You may have a loose collection of goals, ideas and initiatives for you and your agency. But do you actually have a marketing plan written down — a document that holds you and your employees accountable?
A marketing plan is a lot like a business plan. It organizes many aspects of your business and projects forward to specific, achievable goals. You can think of a marketing plan as part of your overall business plan or as something that dovetails with your business plan. However you think of it, having a written catalog of marketing goals is particularly helpful in charting the growth of your practice.
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It may seem like unnecessary homework, especially when you have many operational, day-to-day duties. But dedicate some time to consider at length your marketing plan. Draw on input and feedback from all your employees and draft a document that can be shared among relevant parties.
Using metrics and feedback, assess how your company is growing. Consider what’s working and what isn’t. Compare metrics to previous months and years. Get an overall sense of how the company is situated. Is there a particular market that you are seeing more business from? Less?
2. List/Brainstorm Goals
Consider your main goals for the next coming months and years. Identify them by timeframe, i.e. “in two months, I’d like to see this much growth,” “by next year I want small businesses as clients as well as individuals,” “in 18 months, we need to see a 200 percent increase in revenue.” Obviously your goals will be unique to you and your practice, but don’t be afraid to list out everything you want and what you think is reasonably achievable. Once you have your list of goals, prioritize them and plot them on their respective timeframes.
3. Identify Specific and Non-Specific Goals
From list, separate your goals into specific and non-specific categories. When we ask agents what they want for their business, many initially offer non-specific goals like “I’d like to see growth,” or “I want to get more appointments,” or “I’d like to convert more leads.” Non-specific goals can be good for the broad trajectory of your business, but being more specific will help you figure out how to achieve short-term goals.
For instance, let’s say you did $500,000 in production last year. You might say, “I’d like to see if I can do a million.” Depending on your area and specialty, this may or may not be a reasonable goal, but at least it is specific, with quantifiable and measurable metrics.
Here are some non-specific goals with their specific equivalents:
Non-specific: “I’d like to see more business by the end of the year.”
Specific: “In the last half of 2014, we did $250,000 in production from 12 clients. For the last half of this year, let’s see if we can do $400,000 in production from 15-20 clients.”
NS: “I want to do more digital branding and marketing.”
S: “We should have an interactive consumer-facing website in the next two months and implement an email drip campaign.”
NS: “I want more big-fish clients.”
S: “Let’s target pre-retiree doctors and try to convert 10 to clients by the end of the year.”
Non-specific goals are not always bad. They can provide you a sense of your company’s big picture and provide direction for your various specific goals.
4. Identify Your Target Market(s)
Every business should have an idea of who is buying from them and who they want buying from them. A large retailer or restaurant wants anybody and everybody to shop from them, but they also know based on experience and purchase habits, who is coming to their stores. They are fine with a large number of small-to-medium sized purchases, but they obviously want as many big purchases as they can get.
Likewise, you as an insurance agent or financial advisor might want anybody (usually meeting an income threshold) who can benefit from your services. So if you think that your target market is anybody, you will get anybody — which could be a hodge-podge of
leads and prospects that burn before you can convert them or might be a steady stream of small fish clients that keep your business afloat without significant growth. This type of business is good and well — it’s where the majority of business likely comes from and it’s important not to ignore it.
But if you can target specific market types while you conduct everyday business, you will be positioned for growth. Going back to step 1, where you assessed the state of your business, think again about the client types you already work with. Where does the majority of your business come from? What are things you can do to enhance production from this segment of your business? What are potential
client types to pursue harder? Profile your target clients. For example:
Client Type: Pre-Retiree Doctors
Income Threshold: 80,000 per year
How Many Current Clients: 5
How Many Brought On Last Year: 2
Goal For This Year: 4
Client Type: Mid-Level Professional
Income Threshold: 60,000 per year
How Many Current Clients: 18
How Many Brought on Last Year: 7
Goal For This Year: 12
5. Match Solutions To Target Markets and Goals
This step is where you begin to think about marketing solutions to go after your target markets and specific goals. Obviously with any new business initiative, cost will always be a deciding factor. The one thing we’ve found working with our agents is that not one single strategy will work; rather, it is a mix of targeted strategies that grow brand awareness and bring in more prospects.
When thinking about marketing solutions consider:
Appropriateness for target market
The senior market may be less receptive to digital marketing and a younger market may not be receptive to direct mail
Cost and ease of implementation
Digital solutions like social media, email and web campaigns, may be relatively cost-effective for a broader audience. But more expensive solutions like workshops may be what pull in higher-end clients
Metrics and Logs
What kind of measurements will you use to track your marketing campaign? Digital marketing is great because platforms like social media and e-blasts provide easy ways to track response rates.
Once you have followed through on your marketing plan examine what worked and what didn’t. Then you go back to Step 1. While
your overall, non-specific goals for the business may not change, your specific ones can and should. A good marketing plan is not only a document to chart the future of your company and keep you accountable, it is a living document that changes and grows as you do.