In this post, I’m going to talk about how you can market effectively, using your time, energy and imagination, rather than a big marketing budget. This has become known as Guerrilla Marketing.
The term Guerrilla means “little war.” Guerrilla marketing, refers to employing unconventional tactics against a larger force. Guerrilla marketing is specifically geared for small to medium-sized businesses. By investing your time, energy and imagination, rather than playing by the same rules as the direct writers, you can mount a successful marketing campaign in your local markets.
Here are some guidelines for guerrilla marketers:
- In guerrilla marketing, the primary metric to measure your business is the amount of profits rather than sales.
- You should concentrate on how many new relationships are made each month.
- Instead of money, the primary investments of marketing should be time, energy, and imagination.
- Instead of concentrating only on getting new customers, aim for more referrals and more business with existing customers. In other words, use cross-selling techniques to turn single-policy clients into multi-line clients. Use the cross-selling tools built into your agency management system to sell additional products to your policyholders. As you know, retention for multi-line policyholders is greater than that for single line policyholders and increases with each additional policy you sell them. The agency management system has become the core technology for insurance agencies and is an important tool to help you with your marketing program, as I’ll discuss below.
- Forget about the competition and concentrate more on cooperating with other businesses where you have synergy. Other local businesses that provide products and services to your clients are potential marketing partners.
- You should use a combination of marketing methods in your campaigns, such as impromptu encounters, permission marketing, word-of-mouth, and social media.
- Aim your messages at individuals or small groups. The smaller the better.
- Focus on gaining the consent of the individual to send them more information, rather than just trying to immediately make the sale. This is called “permission marketing”. This builds trust and respect and makes it easier to ask customers for their business later. Your website’s consumer portal can be a great tool to help you with permission marketing.
I’m going to assume your agency has a website. If not, get one!
Beyond just having a website, to get the results you want from it, your site must be well designed, optimized and maintained. Here are ten key factors to consider in order to ensure that your website is working effectively for you:
- How readily can your agency be found on the major search engines?
- Is your website Search Engine Optimized to maximize its natural search ranking?
- Do you track and analyze traffic to your website using Google Analytics?
- What is your page ranking compared to other agencies in the local markets you serve?
- Does your site clearly present a compelling unique value proposition and reason for prospective clients to do business with you?
- Is it easy to navigate?
- Does it provide information of interest to clients in an attractive and visually appealing manner?
- How are you driving targeted traffic to your site?
- How do you capture visitors and leads and how fast do you respond?
- Considering that over 80% of insurance shoppers are going online for a quote*, can your website provide live quotes to insurance shoppers who visit your site? It’s now easy and inexpensive to add a fully-functional live comparative quoting engine to your website. Comparative Rating Systems such as QQ WebRater provide real-time comparative quotes with a marketing dashboard for lead handling, management and reporting.
So, how does the guerrilla marketer get found on the Internet? How can you drive traffic to your website? First, let’s look at search engine marketing (SEM). When conducting a search using Google, there are three types of search results that appear in the search engine results page (SERP):
- Natural, or organic search results
- Pay-per-click, or sponsored ads
- Local search results
Around 65% of clicks on Google and the other major search engines are made on natural search results (although, recent studies show this declining). Your ranking in the natural search results depends on many factors, including how many other quality websites link to your site, the relevance of your site’s content, keyword usage, how often your site’s content is updated and generally how well optimized it is.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the most cost-effective types of Internet marketing. Choosing the right search engine optimization for your website can mean the difference between ranking well and receiving tons of “free” website traffic, or being buried in the search results and no one knowing your website exists.
As I’ll discuss shortly, social networking can increase your natural search ranking and drive traffic to your site.
Pay-per-click ads can be very expensive, because on a national level, the big guys are spending an average of $38 per click to appear on the top of paid searches for car or auto insurance using Google AdWords. Don’t even try to compete with this!
Instead, concentrate on local search. Local search is the fastest growing segment of the search business. Google’s local search, called Google Places, is designed specifically for small to mid-sized businesses. Local businesses display on the search engine results page along with a locator map. Google Places is FREE and with a little time and energy on your part, you can build a local listing that appears in the top of the local search results. You can even add YouTube videos to your Google Places business profile. I’ll talk more about viral video in a minute.
Now, let’s revisit social media. In Agent & Broker’s 2010 Agency Automation Survey, 33.7% of respondents indicated they used Facebook in their marketing plans. And, that was two years ago!
Active social networking can increase your natural search ranking. So, as part of your guerrilla marketing program, if you haven’t done so already, you should set up a Facebook page for your agency and aggressively promote it and use it as a way to connect with current and new customers, generate referrals, etc. I suggest that you email every single policyholder as well as prospect, anyone with an X-date, etc., and invite them to visit your agency’s Facebook page and “like you.” Start with those customers who are the most delighted with your agency and whom you believe will share their great experience with your agency. Then, do this with every customer or prospective customer who every walked through your door, called you or visited your website, etc. This is a great way to stay “top-of-mind” with your policyholders and prospects, especially at renewal time and need cost nothing but your time.
Use your agency management system, such as QQ Evolution 2, as a customer relationship manager (CRM) to help you accomplish this. QQ Evolution 2 has great X-date reporting and reminders, cross selling reports, email blasts, and many other tools to help you with your guerrilla marketing program.
So, even with a very small budget, by using your time and imagination, you can stay top of mind with your clients and prospects and successfully compete for new business in your local market.
Please comment back with what you’re doing in your agency to market effectively and at low cost.
*source: comScore 2011 Online Auto Insurance Report