One of the biggest responsibilities for any business owner is acquiring and retaining clients. For businesses within the healthcare industry, this can be even more daunting, considering healthcare and insurance is a highly personal and potentially sensitive subject. To create a sense of security and peace of mind for clients, it is important that health insurance agencies and agents adopt a strong communications strategy that keeps their clients and potential clients informed and up-to-date.

Creating marketing material that is both informative and well-designed has traditionally been left to professionals. While a designer can deliver a unique logo, their services to create items such as brochures, postcards, and other promotional material can be cost-prohibitive. The good news is that it’s easy to simplify the creative process and make it possible for agents to create a complete promotional package.

Consistency, frequency, and balancing quality and cost are the keys to successful and professional marketing that utilizes printed collateral as a way to communicate with clients.

Brand consistency

A consistent and professional look and feel across all the board increases the chance a client will remember you. You want to make sure that every communication they look at from you reminds them of your agency. To get started creating consistent promotions, begin by searching online for free marketing templates for business cards, brochures, flyers, coupons, post cards, and appointment cards. Look for templates that offer:

  • Professional marketing copy: Get a head start on compelling marketing copy by choosing a template that provides suggested copy written specifically for the insurance industry.
  • Color themes: It’s likely that you already have a logo that works for you. Be sure the online marketing template you choose allows you to upload your logo and choose a color theme that compliments your logo.
  • Photography: Imagery is a must! You can say a lot with an image of happy clients or create a personal touch with a picture of you in your office. Regardless of the image you select, be sure you can upload your own photography.
  • Stock photos: If the photos from your digital camera aren’t quite what you had in mind, there are many places online to find stock photography. Some sites charge for images, while others allow you to select from a wide variety of industry-appropriate photos.

Communication frequency

Now that you have your marketing materials, it’s important to create a plan for reaching out to clients on a regular basis. It makes sense to use all the methods of communication (email, mail, and telephone) available to you. Frequent communication creates a relationship that nurtures customer loyalty and drives new sales.

Reasons to communicate with clients:

  • Encourage an informational meeting: Incentivize new clients to come in for a visit by offering a free consulting session, a discount on their initial fees, or free healthcare report. A postcard is a perfect way to reach new clients.
  • Be informative: Stand out from you competition by offering your clients industry information they may not otherwise receive. Do you have an interesting opinion on U.S. healthcare or have a study that your clients might benefit from? Share your insight with a three-fold brochure or send a postcard with a link to your Web site.

Quality versus cost

When it comes to marketing efforts, remember that image matters. If you can choose to pay a little less for 500 brochures that are on flimsy paper and feature only two colors versus 250 four-color brochures on high-quality paper, what will the impact be on your clients? You might save 10 percent, but at what cost to your image? The cost of the cheaper option might seem like a deal, but consider how it can impact the value of the finished printed piece from your customer’s point of view.

Information is key

It may sound like a no-brainer reminder, but sometimes the most obvious information is accidentally left off marketing material. Before you hit the print or send button, double check that you have included the following on all your customer communication:

  • Logo
  • Location
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Web site address
  • Call to action

An effective marketing campaign can earn health insurance agents new prospects and ultimately increase their bottom line. But not considering design, quality, and including important information will mean the difference between money well spent and money wasted.

Sophia Farina is director of marketing for Quark Inc. and has been a marketer for nearly two decades. She can be reached at quarkpromote@quark.com.