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What insurance agent wouldn’t rather follow up on a warm lead than a cold one? Not only is it an easier call to make because you go into the call knowing the prospect has indicated an interest in your product, but you also go into it knowing you have a higher chance of success.

Because of that, lead generation, or LeadGen, (defined by Wikipedia as a marketing tool, used particularly in internet marketing, to generate consumer interest or inquiry into products or services of a business) can be a very attractive proposition.

If you execute it properly, a LeadGen campaign will keep your new business pipeline full and keep your agents busy following up on warm leads. Sadly, however, many LeadGen programs fail to produce the desired results. Usually this is because organizations fail to follow the few simple rules listed below:

Understand Your Goals and Objectives

Set specific goals of what you want your lead generation program to accomplish. Make sure these goals are communicated across your entire organization.

Understand Your Buyer

Do your homework. Knowing who your buyers are, what drives them, what their buying patterns are, and what their pain points are is essential for creating empathy with your prospects, closing sales and winning long-term clients. It is also critical to creating an effective lead generation campaign.

Target, Refine and Revisit Your Lists

If understanding your buyer is your homework, building your targeted lists is your test. Take what you have learned about your best clients and use that data to pull (or buy) lists of prospects with similar attributes.

Luckily your initial list is not your final exam. When it comes to turning lists into leads, “one and done” is not an option. Think of your list as a living thing which needs to be nurtured in order to thrive. As you acquire new names via sales calls referrals, or lead companies, add them to your list. After each outbound campaign, adjust it. If your list is not up to date, your credibility takes a hit.

Communicate A Clear Value

Take a step back and take a good hard look at why your clients make a conscious choice to use your agency to fulfill their insurance needs. (Your agents should be a valuable source of information in this regards.) Armed with this information you can craft a succinct value statement that speaks to your clients’ needs and demonstrates how you can add more value than the competition.

This value statement should then be embraced by your entire organization, so that all communications with your prospects in any given vertical (whether via phone, email or direct mail) concisely convey the same message.

Educate, Don’t Sell

Don’t forget that LeadGen is about building name recognition, rapport and credibility – about positioning your company as the “go-to resource” for insurance.

This is especially critical with email marketing because it is so easy to hit the delete key. If you offer quality educational content, not only do you entice more people to open and read your messaging and click through to your website, you create brand awareness. You also give them a reason to open (and even better, forward or Tweet) the next message from you that arrives in their inbox.

Follow Up

The reality is that the majority of leads will not lead immediately to a sale. Most will need to be nurtured and developed (see our blog post Nurture Leads for Sales Success) so that your solution is in the forefront of the prospect’s mind when the time comes for them to buy. Because of this, follow up is absolutely essential.

Measure Success

Trying to do lead gen without tracking results is like spitting into the wind. You need to consistently track outbound activities and responses generated from those activities.

Know how many emails you have sent out, how many direct mail pieces you have sent, , the number of phone calls made, conference calls held or on-site meetings held. Track the number of opportunities created and deals closed.

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