Part two of two posts on insurance & employee benefits agency marketing messaging.

In the first part of this series on agency messaging, I talked about the changing consumer needs and how your business message needs to keep pace. If you haven’t yet read it, you should stop here, read the first part, and then come back to finish this.

Read part one of agency marketing messaging: Insurance Agencies - Your Clients & Prospects Don't Care How Long You’ve Been in Business.

Hopefully you've done the take-away assignment, and you’ve looked at your own materials. Maybe you're thinking that all of this is just garbage that doesn’t apply to your business, or that insurance agencies don’t need to spend money and time on marketing?

Let’s explore a little further. Try these two messages, and see for yourself. Take on the role of that business owner with 100 employees who's seeing some engagement and turnover issues. We'll call him Tom. If you were Tom, a business owner looking for someone to be a business partner/solution provider/trusted advisor, who would you want to contact?

  • With roots back to 1923, Ye Old Agency is an independent organization with licensed insurance agents. We’re here to help you! Call us for a quote today.
  • Motivated employees drive a successful company and its profits. Engage your team, and improve your results with a Fresh Perspective Benefits Program. Connect with us on Facebook and see what others have to say about it!

(These are real agency messages I pulled from web sites.)

Ye Old Agency is sitting comfortably in their office hoping that consumers look in the phone book to find a local agent – because that’s how people shop for insurance, right?

No, that is an era past, and that type of model and marketing need to be part of the bygone era, as well. The year your agency got started does not earn you new business. If you're focusing on that, you're wasting valuable time and real estate that could otherwise be used helping Tom understand why he needs to be working with you.

If this might sound a bit like your agency, you’re probably thinking that you should be running out and hiring a marketing firm about now. But not yet. You’ve got some other work to do first.

Step One:

You need a clear vision of what your business really is all about. Because it’s not about you anymore. It’s about your clients and what they need.

Start with a business consultant who can help you get a fresh perspective on your business. You need to look at what you currently offer clients and compare it to what businesses are actively seeking today. Set a vision for where you want to go, and draw up plans for how to develop your business model and company culture to get you there. And it’s quite likely that you’ll have to change your business model to some degree.

Step Two:

Spend money to hire a marketing firm. This is not a do-it-yourself project. Now it’s time to bring in the marketing and branding folks. You need to give the marketing team a solid understanding of who you are as an organization and what you do for clients. A good marketing message should be focused around capturing the audience’s attention by solving a need. Ask yourself, “What business needs does our company solve for clients?” You should be able to clearly articulate that answer to your marketing firm. And being able to clearly communicate it begins with a rock solid understanding of your business.

A good marketing and web development firm should take you through a comprehensive process to understand what you're trying to communicate. They should have the guidance and suggestions to help you craft your messages and web presence to support your new client-centered business model.

Having your company history on your website is fine - great even when done well. However, it should not be the front-and-center focus. Give people the information they need to understand your business model first. And then, if they're interested they can read more about your company. People are often interested in how you got started and what path you've taken, however, you should keep it brief and engaging. Paragraphs of details about the time lines of ownership and location changes, logo explanations, and personal histories are best kept in a company journal. It's interesting information for your team, but not likely for your potential clients.

Agencies are often family businesses or businesses that feel like family. And what’s more important than family? Right? Yes, that’s true within the family. But for those wanting to do business with you, it’s just not about your family. Instead it’s about them and their family.

Bottom line: Your message should be a modern story, front and center on your site, or other marketing material, that talks about your business model and what it does for the client.


Photo by Ryan Hoard.

Defining Your Business Brand