Gary Vaynerchuk is an online marketing phenom and leader who coined the term “digital mayor of your town.” From a political perspective, these figures are first and foremost required to know a lot about the community they’re campaigning to oversee. It’s not enough to have a bird’s eye view of what it looks like on the surface, it also involves putting feet to the pavement for ground level engagement. A good mayor is aware of local news that affects their constituents’ lives so that they can provide leadership and confidence in those times of uncertainty.
An easy way to begin to establish yourself in this space is to go out of your way to get to know: local politicians, business owners, chefs, or the principal at your kids school. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, sure you might have an out of your pocket expense to join, but in reality, this is an investment, if nothing else the connections you make will more than help you recover these costs. By offering value outside of your specific industry, such as a review of the steakhouse near your office, the auto repair shop down the street, or your local CPA’s, people will start to look to you as somebody who is aware of the local trends. Beyond the value offered to potential customers, these connections could lead to more referrals as you help build awareness for the brands of the local business folks you meet. Your name will be top of mind when their friend or family member is looking for insurance. Promoting the quality of education at your kids school is another example of how this process will confirm in peoples’ minds that you are involved and care about the community you serve.
Your long-term goal should be to broaden the target area outside of the local area your business operates in currently. But before you can become the natural choice when people are searching for an insurance agent, a strategic goal should be to craft an image of yourself as the “digital mayor” of your zip code.
Step one is to develop a deep knowledge of your community so it can later be used to successfully market your services. Performing research is the natural way to go about this, and our aim throughout this article is to provide you with high-value, low-cost primary research you can conduct. This will better equip you to become an industry leader who actually has to turn new clients away because business is so booming!
Build your Professional Brand
Get creative with ways to make your agency first in the minds of those seeking assistance with their insurance needs. Your business goal is to turn mere spectators into clients. To earn the trust of those you are working hard to attract, make formal introductions before you dive into what you do best, selling. Think of it as a blind date. Do you just jump right in and inform the other person why you’re marriage material, or do you instead tell them a little about yourself to establish a good starting point? Well if you go about it the right way, of course you need to avoid jumping headlong into the sale, or in this analogy pulling out the engagement ring.
If you have a family-owned agency include photos and some background information in your marketing materials before you even mention why you’re the best choice for their insurance needs. Then consistently apply these images across your other marketing channels like social media, emails, flyers, and postcards. If your agency isn’t family-owned, maybe your company has an established mascot. Similar to the previous example, liberally apply his or her image on everything you send out.
Similar to one’s home, websites benefit from the periodic application of a fresh “coat of paint” when it comes to content, both written and visual. Unless your target is other businesses in more of a B2B arena, you should be appealing to the individual person who lands upon your site during their search. They aren’t interested in reading solely about this coverage, and that coverage. Listing a bunch of monotonous industry sounding terms doesn’t make you stand out in a pack of other agents. As one of your most important touch points, your insurance website should have a human element woven throughout it’s pages. Include real faces of your customers and employees. And of course you’ll want to include professional photos of yourself and your staff, but maybe have this in your “Meet our Team” page and a couple of other places. But a great way to exhibit transparency is to intersperse images that cement your commitment to social accountability with the community you serve.
Strategies for Brand Awareness
The Internet has made it easier than ever for businesses to find, connect with, market to, and sell products or services to customers without ever having to leave the comfort of the office. Some of your competition may use this as an excuse to hide in the dark recesses and collect dust, which can lead to a highly impersonal feeling for their clients and weaken customer loyalty. The good news is that it creates a golden opportunity for your agency to take advantage of an area they are neglecting. You and your team are the faces of the company. Make a conscious effort to put them out there so the community at large is aware of how they can benefit from your services. Doing so will pave the way for a widening of your lead over others within your industry.
Event Sponsorship Ideas
Conduct research to discover what annual local events most excite your region. Sponsor the event and make sure you set up a booth staffed by a few of your most engaging employees. Besides great publicity, it allows you to invest in your town or city in a real and meaningful way. Come up with games, contests, raffles, and other activities that will allow you to connect with those who happen to stop by. Have some marketing materials on hand, but this is primarily your opportunity for them to be introduced to your brand in a comfortable and lively setting. It’s a chance to make a great first impression, or to further strengthen established relationships with current clients. Remember that all ages will be represented at these events, so get creative with giveaway items. If you can bring a smile to the faces of their children, odds are you’ll also bring a smile and generate interest from their parents. Avoid heavy use of your sales pitch, as it could potentially weaken any positive ground you’ll gain in this environment.
A Non Profit Organization
Social responsibility plays a much bigger part in today’s business landscape than even say a decade ago. You are most likely already involved with charitable organizations that are dear to your own heart, but employee satisfaction should be your focus here. What causes are important to your staff? To better answer that question, send out a company wide email or set aside time in your next staff meeting for brainstorming these ideas. Fundraisers, car washes, clothing and food drives, these are only a few of the countless ways you can get involved. Although it doesn’t always have to be the case, it’d be wise to select at least a handful of local charities to reinforce a commitment to your area of operation.
Once you’ve selected a charity, donate, volunteer, and encourage your employees to join you. Create branded t-shirts and bring somebody along who can take photos and/or video for use on your website, social media channels, and even to blow up for display on a wall at your home office. For your current clients, encourage them to bring in the donation items for drop off at your office the next time they have an appointment. It’s a great way for them to get involved and become a part of your agency’s generosity. If you have a newsletter or regularly send out email updates to clients, include an offer for them to join your team for a volunteering opportunity. This is a great chance to once again put a face on your business and build a stronger bond with your clients through mutually giving back to the community.
How to Build Connections
People are more willing to invest in your business when they have a trustworthy, friendly face to associate your brand with. You can and should highlight your unique benefits on every company web page, but people will still want to observe those benefits displayed through your actions. This is another great reason to build connections in person at community events. In a more relaxed setting, your personality has the opportunity to breathe more, and these amiable qualities can quickly endear you to the people you interact with. Making a positive first impression in this type of environment will make you more memorable. You want people to talk about your company on their drive home from the event, and putting in the effort will ensure this becomes a reality.
Word of Mouth Marketing
Reviews and testimonials can have an enormous impact on your business and bottom line. Having a strategy to earn, manage, and respond to reviews is a must. Here’s a tip: take advantage of alerts on your social media business accounts, as they are a great way to respond instantly to a glowing review or positive comment. On the flipside it also allows you to address any customer concerns before they fester into a negative review. When your followers feel that your company is engaged, they are more likely to heed your calls to action such as purchasing services from your agency.
Your number one source of free marketing is through word of mouth, and community service is the medium that will help you tap into this valuable resource. The more visual the public face of your brand is, the more likely it is for your current clients to recommend you to those whom they care about. They are less likely to promote your brand when they are dissatisfied with the overall level of service they’ve received or seen you show to their community. Reviews are powerful in our online world, and it’ll be easier to ask your clients to leave one when you’re confident they would be more than happy to do so. Once they’ve done so, make sure you include the most recent reviews on your website, social media, and any other online platforms you use for your business.
When it comes to marketing, a trial and error approach can become tedious and worst of all, expensive. Our founders Charles and Linda Musselwhite each have intimate first hand experience working in the insurance industry, so they know a thing or two about the pain points you may be going through as you establish yourself in the field. Founding Musselwhite Marketing over 10 years ago, they combined that knowledge with what has since become a wide-ranging portfolio of digital marketing expertise. The resulting net effects of this are comprehensive insurance marketing solutions to raise the bar higher than even you may have set for your company. Contact us today to schedule a discovery call and allow us to take the guessing game out of growing your business.