You probably regularly have reps from various news stations and newspapers in your city stopping by the office wanting to sell you an ad spot. And if you’re reading this because you need “budget friendly” marketing, then you’ve discovered that what they’re selling is anything but budget friendly.
I remember being completely shocked when I learned how expensive traditional advertising was. Hundreds to thousands of dollars for mere seconds of commercial time, often not even at very good times of the day. A tiny ad in the corner of a newspaper that none of my friends read. It didn’t make sense to me.
This kind of advertising is good for raising awareness if you have the budget to run it all the time. It’s not something that you can do once and expect a huge return from. It requires a steady, ongoing campaign.
But slow, steady, and expensive isn’t always the best plan, especially for a growing agency. (Honestly, it’s the last place I would ever put my money these days.)
So what is a money-strapped insurance agency supposed to do?
You’ve got to play by different rules. How can you be on TV or in the paper without paying high advertising prices?
By being an insurance expert.
Reporters are always working on stories and often need an expert opinion or statement on camera. By building these connections and relationships, you can increase the odds that they’ll call YOU the next time they need someone.
My mom, Rhonda, was an Allstate agent for many years and sold her two agencies about a year ago. She was the queen of getting free press! She was comfortable on camera, easy to reach, and didn’t mind helping someone at the last minute.
She knew several local reporters through networking and organizations she was involved in. Did they have a story about liability limits increasing in the state of Texas? They called her. Wildfires in the area putting homes at risk? She would talk about how insurance was involved.
It cost nothing but a few minutes of her time, and her name was frequently shown to local residents through the evening news. It gave her credibility and name awareness.
I’ve done the same thing when speaking about insurance social media. I promoted myself as an expert and even when insurance wasn’t involved, they still called me. I’ve been interviewed on the 6:00 news about how social media was used to search for a missing child and even given tips for using online resources to save money on groceries.
How can you put this to work for you?
- Develop a relationship with local reporters and news stations. Try to connect with as many as possible through various social media like Facebook and Linked In.
- Keep in touch and help them whenever you can. Help the press even when you having nothing to gain, it just makes you look better! Plus, it keeps you at the top of their radar.
- Occasionally send them story ideas. You don’t want to push too hard but if your agency is making a big charity donation or you’ve heard a great story that they might want to share with viewers about insurance, this is the time to let them know!
Getting press isn’t a guarantee and not something that you want to count on every month, but it is a great long-term strategy for promoting your agency, your expertise, and your name within the community.