23 Proven Insurance Lead Gen Methods to get New Clients

Get Clients for Your Insurance Agency

How do you bring in more clients for your insurance business?

Potential insurance customers are everywhere, but how do you connect with them and share the value you can provide? Building a strong book of business requires an effective and efficient process, but where do you start?

Dialing for dollars or attending networking events just aren’t as effective as they used to be. Thanks to our digital world, there’s effective strategies, tools, and systems you can use to bring in and retain the right clients for your insurance business.

We scoured the industry and compiled our own information and systems that have worked over many years to create these 23 proven insurance lead gen methods to get new clients. We broke it up into two categories: business development strategies and digital marketing. 

Even if you’ve been in the insurance industry for many years, these tips will help you bring in new business, increase your revenue, and have long-term growth. Plus, we offer a FREE email sequence series guaranteed to increase your hit ratio! 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

1. insurance is all about activity

In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Insurance, on the other hand, is all about activity. Be intentional and consistent about your income-producing activity. Analyze what’s producing income and what’s not. Focus on what is producing for you.

This also includes but is not limited to: prospect research, emails, networking, social media, cold calling, visiting your prospects, video messages, and the like. Whether you use Outreach.io to automate your prospect communication, or follow Terry Sullivan’s recommendation to spend just 20 minutes on LinkedIn a day, the way to get clients is by consistently dedicating time to mining new clients.

2. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Personalization

Personalization is key–you won’t believe how quickly someone will trust you just by showing you listened and understood their challenges. Show your prospects that you understand their needs by personalizing your communication to them. You can accomplish this virtually by specifically naming their city, industry, or their business name in your email or video campaigns. You can even send them short personalized videos through video tools like Loom.

Another great way to stand out from the crowd, when targeting commercial opportunities, is to go the extra mile and visit their physical headquarters if possible. Our suggestion is to have a brochure or one-pager document all about your agency as a branded notepad so you can leave a personal note if the decision-maker isn’t available on the spot to meet with you. A personal touch goes a long way in leaving a lasting impression!

3. Be a Relevant, Knowledgeable Broker

One of the great sales experts, Zig Ziglar, often said that to sell is to serve. What are the greatest challenges your prospects are facing on a daily basis? How do your products or services focus on serving them to overcome those obstacles? They have a need, you have a solution––from there, all you do is connect the dots.

One of the best ways to deliver value is to stay up-to-date on industry knowledge to prepare yourself for those situations where your prospects will be asking for your help. Stay in tune with what’s shifting in both the insurance industry and in your target prospects’ needs. For example, a hard market––what does that mean for a customer? You can use each conversation with a prospective client to educate them and show your value as a relevant, trusted advisor. Remember to sell what the client wants, not what you have. Focus on serving and not on closing the deal. The deal will close if you serve first.

4. Build Valued Relationships First & Then Mention Price

In a recent study conducted by our friend, Kelly Donahue-Piro from Agency Performance Partners, 85% of agents did nothing to build value in a relationship personally or as an agency during an initial phone conversation with a prospect. That’s 85% of people missing out on an opportunity to serve someone and build value with them. So how do you add value and serve potential prospects? You build value by building rapport, educating clients, and getting over selling a policy based solely on price. One of the best recommendations Kelly shares to get new clients is to stop believing that insureds will only buy on price, and start believing that the value you offer is to help them better protect everything the clients work so hard to build, own, and/or run.

5. Create a Referral Program

A referral program is one of the best ways to quickly acquire and qualify new clients for your agency. In most cases, a referred client is a terrific new client because they were recommended by a current client. The best part is, creating a referral program is not difficult to do! You can use any number of customer relationship management (CRM) tools to manage your referral program. Some great options are HubSpot, Surefyre, and Velocify. The general process is that each person will receive a packet that can be placed in the CRM and tracked for follow-up or reconnection. A typical winning referral process is to provide a physical or digital folder with information on the carrier, information on how to file a claim should they need to, a small giveaway like a key chain or pen with your agency’s information on it, and four or five business cards for them to “refer a friend.” Many brokers find success by giving some kind of financial incentive such as an Amazon gift card to the clients who refer newly insureds to your agency. Just remember: it’s all about delivering something valuable to potential or current clients!

6. Find Relevant Associations, Magazines, Podcasts, & Forums

A great way to establish yourself and to discover new potential clients is to become heavily involved in your specific niche or vertical. One way to get plugged in is to attend insurance education training programs such as those offered by The National Alliance. Going beyond training programs or communities, there are many niche associations and magazines in which you can write articles or publish video content as advertisements to gain brand recognition. Speaking on relevant podcasts is another great way to share your story and the value you offer to your clients. We’d recommend doing a search online for some local shows you could be on, and then also reaching out for some remote shows that would be a good fit. And finally, online and physical forums are another great way to share valuable content, interact, and engage with people focusing on sharing helpful solutions to the challenges they’re facing––and to attract your target client to reach out to you to learn more about each other and to see if there’s a way to serve them. Some great platforms for this are on social media, such as Facebook groups, LinkedIn, and online question and answering websites. The goal here is to promote, interact, and engage with people on platforms so you can attract your target client by being in front of them across a multitude of channels.

7. Partner with Local Professionals to Build Your Sphere of Influence

A sphere of influence is a great long-term strategy for securing new clients. Create a sphere of influence when you initiate a personal relationship with someone who runs a real estate agency, or with financial advisors, design/build firms, construction companies, accountants, and the like. Why is it important to partner with local professionals? Clients working with these local professionals will trust their recommendation to work with you to provide them with insurance––based solely on their existing experience with that local professional. Likewise, if a prospect needs support outside of insurance, you are able to act as the hero by making a recommendation to someone in your own network. Later on, they will remember who helped them and most likely come back to you for their insurance.

8. Partner with Carriers to Build an Insurance Book of Business

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a way for a carrier to tell you exactly which business they were targeting? It’s not only possible, but fairly easy to have a carrier tell you exactly their target business. You can accomplish this through building strong relationships. When you have a great relationship with a carrier, they are able to give you a list of accounts they’ve quoted but lost in the past. That means you get access to a great lead list. Alternatively, you could talk about your proprietary programs or products (such as those offered through OLI), that allow the broker and carrier to align on your target business. Most carriers or program managers will have a list of SIC/NAICS codes, or even specific accounts, they want and will ask a great broker to go after. This way, you’ll have a database of contacts you can potentially access.

9. Purchasing a Book of Business

Buying a book of business in your focus area may be a good solution to gain access to a large quantity of clients all at once. However, a word of caution, some books of business are better to purchase than others. You don’t want to waste money purchasing a large list of clients that aren’t the right fit for you and your agency. Also, before purchasing, it is recommended you equip your agency with what you need to service this new capacity of clients. Having the right system in place and then purchasing a book of business can be a very powerful combination to grow your agency! And if you don’t know where to start, partners like OLI can help you assess a potential acquisition or even fund the investment to purchase a book of business.

10. Work with an Affiliate Partner

Partnering with an aggregator network or cluster broadens the spectrum of clients you can attract and the business you can win. It’s the secret weapon of many successful insurance agencies––which is exactly why OLI was created in the first place. OLI Insurance Services is an insurance aggregator that supports independent insurance agencies with market access to top national carriers, using their aggregated premium volume to optimize compensation plans. Most importantly, besides delivering white glove, concierge-level of support, OLI Affiliates benefit from OLI being a subsidiary company of Heffernan Insurance Brokers, a trusted insurance trailblazer. Heffernan has 30+ years in business, placing over a billion dollars of insurance premiums across 700+ carriers annually, operating as the 20th-largest independent brokerage firm nationally. We have the experience, the niche expertise, the markets, the volume, the umph that you need to help you get your agency to the next level.

Marketing and Digital Marketing

11. Have a Professional Digital Strategy & Online Reputation

We live in a digital world. When you hear about a company, what do you do? You search for them online to look at their website––and to read reviews online. In fact, research has shown that 90% of users hop online and read reviews before reaching out or visiting your business. In other words, your online reputation and your digital strategy are most likely the first thing a prospect will see––is your digital strategy and online reputation effective? There are many ways to improve your digital strategy and online reputation. It’s important to have a distinct and professional brand identity, with a positive reputation to support it.  That means collecting reviews around the web. Reviews don’t often come easy for insurance agencies, so you have to know how to provide a little nudge to your biggest fans. Note that you want a nudge or a hint and not a SHOVE. Here are some popular networks and how to build that online rep. Make sure to check each networks’ specific review policy before taking our advice; they may have changed!
  • Google My Business – Claim it, fill out all the details. Then LINK to it in your outgoing email marketing and direct emails asking for reviews.
  • Yelp – This one’s not quite as easy! They will penalize you if you solicit reviews! So the specific language you want to use here is “Check us out on Yelp”
  • Other networks – Facebook, Nextdoor, LinkedIn, Birdeye (freemium), ConsumerLobby (paid)

12. Build an Email List & Email Drip Sequence

Building an email list is important to grow your audience and your client list. With email marketing, you can prospect for new business, add value to existing leads, and build relationships with current customers. Used correctly, email marketing has effective conversion rates for bringing in and closing new business opportunities. An important thing to remember about building an email list is––you have full control of those users. If you focus only on a social media audience, you’re using rented land. You don’t own that audience: Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media platforms own that audience. Email marketing done right allows you to build a tribe that brings in new leads and increases lifetime value of current customers.  But first you have to build your email list. Start by exporting all the users from your CRM or address book and send them an email to see if they would like to opt-in to your email list for some kind of value exchange. Adding an opt-in email lightbox to encourage email subscribers is a great way to do this. Outreach, OptinMonster, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, and Mailchimp are a few good email tools to use. You can also gather emails at in-person or digital events and through social media. This is often done through some kind of value exchange. For example, you may offer a PDF download, “The five liability risks your business faces on a daily basis & what you can do about it” as something they receive for joining the email list. This has to be done with authenticity and passion; otherwise, it may come across the wrong way. With an email list started, you set up an automated email drip sequence––a sequence of emails sent to the users who subscribe to the email list. Here are a few ideas for you to include in your drip sequence:
  • Educational emails focusing on coverages or lines of business, such as new regulations, training, best practices, risks, and so on.
  • Focus on topics of interest to your target audience by researching articles in industry publications or viewing online forums or groups for ideas.
Whatever theme you go with, start off with some best practices: Best Practices:
  • Simple and sweet: no one reads a long email, so stick with 1- to 3-line paragraphs and one to three paragraphs, max.
  • Include a call to action such as a question they can answer by replying, a phone number to call you, or another article of yours to read.
  • No, or minimal, image usage––email programs like to block them.
  • Only one link per email, unless >1 is required, like a curated list of your favorite blogs to follow.
  • Use bullet points and lists.
  • Send as a real person such as walter.white@domain.com and not info@ or sales@
  • At some point, ask for permission to send them more emails.

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13. Leverage Google’s Tools

Google has excellent tools you can use to track your website. Google Analytics is the gold-standard that most website owners know about, but make sure you have Goals / Conversions added. Our favorite two reports to view on a regular basis include the Acquisition channels and Landing pages, monitoring changes on those month-over-month. Google Search Console is a tool that is geared more toward professionals, particularly SEOs. With this tool’s Performance section, you can see the top search queries (keywords) that people are using to find your website. There are lots of guides for Google Analytics and Google Search Console available to improve your skillset but for now, you can get an overview of your performance by setting up those tools and connecting them to this dashboard built in Google Data Studio.

Want to take your analytics a step further? Try heatmap tracking and recordings with HotJar to see how real people navigate your website!

14. Get Listed Online

Most web directories and listing sites are spammy and won’t move the needle. But for most insurance businesses, there are a handful of must-haves to generate leads and build your reputation. Make sure you have a profile with accurate name, address, phone number, and website on: You have probably heard of those sites. There are others that may fit your particular business. Take a look at Trusted Choice’s paid directory options. Nextdoor may be a good option for certain insurance agents, especially ones involved with their communities and homeowners. Local chambers can also be valuable.

15. Do You Have a Marketing Budget?

Try a sponsored email. Look for associations or organizations that represent your target customers. We recommend a fully sponsored email or a text-based link in an email rather than a banner ad or graphical advertisement, if the association offers it.

16. Google Ads for Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

Speaking of spending $––Google your brand name. Does your website appear first? If not, set up Google Ads for your brand name. Since it is your brand name, the price per click is likely to be low. Ads are a great way for you to show up right away in search results when someone is looking for your services in your local area.

17. Have Targeted Google Ads to Attract The Right People

Speaking of Google Ads, did you know you can actually target early-buying funnel buyers using paid advertising with Google? Brainstorm topics your target audience may search for that aren’t directly related to your services. For example, maybe you provide film equipment insurance and are centered in Los Angeles. You may want to try creating a page that lists iconic and great locations for engagement photos and target keywords to drive traffic to that page, like “great locations for engagement photos in Los Angeles.” Why should you do this and not the product(s) you offer? Three reasons, generally––the first is affordability. It’s likely that these early buying funnel keywords and topics will cost less than high-cost keywords. Why are they high cost? Reason number two––they are also going to be highly competitive, generally speaking. Early-buying funnel keywords are not going to be as strongly targeted by competitors. And, finally, many of these keywords have more searches and more volume, so you can reach a wider audience.

18. Get Active on Forums

By being active on forums, you’ll be able to add value to your ideal client. Start by finding relevant forums about the industry you insure. Good general starting points include sites like Quora and Reddit. Search for insurance-related keywords on the forum and answer questions people may have. You can use the “site:” search operator in Google to help you do this as well. Try searching for “keyword” site:forumname.com to narrow your results down to just that particular website. For example, “life insurance” site:quora.com.

19. Use Existing Forum Content to Craft your Blog Content

Leverage those same forum posts to brainstorm new blog topics. Did you come across a forum post asking questions about your industry or product that you can answer? Write a detailed blog post that answers all those questions. The more detailed the better is a great rule of thumb.

20. Use Your Blog/Forum Content to Create Short Videos

Take that same blog post and the answers to what you did above and film some short videos for your social media. ProTip––invest in a tripod and ring light early on to make high-quality videos!

21. Engage in & Create Your Own Seminars/Webinars

Seminars and Webinars are great tools for gaining new clients if created and executed the right way. Possibly quarterly online or in-person events on insurance topics are a good cadence to follow. The presentation should focus on a relevant topic and keep an audience listening throughout the presentation. The end goal is to deliver enough value where they want to get even more value from working directly with you and your business. Webinars or seminars are great for positioning your products or services in the minds of customers, ultimately driving leads for your sales pipeline with a clear call to action. They are a leading tool for effectively building trust and partnerships between your ideal customers. The prospects are able to quickly determine how you add value to people, and you’ll immediately gain a reputation as the expert to work with.

22. Create & Share Video Content

Video is quickly becoming the most important tool for content marketing a business can use. One of the easiest ways to create video content is to record your seminars/webinars and post them online on your YouTube channel and on your website. This way, you can have even more opportunities to get in front of the ideal client. They can also be shared on social media or in your email list. Video is a great way to share your authenticity and integrity while also conveying your message or value in an engaging format.

23. Linkedin is a Great Tool if Used Properly

A professional LinkedIn profile is important to have. You don’t want a LinkedIn profile that is a poor reflection of you and your agency. We recommend turning your summary section into a story. Your summary is important for sharing your story, so don’t just share your skills or job titles. You want to bring your summary to life and share how you’ve made/are making a difference for the people you’ve worked with. What is the value you provide? List any relevant skills in the skills section, and ask people in your network for recommendations on your profile. Share regular content from others and share relevant content you create based on relevant topics you focus on adding value in. For example, sharing and creating posts on risks, liabilities, or anything in the area of why individuals or businesses need insurance would be relevant. Focus on the challenge or need your prospect has, and focus on what you can share that solves that need.

Grow Your Insurance Business With These Resources

All of these strategies and resources to bring in new clients and retain them are pointless without your implementation. We’ve given you the information but it’s up to you to take action. If you start to implement you’ll be able to get the growth you are looking for in your insurance agency. 

Are there any other things we’ve left out that you think should be on this? Let us know on our contact page

Have any questions or feel overwhelmed about everything we shared? Connect with us so we can learn more about you and how we may be able to help your insurance agency. 

Tools & Resources

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