Want More Business?
I’ve said before that the best way to obtain new clients is through referrals. The problem is you have to start somewhere to obtain new leads, especially if you’re new to the insurance market. I touched on this topic briefly with a previous blog post: “Want More Leads,” but let’s get right down to it; the challenge of being an independent broker is getting your name out there for people to find you. Many independent agents start with cold calling a list of phone numbers or spending hundreds of dollars on direct mailers, but there’s a different way to advertise your services. A way to market your business that we encourage all of our Producing Partners to utilize is Digital Marketing.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing can be explained in many ways but to sum up an array of definitions; digital marketing is simply the promotion of your services using digital technologies and media. The purpose is to bring new clients or even recurring clients to your business (versus chasing after potential leads) by using technologies such as the internet, apps, or online advertising. Honestly, digital technologies come in many forms; however I wanted to focus on the Top 3 avenues of Digital Marketing that will help you promote your business:
- Social Media
- Digital Advertising
When you hear about a new business, what is the first thing you do? If you’re anything like me, you “Google” that business to try to find a website with more information about what they do and who they are. And once you find that information, seeing a website, especially a well-built website, gives that business more credibility for the services provided. In talking with some agents they think that because they work from home and don’t have their own standalone office that they can’t have a website. This is the exact opposite. When you don’t have a physical location to further reinforce your credibility, a website allows you to have a “digital store front” to give your potential customers more confidence in their decision to contact you. To give your business more legitimacy to newcomers it’s best to create a website that, at least, contains the services you provide and contact information.
Getting Started with a Website
Building a website can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a challenge. If you have the cash flow, the easiest thing to do is hire someone to develop your own website and most website designers will keep up on the website’s maintenance for a monthly fee. However, if you don’t have that kind of cash then look into building your own website using 3rd party companies such as SquareSpace, Weebly, or Wix. These websites are much more affordable than hiring someone and are designed to be simple for any one to use – even if the only experience you have is browsing the internet. With these website builders, you can add a simple drag-and-drop feature to create your website layout with pictures, descriptions, links, and basic information about your business.
The Power of SEO
One thing to keep in mind about websites is keeping up with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so when your potential clients type in Google, “insurance in __(enter your city and state here)_” then your website page is at least on the first page of results. In order for you to appear on your client’s Google search, you need to have certain keywords on your website. Google picks up these keywords and will push your website towards the top of the list of possible answers for anyone typing a question into the search engine. Great keywords to have for your business if your focus is the senior insurance market is: “Medicare”, “Medicare Supplement,” “Senior Insurance”, “Senior Coverage,” “65,” “Part A,” “Part B,” “Part D,” “Rx”, and make sure you include your location as well. You can use these words through descriptions on your “About Us” section of your website or the “Contact Us” section or, another option, is to post a monthly blog that would increase your SEO. If writing is not your forte, then film a quick video to post on your website. Blogs and vlogs (video blogs) alike can be shared on social media driving traffic back to your website.
Now, I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of SEO so you’re welcome to do your own research for more details, but I will suggest using Google Analytics. This is a great source to see how many people are visiting your website so this gives you an idea of how your website is doing right now and what you can do to improve website traffic.
The amazing part about technology is that you can connect with people without being face to face. Yes, I’m talking about the power of social media! If you are unfamiliar, consider it the digital “door knocking;” but instead of being face to face you now have the ability to connect and talk with potential new clients without even leaving your desk.
Connecting on Facebook
A great place to start is Facebook only because (as I mentioned in my previous article, “Want More Leads?”) it is the most popular social networking website among seniors and has been consistently growing every year since 2012. So where do you begin? If you prefer to keep your profile on lockdown and staying within your friend group then we suggest that you create a separate business profile page so you can connect with people outside your friend group. With your business profile (or personal profile if you don’t mind using that) you can then create a business page.
Creating a Facebook Business Page
In my opinion, it’s important to have a Facebook Business page because it is a free and simple way to advertise your services, plus you have the ability to connect with your clients. Your Facebook Business page is a great source for potential clients to find out more about your business, read reviews, see photos or videos, find your website, and ultimately connect with you. An excellent feature is the ability to create a community within your page. So wherever you live you can connect with the business around you – not necessary in insurance – but in the same location. The people that already “liked” the other Business Pages that you connected with now discovered your services available in their area. This is basically another great way to connect with new people so they can find out more about your services. Lucky for you, Facebook has easy to use guides to help you get started building your social media presence:
There are more social media outlets available such as Instagram (owned by Facebook), LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube and I know this section has been real Facebook heavy. But remember, if your business is the senior insurance market then focus on Facebook because it’s the most prominent among seniors. Even better, using your Facebook business page you can connect with seniors in your area for potential new business. As an added bonus, Google loves finding businesses on social media sites. Even if you don’t actively use social media, having a Facebook or LinkedIn page is an instant boost to your personal website’s SEO and an easy way to make it to the top of someone’s Google search results.
With any business to increase revenue, you have to get your name out there and bring people in. You got it! I’m talking about advertising, particularly focusing on digital advertising. To dive in a little bit of detail, examples of digital advertising can be:
- Posts on your social media page (FREE)
- “Boosts” on your social media posts (where you pay to have your post reach more viewers)
- Purchasing online ad space on websites or social media (i.e. Facebook or Instagram)
- Email newsletters
Posting on Social Media
Advertising can be really expensive so the most inexpensive (and most of the time FREE) form of advertising is posting on social media. And I’m not referring to a simple status update, I’m talking about uploading a flyer, or advertisement piece that tells a little bit about your business. This can be something as simple as, “Confused about Medicare Supplements? Click Here to contact an expert in the field.” Then you can link your uploaded design to the contact page of your website. Now you’re probably wondering how to create something like this to post on social media. Lucky for you, there are a few websites out there that have the answer by offering solutions that can make anyone a design pro.
How To Create Posts That Stand Out
If you don’t have money to spend, we recommend using Canva. This is a free website that gives users hundreds of layout options for all different forms of advertising (Emails, social media posts, newsletters, postcards, flyers, etc.). All you need to do is edit the wording and possibility a picture, and then you’re done! Your design then can be downloaded to your computer and used however you need it. Now, you can pay a monthly fee for access to more images, design layouts, and different fonts, but we have found the free version is sufficient enough for those not focused on design details.
Another website that offers design layouts at a monthly premium is Venngage. Originally this website was created so users can easily design infographics, but they recently branched out to include flyers, presentations, reports, whitepapers, and all forms of digital and print advertising. Since you get what you pay for, our Marketing Department has found that this website is easier to use and their online support is more than helpful when developing your advertising pieces.
These two websites I highly recommend if you’re looking for an easy solution to start your own advertising. The prefilled designs make it easier than ever to create something quickly to get out to the public. However, if you’re feeling creative, then you can always build your own advertising pieces. Check out our previous blog post, “Posting On Social Media…” for details on how you can develop your designing skills.
Boost Your Post
If you’re posting your advertising piece on Facebook and you want to get that information out to more people than your followers then you can “boost” your post. A boosted post is an ad that you create from your post on your Facebook page and according to Facebook, “boosting a post may help you get more people to react, share and comment on your post as well as reach new people that might be interested in your personal page or business, but don’t currently follow you.” Of course, this feature is not free, but you can adjust the cost to what you can afford and set the specific demographics of people you want your post to show up in front of. Check out Facebook’s help page for more information on Boosted Posts.
Posting Ads on Social Media
Now, boosted posts are different than purchasing ad space on Facebook. Unless you’re not frequent to social media newsfeeds, then you’ll probably notice that every four posts you’ll see an advertisement from a company or business. Advertising on Facebook or any other social media is expensive but you can really customize what you want out of your advertising such as: who you want to reach, when you want to reach your audience, what kind of ad you want to build, and even ways to collect data on clicks. With more features like this, advertising on social media sounds complicated, but it can give you the greatest turnaround with obtaining new potential clients from an extremely targeted group of people.
Outside of social media, another way to connect with clients and potential clients is through email newsletters. Newsletters are a form of advertising that is more indirect; basically it’s advertising without advertising. By using this form of indirect marketing your business is in front of your clients (or potential clients) once or twice a month but a newsletter is not a blatant advertisement of your business. Instead, keep the information in your newsletter to articles about healthcare, financial advice, or maybe a good dinner recipe. Now, in this same newsletter be sure to also include your contact information for your business plus links to your website and social media pages, but that’s not the main objective. With indirect marketing (like a monthly newsletter) your business will be in your client’s or potential client’s minds until they need your services.
How To Create A Newsletter
Newsletters are not as difficult to build as you think. There are easy to use online services that can help you create monthly emails with drag and drop features making your newsletter informative and eye-catching. Some online emailing services that our Marketing Department recommends are MailChimp, Constant Contact and Robly, but there are plenty of other services out there for you to choose from. Typically these services come at a monthly premium, but that cost is worth it since your email templates are saved online so you don’t have to recreate your design every time you send out a new email newsletter. Plus these online services will store your client’s emails so you don’t have to type in all your client’s email addresses every month. However, make sure you only email clients or potential clients that have given you permission to email. These newsletters are connected to your individual email account and if too many people report an email as “spam” or “junk” you could end up having your other emails blacklisted from reaching anyone’s inbox. So I encourage you to slowly build a good list of emails from people want to receive your monthly email newsletters and updates. With these online services and a good email list it’s safer and easier to touch base with your clients once a month to stay in their minds and increase client retention.
The hardest part of Digital Marketing is getting started because this process can be overwhelming to add on to your day to day schedule. My suggestion is to start with one piece of the digital marketing I suggested above and then move on to another. The easiest way to start is by creating a social media page and business page. That’s free to you and it gives you an immediate online presence where potential clients can find you. From there you can move on to creating a website (if you don’t have one already) and once you have that established then start advertising (Social Media Boosts, Online Ads, Newsletters).
What are you waiting for? Get started with your Digital Marketing and push your business to the next level increasing your overall business and client retention.
As a member of the Marketing Department here at Senior Benefit Services the number one question we hear from new agents calling in is, “do you have any leads?” Well, the honest answer is “no, I don’t have any leads in my back pocket.” However, we do have suggestions on how to obtain leads. Our Marketers always strongly encourage creating a Social Media presence (preferably Facebook, but more on that later), creating a website, sending direct mailers, or obtaining a mailing list for your area for door knocking. Perhaps you like cold calling? …that’s true for almost no one.
The point is there are ways to obtain leads, but the best way to continue your success with new business is to always ask for …referrals! But many agents simply don’t ask for referrals leaving potential business on the table. You worked so hard to get the leads in front of you that are now your clients, so you might as well ask if they know others that could use your help. A lot of agents get caught up because they don’t know HOW to ask for referrals. If this is a problem for you below are a few pointers to keep in mind when asking for referrals.
Maybe you know to ask for referrals but trying to figure out an appropriate time can be difficult. Getting a compliment from your client is a good clue that they are willing to share your business information with friends and family. If you receive a compliment for your service quickly respond with a “thank you” followed by a referral request. For example, “I’m so pleased you’re happy with my work. Do you know anyone else who can benefit from my services?” Take notice of the question here… “Anyone else who can benefit from my services” …this makes the lead much more approachable since you’re not demanding for new people but instead asking how you can help. If your client can think of someone that can benefit then make sure to hand them 3 business cards, 1 for them and 2 for friends or family members. It’s important to not pressure them into handing over names and phone numbers on the spot. By having them contact the referral first, it gives them a chance to share their positive experience, rather than you cold calling your client’s friend. If they’re not comfortable with referring someone then how about asking for a testimonial for the service you provided. And it never hurts to leave behind the extra business cards if they change their mind.
You won’t receive a bunch of referrals by asking one client. You need to ask every client that you meet and that are happy with the service you provided. Make it a habit to “ask” and incorporate it into your talking points with your client. Before you let your client walk out the door make a point to say something along the lines of “I appreciate you taking the time to see me today. Here’s my card and 2 more for anyone that you think might benefit from meeting with me as well.” This simple referral conversation will eventually become second nature to you at the end of every appointment.
Incorporate a Web Presence
There’s more to referrals than just asking for them face to face. More seniors, especially the Baby Boomers, are using technology to contact a business or service. If you’re an agent that does most of your sales over the phone or you forget to ask your client directly for referrals during the appointment, you can always follow up in an email to make sure they are satisfied with the service you provided and in the process, ask if they would refer your business to others. Again, have them consider writing a testimonial for you to post on your website. Or they could write a review at their leisure on Facebook, Google, or even Yelp.
I previously mentioned that Facebook is a great place to connect with clients. Turns out it’s the most popular social network among seniors and consistently growing every year since 2012. So it might be an advantage to create a Facebook business profile for clients to easily contact you and make connections instantly with client referrals online. Think of your Facebook page as a digital business card that you can instantly send out to potential new clients. If your clients have Facebook as well, why not ask for a photo? Snap a quick shot of you with your happy clients, and then share it on your business Facebook page. Tell them to be on the lookout for their post and to “like it” or “comment” on their photo. When they do this they’ll be referring you to all their Facebook friends because the photo you posted will now show up in their friends’ news feeds as well.
Recognize and THANK Your Referral Sources
This should seem obvious to do, but many agents forget about this crucial step. If you have a referral, and especially if you receive business from this referral, make sure to write a “thank you” to your client. You could also send them a small gift of appreciation, such as a $5 gift card to Starbucks for a cup of coffee. This small gesture will show how much you appreciate your client and the business they provided. Plus it will give your client the incentive to give you additional referrals in the future. Be sure to include some extra business cards attached to the note and gift card as well!
From what we’ve seen time and time again in the field referrals are the BEST ways to obtain more leads and increase your business. Give these suggestions a try and let us know how it’s worked out for you. If you have your own advice on how to obtain more quality leads feel free to share in the comments below!
If you found this article helpful, please share a link and our contact information with any of your colleagues! (See what we did there?)
- Katie, Sehl. “27 Facebook Demographics That Matter to Marketers in 2020.” Hootsuite Social Media Management, 20 Dec. 2019, blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-demographics/.
- Inc.com Staff. “How to Get Customer Referrals.” Inc.com N.p.,27 Aug. 2010. Web
- Silverstein, Ray. “Get More Referrals by Asking.” Entrepreneur. N.p., n.d. Web.