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Digital MarketingThe world of marketing can be a scary, uncertain place, especially with new online marketing capabilities introduced almost daily. To make matters worse, most local insurance agencies don’t have a dedicated marketing team.  Although it’s best to have at least one employee focused on marketing, more often than not marketing is one part of a single employee’s many hats.  You know marketing is an important part of growing your agency, but you need to grow your agency before you can increase your marketing resources – what are you to do in this catch 22?

The best way to jump-start your marketing is to simplify.  Through our experience here at SIS, we’ve found three tools are important in marketing success: your agency’s website, an e-newsletter and your social media presence.  If you can get the ball rolling in these three areas, you can make use of the latest cloud-based tools to keep things moving till you’re able to get someone on marketing full-time.

Having a good website is the first piece to any marketing campaign: you need to have a place for potential clients to go for information. If resources allow, the best move is to outsource your website creation to an expert. We at SIS refer our agency partners to Agency Marketing Partners as creating and maintaining a website is full-time work.  However, for those who don’t yet have the resources to outsource, Squarespace is a good way to start your website before moving it over to a professional.

Squarespace has a “drag and drop” site creation method, making it easy to learn and use, and has high quality, catchy designs that give your agency that polished, put-together look.  With the explosion of mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website is a must, and Squarespace automatically adjusts your site for mobile users.  You can reach the 24/7 support team by e-mail and online chat, and since Squarespace is all run online, you can make website edits anywhere at any time, while Squarespace takes care of site hosting and back-ups.

Once you’ve got a place to send people, it’s time to get them there.  At one time, e-newsletters were the go-to marketing technique, but these days they’re a supplement to other marketing tactics. Yet, e-news still holds value in being an easy to digest way to keep your clients and potentials clients informed and connected. If your agency’s budget allows, our preferred website-creation company also provides great e-mail marketing management. However, if you’re not in a place to outsource, Constant Contact and Vertical Response are great cloud-based e-newsletters providers.   Each provides easy-to-use e-news templates, campaign management and reporting and has ways to link social media to your e-newsletters.

The final piece to getting started in marketing is to ensure your presence on social media.  In itself, social media can be a bit daunting, but time has shown its staying power and influence.  The greatest benefit for social media is you can connect directly with current and potentials clients and promote agency transparency, creating a sense of trust between you and your clients.

There are a lot of social sites out there, but Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn remain the most widely used and the three to hit, with Google+ on the rise.  You should put some work in to creating your agency profiles and gaining followers, and after on regularly updating with relevant info.  As a good rule of thumb, Facebook is great for photo sharing, Twitter for link sharing, and LinkedIn and Google+ for agency news. A great cloud app for keeping things updated is Hootsuite, a tool that allows you to update multiple social media platforms at one time.  The interface is easy to use and understand, and you can even schedule updates to be posted days, weeks, and months in advance.

Once you’ve got things rolling for marketing, maintaining is made so much easier with these cloud-based tools. They can help your agency grow so you can invest in a full-time marketing person or team.  You should use your marketing tools along with your agency’s management system, utilizing its abilities to cross sell, renew and retain clients and win back lost accounts.  Check out a previous post on how Partner XE helps boost your marketing tactics, and contact us at 800.747.9273 or [email protected] to talk about the ways Partner XE can work for your agency.

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