Map Out Your Clients- A Different View of Your Agency
With “data” being on the tips of the insurance industry’s tongue, agencies seem to have an increased desire to understand their client base. With the technology available, it is easy for agencies, particularly visual learners, to map out the location of their client base and gain a variety of insights into their agency.
What an agency can learn from mapping out their clients:
- Where are you writing most of your business?
- Which carriers are competitive in which locations?
- Which lines of business are you writing in which areas?
- Where do you have a better bundle rate?
- And more
An agency writing nationally may want to better understand their lead spend and can compare maps of where they are getting their leads and where they are closing most of their business. They can then refocus their lead spend away from specific zip codes where they know they are not closing at a profitable rate.
An agency writing locally may be looking to market at some local events. You can map out your clients to know which carriers are competitive in that area and bring that carrier’s marketing materials. A local agent can target neighborhoods where they have a lower presence of clients or target a specific neighborhood where they have a lot of clients (the neighborhood’s trusted insurance guy). This data can inform marketing like mailers, door hangers, local events, or even door to door.
Another agency may be using online advertising and want to determine both the sources of their leads on a map and overlay that with which areas they are closing those online leads. That can help to direct an agent’s social media budget and allow an agency to better refine their lead parameters to specific geographic locations.
A commercial focused agency could map out the location of all the restaurants they insure by carrier, finding where they are writing restaurants and which carriers are most competitive geographically. Again, this can help inform marketing efforts in the commercial space.
All these above can help to direct marketing efforts, lead spend, and more. A creative agency can even utilize images of their client map in their agency’s social media marketing efforts.
Creating a Client Location Map
There are several ways to create a map of your book of business, but the first thing you will need will be a detailed report from your agency management system. The report can include whatever data points you want to map out, with the important parameter being that the report must include address data.
Next, check out the software options available to you to create a client map. Some agencies may want to pay for a technology if they plan to use this data extensively, and there are tools some agencies may already use like Power BI or Tableau that have these capabilities.
There are also free tools to map out your clients, and I will focus below on one of those: Google Maps.
For those who learn best through video, check out this YouTube video which shows you how to create a Google Map from an excel document: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpoFpIaSjdc
For those of you who prefer to read through instructions, some generic instructions are below:
Create an Excel sheet with the data you are looking to map:
- Most management systems allow you to pull reports detailing your active clients into an Excel file. Those reports which include address data can be used to create a map.
- If you want the markers on the map to be labeled with something specific, make sure the label you want is the first column in the Excel file.
- The data in the Excel file should only be on one Excel “Sheet”.
- Google Maps can only import 2000 locations per “layer,” so if you have more than 2000 rows of information, make sure to separate every 2000 rows of data into separately saved Excel documents.
Use Google Maps to create the map:
- You will need a Google account. Once you have logged into Google and clicked the above link, you will land on Google My Maps.
To create a new map, click “+ Create A New Map” at the top left corner.
- A blank map should appear.
- There will be a box at the top left corner, where you’ll check the box “Untitled layer”.
- Then, click the blue button “import.”
- Then select your Excel file that contains the clients you want to map out. Note: If you have multiple Excel files due to having more than 2000 clients, you will need to add additional “layers” in the map for each excel spreadsheet of 2000 clients.
- A prompt will pop up asking you to “Choose columns to position your placemarks.” This is where you will need to select you address data, including street address, city, state, and ZIP code.
- Then, a second pop up will appear and it will ask you to “Choose a column to title your markers.” If you plan to use this as an ad, you may want to title markers something arbitary, or your management system’s client ID. Otherwise, you may select the street address, client name, etc.
- Then click “Finish” and wait for the map to be created.
- If you are going to be adding additional layers due to having more than 2000 clients to map out, click “Add layer” at the top left, and repeat steps 3-7 with each Excel file.
Google Maps has other functions you can explore with your map, and I’m sure there are other ways an agency can use their client map to gain insights. But, one thing you will want to avoid doing with your map is to avoid sharing it with others or sharing it publicly, since it may have private client data.
Formerly a national producer for an independent agency InsurTech, I now work with Firefly Agency, where I help independent agency startups across the country to grow and retain their business. I help agents to create more efficient processes, create marketing programs, guide agents on risk placement, integrate and train agents on carriers throughout our footprint, and I work hand in hand with carriers on market strategies and product development.
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