Making the decision to start your own insurance agency comes with a lot of challenges. Like any journey with challenges though, it can be quite the rewarding experience. Establishing an agency gives you the chance to operate independently. This means you’ll have a chance to make a direct impact on yourself and your employee’s lives. Success is all about preparation, and the same when starting up a company. Above all, whether your agency fails or not comes down to putting in the work on the front end. With so much to keep in mind, we’re here to offer you a helping hand. By learning the specific strategies that we lay, you’ll be able to build your agency from the ground up and become the entrepreneur you’ve always dreamed of.
Key Steps to Establishing Your Agency
Conduct Your Own Market Research
- Pinpoint Your Target Market: It’s imperative that in the early stages, you establish a target audience. This includes factors like age, income level, and lifestyle. The better understanding you have of your audience, the better you can tailor your products and services to their needs. While researching, try to find markets that are niche, as you may be able to establish yourself in an untapped market.
- Identify Your Competitors: In order to position your company in a strategic way, you must look at the competition. Work to identify any insurance agencies in your area. Take into account what they offer, their pricing, audience, and marketing strategies. In turn, you can then examine their strengths and weaknesses and pinpoint ways that you can differentiate your start-up.
- Pinpoint the Local Insurance Needs: When looking at your local area, pay attention to the specific insurance needs that are common. This could mean identifying the risks of the average aged local consumer. All in all, make sure that the products you offer align with the needs of your community members.
- Use Data Analytics, Surveys and Focus Groups: As stated, the more in-depth you get when defining your niche, the better. To aid this endeavor, consider using a variety of tactics. Utilizing surveys, or gathering information from focus groups can give you an accurate glimpse of the average consumer. After gathering this info, you can use data analytic tools and CRM systems to better understand the metrics.
- Investigate Regulatory Standards: You should never overlook state or federal regulations that govern the insurance industry. Take the time to look up local guidelines, compliance standards and necessary licenses. This will ensure that your business operates legally.
Obtain the Proper Licenses and Certifications
With all of your market research out of the way, you should have a good idea of your goals and objectives. Now that you’ve identified the product(s) that you’ll be selling, it’s time to get licensed. Every state is different, and so are the necessary licenses and certifications needed to operate legally. Once you’ve identified what you need to acquire, you’ll have to submit applications. The regulating body where you submit this information is usually the state’s insurance department. With that said, be sure to look into your state’s local rules, as the governing body may vary. Additionally, to remain compliant over time, you should stay up-to-date about any changes or updates to regulations. A good way to do this is by attending workshops, conferences, or reading industry publications.
Secure Sufficient Funding
- Evaluate Your Initial Funding Needs: Before you can secure funding, you’ll need an idea of how much funding is necessary. Consider things like office space, technology, marketing costs, licensing costs, and other operational expenses. It may also be worth it to work alongside a financial expert to help you get the most accurate estimate.
- Explore Funding/Investment Options: There are a number of ways to get creative in order to find funding for your business. Business loans, grants, lines of credit, and private investments are all worth looking into. Make sure to look into government programs for small businesses that are in place to help boost local economies. Alternative financing options also exist. An example of this is crowdfunding, where individuals who believe in your vision allocate funds to you. When exploring your options, pay particular attention to interest rates, any repayment conditions, and the specific terms. It all depends on your specific situation, but again, working with a trusted advisor is always a good idea.
- Create a Detailed Financial Plan: While funding is extremely important, managing your funding is even more vital to a company’s success. Work with other specialists to establish a detailed financial strategy. This plan should aim to spread your funds out across a variety of areas in your agency. Once this is set up, your focus should be on monitoring your expenses closely, and making regular optimization to ensure long-term success.
Start Establishing an Online Presence
In today’s day in age, it’s not only suggested to have a solid presence online, it’s necessary. By creating brand awareness and visibility, you’ll more easily connect with consumers. The more people see and interact with your brand, the faster you’ll be viewed as a trusted organization. Here are a few things you can do:
- Create a Professional Website: Think about your agency’s website as a virtual storefront. You want it to look professional, and you want it to be user-friendly. You can do this by using soft, complimentary colors, and easy-to-navigate toolbars. Additionally, make sure to optimize for SEO to draw in more users organically. It’s also important that you optimize for mobile devices. This will ensure that smartphones and tablet users will be able to access the site with ease.
- Use Social Media to Your Advantage: Social media is more important today than ever. It allows you to showcase your company and connect with more consumers in need. It also allows you to interact with your audience. In general, for insurance agents, the most relevant platforms are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn. Though it’s not as used, some agencies also utilize Twitter.
- Post Content and Engage Regularly: It won’t do you much good to have a website or social media accounts that remain stagnant. With that said, you need to create and post interstitial content on a consistent basis. Examples of posts could include linked articles, blog posts, infographics, videos, Q&A sessions and more. Additionally, be sure to interact with your audience by replying to their comments and messages.
- Utilize Reviews and Testimonials: As your brand begins to get built, encourage clients to leave positive reviews and testimonials. You can have a space dedicated to this on your website, in addition to encouraging reviews on sites like Google.
- Advertise Online: It’s likely worth investing in online advertising platforms such as Google, Bing, or social media sites. This will help to increase your visibility and draw in more clients. When doing so make sure to develop a highly targeted campaign with your goals and budget in mind.
Create Relationships with Insurance Carriers
The backbone of your company are the products and services you offer. With that said, take the time to network and build connections with reputable insurance carriers. Research the carriers that properly align with your brand and look for competitive offers. During this process you may want to work with someone who specializes in contract negotiations. This can help ensure that you establish agreeable terms for the best price.
Continue to Network and Build Relationships
During the start-up process and after your business is established, you need to network with other professionals. Creating a strong network will make it easier to create partnerships, and will open the doors to new opportunities and clients. The best way to do this is by attending conferences, seminars, and other industry events. You can also join insurance-related groups on social media, or become a member of industry organizations.
Regularly Monitor Performance and Optimize Accordingly
The way to improve your business is to continuously learn about what you could be doing better. Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) and keep track of them on a regular basis. Some common KPIs to watch include, online conversion rates, client acquisition costs and client retention data. Once you’ve gathered sufficient data, you can make changes where they’re needed. Using tools like CRM systems will give you an advantage when it comes to your optimizations.
There is a lot to keep in mind when building an insurance agency from the ground up. While it can be challenging, if executed correctly, it is very rewarding. You don’t have to report to a boss, you can make executive decisions, and create a lasting impact on the lives of your clients. By taking the time to conduct market research, pinpoint your target market, and establish a niche you will have a good foundation set in stone. Once the roots are in place, you can work to foster an online presence, build relationships with carriers and other professionals, and monitor your performance. When combining all of these steps, you’ll be able to turn your dream into a reality in no time!
As we’ve mentioned, online marketing is a great tool in order to attract interested consumers to your agency. Unfortunately, even with the best advertisements in place, you still can fall short. When this happens, you may need to supplement your leads in another way. That’s where we come in. At Benepath we serve agents all over the United States with our insurance lead generation services. Every lead that we sell is exclusive and produced in real time. That means no competing with other agents, which gives you the best chance to make sales. We offer data leads and inbound calls in many verticals. This includes individual health, group health, Medicare, life and commercial insurance. If you’d like to learn more or get started with our leads, just fill out a form above or give us a call at 888-684-3121.