Independent insurance agents can't overlook the value of word-of-mouth marketing. When you build up a client base, and that foundation trusts the insights you provide, they are likely to send friends and family your way.
Getting word-of-mouth marketing for your insurance business is a slow process that sparks long-term gains. It starts with one client, a seed you plant and nurture over a long period. As the seed grows into a full plant, it will spread its seeds over time, helping you build your business bit by bit.
Word-of-mouth marketing, when done right, can be the most valuable component of your growth as an insurance agent. Let's look at how it works — and what you can do to encourage it.
Word-of-mouth marketing, or referral marketing, is extremely powerful. A recent report found that 74% of all consumers saw word-of-mouth as a key influence in their decision to purchase a product or service. On top of that, 71% of folks who have a great service experience will talk about it and recommend it to someone else. These numbers show emphatically why insurance agents must put a premium on word-of-mouth marketing.
Consumers face endless advertising blitzes when shopping for insurance. Social media platforms, search engine results, and TV commercials provide limitless insurance options, but who do consumers trust? A full 92% of all global consumers trust word-of-mouth over general advertising. When you can get your clients talking positively in social settings about your services, you can set yourself apart from the competition.
What potential clients read and learn from friends about your offerings makes a world of difference in whether they contact you. If they are referred to you, online reviews supporting the referral can give them further justification to pursue your services.
Word-of-mouth marketing continues to stand the test of time, even with so many new ways to get in front of consumers. Most folks have smartphones, laptops, tablets, and a variety of other devices connecting and exposing them to advertising, reviews, and more. Word-of-mouth marketing continues to break the barrier of technology, providing individuals with a trustworthy source that rises above the noise.
Customer service will always be the driving force behind successful word-of-mouth marketing efforts. Whenever you gain a client, you need to think of them as more than just a single point of business or sale. Any new client you bring in is a potential launching pad to 10 more clients. It all comes down to how you treat each new client you add to your book of business. If the foundation is solid, continuing to add layers on top is easier.
Approach word-of-mouth marketing in a number of ways that go beyond that foundation of customer service, as well. You can utilize a buzz marketing approach, creating excitement around your offering. You can also create content that drives referrals by being a reliable resource and asking thought-provoking questions. With over 50% of the world’s population active on social media, that's an outlet you can't ignore if you want to connect with your clients' connections.
What are some of the tactics you can take to generate more referrals? You have a set of clients, but how can you bring them to take action on your behalf and help you grow your business? Here are six ways you can encourage referrals among your client base.
Referrals start with existing client relationships. You need to crawl before you can walk. In the same sense, you need a set of clients to build relationships with before they can start to bring any referrals your way. People talk to one another about products and services they buy, news they hear, and more. The better your relationship with your clients and the more value your services add, the more fruitful the referrals will be.
Word-of-mouth marketing can take place anywhere. Insurance agents should never limit themselves to where referrals come from. You have classic word-of-mouth via direct phone calls and outreach, but social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are also valuable. Even newer platforms like TikTok can provide unique ways to connect with clients and also bring in word-of-mouth from what you offer.
Connecting with clients on social media does not mean running endless social media ads. It's about connecting with your existing clients and communicating across their networks to reach new ones. For example, you may have an existing client that asks a question on Facebook about insurance. You, as their insurance agent, comment on their question with a thoughtful answer. That individual's network now sees the interaction between the two of you, and anyone who sees could become more likely to reach out to you for insurance needs in the future. This type of dotted line referral is all possible just by connecting with your clients in the social arena.
Engage your clients and be a trustworthy resource. As an agent, you need to own and take responsibility for your own brand. According to a study by Facebook, 80% of individuals shopping for insurance were influenced by friends and family. When consumers perceive you as a trustworthy source for insurance, they’ll recommend you, and the clients will follow.
You become trustworthy by taking care of your clients, one individual at a time. As you meet each client's needs, your reputation and brand grow in your favor. Be trustworthy, open, honest, and reliable, and your clients will be certain to speak your praises in their inner circles.
To provide the level of customer service that will drive word-of-mouth marketing, you must be active, present, and available. What does this mean? The more you interact with your existing clients and connect with what's going on in their lives outside of the insurance policy relationship, the better the connection will be. You need to be a resource for the needs of your clients. When they know you are available and always there to help, they’ll likely send others in your direction.
There is no harm in walking your clients through a referral process. It could that they do not know how to send one of their friends or family in your direction. Enable them by providing your contact information and reminding them that you're always taking referrals. Let them know you would love to help out their friends and family if anyone is in the market. Make it clear to them you are active, present, and available for anyone in their network's needs with the same excellent service.
Unique content is one of the most valuable ways to improve your word-of-mouth marketing. If you have an interesting thought on the insurance industry, get it out on social media platforms and in front of clients. Get people talking and provoke thoughts, questions, and interest. It's all about engagement and creating content that adds value for your customers.
Some examples of content you could craft and publish to help existing clients and new clients include:
The more discussion you can generate with your clients, the better!
You may also incentivize your existing customer base, offering them something in exchange for a referral. For instance, you could help your existing clients who bring in referrals with a discount on their next policy renewal. Gift cards and other rewards can also incentivize referrals. Free referrals are always welcome from your most loyal customers, but until those come, adding some incentive might be the spark that gets your clients sending referrals your way.
As an insurance agent, it's important to remember that you can't build your brand overnight. It will take a lot of work to build up a client network, establish relationships, and architect your brand to bring word-of-mouth leads your way. It's a long process, but focusing on referral marketing is worth the investment.
In the interim, buying leads is a great way to start making those first connections before you have word-of-mouth momentum. Nectar can connect you with real-time leads and live transfers who are ready to take the next step in their insurance-buying journey. When you have warm leads delivered right to you, you'll spend less time selling and more time nurturing each client into a long-term customer eager to tell others about you. Reach out to learn more 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.