Would you rather do business with a faceless corporation or a member of your community who understands your needs and will work with you to meet them? The answer seems obvious, and it’s precisely how you want people in your community to feel about doing business with you and your independent agency.
However, it’s not enough to just be a community member. Unless people can see you reaching out and actively engaging with your community, they’ll never know you exist nor how you can serve them. It’s up to you to engage your community, prove that you care through your involvement, and show that you can offer a valuable service to its members.
Many agencies have discovered the power of community involvement. There’s a lot of research that makes it clear that social responsibility is a key factor in modern consumers’ buying decisions. 87% of consumers say they’re willing to buy a product or service based on a company’s advocacy concerning a social matter. Supporting your community helps your audience feel good about working with you, and it allows you to talk about your agency in a way that’s fun and uplifting. It provides a platform to promote your agency brand online without talking about what you want to sell them.
Consider Agency Revolution customer Brown Insurance Group in Indiana. Brown supports close to fifty charities and social groups through volunteer work and donations. Furthermore, they’ve organized their own clothing and food drives to help members of their community in need, using their office as a dropoff location for donations. They use their newsletter to highlight charities that matter to their agency and the community they serve while providing fuel for a very active Facebook page.
Another favorite example of an agency engaging their community is Michigan-based Apple Insurance of South Haven. This Agency Revolution client created a mascot—a cute apple worm named Safety Sammy—to be the face of their community outreach efforts. Apple Insurance has created a series of coloring books designed to teach children about topics such as fire safety, bicycle safety, winter safety, and more – which they donate to local schools and make available as downloadable printables for free on their website. School children also receive Safety Sammy plushies, and they’ve even made a full size Safety Sammy costume that a member of the agency dons to speak to children at events such as the South Haven Police Department Bike Safety Rodeo. The efforts to teach children in their community about safety even got Apple Insurance a feature on their local news station!
When it’s time to buy a new homeowners insurance policy, who do you think the residents of South Haven will think of first: the gecko talking about saving you 15%, or the Apple Worm working with their local police department to teach their children to be safe?
Initiatives like the ones Apple Insurance of South Haven and Brown Insurance Group engage in go a long way to establish goodwill with the communities their agents and brokers serve while providing ample content for their emails and social media timelines. You don’t have to support every local charity or create your own mascot and matching coloring book series to engage your community. Start small, focus on issues and charities that matter to you and your team, talk to the people in your community, and figure out how you can help your agency become a name that gets associated with the issues that matter to your community.