When it comes to partnering with other companies, what does your insurance business have in common with sharks and remoras or aphids and ants? Like these and other creatures, the organism of your business can benefit from symbiotic relationships.
Just as a remora keeps a shark clean and the shark helps feed the remora, when you partner with another business, you can enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. It’s called affinity — or partnership — marketing, and it’s a powerful way to market your insurance business with limited risk. Read on to learn more about affinity marketing, how it works, and some affinity marketing ideas to help you get started.
Affinity marketing involves a business partnering with another organization in a way that enables both entities to benefit, sometimes without either party getting paid any fees up front. Typically, in the affinity marketing model, at least one business gains access to the products or services of the other in exchange for exposure to a wider customer base.
In this way, affinity marketing is the closest thing the business world has to a symbiotic relationship: Both parties benefit without either one having to significantly alter its existing business model.
While affinity marketing is common in the business world, here’s one of the simplest and most famous examples to make it easy to understand how this model works. In 2017, J.P. Morgan Chase partnered with Amazon, and this is how their affinity marketing model was structured:
J.P. Morgan Chase provided a credit card for Amazon customers that was branded as an Amazon.com rewards Visa card. Amazon was then able to offer this rewards card to its customers, making it easier for them to purchase Amazon products online. Easier purchases, in turn, bolstered Amazon’s revenue stream.
Meanwhile, J.P. Morgan Chase gained access to Amazon’s expansive customer base, reaping the rewards in the form of more credit card customers, some of whom would end up paying interest fees, which boosted J.P. Morgan Chase’s profits.
In the end, both parties benefitted: Amazon made the purchasing process more convenient for its customers and J.P. Morgan Chase gained access to more potential credit card contracts.
As with all affinity marketing arrangements, the key is to keep it simple and make the benefits crystal-clear for both parties. This makes it easier for anyone you meet with to present the partnership to other stakeholders. They should be able to explain the basics in 30 seconds or less.
Simplicity also eases the explanation process on your end. Whether you run your own agency or work for someone else, there may be other folks who have to weigh in on the decision.
Here’s a simple way to structure an affinity marketing partnership as an insurance agent.
Your company provides specialized insurance options that are custom-designed to meet the needs of your partner’s customers. This may be a relatively straightforward matter of choosing the right price points for certain kinds of coverage. On the other hand, you may have to create custom packages designed to suit that specific kind of customer.
You get a stream of new customers that need your insurance offering, as well as increased awareness of your services and branding.
Their customers get specialized insurance that is a perfect fit for their needs. This is more attractive than simply grabbing general insurance that may or may not take the details of their situation into account. In this way, the other business’s customers can feel more comfortable making a purchase. At the same time, the business looks great because it seems like it's taking a personal interest in the long-term value of the customer’s purchase.
Insurance agents can benefit from affinity marketing in a variety of ways, particularly because the vast majority of consumers need at least one form of insurance.
Partnerships with car dealers may produce a strong stream of new customers and leads, particularly because many car buyers still need insurance as they’re looking around the showroom floor. The kinds of customers you can expect fall into two basic categories:
Regardless of how satisfied a customer is with their current provider, some may be willing to switch because you offer coverage options their old provider doesn’t. For example, perhaps you offer rental reimbursement insurance but their old insurance either didn’t offer it (or they didn’t know it was an option). Or maybe you provide GAP insurance, and a driver who didn’t have it is on the lot going through the process of replacing their vehicle. Your offering could be just what they need to put their mind at ease.
Insurance may not be the first thing on the minds of those walking into an auto repair shop, but the safety and resilience of their vehicle are. Your insurance plans can help give them peace of mind during what is often a stressful time.
For instance, suppose someone has been going to the same shop over and over again, each episode stemming from a different issue with their car. A new vehicle is looking better and better. But they fear the effect of a new car on their insurance premiums. With the right advertising collateral, such as a small brochure, leaflet, or poster, you can present them with some attractive options.
You can also include QR codes on marketing assets positioned in the repair shop’s lobby. The QR code can direct prospects to a specific area of your website featuring the option that may address their most pressing needs.
To get even more niche, some repair shops tend to service vintage or antique vehicles. If your company offers what’s sometimes called “classic car” insurance, you can appeal to their need to take care of their precious baby. In this way, they don’t have to worry about a fender bender a month before a big car show or meet-up.
Auto accessory shops can be fertile ground for a fruitful affinity marketing relationship, particularly because their patrons tend to be people who are personally invested in their vehicles. Auto accessory enthusiasts often spend thousands of dollars keeping their vehicles in tip-top shape, adding performance upgrades, safety features, and aesthetic additions year after year.
The next logical step is to insure their investment. While structuring your offering for a partnership with an auto performance outfit, you can focus on packages that promote:
New home buyers need insurance, so partnering with the following can result in considerable new business:
In addition, your options for affinity marketing for home insurance offerings are especially diverse because homeowners frequent a wide range of businesses as they care for their investment. You may consider big box DIY retailers, smaller hardware stores, paint stores, kitchen shops, and others.
Another potentially lucrative option for an affinity marketing partnership would be with a popular remodeling contractor. As homeowners invest several thousand dollars into upgrading kitchens, living rooms, dens, bathrooms, and more, they may feel a need to protect their investment. As an insurance agent, you can target this market by crafting packages — with the consent of other company stakeholders — that meet these unique needs.
For example, you could digitize an element of the partnership by using the contractor’s estimate of the future value of the home to inform the kind of coverage the customer would need. The contractor could simply enter it into an online form that gets sent to you. Then, instead of sitting there, awkwardly, as the customer tries to guess how much coverage they need after upgrading their home, you can have the figure right there on your computer screen.
An affinity marketing partnership is a great way to tap into new markets and spread the word about your insurance business. While forming a partnership — and reaping the rewards — may take some time, you can get high-quality leads from Nectar right now. Nectar vets your leads for you, allowing you to decide which kinds of customers you want forwarded to you. Learn more by connecting with Nectar today.
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.