Peter Vitale sets the record straight when it comes to insurance
As an insurance consultant, Peter Vitale works with independent insurance businesses every day. Frankly, many of them are struggling. It seems that every time you turn on the television, you see an insurance advertisement, or are bombarded with digital ads.
With all of this conflicting information being launched at consumers, it’s no wonder they may be confused about insurance and view it as a complicated, opaque product. The good news is that an independent insurance agent is in an ideal position to help consumers make sense of all of this information. For insurance businesses looking to strengthen their position in the competitive marketplace, insurance consultants like Peter Vitale can offer unique marketing and brand development guidance.
Tips for Marketing Insurance Businesses
Effective marketing has never been more important for independent insurance agencies. With so much information online diluting the value of independent insurance, many consumers don’t realize the many benefits an independent insurance agency offers. That’s where good marketing can help you expand your business and retain your valuable clients.
Put Together a Comprehensive Services Sheet
Your auto insurance customers may not know the depth of coverage that your agency offers. They may even be turning to another agency for things like umbrella coverage or business insurance. It’s likely not because they don’t like you or your service; it’s just that they see you as the “auto insurance guy”. Don’t let this pigeonhole experience happen to you again. Put together a list of all of the insurance products that your agency offers and make sure that each of your customers has a copy.
Try Fishbowl Marketing
This timeless method works, and it’s free. To make this technique work, ask local businesses if you can put a fishbowl and some forms on their check-out counter or other high-traffic area. You can even offer a monthly gift card (which you purchase from the business) as a giveaway, drawing from the leads you harvest. You’ll need a small sign to go with the fishbowl, asking consumers to put their contact info in the bowl for a free insurance quote. You won’t get rich with a single bowl, but if you leverage your marketing efforts with this surprisingly effective method, you’ll likely get a fair amount of new business. According to insurance expert Peter Vitale, passive marketing techniques like the classic fishbowl can still be effective, and don’t require a lot of upfront investment on behalf of the insurance company. Plus, who doesn’t love winning something?
Create an Email Signature for Your Business AND Personal Correspondence
Keep your business information in front of your customers without even having to open your mouth. You can do this by creating an email signature with your business name and contact info that is automatically appended to all of your email correspondence. You may already do this with your business emails, but do you have a similar signature programmed for your personal communications? After all, as a small business owner, the lines between your business and your personal life are somewhat blurred. You want your friends and family to remember that you sell insurance.
Update Your Website
If you haven’t done much with your business website for three years or more, you’re likely losing more clients than you are attracting. An outdated website sends the message that you are behind the times and not up-to-date on the latest technologies. Peter Vitale reminds business owners that a digital presence is vital, and is often the first introduction between a prospective client and your brand. Are you making a good first impression?
The money you pay a professional web designer to refresh your site will most likely pay off. While you’re working on your site, take some time to add fresh content that’s optimized for search engines and your local market. Make sure that your website is easily viewed from a variety of screen sizes. Many consumers use their smartphones exclusively to make shopping decisions.
Getting your business presence recognized around the local community is key to having people in your neighborhood turn to you when they need an insurance product. One good way to do this is to volunteer. Maybe you can coach little league sports (and donate t-shirts with your company’s logo on them). Maybe you can emcee the entertainment night at the local festival, or get active in the local branch of the Chamber of Commerce. The more people see you and get to know you, the more you’ll be able to grow your business organically.
Create a Library of Product Videos
Do you ever wish you could talk with those people who visit your website in the middle of the night? You can. By producing a short product video for each of the insurance products you sell, you can share your expertise with potential clients, 24/7. Simply post the videos on your website, perhaps on the applicable product page, and share your knowledge on the product with your customers and potential customers. Uploading these videos to social media platforms is a great way to increase your scope of reach, and share your expertise with a wider audience base.
Offer Easy Quotes
As an industry, insurance professionals tend to get bogged down with the paperwork and processes involved in giving a quote and writing a policy. The average homeowner’s insurance application process takes 20 to 30 minutes. In today’s fast-paced world, that may seem like an eternity to prospective clients, according to insurance innovator Peter Vitale. Often, you already have some, if not most, of the information on your clients. Why make them repeat it for you? For new customers, think about what information is essential to give them an accurate quote. If it’s not essential, leave it until later, or you may not get a “later”.
Be Proactive to Comments and Complaints
If you are active with your business on social media, make sure that you assign someone to monitor comments on your posts. A comment, especially a negative comment, that’s allowed to languish unanswered for days, sends the message that your business doesn’t care about its customers. Now, it could just be that you didn’t see the comment, but you’ll probably never get an opportunity to explain. Avoid such situations by monitoring your pages at least once daily. Conversely, creating dialogue with satisfied customers is equally important to maintain the personal touch.
Increasing your marketing efforts for your independent agency doesn’t have to mean reworking your budget. As you can see from the above suggestions, many so-called “guerilla marketing” techniques take far more time than money. It’s really just a matter of working smarter rather than harder. Try a few of the above suggestions, and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised at the uptick in new business.
About Peter Vitale
Peter Vitale knows more than a little about insurance marketing. He has been active in the insurance industry for nearly two decades, first as a leading sales agent and now, as an insurance consultant and owner of the Bloomfield Insurance Group in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Peter Vitale concentrates most of his effort into helping owners of small and medium-sized insurance businesses be more successful. In his consulting role, he helps agency owners put together and enact marketing plans.
Peter Vitale graduated from Michigan’s Oakland University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and lives in the Oakland County community where he grew up. When he’s not working, he’s actively involved in community affairs and sits on the Board of the Eastern Michigan Better Business Bureau.