3 minute read

Selling to Your Target Market

 Daniel Talks Agency Marketing:Selling to Your Target Market

Give Them the Right Reason and You'll Get a Response    written by Daniel Smith, CAE

Why should agencies market themselves? How should they market themselves? In this series I am looking into agency marketing techniques and strategies and how you can implement them at your agency.

So far in this series, we have discussed how to "Define Your Target Market" how to "Find Your Target Market" and most recently, "Reaching Your Target Market," focusing on Facebook and LinkedIn tools. Now that we have established who you're looking for and how to find and reach them, how do you convert those contacts into sales for your agency? There are many strategies you could utilize, but here are a few suggestions.

Mutual Contact/Friend Introductions

The audience you have built online likely looks like some of your current contacts and insureds. Because of that, they are likely to be connected to someone you already know. Lean on your network to help promote you and your agency. Instead of passive referrals, ask for a specific referral to a contact you have identified as a strong prospect. But be thoughtful in asking for a referral, because you want to protect your current relationship as well. Give them an opportunity to help you by making an offer like, "We've really appreciated your business, and since you're well respected in this (industry, segment, etc.) I wondered if you could help me make some additional contacts."

If they are not willing to refer you (and they are a current insured), discuss what you can do to strengthen your relationship with them. This may also serve as an opportunity to improve your service for their account.

Reach Out Directly

If you don't have a mutual contact or someone that can/will refer you, consider reaching out directly. I would caution you from using "automated" or template messages on social media. Try to find their contact info if possible. If you're comfortable with a phone call, reach out to them and identify why you think you can help them with their specific industry, risk or service. If phone calls aren't your thing for initial introductions, try them by email. A Google search can usually identify it, or you can sometimes determine it based on the email pattern of their company. If not, simply contact the company and say you have info that needs to be provided to (the person) and ask for their email address.

Whatever way you decide to reach out, make sure you identify a competitive advantage in your message. Whether it is knowledge of their industry, the service your agency provides, a carrier partner that is better suited for their risk, or something else you identify, make sure you give them a compelling reason to call or email you back.

Using Social Media for Selling

There are circumstances where social media can be the conduit not only for identifying prospects, but for completing the sale. I cringe every time I get a LinkedIn message with some off-target ask like – "Can I help you rent space for your company?" A simple viewing of my profile would have told them that I am not the contact for that. Be on target with your message and remember the earlier suggestion – give them a compelling reason to message you back.

Want to integrate some marketing automation on social media to the mix? Don't automate your initial contact with the prospect, automate the process they go through to quote or provide info. For example, Facebook Messenger has chatbot options that you can build out to respond to messages and request specific info.

I wouldn't recommend this for commercial risks yet, but maybe there are some simpler chatbot commands that could be built that give a commercial prospect some initial responses and make them feel like they received immediate feedback. That being said, some direct writers and brokers are already trying it for commercial risks. For example, online broker Next Insurance has built the below chatbot for their Messenger:

Is it a good idea? J.D. Power thinks so, and they reported back in 2016 that, "Insurers that lead in digital shopping channels also lead in premium growth." 1 I'm not sure yet, but I am sure that you need to be able to sell where you clients want to buy. Find the way they prefer to be contacted and the message that resonates with them and watch the sales start rolling in.

1 - per "Digital Leaders Setting the Pace for Premium Growth" via https://www. jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2016-us-insurance-shopping-study

About the Author

 Daniel Smith serves as the Chief Marketing Officer for Insurors of Tennessee. He has a Bachelors degree in Marketing with a minor in Graphic Design from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and earned his Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2017. He may be contacted at dsmith@insurors.org. <