As we are all going through this current crisis it can be confusing for agents when determining strategies to remain profitable. While it is fiscally important to work towards growing and maintaining your agency, it is morally important to act as an authentic member of a community.
The way to combine both these strategies is through community marketing.
What is community marketing exactly? According to Leslie Brooks of Healthcare Success Marketing:
Community marketing seeks to provide services, engage with, and attract prospective customers on a very local level, through their cities or even neighborhoods.”
Shifting your strategy to community marketing is not only a good business decision, but it’s also the right thing to do.
We have long been impressed with one of our clients, McClain Insurance out of Everett Washington. They have a long track record of community involvement which serves as an incredible incentive for those in their area to work with them.
While their efforts are good for business, that is not their primary motivation. Founder, Claudia McClain, described how focusing on her community had benefited their agency:
“Our team members live, work and raise their families in this beautiful corner of the Pacific Northwest, and while some of us are transplants from different states and even countries, we all have come to appreciate the people and the landscapes of our hometown, Everett. We are thrilled to be able to give back in various ways to local, family and education-oriented charities.”
Right now business-as-usual email and social marketing will appear tone-deaf and callous. In person event marketing would be irresponsible. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stay involved with your community. At this time it wouldn’t be appropriate to organize in person gatherings, but it is a perfect time to provide online support to the members of your neighborhood, city, and online audience.
Here are three ways your agency can show support to your community.
Draw attention to nonprofit efforts and local causes
If you have spent your marketing time and dollars on growing your online audience, now is a perfect time to leverage your role as an influencer and direct them to meaningful causes. Facebook allows you to collect donations. Nonprofit organizations will provide simple ways to coordinate with their own fundraising efforts.
Supporting charities is also a way to appeal to the upcoming Millennial generation. Recent studies show the the social consciousness movement is important to this group with 70 % of them reporting that they’ll spend more with businesses that support causes. With a purchasing power of around $2.45 trillion this should be motivation enough to give back to your community.
Act as a source of reliable and pertinent information
Insurance agents are perceived as having a deeper understanding of disaster than most people. You have the opportunity to curate and make available the best and most helpful information you can find. This puts the onus on you to make sure you only pass along high-quality sources. If you spread disinformation, your efforts will have a very negative effect instead of the positive one you want.
Harvard Business Review recommended three guidelines when communicating information to your clients:
- Speak directly to your customers concerns.
- Provide relief when possible.
- Focus on empathy rather than trying to create selling opportunities.
Find a service your employees connect with
Your employees are part of your community as well. They want to feel like they are part of an organization that is contributing. When a group of people come together and provide a community with service, it creates a very strong bond. Your team will end up being more in tune than ever before. There shouldn’t need to be benefits for companies and people to want to help their community. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a powerful way to buttress your business in uncertain times. One of the best ways you can provide your community service is to have your business survive and thrive so it can go on delivering community involvement.