Branding & Positioning

Seven Out-of-the-Box Promotional Ideas Every Producer Should Try

Getting your prospects’ attention isn’t easy.  Differentiating your message and getting your marketing to stand out can also be a challenge. It’s time for a little creativity.

Start by picking one day a week to work on marketing and prospecting for a fixed time frame of no more than two total hours.  Set aside dedicated time where you are working on improving, systematizing, and implementing new promotional strategies.  Consider Marketing Mondays or Reach-out Fridays.  Book one 40- or 50-minute “work” session, then take a 10-20 minute break.  During the break, do not check email, voicemail, social media, or do anything that might create a distraction.  Instead take a walk or run to get your creative juices flowing.  Then return to your planning session for one final hour.  You’ll be amazed at how productive you will be and how much you can accomplish when you block out time for creativity.

If you need some help starting the creative juices, below we’ve pulled some ideas and real world examples together that might help get off on the right foot.  Take a few minutes to peruse these prospecting ideas to grab the attention of your clients, centers of influence, and prospects:

  1. @tweetacoffee – Starbucks recently launched a new way for customers to send Starbucks coffee through the Tweet-a-Coffee program. Just sync your Starbucks account to your Twitter account and tweet to @tweetacoffee and the Twitter handle of the gift recipient, which will then send the recipient a $5 digital eGift. Your prospects and clients can then redeem the $5 Starbucks Card e-gift at participating U.S. stores, either by printing out the e-gift, showing it directly on their mobile device, or by loading it to their Starbucks mobile app.  If you want to give it an “espresso” shot, you could always try it out by tweeting the Beyond Insurance team at @Risk Revolution our shameless promotion for the day).
  2. Cross promote within your book – Cross promotion is when two or more businesses collaborate or team up together to reach a larger audience. An insurance agency in the northeast cross promotes with a deal-of-the-month program.  Each month, one of the agency’s clients (a veterinarian, swimming pool cleaning service, bakery, etc.) offers a coupon that is exclusively given out to other clients of their agency.  This drives more traffic to each client and provides an incentive for doing business in the community
  3. Cross-promote with outside vendors – Team up with complementary businesses that have the same target market or client base as you, such as attorneys or CPAs. You can build your client list by connecting with their clients.  Start with a small cross-promotion to develop a sense of how they work.  When the cross-promotion is successful, it will be easier for you to approach the next complementary business because you’ll have a proven track record.  Always make sure you show your appreciation for everyone who participates in the cross-promotion with you.
  4. Develop unique marketing material – Be inspired by Realtor Steve Hoem of Maple Grove, MN.  He attaches a stick of Big Red gum and a “Stick with Me” label on his business cards.  His idea is memorable – people in Maple Grove call him “the gum guy.”  Or send a “seeded” card that your prospects can plant after they read your marketing message.   Tell them that you want to help them sustain and grow their business.  When the seeds embedded in the paper grow into an array of wildflowers, they will remember you.
  5. Remind clients and friends you are thinking of them – Study your centers of influence – your referral sources – and top clients.  Send them something memorable during non-traditional gifting seasons such as an ice cream party for the office in the middle of July.  Or, a bag of candy corn in October with a note saying, “I know this is corny, but we really enjoy working with you.”  Another idea may be during tax season, send any CPAs you work with or who refers business to you a “virtual” dinner.  Simply call a local restaurant that delivers and place an order.  You can include a note saying, “We didn’t want to ‘tax’ you with time out of the office, but we did want you to know we’re thinking of you.”
  6. Become an industry expert – Give a talk or presentation at a networking event, conference, or industry meeting. Then raffle off a prize at the end of the event so you can collect business cards from the audience.
  7. Social Media outreach – Try Graph Search on Facebook.  In 2013, 52% of businesses sourced a lead from Facebook.  To generate a lead, pull information from Facebook users’ profiles using Graph Search.  According to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, “Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, rather than links that might provide an answer [like a web search].”

What clever promotional ideas have you implemented?  Are you creating opportunities to meet people, get to know their needs, and start conversations?

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