Each day, more and more Insurance Agents are leaving the captive corporate world to venture into the realm of independent insurance agent. Rather than being locked into selling one major insurance carrier’s branded product line, they opt to offer a larger variety of policies, services and costs; coinciding with the demand of consumers wanting to have choices and options at competitive prices.
As we are well aware, this is no longer a “seller’s market”, but an “informed buyer’s”. People, in general, are armed with more information than ever before. So, how do you, the independent insurance agent, stand out from the other 100’s of agents in your city? What marketing avenues are available to you so that you capture the prospective buyer’s attention and convert them into a prospect and ultimately a long-term client? And which ones work?
Regardless of your target audience, whether you have niched your focus to be product specific, or if you are targeting a certain population segment; you need to investigate the various forms of advertising available to you, the costs of such programs and the pros and cons.
Below is a breakdown of the most commonly used forms of advertising for the independent insurance agency, and the pros and cons of each.
As the average American spends more time in front of the television, it should be no surprise that this is one of the most sought after forms of marketing available.
Many experts would agree that if you have the extra capital in your marketing budget to incorporate television into your advertising that you should. However, it is important that you research different advertising firms to help you explore your options with regards to creating your on-air advertisement, the best way to target your audience and keep within your planned budget.
Newspaper advertising and local weekly shoppers
With regards to print advertisements, some independent agents turn to local newspapers and weekly shoppers to advertise their agencies. Since many households either subscribe to at least one newspaper, or pick them up at their local newsstands, it is a fast and simple way to gain recognition by consumers.
Like television advertising, it would be prudent to consult with a professional marketing firm, preferably one that specializes in insurance marketing, to help you design an advertisement that best captures your targeted audience’s attention. The smaller the ad space the less detailed and complicated the ad should be.
Also keep in mind the days the most sought after papers and weekly shoppers are printed. The rates for a large advertisement over the weekend will be greater than the same sized ad featured all week long.
Billboards and Signs
While most forms of outdoor advertising are contained within billboards and large signage, some independent agencies have broadened the term to include park benches, posters and seat rails at public transit stops. This form of marketing has become a popular, less costly way, when compared with television and print advertising, to reach a larger audience in major metropolitan areas.
If you feel various forms of outdoor advertising would be a compliment to your business and marketing plan, consider placement wisely. Consult many firms for input and advice on the best way to stretch your marketing dollar and how they can help you create eye-catching and simple designs for your sign.
Phone Book Directories
Since exposure to the advertisements in phone book directories is voluntary, meaning consumers actually turn to the phone book for its ads, this form of marketing for independent insurance agencies has become an industry standard.
As with any form of advertising, be sure to read all the features and benefits that come with your paid advertisement. Does it include a featured ad online, or is that separate? What is the target area or audience of the phone book you are looking at? Is the cost monthly, quarterly or annual? Is there an automatic renewal clause or will you have the option of not renewing your contract? Where will your advertisement be placed in comparison to the other featured ads? Will someone employed by the phone book assist you with an eye catching advertisement, or do you have to hire a marketing agency to do that for you, and what is the cost?
Roughly 90% of all the households across the United States have access to the internet either at home, at work or at school; making advertising on the internet the fastest growing marketing medium for independent insurance agents. That household percentage goes even higher for those families with a combined income of $100k or more. However, internet advertising gaining its strength only in the last decade or so, there is still a lot an independent agent would need to research, as with any form of advertising, before making a financial commitment.
There are so many options and services available to the independent insurance agent to effectively market themselves and attract more leads. The form of advertising you choose will depend largely on the audience you intend to target, the area in which you do business, and ultimately your budget. Be sure to ask questions. Know what you are getting and what you are not with whatever forms of marketing you decide to use.