improve marketing or lead generation in 2017, contact us today.

 

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slide1Referrals have traditionally been a premier source of new business for insurance agencies.  When I was an agent, I loved referrals.  It was an opportunity to build my business without actually selling.  Just visiting with somebody who would likely buy.  A great tool that all salespeople need to take advantage of and cultivate consistently.

I was recently speaking to a mid-size agency’s VP of Marketing who explained they follow a referral based system of selling.  They do not cold call, they rarely advertise and do not leverage any other marketing tools or outreach program.  He explained this system has yielded some success, but agency principals were not satisfied with annual growth rates.  I told him referrals should always be one of the legs of your stool, but how do you expect to grow consistently standing on one leg?

You always need a three legged stool.  Referrals, referrals and more referrals do not meet this criterion.  Never ignore these opportunities – they close faster and more often – but make sure they are only one piece of the puzzle.   Exclusively chasing referral business puts a governor on your growth.

Originally Posted on May 19, 2010 by John Scranton

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1Here are 5 keys steps that will help you select a web seminar topic that will generate leads and opportunities for your sales team. Choose a topic that…

  1. Is relevant to your prospects
  2. Helps your prospects overcome their business challenges
  3. Is complex and technical so your webinar cannot be replaced by a quick Google search
  4. Is related to your product, service or solution
  5. Can be explained effectively in 20 to 30 minutes

If your topic meets these five criteria, you are on the path to web seminar lead generation success.

For more information: http://www.startupselling.com/lead-generation.html

Originally Posted on February 20, 2013 by John Scranton

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