Of course referrals are great – but how do you get them?
We all know how important a good referral program is to the success of independent insurance agencies & brokerages today. But maybe you’re not sure how to get started building the right referral rewards program for your insurance agency or brokerage. Have no fear, Agency Revolution is here to lend you a helping hand.
1. Design a ‘fun’ rewards program
The first thing you should do is figure out what exactly your referral rewards program looks like. It’s important to make it fun. A referral program should offer a reward to participating customers, but keep in mind, it’s not about the reward – it’s about showing appreciation! We recommend giving something small to all customers that offer a referral, regardless of the result. If someone shares a referral with you, that’s a big compliment to your agency or brokerage, and they deserve some recognition!
Some popular ‘appreciation gifts’ include a $5 gift card for a simple pleasure, like a favorite coffee shop, a small donation to a local charity, or even something fun like scratch-it tickets.
Don’t let it end there. Offer a ‘second-tier’ prize to drive engagement even further. Again, this prize doesn’t need to be something big or expensive – the goal is to create something fun and rewarding to encourage people to participate in. For example, Agency Revolution’s client, Knapp Tedesco Insurance, holds a raffle with the names of everyone that offered a referral on a given month. The winner receives a $25 restaurant gift card. To take things even further, 2 times a year they raffle a $100 gas gift card.
None of this is to say you can’t offer bigger or more exciting prizes to create more motivation or a certain level of competitiveness. Another great example is Agency Revolution’s client, CIG Central Valley Insurance, who has found great success by coupling a $250 gift card with a $100 donation to a charity of the winners choice as a big prize once a quarter. Or another client of ours, Ellis Insurance Agency in San Antonio, Texas, offers a weekend vacation package at the Port Royal resort in Port Aransas, Texas once a year.
While there’s a lot of great reasons to offer substantial prizes like these, we love to point to examples like Knapp Tedesco’s program because they prove you don’t need big prizes to find big success in your referral program.
2. Identify your favorite customers
Once you’ve figured out what your rewards program actually looks like, it’s time to build a target list. Start by identifying your most loyal and oldest customers, or anyone you know you’ve developed a positive relationship with, and add them to that list. Next, add customers you’ve helped through the claims process and given a positive experience to. This is one of the many ways our Fuse™ platform (which integrates directly with your agency or brokerage management system) has proven invaluable to many of our clients.
Now that you have a list, you need to keep growing it. Setup good processes to ensure your agency or brokerage is constantly adding new names to that list. Make sure anyone that interacts with customers makes note of any time someone expresses gratitude for something your agency has done, or whenever you’ve done something to go ‘above and beyond’ to deliver a great experience to your customers.
3. Build an email campaign
So now you’ve identified a great list of contacts to reach out to, and you’ve built a fun and engaging program to reward them for sharing referrals. Now it’s time to nurture that list with an email campaign. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. In fact, your messages should be simple, honest, and to the point. Try something that starts like this:
Hi <first name>,
Thank you so much for choosing us for your insurance needs.
I greatly appreciate your business. It’s customers like you that make us successful. Good relationships and positive word-of-mouth is important to me, and means a lot to our whole team at <agency/brokerage name>.
May I ask you a quick favor?
From there the message should go on to briefly describe the referral rewards program you’ve put together ‘to make referrals a little more fun’ and how to participate. Reach out to the list you’ve built with messages like this a few times every year, and include information about your rewards program in the welcome messages for new customers, or when you close a new policy with an existing customer.
4. Show off your winners!
Don’t stop with that email campaign. You want to show off how much fun your program can be to everyone willing to pay it mind! Every time you share a prize is an opportunity to grab a picture that you can display on your website. It gives you something fun to share in your newsletter. It’s the perfect experience to share on social media. This gives you an ideal excuse to publicly show some gratitude for the help your customers give you, and illustrate that your business is full of real people who have fun and love the community they’re in! Those are the perfect ingredients for a great social media experience, and it shows off exactly the kind of traits people want from a company they do business with.
That’s all there is to it!
Just remember that it’s all about having fun and showing appreciation to your customers. Making sure your referral program is successful really comes down to 4 important steps: Build a rewards program that’s fun and engaging. Identify a good list of customers that you think are most likely to offer referrals. Nurture the program through email. Share the excitement wherever possible!