How can I attract and maintain policyholders?
Thats a question successful insurance agents ask themselves on a regular basis.Better coverage, competitive rates, top-notch customer service many factorsdifferentiate one agency from the next. However, theres one thing most everyone inthe industry will agree on: its all about building solid relationships and providingvalue to policyholders. This makes it especially important for agents to invest inmarketing channels that help them do just that.
Insurance agents have tried everything from traditional advertising to digitalmethods such as email and social media marketing, all in an effort to grow theirbusiness. But whats most effective?
To answer that question, we went straight to the source. We asked more than 240insurance agents how they find new policyholders and heres what they said.
- Key Takeaways- Top Areas of Focus for Agents- Biggest Challenges for Agents- Most Successful Marketing Tactics for Agents- Agents Monthly Spend by Marketing Channel- Where Agents Would Spend Extra Dollars- Why Being Remembered Counts- The Best Kind of New Business- Favorite Online Marketing Channels- Recommendations- Key Stats by Topic- Wrap-up- Bylines & Methodology
Insurance agents consider referrals to be their most valuable source of newbusiness. However, most agents do not actively invest in referral marketingto spread word-of-mouth about their services.
Other effective sources of new business, after referrals, are professionalassociations/networking, and social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).These channels, when used right, help insurance agents be rememberedby their network and generate referrals from happy policyholders. Theissue? An effective online marketing strategy requires a lot of time andexpertise. In fact, the majority of survey respondents cited their biggestchallenge to be that they do not consider themselves to be marketingexperts, and are unsure where to focus their marketing efforts.
Finally, our survey uncovered some interesting findings regarding leads.Insurance agents ranked getting new leads as one of their highestpriorities, but in reviewing the areas where agents spend their marketingdollars, they reported purchased leads to be the most expensive, but alsotheir least likely source of new business.
Top Areas ofFocus for Agents
When surveyed, insurance agents say they are most
focused on generating one of three things: referrals
from current policyholders, new leads, and repeat
business. All three of these business drivers work to
fuel one another. When policyholders have their
insurance agents name top of mind, they are more
likely to give that agent repeat business and referrals.
I want to generaterepeat business.
I want new leads.
I want to stay in frontof my network.
Of the following options, what are you most focused on as a small business owner?Select your top two priorities.
I want referrals fromcurrent customers.
I want to grow/maintainname recognition.
Biggest Challengesfor Agents
20.4%I know I need to stay in frontof my network, but I don'thave enough time.
10.0%I'm not tech savvy, so I needsomeone to handle thedigital side of things for me.
24.2%I'm not a marketing expert,so I'm not sure where tofocus my efforts.
17.1%I have a hard timemeasuring if it's working.
3.3%I'm not interested indealing with marketing,but I know I need to do it.
25.0%None of the above
Which of the following bestdescribes the challenges you face inmarketing your business?
Real Estate Marketing Benchmarks Report
When asked about their biggest challenges, most insurance
agents cited not having the expertise or time to handle their
own online marketing. A number of agents also said that its difficult to determine which marketing channels are driving a return on investment.
Expertise: 24.08% of agents say that they are not a marketing expert, and are not sure where to focus their efforts.
Time: 21.22% of agents say they know they need to stay in front of their network, but they dont have enough time.
Proof: 16.73% of agents say they have a hard time measuring which of their marketing efforts are most effective.
Managing marketing effectively for insurance agents is a full-time job in and of itself. In fact, a study from Small Business Trends shows that the average business owner spends 20 hours each week on marketing. Its easy to understand why so much time is being spent on marketing when 75 percent of businesses say that online marketing brings customers in the door.
But with so much weight being placed on the value of online marketing, why are 34 percent of business owners allocating less than 10 percent of their marketing budget to online channels?
Maybe it has to do with the premium prices most third-party marketing firms charge agents for solutions that dont quite meet their needs. Its just not in the budget, and it doesnt do the trick. But it doesnt have to be that way. We understand that every dollar and minute matters for insurance. Thats why we offer an affordable, done-for-you online marketing solution thats customized to meet the needs of insurance agents. Why do it yourself when you could have an expert do it for you?
Most Successful MarketingTactics for Agents
Referrals from current policyholders win by a landslide,followed by professional associations/networking.Insurance agents know that the best avenue forsecuring new business lies within the network ofpeople they know. And thats backed up by a Nielsenstudy reporting that 92 percent of people trustrecommendations from friends and family, more thanall other forms of marketing.
Beyond a verbal ask, agents can build referral leads bysimply giving clients a place to leave their referrals. Werecommend making a conscious effort to initiatereferral request conversations in a way thats not peskyor desperate. If an agent delivers value to clients, theymay be surprised at what those clients are willing toreciprocate. Happy clients are eager to tell others aboutexcellent service, and its perfectly acceptable to askthem to.
Which of your current marketing efforts are most successful? Select all that apply.
Professional Assoc. & Networking
Website Creation & Maintenance
Search Engine Marketing
Traditional Media Ads
Purchased leads are the most expensive marketing tactic for insurance agents. And while they will grow your list size immediately, they are risky because the steep cost comes with no guarantee of new policyholders. In those instances, what seems like a quick fix actually costs agents marketing dollars.
Another thing making purchased leads risky is that they can harm an agents reputation. Most people mark emails from unknown senders as spam. Since the leads on a purchased list have never seen the agents name, they are more likely to send those emails to their spam folder. If this happens too many times, the email account sending to a purchased list will be flagged and
shut down. Why should agents take the gamblepurchasing leads when their customer relationshipmanagement (CRM) system is already full of valuablecustomer data that will help them attain morepolicyholders?
While the idea of instant expansion makes purchasedleads sound like a tempting option, agents will do muchbetter if they focus their marketing strategy aroundstaying in touch with their current network. When its allsaid and done, relationships are what really matter, andagents cant build trust and loyalty when they dontknow the people on their email or dial list.
Agent's Monthly Spendby Marketing Channel
Average Monthly Marketing Spend, by Category
- $100-249- $0 - $1-99 - $500+- $250-49907
Website Creation& Maintenance
Average Monthly Marketing Spend, by Category
- $100-249- $0 - $1-99 - $500+- $250-499
Where Agents WouldSpend Extra DollarsReferral marketing would be the top priority if agentshad extra budget to spend on marketing; a closesecond is social media marketing. Other areasinsurance agents are interested in investing are searchengine marketing, purchasing leads, email marketing,and digital ads.
We know theres a lot of different information out thereregarding how to best market an insurance business
and it can get overwhelming. The ideas and stats in thisreport are intended to give a better understanding ofwhats working for other agents and inspire ideas aboutnew ways to generate business. Agents can try theseideas, monitor their results, and if they ever need a littlehelp, well always be here to assist.
If you had extra budget for marketing, which additional areas would you invest in?Top 10 categories listed below:
19.4%Website Creation& Maintenance
Why BeingRemembered Counts
Driving referrals is the top reason agentswant to stay in front of their network. Andwe agree its important to beremembered. Equally important, is makingsure an agent is remembered in a positivelight. A thoughtful online marketingstrategy is a great way to build andmaintain relationships with policyholders.The more value agents show policyholdersin their interactions, whether online or inperson, the more likely they are to getreferral business from their policyholders.
As an example, lets say an agent sold ahomeowners insurance policy to Chuckfive years ago when he purchased his firsthome. Over the next two years, Chuckdidnt need to call on his agent, but he didappreciate the email newsletters his agentsent once a month filled with useful tipson topics ranging from renovation to homesecurity. Because of this correspondence,when Chucks sister asks him for ahomeowners insurance recommendation,he knows just who to suggest and has notrouble remembering his agents name.
What is the most important reason to stay infront of your network?
- Drive referrals fromcurrent/previous customers- Make sure people remember me- Cultivate repeat business- Generate new leads
The Best Kinds ofNew Business
Referrals from current policyholders is the favorite kind ofnew business for insurance agents. In fact, most everyagent we talk to tells us that the majority of their newpolicyholders come from referrals. Thus, keeping in touchwith policyholders helps agents stay top of mind forreferral business.
Referrals from current and previous customers
New opportunities outside of my network
Which type of new business are you most looking for?
Favorite OnlineMarketing Channels
EmailEmail is a direct line of communicationto existing policyholders andprospects. Many agents partake inemail marketing in one form oranother, but are they doing it right?Maybe they only send emails based ontemplates from their parent companyor perhaps they have an automatedprogram reaching out to their networkon special occasions, like the holidaysor for their birthday. Whatever the casemay be, theres always room forimprovement.
Not everyone is in the market toupdate their policy, but when they are,whoever is top-of-mind is most likely toget a phone call. Thats why email is sopowerful. Agents can stay in front oftheir audience by writing newsletterspeople actually want to open. Thatmeans sending content about thingsrelated to insurance but not intendedto sell anything. For insurance agents,examples of this include tips abouthome safety or what should go into anemergency kit for your car.
FacebookFacebook ads are an inexpensive andeffective way to grow an audience, getposts seen more often and increaseengagement with posted content.Facebook designed its ad tools to beeasily understood by users of allexperience backgrounds. But mostimportant of all, the ad platform isdesigned to help agents achieve aspecific end goal, such as showcasingproperties or increasing web traffic.
Facebook is still free for agents to use.And while social should be a primarycomponent of an insurance marketingplan, the news feed is getting crowded.That means less organic visibility forposts. Facebook wants agents tosucceed, which is why theyve built sucha robust ad platform to help them do justthat.
LinkedInInsurance agents understand thevalue of using LinkedIn as anetworking tool. But many agents dontknow that LinkedIn is also a greatchannel to showcase their industryexpertise. The LinkedIn long-formposting feature lets users write andpublish original content to be featuredacross the site through its curatednews feed, Pulse.
Agents can write and share their owncontent on LinkedIns Pulse, gaining aninstant leg up on the competition. Ittakes a long time to build an audienceof followers, but with Pulse, an agentsvoice is added to a network ofindividuals who are already tuned in.This strategy gets agents noticed as anexpert in their field and boosts theircredibility.
Insurance agents say email is their most effective marketing channel, followed by Facebook and LinkedIn.
Across the board, agents attribute a ton of value to referrals from
policyholders, email and social media marketing. All of these
channels are extremely effective in keeping an agents name top
of mind when its time for someone to update their policy.
Theres a big assumption that word of mouth spreads organically,
and theres some truth to that. However, when agents invest in
marketing channels that help them be remembered, they fuel
those recommendations that bring them new business. With all
of this in mind, it is clear that insurance agents should invest
more in the channels that have a proven ROI, such as referral,
email and social media marketing.
The big takeaway here? Insurance agents work hard to keep their
clients happy. If those clients cant remember their name, they
miss out on valuable referrals and repeat business.
Key Stats by Topic
Insurance agents want referrals.- 87.3% of insurance agents said that referrals from current and previous clients are one of theirmost successful marketing tactics.
- 42.9% of insurance agents would invest in referrals if they had extra budget for marketing.
- 50.7% of insurance agents do not spend any money on referrals (per month).
Insurance agents want leads.- 30.4% of insurance agents said that lead generation is the most important reason to stay infront of their network.
- Only 20.5% of insurance agents said they have had success purchasing leads, but purchasedleads are the #1 item agents spend $500+ on.
An agents best opportunities are in their network. Most insuranceagents spend time and money on purchased leads and advertising,but its hard to make an impression on people you dont know andwho dont know you.
Your next sale is most likely to come from your happy policyholders,or friends of your happy policyholders. Agents should prioritize thechannels where they spend energy based on where they are seeinga return on investment. Its important to focus on buildingrelationships with policyholders to generate valuable referrals andembrace marketing automation tools that help offset the amount ofwork that agents have to do.
Curious about insurance marketing automation? We help agentsleverage existing relationships to generate new business.
Bylines &MethodologyAuthorErin Myers
Report DesignClaire Queally
Survey Creation & Analysis
George Angulo, Erin Myers, Claire Queally, Misha Rangel & Sarah Philips
Report MethodologyThis report is based on a survey completed by more than 240 insuranceprofessionals in February 2017. Responses were collected via email,offering recipients the chance to win a $500 Amazon gift card in alottery following completion of the survey.
email: [email protected]