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Pandemic pointers: Setting your agency up for success

  • Posted by Tina Condon | 3 min read

A few years from now, how will you sum up your agency’s response to the pandemic? We’re all still adjusting, which actually makes now a great time to work toward the most positive outcome possible.  We spoke with Janice Hewitt at Harmon Insurance, Broken Arrow, Okla., to learn what’s working for her. Here are some of the approaches that you can consider as well to help set your agency up for success.

Change makes it easier (and more valuable!) than ever to continue the conversation

The pandemic has brought change for almost everyone, so reach out to your current commercial customers and find out how you can help. Whether their changing business needs require a new bill plan, a different payment option, or careful coverage review, this is the perfect opportunity to be a trusted consultant. Janice Hewitt said she and her team put a lot of energy into calling their clients once the pandemic hit. “Some of our commercial customers have been hit pretty hard. We’re doing all we can to help make policy adjustments that can positively impact their bottom line.”

Staying involved just takes a little creativity

With social distancing, opportunities to market in-person have dried up almost entirely, but that doesn’t mean prospects are no longer out there and your marketing should stop.  Boosting your brand just takes a more creative approach. Harmon Insurance is a perfect example of how being open to new ideas can positively impact business. In the past, Janice Hewitt has taken her cue from agency employees, community leaders, and her own customers. “One customer was adamant—I needed to sponsor benches during Rooster Days, Oklahoma’s oldest festival, to get our name in front of the entire community. This year, when the outdoor festival was cancelled, we stayed involved by hosting the ‘Rooster Eggs’ virtual scavenger hunt on our Facebook page.”

Technology is our friend for both business and marketing

Online retail shopping has been increasing steadily for years, yet after the pandemic began, online shopping jumped significantly from 15% to 25%. Retailers—and yes, insurance agencies—that have always made tech upgrades a priority were far better situated to a frequently remote customer experience. Janice Hewitt noted that, while Harmon Insurance had previously elevated e-signature capabilities, the agency hadn’t used that functionality much until the pandemic occurred. “We didn’t pick up e-sig to prepare for a pandemic, but it certainly helped us move forward during a challenging time.”

You can also use technology to help with marketing. An agency’s presence online via their website and social media profiles is also key. With your prospects spending more time online, it makes sense to invest in taking your brand online with things like more frequent posts to your agency’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Keep viewers coming back for fresh content. And if you’re looking for content ideas, we can help! Look to Progressive Marketing for a variety of social media posts that you can leverage.

Imitation is the sincerest form of…profitability?

We’re all in this together, so don’t be afraid to reach out to other local small business owners when you don’t know where to start or need help. More likely than not, they’ll be glad to help a fellow small business owner, so why not see if a partnership or an effort that’s worked for them could be a winner for you as well?

Harmon Insurance didn’t have a strong customer referral program until Janice was inspired by other local businesses. Now, Harmon’s referral program is increasing in popularity, thanks to locally sourced rewards: gift cards from a nearby gas station, a craft candle from a local boutique, and a small donation to a city non-profit.

Yes, we’re still in a global pandemic, but, with a little creativity, you can set your agency up for success.  Take this opportunity to reinvent your approach to doing business by increasing outreach, marketing online, implementing technology, and looking to other business owners for inspiration. Who knows, doing a hard reset may open your mind to new ideas and approaches that you can use for many years to come.

Progressive person for 30-plus years; brings her love of the written word to her role in marketing communications. Constant reader, sometime runner. Still aiming to improve her second-place finish in a Flo look-a-like contest.