ITC Press Releases
|Zywave Acquires Insurtech Frontrunner ITC, Becomes Only Provider to Offer Front-Office Solutions for Independent Insurance Agencies Across All Lines of Business
The new partnership enables Zywave to deliver its market-leading operations, sales and marketing solutions to agencies selling employee benefits, commercial or personal lines of coverage.
POSTED NOVEMBER 24, 2020 7:00 AM
|ITC Provides Free Property Data Prefill for Florida Insurance Agents
Agents Will Get More Accurate Rates, Save Time in Quoting Process
POSTED OCTOBER 14, 2020 9:00 AM
|ITC Acquires Agency Matrix, LLC
ITC announced today it has acquired Agency Matrix, an insurance technology provider
POSTED FEBRUARY 04, 2020 9:00 AM
|Sarah Jaquez Wins the Fourth Annual InsurTech Scholarship
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of website, agency marketing, rating and management software and services, announced today Sarah Jaquez as the recipient of the 2019-2020 InsurTech Scholarship.
POSTED OCTOBER 22, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Reinvents Online Insurance Shopping Experience for Consumers
Next Generation TurboRater for Websites Brings Best of Insurtech Capabilities to Agents and Carriers
POSTED SEPTEMBER 04, 2019 2:00 PM
|ITC Named Top Insurance Workplace by Insurance Business America
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of websites, marketing, comparative rating and management software and services, has been named a Top Insurance Workplace by Insurance Business America.
POSTED AUGUST 21, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Acquires Smart Harbor
ITC acquires Smart Harbor, a provider of digital technology solutions to insurance agents. Smart Harbor works with more than 1,000 independent insurance agencies by bringing them technical expertise and industry knowledge to help them grow their businesses and retain clients through websites, smart forms, SEO, and data analytics capabilities.
POSTED AUGUST 14, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Named Top Technology Provider by Insurance Business America For Fourth Year in a Row
Insurance Technologies Corporation announced today that readers of Insurance Business America have named ITC a top technology provider for the fourth year in a row.
POSTED JUNE 12, 2019 9:00 AM
|Fourth Annual InsurTech Scholarship Open for Applications
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of insurance websites, agency marketing, rating and management software and services, opened today the fourth annual InsurTech Scholarship for applications for the 2019-2020 school year.
POSTED APRIL 25, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Acquires Assurance Systems Incorporated
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of websites, marketing, rating and management software and services, announced today it has acquired Assurance Systems, Incorporated, an insurance technology provider in the southeastern United States.
POSTED NOVEMBER 05, 2018 9:00 AM
|How Independent Agents Can Stay Personal in A Digital World
I like to say that I want to have a person in my life for everything.
I have a financial advisor, I’ve got a mechanic, a physical therapist, and I have an insurance agent. There’s more, but you get the gist.
My agent was hand-picked after interviewing multiple agents and let me tell you – he’s a rock star. Having an independent agent is a critical teammate component in my life.
Having a personal relationship with your customers is an independent agents’ silver bullet. It is the one thing that carriers do not and will never have. I’ve had insurance with both. Nothing has made me appreciate my insurance agent more than having to file a claim with a big carrier.
It was a terrible experience.
I waited on hold and jumped through many hoops. Eventually, I got some random person who had no genuine interest in making sure I was taken care of. That person had no vested interest in making sure that I got the best help.
Yes, you can get a quote for car insurance in 15 minutes or less with GEICO. But when it comes time to file a claim, the cons far outweigh the pros. Independent agents are hardwired, skilled, and motivated to provide risk-averse solutions tailored to the consumer.
But, the truth is that every agent can say that. Customer service might be your differentiator from the carriers, but it doesn’t help you stand out among other independent agents. Technology is your differentiator.
When it comes time to get a quote, your independent agency needs to have the right technology. Agencies should be using automated email campaigns and social media to create brand recognition. You need to be optimizing your website and using Google My Business to show up in local search results. Your insurance agency website needs to have a quoting engine to provide consumers with live, fast quotes.
So, how can your agents maximize their personal touch in a digital world?
1: Humanize Your Agency’s Brand
So many insurance agents use stock photography on their websites.
If you are one of those agents, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity to humanize your agency by including your agents on your website. I maintain that this is the most significant local gap when trying to market your agency’s brand to your community.
You should have pictures of your team members and your owners. Include team pictures, bios, directories, and partners on your website. These humanizing factors do a couple of things for your agency. It makes your brand and your agency more approachable and recognizable.
When putting together this list of priorities for staying personal, I put this as number one for a reason.
The good news is you control how you humanize your brand. Even better news? You can act today. Starting with your website, your Google My Business, and your email marketing voice.
Here’s a quote that I love. “People like working with people who like working with people.” If you can project that through your digital assets, you will have a great shot at getting new business and keeping your current business.
2: Be A True Snowflake
All agencies want to be special, unique, and one of a kind. The irony is if you asked every insurance agency owner what they did best, they’re all going to say service.
I hear this answer from owners all the time. However, when I ask them their policy in force rate or service retention rate, they back away from the question.
So, what I mean by being a true snowflake is finding out what truly makes your agency unique. Separate yourself from the usual talking points like providing exceptional service. Find the something for which you are a snowflake.
If that is service and have the stats to back it up, find a unique way of marketing it to your clients. Show statistics for your time to follow up with clients making claims. Market your customer reviews on social media and your website.
If you can’t do that, find something else.
It could be a mobile app or a comparative rater that provides customers with faster, more accurate quotes.
Whatever your snowflake factor is, identify it, market it, and own it. You cannot be exactly what your competitors are. This is your opportunity to differentiate yourself from the field. Be the agency that offers an easily identifiable, customized service for their community.
3: Stay Local and Brand Locally
You don’t have to take on the whole state.
If you haven’t already, start prospecting in your immediate vicinity. I mean this literally. Where is your physical office located?
I always ask agents if they’ve asked all the surrounding shops and their employees. The auto body shop next door. The apartment buildings around the corner. The restaurants down the street. Your community should be the bedrock of your agency.
People want to know that there are people in their community who can help them. If a person is struggling financially and must make a claim, the last thing they want to do is talk to a carrier who is outsourcing their call to another country.
Have you made staying local your core business? Have you made it your purpose and passion? Start from the inside out and never bite off more than you can chew. Nobody knows your community better than you. Getting to know the people in your area is something the big carriers can never do. Be the agent in your community who can help everyone with their insurance needs.
Once you have that reputation, you have a foundation that can carry you to increased brand growth. Focus first on a hyper-localized approach. Then, just by word of mouth, five-star Google reviews, and brand recognition, you’ll be able to branch out incrementally.
The digital world is advancing rapidly, and COVID-19 only expedited it further. Consumer expectations have changed. They want faster and more accurate quotes. And, they want the process of getting them to be easier.
If your agency is able to match the convenience of the big carriers with the service and personal touch of an independent agency, then you hold all the cards.
POSTED APRIL 01, 2021 10:16 AM
|3 Benefits of Local Pages on Your Insurance Website
Everyone wants more traffic to their website. More traffic generally means more leads and who doesn’t want more leads?
Local search engine optimization (SEO) can be a great way to help people looking for insurance in your area find your website.
To increase your presence with local SEO, you need local pages on your insurance agency website.
What Are Local Pages?
Local pages (also called local landing pages) contain content for a specific target city. If your agency is in multiple cities, you would have a local page for each city in which you do business.
When creating a local page, highlight your specific location. Discuss how long your agency has been in the area and the history of the agency in the community. Mention any local community events that you participate in.
Also, think of questions your customers of that location ask. Answer those questions in the page’s content.
If you want to make an impact on your community, there are a lot of benefits to including local pages on your website.
Boost Organic SEO
Did you know 92% of consumers are likely to pick a business on the first page for a local search? So, it is important to boost organic SEO and show up in the top spots for local searches. Doing so will help you get more eyes on your website and increase your book of business.
Local pages improve your ranking in organic search engine results for your local area. But first, you need information about your community on your local pages. Google wants to provide searchers with local search results. Help Google help you! To improve your local ranking, here are some important elements to make sure to include on your local pages.
- If your agency offers multiple lines of business, include your location in the Meta Title and Meta Description of each LOB page. Check out the example below for a good format to follow.
- Use a free tool like Ubersuggest or KWFinder to find commonly used local keywords. If people in your community are searching for something specific, make sure you know about it. Also, those keywords will tell you what keywords your competitors are using too. 😉
- Include testimonials from local customers on your pages to boost credibility.
Generate Relevant Leads
Here’s an example I like to tell my clients.
If you are an agency licensed in Ohio only, you should put a special importance on leads coming from your state. Focusing the content on your local pages on the state of Ohio will help you generate more relevant leads. It doesn’t do your agency any good showing up in the search results of people trying to buy insurance in Virginia.
Increasing the presence of your local community on your insurance agency website helps you find the right leads. More relevant leads are stronger leads. Stronger leads are more likely to convert to clients.
Include a clear call to action on the local page for visitors to submit a quote request through your agency’s website. You want to convert that local traffic into local leads!
Generate Helpful Data and Insights
Monitoring your website’s performance is critical to ensuring that you’re getting the most out of it. In this case, you can use a tool like Google Analytics to monitor the performance of each of your local pages.
First, set performance goals for each of your individual local pages. In those custom reports, track a few things:
- Number of visitors
- Bounce rate
- Session duration
- Average time on page
- Top traffic source
- Device source
- Interactions per visit
- Keyword performance
You can learn more about Google Analytics in this guide for insurance agents.
Having this data can provide you with insights into how you need to alter your local pages to better serve your community and clients. For example, let’s say that your Google Analytics data from your local auto insurance page is showing a low number of visitors per day. It’s also showing that you have a significant decrease in traffic from social media. This could mean that your paid social media advertising to your local community isn’t working as effectively as it was in the past. You may need to change the messaging in those ads or consider targeting a new audience.
Don’t make the mistake of neglecting your data. These are valuable insights that can have a significant impact on your lead generation efforts.
Every page on your insurance agency website should be designed to increase trust in your agency, generate more leads, and grow your agency. Your local pages should be designed to boost your organic SEO, generate more relevant leads, and should provide you with helpful data to improve your agency marketing.
POSTED MARCH 25, 2021 11:59 AM
|Your Content Success Strategy for Spring 2021
You’re probably not alone if you are looking forward to spring’s arrival. After all, the new season’s thaw will allow you to get out of the house more. Maybe even take care of the inevitable spring-cleaning tasks like cleaning the house or servicing your car.
As an insurance agent, you know how spring-cleaning a house can make you realize you might need to update your policies. If this concerns you, then it’s easy to see how it might cross your customers’ minds, too.
You need to be ready to answer their questions by providing relatable content. Below, I’ve outlined several of the best content topics that you can pass along to your clients this spring.
By being there for them, you’ll be able to grow consumer trust in your operation, and you’ll keep your business thriving.
1: Expanded Homeowners Insurance Options
Spring cleaning is a great reminder of the potential hazards present that might become very big problems under the right circumstances. You already know that, in some cases, these hazards aren’t automatically covered by homeowner’s insurance.
In these cases, policy endorsements can help both you (and your clients) expand on your benefits. Some of the benefits you might play upon your website this spring include…
- Sewer backup insurance
- Food spoilage coverage
- Identity theft insurance
- Service line coverage
- Mold/fungi coverage
- Equipment breakdown coverage
2: April Fool’s Day (April 1)
April Fools' Day is a fun topic to spice up your content. Have some fun and suggest inexpensive pranks for home or office. Or, talk about some of your own past pranks (your greatest hits). Hold a social media contest and ask your followers to share their favorite April Fools' Day prank.
3: Home Maintenance Checklist
Of course, clients who have customized home insurance coverage are more likely to reap the full benefits of what a policy can provide. However, home insurance is nothing compared with the security provided by a strong, safe home.
So, advise your clients on what they can do this spring to make their homes more secure. You might save them a lot of trouble down the road.
Just a few of the tips to include on your springtime home maintenance checklist include…
- Making repairs to roofs, foundations, doors, and windows to make them more secure
- Cleaning the chimney and servicing the furnace and HVAC system
- Cleaning out gutters and clearing overhanging or dead foliage away from the home
- Repairing any damaged or leaking pipes
- Having a pest inspection of the home
No one knows your community better than you do. You know how best to advise your clients on what they should do to keep their properties secure this spring. Use your content strategy to leverage this advice to their advantage.
4: Tax Day (April 15)
Use this topic as an opportunity to partner with a local tax professional.
You can interview him or her for your blog. Or, ask him or her to write a guest blog. You could even set up a mutual referral program and feature them on your partner page. Tax season could actually turn out to be an interesting semi-annual post.
5: Local Weather Preparedness
As seasons change, most areas are prone to see an uptick in severe weather. Severe storms usually accompany the weather fronts that bring warmer temperatures.
Severe weather might damage homes, businesses, vehicles, and personal possessions. The more prepared your clients are for springtime weather changes, the more they will feel safe and secure in their homes and everyday lives.
Advise your clients on how best to prepare for upcoming weather events. You can help them avoid the potential for claims later.
6: Quality Flood Insurance Information
Flooding is a hazard that most communities face, especially during the spring. However, it’s up to you to inform your clients that flooding is not covered by traditional home insurance and instead must be insured under separate flood insurance.
Write a blog post to provide clients with information on the tight regulations that govern these policies, both under National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rules and local insurance regulations.
7: Update Clients on Claims Filing Processes
Carriers have different claims filing processes, and you want to make the process as seamless as possible for every client. So, make sure they know how best to file a claim if they ever have a reason to do so.
Create content that shares with them what their responsibility is for filing a claim. During a policy review, go over how their policy’s unique benefits will provide them with assistance following each claim. Your guiding hand will help them be ready for anything, and in the end, they’ll trust you even more.
8: Earth Day (April 22)
Earth Day is a great time to share suggestions for how to make a home more environmentally friendly. You can also inform your clients what time Earth hour is. Or, you can post about upcoming community events that celebrate Earth Day. If you attend such an event, take pictures and share them on social media.
9: COVID-19 Vaccines
More and more people are getting vaccinated every day across the country.
There are likely multiple vaccine spots in your community. Share vaccine sites and tips to get registered. This is great content to include in your newsletter or on social media. Make yourself a resource for your clients!
As the temperature rises so does the propagation of pollen and other springtime allergens. Those flowers sure look nice, but they can be annoying!
This is a worthy blog topic because almost everyone can relate to seasonal allergies. Write about remedies, preventative measures, and the severity of the allergen forecast this spring.
POSTED MARCH 18, 2021 11:31 AM
|3 Reasons Why Your Insurance Agency Needs Email Drip Campaigns
Effective digital marketing is all about creating relationships built on trust.
It’s essential to understand that creating a relationship with a prospective client requires acceptance of the long game.
Let’s say you’re going to the mall to buy a new pair of shoes. A salesman at a kiosk that sells phone accessories tries to grab your attention on your way to a Foot Locker. Most of us had an experience like this. Well, what did you do? You probably tried to avoid eye contact with the salesman and walked right past them, right? Why? You weren’t at the mall to buy cell phone accessories. You were there for a new pair of shoes.
It’s hard to grab a consumer’s attention out of the blue to convince them that they need a new phone case.
Here’s an interesting proposition. How would you react if the same thing happened, but you needed a phone case? You might stop and browse the selection for a while, but ultimately, you’d probably move on. You’d instead browse for one the next time you went to Walmart or buy one on Amazon when you got home. So, why do we react the way we do?
There’s no trust. You don’t know the quality of those phone cases or the Bluetooth speakers. There are no reviews for you to reference about the products, and you don’t trust the salesman to give you an honest review. Why? You believe he’s simply just trying to make a sale.
Without trust, there’s no relationship between the salesman and the consumer.
Regardless of what you're selling, you will be more effective if you create a relationship with a consumer before pitching your product.
What if I told you that you could automate campaigns that establish a relationship with prospects over time? In comes email drip campaigns.
What is a Drip Campaign?
Drip campaigns are made up of emails that automatically send to your target list based on specific timelines or user actions. You can create separate drip campaigns using different factors. Here are a few.
- Quality of lead (How ready are they to buy from you)
- Type of prospect (upsell prospect, new prospect, lost lead, etc.)
- Type of client (new client, previous client, client close to renewal, etc.)
Segmentation within email marketing is always a good thing. Email blasts are lousy in digital marketing and, often, lead to many unsubscribes. You’ll end up burning through a list of leads and upsetting your clients.
So, here are four reasons why your agency needs drip campaigns today!
Drip Campaigns Are Great for Saving Time
Automation enables insurance agents to do what they do best… help their clients.
Automated drip campaigns, over time, nurture newly generated leads. Nurturing leads creates more interest in your services and will increase trust in your agency. That improves the chances of converting leads to buyers.
This also means that your agents are spending more time on the phone or in-person with clients.
Retention campaigns decrease the time agents spend on policy renewal reminders and work to retain clients. We’ll talk more about that later.
If agents could spend more time closing sales and servicing client needs, drip campaigns can positively impact your bottom line.
Drip Campaigns Are Great for Getting Prospects Sales-Ready
Let’s go back to the example of the kiosk salesman.
Sure, buying insurance is not the same as buying a cell phone case. We’re on the same page there. However, I would argue that you might have a lower conversion rate for a cold, one-off email than attempting to sell a cell phone accessory from a kiosk at the mall.
Insurance costs more, most people only buy it once a year, and there is more anxiety about purchasing insurance.
You must nurture leads. Strengthening your agency’s relationship with prospects ultimately increases conversions. In fact, when brands nurture leads, they get 50% more sales-ready customers and make 47% larger purchases. (Zapier)
Drip campaigns allow you to make an introduction, tell your prospects what you do, and prove that you’re the best at it over time. The best part? This all happens behind the scenes. You set the campaign up, press go, and you’re creating more sales-ready leads every day.
Drip Campaigns Are Great for Retaining Clients
Let’s say you have a client that is close to renewal. You want to make sure you retain that client. You can create an automated drip campaign that sends him renewal reminders every couple of days. You would change the messaging based on the actions taken. These campaigns are so effective because the next email that the client receives will be determined by the client’s actions.
Let’s say the client opens the renewal email but doesn’t complete the steps to renew. The next email he receives can include content that provides information about why they should renew. It might be necessary for you to get this client on the phone to convince them. So, the call to action for that email could be to schedule an appointment to go over their coverage options. That is an opportunity to upsell that client and increase their current coverage.
Email marketing is not a new digital marketing tool. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t change how we’ve always done things to get better results.
Drip campaigns can be valuable to your insurance agency by automating emails that build relationships with your prospects and clients. Not to mention they save you time, strengthen leads, and improve client retention.
POSTED MARCH 11, 2021 11:10 AM
|4 Ways Repurposed Email Content > Brand New Content
Creating content is a continuous task and sometimes can be seen as a chore.
However, the process of generating new leads requires that we always have fresh content on our website, in our newsletters, and on our social media channels.
But creating fresh, engaging content doesn’t necessarily mean that content always must be brand new. So, if you’re looking to create more compelling marketing emails without exhausting your resources, your existing content is a good place to start.
Check out these four ways recycled content helps your email marketing and your agency.
1: Save Time
As an independent insurance agent, you wear many hats, but content writer doesn’t have to be one of them. Do yourself (and your agency) a favor and review previously written content. You’ll spend less time writing and more time doing what you do best – working with your clients.
2: More Cost-Effective
Outsourcing content is a great way to save time and reduce your workload, but it does come with a price tag. Remix professionally written content to maximize your agency’s investment. Your website and blog articles are great resources for inspiration.
(Tip: Be sure to receive permission from the source before using it.)
3: Tried and True
Email marketing tends to be a trial-and-error process. Why? You don’t truly know how a marketing campaign will perform until after it launches.
When you recycle content that you’ve run in the past, you already have a general idea of how it will perform. Select past high-performing pieces and rework them into your campaign. You’ll end up with valuable information your subscribers will love (and act on).
4: Reengage Subscribers
Don't let your hard work from previous emails go to waste. Even the most engaged recipients don't read every email. Plus, new subscribers have never seen the content. Resurrecting past emails can breathe new life into your subscriber list.
(Tip: Remember to fix outdated information and re-optimize the email.)
Consider recycled content the next time you sit down to craft a marketing email for your agency. You'll love how easy it is to create campaigns that resonate with your audience.
POSTED MARCH 04, 2021 11:41 AM
|10 March Content Ideas for Insurance Agents
I don’t know about you, but I am ready for some warm weather.
March is right around the corner, and springtime is coming into view. Maybe you’re like me… Daydreaming about leaving my home office and taking a nice walk in beautiful weather.
Here are a few warm March content ideas to give your insurance agency website, newsletter, or social media profile a boost.
1: Outdoor Fitness Ideas
March is a great time to stretch your legs and get back to those outdoor activities for many. Do you love to bike, hike, run, or take your dog to a local dog park? Share your favorite trails, safety tips, or a spot that has a beautiful view. I think it is safe to say most of us have never been this cooped up before, so your audience will appreciate it.
2: Employee Appreciation Day – March 2
At ITC, Employee Appreciation Day is usually synonymous with food. If we were all in the office, we’d be treated to breakfast, lunch, and sugary sweets making up one delicious day.
This year, we’ve got something a little different planned (sorry, no spoilers 😉). Share some fun content ideas with your followers for how you can show your employees some love! Maybe some cookies from a local bakery, or a fun email with puzzles and games.
You might not be together in the office this year. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let your employees know how much you care.
3: Most Frequently Asked Insurance Questions
Every year more people are entering the marketplace for insurance. At least once a year, it is good practice to share some frequently asked questions for people who are buying insurance for the first time. This is also a great search engine optimization opportunity! Use common keywords and phrases that young people would ask. For example:
- What do I need to get my car insured?
- What is the difference between collision physical damage coverage or comprehensive physical damage coverage?
- How can I lower the cost of my home insurance?
- How much life insurance should an individual own?
4: Daylight Saving Time – March 14
Yes, it is already time for daylight saving time to begin again. Remember, in the spring, we spring forward and gain an hour. Remind your clients to set their watches and clocks around the house to an hour earlier on this date. Smartphones do not need to be set. Write an evergreen blog about Daylight Savings Time to capture more online traffic.
5: A Day in the Life of an Insurance Agent
Do you ever wonder what some folks do all day? Well, they may have wondered the same about you. This topic idea could serve a few purposes. For example, it appeals to people who want to start their own agency. It would also be an interesting read for clients who work in sectors far removed from insurance.
6: International Day of Happiness – March 20
The United Nations founded this global holiday when it passed a resolution stating, “…the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal.” Also known as Happiness Day, it is a simple idea but a powerful one. Share what makes you happy about this holiday on social media. You could even turn it into a video of you and your staff all talking about what brings them joy. Ask your followers to play along by commenting or replying to the post.
7: Gardening Season
Does anyone have a green thumb?
Many people picked up gardening during their extended time at home and are looking for the perfect time to start planting! Working in a garden can serve as a great source of happiness and is a great excuse to get outside. If you love to garden, share some tips for what to plant next month. Or, use it as an opportunity for a local expert to write a guest blog on your insurance website.
8: March Madness
March Madness is right around the corner. Share a bracket challenge with a prize on your social media channels and get as many involved as you can! Have a team in the NCAA tournament this year? Host a virtual watch party with people in your local community. Even people who are not avid basketball fans can get involved and have some fun.
9: Sports Vehicle Coverage
For owners of sports cars, warmer weather means it is time to let the hood down and break out the toys. Whether it's a boat, ATV, or an RV, it's important your clients know how to insure these investments. Let your clients know which policies your agency writes.
10: Tornado Prep
With the warmer weather comes the inevitable tornado season. Do you live in a tornado-prone area? Share tips with your clients on how they can prepare for the upcoming season. This could include how to make a home emergency kit or how to take cover if a tornado occurs.
POSTED FEBRUARY 10, 2021 12:11 PM
|Welcome to the Agent Resource Center
Welcome to ITC's Agent Resource Center, a hub of content for agents who want to learn how to manage, market and grow their agencies in today's insurance industry.
Not sure where to start?
To search for a specific topic, click the magnifying glass located at the top of every page. Then, type in your topic and hit enter.
Just browsing? Welcome!
You'll find all sorts of helpful resources in this hub.
Our Operation Agency Success series covers various topics, including marketing in short, helpful videos.
Operation Agency Success
Find out how others in the insurance industry plan their day and achieve success in our This is the Way series. You may see a familiar face.
This is the Way: Mick Becker, CEO of PIA National
In-depth eBooks and white papers are detailed, long-form content that cover our most frequently asked questions and popular topics like "How do I use Facebook for my agency?" and "How can I drive more traffic to my agency website?"
White paper library
If you have only a few minutes a day to learn, here are some good places to start...
If you made it to the bottom of this overview, here's a secret: We put on a free insurance marketing webinar every month. Click below to learn more.
Masters of Marketing webinar series
Whew, that's a lot of content. Trying to find something and can't? Leave a comment below.
POSTED JANUARY 03, 2020 3:21 PM
|The Earned Advantage: A Better Way to Get Leads
They’re an insurance agency’s lifeblood.
Loyal customers and strong relationships with carriers can help your agency operate day-to-day. But, they won’t set you up for the future.
The revenue from your existing customers won’t last forever because no one retains 100% of their clients. The policies you write from referrals can buffer against the eventual revenue hit from lost clients, but they won’t help your agency grow.
To grow and thrive, you need new business. And, to get new business, you need leads.
So, how can you generate them?
The Three Ways to Get A Lead
When considering lead generation methods, it helps to define what a lead is.
A lead is more than a phone call or a form fill. It’s a result.
In particular, it’s the result of getting in front of a captive audience or an audience looking for what you offer.
So, the first step in lead generation is reaching this audience.
There are three main ways to do that:
- Outbound advertising
- Lead buying
- Inbound marketing
Here’s a closer look at each one.
Outbound advertising is the lead generation method we’re most familiar with. It’s on the television when we turn it on. It’s on the side of the highway as we drive. It’s online as we browse social media or read the news. Every day we’re hit with a barrage of ads.
Many of these ads are insurance themed. They’ve brought business to Allstate, GEICO, Nationwide, and State Farm, among others.
But if you’re planning on following in the footsteps of these industry giants, think twice. The major insurance carriers have a head start at outbound advertising. And, their budgets are at levels most agencies can’t match.
Even if you were to pay for an outbound ad campaign, it wouldn’t yield the same return the big companies get. Consumers recognize those brands already. So, they are more likely to trust them based on a single advertisement. Not to mention, your audience for this form of advertising is much larger. That may sound like a good thing, but your goal should be to find the right audience, not a large one. Your spend per lead is often going to be higher than other methods because you have to reach a large audience to find the few who are interested and shopping for insurance.
While you might see modest success with advertising, it shouldn’t be your bell cow.
Plenty of companies sell leads to insurance agencies. These lead providers often receive a commission in return.
To the uninitiated, this model seems similar to that of a bank ATM. Enter payment information. Get leads.
There’s far more nuance behind the scenes.
The lead providers present themselves as online insurance solutions. They take on the burden of advertising. They provide shoppers a simple way to request a quote.
But, once consumers hit Enter, they stop working with that lead provider. Their information gets transferred to the agent, or agents, who paid for access.
This transition is subtle. So subtle that the consumer has no idea they’re working with a different entity.
Leaving that detail aside, lead buying can provide your agency with sales opportunities. Plus, the return on spend can often be reasonable.
The premise of inbound marketing is straightforward.
Let consumers control the buying process. Show up with solutions at the consumers’ moment of need, and reap the benefits.
Pulling all this off requires extensive planning. It demands that your agency looks beyond the point of sale. Not all consumer needs come when their credit card is in their hands. Some need to be nurtured first.
Consumers have plenty of other concerns when dealing with insurance. Coverage can be confusing, and the claims process is not always straightforward. Add in the variable rates for premiums, and there’s plenty for consumers to ask questions about.
If you can answer these questions on your insurance agency website, you can build a loyal following. Then, when consumers are ready to buy, they seek out your agency for a policy.
The process requires intricate planning, and there’s not much instant gratification. But, if you’re patient and persistent, the rewards can be profound.
So, Which Is Best?
Each of these lead generation methods can get your agency in front of new audiences. Which one leads the pack?
We’ve already mentioned that outbound advertising is cost-prohibitive. While it might be useful in small doses, it’s not efficient over the long haul.
That leaves us with two contenders: lead buying and inbound marketing.
At first glance, lead buying might seem like the best bet. It’s hard to beat access to consumers at the moment they’re ready to buy.
But, turning those prospects into customers can be tricky. There’s no guarantee that the leads will be the type of consumers you seek. Even if they are, you might not have the policies or prices they’re looking for.
Plus, consumers might pump the brakes if they find out that your agency is separate from the lead provider. No one wants to get passed around like a hot potato during the buying process.
None of these are trivial concerns. Lead buying is only cost-efficient if your agency can close leads into customers. If your close ratio goes down, your customer acquisition cost (CAC) goes up. This makes the tactic ineffective.
It’s impossible to know how many of the leads you buy will be a fit ahead of time. So, in essence, lead buying itself is nothing more than a high-stakes gamble.
Inbound marketing doesn’t share this problem. Why? Instead of buying leads, you earn them.
Yes, consumers control the inbound marketing buying cycle. How? You can’t get a new customer with this strategy until they’re ready to buy. But, you can improve your odds by creating a target audience of people who are more likely to buy from you. This isn’t a cold call. You are specifically tailoring your marketing strategy to consumers who need your services.
You can generate website content to prove your agency’s insurance expertise. You can use social media to engage with consumers. You can make it easy for consumers to take the next step in the buying process.
This process might not yield the volume of inquiries that lead buying does initially. But, there’s a good chance the close-ratio will be better. Without any commissions to lead providers to worry about, the CAC will be lower.
The benefits of inbound marketing for lead generation are clear. It’s without equal at turning inquiries into policies. Plus, it won’t break the bank.
So, avoid that temptation for a splashy ad campaign. Stop rolling the dice with lead buying.
The most sustainable way to grow your agency is by earning leads. And the best way to get there is through inbound marketing.
Want to learn more about generating leads? Check out these free resources:
POSTED FEBRUARY 02, 2021 11:31 AM
|Putting Together the Perfect Insurance Email
How to Write the Perfect Insurance Email
4 Email Marketing Trends That Will Drive Insurance SAles Now and in 2021
Email Marketing Tips That Will Life Your Agency's Results
When it comes to email marketing, you could spend hours sifting through self-help guides and how-to blog posts on the web.
But does that really sound like an efficient use of your time?
In this video I’m going to give you steps to create the perfect insurance email: An email designed to generate higher engagement and increase the return on your investment. Let’s get started.
First, you’ll want to set a goal for the email. Setting a goal helps you create a focused email that is best able to accomplish what you want. Plus, a goal helps you identify and eliminate unnecessary content.
Your goal should be specific and measurable. For example, generating ten auto quote requests over the next three months with an auto prospect campaign is a specific and measurable goal.
Next, determine who will receive the email. Your audience is the baseline of your email campaign and should align with your established goal.
Defining the audience will help you deliver relevant and timely messages. For example, sending an auto prospect campaign to past prospects.
Then, choose the tone of the email. Each email campaign you create can have a different tone depending on the audience. People may react differently to different tones depending on their age, customer status, and line of business. Like an email about life insurance may need a more formal tone than an email about auto insurance.
You can use humor if it’s relevant, or you can use formal language like “Dear So-and-So”, or “To Whom It May Concern” and “Sincerely.” An informal tone sounds more like “Hello”, “Hi”, “Thanks”, and “Talk Soon”. Test out which tone your audience reacts best to.
Next is a critical step: Creating the subject line. The subject line is the first thing people will see. It’s a preview of the email message and it helps people prioritize emails.
There are a few different types of email subject lines. Each are effective in different circumstances. For example, use a personalized subject line when sending policy information to a contact.
Urge recipients to “Act Now” when renewal dates or open enrollment are at hand. Appeal to curiosity and get creative with educational, informative, and value-driven mailings. And when you’re asking for feedback, referrals or social media followers, reinforce your call to action.
Now it’s time to write the email content itself. Start by explaining the purpose of the email. Make certain it is relevant to the audience. If possible, try to establish your credibility by providing something of value.
Be concise in your message, and separate long content into a multi-message campaign if necessary. Write your message one day and revisit it the next day to remove unnecessary content.
Without a proper closing and call to action, your email is essentially a dead end. Don’t forget to provide clear next steps in your email. A call to action should be consistent with your established goals like “get a car insurance quote”. Make sure the call to action link or button is visually appealing and catches the eye and is easy to click on with a finger. And try to set a clear expectation for future communication.
Lastly, once your email content is put together take a larger look at the design and layout. The goal is to have an email that is clean, simple and easy to skim.
Use eye-catching imagery to supplement content, and use formatting like headings, bullet points and lists to break up blocks of text.
Keep the number of scrolls it takes to get to the bottom of the email to a minimum. People don’t like to feel like they are endlessly scrolling through an email without knowing when it will end.
And when in doubt, refer to the rule of three. Numerous studies have shown that the brain prefers to receive information in groups of three.
There you have it. You established a goal, determined your audience, chose a tone, crafted a subject line, wrote the content, added a compelling call to action, and optimized its design. Your perfect insurance email is ready to send out.
POSTED JANUARY 28, 2021 5:28 PM
|This is the Way: Jason Liu of Zywave
Jason Liu of Zywave was born and raised in Columbia, Missouri. Growing up in the midwestern college town, Jason developed a drive for adventure. Whether it be running with the bulls in Spain, fly fishing in New Zealand, or growing a company to new success levels.
While receiving his MBA from the Wharton School of Business, Jason served as the Chief Financial Officer at Ravisent Technologies. From 1994 to 1998, Ravisent was recognized as the ninth fastest-growing privately held company in the United States according to Forbes. The mark of leader means tethering your success to the success of those around you. Jason understands this better than most.
Jason recalls in 1999 when Ravisent went public. He, his coworkers, and their families celebrated with a large outdoor BBQ. Jason was moved to see the thousands of people positively impacted by their work. This feeling has been a driving factor in his work ever since.
Over the next two decades, Jason served as Chief Executive Officer at six different companies. In 2018 he embarked on his next adventure as CEO of Zywave. Running the largest provider of software to the independent insurance broker market was a new frontier for Jason. Not because he was unfamiliar with running large companies. But because this was his first experience running an insurance-focused company. However, Jason saw the insurance industry as an opportunity for another adventure.
He said, “What I like most about the insurance industry is the opportunity there is to have a significant impact. The fact that the industry is going through a massive transformation right now creates the opportunity for us to help transform people’s jobs, businesses, and lives is both rewarding and challenging.”
We share Jason’s goal of using innovation to better the insurance industry and help independent agents change more lives along the way and together, ITC and Zywave will continue to drive growth for their partners.
This is the way Jason Liu works.
Western suburbs of Chicago
- Current gig:
CEO of Zywave
- One word that describes how you like to work:
- Current mobile device:
- Current computer:
- Project(s) you’re currently working on:
I’ll share the biggest two: 1) As a company, we are working to integrate two substantial acquisitions, Advisen and ITC—a huge undertaking. 2) We’re also kicking off the new year with a new strategic vision and messaging for Zywave as we continue through a period of massive growth.
- Accomplishments you’re proud of:
Helping thousands of employees improve their lives and impacting millions of customers through the software I’ve had the opportunity to work on.
- What are your goals for the next 12 months?
I’m looking forward to leading the company out of COVID, while also continuing to accelerate growth, for both Zywave and our customers.
- What are your biggest professional challenges?
My biggest challenge right now is attracting and developing leaders. With growth, getting the right leaders in place is essential.
- What do you like most about your job?
Funny enough, my biggest challenge is also what I like most—developing leaders to help drive the company forward.
- Aside from your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
My golf clubs—can those be considered a gadget?
- Describe your workspace.
Right now, I’m at my home office surrounded by a lot of books. When I’m in the office at Zywave I use my working table more than my desk because I’m often meeting with people throughout the day.
- How do you manage your to-do list?
I carry my black binder with me and write everything down. But when I don’t have that, I often send myself notes via texts and emails.
- What’s your best time-saving tip or hack?
I start every morning with a long run—7 days a week. During those runs, I think about the day ahead, including all my meetings. By starting the morning off with a run, I’m able to clear my head and organize my day better, which leads to better decisions throughout the day.
- What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office?
Run… I consider my morning runs the start to my workday.
- What do you listen to while working?
Nothing. Most of my days are spent on calls or in meetings.
- What are you currently reading?
Radical Candor by Kim Scott.
- Coffee or tea?
Tea. My favorite is earl grey.
- Night owl or morning person?
I used to be a night owl, but now I’m a morning person.
- What are you watching on Netflix right now?
I don’t have time for a lot of TV, but I do enjoy a good documentary. One of my favorites is Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. Most recently I watched Unnatural Selection, which is about gene-editing.
- What’s your sleep routine like?
I try to sleep at least 8 hours a night.
- What does a typical day look like for you?
Lots of calls, back to back. Both internally and with customers.
- Who are your business idols and why?
Bill Gates is one. I love how successful he is in both business and in helping the world as a philanthropist. I also admire Elon Musk. While I may not agree with everything he says, I really respect his confidence and aspirations to change the world.
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
To surround myself with the best people with the highest character. People truly matter, both in business and in our personal lives.
- If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
I’d love to own professional sports club, either an NFL team or one in the English Premier League.
- Who would you like to see in a future This is the Way post?
Scott Rudy, Zywave’s new CRO. He has had an interesting career, including service in the U.S. Army Special Forces.
POSTED JANUARY 27, 2021 10:54 AM
News – Insurance Journal
|Los Angeles Paying $1.6M to Settle Suits Alleging Police Wrongdoing
Los Angeles will pay nearly $1.6 million to settle three lawsuits involving alleged wrongdoing by the city’s police department, a newspaper reported. The City Council voted 12-1 this week to approve the payouts, which include $1.15 million for the shooting …
POSTED APRIL 09, 2021 8:30 PM
|IRS Urges Participants in ‘Abusive’ Micro-Captives to Get Out Now
Internal Revenue Service officials are again urging participants in “abusive” micro-captive insurance arrangements to exit these transactions as soon as possible. The IRS considers that many micro-captive arrangements are not really about insurance. The IRS has stepped up examinations of …
POSTED APRIL 09, 2021 7:45 PM
|Mississippi Probes Cases of Hepatitis in Restaurant Workers
State health officials are investigating two cases of hepatitis A in Jackson County restaurant employees. The cases potentially led to exposure for customers, The Mississippi State Department of Public Health said. Two employees of Brady’s Steaks and Seafood in Pascagoula …
POSTED APRIL 09, 2021 4:59 PM
|Florida Senate Passes Property Insurance Reform Bill
A bill backed by the Florida insurance industry and other stakeholders aimed at addressing the state’s insurance market woes was passed in the Senate chamber this week but faces an uncertain future as the companion bill in the Florida House …
POSTED APRIL 09, 2021 4:56 PM
|Report: Carjackings, Thefts Up Significantly in New Orleans
Carjackings are on the rise in New Orleans, authorities say. Carjackings are up more than 60% compared to last year, WGNO-TV reported. So far in 2021, more than 70 people have been victims of the crime in New Orleans compared …
POSTED APRIL 09, 2021 4:44 PM
|People Moves: Dietrich Named CEO, Hiscox Europe; Hartford’s Milner to Canopius; Agile Risk’s Foster to IGI; HDI Promotes Digman
This wrap-up of International People Moves details recent appointments at Hiscox, Canopius, IGI and HDI Global. A summary of these new hires follows here. Hiscox Specialist global insurer Hiscox has appointed Robert Dietrich as the new CEO of Hiscox Europe. …
POSTED APRIL 09, 2021 4:32 PM
|Alabama House Committee Advances Medical Marijuana Bill
A medical marijuana bill on Wednesday cleared its first major hurdle in the Alabama House of Representatives. The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill after lengthy debate and multiple amendment attempts. The bill now goes to the Health Committee after …
POSTED APRIL 09, 2021 4:27 PM
|Indiana Farmers Insurance Will Enter Ohio in 2021
Indiana Farmers Insurance plans to enter the Ohio property/casualty insurance market this year. The Carmel, Indiana-based company, which distributes its products through independent insurance agents, will write commercial lines and farm insurance in Ohio. “In 2019, we successfully took our …
POSTED APRIL 09, 2021 4:23 PM
|Distracted Driving a Major Problem in Texas, Transportation Officials Say
Distracted driving comes in second for the cause of traffic crashes in Texas, state transportation officials say. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that one in five traffic crashes are caused by cell phone use and other distracted behavior. …
POSTED APRIL 09, 2021 4:20 PM
|Authorities: Explosion at Ohio Plant Leaves 8 Hurt, 1 Missing
One person was killed and eight others were injured in an explosion and fire on April 8 at a paint manufacturer’s plant in Ohio’s capital city, firefighters said. Authorities in Columbus were investigating what caused the explosion shortly after midnight …
POSTED APRIL 09, 2021 4:09 PM