Internet marketing & gym memberships
Tools and techniques need to be utilized in order to work
By Adam DeGraide
At the beginning of 2011, did you give any thought about how you were going to grow your agency? How you were going to find more customers? How you were going to sell more policies? How you were going to keep your client base?
These questions are never fun to answer and, as a result, many agency leaders don't ask themselves these questions in the first place. However, they are absolutely critical for you to consider.
Our firm has more than 500 agencies as clients, and it is amazing how so many of them had their most successful years of growth in what many describe as a down market. Some of their competitors didn't grow at all, and some even went in the opposite direction. What was the difference? It comes down to three words: awareness, commitment, and action.
Three little words
First, you must be aware that you need to change. Second, you need the commitment to create a plan, and then, third, you need to take action—you actually have to do something based on the first two.
As I write this, it is January 2011. January is a big month in the fitness industry. There are more gym memberships sold, more home exercise equipment bought, and more resolutions made to get healthy than any other time of year.
But sadly, a huge percentage of the memberships, equipment and resolutions will never be used or kept. You see, the individuals who bought the equipment or resolved to get healthy were aware that they needed to change, and they made the commitment to do so by buying a membership or equipment, but they failed in the third and most difficult part of the process—action.
Putting this in the context of being an agency owner, just because an agency buys a digital marketing system, a CRM tool, a how-to book or a new management system; or goes to another convention, that does not mean they will use it. None of these will ever fix a systemic problem of lack of motivation, utilization, and implementation!
Responding to the modern consumer
It's not news that there's been a shift in the way people research, and now buy, insurance. Statistics show that no matter where you are in the country, most everything can be done online. The modern consumer has changed the way business is conducted. Whether people are buying a car, a house, electronics, books, music—you name it—the process generally begins online. Insurance consumers expect to be able to handle their insurance transactions in much the same way they manage other aspects of their lives. They want to use the Internet.
Is your agency facilitating that process?
What's the difference between those agencies that are rapidly growing their agencies and those that are not? Action, hard work, and focus! Agencies that have the awareness, make the commitment, and then act are killing those that are unaware or uncommitted or refuse to act! Period. It's that simple and that difficult.
We at Astonish Results have the privilege of working with the fastest organically growth-oriented agencies in the country—agencies like Partee Insurance in Covina, California (www.parteeinsurance.com). Wayne Partee has not only bought a system, but his staff uses it! He also leads his people in the agency's new modern consumer strategy, and everyone in the organization must utilize all of the tools at their disposal.
They do Internet marketing, social media marketing, and e-mail marketing. They actually use the CRM tool that they bought, and they train and develop their people. And guess what? They are actually selling more insurance, making more money, and having more fun!
Marty Karriker at Charlotte Insurance in North Carolina (www.charlotteinsurance.com) is another great example of someone who is responding to the modern consumer. He has literally installed a "hot lead" button that goes off in all four of his office locations when an Internet lead comes into his CRM tool.
Think about that! How you see things is how you will treat them. If you see the Internet as a viable and valuable agency growth engine, then so will your people. And if you don't, neither will they.
What's stopping you?
So this year, should you do Internet marketing? Should you set up an agency Facebook page? Should you set up a Twitter account? Should you do search engine optimization and search engine marketing? Should you train your people on how to sell and serve the modern consumer? Should you start doing e-mail marketing? Or how about automating some activities so you and your people can focus on what you do best: insurance? How about old-fashioned cold-calling? (This still works amazingly well.)
Are you aware that you need to change? Are you willing to commit to making changes? Are you willing to put that commitment into action?
Only you as the agency owner or key manager can cast the vision, lead the way, and help your people get on the road to digital marketing success.
So remember: A gym membership is good only if you use it, and Internet marketing is good only if you take action!
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!"