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An Insurance Agency Marketing Plan For the Web Centric Marketing Era

Insurance agencies, like any small business, need a concise and achievable marketing plan. Today, however, we should modify this statement to read; Insurance agencies require a concise, achievable web centric insurance agency marketing plan. I’d also add that this insurance agency marketing plan should target lead generation oriented activities, or at least, a large component of the plan and associated budget should focus on lead generation to ensure optimum effectiveness and return on investment for the agency producers.

What type of insurance agency marketing plan does your agency create each year? Is it a comprehensive and detailed plan that is 10 or 20 pages long or a more concise one to five pages? Is it part of an annual business plan or a five year strategic plan? Agencies approach business planning, budgeting and marketing from a wide variety of perspectives. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to drill down to a marketing specific plan, then further to a web centric agency lead generation plan.

There are many marketing related activities which fall under the insurance agency marketing plan umbrella. Some of these (listed alphabetically) include:

· Association Memberships (Chamber of Commerce, etc.)

· Blogging

· Brochures

· Client Testimonials

· Club Memberships (Golf, Tennis, Other)

· Direct Mail

· eBrochures

· eMarketing

· ePublishing

· Events (for both clients and prospects)

· Networking Organizations

· Newsletter

· On-site Seminars

· Pay Per Click (Google PPC Campaigns)

· PR and Client Testimonial Creation

· Promotional Items

· Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

· Social Media Marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn)

· Telemarketing

· Trade Shows

· Traditional Advertising (Magazines, Yellow Pages, Radio, TV)

· Web Seminars

· Website

· White Papers

That’s already a long list, and we’re just getting started. Smaller agencies can’t tackle all of the activities above, in fact, they should only focus on a few of these each year, and many would agree that they should focus on lead generation oriented activities which will help keep their pipelines full and active. Let’s review some of the better lead generation activities from the list above:

· Direct Mail

· eMarketing

· Pay Per Click (Google PPC Campaigns)

· Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

· Social Media Marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn)

· Telemarketing

· Traditional Advertising (Magazines, Yellow Pages, Radio, TV)

· Web Seminars

· Website

Granted, networking oriented activities can generate leads, though these should be pursued in the normal course of business in a manner most comfortable to the individual producer. Thus we are focusing on quantitatively oriented (easily repeatable and highly measurable) lead generation activities. This list is more manageable, but still needs to be culled to ensure proper focus on the respective lead generation activity. A decade ago, traditional advertising, telemarketing and direct mail might have been the preferred path for most agencies. Today, only one of those activities should remain on our list, and as you will see below, the remaining items are all web marketing centric.

· eMarketing/Web Seminars

· Pay Per Click (Google PPC Campaigns)

· Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Blogging, ePublising

· Social Media Marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn)

· Telemarketing (for smaller profile prospects)

· Website

Our insurance agency marketing list has now been culled to a manageable level. You may have noticed that eMarketing has been paired with web seminars. This is because many insurance agency marketing experts find a higher response rate to eMarketing initiatives when leveraging educationally oriented webinars as the primary call to action. SEO, search engine optimization for insurance agencies, results in the organic display of your agency website at the top of the search engine rankings (Google, Bing or Yahoo search engine results). You probably noticed that this is now bundled with blogging and ePublishing, since those elements are often necessary to achieve page one search engine results. Organic SEO is a gift that keeps on giving; it does not require fees every time a prospect clicks on your name. PPC, or Pay Per Click ads, appear at the top and side of the Google results, and require that your agency pays anywhere from $1 to $5 per click, depending upon the competitiveness of the search term, regardless if the prospect who clicks is qualified or not. My recommendations for a lead generation, web centric plan would typically include the following:

· eMarketing/Web Seminars

· Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Blogging, ePublising

· Social Media Marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn)

· Website

This is a manageable list for almost any agency, and a cost effective outsource if the agency lacks the internal expertise to accomplish these tasks. A professional up to date website is essential for any insurance agency. The website should be optimized for your specific keywords (benefits, workers comp, truck insurance, etc.). Your insurance agency SEO initiative may need to be regionalized or localized (workers compensation Massachusetts). Social media marketing, a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is fast and easy for most agencies. Blogging and ePublishing require more time, but are essential for most agencies. Fortunately agencies can often leverage their blog content and publish it in well known, online article directories. Lastly, a successful eMarketing and Web Seminar campaign can often yield the best results for insurance agencies. An ideal series might have 5,000 targeted emails combined with a monthly webinar. Be wary of email list brokers advertising inexpensive email lists. We’ve seen agency lists where the first and last names are merged into one field and many of the emails are [email protected] or [email protected] type emails, a definite problem when it comes to professional eMarketing. EMarketing is both an art and a science, agencies must ensure it is done properly, professionally and obey the CAN-SPAM act.

Web centric insurance agency marketing is now a critical foundation for any agency wishing to grow, your agency should be well on the way to implementing these initiatives. That said, don’t attempt to do too many activities at one time, you’re better off doing a few marketing activities really well than accomplishing a dozen in a haphazard manner.

Secret Marketing Plan

Many people have asked me what was the secret to our market domination? Hello, my name is Lance Winslow and I am the founder of The Car Wash Guys. Before now I have not disclosed my secrets of grass roots market; a strategic plan we used city after city to market our franchised outlets in 23 states. I named the plan Bonzai and Blitz Marketing. Yes, Bonzai is spelled incorrectly. Bonsai is the correct spelling for the plant and to this day I do not know the actual spelling for the Japanese Battle Call, but I do know how to say it and what it means to our team. I have never been a champion speller and I liked the pizzazz in the Bonzai spelling with the “Z” much better. Below is a strategic outline we used in setting up our target markets and then grid’ing the area out and then attacking that market to win customers to what we believe is the best service in the world.

I would advise anyone who is serious about winning market share and dominating their market area to review this outline. First; print out this article and modify the outline to fit your business, our business is a mobile car wash and different than yours. Then once you have the outline most resembling your exact business model then put a paragraph or two to each item. Calculate how you will achieve each of the lettered and numbered items, quickly and efficiently as you position your team to win. Then take this a rough draft of your new grass roots marketing plan. Next; type it up double spaced and tightening it up then put it in a safe where no one can find it. War planners throughout history and political planners do this to win. If you really want to win in your business whether you are in small business or run a multi-state operations with hundreds of outlets you will still need to get down and dirty and take the fight to the enemy with a team worthy of strength of character and resolve.

BONZAI AND BLITZ MARKETING

I. PRE-SCOUT INFORMATION GATHERING

A. Computer Data And Mapping

1. ESRI (Geographic Information System)

a. ARC/INFO And PC ARC/INFO

b. ARC DATA

c. ARC VIEW

d. ARC CAD

e. ARC CITY

f. ARC USA

g. Business Map

2. Mapping Programs

a. Delorma (Phone Search USA)

b. Rand McNally

c. AAA Street Finder

d. Select-A-Map

B. Business Lists (PRO CD And Power Finder)

1. Industries

a. Aircraft

b. Trucking

c. Bus

d. Railroad

e. Corporate

f. Governments

g. Automotive

h. Construction

2. Programs Used (CD ROMs)

a. Select-A-Phone

b. 16 Million Business Listings

c. Phone Disk Business

d. Power Finder

e. Yellow Page Listings (CD ROM)

C. Fax Listings

1. Trading

2. Buying

3. Programs

a. Fax Book

b. PRO CD FAX

D. E-Mail Addresses

1. E-Mail Yellow Pages

2. E-Mail Search By City

E. Data Information Services Which Support Windows 95 & NT

1. Maps Etc., Inc.

2. Blackburn Services Company

3. Data Map, Inc.

4. ETAK Map, Inc.

5. National Research Bureau

F. Data Information Downloading

1. City Home Pages On The Internet

2. Chamber Of Commerce

a. Home Page

b. BBS Bulletin Board

3. Thompson Site Selection Research, Inc.

4. Urban Decision Systems

5. Equifax National Decision Systems

G. Data Information Services Which Support ESRI-GIS

1. Wessex Inc.

2. ETAK Map, Inc.

3. Business Location Research

4. Information Research, Inc. (Infoscan)

5. Maps Etc., Inc.

6. SMI-Auto Facts

H. Feasibility Studies

1. Blackburn Business Services

2. SMI-Auto Facts

3. SMI-Afflence/Net Worth

4. Claritas “Clout”

5. Market Statistics, Inc.

I. Data Charting

1. Census Data (Tiger Files)

2. Census Tracts

3. Zip Plus Four Coding Areas

4. Traffic Studies

5. DMV Reports/Demographics

II. DRIVE THROUGH CITY, THREE TO FOUR HOURS

III. PRE-SCOUT PROSPECTIVE FRANCHISEE MEETING

IV. BONZAI MARKETING

A. Send Scout

1. Survey Area

a. Identify Retail Centers

aa. Travel Agencies

ab. Hair Salons

ac. Small Retail Shops

ad. Insurance Offices
b.

Office Complexes

aa. Multi-Tenant Buildings

ab. Single Company Stand Alones

c. Industrial Areas

aa. Manufacturing

ab. Small Truck Fleets

ac. Distribution Companies

ad. Railroad Tracks

ae. Warehouses

af. Material Yards

d. Chamber Of Commerce Visit

aa. Directory

ab. Community Lists (Rotary, Kiwanis, Elk, Lions, etc.)

ac. Board Members, Directors, etc.

ad. Maps (10)

ae. Offer Assistance

e. Airport?

f. Military Base?

g. Large Government Buildings

2. Visit City Hall

a. Planning Dept.

b. Business License Dept.

c. Administration Dept.

aa. Gather Demographic Information

ab. City Resources

ac. City Clerk About Politics Of Town

d. Purchasing Dept.

aa. Who Cleans Graffiti

ab. How They Wash Vehicles

ac. Sidewalk Cleaning

3. Large Companies/Government Agencies With Fleets

a. Trash Company

b. Federal Express Office

c. U.S.P.S.

d. U.P.S. Terminal

e. Cement trucks

f. Train Depot

g. Trucking Companies

h. Highway Patrol Office

i. Railway Depot

j. Cal Trans

k. Utility Companies

l. Bus Company Terminal

m. Park Districts

n. Cab Companies

o. Rent-A-Car Companies

p. Police Dept.

4. Locate A Domino’s Pizza Store

5. Locate Kinko’s Copy Center

6. Possible Co-Op Advertisers

a. Tanning Salons

b. Karate Studios

c. Health Clubs

d. Dinner Restaurants

e. Printing Shops

7. Find Cheapest Hotel Room

8. Get An Industry Guide For Area

9. Phone Book (Acquire)

10. Categorize Residential Areas

a. Apartment Complexes

b. Condos

c. Single Family Complexes

d. Gated Communities

e. Upper Middle Class Areas

11. Nearest College Or University

a. Labor Pool

b. Future Franchisees

c. Flyer Distributors

B. Scout Compiles Information

1. Make Story Board With Map Of Area

a. Outline Commercial And Residential Areas

b. Define Target Areas/Hot Spots

c. Label Highest Profit Areas To Be Hit

2. Make Data Base Of:

a. VIP’s, Mayor, Chamber Members, Directors, Community Members, Club Presidents, etc.

b. All Businesses, Industry Guide, Yellow Pages, etc.

c. Chamber Businesses

d. Potential Accounts: Trucking Companies, Government, Rent-A-Car

e. Fax Data Base Shell

3. Data Labor Pool Base

C. Associates Arrive With New Franchisee

V. BLITZ TIME

A. Round Up Resources

1. Students (4) Walk Business Districts

a. Gather Business Cards With Fax Numbers

b. (4) Car Wash Truck Wash In #1 Highest Profit Area

c. Team Meeting

2. Second Day – Acceleration

a. Students Hit Coffee And Donut Shops

b. Moms Dropping Kids At School At 8am

c. Office Complexes, More Fax Numbers

d. Four Major Restaurants For Business Lunches

e. Lance Goes On A Mission

aa. City Business License

ab. Meeting With Chamber Of Commerce

* BBS Board System

* Crime Watch

* Fax Data Base

* Join Chamber

* Grand Opening Data

* Car Wash Coupons

* Volunteer

ac. Phone Calls

* President Of All Clubs

* Politicians

* Competitors

* Tentative Sales Calls To Government Agencies

ad. Board Of Realtors

* Coupons

* Join – Add On Computer

3. Day Three – Saga Continues

a. Students Hit Phone Booths

b. Bulletin Boards

c. Realty Offices (Boxes)

d. Grocery Stores

e. Restaurants

f. Park And Rides

4. Day Four – Big Parade

a. Students In Cars With Signs

b. Cash Wash Trucks

c. Driving Through Shopping Centers

d. Driving Through Business Complexes

e. Driving Through Colleges

f. Grocery Stores Everybody

g. Students Leave 6pm

5. Fax List Complete

6. Lance And Franchisee Sit Down And Bid Fleet Accounts By Fax And By Mail

7. Day Five – Start Corporate Employee Program

Expert and Franchisee

8. Lance And Computer Person Set Up System

9. Media Blitz – Corporate Washing, Fundraisers, Follow-Up Press Releases

10. Inserts In Newspaper. – We’re Done

B. Throw A Party

C. Scout Any Competitors And Route Days

(Make Data Base Of This)

Pink Marketing Plan: Low Budget Sponsorship of Breast Cancer Awareness Charities

The month of October gives businesses the opportunity to demonstrate to the community the values they stand for. Regardless of the size of your business, this breast cancer awareness month offers a variety of opportunities to stand out and gain visibility through sponsored events. People around you will start recognizing your brand as a community supporter. This will act as an incentive for them to choose your business over others, which is the goal of your marketing plan.

Top rated suppliers of promotional products also support this cause. They donate a percentage of the sales, from the large selection of pink promotional items, to breast cancer research. This is a cause that concerns everyone and we should all get involved.

Ideas for October’s marketing plan:

1. Put together a team with you employees and their families and sign up for the breast cancer walk.
- This team building activity is very important now that the economy might not allow you to offer the great employee benefits that you would like to present.
- Some of your client’s and even prospects might be at the breast cancer walk too so you’ll score some points with them.
- Get custom T-shirts done for your team, which have a very large space to display your company’s logo and message.
- If you don’t have employees, you can invite business associates, your clients and your family, to form a team and include the T-shirts.

2.Broadcast the upcoming events in your place of business
-Put up a sign in your location, with information about the upcoming events in the community. Even if you are not assisting it will encourage others to participate.
-Take pictures of the events you attend, post some at your location and also in your company’s Facebook. It will prove to others that they can help too.
- Use Facebook and Twitter to inform everyone about your participation, and encourage everyone to participate as well.
-Remember, if you can’t afford to participate, broadcasting these events it’s still a contribution.
- Don’t let your contribution go unnoticed!

3.Sponsor a fundraising event at any level you can afford.
-Donate a pink theme item with your logo for the breast cancer walk or any other event. This will help your branding and the organizers will appreciate your donation.
-Donate a set percentage of your October sales to a charity foundation.
-If you are in retail, put a clear box next to the register and ask people to make a small donation in exchange of a branded pink item. If you want to go the extra mile, match every dollar you collect.
-Organize a fundraising between your business neighbors. Offer a prize for the company that accumulates the most funds, and donate all the collections to a charity foundation.
-Make sure your advertising is appropriate for your audience and make public how much you are collecting and giving to the charity.

Make sure you consult about the legalities by consulting with your attorney or contacting the local chapter of the Breast Cancer Association or American Cancer Society.
If you need any help finding products or putting ideas together don’t hesitate. Call or email now! We would love to help you brainstorm!
Phone: 954-636-1685
Email: [email protected]