If you’re just starting your career as a licensed health insurance broker, you may be uncertain of the steps you should take to promote and market your business. Below are five ideas to get you started.
1. Make Sure You Can Be Found Online
Whether you’re a new agent or you’ve been selling insurance for years, it’s important to make sure you can be found when prospects are looking for an insurance professional. Go ahead, “Google yourself.” It may seem silly, but it’s important to know what potential customers will see if they search online for you.
How – if at all – are you showing up in a search for “insurance” and your local community? Are you in the top five? Or, number 24 in the top 25? Add a niche like “employee benefits” and search again. Do the results change? If you move up, great. If not, you have work to do.
Do you have a DBA for your business? If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a DBA (doing business as) is when your agency operates under a name other than your own. For example, if your name is John Smith (and there are already others with that name working in your community), you might choose to do business under an assumed, fictitious, or trade name. Or, if you operate your firm together with another agent, you might choose a moniker that works for both of you and gives a hint as to what you do – e.g., “Small Business Employee Benefits Solutions. “
When selecting a name, ask yourself if it accurately reflects who you are – and your focus. A generic moniker can work against you. Look at your search results. Is your agency name similar to another doing business in the same area? When you’re getting started, and selecting your name, be sure you use it consistently across all of your efforts (website, email, social media accounts, blog, stationery, etc.). For additional information on DBAs, read this information from LegalZoom.
2. Keep Your Website Up to Date
There are many website-building tools online: GoDaddy, Wix.com, WordPress, Weebly, Web.com, and SquareSpace, among others. If you’re just getting started, be sure your site is user-friendly and intuitive. Among the features you might want to include are a Q&A, carrier/product list, an easy-to-use method for prospects or customers to send you an email, clean design, and attention-grabbing colors and graphics.
If you’ve been online for a while, when was the last time your website had a makeover? Just as we all have to update our wardrobe from time to time (especially as we return to face-to-face meetings in a post-pandemic world), it is good to review and update the look of your website periodically. Existing customers and prospects, alike, are sure to appreciate it.
If you have the ability, or you have a son, daughter, niece, or nephew with a flair for video, consider developing videos for your website. Your videos can address some of the same topics you’re writing about – on your site or your blog (see below).
3. Quality Trumps Quantity
It’s more important you have useful content on your site, rather than more than a dozen articles or sections that could overwhelm your readers. Developing – and regularly updating and re-posting – frequently asked questions from customers and prospects about health insurance, COVID-19, or other topical subjects can drive increased traffic to your site.
Remember A-B-C: Always Be Current. In developing content for your site, make sure what you’re sharing is up to date and useful to readers. Posting out-of-date information is not helpful; in fact, it can undermine your credibility. As far as tone and look (design), make sure it fits your readers. If you are targeting individuals and families, your tone can be more casual, although it should still be professional. If your focus is employee benefits, and you’re communicating with business owners or HR and benefits professionals, develop content and choose photos with that audience in mind.
4. Social Media Is Important
If you’re not using social media already, you need to start – right away. Your competitors are already there. You need to be there, too. It’s likely to be the first place your prospects or referrals go to find you.
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites can be very effective in building your profile and online brand. If you have a presence already, review it to ensure it mirrors how you’re marketing yourself elsewhere.
If you’re new to social media, create your online profile in places that make sense for your business and market focus. If your focus is business customers, LinkedIn is probably a good place to start.
Other platforms or vehicles may also make sense – including print and online business directories (locally, regionally, and nationally), Chamber of Commerce sites, etc. For more tips, read Marketing Yourself on Social Media.
5. Launch a Blog – Or Contribute to Others’ Blogs
Another way to enhance your professional reputation is by blogging – whether you have your own blog or you’re contributing to others’ blogs with insurance-related content.
A blog can help spotlight your professional expertise, and you can use your website or e-newsletter to cross-promote your blog posts, or re-purpose your blog column for an article in your local newspaper or neighborhood media.
6. Consider Local Networking Events – or Host an Event
Another way to enhance your profile is by taking part in business groups (like a Chamber of Commerce) and professional organizations. You can make connections with others in your local marketplace and get the word out about what you do and how you can help others.
You can also host events – online and in-person – to reach potential prospects. As open enrollment season heats up (in Q4), you can share information about changing carrier networks or new products and plans. If you’re a Medicare Advantage broker, just be sure your meetings comply with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rules on events and meetings.
7. Develop a “What I Sell” Flyer
Your clients (and prospects) may be unaware of all of the products, services, and carriers you represent. Consider creating a “What I Sell” flyer that summarizes your portfolio. You can organize it by product or specialty (e.g., Individual & Family Plans, Retiree Health Care, Employee Benefits/Group Insurance, Ancillary Coverage, etc.), and services (e.g., Employee Assistance Program, COBRA, POP, etc.). Or, if carriers are more important to your customers, you can lead with your best-selling insurers.
For ideas on how you can use technology from Word & Brown to enhance your customer service, check out our 2020 article, Technology and Other Support for Insurance Brokers.
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