Taking the Mantle
Bill Grinnell and his partner Rich Webber bought their insurance agency from Bill’s father in 1997. When I began working with Bill in early 2013, he was gearing up to buy Rich out and to expand the agency, increasing his responsibility and leaving less time to market.
Bill believed in the value of marketing and had been doing it himself with the aid of a marketing contractor. The demands of the agency and its dependence on his ability to bring in clients meant that marketing was often not his greatest priority. The agency issued a newsletter sporadically to personal insurance clients who represented only half of the agency’s business. The marketing contractor had many questions for Bill that he did not always have time to answer, though he did not want to delay her progress.
Bill wanted to increase the quality, consistency and frequency of the agency’s marketing activities while at the same time spending less time on it personally.
Planning and Proactive Marketing
I worked with Bill to put a marketing foundation in place and then took the burden of managing much of the ongoing work from him. Specifically, I:
- Identified the agency’s key brand attributes;
- Devised an overall marketing strategy to differentiate the agency from its competitive field;
- Put together a strategic marketing plan;
- Created two new newsletters from scratch, one for commercial clients and one for personal insurance clients;
- Developed and maintained the newsletter editorial schedule, to avoid last-minute scavenging for topics, and made sure newsletters were launched on time each month;
- Wrote articles for the newsletter;
- Tracked newsletter performance;
- Guided the marketing contractor and answered her questions;
- Advised Bill during a monthly call to keep all of the agency’s marketing efforts (website, advertising, PR, social media) on strategy and on time and to help him maximize the benefit from the time he did put into marketing;
- Supplied online ad ideas and copy;
- Repurposed and augmented newsletter articles for publication in local papers.
Celebrating New Accounts and Agency Growth
Two years into our collaboration, Bill and his team have won several new commercial accounts. The number of Webber & Grinnell’s website visitors, the number of contact form inquiries and the number of online sales have all tripled. The two newsletters have delivered information of interest to the agency’s customers in an entertaining and relationship-building fashion, helping with customer retention. And Bill is spending more time doing what he loves, writing insurance.