More and more Insurance Agents are leaving corporate life to become independent agents. Instead of being tied to one insurance company’s product line, they offer a wider range of services, policies and costs. This is in response to the desire of consumers to have more options and lower prices.
This is not a market for sellers, but a market for buyers. The majority of people are equipped with more information than ever. How can you, an independent agent, make your mark among the 100 other agents in your area? How can you grab the attention of prospective buyers and turn them into clients? Which ones are most effective?
No matter what your target audience is, regardless of whether your niche has made your focus product-specific or targeted a specific population segment, you should investigate the different forms of advertising that are available, their costs, and the pros and disadvantages.
Here is a list of the most popular advertising methods for independent insurance agencies, along with their pros and cons.
It shouldn’t surprise that Americans spend more time watching television than they do reading. This makes it one of the most desired forms of marketing.
Pros:Access to a wider and more diverse group of insurance seekersYou can choose the time of day and network to reach your target audience more easilyMost consumers respond to movement, color, sight, and hearing. This gives businesses the opportunity to have full sensory contact.Business credibility and prestige instantly
Cons:The cost of the commercial airtime and/or multiple runsCost of hiring a marketing agency for the production and filming of your insurance commercialConsumer expectations – We don’t want to be impressed by someone reading off a Teleprompt. They want to be entertainedThere is competition for consumers’ attentionDigital recorders are becoming more popular, allowing consumers to quickly skip through commercials while watching their favorite shows.
Experts agree that television advertising should be included in marketing budgets that have more capital. It is crucial that you do your research on different advertising agencies to find the best way to reach your target audience while staying within your budget.
Local weekly shoppers and newspaper advertising
Independent agents often advertise in print ads by reaching out to weekly shoppers and local newspapers. It is easy to get noticed by consumers because many households subscribe to at least one newspaper or pick them up at their local newsstands.
Pros:You can reach multiple target audiences by placing advertisements in different sections of a newspaper.To advertise your insurance agency, you have the option of using large circulation or small circulation newspapersAdvertisers offering bargains or deals are sought by weekly shoppers and newspaper readers.Multiple sizes of advertisement ads to match different budgets
Cons:Most newspapers and weekly shoppers can be read once, then thrown away.When placed alongside a larger advertisement, smaller advertisements are less likely to stand out.Images and photos may be distorted by poor quality print. This can cause your marketing to suffer rather than benefit.No matter how big or small, ads must compete for attention.
It is a good idea to hire a professional marketing agency, especially one that specializes insurance marketing, to design your advertisement to attract the attention of your target audience. The ad space should be smaller and less complicated.
Keep in mind when the most popular papers and weekly shoppers will be printed. A large advertisement will cost more than a smaller ad that is featured throughout the week.
Signs and Billboards
Although outdoor advertising is most commonly contained in billboards or large signs, some agencies have expanded the definition to include parks benches, posters, and seat rails at transit stops. This marketing method is more cost-effective than television or print advertising and has been a hit with major metropolitan areas.
Pros:Outdoor advertising cannot be ignored by potential clients.Consumers who use the same route every day for walking or driving are more likely to be recognized by their names.Signs and billboards can be priced differently depending on their size and location. It is therefore easier to find one within your budget.
Cons:Outdoor advertisements are less effective than outdoor ads for capturing a consumer’s attention than for a few seconds.Advertisements should be easy to remember and simple enough to appeal to the consumer.Outdoor ads are often contracted for a longer time period than independent agencies anticipated.Placards and benches at public transit stops are effective in large metropolitan areas where the lower, middle, and upper classes share the same transportation system. However, they may not be as effective in areas that do not have public transportation.
Placement is important if you believe outdoor advertising can be beneficial to your company and marketing plan. Ask for advice from several firms to determine the best ways to maximize your marketing dollars and how they can help create simple, eye-catching designs for your sign.
Phone Book Directory
This form of marketing has been adopted by independent insurance agencies because it is voluntary for consumers to see advertisements in the phone directories.
Pros:Some targeted audiences use the phonebook to locate local businesses regularlyNumerous phone books have an online directory that gives agencies greater exposure.You can limit your exposure to a specific city or a large metropolitan area.Consumers will typically keep a phonebook rather than throw it away like a newspaper.
Cons:Cost – As more people turn to the internet for information, the cost of print ads in the telephone book has risen to compensate for any profit lossMarketing inefficiency – With so many agencies purchasing ads, it becomes harder to grab the attention of the consumer and stand out among the hundreds of other agents in your marketplace.There are many ways to advertise in the phone book. Which one will you choose to highlight your agency?
Like any other form of advertising, make sure you read the benefits and features that your paid advertisement offers. Is it a paid advertisement online? Is the audience or target area of the phone directory you are interested in? Are the costs monthly, quarterly, or annually? Are there automatic renewal clauses or do you have the choice of cancelling your contract? Your advertisement will be placed next to other featured ads. Is it possible to have an advertisement designed by someone from the phonebook, or can you hire a marketing agency? What is the cost?
Approximately 90% of American households have internet access. This makes the internet advertising the most popular medium for independent agents. The household share goes up for families earning $100k and more. Although internet advertising has seen a rise in popularity over the past decade, independent agents still need to do extensive research before they make a financial commitment.
Pros:Cost: You can spend as much or as little as you like, depending on your budgetThe internet levels the playing field – it gives independent agents the chance to compete against large insurance companies in search engine placementYou can find any type of advertising on the internet, including a website, a PDF brochure or an affiliate network.Advertisement exposure is voluntary. Only websites that are relevant to the consumer’s search online will be displayed for them to view. A person searching for local insurance agents will most often be looking for someone to talk with.
Cons:People expect to be informed and educated by the agent’s website. Bad graphics or outdated information can hurt your credibility.The constantly changing internet. Each of the major search engines changes what they search on websites in order to improve their ranking. If you hire a company to keep you up-to-date with these changes, it can be time-consuming and costly.Fear of Identity Theft – Consumers are increasingly wary of entering personal information online, for fear of having their information stolen or sold to Telemarketing companies. They may also be subject to unsolicited emails and phone calls.
Independent insurance agents have many options to market their agency and get more leads. The type of advertising you choose depends on your target audience, the location in which you operate, and finally, your budget. Ask questions. Be aware of what you’re getting from any marketing strategy you choose.
Christee Fontanez moved her focus to online marketing and advertising several years ago after securing her place as a top seller in the Financial and Insurance Industry for many years. She combines both of these professions, and she now helps English- and Spanish-speaking consumers to find an Advisor or Insurance Agent to help their family secure financial freedom.