My agency, Alan Galvez Insurance, has fully embraced community-based marketing. So what is it you ask?
Here’s my definition of community-based marketing:
Community-based marketing is the process of actively including your community in your marketing efforts. Examples can include co-branded campaigns with another business in your community or participation in another community members project or cause.
It’s important to note that everyone’s definition of “community” is slightly different. My community relates to geography and the area that surrounds my physical office location. So community for me is within 10 miles of my office, which is pretty much the entire county. But nonetheless, it starts with “community.”
Why Your Insurance Agency Should Embrace Community-Based Marketing
I’ve discovered community-based marketing to be one of the best marketing tools at my disposal. We tout very heavily that we are a community-based agency and actively support many causes and organizations within our community. We live it. So it seemed obvious that we should align our business activities with other organizations within our community. Here’s some additional reasons why it should be high on your list of marketing activities:
- Magnification of your marketing efforts. Think about that for a minute- the organization you align with has its own customer base, one you probably couldn’t have reached on your own. By partnering, you gain access to a whole new market.
- Increased social proof. If an organization partners with you, that’s a pretty heavy recommendation of your business. And vice versa. Whenever you recommend someone, you’re sticking your neck out. If they go south, so does your reputation. So when two businesses align together, they’re endorsing each other and putting their reputations on the line. We all put great stock in reviews from others when making purchasing decisions. Do you think community-based marketing activities carries the same weight?
- Positive PR. By demonstrating you want to contribute to a cause or organization, you also demonstrate you care. You’re more than just some faceless corporation. You’re real people helping real people in your community. And what community doesn’t love this? It’s feel-good, heartwarming community service at its best.
Examples of Community-Based Marketing from my own agency
Here’s some “in-the-trenches” examples of community-based marketing.
- “Quotes for Charity” campaign. The idea is simple. We chose a charity and for every auto quote completed, we donated $10 to the charity. The success of this project depends on both organizations. I educated each organization about what we were doing, distributed flyers, and asked for their help in promoting the event since they were going to directly benefit. I also created weekly Facebook reminder posts and tagged the organization so they could share with their audience. At the end of the promotion, I got a picture of me presenting the check to the head of the organization and shared that on Facebook. NOTHING but good things can come from a campaign like this. We increased our quotes, sold more policies and created an enormous amount of goodwill.
- Guest blog posts from local businesses. Each Saturday on our blog is a guest article from a local business. It’s not an advertisement for the business per se, but a value-added article from an expert in that particular business. The benefits are countless- I get some help blogging, the business gets positive PR (much like the Quotes for Charity program), and our “community” gets a valued-added resource from our agency, as well as the guest business. I share the posts on Facebook as well. The comments and shares of the articles has been extraordinary, so I know people are visiting our website to read. Chances are good they’ll stick around and read about our services and products too.
- Christmas Toy Drive. Every year, we sponsor 2 families through Lutheran Community Services. They provide Christmas baskets to families in need. Some of those families don’t have “sponsors”, so Lutheran provides the baskets from their own funds. I decided that we should hold a toy drive to collect toys for the baskets Lutheran puts together. I created and sent an email to our customers asking for contributions. I also ran some radio ads and several Facebook posts. The response was OVERWHELMING. We ended up with 6 HUGE boxes of toys. When we delivered the toys to Lutheran, the looks on their faces were priceless. In fact, it moved me so much, I wrote a blog post about it. I recommend you read it. There’s an extra special story contained within it. You’re darned tooting I’m going to do this again.
Let me leave you with two additional reasons in case I haven’t convinced you yet.
- It differentiates you from the 800 other insurance agencies in your town.
- It adds an extra layer of value as you battle against the direct writers, 800 numbers and multiple other threats to the independent agency system (which I call hogwash by the way- especially if you adopt a mentality like described above).
I promised two, but here’s a bonus third- because it’s the right thing to do.