Quick disclosure – While our team has used most of the tools mentioned below, this isn’t referral content and none of these links have incentives for us. We’re simply sharing affordable or free tools and tactics that have proven to be effective.
Modern marketing can be overwhelming, especially for those who manage a smaller budget and don’t want to take risks on marketing tactics that are either hard to prove a return on, or less familiar to them. Too many professionals have been dazzled by marketing “consultants” who managed to drive up certain metrics that never led to an increase in revenue.
While some insurance companies might be more ambitious for growth than others, very few would turn down the prospect of additional business. Even if your desire is for growth outside your local market, there’s still a lot of value to be gained by expanding your reach within your city.
Effective local marketing is still a solid source for new business lead generation, and doesn’t require substantial upfront investments or steep learning curves.
Here’s a handful of ways to increase your local awareness, while spending little or no money.
Google My Business (free)
167 billion. That’s how many searches are performed on Google each month. And for businesses looking to be found in searches like “best insurance in ____,” Google has provided an effective platform aptly named Google My Business. Surprisingly, most companies rarely take full advantage of the opportunity.
Wordstream has an excellent post outlining a thorough (and free) approach to optimizing your GMB page, but here’s the 3 most important things you can do:
- Claim your business profile and fill out as many attributes as possible. Note that sometimes, there’s a slight delay here in claiming the business, as Google has to verify ownership, which (to date) involves a postcard in the mail with a verification code.
- Politely ask your best (or all) your customers to leave a review. Google gives priority to higher-ranking businesses, and/or those with a consistent stream of reviews. A straightforward email asking them for help often gets a surprisingly high response rate.
- Update the page occasionally with photos and posts, and respond to questions as they come in.
It should be no surprise, but Google will prioritize search visibility for those that take advantage of the tools they offer. Meaning the more thorough your setup and more frequently reviews or updates show up on your page, the higher you’ll show up in searches. This is critically important, as most studies show that 75%+ of searches never scroll past first page results.
Directory Listings (free, or monthly fee for services that streamline this for you)
Google isn’t the only source for showing up locally. Facebook, Yelp, Instagram and others create pins on the map, so to speak. HubSpot has a good article outlining the top 50 online directories, and you could go about the tedious, but mostly one-time, process of listing your business on each.
Or, you could consider trying a service like BrightLocal ($29 per month) for a period of time. BrightLocal will set up and monitor the listings, as well as detect duplicate or incorrect listings.
If you’re going the route of doing it yourself, prioritize Facebook, Yelp, Bing, and Yellowbook.com, to start.
Referrals (free, or monthly fee for services that automate this for you)
Every study on referral marketing agrees – word-of-mouth and peer referrals are some of the best leads you can get. Built on existing trust, they often close faster and remain loyal customers.
But it’s not always natural to ask for a referral at the close of a sale, so many companies have resorted to things like automated emails or texts soliciting the referral. If you’d like to try a software solution, ReferralHero is one of the better affordable solutions at $49 per month, without a contract.
If you don’t want to commit to a software, you don’t have to. Why not create a simple Google Form with the following copy?
We’re so grateful you’ve trusted us to take care of your insurance needs. As a local business, we rely on word-of-mouth referrals, and would love to share our services with someone you know who might be a good fit. Do you know anyone looking for (services you specialize in)?
You could set up a reminder to send this email at a certain point after the sale, or assign to a specific team member. It doesn’t have to be complex – just on time, and completed.
*Note – Some companies offer referral incentives when a referred client becomes a customer. This may be a compliance issue on a state-by-state basis, and should be researched.
Many businesses are far more cautious in regards to sending emails to their list of clients and prospects than they need to be. No one likes “spam” or junk mail in their inbox any more than their real mailbox, but it’s par for the course, and that “unsubscribe” button is always there.
But businesses that take the time to craft emails that add value to the reader often find email is their most successful outlet for new business and upsells. Email newsletters like The Hustle have earned literally millions of newsletter subscribers just because of the quality content they pull together.
But where to start? Well, what are you an expert on? Could you turn that expertise into a series of tips or learnings? Do you have new products for a particular segment of your customers, and can you articulate their value? Do you have any promotions, or seasonal considerations for your product?
Start there. It doesn’t have to be beautiful or overly designed. In fact, many of the best B2B emails are simple, plain text emails that get to the point. Gong offers a great guide on effective email crafting.
Tip – Be sure to segment out your existing customers, and prospects. You can send more frequently, and say more, to customers.
Local Blog Authorship (free, or one-time fees for copywriting assistance)
Speaking of expertise, it’s not uncommon to find other local blogs or business associations who would be happy to let you guest write a topic related to your expertise. You then get the benefit of them sharing your expertise with their network, linking back to your contact info.
Not a confident writer? That’s ok! You can often hire one inexpensively on services like UpWork for a low hourly fee. They can interview you and pull out the copy, or even refine rough drafts or bullets you produce.
What types of blogs might make sense? After checking with local and specialty business groups, look for entrepreneurial blogs or accounts, or even small business-focused blogs. Many of these rely on a steady stream of fresh content to keep their audiences engaged, and take no offense when receiving a sample offer for original content.
Why’d we write this?
We’re a payments company, right? Yes. And our passion is making your payments simpler, faster and more modern so that you spend less time managing cashflow and more time growing your business and delighting your customers. If you want to see how ePayPolicy can help you do that, feel free to look around our site, or book a demo.