Insurance agencies sometimes forget the most important rule of inbound business: People need to know you exist. If you can't be found, no one is able to buy from you. I have read that somewhere in the range of 80% of insurance consumers start their search online. Do a quick Google search for "insurance brokers" or "insurance agents". What comes up? Does your agency rank? The agencies that do come up are getting calls and emails everyday from prospects looking to buy insurance. They may not be a good fit for the agency they are calling, but wouldn't you rather have the choice of writing a prospect or not?
Digital marketing is the art of getting found online. Most insurance agents are great people and good sales people. If given the opportunity to present an insurance solution, you can probably make the sale. Consumers sometimes can initially have negative opinions about salespeople, especially insurance salespeople. That's why they choose to check out your website first, maybe start a chat on your site first, email you to get more information first... You get the point. After they feel comfortable they are open to a phone call or an in person visit. So, are they finding you before you speak to them?
Think about how you buy products and services. Yes, asking for a referral is a great first start, and referral business is the best type of business. Have to say that again, referral business is the best type of business. However, if you don't know who to ask for a referral, I would bet that you research online just as your customers do. You need to have a steady flow of inbound business to match your referral and outbound efforts.
I like to think that there are three buckets of insurance sales:
Referral/Networking- family, friends, colleagues, LinkedIn, association participation, etc.
Outbound- cold calling, pounding pavement, direct mail, email, etc.
Inbound- search engine optimization, digital marketing, advertising, pay per click, etc.
Each bucket is equally important. Each one allows people to know who you are before they do business with you. Of course every insurance producer would prefer referral business, but it's hard to consistently rely upon. You can control your inbound and outbound business and should dedicate time to them even if it's harder to earn than the silver plated referral.
There is an art to getting found and it's called persistency. You have to be everywhere. You can wait and pray to be found or take action to be found. I can't really help you with buckets one and two above, you need to have the discipline to work at those, but if you need help with inbound business, I can help you get found online. Contact me for a consultation about your goals for getting found.