Insurance Card Holders: Vinyl Colors & Set-Up Charges

Vinyl insurance card holders are one of our most popular items. The most common question buyers have is what colors are available.

Before I start the list, keep in mind that navy is a dark blue, royal blue is a few shades lighter than navy and medium blue is a Carolina blue.

Here’s the list of colors available for each style…

The style 807, 807T and 807E are available in red, navy blue, green, black, maroon, grey, white, medium blue, orange, purple, yellow, teal and royal blue.

Styles 806, 806E, 806T, 808, 808W, 803L, 803, 803P, 805 and 805P are available in red, black, green, navy blue and royal blue.

Style 809 is available in red, navy blue and black.

Styles MCR215, MCR216 and MCR217 are available in clear, red, navy blue, green, black and royal blue.

The MCR800-1-1C is available red, dark green, royal blue, navy blue, black.

The MCRI818FO is available in 2 colors: royal blue and black.

The MCR800-1 is available in red, navy blue, green, black, brown, maroon, gray, white, medium blue, orange, purple, yellow, bone, royal blue, teal, pink, lime, gold or silver.

The MCR800-2 is available in red, navy blue, green, black, brown, grey, white, medium blue, orange, purple, yellow, bone, royal blue, teal, pink, gold, silver, maroon.

The MCR800-3 is available in red, dark green, navy blue and black.

Lastly, the pricing on the insurance card holders includes up to 5 lines of text and a stock logo (excluding the 808W). Stock logos are typically insurance company logos and associations. There is no set-up charge to use a stock logo.

If you’d like to use your agency logo, there is a $50 set-up charge. The set-up charge is a one-time charge which will not be assessed on future orders unless you make a change to the logo, the text or the item.

The 808W is not customizable. The “What to do at the scene of an accident” imprint is a stock imprint and cannot be altered. Additionally, when using that imprint on the 808, there is no room available to print any custom information.

For a free sample of an insurance card holder, please call 877-558-6002, ext. 1.

Market Your Agency Using Imprinted Flyswatters

I’ve been saying for years that the most important factor in successfully using promotional products to market your business is the plan to distribute the promotional products.

With Spring fast approaching, I have for you a very inexpensive, creative, guerrilla marketing way to market your insurance agency by distributing imprinted flyswatters.

Imprinted FlyswattersThis little beauty is our item number MCA42100. In various quantities, it’s about a buck apiece. The pricing includes the setup charge and a one-color print on one side. This particular flyswatter has imprinted, “We swat the competition.” The agent’s information and then an insurance company logo. This item is available with a print on the handle too.

OK, so here’s how the idea works. Go to the dollar store and buy some ribbon. Cut off about a foot of ribbon and get brochure, like an insurance company or an agency brochure and then punch a hole in it. Then take the ribbon, thread it through the hole and then through the hole at the top of the flyswatter. Then tie it off and now you’re done step one.

Here’s step two: once you have all the flyswatters and brochures done, on a nice, beautiful day, go to a neighborhood that you you’d like to write some business in and go door to door and hang the imprinted flyswatters from doorknobs. The homeowner will receive the flyswatter and they’ll also receive the brochure.

This is a perfect way to market your insurance agency on a nice beautiful sunny day in the Spring, Summer or Fall. It’s also a perfect project for some teenagers or some college kids who are looking to earn some extra money.

The big idea here is that if folks are interested in receiving a quote, they’ll have your contact information on the brochure and the imprinted flyswatter. If they are not in the market to get a quote at the time, they’ll keep your flyswatter and they’ll have your contact information available if or when that need arises.

Here’s a great video showing you how to market your agency using imprint flyswatters:

Brilliant Guerrilla Marketing

Well, it happened again last night. It was bound to happen again and last night is when it happened.

Some guerrilla marketers came through my neighborhood again and they were promoting their produce business. Here’s what they did:

They had soGuerrilla Marketingme flyers printed up. Then they rolled them up and they used a rubber band to attach the flyer to some simple cotton work gloves. Then they went through my neighborhood and they threw them on our driveways.

This morning when I woke up to take the dog out for her morning walk, the rolled up flyer and gloves were on my driveway. This is brilliant. Here’s why it’s brilliant.

I’m going to throw out the flyer but I’m going to hang on to the cotton gloves. I’ll probably remember where I got the gloves and I’ll be reminded of that produce business every time I use them…and long after I’ve thrown out that flyer and long after those guerrillas paid for the flyers and gloves and spent the time rolling them up and driving through my neighborhood distributing their marketing message.

Those guerrilla marketers were smart but if they were really smart, what they would have done is they would have had the gloves imprinted with their logo or their contact information or both. That way as time goes on, people will know where they got those gloves and have the marketer’s contact info.

Promotional products are the ultimate guerrilla marketing tool. Promotional products deliver their marketing message over and over and over and long after the advertiser paid for them. The promotional product doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be distributed. That is the number one factor in using promotional products effectively is the distribution.

The folks at the produce business near my house did a great job. They could have done better but they did a great job.

Being different.

What makes your agency clearly different than your competitors? Why should a prospect do business with you? Most importantly, why should a customer continue doing business with you? Before you say something like “we give great service” or “we save people money”, think again. Those phrases are not differentiators because they are not quantifiable facts. Those are your opinions and your competitors will probably say the same things about their agencies. Thus, if you say that about your agency, you’re not any different than your competitors.

One way to stand out in the crowd is by creating a Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. It’s a short description of what makes your agency irrefutably different than your competitors and declares a promise that you’re making to your customers and prospects. Folks often confuse the USP with a catchy tagline which it is not. The USP is THE compelling reason why a buyer should purchase from you. The goal of a good USP is to create a perception of difference between your agency and your competition.

The fact is that you’re in the insurance business and to the typical buyer your agency is probably not perceived any differently than all the other insurance marketers. The question now becomes how do you discover what makes your agency different and how do you communicate that?

The first place to start is to take a look at your competitors. In addition to pricing, some points of differentiation are variety, coverages, benefits such as additional services, availability, convenience and customer service just to name a few. What advantages do you have over them and vice versa? Here are some places to look:

  1. Do you have more carriers available? (i.e. more variety)
  2. Do you serve a niche market? (i.e. specialization)
  3. Do you offer longer office hours? (i.e.  convenience)
  4. Do you have a dedicated claims person? (i.e. expertise)
  5. Do you have 24 hour claims service? (i.e.  convenience)
  6. Do you have a dedicated person for certificates of insurance? (i.e. expertise)
  7. Do you make house calls? (i.e.  convenience)
  8. Do customers and prospects have easy access to your office? (i.e.  convenience)
  9. Do you guarantee a quote within a certain amount of time? (i.e. reliability)
  10. Do you guarantee a return phone call within a certain amount of time? (i.e. reliability)

This list is by no means complete. I don’t know your specific agency and your marketplace so it’s impossible to offer a cookie cutter solution. That said, hopefully this short list will be helpful in the brainstorming process.

The next place to look for ideas for your USP is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. I once heard someone say “If you want to know why John Smith buys, you have to see the world through John Smith’s eyes”. What is it that customers and prospects really want? They may tell you that they want lower premiums but I’d be willing to bet that pricing isn’t the only reason they’re shopping. Take note of what makes people happy and what makes them mad and make accommodations to satisfy those wants and needs. Then you can use this as fuel for your USP.

While the products and services you offer are not necessarily different than those of your competitors, you can differentiate your agency in other areas. The point is that you need to uncover distinct attributes that make your agency more attractive to the target market you serve. Here’s an example: suppose you discover that most or all of your competitors close by 5pm AND you’ve gotten some after-hours voicemails regarding new business. Perhaps you can change your hours and close later. Then you can create a USP around your new, more convenient hours. The USP could sound like: “We have longer office hours just for you”. Here’s another example: let’s say that you write a lot of contractors and you find that they need insurance certificates quickly and that’s something you can accommodate without much trouble. How about a USP that sounds like “Insurance certificates issued within 10 minutes”?

Creating a rock solid USP is not an easy exercise but it’s one of the most effective ways to separate your agency from your competitors, attract more customers and increase retention. As you’re doing the research to write your USP, you may discover that your agency may not be a whole lot different from the competition. If this is the case, pay close attention to what your competition is saying in their marketing. As mentioned previously, the ultimate purpose of the USP is to create a perception of difference. If you’re the first to tell the market about a distinction, your agency may become associated with that distinction and then you will own that attribute. For example, if you’re the first tell the marketplace that you do certificates of insurance in 10 minutes or less, it will likely not matter that your competition can do the same thing. The marketplace will associate that attribute with your agency and you’ll have the advantage.

Rodney Dangerfield & The Ultimate Guerrilla Marketing Weapon

I traveled to Montgomery, NY this past week to deliver a speech to a group of Erie Insurance Agents. I live in the Philadelphia, PA area and my route took me through the Pocono Mountain area – what a beautiful drive! The mountains and hills were magnificent and everything was so green.

I’ve delivered about 15 of these speeches over the past 5 years or so. I’m not a pro but I’m not a shy guy and I enjoy doing them. The speech I delivered was about the promotional products industry as a whole and why promotional products are a smart way to market an insurance agency.

Before each speech, I research all my talking points to make sure they are current and valid. During this process, I’m always reminded why I love this industry and why I think promotional products are the ultimate guerrilla marketing weapon. Here are 5 aspects of the promotional products industry that I’m so proud of:

1. According to PPAI, Promotional Products Association International, our industry is a $20,000,000,000 industry (THAT’S $20 BILLION!). We are one of the only advertising mediums on a growth trend even though wRodney Dangerfield & Guerrilla Marketinge’re one of the oldest advertising mediums. We are finally getting some well deserved respect!!

2. When using promotional products, an advertiser only has to buy the ad one time and the recipient of the item will be exposed to the advertiser’s marketing message a countless number of times. You cannot get that kind of value from ANY other marketing medium because all of them have a much shorter shelf life.

3. Most people enjoy receiving promotional products. On the flip side, do most people like hearing radio or TV ads? Do they like ads popping up on the webpages they’re viewing? Probably not. Most people will say “thank you” when given a promotional product. Can the same be said when they’re exposed to a billboard? Again, probably not.

4. Promotional products can target just about every demographic no matter the size or obscure the market. Do you want to sell insurance to Eskimos? With approximately 800,000 items available from approximately 4,000 suppliers, I can guarantee you that there is a perfect product available that would be effective and meet the budget.

5. Promotional products are advertising that integrates into our lives. Research shows that there’s a 1 in 4 chance you have a promotional product on your person right now. We use these items in our day to day lives. Do you write a note with a pop-up ad? No, you write a note with a writing instrument. Do you wear newspapers as clothing? No, but you can certainly wear an embroidered sweater to keep you warm. In addition, promotional products typically only carry one message at a time. This makes for a crystal clear, unimpeded transmission of a marketing message. How many billboards are in Times Square? Probably too many to count. A calendar is a miniature version of a billboard at a fraction of the cost and communicates a marketing message for pennies a day. Insurance card holders keep your insureds registration and insurance information handy while marketing your agency at the same time. Do you see the guerrilla marketing connection?

I fell into this industry over 25 years ago. I have been witness to some real marketing successes with promotional products and that is so satisfying. I’ve also been the recipient to some ridicule of my industry. For those folks who think of promotional products as “trinkets & trash” or “tchotchkes”, I urge you reconsider your position. They truly are THE epitome of guerrilla marketing. As our world shrinks, technology speeds things up and younger generations become tomorrow’s buyers, advertising mediums will gain and lose effectiveness. One thing that I think will never change is that, as humans, we like to receive things and, if they are useful and relevant, we keep them. Recipients sometimes thank the advertisers for giving them a promotional product (talk about guerrilla marketing!). Promotional products are the only advertising medium that is useful so I think this medium is here to stay and may become an even more important marketing tool in the future.

Springtime Guerrilla Marketing

This morning, while taking my walk, I discovered a guerrilla had come through my neighborhood last night.

A guerrilla marketer that is.

Dispersed throughout the neighborhood lawns were promotional flyers imprinted with ad copy promoting a lawn maintenance company. On the inside, the guerrilla added a weather proof label featuring even more information about the company’s service offering, contact information and a discount offer. I’d be willing to bet that the guerrilla marketer spent less than a few bucks per unit to capture the attention of my fellow neighbors. Given the cost of lawn maintenance, if the marketer acquires one customer, I’m sure the cost of this promotion will be paid off and the marketer will see a profit on their investment.

IMAG00108[1]This simple idea could work for your insurance agency as well. They can be printed with your contact information, they’re easy to distribute and they’re really inexpensive. Best of all, people love flyers so your marketing message will be seen over and over again.

Lastly, the big idea when marketing your agency with promotional products is the distribution. This idea is rock solid proof that marketing does not need to be complicated nor expensive. Great marketing starts with a creative idea and effort and both of those are free. I very often tell my customers that you can have the coolest promotional item every created and if it never leaves your supply closet, you’ve wasted your money. On the flip-side, you can purchase the dumbest promotional item ever created but if you’re distributing the item to your prospects and customers, you’ll eventually be a winner.

The Manko Company has available 1000’s of promotional items and the know-how to help you successfully market your agency. Many items are well under $5.00 per unit and most are well under $2.00 per item. We have experience working with nearly 2000 insurance agencies just like yours and we have case study examples of how other insurance agencies have used promotional products to market their agencies.

 

Fun Marketing Using Imprinted Coloring Books

Consider marketing your agency with imprinted coloring books. Here’s why: have you ever tried to do business with a husband and wife who showed up to your office with a small child in tow? Was it distracting? Did the appointment take a lot longer than necessary because little Timmy didn’t feel like being cooperative while mommy and daddy worked with the nice insurance agent? I’d be willing to bet that this has happened to you and, if it hasn’t, it will someday.

Giving promotional products to children may seem like a waste of money. After all, children don’t buy insurance. While this is true, pretty much everyone on planet Earth knows that children are a heavy influence upon the behavior of their parents so, if you can keep little Timmy from having a meltdown, you might be able to write some business before Timmy forces his parents to leave your office before you complete the transaction.

Imprinted Coloring Books

How about offering little Timmy a coloring book? It’s a win-win-win: Timmy is happy because he has something to do, his parents are happy because he’s not creating a scene, you’re happy because you can get the necessary work done AND Timmy is happy and he’s way too busy coloring in his new coloring book to tear your office apart.

Here’s another creative way to use coloring books to market your insurance agency. Let’s say you’re exhibiting at a local fair or community event. Consider offering coloring books and a yummy snack like cookies or cupcakes to the kids as they walk past your booth with their parents. The kids won’t be able to resist the offer of the food and coloring book and they will drag their parents to your booth. As they approach your booth, you’ll have a chance to strike up a conversation with the parents. Bingo! Another new opportunity to write some new business!

 

 

Promoting your insurance agency with promotional products

Did you have a radio ad in your pocket? How about a billboard? Do you have a billboard in your kitchen drawer? Research has shown that the chances are good that some of you have a promotional product in your possession right now. Do you have a logo’d pen nearby? Do you ever wear a shirt, sweater or jacket embroidered with a logo?

A promotional product is physical advertising. Unlike newspaper, radio, TV, internet advertising and other advertising mediums, promotional products are tangible goods that you can touch and see. Sometimes you can hear them and, yes, sometimes you can taste and smell them. They have a surface on them that can be imprinted with your marketing message and given directly to another human being.

What are promotional products? They’re ad specialties, giveaways, incentives and recognition, business gifts and thank you’s…any product that carries a marketing message that is distributed to a customer, prospect and even an employee. Typical promotional products used for marketing an insurance agency are magnets, pens, calendars and insurance card holders.

Promotional products are no longer the best kept secret in marketing. The industry is a $20 billion industry – that’s billion with a “B” –  and it’s one of the fastest growing of the current marketing mediums even though it’s one of the oldest mediums.

Why is the industry growing? The answer lies in the fact that promotional products are targeted and versatile and offer a low cost per impression. Promotional products are cross between a “laser beam” and a “Swiss Army knife” when compared to other marketing mediums.

Promotional products can efficiently target every demographic and budget no matter how small or obscure the market. If you sell insurance to people in rural areas, promotional products can reach them efficiently. Could you imagine how cost inefficient it would be to run ads in traditional media to get business from this small market? For a few bucks, you could send them each a printed jar opener that would communicate your marketing message for years and years.

In addition, just about everyone hates TV and radio ads so they click mute or flip the channel. In fact, people are using On Demand and DVR’s to avoid commercials altogether. Youtube puts a clock in the corner of the ads that counts down how much time you have to spend watching an ad before you can view the content you wanted to see in the first place. Pop-up ads on the internet are just flat-out annoying. As far as billboards, how many of them do you really recall? Newspaper and magazines; they’re in the decline for their usefulness for marketing.

Promotional products offer an extremely low cost per impression because they are used in our day to day lives. Recipients welcome promotional products and they tend to hang on to them or pass them along to others. The items are used over and over again by the recipients which exposes them to your marketing message a countless number of times. When was the last time you used a radio ad? When was the last time you “lost your billboard” and someone else picked it up? Does anyone welcome more TV ads? When was the last time you sat in front of the TV and said “I wish there were more ads”? On the flip-side, you could invest about $200 on a box of pens and distribute them to your customers and they will see your marketing message over and over and over.

So, how do you market your insurance agency with promotional products?

The most important consideration is the distribution plan. You can have the coolest item ever created but if it never leaves your supply closet, you wasted your money. The plan can be very simple – you can mail the items to your customers, you can hand them out at your office when they visit, you can put them in bags and hang them on door knobs. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it gets done otherwise you will not see a return on your marketing investment.

The next decision is the choosing the product and the message. Think about your end goal. Are you looking for new business from new customers or are you looking for more business or referrals from existing customers? By the way, you’ll spend more time, money and effort prospecting for new business from new customers. Also consider the target market itself and the types of items they would find useful. Studies have found that 91% of people have a promotional product in the kitchen, 74% have at least one promotional product in the office and 55% have at least one promotional product in the bedroom. If you’re like most insurance agents, you work with the general public. Since most people have kitchens, most people work and most people go to bed at night, these types of items could be a choice to market your insurance agency.

As far as the marketing message, most promotional products have enough room for your agency name and phone number. Other items have bigger imprint areas which allows for more ad copy. If that’s the case, use that area creatively. Letting people know about other lines of business you write could help you round out the account or get more referrals.

Lastly, choose a quality product. If the imprint wears off easily or the pen stops writing after a few weeks, you wasted your money. The longer the item survives, the longer it will market your agency.

The Elevator Pitch: Sell yourself in less than a minute

Let’s be honest: to the average person, insurance is not very interesting or exciting. Adding insult to injury, I’d be willing to bet that most folks think insurance is a necessary evil and hate paying their premiums. Writing new business in an hypercompetitve marketplace is tough enough but, when folks perceive insurance salespeople as Ned Ryerson from “Groundhog Day”, the task of growing your book is even more challenging.

So, here’s the billion dollar question: how do you go from “I sell insurance” to something that will keep the listener from running away?

I suggest a short, well-designed commercial known as an “elevator pitch.” Imagine getting on an elevator and the person standing next to you asks what you do for a living. You now have less than a minute to spark their interest and hopefully get an opportunity for a future conversation. Wouldn’t it be great to have something planned for such an occasion?

In order to craft the perfect elevator pitch, you first need an intriguing yet vague headline. I suggest something unusual and short. For example, “I have an unusual business in a not so unusual industry” or “If I told you what I did, you won’t believe me” or “I have a niche’ business.” Hitting them with something different like that will create curiosity. If you lead off with “I sell insurance” you run the risk of losing the listener before the conversation even starts.

The next step is to let them know the type of people you want to work with. In one sentence or two, convey to the listener a little bit about your ideal client. Typically, the statement begins with the words “I work with…” Here are some examples: “I work with people who own more than one home” or “I work with people who own homes and businesses in the Wilmington area”. This is your chance to let the listener know what kind of business you’re looking for.

The third step is to give the listener a short example of how you solved a client’s problem. Typically, these statements start off with “A business owner was referred to me looking for ways…” or “I recently helped a client…”. Here’s an example of what a finished statement may sound like: “I recently helped a client who’s financially successful. She purchased a multi-unit dwelling and she needed some options to reduce her liability and protect her other assets.” Be careful, the statement should be no more than 3 sentences otherwise you may sound like you’re selling.

Lastly, you’re going to let them know who you are and that you’re in the insurance business and you need to do it in a way that maintains curiosity. Perhaps it could sound like this: “I’m Bob Smith. I’m in the insurance business. My clients come to me because I have a unique skill in handling complex insurance needs.” The purpose of the statement is to create a distance between you and your competitors by letting the listener know that you specialize.

So here’s what it sounds like when you put the whole thing together:

“I have an unusual business in a not so unusual industry. I work with people who own homes and businesses in the Wilmington area. I recently helped a client who’s financially very successful. She purchased a multi-unit dwelling and she needed some options to reduce her liability and to protect her other assets. I’m Bob Smith. I’m in the insurance business. My clients come to me because I have a unique skill in handling complex insurance needs.”

Finally, here are some ideas to help you create your perfect elevator pitch:

  1. Write several statements for each of the 4 steps. Use them interchangeably depending on the situation. The more ideas you jot down, the more options you’ll have.
  2. When creating the statements, brainstorm about what makes up your perfect client and the problems you’ve solved for them. Saying that you save people money on their insurance will attract price shoppers; saying you work with responsible people may help you insure more responsible people.
  3. Once you have created several statements for each step, practice, practice, practice until you can recite your elevator pitch in your sleep!