An effective marketing message is one that attracts the right clients and repels those who aren't a good fit. (Photo: iStock)

One of the most common questions insurance agents ask is: “How can I attract more prospective customers to grow my book of business?”

Part of my answer usually surprises them.

I believe that to attract your ideal customer, your marketing message must be direct and specific enough that it will also repel. Your marketing message must be so clear that any prospect will either completely identify with your message or ignore it in seconds.

There is no in between. You can’t speak a message that you think everyone may identify with. It doesn’t work that way. Today’s consumer wants to feel like you are speaking directly to them.

This is challenging. There is always a feeling of “missing out” if your marketing message is not broad enough.

What if your message excludes potential customers? What if you are leaving money on the table by not being more inclusive? What if you are missing opportunities?

All of those questions are why most insurance agencies have a difficult time attracting a steady stream of qualified prospective customers.

Instead of attracting an audience that they can serve better than anyone else, insurance agencies try to pander to everyone and thus creates no sense of value for the prospects they are tying to reach.

When you have identified your ideal customer, you need to begin creating lead magnets that capture their attention.

Lead magnets

Like any good magnet, your this message will attract the right audience, but it will also repel those that aren’t a good fit.

Step one is to decide where your ideal customers hang out. This can be both offline (industry associations, networking groups, civic clubs, etc.) or online (LinkedIn groups, Twitter, forums, etc.).

Then you must find ways to attract them to your products and services. Again, both offline and online methods are important. Anything from speaking, white papers, education materials, Facebook ads, blogs or reports can be used.

Ask these important questions. What is this ideal customer looking for? How can you help them solve problems? How can you make their lives better?

It’s good to think outside the box and be creative. Capturing attention today is difficult and you should use your strengths to maximize effectiveness.

One of my favorite examples today is Nicholas Ayers from I80 Insurance. He has titled himself, “The Insurance Chef” to target the food service industry. He combines is passion for cooking, humor and insurance knowledge to specifically target this industry. He is using videos has as the main delivery method and has had a tremendous response.

Nicholas is not trying to reach everyone with his message. If you are not involved in the restaurant industry, you will likely not be interested in watching his videos (although they are so good you may still watch).

He is 100 percent focused on reaching like-minded people that he can serve effectively. By doing this, his message is reaching the right people with power, precision and effectiveness.

This kind of attraction marketing builds a powerful brand and loyalty.

You can do the same. The key is commitment to delivering a consistent message of value to a specific audience.

To attract, you must also repel.

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