Peter Smits looks at how brokers can maximise their exposure

One of my many tasks is to continually monitor our marketing campaigns to ensure success and continuity in all that we do to promote and advertise our business.

My desire has and will always be that any advertising generates income, like most SME’s our budget does not stretch itself to “brand awareness” and we are therefore looking for a return on all that we do.

There are a million and one ways to promote my business, but how do I decide which is right for me? After all, I am an insurance broker not an advertising executive! Where is the best place to spend my advertising budget? Obviously I want my hard earned cash to be most effective and to generate the perfect Ashbourne client but which is the right medium?

Should I spend all day everyday networking, soliciting for business amongst the great and the good within my local business community, attending the opening of an envelope as well as various breakfast and luncheons in order to generate those much needed leads?

Am I better off throwing all my money at the World Wide Web? Conventional wisdom says that you ignore the internet at your peril and that vast amounts of enquiries can be generated by search engine optimisation and pay per click. E-brochures and mailings could also get my message under the nose of the insurance buyer in a modern format.

Perhaps I should invest in an external sales team, an army of highly motivated field sales executives knocking on doors to establish direct contact with the insurance buyer, promoting a personal service and direct approach.

Alternatively I could bring the field sales team “in-house” and arm them with nothing more than the yellow pages and a telephone and a target of 20 calls per day and five appointments per week.

Maybe a PR offensive would work, I could sponsor loads of local events and awards have my name and logo on every roundabout in town and become the local insurance guru with slots on local radio!

“Maybe a PR offensive would work, I could sponsor loads of local events and awards have my name and logo on every roundabout in town and become the local insurance guru with slots on local radio

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to do all of the above and encourage my staff to do the same, however we need to have continuity in all that we do. First and foremost we need to understand the objective, both long-term and short-term and how this fits in with the vision for our business.

A strategy that includes a multitude of different mediums will have a greater long-term effect if targeted at the right market.

I’ve found that networking can be very effective in generating the rapport and relationship needed for a continual stream of third party referrals and whilst not great in volume the quality of the enquiry tends to be very high. I think this has to be considered a long-term strategy and could mean much time spent away from the office.

The internet can provide an instant return, however you need to make sure you have the resources to respond. You also need to continually adjust and adapt your approach in order not to be left behind. The challenge is to find a way of translating our 3 dimensional offering into a 2 dimensional medium.

The door-to-door salesman approach can work for commercial business; however this again is a long-term strategy and is best when combined with a focused tele-sales campaign at target markets.

Above all else the most cost effective way of generating enquiries is to work your existing database. We have over 25 years of data on our systems, customers who have already shown an interest in what we have to offer and can be targeted with information held on file.

It sounds obvious but those of us who are not making the most of our databases, cross-selling product, canvassing previous policyholders and asking for customer recommendations are missing out on a valuable source of enquiry. It is no longer acceptable for my staff to sit and wait for the phone to ring or customers to walk through the door, they are targeted on the amount of activity they do to generate leads as well as sales income.

The tactics that each individual adopts will be different and can help to provide a wider appeal to our target markets, however they must take ownership and responsibility.