When independent agents leave the Liberty Mutual independent agents program, they lose the marketing materials, networking opportunities, book of business, and other forms of support that came with that program. However, those new, actual independent agents gain so much more in terms of making their own business decisions, gaining market access, owning their book of business, and choosing what to do with their own marketing efforts.
Those marketing efforts are important to build a book of business. So, what can you do to grow your agency? We’re glad you asked. In this article, we’re bringing you six independent agent resources that you can use to reach more potential clients. You’ll learn about:
- Some of the best digital and trade publications for independent insurance agencies
- How independent insurance agents can continue their professional development, expand their networking opportunities, and access educational resources
- How to use certain online tools to market your insurance agency
- Determining whether your marketing efforts would benefit from lead generation tools
- How your agency management tools can help you organize your business and grow your agency
While you’re here, don’t forget to download our free ebook on how to transition to a fully independent agent. This great educational resource will help you during this crucial time as you make the switch from the Liberty Mutual independent agent program to becoming fully independent.
Trade Publications for Independent Agency Partners
Independent agents can learn a lot from trade publications. There are quite a few out there. Some are regional and some are national. Depending on your location, you may want to look in your area for those that serve your city or region. Here are some of our favorites that serve a broader area.
- Independent Agent Magazine. Independent Agent Magazine is available online. They cover everything from cyber liability insurance to professional development to technology solutions to valuation.
- Insurance Journal. Insurance Journal is the most highly respected and trusted online insurance magazine on the market. It covers just about everything you can think of, including news and markets. In fact, if you look under the Magazines tab, you can choose your general region to read insurance news in your area.
- Insurance Business America. Insurance Business America (also offered for several other countries) provides specialty insurance coverage such as catastrophic and commercial auto, resources such as webinars and events, and insurance-related news coverage.
- Rough Notes. Rough Notes is an online website devoted to the insurance business. You can learn about subjects such as cross-selling, cyber insurance, how to expand your profit, and more. They also have articles covering specialty lines for those interested in those types of coverage options.
- FeedSpot for Insurance. While FeedSpot for insurance isn’t an online trade publication, it houses the top 15 insurance magazines and publications along with the RSS feeds. You can find the best online insurance magazines and access their latest content simply by copying their RSS feeders and pasting them directly into your RSS feeder.
Many of the above websites are free with “freemium” features. They are certainly worth a look for their marketing resources articles, coverage options articles, and educational resources for independent agency owners.
Professional Development: Your Secret Tool to Grow Your Agency
Professional development… we all know what it is and we’ve all at least heard that it can help grow a business. But now that you’re on your own as a former Liberty Mutual Independent agent, how can you access it? Well, you have some options.
You’ll recall the former section where we discussed trade publications. Some of those offer opportunities for professional development or business development where you can learn about things such as agency management, email marketing, social media, marketing efforts, marketing resources, online tools, and the like. All you need to do is pay and attend. Many will send you a way to access the event after it’s over, too.
Another option is to attend a local event held by your Chamber of Commerce, a local networking club, or even a class or event held by the library or a technical or vocational college.
One popular option for independent insurance agents that provides not only professional development but also networking opportunities is joining an insurance aggregator. Most include professional development (and networking events) in the price agents pay for joining.
How Insurance Aggregators Act as an Educational Resource for Independent Agents
Insurance aggregators are independent agency partners that can help grow your agency if you take advantage of everything they have to offer. So, what can the right one offer your independent agency? Insurance aggregators such as SIAA provide our independent agency partners with:
- Programs like the Business Insurance Advantage program from SIAA, which assists new independent agencies in growing their commercial lines book of business.
- All-in-one solutions for continuing education credits and training. This is available 24/7 to our members.
- Marketing tools to attract new clients. This includes training for social media marketing.
- Additional income resources for insurance solutions.
- More market access to expand your coverage options.
- More access to technology solutions at a discounted price.
The right insurance aggregator can make a huge difference because of the independent insurance agent resources they offer. Check out the resources offered by SIAA to determine if they are right for your insurance agency.
Consider Pitching to Podcasts and Web Series
Do you enjoy talking about the insurance industry or coverage options? Do you have thoughts on where the insurance industry will be in a few years? If so, pitching to podcasts and web series that intersect between law and insurance could be a great marketing resource as well as educational resource for you that also gets the name of your independent insurance agency out there.
It helps you stand out as an expert in your field while also giving you free exposure. Here are some potential places to start:
Best’s Insurance Law PodcastHosted by John Czuba, this podcast has covered topics such as insurance fraud, lawsuits covering data breaches, and complex claims.
On Point Podcast. Hosted by Peter van Aatrjik, this podcast discusses topics such as insurtech, client relationships, and insurance agency branding. The host has also interviewed leading authorities on how to create amazing insurance agencies that know how to serve their clients.
The Modern Life Insurance Selling Podcast. Hosted by Jeff Root, the author of The Digital Life Insurance Agent, you’ll learn more about marketing efforts for the digital world. He’s covered topics such as online sales funnels, advanced tech, and creating great customer experiences.
Agents of Influence Podcast. Hosted by Jason Cass, this podcast includes interviews of insurance agents to learn what it takes to succeed in the insurance industry.
Cody Askins’ YouTube Channel. Cody is an insurance sales coach. He owns and operates five insurance agencies. He helps agents all over the world become more successful in running their agencies.
Before pitching to any podcast or web series, it’s always a good idea to listen to a few episodes to better understand the host, the audience, and the style of the show. Come up with a solid idea, write it out, and then pitch. Don’t forget to follow up. Remember that this list above isn’t a full list! You can always think outside of the box and look for other business-related podcasts and web series.
Using Lead Generation Tools to Grow Your Book of Business
When you left the Liberty Mutual Independent Agents program, you discovered that you didn’t own your book of business… and that you had to build your new one from zero. That can be a scary feeling. Sure, you can call everyone you know (and there’s nothing wrong with that… because becoming the insurance solution provider for your friends and family can be very helpful for everyone involved). However, that most likely isn’t enough to support you (and grow your agency) for the rest of your life.
So, what about using lead generation tools to grow your book of business? No one says you can’t. Here’s a list of lead generation tools you can use to get started:
Fresh, real-time lead companies (such as QuoteWizard or HomeTown Quotes; please note that by listing them that we are NOT endorsing them. We are ONLY suggesting them as an idea of real-time lead companies. There are lots of them to choose from).
Prospecting lists. These are not the same as a leads list. These contacts did not submit any type of form that said, “I would like to get more information.” They are not a lead. They are a prospect. An example of a prospecting list would be Cole X-Dates or LimeLeads – again, we are NOT endorsing them. We are only using them as examples. There are lots of companies available that offer these services.
Aged leads. Aged leads are leads that are between one and three months old. They are usually generated online. An example of a place to find them is AgedLeadStore, but that is NOT an endorsement – only an example.
Exclusive leads. Exclusive leads are leads that are purchased only by you or generated only for you. They may be called in or generated online. Examples of places where they may be generated or purchased include QuoteWizard, but that is NOT an endorsement – only an example.
Phone dialers. Please remember that you must obey all federal and state laws related to telemarketing.
Websites with built-in forms, chatbots, or other means of communication, such as chat tools. (WordPress is one example, but that is NOT an endorsement – only an example.) You may find this works best by using an agency website design and development method so that you get the most “bang for your buck” and don’t have to do it yourself.
Content Distribution Networks. This allows files you have that are saved online to load faster and blocks bad things (such as viruses and malware) from being shared. (Cloudflare and Amazon Cloudfront are examples, but that is NOT an endorsement.)
Online Forms and Quote Tools. This can be as simple as Google Forms or you could do something more sophisticated.
SEO, Content, and Market Research.
Door Knocking Apps. One example is SalesRabbit. Again, though, this is not an endorsement.
Email outreach tools.
Data tools to help you find missing emails or phone numbers.
Email marketing and newsletter tools to reach leads and clients.
There are so many tools you can use to rebuild your book of business. It may seem overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t need to use all of them at once.
The AMS, CMS, and CRM: Secret Weapons for Your Insurance Agency
Believe it or not, if you’ve already chosen your AMS, CMS, and CRM (or if your AMS has a built-in CMS and CRM), you have a secret weapon for your insurance agency at your fingertips for growth. You can learn more about your current clients and their needs, which makes selling more coverage options much easier with these all-in-one solutions. Each tool also has their own knowledge bases. Learning to use all of their features is much easier than it used to be!
AMS: Association Management System?
An AMS is the association management system. Most agencies refer to it as the agency management system. It collects and stores all of the data. It’s the giant brain of the entire operation. It performs all of the day-to-day functions for the agency.
CMS: Content Management System
Content management plays a big role in every insurance agency. The content management system (CMS) provides an all-in-one system for shaping the role of content for your business.
Content can mean a lot of things. It can mean blogs, website content, social media marketing, email marketing… even videos and podcasts. The purpose of a CMS module is to give your insurance agency one place to plan and hold all of your content marketing resources. Believe us when we tell you that this will make your life so much easier.
CRM: Customer Relationship Management
CRM is an acronym for customer relationship management. It doesn’t just manage the relationships you have with your clients. Sure, it does that and tells you about their current insurance solutions. It also gives you the opportunity to understand their coverage option needs. From here, you’re better able to create targeted marketing materials and create cross-selling efforts.
Begin Growing Now with These Independent Insurance Agency Resources!
From reading trade publications to relying on technology to booking interviews on podcasts, we hope that you found these six tips beneficial. Don’t forget to download your free copy of our ebook on how to successfully transition to a fully independent agent!