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Internet Marketing

You're sitting on a gold mine

Current clients can be your best source of new business

By Adam DeGraide

I've been in the marketing business for many years, but it still blows my mind when I hear about insurance agents paying for leads, chasing leads, and throwing tons of money at ads and publicity because they're desperate to sell.

Evidently, they don't know they're already sitting on the best lead generation source for any agent.

You have a relationship with every single one of your clients. Some may be comfortable and close relationships you re-visit often, while others may be a little less personal; but they're all valuable.

Why? Because they're your key to retention, referrals, and rounding out accounts. Basically, your current clients are your gateway to sales and success.

Your clients have friends, family members, and co-workers who will all need insurance at one time or another. Who will they refer them to?

Your current auto insurance client might buy a house next year and need homeowners insurance. Where will he go for a quote?

If you're not keeping your agency name in front of your clients and nurturing your relationships with them, why should they direct their referrals and repeat business to you?

By nurturing your clients just as you'd nurture a new lead, you'll round out more accounts and receive more referrals. Ultimately, you'll earn more revenue. Here's what you need to do to get results.

Beef up that database

Your database is your primary means for reaching your current clients. Correct and thorough contact information for each client is needed to find them on social media sites, add them to e-mail marketing campaigns, and check in with phone calls.

Your staff talks to your clients daily. Motivate them to obtain this information and build the database.

Don't just assign the task; explain why it's so important. Get your staff on board with the significance of nurturing clients. Use tactics like monthly prizes for employees who get the most client e-mail addresses.

Prepare your staff for success by training them on how to ask for the information. Teach them to explain how the client will benefit by providing their e-mail address. Will they receive discounts, policy renewal reminders, and information on agency contests?

Get their attention

Once you and your staff have built a decent database that includes most, if not all, of your current clients, it's time to start reaching out to them.

A simple e-mail marketing campaign will keep your agency's name in front of your clients and provide valuable information for them.

Junk e-mail is running rampant and recipients of business e-mails are eager to hit that "unsubscribe" button. Your very first e-mail needs to be compelling so you aren't brutally dismissed by your clients on your initial try. Use the introductory e-mail to explain the value of your campaign and why your client should stick with it.

Mention the valuable information you'll provide in the campaign, such as new carriers, policy renewal dates, and new insurance products. Explain that you'll use e-mail as a way to contact them with updates, discounts from business partners, contests, promotions, and local events.

Make your e-mail campaign sound so valuable to your clients they won't even be able to fathom unsubscribing from it.

Get all touchy-feely

Isn't it annoying that you only hear from certain friends when they need something from you? Don't treat your clients how those friends treats you.

If you e-mail your clients just to talk about your business, they'll quickly lose interest and unsubscribe from your campaign. Focus on your clients and what they want, what they're going through, and how things affect them.

A scheduled e-mail campaign is a great concept to have, but stay flexible to venture off schedule when local events or industry events happen.

Be open to explaining spontaneous events and news in your e-mails. Your clients want to know what's going in the industry and how it will affect them. If there's a groundbreaking event going on in your community or business, be sure to address it.

Other important events you should consider covering are holidays and clients' birthdays. Not every e-mail needs to be informative or serve a sales purpose.

A "Happy Birthday" or "Happy Holidays" e-mail keeps your name in front of your client in a warm and friendly way. To have your clients associating your agency with a considerate feeling is a definite plus. These "warm and fuzzy" e-mails can sometimes gain you more business than an insurance-focused e-mail.

In each of your e-mails, subtly mention referrals and the other insurance products you offer. Don't throw out high pressure sales pitches; just remind your clients that your agency can help with all their insurance needs, as well as the insurance needs of their friends and family.

Get them involved

If you're looking for sales opportunities, take advantage of what's right under your nose. Adding client nurturing to a solid digital marketing plan will increase your ability to round out accounts and can secure you some recurring referral sources.

A robust and consistent digital marketing plan will do wonders in terms of getting current clients more involved in your agency. Motivate your clients to keep in touch by mentioning your social media sites in your e-mail campaign. Growing your social media following with current clients gains your business exposure to their online contacts. It also forms a more mutual relationship and allows your clients to join the conversation.

Keeping in touch with your current clients is just as important as pushing hard to attract new leads. When you take the time to reach out to your current clients, you're building concrete relationships that will benefit and grow your business.

Creating happier and more loyal clients is just an added bonus to your efforts.

The next time you feel motivated to build and grow your business, think twice before you call your local newspaper to buy an ad.

Start nurturing your current clients and tap into the goldmine of potential referrals and cross-sales you already have at your agency. Dig in and watch your business and profit grow.

The author

Adam DeGraide is a veteran Internet marketer, sales guru, entrepreneur, record producer, and motivational speaker. In 2006 he founded Astonish Results, a digital marketing company, and since then he has been encouraging independent agencies across the country to "Join the Internet marketing revolution, or get left behind!"


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