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An Insurance Agent's Complete Guide to Generating More Leads

Lead Generation
Feb 3, 2022
minute read
Nectar Team
An Insurance Agent's Complete Guide to Generating More Leads

In the insurance industry, clients are everything. Without them, you can't grow your business or succeed. Even for an established agency, discovering new leads is hard work. As a new insurance agent, trying to obtain leads and get your agency off the ground can feel downright daunting.

To make matters worse, many potential customers aren't actively looking for insurance products. They may not know they need insurance or think that it's a necessity. For some, the thought of planning for the inevitable (or potentially devastating events) can be uncomfortable, so they put off looking for the products they need to protect their families.

How are you supposed to get clients and grow your insurance agency if people aren't actively looking for what you have to offer? Let's take a look at how you can generate more leads and become a successful insurance agent.

Find a Niche Within the Insurance World

Finding good leads starts with deciding on what products you'll sell. There are many types of insurance out there, and it's tempting to offer as many products as possible to gain as many customers as you can. Instead, consider first filling a specific niche within the insurance world. Focus on one area of insurance and become its expert. You're likely to find more success this way than if you try to cover all areas of the industry.

Independent insurance agents that specialize in niches within the industry have a leg up on the competition. They're able to increase their targeted leads and referrals, improve their retention rates, and boost their competitiveness.

When you specialize in one area, it allows you to dig deeper. You can get a better understanding of the issues facing your customers. As a result, it allows you to figure out the best ways to solve those problems and provide effective solutions, including specialized coverage they might need.

Sell Multiple Products

While focusing on a niche is valuable, you shouldn’t limit yourself to selling only those things within your area of expertise. Expand your offerings and consider selling personal, business, and life insurance products if you can. Doing so will help you attract more leads, broaden your customer base exponentially, and allow for cross-selling opportunities.

One way to do this is to become a “T-shaped” insurance agent. What this means is that you have expertise or depth of knowledge in one to three main areas of insurance (this is the vertical line of the “T”) and general knowledge of others (the horizontal line of the “T”). You might not be an expert in these areas, but you know enough about them to sell them and provide your customers the service they need.

Offering multiple product options benefits your business and your potential clients. There's a good chance that they need more than one type of insurance. If you have other items they need, they'll probably be more interested when you reach out and stick with you once they commit. Having a "one-stop shop" is convenient for them and broadens your opportunities to find good leads.

Increase Your Digital Marketing Efforts

National brands have saturated the insurance industry, and that makes it difficult for local insurance agencies and independent agents to get noticed. How are shoppers supposed to find you when big-name businesses are everywhere?

While traditional methods of marketing and word-of-mouth advertising have their place, you have to think beyond those channels. When people need anything these days, their first instinct is to turn to the internet. 

Shoppers looking for insurance products perform online searches to find companies and compare rates quickly. This means that an up-to-date digital marketing strategy is a must. With the right tactics, your insurance agency can stand out from both national and local competition. 

Let's look at a few ways to enhance your digital marketing efforts to be a successful insurance agent in 2022.

Build a Good Website

In the internet age, a website is non-negotiable. It's fundamental to your success. Business research from SCORE shows that 97% of consumers search for products and services online nowadays. A website gives them an easy way to find you and provide information about what you offer.

It's not just about having a website, though. Your website should be functional, user-friendly, and visually appealing. It should boast well-written copy, high-quality images, and useful information. These attributes boost your legitimacy in the eyes of any visitor and help you stand out.

Create Valuable Content

Don't think of your website as only a sales tool for attracting leads, though. Use it as a free resource for your current and potential customers. Include a blog and offer educational content that helps visitors better understand insurance and its place in their lives. Research shows that offering helpful content (also known as content marketing) can build trust with your audience, capture more leads, and improve conversions.

Plan for SEO

If you do the first two things above, you're already building a strong foundation for search engine optimization (SEO). This term is ubiquitous nowadays, and it refers to a wide array of methods you can use to rank higher in web search results so people can find you. 

Google uses complex algorithms to determine what web pages rank high in its search results. Despite the complexity, though, SEO generally comes down to factors such as effective keyword use, useful and informative content, page load times, and mobile optimization. As an insurance agent, don't neglect to learn about these important factors so you can optimize your site.

Keep in mind, too, that you'll want to think locally about your SEO. Make sure your website has complete information about your agency's contact info, location, and hours so you can rank in localized searches on Google Maps.

Be Strategic With Pay-Per-Click Ads

Although the organic traffic you earn from SEO is critical, it's still beneficial to supplement it with paid traffic. According to Google, every $1 you spend on pay-per-click (PPC) ads will generate $2 in return on average. With PPC advertising, you choose the keywords you can afford to bid on and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You set a budget, and when you hit it, your ad stops showing. It gives you a lot of control so you can ensure you're only paying for insurance leads who actually visit your website.

Engage Your Audience On Social Media

When you're planning your digital marketing efforts, it's also important to think outside the bounds of your website. The Pew Research Center has found that more than 70% of Americans use some type of social media today, so it's a critical place for you to find and connect with insurance leads.

Using social media extends and expands your online presence and gives you another outlet for sharing helpful content and putting your agency in front of potential customers. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, so take time to learn about the best ways to use each one.

Use Email Marketing

Social media may be rising in popularity, but that doesn't mean email is dead. In fact, email remains one of the most important forms of digital marketing. According to research by SaleCycle, 59% of consumers said marketing emails influence their purchasing decisions.

Email marketing is highly customizable, and it's easy to analyze your results with most email marketing services. You can grow your email list over time and segment it into different types of customers so you can target the right audience with special offers, newsletters, and more. It's a great way to generate interest in the educational insurance content you're already creating for your blog, too.

Don't Ignore Tried-and-True Marketing Methods

Despite the prevalence of digital marketing, it's still important to invest in older forms of marketing, too.

It's no secret where the big national insurance companies are advertising. Turn on the TV for 20 minutes and you're bound to see a few insurance ads. Not only that, but major players like Allstate, Progressive, and GEICO have all upped their spending on radio ads in recent years. You may not have the budget to compete with their level of ad production, but you can compete as a local source for insurance expertise and personalized service.

Don't rule out more targeted forms of traditional marketing, either. Flyers, door hangers, and direct mail are all great ways to get your name and face out in the community by targeting your local area.

Try Some Cold-Calling

Let's face it: Cold-calling doesn't have the best reputation. Many insurance agents would rather try selling insurance to their dogs than get on the phone and start dialing. But cold-calling still has a place in your lead-generation repertoire, and it can still be effective. Research from RAIN Group found that, in general, 82% of buyers appreciate proactive sales approaches like cold calls and will accept meetings when you reach out.

That being said, you must learn how to make cold calls effectively. Auto-dialers can drastically speed up the process, and it's helpful to have a few scripts handy so you're ready for various types of responses.

Consider Some Old-Fashioned Networking

With the world going digital and everyone hopping on social media, people in various industries, including insurance, often forget about good old-fashioned face-to-face networking. No amount of technology can replace networking with others in the real world. It helps to build meaningful relationships that can lead to opportunities.

There are plenty of places where you can network. Attend professional events in your area and trade business cards with attorneys, CPAs, mortgage brokers, and real estate agents. Connect with local community service organizations such as a VFW or rotary club. By meeting with other professionals in similar industries, you can make valuable connections that may bring more clients your way.

No matter where you go to meet with others, be sure to carry plenty of business cards. Keep your ear open for opportunities to introduce yourself and your business and share your expertise.

Even if people aren't interested in or in need of the products you're offering, they're likely to remember you down the line. They may also recommend you to someone else that they know if you provide them with solid, helpful advice.

The key to being successful here is listening more and speaking less. Don't just dive into these events with your sales pitch queued up. Listen first to get a better understanding of a potential insurance customer's needs. Pay attention to their questions and concerns so you can guide them toward the products you offer that will benefit them the most.‌

Get Active in Your Community

Beyond professional networking, it's important to actively participate in your community. Visit some local meetup groups that interest you personally. Attend local trade shows, board meetings, chamber of commerce meetings, and charity events.

Volunteering with a local nonprofit organization is another great way to make connections and engage your employees. At the same time, it can help make your agency the go-to when someone mentions insurance.

Along with volunteering for a nonprofit, take part in local events. Attend fairs, fundraisers, charity races, and sporting events. Offer to be a sponsor for an event and set up a booth. The more active you are, the more your name gets in front of the people who live in your community. When they need what you have to offer, your name will likely be one of the first that comes to mind.

You might also consider joining local social media groups and discussion forums. Don't just advertise there, though. Listen and become a part of the conversation. Participate and share your expertise. You can even consider hosting your own insurance webinars or Q&A sessions as a way to engage people in the community who show a deeper level of interest.

Remember, you have valuable expertise to share. By contributing your knowledge and getting involved in your community, you'll have the opportunity to grow your connections and your reputation as an insurance industry thought leader.

Get Referrals

Word-of-mouth advertising is still incredibly effective. HubSpot research shows that 81% of people trust advice from their friends and family more than from businesses, It's always better for new prospects to hear it from a close friend than from you.

That's why referrals are a great way to obtain new clients and grow your insurance business. One of the best ways to do this is through partnerships with other small businesses and professionals in your area that offer complementary services.

For example, if you have an auto insurance agency, connect with car dealerships and salespeople that can refer new car buyers to you for their car insurance needs. If you sell homeowners insurance, a real estate office can connect you with home buyers. Likewise, landlords can refer their tenants to you if you sell renters insurance. Don't make this one-sided — offer incentives to these other business owners in exchange for their referrals.

Another option to consider is directly requesting referrals from your current clients. To make your request a little more appealing, you can create referral programs offering existing clients rewards or incentives for referring new customers to your agency. Before you implement an incentive system, make sure that you check your local laws to ensure it's legal to do so. You can easily find these laws through a quick Google search.

Nurture Relationships With Your Clients

Ultimately, insurance is a business built on relationships. You're selling products that relate to highly personal and sensitive aspects of your clients' lives. If they don't feel you know them and have their best interests at heart, you're not likely to last long selling insurance.

When you build and maintain relationships with your clients over time, they'll be more likely to renew their policies and refer you to new leads. Watch for important life changes on social media and reach out to clients when you haven't touched base in a while. Take notes on their interests and find ways to connect with them.

Work for a Company That Generates Its Own Leads

Some insurance agents get their leads directly from the company they work for. Many large insurance companies hand out a steady stream of leads to their agents. They do this on the theory that it'll make their agents more productive, resulting in a win-win.

Getting leads from your company can be a big advantage, and it's a huge incentive for many agents, especially if you're a new agent and not yet confident in your ability to generate good leads.

When your business gives you a regular flow of warmed-up, qualified leads, you can stop worrying about hunting for prospects, and you can focus your energy on what you do best — connecting with people, answering their questions, and matching them with the best plan for their needs.

Of course, the system doesn't always work perfectly. Before you sign up with a company that promises you a steady flow of leads, check to see whether those leads are truly fresh and valuable. All too often, companies hand out the same tired leads to all the new agents they hire. If your prospects have already been called by a string of other agents, it's no wonder they aren't responsive when you call them.

Keep in mind that some companies also reduce agents' commissions in return for handing out a flow of leads. That trade-off might make sense for you, especially if you're new to the job and still developing your sales ability. But if you're an experienced insurance agent, you might prefer to receive a more sizeable commission in return for generating your own leads.

Evaluate Your Marketing Bandwidth

When you generate your own leads, you automatically build and strengthen your existing relationships with customers — and that'll benefit your business in the long run. Doing your own marketing is also a great way to brand yourself since your customers will feel that they really know you.

At the same time, bear in mind that marketing is a complex process. Chances are that if you're an insurance agent, you're already an excellent salesperson. But having great sales skills doesn't necessarily mean you'll be successful at marketing.

Marketing is a complex undertaking, especially when you're using social media, email, and a website. It's easy to get overwhelmed, and it can be hard to tell whether you're on the right track with your marketing efforts. 

Besides, marketing tends to take up a lot of time and energy. If you can't afford to put constant effort into marketing yourself, you could end up with just a trickle of leads — or worse, no leads at all. That's where a lead-generation service can be helpful.

Purchase Leads When Needed

With hundreds of insurance companies each looking for new clients, it can feel like a monumental task to carve out a segment in the market for your new business. Additionally, some agencies may not be able to generate enough of their own leads to scale their businesses.

Fortunately, there's something you can do. Purchasing leads is a popular solution that new insurance agents can use to kickstart successful agencies. It's also a reliable way for established companies to supplement their existing lead-generation tactics.

If you're thinking about purchasing leads to grow your insurance company, look for a partner that sources all of its leads from its very own websites. Avoid insurance lead aggregators. Aggregators sell leads to multiple agents, meaning you have more competition. Leads from these types of services often get overwhelmed or frustrated by the sheer number of calls they receive from various agents.

When purchasing leads, you want a trustworthy partner that generates quality leads and provides them to you and you alone. Good lead generation companies do more than offer exclusive leads. They also have:

  • A way to filter leads: The ability to filter leads allows you to find potential clients that are an excellent fit for your agency.
  • An excellent return policy: Quality lead generation companies do everything they can to filter out bad leads. If one slips through, they'll offer a great return policy or credit your account.
  • No contracts: Great lead generation companies don't require you to sign a lengthy contract that could be difficult to escape if you are unsatisfied with their service.
  • A self-service online portal: With an online portal, you can sign up at any time. You're not limited to regular business hours, nor do you have to deal with salespeople over the phone. You can do everything quickly, online, and on your time.‍

Do What Works Best for You

Building a successful insurance agency takes hard work and perseverance. It also takes creativity and a lot of trial and error. When it comes to getting your business off the ground, running, and growing, remember this: Do what works best for you.

The truth is that there's no single formula that you can follow to become a successful agent. What works well for one insurance company may not work for another. You may need to try a few different approaches, and that's OK. You may also find that a combination of strategies provides you with the best results.

Which strategy (or strategies) to take really depends on your agency and your target market. Some growth opportunities are going to work better for you than others depending on your market, competition, sales style, niche, and targeting.

Partner With Nectar To Grow Your Business

Regardless of the insurance industry that you represent, Nectar can connect you directly with the shoppers you're looking for in a way that will help you grow your business. Nectar connects health, Medicare, and life insurance shoppers with your business by matching what they're looking for with what you have to offer.

Nectar doesn't buy third-party leads to resell to you. Nectar is a lead generator, producing high-quality insurance leads for its customers. Nectar offers real-time insurance leads to provide you with prospects who are actively shopping for insurance.

Overall, Nectar creates a better experience for you and your shoppers. Are you looking to generate quality leads for your insurance agency? Sign up with Nectar today and get started with growing your business!

This article reflects the features of Nectar as of the date of publication. Features are subject to change at any time. This article is meant for informational purposes only, it is not a guarantee that using Nectar will help you achieve specific business or financial results and is not intended to serve as the sole recommendation for any business financial decisions.

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