As we all know, the big name captive Insurance companies such as Geico, Progressive, and more are still competing with us Independent Agents. In a world where we can get left in the dust so quickly, we have to make the most of marketing ourselves as local, independent agents properly. It may seem impossible at times to compete with these big name insurance companies at first glance, but I’m here to tell you that it’s actually the opposite. Being small, local, or independent doesn’t put us at a disadvantage at all; it actually does the exact opposite, as long as you’re conveying the right message to your audience. You may not be able to win an entire country or even state of insurance customers, but dominating your local niche can be made simple if you have the right strategy going in.
The first thing you’ll want to think about to earn the business of your local community is to actually be a part of your local community. This can be completely open ended, and is up to you as an agency owner to decide how you want to connect with your local community. I’ll give you a few examples of how our agency has done this in the past though, to hopefully inspire you to brainstorm some ideas on how you can do the same with your local community. One campaign we recently set up was called “bikes for reading,” where we held a raffle to give away bikes to kids at our local elementary school for reaching a certain amount of hours reading. Our community is losing our valedictorians after they graduate, and we believe that this campaign will not only help the children’s education, but will also help them with believing in our local community as well. Another campaign that we ran was called “reverse trick or treat,” where we actually collected toys from our community to donate to the children at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. We ran this campaign to get our local community behind a cause that we believed in, and we were donating these toys because the kids at the medical center can’t collect Halloween candy during this holiday because it could poorly react with the medicine they have to take. We give the children hope during the holiday, where they thought they would originally have to be left out. The last example I’d like to include is how our agency takes a day a couple of times a year to take a trip down to our local homeless shelter. Not only do we sponsor a full dinner, but we also collect desserts from our local community to help them get involved and stand behind our cause. We then take a trip to the shelter as an agency and hand the food out to the homeless ourselves, meanwhile our marketing team takes pictures of the whole experience to share to social media. Speaking of social media, that’s a great way to get your community involved when you’re hosting a charity or doing some volunteer work. When the rest of your audience sees that you live in your community, believe in your community, and give back to your community, trust me they will be more apt to do business with your agency.
Now, similarly to being involved with your agency’s community, you can also market your agency as a small or local business. This is an opportunity for your agency to establish professional relationships with other nearby local businesses, just as our agency has with our partner promotion program. Our partner program, long story short, is something that we started at Paradiso Insurance that allows us to reach out to and connect with local businesses, and in turn, give them free marketing material to work with for their businesses. Our marketing team reaches out to local businesses we’d like to partner with, visits them to shake hands and take pictures of their business and/or employees, and at the end of the day, we craft visuals, videos, and even blog posts that highlight their business’ specialties. This is an opportunity for your agency to take advantage of cross marketing, because this gives your partners content to share to their social media networks or their business’ website, which ultimately shares posts from you and your agency, and should backlink people to your agency website or social media networks. By increasing traction for your business partners, they will respect your agency, and be more willing to work with you on a commercial policy.
The last thing I’d like to mention here is to market yourself as an independent agent, because it makes a world of difference to your customers. A lot of the time, our customers simply don’t understand the difference between a captive an independent agent, so our first step here is to help them understand. Help your customers by educating them on the difference, and let them know you can bring multiple choices and that you’re not bound to a single carrier. We have to explain to our customers that we are looking for a policy that’s best for to meet their insurance needs for the best price, and that looking for the cheapest policy isn’t what insurance is all about. In many cases, the big insurance carriers win because a customer may get into an accident that they don’t have ample coverage for, and you and I both know that we’d be improperly servicing our clients and customers by setting them up for that level of failure. We have to work with them, help them understand, and make their insurance lives as easy and enjoyable as possible. Market yourself as a personable, approachable, and Independent Agent, and you’ll be bound to bring more people into your agency.
Overall, by living within your community and your local market, you have the home field advantage that the big name carriers simply can’t capture. By giving back to your community, connecting with the other local businesses, and explaining to your community that you’re a local, Independent Agent, you’ll be able to dominate and secure your local market to establish rewarding, long-lasting relationships with your customers and clients alike.