As a business owner, you understand how important it is to have a business plan, but what you might not have considered is that it’s also equally important to ensure your insurance agency’s marketing efforts match the goals of your business plan. If not, you’ll probably never achieve or accomplish the goals you laid out in your business plan. Therefore, it’s imperative that, when you and your insurance agency create your marketing plan, you refer to your business plan to ensure you are living up to your stated vision, brand, and your “why”, mission, goals and objectives.
Most business plans generally go over the overall strategy that your business is adopting, including all aspects of finances, insurance products, customer services, customer experiences, operations, sales, and marketing.
Your insurance agency’s marketing plan should take the marketing portion of your business plan and expand on it, while also outlining your strategy to penetrate the internet world with the use of visual content, content marketing, and social media. It should also include pay per click marketing (also called PPC), local marketing, traditional marketing (paper/print advertisements), along with radio and televised marketing that you plan to engage in.
Both your business plan and your marketing plan are there to help your insurance agency map out the direction you are going in for the year, so here are some key topics that will help you along the way.
Establish Your Insurance Agency’s Identity
In other words, what is your agency’s “why.” Your “why” will help create a cohesive brand across all channels (social media, PPC, traditional methods), ensure that your marketing matches your mission statement,and you’ll ensure both your marketing and business plans work hand-in-hand. The key is this: at the end of the day they must work together, and resonate with the same message. Your “why” is very important and will allow your marketing and business plans to work hand in hand.
Create a SWOT Analysis
When you create your insurance agency’s business plan, you should think about doing a SWOT analysis. Why, you may ask? Well, this establishes your insurance agency’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Understanding this is key to your success. You can use this information in your marketing strategy to address these issues, and fix anything that may go wrong. Remember, as marketers, we are going to have to take risks, and the fact that we are willing to fix and refine what isn’t working will push our success. I personally love to do SWOT analysis, as the SWOT helps me see all sides of what I’m working on, and it allows me to make better, more informed decisions. So my recommendation is to use them in your business plan and your marketing strategy, because it will help you in the long run.
Predict Customer Behavior through Tracking
By tracking your metrics and seeing what works and what doesn’t for your agency, you can position yourself to stay ahead of the market space. One key factor is having a process in place to collect data. Collecting data is very easy and you need to train your team to ask for it on every phone call. It is no secret that when a new call comes in for new business, we need to ask them what prompted them to call us. If they reply that they found you on Google, you must follow up with asking them what they entered in the search bar to find you. The collection of this data is invaluable, and is an absolute must. If you install the right process and procedures and follow up on your data, your marketing strategy will be that much stronger, and will work as you envisioned in your business plan. If you do not collect data, then your marketing strategy will struggle, which will also hurt your insurance agency’s business plan.
Understanding Your Insurance Agency’s Cash Flow
Creating your business plan and marketing strate
gy will help you understand more about your insurance agency’s cash flow, so that you can create a good marketing budget. Yes, every business needs a marketing budget in order to grow and be successful. Yes, what I am saying is that with no marketing budget, your insurance agency will not grow. Just think, with no marketing budget, how can you even purchase business cards? I’m sure you have heard the saying “Cash is King,” and in terms of cash flow, it most definitely is. Your cash flow is an important consideration when developing a marketing plan. For instance, there is no point in planning to do a radio,TV, or PPC advertisement if your cash flow isn’t strong enough to support such a financial outlay.
It never ceases to amaze me how many insurance agencies have no idea of what their marketing budget is, or if they even have one. When you truly understand your business, the opportunities, offers, and your market, you should be able to set a realistic marketing budget that helps you reach your goals. Well, I would recommend starting off at 5% of gross revenues, with the goal of getting that up to 10%. Yes, with growth comes investment, and don’t be afraid to invest in your insurance agency’s future.
Set Specific Goals
Based on your analysis and established marketing budget, set goals and objectives for your marketing efforts based on the goals and objectives you set in your agency’s business plan. If you stated in your business plan that it would take five years to reach a certain premium amount, is your marketing budget helping you reach that goal? Insurance agencies must dig into their pockets and invest in their future growth. Let me give you a quick example: you want to redo your website and your marketing strategy, which states that you want to grow by 20% on internet leads from the prior year. What you shouldn’t do is go out and hire a company who says we can accomplish this with a $1,500 website, because it’s simply not true; that’s like saying in the insurance world, I insured my 3 cars, my home, and purchased an umbrella policy for $1000.00 a year, – it’s just not possible. Be realistic when it comes to your budget and your goals.
Establishing an Agency Strategy
With the information and data you’ve captured, narrow your focus to a specific target audience who needs, wants, and desires match what you’re selling. I would highly recommend that you create a marketing persona and center your content strategy around the personas that you have created. Ensure that your marketing efforts, while aligning with your business plan, also happen where your prospects and customers are. It’s a lot like networking; you want to network where your ideal prospects and customers are, not where you would rather be.
The goals you set should be measurable and you should have a mechanism in place to test whether or not you’re meeting them. Yes, this goes back to data collecting. Be very specific when you set goals so that you can have a number in place that defines your success. And don’t be afraid to set big goals; just be realistic as possible, because these are often just lots of little goals joined together. The important thing is to measure your success (which means you have to define what success is with your team) in reaching goals and holding yourself accountable if you do not.
The good thing about testing and measuring is that you can change midstream and stop doing something that isn’t working, and do more of what is working. If nothing is working, you can pivot your business in a new and more profitable direction. If you’re not measuring and collecting data, you will never know if you’re having success. This is especially true when marketing online, this is what’s so great about online marketing; you’re not trapped into a marketing plan that isn’t working. You can jump ship if you need to, because it’s flexible, and allows you and your insurance agency to change until you find what works. Let’s not forget though, you do have to give each marketing tactic enough time to succeed before deciding if it works or not. With all this being said, do not be afraid to change after reviewing what you have been doing. Change is good, as long as you have measured and come to an educated decision that something isn’t working and needs to be changed.
So the question I have for you and you is this – does your insurance agency’s business plan align with the your marketing plan?