Successful marketing activities can build a positive brand and reputation in the community and help boost sales for agents by putting them in front of increased numbers of qualified prospects.
Yet, in my work with many agents and branch managers, I’ve experienced a common frustration related to these marketing programs: Managers and agents often feel paralyzed by the variety and complexity of their options.
Luckily, there are very simple ways to strengthen their image in their particular marketplace, establish better connections throughout the community, and spend more time meeting with prospective clients. The key is to partner with a distribution company that will guide and support marketing efforts and help implement the programs that make the most sense for the individual agent.
The right materials help
Some basic materials that all agents should have handy include a background or biography with a photo and an easy-to-review summary of their credentials and community involvement.
A straightforward website presence is also important because prospective clients now look to the web to gain information about any company or person they are considering working with. The website doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should include the same kind of background material as the agent’s paper copy, as well as information on the kinds of products and services provided and a resource section where clients and prospects can find value-added information on financial issues and concerns. Many distribution companies work with agents to help them establish the framework and compliant copy for personal websites. It’s only the initial startup of the site that requires dedicated work from the agent.
See also: What’s your Web presence?
Another common frustration for agents is the use of social media. Where should they be? Facebook, Twitter, somewhere else? What kind of information should they be posting? Are they missing out if they don’t do this kind of communication?
The real question an agent should be asking: Is social media an effective way to communicate to my market, to my clientele? Social media may or may not be appropriate based on what you’re trying to achieve and what your clients require for communications and information.
The solution is easy. There are affordable services agents can subscribe to that will automatically send out compliant and agent-branded messages several times a week via Facebook and Twitter. It only takes a little planning and investment on the agent’s part to get it up and running.
Community-based programs work
Beyond websites, brochures, direct mail programs and social media, our branch managers and agents are finding the most effective marketing activities are the ones built around supporting the community and offering educational talks and seminars.
These initiatives help agents establish multiple connections among the people with whom they want to do business. Well-developed, topical sessions are not difficult to implement and are cost effective in that they often aren’t the traditional dinner or lunch seminars requiring food and a fancy location. If the efforts are sincere, done on a regular basis and in front of groups, the community connections can be strengthened and spread, resulting in increased sales and referrals.
Let me offer some examples from our branch office system. Ian Perkins, branch manager in South Florida, supports his agents in conducting educational workshops for CPAs, attorneys, property casualty agents and their clients. He helps agents partner with these professionals to share educational information on topics such as “Safe Money Strategies” and “Retirement Income” for the pre-retiree market and “Retirement Savings Strategies” for the 30- to 50-year-old set.
There are many benefits to this approach. The clients of the agent and the other professionals are provided with a value-added service. The agents meet a group of prospective clients in a professional setting and with the invitation from trusted advisors. The other advisors meet potential clients and are viewed as a great resource.
A more uncommon market Ian is involved with is surety bond companies. These companies guarantee the work of builders, contractors and developers on projects for municipalities or cities will get done even if a worker dies during the job. There is a need for these companies to purchase life insurance on the contractors to ensure the continuity of the building project.