Marketing 101 for Independent Insurance Agents: 17 Ways to Successfully Generate More Leads

Marketing 101 for Independent Insurance Agents: 17 Ways to Successfully Generate More Leads

Finding new leads is often the No. 1 problem for independent agents. When you’re captive, you don’t have all the luxuries of being independent, but you don’t really have to worry about finding your own leads.

So, how can you do it?

Running ads online can be discouraging, especially when insurance is one of the most competitive industries out there.

Just do an online search for “cost per keyword,” and you’ll see that insurance tops the charts at $54.91 per click.

That’s expensive.

Cost for Insurance Keyword on Google Ads

Well, it turns out that we’ve written about marketing quite a bit, but we thought it’d be useful to throw all of that information into a single place.

Door Knocking

If you’re just starting out, one way to throw yourself into this business and get some major practice is to try door knocking.

As with any marketing method, there are pros and cons to this, but most experienced agents will tell you that the process is invaluable. You push yourself, you get instant feedback (welcome in or a door in the face), and you have more time in front of people, which is critical in sales.

Sure, there are restrictions, like weather, people not being home, and facing rejection, but if you need somewhere to start, this can be an excellent marketing method.

Get a Website

It’s no secret that everyone uses the internet to research things (and people) before they make any buying decisions.

In case you don’t feel like my taking my word for it (even though you’re on our website right now…), here are some stats:

  • 91% of consumers have made the next step in the buying process because of an online experience.[1]
  • Having a website, next to Facebook Ads, is the most cost effective marketing method.[2]
  • 97% of consumers research a product or service online before buying.[3]
  • 88% of consumers have been influenced by an online review.[4]
  • 67% of businesses are using their website to market to their customers.[5]

So, yes, just having a website is a big deal when it comes to marketing yourself and your business.

We interviewed 10 small business owners, and they shared their own stories of how their websites have helped them with lead gen, actual sales, and more. If you can’t figure it out on your own, copy what other people are doing, right?

If you’re convinced that you need a website (and you don’t have one already), we also wrote an article showing you your options (and how to implement them).

After we published this article, we had agents with one final concern – they’d set up their website, but no one was visiting it! So, how do you get more traffic to your site? No worries – we have 26 suggestions.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering what other agents out there are doing, we studied 50 agent websites. You can read about our findings… and hopefully come away inspired that you really can do this.

Social Media

We all know that social media isn’t going anywhere, and yes – seniors are on social media. But before we make suggestions for running ads or doing major lead generation, we recommend reading the following article:

After all, we have to be realistic. You probably don’t have a whole marketing team working for you, so focus on what you can realistically do with your time before diving in head-first. You’d be surprised at what you can accomplish with just a little bit of time and effort.

Facebook

Most modern marketers will tell you that if you don’t know where to begin, start with Facebook ads. And it’s true – Facebook is one of the best places to advertise.

Here’s why.

  1. 250 million people log into Facebook each day,
  2. Ads are inexpensive, and
  3. Ads are highly targeted.

This basically means that you can reach your ideal prospects without breaking the bank, and we know that’s pretty important.

So, before you delve into it, we recommend getting some inspiration.

When you feel like you’ve got the gist, you can follow our tutorial for actually running your first Facebook ad.

If you find that your ad isn’t really getting any traction, you can troubleshoot using our handy tipsheet.

And if you’re not really into this whole digital marketing thing, we at least recommend being Facebook friends with some of your clients.

LinkedIn

When we talk to agents, we find that LinkedIn is usually an untapped market – most people don’t think about Medicare prospects hanging out there. But we interviewed 4 LinkedIn coaches and experts, and they beg to differ.

Turns out that just optimizing your LinkedIn profile and letting it do the work for you can often bring in leads. You just have to know what to tweak.

Try Newsjacking

Even if you haven’t heard of the official term newsjacking, you probably know what it is, because you’ve seen it.

Companies take a newsworthy event and find a way to join the conversation, which benefits their business.

The main goal of newsjacking is to receive attention – to get your name out there. In marketing speak, we call this “brand recognition.”

The benefit of being recognized is that your brand is at the top of someone’s mind when they end up needing your service.

So, when someone finally reaches age 65, you want them to say, “Oh yeah, I remember that one guy – that guy who’s the Medicare expert. I’m going to search for him since I know who he is.”

Not sure how to do this? We have all the tips (and examples!) in our comprehensive newsjacking article.

Use Email

Email is a powerful way to reach clients, but many agents often run into the same problem: no response.

We searched for an answer and came across the little-known, yet very powerful technique called “the 9-word email.”

In essence, the 9-word email is some variation of the following question:

“Are you still interested in improving your [insert service here]?”

You can tweak the verb to whatever makes sense to you, but the idea is that the entire content of the email is one simple question.

And it’s designed to warrant a response – even with leads you thought were completely dead.

Get Business Cards

Before you say “Umm, duh – everyone knows you should have business cards…” I’d like to mention that not everyone has a business card that actually looks nice. No offense.

Having a business card in general can be a powerful way to help prospects remember you. People like to have something in their hand – being able to hold onto your contact information is much more useful than just telling someone to get in touch when they need your help.

Now, just having a business card is useful, but having a card that looks professional is extremely important.

If you’re not very good with design software, and you don’t know the first thing about designing a business card, here are some of our recommendations.

Cold Calling

Cold calling isn’t for everyone, but for one of our agents here at New Horizons, it’s the single largest lead generator for his business.

It’s not often we get to pick the brain of a rockstar agent like this, but he was graciously willing to give us a glimpse at his work process.

He says, “You can talk to way more people on the phone and actually qualify people over the phone. You don't have to waste time talking to people on employer group plans, Medicare Advantage plans or Medicaid. Yes, you can still help some of these people, but it's not a good use of your time.”

Because he pre-qualifies people over the phone, he’s able to do more volume in sales. His typical work week consists of 15-20 qualified appointments.

You can read more about how he’s grown his business using this technique below.

Lead Generation

Everything we’ve mentioned so far has been about generating leads in some way or another, but we do have a couple articles that deal with the topic of lead generation in general.

The first is a guest post from insurance marketer Brian Nate. In his article, we cover some big topics that will help you with:

  • The worst questions to ask a prospect (most agents ask these, by the way)

  • The question you should be asking your prospects

  • How ringless voicemail can bring in leads

  • Why you should shop your competition

  • How technology can bring you leads (even in a senior audience)

  • How to make yourself valuable to clients (so that price isn’t ever an issue)

If you’re a visual learner, there’s a video for each section. You’ll also find a short summary of the videos if you’d like the text version.

The second article has to do with making yourself stand out when you’re working on lead generation. When every agent out there can potentially offer the same thing, how will you differentiate yourself?

Well, turns out we have 10 pretty awesome suggestions, from doing an annual policy review to engaging in small talk. (That’s more important than you think.)

Know Your Audience

What works for a 20-year-old might not necessarily work for a 70-year-old.

That’s why we’ve created 2 articles that deal with marketing to our audience in particular – Baby Boomers.

The first article is from our Traffic Acquisition & Analytics Manager, Mistie Carter. She goes through 9 marketing tactics you might not have considered before, like how seniors respond to emotional vs. logical marketing and even at what point to disclose your price.

We also interviewed 10 marketers that work with seniors to find out what they’re doing that’s working well. From radio spots to direct mail, they have some pretty good suggestions that you might not have considered before.

Nail Your Pitch

Not everyone is a natural copywriter – what takes a writer 10 minutes to churn out might take you 4 hours!

No worries – we created a formula you can use that involves 6 simple steps. This will help you create an awesome sales pitch every time. We have lots of examples to make sure you walk away confident, so if you ever need to do any written marketing, this one’s a can’t-miss.

Spend Appropriately

If you’re doing any paid advertising, you need to make sure you’re not overspending for your leads, but you also want to be backing up your ads with the appropriate amount (don’t be cheap!).

But how do you know what you’re actually able to spend?

It turns out that there’s a simple formula you can use to calculate how much you can actually spend on marketing while still making money and growing your business.

Use it!

Be Quick

Finally, if you’re getting leads, you have to respond to them quickly – otherwise, you might as well hand off your lead to a competitor.

Speed to lead is the difference between closing a sale and missing out completely. If you’re under the impression that “this can wait until this afternoon,” you’re sadly mistaken.

Paul Cannon, a shareholder, trial attorney, intake manager and online marketing manager at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. handles between 500 and 700 leads a month.

Paul explains, “It’s not like the old days where someone calls, gets an answering machine, and is willing to wait for a call back. Now, they can contact anyone with a click, and they all have ratings next to their names telling them what other clients thought. If you don’t respond fast, that’s the first strike against you – and likely the last.”

You can read more about how to improve your speed to lead (and what it can do for your bottom line) in this article.

Troubleshoot If Needed

When none of your marketing efforts seem to be working, we have tips for that, too.

This usually has to do with the wrong type of marketing, timing, and selling yourself short.

Do you have any additional marketing tips? Put them in the comments below!



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