Most insurance agents are focused primarily on signing up new customers in the areas they live, and it makes sense why. After all, being local to your customers can give you a deeper understanding of their needs, enabling you to craft a more effective sales pitch and deliver more relevant customer service—particularly among shoppers who hope to meet with their agent in person.
However, pursuing customers in other regions—and even other states—can offer you a valuable opportunity to expand your book of business and supplement your local customer base. And if you’re already licensed to sell insurance in one state, it’s usually not so difficult to get licensed in others. In fact, a number of our clients on the MediaAlpha for Agents platform are licensed in multiple states and have already had a great deal of success purchasing leads across state lines.
Here are five reasons it’s worth considering:
1. Buying leads in multiple states helps gives you access to a new pool of in-market shoppers you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach
Growth-minded agencies sometimes face a challenge in getting enough leads to support their ambitious customer acquisition goals. Indeed, even when you have high-quality leads and a proven strategy for connecting with them, you can only convert as many potential customers as you’re able to contact.
Expanding your geographic footprint enables you to connect with a whole new set of insurance shoppers, and many of them won’t think twice about buying a policy from an out-of-town agent—so long as you’re offering competitive prices. Indeed, as insurance shoppers continue shifting toward digital channels, many consumers will not have any expectation at all of meeting their agent in person.
2. Expanding your lead-buying footprint enables you to identify new areas that are strategically beneficial
The wider your geographic footprint, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to find markets where you’re strategically positioned to win high-quality leads and earn new customers.
For instance, let’s say you’re a captive agent and you know that there are a number of other agents from your carrier competing for leads in your area inside the MediaAlpha for Agents lead auction. In this scenario, you could reach out to your client success manager to learn if there are any other states or zip codes with less competition. This way, you can increase the likelihood that you’ll be the only agent quoting the in-market consumers you’re trying to reach.
3. New markets enable you to experiment with new lead-buying strategies
On your home turf, you may feel compelled to keep pace with your rivals by winning as many quality leads as you can, even if it means bidding a little higher or pursuing shoppers who don’t quite fit your ideal customer profile. But when you venture outside your home region, you sometimes get a little breathing room to experiment with new bidding strategies.
For instance, you could try lowering your bids in an effort to earn new customers more efficiently, or you might experiment with using our off-hours bidding feature to pursue leads that are generated during nights and weekends. If a strategy works well in the new region, you can even integrate it into how you pursue customers in your home area
4. It can serve as a test run for expanding your brick-and-mortar agency to a new area
Thinking about expanding your agency by opening a new office in a different area? Buying leads in your potential expansion market is a great way to get a feel for the local customer base.
By doing so, you’ll be able to get a better sense of how receptive shoppers in the area are to your products and sales pitch, as well as which consumer groups in the area are most likely to buy a policy from you. With this information, you’ll be able to make a smarter decision about whether to open a new office in the area, and you’ll also be more prepared to hit the ground running if you decide to move forward with your expansion.
5. A geographically diverse book of business helps you deliver better customer service during extreme weather events
As one of our agent partners explained it to us, having a geographically diverse book of business enables you to be more responsive to your customers during natural disasters.
During these extreme weather events, agencies whose customers all live in the same area can become overwhelmed with claims related to a flood, hurricane, or other event. This leads to long wait times for consumers at precisely the moment they need their agent the most. However, if you also have customers who live in areas unaffected by the natural disaster, you’re likely to face fewer backlogs and deliver better, faster customer service in a time of crisis.
Of course, as is the case any time you grow your business, you may still need to hire additional customer service support to keep up with a larger customer base.
Interested in expanding your lead-buying footprint? Let’s talk.
Expanding your lead-buying footprint opens up a number of opportunities to increase your volume, diversify your book of business, and experiment with new bidding strategies.
If you’re interested in getting licensed in additional states and buying leads in a new region, our client success team is more than happy to help you identify potentially advantageous markets and craft a bidding strategy that helps you achieve maximum performance. Just reach out to your client success manager to set up a meeting, or schedule a time to speak with us on our website.