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Marketing & Prospecting Tips for 2010
Takeaway notes from Inspire A Nation Business Mentoring webinar. By Aliza Bornstein, copywriter, Melissa Data

There are five phases to building an agency that every agent should concern themself with:

1. Creating agency wealth—money management
2. Laying the agency foundation
3. Creating and managing the agency process framework
4. Branding—marketing and advertising the agency
5. Insulating the agency from failure—networking and referral processes
Phase 1: Creating agency wealth
Create a marketing account and have 10 percent of your commission check transferred into the account each pay period. That 10 percent, especially if you take it out of your check up front before anyone has a chance to look at it, can make a big difference. If you make $1,000 a month and take out $100 to put in a separate marketing account, then after three months you’ll have $300 you can now use for marketing. The trick is you have to do it automatically, prior to seeing your commission. If you wait and transfer the money yourself, the transfer will never happen because the phone will ring with a vendor needing to be paid, or some other unseen expense.

Phase 2: Laying the agency foundation
Host a conference call with all mailed marketing campaigns. (Try So, why would you host a conference call? Let’s say you mailed out 1,000 postcards and less than one percent of people who received those postcards responded. So, your campaign is basically a failure and you wasted money. Now, if you had hosted a conference call with 1,000 people who were truly interested in hearing what you had to say, you would have a specific target market to sell to. Also, hosting a conference call with all mail marketing campaigns doesn’t cost you a thing.

Phase 3: Creating and managing the agency process framework
Gather birthdays from everyone you talk to and schedule their birthday messages to go out right away. This is where database management comes in. Database management has to be a primary focus in 2010. The major difference between an average agency and an above average agency is database management. (Two recommended databases: Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager and Agency Resource Toolbox

The major difference between an above average agency and agencies in the top five percent of all agencies in the country, are the database management processes they consistently adhere to in the agency.

You don’t need 1,000 database processes to get a new customer. You need each good database process to get you 1,000 new customers.

How do you know if you have a good database? A good database will allow you to:
• Easily import and export contacts
• Categorize contacts (prospects; customers; business owners; etc.)
• Create calendar reminders about important events
• Create contact notes
• Track communications
• Associate contact records (linking records)
• Create reports and spreadsheets as needed to work with other tools
• Allow you to easily share info between staff members
Putting it all together—daily schedule
A lot of agencies don’t follow a daily schedule. You want to make sure you’re managing your day, your processes, and making sure everything that needs to happen is happening in a day. It doesn’t mean by day’s end you’re going to complete everything, but you should work toward completing everything.

Phase 4: Branding—marketing and advertising the agency
There are five different forms of marketing and advertising:

Prospecting target: Exact prospecting target
Type of marketing: Internet leads; text messaging

Prospecting target: Specific target market
Type of marketing: X-dates; telemarketing

Prospecting target: General marketing
Type of marketing: Postcard mailing to specific ZIP® codes and demographics

Prospecting target: General prospecting
Type of marketing: Mass quoting tool; robo agent; typhoon for Internet leads

Prospecting target: General prospect
Type of marketing: Agency=video; audio; CDs

Regular phone book advertising is not as effective as it used to be. Use to get a free listing.

Phase 5: Insulating the agency from failure—networking and referral processes
Three forms of advertising and marketing:

Prospecting target: Expertise marketing
Type of marketing: Write article, submit it to local and national media outlets for reprint; conference calls

Prospecting target: Expertise branding
Type of marketing: Blog; media interview; newsletter

Prospecting target: Networking and referral
Type of marketing: Develop five referral partners

Have five businesses give you discount coupons that you can give away to anyone that completes a quote with your agency. (In person, phone, or Web site). This allows you to create partnerships and doesn’t cost you anything, while allowing you to create joint advertising programs. Scan the coupon to a word document and save as a PDF that you can email. (This is for clients you never meet with face-to-face).

Networking and referral examples: Partner discount; coupons; giveaways; CD handouts; joint networking events=workshops; conference calls; promotions; advertising; newsletters; blog articles; breakfast meetings; scholarships; awards; welcome blankets; new customer grab bags.

Following these five phases will better prepare you for a prosperous 2010!

---Source: Inspire a Nation Business Mentoring Jan. 7, 2010 webinar ( Billy Williams is the president and CEO.

Melissa Data

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