Hope you are doing well. My name is Ben S. I just started working for an agency in Raleigh, NC doing P+C, Life and Health. This is my first experience in the industry. I have loved reading your marketing ideas and am looking forward to putting some into practice asap. Very practical.
Being 24, I am trying to be creative and ahead of the curve here in Raleigh when it comes to marketing. It’s a big city with a LOT of insurance agents so setting myself apart is key. Luckily I work for an agency with 40+ years experience. I read your article on tips for young producers.
My question is this; considering I am just starting and have very limited resources when it comes to marketing funds, what would be like 3 things you would start doing to set yourself apart?
There are so many ways to market but I’d really like to focus my attention on 3 different ideas (to start) and really do them well. My principal is awesome and willing to support me, but I don’t want to rely on him too much to financially support me.
Hopefully that question makes sense. You seem to really get it so any wisdom you can pass along would be fantastic. Thanks John! Have a great day.
Thanks for asking a really great question! I’m sure there are plenty of good answers to a question like this, but here are my top 3 ideas:
These are not “get you a sale tomorrow” ideas.
These are “make you rich in 20 years” ideas and that fits the insurance business well because you won’t get rich overnight but you can get filthy rich if you’re in it for the long haul.
1) Start a Blog
You need an online platform owned by you that can go with you anywhere you go.
It doesn’t have to be a blog but it probably should be.
Not a Facebook page or a Twitter account or even a blog on someone else’s service like Tumblr. Any of those options could be taken away or become irrelevant.
(How valuable would 20,000 friends on your MySpace page be now?)
A blog on a domain you own hosted on an account you own can go with you anywhere or to any company that you sell for in the future.
What starts today as your “insurance dude” blog could one day become your “insurance agency” website, and someday the homepage of your empire.
You’ll also learn about online marketing and even some web development the only way that works (and the same way I did): by doing it.
How Do I Get Started?
There’s only one blogging platform you should use, WordPress. And you’ll want to have it on your own website hosting account so you own the content. (not wordpress.com)
For under $10 a month you could literally have a blog setup on your own domain name within 30 minutes using a one-click WordPress install service like this one. (This link is to the site I buy domains from but there’s lots of hosting companies that offer this).
Keep your domain name as generic as possible, like just your name if it’s available or your name with the word insurance after it.
And I probably wouldn’t use the word “blog” in your domain name because it’s limiting if you want to change the focus of the site later.
(By the way, if you want my feedback about your domain name just shoot me an email, I’d be happy to help with that.)
What Should I Write About?
Make it personal and interesting.
Don’t write crap like “5 ways to save money on insurance”.
Write about your actual experiences… the stuff that happens to you in the business/insurance world. Kind of like: “This is my Life as a 24 Year Old Insurance Agent”
Write good things about other businesses and people you interact with and send them a link to the post.
Lessons learned, goals and progress toward achieving them, local business news, local business-owner interviews, business philosophy, mistakes you made and what you learned from them, personal updates.
That should get you started…
2) Build Tons of LinkedIn Connections
I know I just encouraged you not to rely on someone else’s network but in this case it’s different.
LinkedIn isn’t going anywhere in the near future and it’s so easy to build business connections and grow your local network that it’s crazy not to.
Most people view a new LinkedIn connection as a good thing because it makes them look more important to have more connections. That means every time you try to connect with someone you’re actually doing them a favor!
A huge base of connections on LinkedIn is a highly valuable asset that will follow you anywhere.
Go to every networking event you can (don’t talk about insurance) and get as many business cards as possible. Connect with the people you personally met on LinkedIn the next morning.
Connect with all your clients and the people you interact with at insurance carriers.
Connect with your neighbors, school buddies, former co-workers, current co-workers, friends, and everyone else that you know.
Once you start getting a good number of connections, start “liking” and commenting on other people’s posts. There’s not too much of that so people will definitely notice and appreciate your support.
You can also start sharing content on there yourself. Share really simple actionable stuff that could help anyone in business.
Use those LinkedIn connections to connect other people with each other. Don’t just say, “go talk to this guy”. Always make sure everyone involved knows that you were the connector.
And download the LinkedIn app for your smartphone so wherever you go you will have access to your network and the ability to easily add to it.
One More Tip:
Find someone in a similar situation as you and challenge them to see who can get more LinkedIn Connections each month.
Turning it into a game will help motivate you to ask for that connection you’re hesitant about instead of skipping it.
3) Become an Expert in Something Specific
The world is getting more connected and general information is plentiful so the need for a “general insurance agent” is shrinking.
Sorry, but it’s true.
When you become an expert on a very specific topic people from all over the world can seek out your help and even a tiny sliver of the entire world will be worth millions of dollars for you.
I know that might sound silly right now because you’re trying to sell auto and home policies to save people a few bucks but in the long term you’ll need to specialize to provide value worth paying for.
Choose either a rare type of insurance policy, an industry, or a life situation related to insurance that you find interesting and decide to be the #1 resource in the world.
For example, “Key Man Insurance”, “IT Insurance” or “Life insurance for people with colon cancer” and become an expert on it.
You might even want to start a separate website/blog about this topic, but don’t spread yourself too thin if you’re doing the other blog too.
Identify groups of people or websites that would be interested in this type of insurance/information and find ways to get in front of them, either personally or virtually.
If becoming the world’s most knowledgeable person on a specific topic scares you, remember that there is a wide spectrum when it becomes to being the expert.
You don’t have to be the world’s best; being the go-to guy within a hundred miles could take you a long long way.
Here’s What To Do Next:
1) Take the ideas I’ve presented here and create actionable specific goals for the ones you can legitimately see yourself following through with.
2) Share your goals with an accountability partner so you’re more likely to follow through.
3) And share this article with any new but ambitious insurance producers you know.
4) Oh yeah… click that like button so I know you want more material like this.
I hope this helps you,