Information is the lifeblood of any business. The insurance industry is no different. Customers either tune in or tune out based on the authenticity of the message. Sending a consistent and relevant message to consumers is critical in this modern world of mixed messages, but it can also be challenging.
The targeted market message is nothing new to agents, whether products are being sold online or in person. Leveraging the market requires new methods to attract new clients. Customers want to work with people they feel that they know and who really know them and their needs. They create a relationship based on a perceived feeling that they and their needs are understood and met.
Insurance is one of the only businesses selling an intangible service to clients based on what “might” happen. Insurance agents are entrepreneurial in nature and, as such, are seeking cutting-edge entrepreneurial endeavors that will lead them to the pinnacle of their profession. One great way is publishing a book to market an insurance agency.
Following is a quick “how to” on creating and marketing the book that can be used to market your expertise to a focused niche clientele.
Target your market
First, identify your niche topic. If, for example, you sell health insurance, you might focus on helping consumers understand what types of health plans would best suit their needs, concentrating on rates, deductibles, and possible exclusions. Choose a snappy title that hooks the reader — one that makes them pick up your book and look beyond the cover — and always conduct thorough research into your topic, no matter how much you think you know.
Next, make a good, thorough plan for your book. Create a detailed outline of each proposed chapter and its contents. The more planning and structuring that goes into the pre-writing, the easier it will be to write your book in the end. This also makes it easier to shift things around and try various layout designs until you find what works best. Be ordered but flexible and open to change. Often, you’ll find you do need to make some changes so the information is logically presented. Make sure to break the project down into realistic sections or you will drown.
Then, just sit down and write. Some prefer to not worry about grammar and spelling initially. Others prefer to lightly edit as they go. Do what works for you – but be careful that you don’t sound like a textbook. Even a business book should be entertaining. Show some personality — you want to show rather than tell. Nothing is worse than a book that is dry or preaches to the choir. Human interest sells, so use it. Interview real people and use direct quotes in the same way that dialogue spices up fiction.
The best length for a book of this type is 120 to 180 pages, so try to keep that in mind as a general goal. For each chapter, you should make three to four points that are important to that chapter’s theme, and make sure to include a vignette or story for every point. In other words: Every story makes a point, and for every point there’s a story. Before you begin, you may want to sit down and make a list of funny, odd, or unique stories you can relate to your business. Then, make a list of topic-related items you should cover in the book. Next, list the story topics you want to relate to each point. As you build the outline of points, sub-points (to be developed into content) and related stories, the chapters build bulk. That is how your experience, expertise, and unique story in the field comes out in order to position yourself as “someone who has been there.”
Publishing your book professionally
Hire a professional cover designer and not your aunt’s cousin who is in art school. Take the time to find a professional content editor and work with them diligently to craft your manuscript into a solid book. Hire a professional proofreader, and don’t forget to find a professional typesetter. Also, make sure to hire a printer with experience in short-run books.
Marketing your book to the right audience
Your book is a $3.50 lead generating tool. Commit to shipping out a minimum of three to five books per day to prospects. Your book will open many doors. It is also a great closer as it is a powerful tool to giving you a real edge. When somebody calls you and says, “I’ve read your book and would like to meet with you,” it makes all the hard work worth it.
To change the rules you need to get in the game. If you are tired of being just another professional, this is your opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your field. Demonstrate your credibility. Drive more clients to your business. Cultivate a visible image. Create a plan which helps you be courageous, lead with deliberateness, and articulates your competitive edge. Publish the book you know will help you stand out from your competitors. Get published and watch your client base grow!
P. Shannon Evans is senior editor and publisher for Professional Advancement Seminars and Services Publishing Company Ltd. She can be reached at 800-738-1993 or [email protected].