ItAmazon Buys Whole Foods was less than three weeks ago when I wrote, Etail Goes Retail – Amazon’s Opens NYC Bookstore. In that blog I discussed Amazon’s foray into retail bookstores, an interesting brick and mortar venture for a company that is a notorious retail killer. But that announcement pales in comparison to the explosive news on Friday, that Amazon agreed to buy the Whole Foods grocery chain for $13 billion!

Opinions were rampant on the potential reasons and impact of this paradigm shift. Stocks of traditional grocery chains and pharmacies suffered heavy losses during the day, as investors may have feared increased competition and concerns about market disruption. Amazon is now a behemoth with $136 billion in revenues in 2016, dramatically increasing from $10 billion in 2006. During this ramp up, Amazon has left their imprint on everything from shipping, to books, to electronics and online video.

Can Amazon reshape and rebuild retail? They will need to change the perception of Whole Foods, a chain many think offers choices that are too limited at price points that are too high. One thing is certain, it will be interesting to compare and contrast the Whole Foods of today, with Whole Foods a year from now.

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The Insurance Elevator Pitch

  • Posted on June 19, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency VideosThe insurance elevator pitch is a succinct summary used to quickly describe your insurance agency or brokerage, products and services. It should include your unique value proposition, and must be delivered within the time span of an elevator ride of 30 to 60 seconds. This can be much harder than you think, and should be scripted, rehearsed, and timed. The elevator pitch is a fundamental component of your insurance marketing efforts.

Ask a variety of people in your agency or brokerage to tell you their version of the elevator pitch. Don’t be surprised if the pitch varies dramatically from person to person. Does the pitch adequately describe your value proposition? Does it highlight the products, services and solutions which best showcase your agency expertise? Did the pitches even sound remotely alike?

Your sales and marketing efforts are built upon a well articulated and easily repeatable value proposition, which should be a component of your elevator pitch. If you cannot communicate your value proposition in less than 30 seconds, or stumble when trying to express it, it’s time to write it down, rehearse it and communicate your value proposition with everyone in your agency. Once that is done, turn it into a 30 to 60 second elevator pitch. Practice makes perfect, try repeating both of these in monthly management meetings and sales meetings, and it’s important to note that your elevator pitch might vary based on your target niches (P&C versus Group Benefits for example).

Here are a few best practices when it comes to your insurance elevator pitch:

  • Be succinct – 30 seconds is best
  • Create empathy – For example, “We work exclusively with contractors” or “we work with trucking companies with 5 to 50 power units”
  • Verticalize – a vertical pitch is easier to differentiate
  • Be different – Everyone says “save money” and “great service” – what are your top 3, unique differentiators?
  • Transfer enthusiasm!
  • Close with a call to action – what’s the next step for your prospect

Let’s review a sample pitch, which would run 30 to 40 seconds depending upon cadence:

We’ve been helping trucking companies with insurance and risk management needs for over 50 years. Everyone at our agency is a trucking fleet expert, in areas including CSA, specialty cargo, certificate fulfillment, and owner operator services. Because of our access to extensive markets and deep industry expertise, we provide creative coverages at the best possible rates, and help protect our clients’ bottom line. We know trucking insurance is one of your biggest costs and our creative approach will help meet your unique requirements. Can we set up a 15 minute meeting to discuss your specific needs?

Your elevator pitch might be designed to include industry jargon to convince prospects of your deep expertise, it might highlight your most important products and services, your top differentiators, or your service centric approach. Regardless of what your final elevator pitch includes, practice makes perfect, it should roll off your tongue effortlessly. Remember, 30 to 60 seconds is all you get before your most important prospect walks out of the elevator, and your opportunity may be gone forever.

Originally Posted on April 14, 2015 by John Scranton

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7 Reasons Every Insurance Agency Should Blog

  • Posted on May 26, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Social MediaIndustry experts say that great insurance marketing begins with a quality. Insurance agencies brokers that do not blog consistently (at least once a week), are missing a big opportunity to impress prospects and clients, and to help improve the effectiveness of their insurance websites. Here are seven reasons that agencies and brokers should have a quality blog:

  1. Drive Website Traffic: A blog, preferably with original content, helps drive clients and prospects to your insurance website. It gives them a reason to visit, and a reason to stay.
  2. Convert Traffic Into Leads: Quality blogs will help convert visitors into interested prospects. Prominent and professional “Calls To Action” will glean prospect information and increase inbound inquiries.
  3. Establish Credibility: Demonstrate expertise by offering timely and topical blog content. High quality blogs answer common questions prospects and customers might have.
  4. Content Baseline: Use your blog to share or repurpose your content in many ways. Send the blog link to prospects, leverage the blog in eMarketing campaigns, share the blog with social media, join and create groups on LinkedIn and post your content to these groups.
  5. Convert to Case Studies, Online Publishers and Vlogs: A succinct blog can be converted into a one page case study, 400 word article or even a recorded video. This repurposed content further extends your messaging, expertise and audience.
  6. Improve Insurance SEO: Blogs help improve insurance search engine optimization. Your original content is indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing, and helps prospects find your insurance agency website through organic searches.
  7. Insurance Website Stickiness: Blogs can and should be one of your most visited website areas, with the longest visit duration on your website. Website visitors impressed with a blog, will be impressed with your expertise.

Some insurance agencies and wholesale brokerages lack the time or resources to create a consistent and professional blog. In these cases they can outsource this important marketing initiative to a proficient insurance agency marketing firm. For more information on territory exclusive Insurance Agency Marketing Solutions visit: http://www.startupselling.com.

Originally published March 9th, 2015 by John Scranton.

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Insurance Agency SalesAs an insurance agency owner, what are your marketing and lead gen concerns? Are they impacting your growth and profitability? Are you concerned with any of the following challenges?

  • I need a high quality prospect email list
  • My website looks out of date and isn’t mobile compliant
  • We’re not leveraging social media to its full potential
  • I need a consistent email drip campaign to stay in front of prospects
  • I need more/better leads for my Producers
  • My agency and services have evolved – I need new closing tools for my Producers

If you are concerned with any of these issues, email us at info@startupselling.com or call us at (518) 222-6392 to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation marketing and lead generation review. In only 15 – 30 minutes, our marketing experts can show you what other successful agencies are doing to grow the top line.

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Should Insurance Agencies be Blogging?

  • Posted on May 22, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency BloggingIt’s the 21st century and it is now time for insurance agencies and broker to begin blogging.

Agencies establish and build relationships on trust. Clients feel the need to trust that their agency is doing all they can, to protect them or their business. Blogging is a great solution for this. It helps build faith in the brand and image of the agency or brokerage. And more importantly, blogging accomplishes the following:

  • Brings the website to life – Most websites are like digital brochures. A blog brings life to the agency website with a dynamic appearance. Moreover, regular blog posts give customers and readers a reason to visit the site again. Agencies and wholesale brokers should also share blog content on social media sites and drive the traffic to the website.
  • More and more pages to grab attention – Each and every blog is another chance to grab the attention of a reader. Optimizing for search engines increases the likelihood your posts will appear in search results and drive new traffic to the website. Using targeted keywords and phrases improves search rankings.
  • Leader in the industry – By blogging, agencies can position themselves as a leader in the industry. A blog puts proficiency and expertise on display. Prospects and clients will instantly start building trust when they see value.

All the above caters to one specific need – engaging the targeted audience. After all the insurance industry is a “people’s business.”

To learn more about how StartUpSelling can aid your company’s content marketing needs click here.

Originally posted by John Scranton on February 20th, 2015.

 

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Insurance Video MarketingInsurance agencies and brokers need to realize exactly what video marketing is. Most marketing videos are short 1-5 minute videos focused on specific topics. Video is vital. Statistics show visitors are many times more likely to watch a video than they are to read content. So why is video marketing such a big opportunity?

  • It is efficient
  • It is consistent
  • It is cost-effective
  • It is simple
  • It improves SEO
  • Its engaging

Here are a few ways insurance agencies and wholesale brokers can incorporate video:

Testimonials – This is one of the most important reasons to use video marketing. The impact of a customer’s testimonial can accomplish more than the best salesman. It doesn’t have to be a highly sophisticated recording; simple words to enhance the value of your service can do so much.

FAQ Session – Leverage video as a medium to solve customer inquiries and challenges. A short video clarifies more ambiguity than an actual document. An added bonus is that this will boost website traffic.

Comical Skit about Insurance – Be fun and unpredictable. Give your clients and prospects something to smile and laugh about. Have a freaky Friday session at work and share it. This will liven up the relationship with clients.

Risk Reports – Create a video about the fire damage, prevention and safety precautions. Showcase the role your claims team will play during an incident.

Remember, video marketing is an agency or broker’s chance to be creative, realistic and welcoming; a chance like no other.

To know more about video marketing visit StartUpSelling.

Oringinally Posted on February 13, 2015 by John Scranton

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Insurance Email Marketing

  • Posted on May 15, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Email MarketingSometimes it helps to simplify complex marketing initiatives such as insurance email marketing. For many agents, brokers and wholesalers, creating a successful email marketing initiative can seem like a daunting task. If we drill down to the essential components, a simple way of looking at these campaigns is shown below:

Who: Email List Generation
What: Topic & Content
When: Date, Time & Frequency
Where: Call to Action
Why: Lead Conversion

The key to successful insurance email marketing lies in the ability to engage prospects and clients with relevant information on a consistent and professional basis. The goal is to build a trustworthy online relationship with both prospects and clients. Agents, brokers and wholesalers can leverage email marketing to extend their brand, to provide credibility and to demonstrate thought leadership. [Read More…]

Originally Posted on February 10, 2015 by John Scranton

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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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