Improve your AES


Agency Experience Score (AES), is measured by the results of the Allstate Customer Experience Survey (ACES). A minimum of 40 responses on a 12 month moving basis is needed in order to qualify for the Customer Experience Component of the new variable compensation program that began in 2013.

If you achieve all of the Agency Success Factors, you are eligible for an additional 1/2% commission payout for the Customer Experience Component.

We cannot report on whether the new measurement has a greater level of validity than the old ALI score, however, we will note one major improvement. Thus far, the company is not using AES as a reason for agent termination, as it did with the ALI score.

Following are ideas from agents to help improve your AES score. We hope one or more of these will work for you.

Two primary goals:

1. Increase the number of customers that respond to the survey. Higher response rates will provide a better sampling of your customer base because more of your “satisfied” customers will participate, diminishing the effect on your score from negative responses from customers who are unhappy with price increases.

2. Illicit more positive responses from customers taking the survey.

Increasing the number of responses:

Preliminary notification: Customers are more likely to respond to the survey if they have been notified and/or personally asked to take the time to respond. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this goal. You can utilize TaG, Automatic Response Technology (ART), an agency newsletter, a part-time telemarketer, or send a personal letter to all your clients. Obviously, your best and most effective asset for increasing AES is you, the agency owner. Customers generally respond most favorably when the agency owner takes the time to call – it makes them feel special and shows that the agent genuinely cares about their concerns. Whichever method you choose, remember to thank them for their business and offer to review/update their policies.

Offer an incentive: Many larger businesses will offer the ‘chance” to win a prize in return for completing a survey. Most agencies are small enough to actually offer a gift to every customer who returns the completed survey. Check out for gift cards from local restaurants that can be purchased at a significant discount, or work together with a local restaurant to print a coupon for a free entree with the purchase of another of equal value. You may even want to enclose a crisp, new one dollar bill with your letter as an advance thank-you for taking their valuable time to complete the survey. This may work best for agencies with fewer households. Spending a little money to achieve the extra payout may be worth it.

Use Psychology: Your letter or voice message should help prompt your customer to respond. Your customer likely views himself as helpful, kind and generous. If you know your customers really well, you could ask a question such as, “Would you do me a huge favor? Allstate is about to send out a survey that grades me as your Allstate agent. If you would complete the survey and drop it off at my office, I would be very grateful.” You will find that many of your customers will do it for you because they like you and want to help any way they can.

Another approach you can use is to contact your customers and ask them to call you if they receive the survey. Then, when they call, you can make them aware of how important this survey is for you.

The vast majority of your customers perceive themselves as good people. Most will help a friend in need. Don’t be afraid to appeal to this sense of goodwill and generosity. Don’t feel bad for asking. Chances are, you and your staff have gone above and beyond what is required to help them with insurance issues, so now it’s time for them to return the favor.

Illicit more positive responses:

Commitment and involvement: Use the customer’s allegiance to your agency to your advantage. They have trusted in you and your agency for a period of time, something they would not have done if they were not “completely” satisfied with your agency. Their assistance, in the form of responding to the survey, will assist you in further improving the level of service they receive.

Ask for Referrals: Your clients are more likely to give a positive rating to your agency if they have ever referred family or friends to your agency, So it is important that you begin to ask for referrals on a consistent basis. If you have never asked, you probably have an entire book of customers who cannot honestly say they have sent you a referral.

Long Term: Your customer contact program must be an ongoing campaign. Consistently ask your customers whether they are completely satisfied with your service, and if not, ask what you can do improve. Do this when you take a new application, and every time you help a customer with a policy change. Make sure all of your staff is doing the same thing. Set up a referral program that includes incentives such as a gift card or put the customer’s name in a drawing each time they send you a referral. Use a newsletter, or ART to say “thank you for your business,” offer policy reviews, and ask for referrals.

Check state and local laws regarding incentives and prize drawings.


Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)

Social Media

Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)

Robyn Sharp,


Have you ever felt like social media marketing wasn’t worth the time and effort? You may have tried using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but you’re just not seeing the results you expected. This is a common complaint and one that is easy to fix!

Most agents have defaulted to a very simple social media strategy. Their company gives them free branded content (posts, photos, and articles) and they share it on their social media pages. It’s simple, takes very little time, there’s nothing to think about, and it’s done.

But the problem is, it isn’t working!

Allstate gives agents beautiful images with the Good Hands logo in the corner and they offer helpful tips about deductibles, leaky pipes, and storm damage. But do customers actually notice it? From what we’re seeing, the answer is “no.”

Even worse, when you have multiple agents from one company in the same town, they all tend to look identical. It’s almost impossible to tell why you should pick one agent over the other because their Facebook posts, photos, and branding are exactly alike.

Let’s be honest, insurance is not the most exciting topic, so when people log on to Facebook to see interesting news, funny jokes, and pictures of their friends – deductibles aren’t grabbing their attention.

It’s time to shift your strategy!
There are three words to keep in mind when you’re working on your marketing: Know, Like and Trust. When people know who you are, generally like you, and trust you to follow through on your promises, they will typically choose to do business with your agency – sometimes regardless of price.

So how do we take advantage of this in social media marketing? Stop talking about insurance until the time is right!

This may sound surprising because you planned to use social media to educate your clients and show what a knowledgeable agent you are. That is still an excellent strategy, once they know, like and trust you enough to request a quote. The quote process is a great time to for you to demonstrate your expertise, educate your client, and look for gaps in their coverage. But social media is the place to get your prospects to LIKE you!

So, once you quit talking about insurance, what should you share?
A great place to begin is by looking at how you and your staff are involved in the community. Are you a member of the Chamber of Commerce or The Kindness Revolution? Do you volunteer at a local school or non-profit organization? Or coach a team?

Think about all of these activities as opportunities to share how you impact your local community. Take a photo at your next volunteer meeting, share it on your Facebook page and you’ll immediately see more engagement from your followers.

Your cell phone can make this incredibly easy. It takes only a few seconds to snap a photo and share it across all your social networks. Remember, people want to see YOU on their Facebook newsfeed.

A few ideas to get you started:

  • Take a photo of your CSR on the phone at her desk and tell your followers to give her a call if they need to make any changes to their policy.
  • Share a photo of your office decorations, a new poster you’ve displayed about your referral rewards contest, or a team member who just reached an important career milestone, such as an award or a new insurance designation, like CIC or LUTC.
  • Take a photo of a client coming in to renew their commercial policy and share a link to their business page! It promotes your client, creates goodwill, and shows that you offer commercial coverage.
  • Take a photo of your kids or grandkids when they stop by to visit. Everyone loves pictures of cute kids!
  • Does your dog ever come to work with you? Why not share a picture?
  • Is there a new baby in your family? A child graduating college? Did you have lunch at your kid’s school? Attend a local theater production? Dine at a popular restaurant? These are all FUN and interesting things to share! They get people connected to you as a person, which drives more interest in your agency.

And then when your potential client has an event like a rate increase, a bad claim experience, or even a policy renewal, they’ll know exactly who to call.

These ideas don’t have to be done on a daily basis, but once a week or so is a great way for people to get to know, like and trust your real brand, which is YOU!

Have something to promote
Social media marketing is pretty easy for retail businesses. Unlike insurance, many have tangible products they can discount, while others offer discount coupons to get people to try their products or services.

But since you can’t do that with insurance, you have to create something to talk about other than just offering a free quote. One of the best ways to do this is to create a Referral Rewards program.

A referral program is simple. Someone refers their friend for a quote and you send them a free gift. It could be a gift card, lottery tickets, or even cold hard cash. But the reward isn’t really the important part. It’s all about how you PROMOTE the reward!

By using a referral rewards program, you give yourself something interesting to share on your social media profiles consistently.

When someone sends a referral, you could post a short thank you message and a note that their gift card will be coming in the mail. Or you could share photos of winners picking up their prize at your office. You’ll also want to make a flyer and share it online at least once per week.

All of these things get people interested in your referral program, and keeps them focused on sending you new leads.

Embrace your local business
As you continue to develop your social media marketing, keep in mind that you’re not just an Allstate agent. You’re a member of the local community. You live, work, and volunteer in your city and that is much more important than the company you represent.

Yes, you want to capitalize on Allstate’s strong brand image (and huge advertising budget), but people must be able to differentiate you from the other agents in town. They need to see who you are and get to know you and your team. When you focus on that, you’ll immediately increase your social media results.

Robyn Sharp is a former Allstate agent and founder of Mega Agency Marketing where she specializes in helping insurance agents get referrals and leads through social media. Visit for more information.


Finding the Right Prospects Through Social Media

Social Media

Finding the Right Prospects Through Social Media

Robyn Sharp,


Most agents want to learn how to use social media so they can get more sales, right? You don’t want to connect with people just to discuss what you’re having for breakfast – the goal is to grow your agency. So how do you find the right prospects when you advertise on Facebook?

Most agents lack a well-thought-out social media strategy, they simply post content and hope for the best. But you can do better than that! Let’s look at how to segment your prospects and create specific marketing goals that turn into leads.

Who Is a Prospect?
You’ve heard the terms “hot,” “warm” and “cold” applied to leads, haven’t you? The old definitions went something like this:

Cold lead. Someone who didn’t ask you to call them. You blindly reach out, hoping the person will respond. Cold calling and non-targeted direct mail would be good examples of cold leads.

Warm lead. A person who requested a quote. Maybe they filled out a form on your website and now they’re a warm lead in your pipeline. You’re in the process of contacting and quoting this lead.

Hot lead. Somebody you’ve quoted, who liked your price and seems like a great prospect. They should close fast.

A better way to identify your marketing goals.

There is a better way to classify your prospects. Consider these new definitions:

Cold leads. People who have never heard of you or your agency. They are prospects because they’re local, but they don’t yet know you. If you’re a newer agent, a lot of people are going to be cold prospects because they don’t know who you are or what you do.

What should be your marketing goal for cold leads? Build awareness! You want your agency to become a household name. You want to get your agency brand in front of these people. They might not be ready to ask for a quote right now, but when the right trigger comes along—like a rate increase—they will. A lot of cold prospect marketing is based on name recognition and branding.

Warm leads. People who have heard of you but who aren’t current clients. They might be someone you’ve met through networking. They may have received a quote from your agency in the past. They might be a prior client who left for another company. You probably have lists of these people: win-backs, re-quotes, prospects, networking contacts, and the like.

What is your marketing goal for warm leads? Quote them (or quote them again)! You want to pull these leads back into your sales pipeline for another round.

Hot leads. No longer does “hot” mean they’re ready to buy. Rather, these people have already bought—they are your current clients! Odd as this may seem at first, it makes total sense. A truly hot prospect is a person who has signed the papers, given you the premium, and made the commitment. They are ready for the next step.

What is your marketing goal for hot leads? You want to bundle their business and use them to generate referrals. In order to grow your agency, you need to have high retention and high value per customer. This is achieved through bundling. If they have auto only, you should be marketing for home or renter’s business. If they have home and auto, you should be marketing for life insurance, and so on.

Think about this: A lot of the people who “like” your agency’s Facebook page are current clients—“hot leads,” by our new definition. You don’t want to only talk about new quotes on your Facebook page. Why? Because a lot of your readers are already long-term clients. You’ll see better results if you regularly promote your referral rewards program and stress those multi-line discounts.

Does this segmentation make sense? Basically, we are separating every person in town into three categories: people who don’t yet know you; people who know you, but aren’t doing business with you now; and current clients. Your prospects always fall into one of these categories, and you should have an action plan in place for each type of prospect.

How does this apply to my direct mail marketing? Let’s try this same segmentation strategy with a direct mail postcard. Each of your three groups would get its own postcard.

Cold leads. The ones who don’t know you will get a simple postcard or letter from time to time. You want them to start recognizing your name and face. They might not convert immediately but, over time, you’ll warm them up.

Warm leads. Let’s say you have a list of clients who left you for competitors and whom you want to win back. You already know their renewal date. So start sending postcards out a few months before the renewal date. You might even do some telemarketing after sending the postcard to ask them about a new quote.

Hot leads. Mail your agency newsletter or a flyer about your referral rewards program each quarter to your current clients. You can also send out a postcard to your mono-line clients, stressing the value of multi-line discounts.

How does this apply to my Facebook marketing? Now let’s use this segmentation strategy on Facebook.

For your cold leads, you’ll create Facebook ads to target local people who’ve not yet heard of you. Facebook lets you select ad recipients by Zip code, age, relationship status, homeowner status, and more. Precisely target the people you want as clients. Craft advertisements that create interest in your agency and—especially important—in your community involvement. Go for something specific that people will remember about you—your involvement with The Kindness Revolution ™, for instance, or the Allstate Foundation, or the Little League team you coach. Then, point them to your website, where they can request a quote.

Facebook ads work great for warm leads, too. You can upload a list of prospects’ email addresses and run ads targeted right at this group to get them interested in a new quote. Maybe you want to make a special offer, like a gift card or free pizza, but only want it to show up to warm leads. Upload your list to Facebook and only the right people will see it!

Then, create content for your agency Facebook page. Here, focus on your current clients. Include reminders about your referral thank-you program, or photos of customers who won a referral-rewards drawing. You can post personalized thank-you messages when someone gives you a referral. Try to use photos whenever you can for a livelier, more personalized feel. Be sure to post news about everything your agency does in the community, such as sponsoring a local high school “athlete of the week” award, or volunteering in a local literacy program. Let your clients get to know and like you and your staff. Use personal messages about your family and pets, as well as events that highlight your expertise in the industry, such as earning an insurance designation or an Allstate award. Aim for at least one new post each week to keep your agency in front of your clients.

If you don’t have a lot of clients who “like” your Facebook page now, you can use Facebook ads to reach them. Upload a list of your current customers’ email addresses to Facebook and create an ad that simply ask your clients to “like” you. The cost of Facebook ads to reach your book of business is a very small investment that will let you keep in touch regularly.

Facebook advertising is easy. You control the audience and the amount you want to spend. Get started by clicking the arrow dropdown menu at the top of your Facebook page, and then on Advertising on Facebook.

The key to seeing better results from your marketing is simple: Target the right people with the right message. Focus on segmenting your prospects and watch your response rate grow!

Robyn Sharp, owner of Mega Agency Marketing and former Allstate agent, specializes in helping insurance agents get referrals and leads through social media.

Exclusivefocus, Summer 2016


LinkedIn Marketing for Insurance Agencies

Social Media

LinkedIn Marketing for Insurance Agencies

Robyn Sharp,


By now you’re probably already attracting new clients with Facebook, but should you be using other social networks too? One of the best social media sites for insurance agents, beyond Facebook, is LinkedIn!

LinkedIn is similar to Facebook, but completely different at the same time. When you commit to using LinkedIn for marketing your agency, you’ll be targeting a different group of customers and will need to change your strategy a bit.

Here are tips on making LinkedIn consistently deliver hot prospects to your agency.

Rule #1

No social network will deliver results if you aren’t committed to learning about it and using it on a regular basis. Before deciding to market online, make sure you have the time and resources to dedicate to your marketing strategy. A small amount of planning can go a long way, but you’ll have more success if you actually use the website and understand how your clients are using it as well.

Facebook vs. LinkedIn: What’s the Difference?

LinkedIn is similar to Facebook in that you have a personal profile and make “connections” with other people, very much like you would a Facebook “friend.” There is one big difference however. On Facebook, you probably have a business profile page that represents your agency as a whole. On LinkedIn, you’ll be representing yourself as an individual and an owner or employee of your agency. Your personal profile will allow you to share a lot more information about your background and work experience. LinkedIn profiles are designed to showcase you as a professional and an expert in the insurance industry.

The information you share will be very similar to your résumé. (In fact, you can actually upload your résumé to help fill out the profile faster!) It displays current and past work experience, interests, hobbies, accomplishments, and allows people to write recommendations about you. The only photo you’ll need is a nice headshot for your profile picture.

The Tone of LinkedIn

While Facebook is all about vacation photos and funny videos, LinkedIn is much more business minded.

One of the pros of using Facebook is that so many of your clients are already using it, too. They check in multiple times a day and interact heavily with their Facebook friends.

LinkedIn is not like this. Many people set up a profile and rarely return on a daily basis.

However, it is a great place to connect and network with other business owners in your community and to prospect for commercial appointments.

How to Get Quotes

First, you will want to make lots of connections. Setup your account using your most active email address. LinkedIn can search your email account and send a request to everyone you select that you’ve emailed in the past. This makes it very easy to amass a good amount of connections quickly.

You can also use the “Search” function at the top of the profile page to look for people in your city or industry. Visit their profile and click the blue “Connect” button to send a request.

You’ll need to “connect” with someone before you can easily contact them. But once they’ve accepted you, it’s very simple to send a message to another profile. Messages are private and actually go directly to the recipient’s email address, greatly increasing the odds of a response.

Unlike Facebook messages that get lost and forgotten in the hidden “other” folder, LinkedIn goes right to the person you’re trying to reach. Don’t abuse this feature (or they may block you), but do use it to your advantage. Let’s say you want to sell a commercial policy, or offer an employer benefits policy to a local business. First, look up the business and find the best person to contact. (Remember, you can see their job titles.)

Then look for any connections you have in common. These might be people who can introduce you and help build a quick connection or establish a relationship. Next, simply send a request to connect and let the person know that you’re also a local business owner in town and would like to network.

Just like with face-to-face networking, you want to focus on giving more value to others than you get. Actively introduce people to one another, help others get business, and be the person who knows everyone.

After connecting, send an occasional private message requesting an appointment or a coffee meeting. Keep it light and look for ways to benefit that business at the same time.

Work this process on a regular basis and you’ll get consistent appointments and new quotes.

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn also has a great “Groups” feature where you can network with more specific groups of people. Simply go the search box at the top, select “Groups,” and start looking for those in your area or in the market you are targeting.

For example, if you sell insurance for contractors, you might want to join a group dedicated to networking for contractors. You can also find groups for local networking, alumni groups, and many who are directly related to the insurance industry. Share relevant articles, answer questions, and become a source of knowledge in these groups.

Groups are an excellent way to build your authority in a niche market, and reach out to new prospects. But always keep in mind that the person who shares the most value, tends to see the most success!

Rank on Google

Need another great reason to use LinkedIn? It’s an easy way to rank your name highly on Google. Do a Google search for your name and you’ll notice that social media networks are typically the top results. In fact, they will almost always outrank your own website. By using LinkedIn and filling out your profile completely with relevant keywords, you increase your search engine visibility and connect with more clients.

It’s also a good idea to put all of your agency contact info, like phone number and address, into your profile. This makes it easy for clients to contact you if they happen upon your LinkedIn profile instead of your website.

Overall, LinkedIn is a great social network to setup even if you don’t use it as often as Facebook. Establish yourself as an authority, join relevant groups, and connect with as many local business owners as possible. With a solid strategy and consistent outreach and follow up, you’ll see a steady increase of quotes and new appointments.

Robyn Sharp is a former agent, marketing consultant, and owner of Mega Agency Marketing, Inc.

Exclusivefocus Summer 2014


Beyond Facebook: What Other Social Networks Can Grow Your Agency

Social Media

Beyond Facebook: What Other Social Networks Can Grow Your Agency

Robyn Sharp,


If you’re using social media to promote your agency, you’re probably already familiar with Facebook. It is by far the largest and most well-known social network in the world and has the biggest user base. However, there are a lot of other social networks out there to consider using in your agency marketing.

Google+ is a brand new social network that only launched a few months ago. When you sign up for Google+, you’ll create a profile similar to Facebook. You will also connect with other people, who are called your Circle. You can divide your Circle into smaller groups if you’d like to share more limited information from one group to another.

People are using Google+ similar to the way they use Facebook, except for a few key differences. One is that there is a lot less personal information. On Facebook, you get more of a running commentary and personal photos. Google+ tends to be more focused on sharing information.

If you are blogging or writing articles on your website, Google+ is a great place to share them. Why? Because every time you share an article, you give it a +1. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal, except those +1s show up in the Google search results and provide social proof of great content and helpful information. And anything that helps boost your search engine results is a good thing!

Google+, at least at this time, is probably not where you’re going to connect with a lot of clients. It is best used as a tool to share information, find great content, and help boost your own site’s rankings.

LinkedIn is another extremely popular social network. It is completely different from the others and has a few unique aspects that could help you attract new clients.

First of all, LinkedIn is not just for job seekers, a common misconception. LinkedIn is really a great place to show your professional background. When you sign up for a free profile, you’ll basically input your resume information. This includes college, past jobs, awards, and affiliations.

You’ll be able to establish “connections” with other people you know or would like to get to know for business purposes. Your profile is mostly public on this social network, which is a good thing because you want to be found by a large number of people.

Here are some of the ways Allstate agents can use LinkedIn. First, it has excellent search results. If someone Googles your name, most likely a LinkedIn profile will be one of the top two results. It’s a great place to list all of your contact information so you are easy to reach. Fill out your profile completely with website address, phone number, and email. That way, if a potential client is looking for you, they’ll know how to reach you.

Second, LinkedIn is a great place to get recommendations and testimonials. You can request a recommendation from your fellow connections that is shown publicly on your profile. It is also good etiquette to write a recommendation for anyone who writes one for you as well.

Third, LinkedIn has a large number of niche networking groups on the website. If you sell commercial insurance products to a niche group, then LinkedIn is a great place to search for those business owners. Simply search the topic in the Groups feature and join any relevant group. Each group has its own discussion board where people share tips and articles with other group members. You’ll also find quite a few groups for networking with other agents and getting marketing tips.

And fourth, you can use LinkedIn to get introductions through your connections. Maybe you want to meet a good contact with a local organization but don’t know anyone there. Search for the organization on LinkedIn and see if any of your connections are connected with an employee at that organization. Then ask your connection for an introduction! It’s an easy way to network without adding more luncheons to your packed calendar.

Twitter is a little confusing at first but is very unique when it comes to social networks. It is not as mainstream as Facebook or LinkedIn and has a different sort of user base.

Twitter is very public and while people will follow you and vice versa, it is not the same as a private Facebook friend. Twitter is a great place to find up-to-the minute information and conversations amongst people who don’t really know one another.

You might recall watching TV in the evening and seeing a show mention a “hashtag,” which is the hash symbol (#) used as a prefix to create conversation categories on Twitter. This is “Twitter speak” for a search term on the social network. An example would be #Shark- Tank, which is used for followers of the ABC TV show, Shark Tank. Everyone who uses Twitter and wants to talk about the show will write their comments and include the hashtag in their tweet. Then others can search for it, read the comments, and respond. It makes information move very quickly.

Twitter, liked LinkedIn, is a great place for insurance agents trying to reach a niche market. If you’re looking for a certain business owner or subject, go search it on Twitter and see what you can find. Most likely, you’ll find a wide range of people to follow and build relationships with. But since it is not as effective as a niche topic, is generally not recommended to use Twitter for your basic auto and home insurance sales.

YouTube will always be one of the top social networks and a great place for you to market your agency. After Google, YouTube is one of the top search engines in the world! It is an easy place to share information and get your name out there.

Videos are easier to make than ever before. Most laptops now come with built in webcams and many smart phones are now capable of taking high quality video. Make videos that address common questions and offer solutions to your clients. The most important thing you can do is to clearly write what your video is about in the description settings as you upload it. Write a link to your website and make sure to include your name, business name, city and state in the description. This will help you achieve better search engine results. You also want to clearly name your video so that it compels someone to click and watch. After creating a video, you can post it on your website and share it on all of your social networks in order to reach more people.

Social media is always changing but doesn’t have to be hard to use. The most important thing is to set up your profiles on various networks and make an effort to spend five minutes a day connecting with new people and getting your name out in your community.

Robyn Sharp is a former insurance agent and owner of .

Spring 2012 Exclusivefocus


Using Facebook Ads to Generate Insurance Leads

Social Media

Using Facebook Ads to Generate Insurance Leads

Robyn Sharp,


Are you looking for a new marketing technique to drive leads to your agency? Then it is time to start looking at Facebook ads!

You probably already use Facebook to connect with friends and clients, improving customer service and getting the word out about your agency. But did you know that you can target people in your area without the need for them to “like” your Facebook page first?

Over one million small businesses are using Facebook ads for marketing and you should too! Here is an overview of how Facebook advertising works and what you need to know.

What Exactly are Facebook Ads?

These ads are an easy and effective way to target people who use Facebook. Have you noticed advertisements when using Facebook? They are placed in multiple locations. If you don’t look closely, you might not even realize some of them are advertisements.

When you first log in to your Facebook account, you will be on the Home screen (also called the Newsfeed). You will see the ads on the right column as you scroll down. There are also ads embedded within your newsfeed. They might look like regular status updates, but the word “Sponsored” will be at the top.

How Do You Target Insurance Clients?

Facebook wants you to get results.  That is why they make it easy to target people who fit the demographics you need.

Every ad you see on Facebook is targeted directly at you. It may be because you “like” a certain page, or you are a certain age, or you live in a certain place. It could even be based on consumer data that has been linked to your profile (income range or home value).

Whatever the case, you see these ads for a reason. This is why it is so effective. You do not want people who live 3,000 miles away to see your ad for a local insurance quote. You need to get in front of the right people.

So what can an insurance agent do to target the right people? There are lots of things!

A Few Ways to Use Facebook Advertising

• Upload a list of current mono-line client email addresses and target them with an ad for a multi-line discount.

• Upload an email list of current clients and advertise your 2015 referral program.

• Target “get a quote” ads by marital status, age, ZIP Code, and income level.

• Target prospects by homeownership and the value of their home.

• Target by home and auto x-dates or to recent homebuyers.

The options are endless. When first starting out, it is important to keep it simple. However, once you get the hang of creating ads, it is easy to branch out into these more targeted areas.

What Should Go into My Ad?

Start by creating an irresistible offer. The ad should include something that grabs the prospect’s attention and makes them want to immediately request a quote.

One great technique is to offer a gift card in exchange for a referral or for getting a quote. It is important to check your state’s rebating laws and stay compliant, but it is a great way to motivate a prospect to take immediate action.

When someone clicks on the ad, they are directed to your website. Once there, they can complete a simple contact form or a full quote request.

Some leads will need to be quoted immediately and then sold. Other leads might not convert until their renewal. However, you will still be building your prospect database in a cost-effective manner. You can send postcards, telemarket and create follow up emails for years to come until these prospects convert.

Why are Facebook ads effective for insurance quotes? Mostly because they can be highly targeted. A targeted ad can market to people in your city, a specific ZIP Code, or even an entire county. It is possible to target married homeowners, single renters, or only people with homes valued over $200k. You can even choose to target those who may have a teenage driver in their home. The variations are endless.

How Much Do Facebook Ads Cost?

Facebook bills you when someone clicks on your ad. It is very similar to “Google AdWords.” When you create your first ad, Facebook’s programing will tell you a range of current bid prices in your area. This is where you will be able to input your maximum bid. Remember, Facebook charges for any activity on the ad, so if someone “likes” it, or leaves a comment, there will be a charge for the click.

In most markets, bid rates seem to stay around $0.45 to $0.55 per click. Bid rates vary depending on the level of competition. It is important to choose a daily budget to make it easy to manage your money. Budget restrictions start as low as $1 per day or can be set to a total lifetime budget for the ad. It is very easy to setup and track.

Are You Ready to Start Using Facebook Ads?

First, make sure you have a business Facebook page set up for your agency. It is required in order to advertise and will be an important part of your ad campaigns.

Next, create an account in the Ads Manager. This is done in the Build Your Audience section of your business Facebook page. Once the Ad Manager account has been created, Facebook will begin walking you through the process of creating your first ad.

The key to success is to stay on top of your ad results. Regularly check your ad reports and adjust your ad as needed. Make sure you are reaching enough people and that you are getting consistent engagement (clicks). You may even consider assigning one of your staff members to assist with monitoring the ads, comments and results.

Once you start seeing new leads coming in, Do Not Stop! Continually update and create new ads to keep your agency in front of potential clients. With a little bit of practice, you will become a pro at advertising your agency on Facebook and generating leads.

Robyn Sharp specializes in digital insurance marketing at Mega Agency Marketing. Visit  for a free Facebook Ad Agency Case Study and sample ad.

Exclusivefocus Spring 2015


Should Your Agency Have its Own Website?

Social Media

Should Your Agency Have its Own Website?

Robyn Sharp,


Internet marketing can be overwhelming for a beginner. Websites, blogs, social media, search engine optimization, and pay per click advertising are completely different from the traditional marketing techniques to which you are probably accustomed. It’s a whole new world to learn about, and it’s filled with lots of new technology, skills, software, and buzzwords.

As an Allstate agent, you already have a host of internet marketing tools provided to you by the company. To their credit, they’ve done an excellent job of helping you get prepared. But is it enough? The answer is complicated but, for the most part, it depends on what your long-term agency goals are.

Allstate provides you with a basic agency website and the tools to create your own social media profiles pursuant to their guidelines and rules. They also provide social media content to use in your status updates and to promote your agency. But who is it intended to promote? Your agency or the Allstate brand?
While it is customized to your individual agency, Allstate’s marketing materials primarily promote the company brand. Of course, it’s a great brand, and is probably a large reason why you became an Allstate agent!

But there comes a point where you must decide what your future plans are for your agency and for your internet marketing. If there is a chance that you might decide one day to go independent or to change companies, then you need to start now by creating your own website with a strong local online presence. As thousands of former Allstate agents have discovered, it’s never too early to establish your own brand identity. Think of it as a form of career insurance.

Let’s make it simple. Your website is your home base. It’s a place where you make the rules and control all of the content. It’s the online face of your business to the world.

If you don’t own it, such as the case with your Allstate website, then you don’t control it. You may have a nice company website, but you’re at the mercy of their marketing, their brand, and their decisions – not yours.

What Do I Need To Get Started?
For most agencies, a great starting point is a simple blog-style website. Blogs are not much different than regular websites. A blog is like an online journal. You write articles, called blog posts, and they are shown on your website in reverse chronological order with the most recent being first.

A blog allows you to continually share information and ideas with your readers. And most importantly, it allows you to showcase yourself as an insurance expert in the industry. Basically, you are creating a platform to educate your clients and establish your brand online. Blogs are also recommended because they are extremely helpful in building traffic to your website. Google consistently ranks blogs higher in search engine results because the content is always changing.

Think about this. If you create a standard brochure-style website, nothing ever changes. It is stagnant. There is no reason for Google to keep coming back to your site. But with a blog, you are always updating with fresh content. There are more keywords, more information, and more reasons for people to find your website while searching. All in all, blogging is a great way to build search engine optimization (SEO), which can help get your website ranked higher.

High search engine rankings also require time. The longer your website is established – especially with regular blog posts being added each month – the stronger your website will be in the search engine results.
Another great benefit to blogging is that it is easy to get started, even without hiring a web designer and spending lots of money. You can use a website like to begin your blog and start creating content in less than 15 minutes!

What Do I Write About?
Many agents worry about blogging because, like social media, it requires time to come up with topics, writing blog posts, editing them, and posting them on to your website. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, blogging once or twice a month will give you a great start. By no means does it have to be daily. You can even delegate the task to a staff member with strong writing skills.

Then if you are comfortable being on video, you can create a video blog too. Make short two to three minute videos sharing insurance tips and education. A good way to do this is to use those questions people ask you every day and answer them. While you can write a script, it is not necessary, especially if you are adept at ad-libbing. Like anything else, the more natural you come across to your audience, the better impression you will make. And uploading the videos to your blog can be done quickly, even with a basic smartphone.

When it comes to ideas for what to share on your blog, think about what would establish you as an expert and what your readers would find interesting. For example, you can talk about budgeting, saving money, family asset protection, and financial planning. And the more you share about your local community the better. Organizations you’re involved in, volunteer opportunities, and community events all make great blog content. They are interesting topics that are shared in your area and spread your name as a local supporter.

Why Is All This Important?
In the insurance business, your name and your brand are everything. They make or break your success. People absolutely must know who you are and what you do. Internet marketing – either through a website or social media channel – is a highly effective way to make this happen. By utilizing online tools, you are able to take control of your message, build your own agency brand, and demonstrate your expertise and authority in the insurance world.

As with most things in life, you can’t trust someone else to do it for you.
Yes, you can rely 100% on the Allstate marketing tools and you will be fine. You’ll have the basics covered. But, if you decide to change companies five or ten years from now, you’ll wish you had started your own website much sooner. The same thing goes for social media networks like Facebook. Create your page and build your fans using your name, not Allstate’s, and you’ll have a marketing tool that you can use for years to come. But if you include Allstate on your page name, you’ll likely need approval from them and if you ever decide to leave, as many agents have, you’ll have to delete their name. Wouldn’t you rather hold on to those thousands of loyal clients yourself?

Remember that online marketing is a long-term process. It doesn’t have to be perfect right away, it’s just important that you get started! Make 2013 the year that you establish your own brand and start building and promoting it online.

Robyn Sharp is an insurance marketing consultant and a former agency owner.



Social Media Glossary

Social Media

Social Media Glossary

Robyn Sharp,


So you’ve decided to start using social media. Maybe you have hired someone to setup your accounts or asked your staff to do it. Once your social media outlets have been created and are ready to go, you may be still be hesitant to get started because initially it’s a little daunting and a bit confusing.

The problem is typically the lingo. There are a lot of words thrown around with social media that tend to add more confusion. In this article we’ll break down some of the common terms and clarify what they mean to you and your agency.


Facebook, as the largest and most popular social media network in the universe, is up first. You probably have the most experience with Facebook, but understanding a few key terms will make it easier to follow how-to articles and make the most of your marketing time.

Profile/Timeline: A Facebook “Profile” is a personal account. When you login to your account, you are posting under your own name on your profile page. Now, with some of the recent design changes, your profile is also called a “Timeline.”

When you click your name in the upper right corner, you’ll go right to your Profile/ Timeline. By clicking on the small lock icon on the top menu, you can adjust your privacy settings and view what is visible on your profile at the same time.

Page: A Facebook “Page” is different from a profile. It is created to represent a business and this is what you should have for your agency. You can create a page by visiting www. If you already have a page, you’ll find it by clicking in the Pages Option on the left side of your Home screen.

It’s very important to create a page for your agency and not a profile. Facebook’s terms of service are very specific and require that all businesses have the proper type of page or risk getting shut down. You can tell the difference between a Profile and a Page because pages have the “Like” button at the top.

Newsfeed: This is located on the Home page, and is what you see when you first login. When someone you are friends with (or a page you have “liked”) share an update, you’ll see it listed in this section.

Friend: “Friends” are the people you connect with through your personal Profile. Establishing someone as a friend requires a mutual acceptance between the two parties and, once the relationship is set up, your friend can typically see more of your posts, depending, of course, on your privacy settings. The number of friends you have is displayed at the top of your Profile.

Like: A “Like” is someone who has clicked the Like button on your page. Think of the like button like a subscription. When someone “Likes” you, they are choosing to subscribe to your Page Updates and see what you’ll share on a regular basis in their newsfeed. More “Likes” mean more visibility and more opportunity to reach potential clients.

Poke: Have you ever received a notification that someone had “poked” you and you had no clue as to what it meant? Well, it really means nothing. A poke is just a way of getting someone’s attention, like a friend in the real world who physically taps you on the shoulder to get your attention. It doesn’t do anything other than send a notification.

Status Update: A “status” is something that you share on your Profile or Page. It could be text only, a photo, or a video. You’ll see the status box at the top of your Page and at the top of your Newsfeed. When you write on your page, it is only shared with people who “like” the page. When you write a status on the newsfeed, it is shown to everyone who is your friend.

Share: Under each status, you’ll see an option to like, comment, or share that particular status. A “share” allows you to re-post that status to your own Profile/Timeline or Page. Just change the option at the top of the box and share! Likes, shares, and comments all help your page grow so you want to get lots of these!

Group: A Facebook group is a small private area where group members can create discussions and share information without it being on their profile or page. Groups are a great way to network and share information in a forum-like setting. For great Allstate-related posts and discussions, search for the ALL Agents Page, NAPAA’s private, agent-only group!

Message: A Facebook message is similar to an email, but it is delivered through your Facebook account only. The messages area is shown in the left home menu as well as at the top left of the screen. There will be a red notification indicator when you have a new message. Messages can be sent privately to one person or to a small group. Your Page also has the ability to receive messages from people who like it, just make sure you turn on the appropriate option in your settings.


Now that you’ve got all the Facebook basics down, it’s time to move on to Twitter. Twitter can seem confusing at first since it is much shorter and faster than Facebook. The terminology, however, is similar.

Username: Once again, you’ll set up your account and have a page dedicated just to you. It will list your contact information and have all of your recent tweets, which are posts or status updates.

Tweets: A “tweet” is just like a status update on Facebook, only it is limited to 140 characters. This means that you must be short and sweet when sharing on Twitter!

@: The @ symbol is used to send a tweet to a specific user. Place the @ before the username of the person you want to contact, and it will show up in that user’s “Mentions” section on Twitter.

DM: A DM is a direct message. It is the only way to send a private tweet directly to another user. Just put DM before their username to send the message, but remember, it’s still limited to 140 characters.

#: The pound sign is called a hashtag on Twitter. You’ve probably seen them popping up everywhere these days. The hashtag is included as a way to group tweets into a certain topic and make them easy to search. You might include the “#insurance” hashtag at the end of a tweet if you want someone who searches for insurance to find it. People also use them to be funny, so they don’t always make sense!

Other Social Networks

There are a few more terms you might need to know as you grow your social media marketing.

LinkedIn is very similar to Facebook with its profiles and groups, but instead of “friends” you’ll make “connections.” Your profile is also very similar to an interactive resume.

The newest social network, Pinterest, also has some confusing lingo.

Pin: A pin is a picture or image shared on Pinterest. It’s similar to a bookmark and is linked to a specific page on the Internet.

Board: A board is created on Pinterest. It is full of pins, similar to a real-life bulletin board. When you click on a pin image, you’re taken to the Internet bookmark associated with it.

Pin it: Find something online you want to remember? Click the Pin It button in your browser and save it to a

Board. It’s basically a visual bookmark service!

All of this should give you a great introduction to these social media platforms. The best way to get comfortable with the terminology is to start using it on a regular basis. Commit to updating your social media profiles daily and using them to brand your agency and reach new clients.

Robyn Sharp is a social media and insurance marketing expert. Visit www.agencyupdates. com for more tips and a copy of her free checklist “59 Ways To Attract All The Insurance Clients You Need.”

EF Summer 2013


Social Media

This toolbox is designed to help you get started and make the most of your online and social media marketing efforts. Please refer to the Allstate Social Media Guidelines for rules and restrictions specific to Allstate agency owners.


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Sales & Marketing

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