The All Important Marketing Budget

We get asked a lot, “How should I spend my marketing dollars?” While this is an ever important question, the first question I ask, as a small business owner myself, isn’t where to spend; it’s what can I maximize without a huge investment? All too often we want to buy a magic lead generation bullet when the reality is we need to best use what is directly under our noses.

Before we venture down this low cost marketing journey, I will identify one thing. Marketing without a brand is a complete waste. Your message is disjointed, clunky, and at best you’re confusing many people, all while wasting your precious time recreating the marketing wheel for each campaign and strategy. To help clarify your position, the place to start is by designing and developing a brand guide.

Once you have mapped out who you are targeting and how you can attract them, you can get to marketing. Now for the silver bullet? Not exactly. What if I told you I could sell you a list from your biggest, most-hated competitor in town? I could get you all of their lost customers and unsold quotes with all the detailed juicy information that you need to cherry-pick the best of the best. Would you ask me to sell it to you? What would you pay?

What if I told you to put your checkbook back in your pocket and start directly with your own unsold quotes and lost customers? Now you may be thinking:

  • We barely have time to keep up with our current work
  • But they said no to us already
  • How do I get the list?
  • How do I track whether the work is getting done?
  • What would I say???

Buying your competitor’s seconds sounds sexy, but doing it yourself sounds like a Pinterest Fail. However, there’s great news if you buy that all the bullet points above still ring true. In order to really obtain growth, we need to be consistently looking for methods to grow and thrive by letting our systems work for us.

You can all grab a list from your management system off these lovely lists. It takes a bit of time to scrub them, but take 10 per day. Heck, take 10 per week! It’s about starting a consistent plan. Your best bet is to call them 3 times and send a preliminary quote in the mail. You need to determine tracking, but good old Excel still works, and then you can get more advanced once the plane is in the air. Remember bite-sized chunks are better than starving.

Next, look at your office. Do you have spare space? If so, rent it to a center of influence. Yes, have someone pay you rent and send you leads. Now that’s not low cost; that’s positive ROI! Many people today are looking to rent an office with access to a conference room. If you have it, let’s rent it.

Finally, let’s look at your current book of business. Where are those monoline policies hiding? Let’s bring them up and out to life. We should be attacking them and running that process before spending marketing money.

All of this relates to having a brand guide so you have a message to hit this low-hanging fruit with. The worst thing that can happen is you start sounding like every other insurance agent when you contact these groups. Letting them know you can save them money, you have been in business forever, and you have lots of options isn’t going to get anyone’s attention today. Invest in a brand guide and then let’s knock down your low-hanging fruit!

Kelly Donahue-Piro is the Co-Founder of Agency Appeal and President of Agency Performance Partners.

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