How Independent Agents Can Use Print Ads in Today’s Digital World

By | May 20, 2013

The primary purpose of an independent agent is to sell insurance. Nowhere in agency contracts does it mention that marketing and sales must be performed exclusively via social media. That’s a good thing, because if you go this route, you’ll exclude tons of potential buyers.

Not everyone is 18 to 29 years old. Older folks need insurance as well. Many are into Facebook et al., smartphones, and online research, but they don’t necessarily want to buy a policy this way – not yet anyhow. So don’t overlook them by over-focusing on social media.

Find simple, creative ways to blend the new media with the old. Print ads, yes those dusty relics, are an easy place to start.

New Media – Old Ads

Look for fresh ways to use and converge the new and the old.

Gather together as many paper copies of your print ads as you can find, from the various places you’ve run them. Go back in time as far as possible. Include local newspapers and magazines, trade publications, etc. Then scan the ads to create digital files of each. Clean up the scans to build a collection of quality ad images.

Employ those images in a variety of digital locations. Organize them into slideshows, such as, “our best auto insurance ads,” “our worst ads ever,” “our Yellow Pages ads from 1990-1999,” etc. Establish as many groupings as your scans warrant. Post the resulting slideshows (or individual images) on your website, Facebook wall, and Pinterest pinboard.

Attach individual ads to tweets on Twitter, and post updates on LinkedIn that have direct connections to your ad shows.

Also post selected ad images on your agency’s free Instagram account ( This popular site’s focus is photos. Use insurance-related hashtags along with your images, so interested people can search for and find your posts. Examples … #carinsurance, #[your agency], #[your city].

Run Small Ads

Tiny display ads are a viable, flexible, medium for touting insurance. They offer multiple placement opportunities for budget-minded agents. Here are four of them.

Print publications. 2″ x 2″ (or similar-sized) ads are usually so inexpensive that you can afford to run them issue after issue in local publications. The longer you do it, the greater your discount. People see them repeatedly, and ultimately your message sinks in, especially when you focus on a single policy type and feature memorable imagery.

Also, run your mini-ads in the local shopping news. Then contact your fellow business advertisers, using the commonality of your ad venue as a door opener. Remember to ask your carriers about co-op subsidies. And don’t forget to run the ads in your own agency newsletter.

Email signatures. Attach digital versions of your mini-ads to the email signatures of selected producers and CSRs. Feature separate ones for personal and commercial lines.

Fax covers. Of course, emails with attachments are better than faxes, but these antiquities of the 80s still have certain uses in today’s agency. Most faxes go to businesses, so place your commercial lines mini-ads on your agency’s cover page.

Online. Post digital versions of new ads in the same locations as your old ones, including the various social networks and on your website and blog.

Be Bold With the Old

Don’t limit yourself to today’s digital marketing tool set. Reach the broadest base of buyers by employing both online and traditional promotions. Look for fresh ways to use and converge the new and the old. Your goal isn’t to be the coolest agent; it’s to grow your book with quality business. And with all of the industry noise pushing you in one direction, flexibly marketing your agency through multiple channels takes real courage.

About Alan L. Shulman

Alan Shulman, CPCU, is the publisher of Agency Ideas® sales and marketing newsletter (free basic subscription at He is also the author of “500 Sales Ideas for Commercial Lines Producers” among many other P&C sales resources. Email: Website: More from Alan L. Shulman

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Insurance Journal West May 20, 2013
May 20, 2013
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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