5 Reasons Why You Should Resolve to Market Your Agency Online in 2016

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5 Reasons Why You Should Resolve to Market Your Agency Online in 2016
By: Michael Miller, Smart Choice® State Director

Many independent insurance agents are apprehensive about online marketing. It seems like a lot of work to set up a website and make updates to social media accounts. But in 2016, the simple fact is that independent agents need to market online to stay relevant and competitive. Here are 5 reasons why you should market your agency online in 2016.

  1. It’s where your clients and prospects are.

It’s just a fact. Your clients are shopping online, reading reviews online, and participating in online communities. Online marketing allows you to connect with your clients where they’re already at.

  1. The big guys are already doing it.

You’re no stranger to competing with big carriers. But nowhere are the large direct-to-consumer insurance companies out-marketing independent agents than online. Invest in a comprehensive website and commit to a strong social media presence to compete with the big names.

  1. It helps you compete on value, not just price.

The big direct-to-consumer carriers have made insurance a commodity and convinced customers to shop on price. But you know that insurance isn’t just about the premium, it’s about the quality of coverage. Use your website and social media accounts to educate your clients and prospects about why shopping on value is a better deal than shopping on price.

  1. Online marketing separates you from the rest of the pack.

Investing in online marketing is a leap many independent agents are unwilling to take. But if you do, it will set you apart from the competition of your fellow independent agents.

  1. The Internet can be a referral gold mine.

Most consumers have asked for a referral from their connections on social media. Many have also written reviews of products and services online. If you’re not connecting with your clients consistently online, you’re leaving these referrals on the table. Make it simple for your clients to refer you by being easy to contact and connect with online.

Online marketing is an essential part of selling insurance, but you don’t have to go it alone. Smart Choice® offers agents free web page design and access to an entire social media network to drive prospects to your agency.

Click here to visit the Smart Choice® LinkedIn Page

Click here to visit the Smart Choice® Facebook Page

Source:
RyanHanley.com

5 Ways for New Insurance Agents to Gain Customers

5 Ways for New Insurance Agents to Gain Customers

 

It can be difficult for an agent just starting out with his or her own office to know where to start finding customers – and it’ll take a lot of hard work to get to a point where you have a steady flow of customers coming in the door. Here are some tips for getting off to a great start and creating lasting practices to help you achieve success.

1) Look Professional

If your office looks shabby and so do you, you’ll lose trust of potential customers almost immediately. Dress the part of a professional by wearing a suit. Keep a clean and tidy office. Post pamphlets, education tools, posters and window labels from your carrier partners. Have a designated waiting area that’s bright, comfortable, and separate from where you speak with clients. If you want people to buy from you, you want them to feel at ease and comfortable in your presence.

2) Partner with as many carriers as possible

This can be difficult when you’re first starting out, because you are likely a smaller agency and may not yet have a relationship with your local carrier representatives. To gain recognition and trust with carriers, you can partner with an “agency cluster group” which will help you gain appointments. Don’t be afraid to reach out and network with your local reps either. Set a meeting and buy them lunch. Interact with them on LinkedIn and other social media networking sites.

3) Use your customers for referrals

Starting a book of business from scratch will require you to build on your successes, and that includes not being afraid to ask for referrals from the customers you win. When you write insurance for someone for the first time, send them a “care package” welcoming them to the agency. Provide a folder with information on their carrier, information on how to file a claim should they need to (a great idea is to have a wallet sized or glove-box sized card for them to keep with step-by-step instructions on who to call first when claims arise), a small giveaway like a key chain or pen with your agency’s information on it, and 4 or 5 business cards for them to “refer a friend.”

4) Sell multiple products

Don’t limit yourself here. You should offer personal, commercial and life insurance products if you can. This will broaden your potential customer base exponentially. Not sure how to sell commercial and life? Smart Choice has programs that will enable you to submit your customers’ information and have the business written FOR you, and you’ll still reap the commissions. Click here to find out more about these programs (Commercial and Life).

5) Partner with a local real estate agent or office

Real estate agents are fantastic networkers. They also spend a lot of face time with their clients, and usually keep lists of recommended resource providers for all kinds of things for new homeowners. If you can become the preferred agent of a real estate professional, you’ll get steady stream of new customers coming in the door each month.

5 Ways to Grow Your Insurance Agency in 2016

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5 Ways to Grow Your Insurance Agency in 2016
By: Michael Miller, Smart Choice® State Director

‘Tis the season for resolutions, and many insurance agents are setting goals for how much they’d like to grow their agencies in 2016. Nationally, independent agents generate an average of $5 to 6 million in annual premiums, but earn less than $1 million in commission.

What’s your goal for growth in 2016? Here are five steps you can take to grow your independent insurance agency next year.

  1. Hire the Right Staff

Not only the right number of staff members, but the right people for the job. The duties of a CSR are very different than those of a producer—make sure you hire people with the appropriate strengths and skillsets.

If you’re a one-person agency and hoping to hire your first staff member in 2016, consider hiring someone whose skills complement yours. If you’re excellent at underwriting but struggle with sales, hire someone with excellent sales skills.

  1. Start Selling Commercial

Selling commercial lines takes more investment on your part—both financially and in time—but there’s a greater pay-off in the long run. Research your commercial carrier options and create a plan for how you would recruit and maintain commercial lines clients. Commercial insurance clients are often more hands-on than personal lines clients. If you’re able to meet their needs, selling commercial could be a big money-maker for you.

  1. Upgrade Your Agency Technology

There are many back-office tools that make running your agency more efficient and profitable. If you haven’t updated or upgraded your technology recently, consider doing so. Same goes for any marketing tech you haven’t adopted, such as a mobile-responsive website or email marketing tool.

  1. Take the Leap into Social Media

It’s just a fact: Your clients and prospects are online. Personal lines clients hang out on Facebook and Twitter and commercial clients are on LinkedIn. Commit to creating social media accounts for you and your agency and to being active on those accounts at least a few times a week. Social media marketing takes a little time, but it’s a powerful way to stay top-of-mind with your clients and prospects.

  1. Join a Cluster Group

Adding more carriers is difficult, especially when you’re adding a new line. Joining an insurance cluster group allows you to work with carriers and lines that you could never access otherwise. However, many cluster groups make you roll your current book to them when you sign up. They want to take control of your new policies as well as the ones you have already worked hard to build, so do your research.

Sources:
Property Casualty 360
Insurance Journal