Tag Archives: marketing

Car Wash Clients

6 Jun

While at a CE class yesterday, I met a guy who began talking with me about a few marketing techniques he was looking to try out but, unfortunately, the agency owner where he works wouldn’t let him.  During our conversation, I happen to come up with an idea to share with him and now I’m sharing it with you…

It seems as though this time of year is the best time of year for getting your car washed at a car wash.  And every time I drive by one, I see a line around the block waiting to go through the soapy brushes.  So, I thought, why not offer these people a free car wash if they agree to do a free quote with you?  This would most likely work best for those soliciting life insurance or personal auto insurance and for those who have an app on their phone or ipad in order to complete this.  And, of course, you’ll need to be in a state where rebating is allowed.

Here’s how it would work:

First, you would need permission from the car wash owner in order to do this.  If he/she agrees, I would also ask for a discounted rate for those who you give a free car wash to.  You may also need to sell this idea to the owner by telling him/her you will market for this event which will ultimately bring more customers to the car wash as well.

Second, market, market, market.  You may want to hang fliers in the area offering the free car wash, post it to your social network pages, tell friends and family about the event and announce the event on your website and through press releases.  The more people you get to attend (even if they are only looking for a free car wash at first) is ideal.

On the day of the event, you’ll want to collect all the necessary information from the attendees as they are waiting in line for their car wash.  You may want to get an assistant or even another agent to help you out with this.

Then, when they exit the car wash, the idea is to have his/her quote ready.  If the potential client likes the quote, be prepared to have him/her do an electronic signature right on the spot or set up an appointment with you to discuss, sign and collect payment.  Of course, it’s always better if you can take care of everything on the spot.  If the potential client does not like the quote, you still have his/her contact information and you’ll be able to drip their email and snail mail with information or give them a call in a few months to try and solicit their business at a later date.

Your turn:  Have any of you tried something like this in the past?  How did it work out for you and do you have any tips for those of us who haven’t tried this yet?

Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979



Benefiting from SMS Marketing

30 May

Marketing expert, Dan LaCob of Tribal Style Marketing, has once again agreed to share his expertise with us.  I hope you all will gain valuable information from his article.   And, when you are done reading, be sure to follow his marketing blog (link is at the bottom).  Enjoy!

How Insurance Agencies Can Benefit From SMS Marketing

Insurance Agencies may struggle from time to time with acquiring new clients.  Speaking with many of them, whether they be Independent or Franchised behind a big name, much of their marketing methods include TV Ads, Radio Ads, Direct Mail, E-mail Marketing, Paid Internet Search, Social Media & Blogs, & of course the dreaded Cold Calling…brrrrrr!

Breaking down the numbers in each method gives us this data:

  • TV Ads:  Very expensive & with DVR’s it’s very questionable how many people are actually watching your commercial these days.
  • Radio Ads:  Again, very expensive & also questionable about how many people could be listening at any given moment.  Just like TV with Nielsen Ratings, Arbitron Ratings are only a prediction based on a small sample size.
  • Direct Mail:  Typically generates 1%-2% response rate according to the Direct Marketers Association (DMA).  This means that you’d have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, to receive a few qualified leads.
  • E-mail Marketing:  Generally averages around 15%-20% response rates according to eMarketer.
  • Paid Internet Search:  3.81% Response Rate with average cost per click @ $3.79, according to the DMA.
  •  Social Media & Blogs:  While the jury is still out on Social Media ROI, it certainly can help with exposure & word of mouth.  Every business should have a Blog though.  It pulls in potential clients searching online through optimized SEO.  If you have a nice landing page where you can capture those leads & follow-up with e-mail, all the better.
  • Cold Calling:  Has the highest cost per lead @$309, but also has a higher response rate @ 6%, (DMA).
  • SMS Marketing:  97% Open & Read Rate. (Cell Carrier Research) Even if you’re bad at math, you can see the difference!

So how do we implement SMS Marketing within Insurance Agencies?  For starters, we will tell any new appointments that we will need their mobile phone number so that you can send them an appointment reminder the day before.  Now, even if these potential prospects do not initially turn into clients, you’ve got their mobile number to follow-up with them a month or two later.  This will allow you to stay “top of mind” with them should their insurance needs change.  Also, this automated SMS will reduce no-shows & save your agency representatives time & money.  This type of system will pay for itself using this feature alone.  What is the value of your time during a no-show?

Another way Insurance Agencies can utilize this technology is to send out a Text message for insurance renewal dates.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to renew my insurance because the notification they send goes to my “other e-mail”.
(Yes I have a few e-mails, & I just signed up for SMS alerts through my Auto Insurance!)

Additional Coverage Options are also a great message to send out to prospects & current clients.  Once a month you could even send out an “Insurance Savings Tip”, a notice about a company picnic, regulatory rate changes in your state, a current news headline about Insurance, or news about your own agency.  You could send out a mObile newsletter within an SMS message.  In that message, you could link to a mobile landing page or even your own mobile web site.  The content you send out should be relevant to your customers & clients whether it is Auto, Life & Health, Commercial, or Home Insurance.

All of the above solutions deal mostly with current clients but what about new clients?  It costs an average of about 5x more to acquire a new customer than to keep one.  Focusing on your attrition rate first, will increase your revenue faster than acquiring new clients.  Reactivating old leads & clients that have moved on to other providers is much easier to do when you have their mobile phone numbers.

Let’s talk about Lead Generation with SMS now.  One option is to add a Keyword to any piece of marketing that you’re already doing.  For example, “Text ABCINS to 11111 For A Chance To Win A Gift Card From AJ’s Steakhouse!”  You could really go wild with something like this.  Raffle off prizes to gain leads & since you can apply a different Keyword to each Print & Digital Advertisement, you can track your opt-in success rates.  You could use this method at a Trade Show Booth collecting mobile phone numbers of those interested in your services for follow-up.  Using a different Keyword for different booths, locations of signs & ads, helps to track your mobile marketing efforts.

There are many ways to use SMS Marketing for Insurance Agencies today.  These are only but a few simple ideas & there really is no one size fits all anymore.  If you want to “Brand Yourself” or your agency, you’re going to have to work hard at communicating your brand’s message across multiple channels, multiple times per month.  Customers & clients are moving targets in this fast paced & ever-changing economy.  3 things we always take with us when we leave the house are keys, wallet, & our mobile phone.  Let’s face it, if we get a Text message on our mobile phone, we read it.  In this day & age when so many consumers are shopping on price, you’ll want to make a connection with your clients that lasts well beyond a rate quote.  SMS mObile marketing can do that because it is a very personal medium that can strengthen your relationships, & enhance your brand’s identity.

If you would like more ideas about how to use SMS Marketing for your Insurance Agency please click here to sign up for my mObile marketing newsletter.  I specifically outline ways to increase your leads & customer loyalty that you can implement today.

Dan LaCob is a mObile Marketing Consultant & Blogs@


Your turn:  Do you currently use SMS marketing?  What have you found to be the most useful and the least useful methods?


Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979


Family Day Marketing

21 May

My family and I attended Edison Family Day yesterday in Edison, NJ.  This event was held in a large convention center with about 100 vendors in attendance.  The vendors included everything from party planners to restaurants and health care centers.  While it was meant to be a fun day for our local families, it was more of a large marketing event with everyone handing out coupons, prizes and business cards.   While I was walking around with my family, however, I noticed there wasn’t a single insurance company represented at the event.  So, of course, it got me thinking…

Since this event is held every year (and maybe there are events like this in neighboring towns), I’m thinking of renting a table to promote myself, NJ’s Business Insurance Lady.  While I’m not a restaurant giving away a food sample or a bowling alley giving away free games, I’m sure I can come up with some way to get business owners to frequent my table.  Even if they are just the business owners of the other businesses attending the same event, it would certainly be worth it.  Here are some ideas for getting said business owners to come to the table to chat:

  • Raffle off a basket of something like gourmet coffees and hot chocolate with a fun mug or two.
  • Raffle off a gift certificate for a professional photography session for the person’s business.  (Maybe I can get a photography business to donate this since it will be promoting their business as well.)
  • Raffle off a gift certificate for marketing materials and use that to promote my printing business as well (Your Life In Print).
  • Use a fishbowl to collect business cards for those who wish to be in the raffle (instant leads!).

Of course, the goal would be to make the table fun, engaging and useful for business owners.  I’d also include posters or poster boards with tips on insuring a business properly or questions to ask an insurance agent before switching over to a new agent.  And, at the event, everyone walks around with plastic bags they look to fill with anything they can so I’d probably put out pens or frisbees or something with my name and logo on them.

Your turn:  Have you ever set up a table at an event like this?  If so, any tips for those who’d like to try this type of marketing?

Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979


Do you have the GUTS?

16 May

While reading around on one of the insurance forums that I frequent, I stumbled across a video of Claude Diamond.  He’s the founder of the GUTS sales system.  The video I watched basically shows Claude and a client role playing different scenarios and how to integrate the GUTS method of cold calling.  The part I enjoyed was learning how to get through the gatekeeper and straight to the decision maker or owner of the business.

I spent the day yesterday using this method (or a variation of said method) while calling large self storage facilities.  These are places I’ve called before but go nowhere.  Yesterday, while using this method, I was able to obtain the name and direct phone number of the person in charge of the company’s business insurance.  Was I actually able to speak to the owner?  Only a handful of times.  But, in my opinion, this method helped me get several steps closer to obtaining the sale.  Especially since I wasn’t able to get past the receptionist/office manager in my previous calls.

Here’s the video:   Oh, and if you go to YouTube and search GUTS sales training, there are many more videos there to learn from.


By the way, I have no affiliation with Claude Diamond or the GUTS Sales Method.  Please use his methods at your own risk.

Your turn:  After you’ve tried this out, let us know how it went.  We’d love to hear from you!


Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979


Be a Guest Blogger

2 May

In the commercial insurance business, we are always looking for ways to get in front of business owners.  And, where do business owners hang out?  LinkedIn, Youngentrepreneur.com, and the like.  Our goal should be to ‘meet’ these business owners online, become an expert in their eyes and, eventually, bring them on as clients.  But, while the sites I mentioned are great starting points for doing just that, I think we should also do our research and find a few small business minded blogs where business owners come to learn about different aspects of running a successful business.  And what is one of the main things they should learn about (in my opinion, anyway)?  That’s right! Insurance!

When I first started trolling online and learning the ins and outs of marketing an insurance business online, I used to see blogs promoting a guest blogger and think, “Wow!  I wonder how that person became a guest blogger?”  But, guess what?  I’ve discovered it is MUCH easier than it seems.  All I did was send a private message to the blog owners requesting the ability to become a guest blogger and attach a copy of my super helpful article and, viola!  I was given the spot.

Want to check out my guest spot at Start Your Own Small Biz?  Here it is:


If nothing else, when someone googles you or your business, your guest post will pop up in the queue!

On the flip side, if you know of any great marketing gurus who may be interested in guest posting on this blog, please feel free to send them my email.  We already have one great guest blogger (who is currently writing another post for us – thanks Tribal Marketing!) but the more ideas we can get, the better!

Your turn:  Have you had the opportunity to be a guest blogger?  Send us the link and we’ll check it out!


Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979


Connecting Clients With One Another

30 Apr

If you read this blog often enough, you know I’ve been targeting a lot of auto repair shops lately.  Well, a few days ago, I was talking with a new potential client who mentioned to me that the garage he currently rents out is getting way too expensive for him.  I happened to remember a client I signed a few weeks back mentioning that he wanted to rent out one of his beys so he could retire sooner.  So I put the two of them in touch and, long story short, the new guy ended up leaving his current garage and renting out the bey of my client at a more reasonable price.  And because of my actions, I ended up not only making my current client happy, but I made a connection for the new guy that allowed him to save money every month and, of course, he now insures through me.  Both clients have already told me they have a few business owner friends they’d like for me to meet to insure them as well.  I’d say this was a win-win-win situation!

My point is, if you have the opportunity to help out a client or two, do it!  Expect nothing more than knowing you went above and beyond for these clients who will remember that in the future when they are talking with their business owner friends.  I have no doubt they will recommend you!  And, if they don’t?  No worries, you can still sleep at night knowing you did a good thing for someone else.

Although you may not always come across a situation like I had where it would be easy to see the connection, you can be prepared in case an opportunity comes along.  Make sure you keep a list of reputable professional contacts (handyman, plumber, electrician, real estate agent, etc – preferably those that are already your clients) so that when a client mentions a certain need, you can open your file and recommend a great person to help them out.  And, on the flip side, request to be recommended from these people as well if and when they come across someone in need of insurance.

Your turn.  Have you had a similar situation where you were able to help out a client or potential client in a way you didn’t expect?  How did it work out?

Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979


Get Clients to Advertise For You

23 Apr

As a business insurance agent, I’ve been writing a lot of auto repair shops lately.  And, one thing I’ve noticed about all of these shops, is the abundance of posters and banners in their waiting area.   Posters advertising the brand of tires they sell, posters listing state maintenance requirements and posters stating what the shop isn’t responsible for, among other things.

Looking around at all these posters gave me an idea.  If these business owners are willing to hang all of these posters around their waiting area, why wouldn’t they hang an insurance poster?  I think next time I sign a client, I’ll ask him or her to hang a small poster or banner stating, “New Jersey’s Business Insurance Lady Protects Us!” or something to that effect and see what happens.  The worst that could happen is the business owner says no, in which case, I’ll take my poster to the next client.  If the business owner says yes, maybe other business owners will see it and question my client about my customer service, coverage and prices and I could get a few additional clients out of it.  You never know until you try!

Here’s a look at the poster I created through Your Life In Print for this purpose:

Here’s to thinking outside the box!

Your turn:  Do you do something similar to attract new clients?  What is it and how has it worked for you?

Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979




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