You may be surprised how often people assume that marketing and sales are one in the same. These two very important business activities are not the same, but when conducted to their maximum potential, marketing and sales will seamlessly compliment each other.
Lets start first with the definitions:
Marketing: The systematic planning, implementation and control of business activities to bring together buyers and sellers.
Sales: A transaction between two parties where the buyer receives goods or services in exchange for money.
Seems pretty simple, right? Let’s dig a little deeper. Marketing involves analyzing the market and distributing invitational content to connect with potential clients. Some may refer to this as developing brand awareness or softening the market, as in positioning your agency to be recognized in the marketplace as a positive insurance partner. When people know and are confident in who you are and what you offer, scheduling sales meetings to pitch your company to prospective clients is often less challenging.
Here are types of marketing activities that can generate more opportunities for sales meetings and therefore, translate to closing more sales:
Online Marketing- The Internet is the invaluable marketplace through which to brand your agency and to connect with current and potential clients. Most people are familiar with Facebook, both for business and personal use. In fact, 87% of Internet users say they use Facebook to find local businesses. Being familiar with Facebook makes it an excellent place to focus your initial online efforts. When people are foraging on Facebook, make sure they can easily find your business there too! The Internet is a great place to market, but to get positive results through online marketing you will need to be diligent to your marketing plan. If this isn’t something you wish to do or have time to do, there are several online marketing agencies that can deliver the online success you are looking for.
Email Marketing- Develop a functioning database of customer emails. In fact, the email database has surpassed telephone number database in business marketing value. Always get your clients’ and potential customers’ email address into your database as early as possible. In most email marketing programs like Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, or Campaign Monitor, you can build several different lists and choose who you want to send specific marketing emails to. Review your current client list to identify interest groups within your client base. Next, create email content about topics relevant to client interest and the type of insurance you sell. Once your focused emails are in clients’ inboxes, the clients can pass good content along to friends and family to read. This process extends your exposure to people you don’t even know yet. Once you are comfortable with targeted emails to your current client base, you can expand with another list and send content to prospective clients’ email contacts, i.e. those emails you’ve gotten from referrals, trade shows, and networking groups you are in. Keeping your name and information in front of people is key. You never know when someone will be prompted to scout out different insurance options.
Networking- Building a trusted group of business colleagues who know what you do and can actively refer business connections to you is paramount. Networking groups often meet once a week or 2 times a month. Most offer exclusivity, meaning you will be the only insurance company in the room. Visit a couple of professional groups and see which one is the best fit for your goals, then join in meeting the members and telling them all about you and your services.
Look for business partnerships- Think about who you know that compliments your business or who you would likely share the same type of clients with. If you sell home insurance for instance, you may want to get to know the busy realtors in your community. If you sell life insurance, knowing estate and financial planners may be beneficial. You get the idea. Brainstorm a creative list of potential professionals to collaborate with, so you can look for specific introductions from people you know.
Referrals – Referrals are an ideal, but generally unsystematic, way to gain new business opportunities. Referrals are essentially transference of trust between a customer to their acquaintances on behalf of your business. While referrals are certainly compliments to a business, referrals alone are not likely to be enough to meet your growth objectives as a company. If that is the case for your agency, deploying additional marketing strategies may help generate the sales that you need to achieve your business goals year after year.
While many marketing avenues exist, and marketing efforts are an essential component of growing businesses, it is good to keep in mind that marketing doesn’t work overnight. Marketing should be consistent and intentional.
Your takeaway: Marketing is well worth your time and money if you strategize a quantifiable marketing plan and track the sales results.