Welcome to The Ultimate Agent Resource List! Over three installments, we’ll equip you with everything you need to get clients, keep them, organize their info, and ultimately provide them the best service possible. Read on and get connected to the services and tools necessary to run your business.
We get it; there are a lot of tools and resources out there for agents. It can get overwhelming! That’s why we’ve researched and compiled the ultimate resource list all in one place — the Ritter blog. The fruit of extensive research, any resources we suggest here have been vetted by Ritter staff. In fact, we often use these vendors ourselves! We’ve broken our list up into three installments to keep everything organized…
In part one of The Ultimate Agent Resource List, you’ll discover all the different vendors and services you can utilize to market yourself. And don’t worry, you won’t need to be a marketing pro to use them! Our aim is to provide resources that are stress-free to work with and make your life easier, not harder. We’ll provide the info you need to decide which services and vendors fit your style and skill level best.
Note: This article is longer than our usual blog posts. Take it in chunks! Stick with it, bookmark it, and come back to it, because we think you’ll find it’s full of useful information!
Employ Multi-Channel Marketing
The most effective way to market your business is to utilize a type of marketing called multi-channel marketing. Instead of marketing yourself through one avenue, you can use many, both online and offline. Marketing through many different channels just makes sense. Think about what you do in any given week — drive around town, shop at stores, check your social media, Google something, read a newspaper, watch the news. All these activities are outlets for marketing. Multi-channel marketing is the best set up for an effective and comprehensive strategy.
Our Breakdown of Multi-Channel Marketing
Before we jump into specific recommendations of resources, let’s orient ourselves to the organization of this post. We’ve divvied up multi-channel marketing into three broad categories. The first two, traditional and digital marketing, cover the different types of marketing materials you can use. The third, partner marketing, is more of a method of marketing that incorporates both traditional and digital mediums.
Here’s your visual table of contents:
First, let’s dive into types of traditional marketing materials, what they are and best used for, and where to source them.
Traditional marketing refers to any kind of marketing that isn’t online. Drive down the highway, open your mailbox, or pick up some groceries and you’ll likely see an example. With its many forms and uses, traditional marketing should play a key part in your overall strategy. In fact, traditional marketing has been the hallmark approach for generations of businesses, unlike the relatively new frontier of digital marketing.
Types & Applications
Check out these different types of traditional marketing materials and their definitions and uses. Click on the link to see an example. First up, print materials for individuals include pieces that an agent (or an agent’s affinity partner) gives to a person for individual use.
Print Materials for the Individual
|What Is It?
|Tri-folded informational document where you can describe your business, services, contact info, etc.
|Slim Jim Card
|A thin, two-sided promotional document where you can provide succinct information of your business, services, contact info, etc.
|Direct & Lead Mailers
|Letters or postcards mailed directly to leads that provide specific information about a service and prompt a response (e.g., return the card filled out, attend an event, etc.)
|A lifestyle magazine branded with your headshot, name, contact info, and personalized letter
|A small, wallet-sized card with your basic information, including name, business name, title, and contact info
|A drink coaster printed with a concise advertisement for your business
|Your name and contact info printed on an item your client can take and use (e.g., pens, keychains, bottles of hand sanitizer, etc.)
|Educational document where you can provide substantial information about services or certain products
Next, print materials at large include what an agent puts out into the world for all to see.
Print Materials at Large
|What Is It?
|A large outdoor board where you can advertise your business
|Newspaper (or Other Local Publication) Advertisement
|A succinct print commercial for your business name and services
|Usually printed on 8.5 x 11” paper or larger, an advertisement for your business in general or a particular service (e.g., educational event)
|A small, printed card folded in the shape of a triangle/tent that succinctly advertises your business and services
|A sign that can be placed in a yard or on the side of the road succinctly advertising your services, business name, and contact info
|Magnets or printed wraps on a mode of transportation succinctly advertising your services, business name, and contact info
|T-Shirts & Other Apparel
|Customized printed clothing succinctly advertising your business name, logo, and contact info
|Convenience Store Advertisement
|Printed ad on a gas pump or other location at a convenience store succinctly advertising your services, business name, and contact info
|Shopping Cart Advertisement
|Printed ad inserted in a frame affixed to shopping carts at your local grocery store succinctly advertising your services, business name, and contact info
Finally, our last section includes other types of specialized traditional marketing, like door-to-door and broadcast marketing.
Other Specialized Options
|TV & Radio Advertisements
|Digital commercials for your business usually aired through local TV or radio stations succinctly advertising your services, business name, and contact info
|Gas Pump Advertisement
|A short video commercial that plays on the gas pump TV while people fill up succinctly advertising your services, business name, and contact info
|Knocking on doors without a prior appointment to discuss your business and services in person
|Calling leads without a prior appointment to discuss your business and services
This list is not exhaustive but very extensive and should give you lots of ideas! You’re likely already utilizing some of these materials in your marketing. Consider which ones you’d like to add and how you’ll use them. Make a note and continue by choosing one of our recommended services below.
Traditional Marketing Resources
Now that you have a handle on what types of materials you could use and some of their applications, choose one of our vetted options for obtaining them.
Your Insurance Partners
Some of your best and easiest options will come from organizations you’re already partnered with, namely your contracted insurance carriers and field marketing organization (FMO). Your partners should be able to supply you with some type of printed material for traditional marketing.
You can often find comprehensive options like brochures, booklets, and mailers in carriers’ agent portals that will work well for marketing certain plans and types of insurance to individuals. You likely won’t find printed materials aimed towards the masses, except perhaps a flyer, and of course, any material that you utilize will be carrier branded and not suitable for generally marketing your business. Ordering items from a carrier through their portal is simple and cost effective, and you can rest assured that the materials are compliant. You can use these carrier-specific materials for welcome packets, event marketing, mailings, affinity partnerships, and around the office for walk-ins.
Depending on the FMO, you may be able to source certain marketing materials from this partner, too. Ritter, for example, offers our agents reasonably priced materials on ShopRitterIM.com* that can help you generate more leads. Our print options are customizable with your logo, name, and contact information and provide an easy way to advertise your services alongside our consumer-facing enrollment platform, Shop & Enroll.
*Agents must register with Ritter and have at least one active contract through Ritter to purchase marketing materials on ShopRitterIM.com. Orders will be rejected if both requirements are not met.
Here’s a recap:
Our Recommended Resources for Insurance Partners
|Product and carrier-specific print materials (e.g., brochures, flyers, slim jim cards, booklets, etc.)
|Brochures, slim jim cards, mailers, coasters, flyers, table tents, booklets, business cards, pens, and other promotional/tradeshow products (swag)
Utilizing insurance partners is best for agents who…
Are looking for print materials to give individual clients and leads. A quick, easy, cost-effective solution that requires very minimal effort.
Specialty Advertising & Local Businesses
Companies that focus on traditional marketing materials can offer different and specialized options instead of, or in addition to, brochures, business cards, and other printed materials. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find a full-service traditional marketing company online — most specialize in digital marketing. Another option we’ll discuss, print shops, dominate the web space when it comes to sourcing print materials.
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for your traditional marketing needs, the best place to start might be local advertising agencies, although you’re more likely to find local options that specialize in specific mediums instead of providing full-service design and production for everything. Local radio and TV stations, bus companies, grocery stores, independent convenience stores, and newspapers will be able to guide you through advertising on their platforms. They will help you by designing materials and ads for you or steering you towards the right resources (or use some of the resources in this article).
For some advertising, you can find companies that have a presence online. One of Ritter’s partners, ReminderMedia, for example, concentrates on branded magazines — a unique marketing opportunity that involves providing your clientele base lifestyle magazines branded with your business information. Another option, AllOver Media, specializes in advertising your business at convenience stores, on the sides of trucks, at bars, on the sides of buildings, on pizza boxes, and more.
Advertising companies and local business are best utilized for specialized advertising on specific platforms and likely won’t be able to provide you everything you need for your traditional marketing strategy. However, you may find the unicorn local business that can truly be your one-stop shop.
Here’s a recap:
Our Recommended Resources for Specialty Advertising & Local Businesses
|Local Businesses (you’ll have to do your own research on this one!)
|Specialized advertising on platforms like TV, radio, busses, local convenience stores, shopping carts, newspapers, etc.
|Branded magazines, postcards, and targeted mailing lists
|Specialized advertising on platforms like gas pump video monitors, trucks, bars, murals, resorts, transit, hand sanitizer dispensers, pizza boxes, EV charging stations, and more
Utilizing specialty advertising and local businesses is best for agents who…
Want advertising on specialized platforms. Diverse opportunities that usually require minimal effort.
For an option that’s halfway between full DIY and an advertising company, consider an online or local print shop. Print shops do what they say — print your brochures, postcards, business cards, etc. for you. They usually do not provide full-service graphic design for your materials (except perhaps as a paid add-on), but many offer simple and intuitive design tools or templates where you can easily create an eye-catching design.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list of print materials than your insurance carriers and FMO can provide, print shops are your best option, especially if you enjoy curating your own unique look for your business. If crafting your own designs is not something you want to take on, consider hiring a graphic designer. There are many options for hiring one, from searching for local or online agencies to hiring a student from a local college to employing a designer from one of many online freelancing sites. Here are some popular online options for hiring a freelancer:
When you’re vetting designers, follow these steps to make sure you’re finding a qualified professional.
- Use filters on your search like “Best Sellers,” “Pro,” “Top Level,” or “Highly Rated” to find the most popular, experienced, and talented freelancers.
- Look at portfolios and any reviews.
- Talk to them before you hire to make sure you’re on the same page with your vision, needs, and budget.
Remember, quality usually costs something, so proceed with caution with anyone pricing themselves extremely low. Once you have your design created by a designer, it’s time to head to the print shop. Alternatively, use the design tools or templates provided by these shops to create your own materials. Online print shops make the process easy. Browse your format options, upload your artwork or customize a template, view an online proof, and order the quantity you want.
Another important point to keep in mind: If you want to advertise your FMO’s services or technology as part of your business, make sure to check on any requirements from your FMO before sending your design to print. Ritter, for example, has to approve any print shop you use if you want to print materials promoting Shop & Enroll.
Here are our vetted online print resources:
Our Recommendations for Print Shops
|Local Print Shops
|National Stores (Staples, Office Depot, etc.)
There are many other options out there, but these are the ones we’ve used ourselves or that hold good reputations.
Note: You must request and receive approval to use any print shop if you wish to advertise Shop & Enroll on your marketing materials, even if selecting an option from this list.
Utilizing print shops is best for agents who…
Want more control over the design and who need more varied options than an insurance partner can provide (e.g., car wraps, yard signs, stickers, magnets). Requires usually a medium but also varying amount of effort, depending on approach.
Lastly, the truly budget option — full on do-it-yourself. If you have a nice printer, this option becomes even more budget friendly. If you don’t and want to go this route, you’ll need to invest in one, which can be pricey (along with purchasing toner/ink). After the purchase of a printer, however, printing your own marketing materials is the cheapest option.
You’ll be limited in what you can produce with your printer, not only by the machine itself (sorry, it can’t print magnets or car wraps) but also by your skill and comfort level. True DIY would involve designing your own materials in programs such as Microsoft Word or Designer or a free online graphic designing app like Lunacy or Canva, although hiring a graphic designer is still an option. A printer can handle materials such as letterhead, brochures, labels, and flyers and perhaps booklets, business cards, and mailers. Beyond that, you’ll need to seek other avenues.
This can be a great option for smaller projects like printing a letter on letterhead for a small number of clients or a couple sheets of labels for a street fair. But overall, we don’t recommend the complete DIY route for the busy insurance agent. You’ll be trading time for money, spending valuable time that you could be meeting with clients doing grunt marketing work instead. Use your best judgement, and remember, the less time you spend with clients, the fewer sales and commission you’ll earn.
Going the DIY route is best for agents who…
Are operating on a tight budget, who have extra time, who need a small volume of items, or who want complete control over design and printing of traditional marketing materials. Requires substantial effort.
Now that we’ve explored underneath our first umbrella of traditional marketing, let’s investigate what falls under digital marketing. With digital ads able to increase your brand’s awareness by 80 percent, it’s imperative you integrate online marketing into your overall strategy. Let’s dive into the types of digital marketing and how you might use them before jumping into our recommendations.
Types & Applications
As mentioned before, digital marketing covers any kind of marketing performed online. Here are some different types and uses you might find effective as an insurance agent. We haven’t included every type of digital marketing here — just those that we think you’ll find most useful.
Types of Digital Marketing & Their Applications
|Marketing through emails that may take the form of:
|Advertising through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Twitter
|A digital “home” where leads can visit to learn about your business and services
|A type of content marketing; a website (usually part of your main website) where you post relevant articles for your clients to read
|Videos posted to your website, or on a third-party platform like YouTube or Vimeo, that explain different aspects of insurance, your business, etc.
|Pay-Per-Click (PPC)/Search Engine Ads
|Short ads for your business on search engines or social media platforms that only cost you money if someone clicks on them
|Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
|Optimizing your website and/or blog to rank higher on search engine results pages
As you can see, digital marketing can take many forms, from reaching out to individuals through email to putting your information out there for the general public on a website to methods for increasing the chances that someone will see your advertising.
Digital Marketing Resources
As with traditional marketing, you can decide to go for more full-service, expensive options or more self-service, cheaper options. What you choose will depend on your style, skill level, schedule, and budget. We’ll explore recommended resources starting with full-service companies and moving to more self-service platforms. The market is saturated with online digital marketing agencies. These vetted options rose to the top as businesses most often recommended and with the best reviews. Some are even official Ritter partners!
Digital Marketing Companies & Agencies
|Hire an assistant or freelancer
Utilizing digital marketing companies & agencies is best for agents who…
Want to be as hands off as possible with their digital marketing, don’t have much time, have a healthy budget, and want to explore a full range of marketing channels. Requires minimal to medium effort (depending on involvement).
Digital Marketing Management Tools & Platforms
Utilizing digital marketing management tools & platforms is best for agents who…
Are working on a budget, want a more a la carte approach to marketing and services, want more control over the process, or have time and interest in setting up a website, marketing campaigns, etc. Requires medium to substantial effort.
Partner marketing involves marketing with and through other individuals and businesses in your community. You could also think of it as community-based marketing. When you market your business with partners, you’ll utilize both traditional and digital marketing materials and approaches. Let’s outline some different partner marketing options and what materials might be involved.
Reap the benefits of a mutually beneficially relationship between you and another local business or organization through affinity marketing, where you both work together to increase each other’s business and client/customer base.
Traditional marketing materials will come in handy here, as you’ll want to give your partners business cards, brochures, etc. to hand out to their customers. Here are some ideas of organizations with whom you could partner:
- Property and casualty insurance agencies
- Group insurance agencies
- Tax preparers, retirement planners, law firms, etc.
- Senior organizations
- Retirement communities
- Rotary clubs
- Senior fairs or other events (e.g., health screenings)
- Doctor offices
Other local businesses:
- Grocery stores
- Malls (rent a kiosk!)
- Local retailers
Once you’ve established affinity partners, consider asking them to participate in some of these other partner marketing opportunities.
Consider giving an organization funding in exchange for publicity. You’ll support your community while marketing your business.
- Local school or community sports teams — your ad in the arena or on the field
- Local school or community theater — your ad in the playbill
- Community events — your ad in a booklet or on a flyer/sign; your business publicized through digital channels
Similar to sponsorships, scholarships take a more individualized approach to community involvement by helping students or participants reach their goals. Consider making your dollars go further by working together with an affinity partner on this one. To create a marketing opportunity, request the school or organization for which you’re establishing the scholarship name the scholarship or fund after your name or business name (e.g., the Mary Hill Scholarship).
Is there an organization in your community that you’d like to support? Organizing and running a fundraiser for a local nonprofit makes for a great marketing opportunity — just be careful. Don’t shout it from the rooftops, “Hey, look at this good thing I’m doing!” Make the focus the organization you’re raising funds for, not your business. Instead, advertise subtly by putting your branding alongside the organization’s and by providing branded swag to participants. For example, a flyer advertising the event could say, “Come out and walk for [insert nonprofit name]!” and underneath in smaller font, “Hosted by XYZ Insurance Solutions” with your logo. Don’t forget to publicize the event through digital channels and include your name there, too.
Whether it’s a walk-a-thon, auction, bake sale, raffle, fashion show, or art exhibition, organizing a fundraiser is a big undertaking. Ask an affinity partner for help!
Some of your best partners in marketing are your own clients! Try to plant the seed of referring your services to others without being too obvious or pushy about it. Instead of a blatant, “Tell your friends about me,” place referral cards in your welcome packets or say something like, “If you have any family or friends with questions about insurance, I’d love to help them out, too!” Your clients will refer you, too, without any additional effort on your part except to provide the high level of service you’re already giving. Good news travels fast, and your clients will be one of your best sources of leads. Traditional marketing materials will come in handy here.
Working with partners out in your community is an extremely effective way to market yourself. Combine the power of traditional and digital marketing with the people around you, and you’ll soon be well known as an agent who cares about their clients’ needs.
It wouldn’t be a marketing article without a mention of compliance! The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) holds a tight rein on what agents can and can’t do when it comes to marketing, namely for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. At Ritter, we’re passionate about staying compliant ourselves and helping our agents do so, too.
Check out these resources for staying compliant:
- CMS’ marketing guidelines
- CY 2024 Final Rule
- ”Are Your Medicare Marketing Materials Compliant?”
- ”Rules for Hosting a Compliant Medicare Sales Event”
- ”Do’s and Don’ts of Medicare Compliance”
- ”Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Do’s and Don’ts”
- All our compliance articles
If you have any questions about compliance, our compliance department is available to help. Contact your sales specialist to get connected.
Now that you know the what to use for marketing, maybe you’re wondering about the how to. We have a large library of marketing resources to educate you on all facets.
- Modern Medicare Marketing for Today’s Agents
- Social Media Marketing for Insurance Agents
- The Definitive Guide to Getting Leads and Prospecting for Medicare Sales
Ritter blog articles:
- ”Community-Based Marketing for Insurance Agents”
- ”Community Engagement & ACA Marketing Suggestions for Agents”
- ”Digital Marketing for Insurance Agents: Our Top Tips to Boost Business”
- ”How Insurance Agents Can Learn About Their Social Media Audience”
- ”Advertising Medicare Through Facebook”
- ”5 Insurance Marketing Tips to Help Agents Stand Out from the Crowd”
- ”Ways to Get Medicare Leads”
- ”Best Practices for Writing an Email to Your Insurance Clients”
- ”How to Successfully Set SMART Goals”
- ”Build Your Brand with Community Involvement”
- ”How To Better Market Yourself”
- ”5 Tips for Creating Your Personal Brand”
Your Next Move
With a firm grasp on the types of marketing you could utilize and what vendors or companies will help you obtain your goals, it’s time to form a plan. It’s easy when viewing such an extensive list to feel overwhelmed. That’s why we suggest starting slow, writing out a comprehensive marketing plan, and building momentum organically. Choose one thing to focus on at a time.
Stay tuned for our next installment in this series, “The Ultimate Agent Resource List Pt. 2: Keeping in Touch with Clients.”
Ritter Insurance Marketing is always here for you to help you take your marketing and sales game to the next level. Register with Ritter for free today and access tailored sales support, technology, and more!