Brand Building Vs Marketing For Agents
Yesterday I was driving to get my oil changed. I had about a 15 minute drive to get to the Valvoline (my typically spot) and I was in a little bit of a time crunch. On my way I watched as I passed 2 different Oil Change hubs, I glanced to see them but I kept driving… and 15 minutes later I found myself at Valvoline.
What the Hell just happened?
Of course, we all know that humans are very habitual creatures but also the BRAND made me drive the extra 15 minutes to get the same oil change…and to be honest I probably even paid more!
Let’s be clear… Branding and marketing (direct response)/ sales fall into 2 different categories in the world of business. Yes, there is some overlap but typically the actions taken to achieve success in these avenues are quite different.
Being a marketer, I am and always will be a big supporter of direct response advertising. It is quick, easy and can usually give you a decent return on your $$$ if you know what you are doing. Also, when it comes to training agents it is much simpler to teach. Typically, by completing a series of event you will get the desired response – success is always attainable.
Building a brand on the other hand is not so straight forward and would be pretty tough to teach! Not to mention, building a brand typically comes with little to NO results up front.
But, as I mature in this industry I am starting to see how brand really can fit into the big picture for some agents out there.
Before I jump into it, I want to explain the category I think agents should fall into in order to consider attempting to build a brand.
Ok, here is my list – Should fit most but don’t need all
-Looking to build something for at least 3 years
-Interested in building a team
-Has the time and ability to build out the necessary assets
-Has the guts to do a lot of work without any promise of return
Here are a few attributes that I would say DON’T consider brand building
-Looking for quick cash
-Don’t have a lot of time
-Not interested in failing and being forced to learn new skills
Cool, but the question still sits – How do you build a brand around an Insurance business or agency?
Building a brand is about building a reputation and building trust among the market and among your peers. Building a high reputation is not something that you would ever consider getting overnight, so you should not be in the mindset that building a brand is overnight either.
While we are on reputation, let’s talk about it. You, as an agent or a business owner represents something. That something could be yourself, could be your business brand/ brand you work for or the combination of them. Outside of the “work” environment you represent something else, you represent yourself as a member of your family, person in the community and some profile online (facebook, Instagram ect).
One thing that I am finding more and more important is that keeping these 2 areas separate is important for your credibility and reputation. This doesn’t mean that you should never post about your business on your personal profile but I think it should always be in moderation and thoughtfully crafted.
So what do those posts look like?
Well, first off, those types of posts should be a “promoting” your business and never trying to hard sell your audience. It can also be talking about a new period of your life or a change that’s happening. Talking about transitions in your life is exactly what social media is for. I have put together a few examples to help with clarification.
Hey everyone! I am excited to announce that I am starting a new job as an insurance agent. I just finished up my licenses and tests, so I have a pretty good background on the ins and outs of everything, primarily in term (insert your specialty here) insurance. If anyone has any questions, feel free to reach out!
Hey everyone! I just started up a Facebook page for my new insurance company. If you would like you can check it out here – (insert link) If you want to like the page, I would appreciate the support.
These are good 1 time posts because they are actual events or changes that are occurring in your life, so yes keep everyone in the loop! It allows everyone to get informed about what you are doing, what you specialize in and how you can help WITHOUT being in their face saying buy my stuff!
Not good posts for your personal page
Is your family going to be ok when you kick the bucket?
Hopefully your house doesn’t burn down with you in it, what will your kids do?
Don’t know? I didn’t think so, buy my life insurance.
Want to make a Milli $$$? Come work with my super awesome insurance company because we are super awesome and you will make a Milli $$$.
Yes, are those example a little extreme, but I think you get the point.
So, would this post work on an advertisement? Yea, with some polishing these forms of ads can be somewhat effective. Though I don’t think you should get full on extreme with this – People are moved by either pain or pleasure… and typically pain is the Mac Daddy of decision drivers.
If this might work as an ad why won’t it on my personal page?
Well the first time you use it you might get a pop or two but you will typically drive away A LOT of business. A big issue here is scale, your page post won’t reach very many people and ads will. Not to mention you will get NO engagement on a post like that beside “ass hole”. That though is not the point that I am trying to make…
Typically, if people (social media friends) are interested in a product you sell AND they like you, they will naturally hit you up for some advice and probably buy. The big takeaway there is IF they like you. Now if you were in their shoes would you like someone who was pushing insurance sales on their news feed all the time? Probably not!
Let’s flip it by taking me as an example. What would your feelings towards Jason and I if we were constantly blowing up your news feeds with scare tactic sales pitches? Again, probably not good! Feeling not good about someone rarely ever turns them into a happy customer.
But don’t worry there is light at the end of the tunnel!
The good news is these people are already Facebook friends with you and this “friendship” gives you the opportunity to show these people who you are. Not the sales person in you but actually who you are. This is what social media is actually made for!
If you go and share who you are, people will begin to get to know you and trust you. Meaning if they get to see you playing golf, watching the Buckeyes dominate and hanging out with your family, they can feel that connection with you. By that awareness they will know what your job is (an insurance agent) and when the time comes that they need insurance they will be messaging you!
One other big realization that I had for this page separation is that if someone is interested in my business, they will most likely follow my page (hence the interested in seeing more info part). IF they don’t, most likely they won’t and blowing up my personal page with salesy post won’t do anything to help with that! The only thing that does is hurt my credibility and drive others trust away from me.
There is however a middle ground to get in your hard pitch without being an a** hole. It’s called stories. **Hint Hint here is your tactical tip
Your facebook/ Instagram stories provides you with a platform to talk more day to day about what you are doing and engage a potentially interested audience. Since you are working most of the time and your stories only last 24 hours, you can make it work.
This can only work well IF you post good personal posts on your page and mix in personal stories too. You cannot make it all about sales! Remember, if your Facebook audience likes you and they know what you do, they will come to you.
Here is an example of good stories
So, I just met a family and I couldn’t believe the terrible coverage they were set up with. It blew my mind how much they were paying for their crappy insurance. If you have had the same plan the last 5 years, please check up on your rates because there are so many new options out there. Call up your current carrier and see if they have new option, I hate to see it!
This is obviously in my own words… Put the context in your words and make it real. If you don’t really mean it then don’t say it. People’s bull shit meter is much better than you think! Bull shit someone once and you will fight the uphill battle to gain your credibility back in that individual’s eyes.
One thing you can see in this post though is I am not telling them to call me and buy my stuff? Isn’t that a mistake?
Yes, there is the potential that your audience will just call their current company and try to get a better rate… But you establish A LOT of credibility here. You show that you genuinely believe in your product and you really want people to be protected.
THAT will allow people to feel ok to reach out to you for advice and not to mention gain credibility from the person who actually called their company and got a better rate. Now they feel indebted to you AND they trust you. Guess who she is going to refer to all her friends?
Think of it as the long game over the short game… It’s branding
-Short sales tips
-Objectives that you just encountered and how you overcame them
-Story about your transition into the space and why it’s better than where you were
-Tips to help people get into the space (with or without you!)
These, again need to be raw truths. Don’t embellish, make up, fudge or lie because everyone will know… including yourself.
Also, be DIFFERENT than everyone else. If you are doing the same things, making the same posts and saying the same shit as everyone else – how will you ever stand out?
It’s so much simpler than people make it. The trick is if people watch you and your content, they like who you are AND they get value from your tips – where else would they go when they are looking for a job? You are the guy that they trust.
Yes, sure you will lose a guy or two to the jerk off posting stacks of cash every day… but most likely the person who is attracted and responds to that post isn’t the agent you want to work with.
If you want to check out the person who does this better than ANYONE in the market, go check out Dave Duford’s YouTube channel. Get out a pen and take notes on how raw, open and honest he is to genuinely help agents succeed in this space.
Also, if you are inside of our group you probably get to interreact with a lot of agents in there as well. Go back through the questions down the feed and you will see Danny Ray and his fiancé LisaMarie from responding to a ton of agents with help! I have seen Danny's schedule and I can assure you, it's packed... but he's still in there helping agents out all of the time.
Guess what!? It’s not because I paid them or there is some elaborate scheme going on… They just genuinely care about helping agents and lifting up the industry (even if there is not “backend” for them)
Another great way to check and see how you stack up on the brand scale is look at other brands that are winning and that you respect. What are they doing?
A great Facebook account to check out is Ramiz Hakim’s personal page (from Northstar). If you go through his page he does a great job at crafting the story of his life and providing value to agents. Nowhere in there do you see – “want to make $$$, come join Northstar” – he is just displaying his life and the journey. Again, another great example of just being genuine and letting those who are interested come to you.
The law of attraction is simple. If someone knows, likes and trusts you and they become interested in a product you sell/ job you have; you will be the first person they contact.
Now I know this only scratches the surface a branding, but I think it’s the best place to start. Once you get into the habit of helping for help sake, a lot of other pieces will fall into the puzzle.
***Small disclaimer to wrap this up. I have NO affiliation with any of the above parties and they have NO affiliation with Perpetual Intent Marketing. I did not consult with or talk to them before this article (hopefully you guys aren’t mad!). I wanted to use them as examples for you guys to look up to because I believe these are leaders in the industry doing it right!
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