How would you market an insurance agent?

by Honest Tune 12 replies
Specifically, a State Farm agent.
My friend called me up and asked how I could go about helping him gain a larger presence.
These guys pretty much all have the same website, and are under contract to use it. (That means SEO is more or less out, since it's State Farm corporate's CMS.)

He doesn't have a significant budget either.

Here is what I was thinking given his budget:
Local directories
Display & Retargeting
LinkedIn
LinkedIn Groups

What am I missing?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #agent #insurance #market
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Is he prohibited from having another site? A personal "JohnDoe.com" site?

    If no, I would be thinking "personal branding". Instead of trying to market him as John Doe, State Farm Agent, position him as John Doe, the insurance guy.

    Here's where a blend of local SEO and content syndication can help with that positioning. You would work on getting helpful articles on specific subjects placed on other related sites, seeking to make him the local go-to guy on a specific type of insurance.

    For example, what if you could help him place an article on choosing and obtaining renter's insurance on the websites of local apartment communities, linking back to his personal site (which links to his corporate site). Perhaps building tradesmen might be interested in an article on insuring construction projects for people acting as their own contractors. And the local association might want a video showing what those tradesmen could do to lower their premiums.

    As his budget grows, he could even place advertorials in local publications. Most communities have one or more publishers of slick paper 'lifestyle' magazines, which are basically advertorials plus ads for local businesses.

    Too late to make a long story short, you want John Doe's name and mug shot appearing everywhere, with links back to his site, which offers more content that supports his positioning as 'THE insurance guy' and an invitation to discuss specific needs. All those local links from relevant sites has to help him with local search rankings, I would imagine.
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    • Profile picture of the author Honest Tune
      John, your answer is great. Unfortunately, he is prevented from setting up any sort of spinoff website. That's why this is such a tough nut to crack, but if I could, would undoubtedly lead to other work for other SF agents elsewhere in his network.
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    • Profile picture of the author jgant
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      Is he prohibited from having another site? A personal "JohnDoe.com" site?

      If no, I would be thinking "personal branding". Instead of trying to market him as John Doe, State Farm Agent, position him as John Doe, the insurance guy.

      Here's where a blend of local SEO and content syndication can help with that positioning. You would work on getting helpful articles on specific subjects placed on other related sites, seeking to make him the local go-to guy on a specific type of insurance.

      For example, what if you could help him place an article on choosing and obtaining renter's insurance on the websites of local apartment communities, linking back to his personal site (which links to his corporate site). Perhaps building tradesmen might be interested in an article on insuring construction projects for people acting as their own contractors. And the local association might want a video showing what those tradesmen could do to lower their premiums.

      As his budget grows, he could even place advertorials in local publications. Most communities have one or more publishers of slick paper 'lifestyle' magazines, which are basically advertorials plus ads for local businesses.

      Too late to make a long story short, you want John Doe's name and mug shot appearing everywhere, with links back to his site, which offers more content that supports his positioning as 'THE insurance guy' and an invitation to discuss specific needs. All those local links from relevant sites has to help him with local search rankings, I would imagine.
      Do what John suggests. Consider earning commissions from every referral you send if possible in the insurance industry (they pay affiliate commissions so I can't see it's an issue unless State Farm has issue with it).

      This is exactly what I do in another industry at the local level, except I retain ownership of the sites ... which you might consider as well if you're building it, in which case you might want to brand it more generically if possible (or do both).

      You can create microsites targeting one location and one type of insurance plus create an local insurance authority site promoting the agent. This level of promotion is only worth it if you can negotiate high commissions for each referral (or lead).
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      • Profile picture of the author debml
        Originally Posted by jgant View Post

        Consider earning commissions from every referral you send if possible in the insurance industry (they pay affiliate commissions so I can't see it's an issue unless State Farm has issue with it).
        Without having an insurance license, I'm not aware of any state that will allow commission from the sale of policies to be paid.
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        • Profile picture of the author Benny L
          What about mailing lists? Say a quarterly "Things to consider" with updates, changes in laws, etc.

          Obviously, I would NOT want a weekly newsletter from my insurance guy, but maybe something that is set to come in a month before someone's policy is due for renewal might lead to some insurance "up sells" to better policies and whatnot.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve L
    Originally Posted by Honest Tune View Post

    Specifically, a State Farm agent.
    My friend called me up and asked how I could go about helping him gain a larger presence.
    These guys pretty much all have the same website, and are under contract to use it. (That means SEO is more or less out, since it's State Farm corporate's CMS.)

    He doesn't have a significant budget either.

    Here is what I was thinking given his budget:
    Local directories
    Display & Retargeting
    LinkedIn
    LinkedIn Groups

    What am I missing?
    Perhaps you should try a mobile Adwords campaign since the traffic is more likely to make a phone call or just walk in (they're mobile after all). Adwords also has "pay-per-call" campaigns.

    Edit: Sorry, I just saw that he had a limited ad budget. In this case, I'd try an online classified ad campaign (craigslist/backpage/mayslist/etc)
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  • Profile picture of the author djax3000
    Try a series of youtube videos with local keywords. These should rank fairly easy in the serps. Plus it costs little to no money to build a few backlinks to these videos. Just my 2 cents
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  • Profile picture of the author Vlad R
    do some research..figure out where his clients hangout at. And advertise to them
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    • Profile picture of the author Doc Savage
      If you are looking for low-cost/free options. I would steer him to Craigslist/backpage first. He could make some posts in small business. Contact moving companies that post there and see if he could get his flyer with their customers. He could do the same thing with apartment rental companies for rental insurances. It just goes on and on

      First he has to identify the target audience and THEN craft the RIGHT message
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  • Profile picture of the author cnwoods303
    You could set a up a website (not directly associated with him) that collects insurance leads and the leads could be sent to him. You could set up a blog about finding the right insurance and the blog could link to his website. To separate him from the websites you would have ownership of the sites and he would pay you a monthly fee or per lead (could sell the leads to other agencies as well). Advise him to join a network group BNI, Chamber, toast, mason, ect. Find out what niche and demographics he is strongest in and have him to get involved with that group. Have speaking engagements at local events, schools, ect. A good direct mail piece is still effective but you must research and have a good understanding of your target market and test different mailers ( mailers require consistency over time to be effective, one and done will not be that effective as far as ROI). Unfortunately Insurance is highly regulated so each state is different as to what you can do to get clients but find out what the regulations are for your state and use them to your advantage. Most of all he needs to be active in his community and be recognized as the go to guy for insurance. A customer newsletter would also be good to help with retention. If he is not knowledgeable about insurance products and not truly providing a good service (above and beyond) none of this will really matter in the long run.

    If he has a very limited budget maybe he should re-evaluate his business structure because for good growth and retention ( which is very important for an agency) his marketing budget should be approximately 9% of his gross profit.

    There is alot of other things he could be doing to grow his business but it would turn into a book if i listed them all.

    Tell him not to waste his money on yellow pages or billboards the ROI is just not good for agents, atleast that is my opinion.

    Get him listed in Google+ local (this would be very helpful), create a facebook page that is active dont just talk about insurance talk about personal interest, current events, local topics ect to get people involved. A facebook page may not get a lot of new clients but it will get a few and mainly it could help with retention. Utilize linkedIn especially if he is competitive in the commercial market. Create viral videos. Get involved with local charities but only if he is truly motivated about the charity, doing it just for marketing comes across very fake in my book and would hurt creditbility. Promotional products can help with branding and marketing. Do something to separate him from the other agents.


    Hope this helps
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  • Profile picture of the author kevinfischman
    Im thinking social media marketing would be the best for that. You could get new clients through facebook and twitter.
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  • Profile picture of the author IMStrategus
    What about payperclick?
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    I lie on marketing forums. Social media is for fun, pics & hook ups.

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