There are three ways to make money in the insurance industry:
A) Get new clients.
B) Get more revenue per client.
C) Keep clients longer.
They all matter. But let’s be straight. The sexy part of marketing is always: Get new clients! It’s human nature in our business.
The agency principal may say: “My job is to get the phones to ring” – thinking those calls can only come from brand-new prospects.
But how does the agency attract new prospects in sufficient numbers? The rise of social networking means agents expect large numbers of leads through those funnels. But hanging around social sites and talking about the greatness of your agency doesn’t tend to work.
Sending out email blasts, once promising, simply isn’t practical: As agents know (or should), emailing a big group of people from “a list from somewhere” is called “spam.” And it’s against the law. Setting that aside, it flat out doesn’t work. It irritates the prospects you want as customers.
But there’s a wider opportunity to make the phone ring. Agency principals often forget that the firm’s best prospects are already customers. They’re the best prospects for: another policy, for next year’s policy, and for finding other people like them.
Here are five examples of what fast-growth agencies are doing to grow by focusing on those they already serve. I’m sure most agency principals will find a surprise or two on this list:
- Use an ongoing client referral program. I hesitate to call it a “campaign” because it can and should be a systemized, continuous way to ask for referrals. Whatever you call it, it can keep your marketing funnel full. The initiative is simply a way to remind and reward clients for trusting you to send you business. A reliable marketing automation system can help transform referral generation from a passive, haphazard occurrence to an ongoing, reliable process.
- Use a “centers of influence” referral initiative. Everyone needs others to help grow a business. The referral initiative is a mechanized – but not impersonal – way to reach out to mortgage brokers, realtors, lawyers, CPAs, and other service providers. It involves carefully constructing a mailing list, and delivering a consistent stream of value-added messages to:
• Raise awareness
• Point to your experience and expertise
• Remind professionals that they have clients that you can help
- Plug the lead leaks. In most agencies, leads that don’t close quickly get tossed. It’s like they degrade in freshness faster than milk. But a stale lead isn’t useless: “Lost leads” are high-probability prospects for future business. One remedy I’ve seen: A “lost lead warming campaign.” The agency reaches out to recycle those leads back for future insurance needs by sending a “thanks for being in touch” message that reminds them the agency might serve future needs.
- Reengage lost clients. Many agents seem allergic to departing clients and let them leave without any communication. But statistically, former clients are high-probability prospects. Just because someone leaves your agency doesn’t automatically mean they are happier elsewhere. Instead, a former client can represent a possibility to reengage. One solution: A reliable “lost soul reactivation campaign” to get back in touch and give your agency the opportunity to help those people cycle back to you now or in the future.
- Ask for and get reviews. If someone searches finds your site on the Internet, they are likely to see your Google+ reviews first – alongside those of your competitors. A reviews campaign (to seek Google+ and Yelp! reviews from clients) can influence your prospects. In fact, reviews are even more important because the very words of the reviews can be a consumer’s first impression of your agency – before they ever pick up the phone or fill out a contact form on your website!
The elegance of marketing automation lies in the combination of its power and efficiency. It has the power to multiply your reach. Instead of communicating one-at-a-time, you can communicate with thousands. And the efficiency is striking: “Set it and forget it.” Once your campaign is designed and ready to go, it will do just that. 365 days a year. Automatically.
• To comment or offer your own effective methods for mining your existing book of business, please visitthis new thread.
Michael Jans is founder and CEO of AgencyRevolution.com, a marketing automation firm specializing in serving independent insurance agencies.