This is part of a series of posts on growth strategy for insurance agencies. The strategies all incorporate digital marketing tactics, are inspired by technology companies, and provide ways for you to grow your insurance agency. 

We write a lot about digital marketing strategies and tactics on the Broker Tool Belt. We do our best to connect the tactics to strategy in a series of posts like these:

  1. Agency Digital Marketing
  2. The Ultimate Content Marketing Framework for Brokers
  3. Step by Step Insurance Agent Marketing: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Sometimes we cover a topic in depth. Actually executing on a tactic to that level of depth may not be worthwhile, but we want you to know where it can take you.

The big question we’re yet to address in the 70+ posts on the Broker Tool Belt is, “How to choose which tactics to spend resources on?”.

Decision Criteria For Digital Marketing Tactics

When exploring a new tactic, use these 4 questions to explore whether the tactic will help you grow your insurance agency:

  1. Can the tactic improve my agency?
  2. Can the tactic improve an acquisition process by an order of magnitude (10x the current results)?
  3. Can I get 80% of the result with 20% of the effort?
  4. Can I get the tactic on a flywheel where I only need to put in a little effort to maintain it once it’s running?

Decision Criteria Breakdown

Can the tactic improve my agency?

Don’t be too critical here. We don’t want to eliminate tactics without a proper evaluation, but there some that just won’t help you grow your insurance agency. For example, does your agency need a Pinterest page? Probably not. Do you need to start a Twitch channel? I doubt it. At this stage we’re simply building our list of tactics.

Can the tactic improve a process by orders of magnitude?

In digital marketing, we’re looking for 10x impacts on:

  1. Leads
  2. Opportunities
  3. New clients
  4. Renewals
  5. Expansion revenue

If the answer to, “can the tactic improve a process by an order of magnitude” is “no”, don’t drop it. Remember that it’s not necessarily the outcome that needs to see a 10x increase. If you can 10x the number of average data points you have on a lead, that could be big. Make sure you rank your list of tactics from highest potential impact to lowest. A “no” may belong on the list, just lower.

One heuristic I use here is looking to another company or industry as an analog. Copying within your industry can be useful, but the outcome is unlikely to get you ahead. It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Copying is a great starting point.

Is there a business that resembles your insurance agency where the company used a digital marketing tactic and it significantly impacted their business? Once you’re close to par with your competition, you’ll need to draw inspiration from other industries. Can you draw any insights from accountants, lawyers, and/or doctors?

Can I get 80% of the result with 20% of the effort?

This isn’t always clear before you start exploring the tactic. Sometimes you have an idea of whether this is true, but often it’ll require research. A combination of internet research and talking to practitioners can help you determine the level of effort vs. outcome. I’m using 80/20 as a more general term, the ratio of effort to outcome might be better or worse, but you’re looking for an asymmetry.

For example, is it possible that having a Facebook page that you keep current is enough to capture 80% of the value that putting your agency on Facebook offers? People can find your agency, Google indexes your listing and you have a new inbound channel to capture leads. Regularly posting on Facebook, or running Facebook ads might be a lot more effort to capture that remaining 20%.

If the answer to, “Can I get 80% of the result with 20% of the effort” is “maybe/yes”, you’re in pretty good shape. You’ve identified a high impact tactic that will grow your insurance agency and doesn’t need a lot of effort to get most of the benefit.

Can I get the tactic on a flywheel where I only need to put in a little effort to maintain it once it’s running?

The last decision criterion, is whether you can, “keep it running with significantly less effort then it took to start”. This is a lot more critical then most people realize.

A better way to describe, “keep it running with significantly less effort then it took to start” is “flywheel”. In Good to Great, Jim Collins introduces the concept of “flywheel” for organizations. Once a flywheel starts spinning it takes less effort to keep spinning. Flywheels pop up in businesses often but can be difficult to achieve.

Let’s return to the Facebook example. Let’s say that you determined that posting to Facebook once per week gave you about 80% of the result (new leads) when compared to posting once per day. It doesn’t take much to get started, but posting consistently is where you’re seeing results. How can we reduce the effort of posting on Facebook every week? You could hire a freelancer to write the content. You could set up a Google Alert to send you articles each week for a specific keyword, like, “benefit packages”. Rather than writing or researching yourself, you only have to review and post. Now we’re talking!

This is the decision making framework I use when evaluating new marketing tactics. Digital marketing lends itself particularly well to this model because it can be high impact with low effort. The trick of course is learning something new. The Broker Tool Belt exists to share tactics to consider and give you a starting point for your research and experimentation on how to grow your insurance agency.

In the next post we’ll be discussing Flywheel 2.0 and how it can change the economics of your agency.