“Insurance was the fastest-growing industry after World War II. This was a sweet place to be, and if you could reasonably run a business, your agency would grow,” says Michael Jans, CEO of Agency Revolution. “But those days are over. Competition is more fierce, and rivals are well-funded. You have to be a dedicated entrepreneur.”
One such way to grow an agency is through marketing automation—a technology that is not new, but has been largely unavailable or useless to the insurance industry because data has been siloed in agency management systems.
But more recently, software is available to read the information in an AMS and automatically trigger marketing campaigns to individuals at the right point in time.
For an agency that has 10,000 clients, Agency Revolution identified 141 scenarios that can take place on any given day. And each of these scenarios requires specific marketing materials, with detailed language tailored just to the client's event.
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Through data collection, the Agency Revolution platform triggers its marketing campaign. It's a pretty simple process, says Jans: Install the software, continue using your AMS through normal business operations, data is collected, the platform detects life-cycle changes and then automatically launches a campaign. Users are able to opt out or change any campaigns.
In this way, agencies can use technology to multiply value and meaning to clients, Jans advises. “Good marketing automation makes people feel that you care about them and represent the values of your agency,” he stresses.
He recommends marketing automation for agencies that have $1 million in revenue and 10 or more employees. Such operations have the time and capital to invest in and adopt new technologies, he says.
Chris Dik, vice president at Knight-Dik Insurance Agency in Worcester, Mass., understands the value of digital marketing. This strategy has helped the agency grow its Workers’ Compensation line from practically nothing and triple his WC commission in just the first year.
The Workers’ Compensation market is unique in Massachusetts—it's the 44th cheapest in the country and there aren't a lot of players due to its high effort and low returns. But Dik viewed this as an opportunity.
About five years ago, the agency, which writes about $2.5 million in commission each year, decided to jump into the Workers’ Compensation market with both feet. It branded a program called Workers’ Comp Results, which has its own dedicated website and offers third-party services with the biggest impact on reducing premiums, such as reserve reductions, audits and HR support.
With help from agency interns, Dik builds data profiles—including experience mods, rating systems and current premiums—on these potential insureds from free and publication information from the state, and puts all of that information into an Excel spreadsheet. “We are taking the old way of marketing—of getting the data first—and then letting the system work,” he says.
From there, Infusionsoft—a platform offering contact management, CRM, marketing automation and e-commerce—takes over. The software identifies certain niches that Dik wants to target for specific campaigns: Contractors or landscapers, for example, who are paying at least 10% more than their competitors.
The software pulls these names and their data, and sends out a letter that includes actual premium numbers and comparisons.
This language grabs the potential insured's eye, and from there it's inbound marketing, Dik says: “Ninety to 95% of my business is from inbound calls after a client receives those letters.”
Infusionsoft automates the onboarding of new clients—across all lines, not just Workers’ Comp. The software continues to send e-mails quarterly to potential clients, a programmed process so successful that Knight-Dik closes about three policies a month based off of marketing campaigns that ended four or five years ago.
Jan agrees with this strategy, and applauds the payoff: “How many times are you contacting your customers?” he asks. “Only at renewal? If the nature of your message is a Halloween cartoon with a picture of pumpkins—that doesn't add value to your relationship.”