Top 3 Ways to Gain More Referrals Online & Offline

By | February 7, 2013

This post is part of a series on insurance marketing and training sponsored by Astonish.

I’ve been working with this industry long enough to know that each and every local insurance agency out there is sitting on a goldmine when it comes to getting referrals from current clients. So many agencies establish solid relationships with clients. Why not capitalize on that by asking for referrals?

The key to asking for referrals is … you don’t have to use conventional methods anymore. In fact, modern consumers are looking for ways to interact through modern channels like the social media. Why not ask them through the medium they’re comfortable with?

Since there are a million different ways to start a referral program in your agency, we’re going to share the top three. From agency-wide participation to Facebook promotion, here’s how to gain more referrals through online and offline channels.

1. Get Your Entire Agency Involved

You won’t find success in a silo. If you’re hoping to generate more referrals without the help of every single agent and CSR, you’re most likely NOT going to be successful. The first, most important, step in creating an effective referral program is to get everyone in your agency on board.

How do you do that? Set up the parameters of the program before communicating it to your staff. Decide how many referrals you want to target per month – shoot for 20 or 30 to start off. Put together a plan on how to get those referrals – via the phone, social media, or email? Decide how you expect your staff to participate – adding referral-oriented talk tracks to every phone call, for example. Decide how you’ll measure the number of referrals and the employee who got the referrals.

When you have all the details worked out, you’re ready to communicate the program to your staff. Consider offering an incentive such as a $100 gift card to the employee who generates the highest number of referrals per month.

2. Promote a Referral Contest on Facebook

First and foremost, you’ll need a web page that captures referrals. Here is an example. Specify the rules of the referral contest on the page. You may want to specify that all referrals MUST BE from CURRENT CLIENTS to ensure you don’t start contacting people who have no connection to your agency.

Next, decide the time parameters for the contest, what the prize will be, and when you’ll draw a winner for the prize. Some agencies use big ticket items such as a large, flat-screen TV. Some use $50 gift cards. Some use $1,000 shopping sprees. It’s up to you.

In order to get the best results on Facebook, your agency should already have a decent following and engagement from followers. For instance, most of your current clients, at least, should be following your agency’s Facebook page.

With that said, the next step in promoting a referral contest on Facebook is to simply start posting promotional posts linking back to the referral page. No need to overdo it. Start with one post per week announcing the referral contest. Tell people how it works, what they’ll get, and the deadline for submitting referrals. Don’t forget to post an image of the prize along with the link and the message.

Also, don’t forget to share the winner on Facebook! Consider shooting a quick video of your staff drawing the winner’s name. We’ve seen analytics that show these types of videos get a high level of engagement on Facebook. That engagement includes a greater likelihood of people sharing the video on their Facebook pages, thus broadening an agency’s the level of exposure to new audiences.

3. Promote the Referral Campaign across All Channels

Don’t forget that getting the most success out of your referral program will involve promoting it across all channels – both offline and online. Make sure all agents, producers, and CSRs have talk tracks for encouraging clients they talk to on the phone or in person to refer family and friends to enter the contest for a prize.

Consider sending an email to your clients once per month. Ask them to enter your contest by referring families and friends. Be sure to include a link to your referral page.

Don’t forget to post messages about the contest on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media channels, including your agency’s blog.

These tactics are a surefire way to get your local insurance agency on the path to generating more referrals. Next, all you have to do is sell, sell, and sell!

About the Author: Adam DeGraide is the Founder and CEO of Astonish. As an Internet marketing veteran and sales guru, DeGraide has spent the past 15 years creating “The Greatest Digital Marketing System in the World.” His company, Astonish, offers a complete digital marketing system built specifically for the insurance industry that combines the best digital marketing tools such as: websites, CRM, SEO, SEM, social media, blogging, email marketing, mobile marketing, and text message marketing, with powerful sales training and agency consulting. Hundreds of agencies across the country are leveraging the Astonish system to increase their revenue. Learn more at

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