8 Low Budget, Low Tech Insurance Agency Promo Items That Really Work

This is a guest post by Avery Manko, of The Manko Company. The Manko Company is an insurance promotional item company, working solely with insurance agencies. They are one of, if not the best in the business at what they do. You can learn more about them on their website.

If you think old school marketing is becoming extinct, you’re wrong.

It is true however that technology is changing the way you market your insurance agency.

New and advancing marketing mediums are making the effectiveness of older marketing mediums evaporate, but promotional products are still one of the fastest growing marketing mediums today even though they are one of the oldest.

The reasons are surprisingly simple.


People love to get free stuff


If the free stuff is perceived as useful or beneficial, people tend to hang onto and use the it.

Second: promotional products are not as bothersome and annoying as other marketing mediums.

Pop-up ads, radio ads, tv ads (and other interruption based marketing mediums)…people tend to hate them and actively try to avoid them. On the flip side, the messages promotional products carry rarely interrupt our lives. Instead, they fit in with our lives.

Third: the marketing messages on promotional products are viewed so many times that the cost of the actual item becomes very low.

Promotional products offer the advertiser a way to purchase the ad one time and have their marketing message seen repeatedly over and over. That’s huge!

Lastly: promotional products tend to be passed around or borrowed which extends their marketing reach.

Have you ever forwarded a billboard to your friend?

No, that’s impossible, but I’d be willing to bet that you lost an imprinted pen recently and someone else picked it up.

After working with insurance agents since 2003, I am convinced that the 8 most cost-effective promotional products for insurance agents are:

  1. writing instruments
  2. calendars
  3. magnets
  4. insurance card and policy holders
  5. jar openers
  6. imprinted and embroidered apparel
  7. recyclable grocery bags
  8. drink-ware

They each offer a huge bang for the marketing buck because they all take advantage of the biggest benefit of marketing with promotional products: the repeated exposure of the marketing message long after the advertiser pays for the items.

Here’s why these items are so effective…


  1. Nobody writes with a banana. Everyone writes with some type of writing instrument. I suggest to my clients that they hand their pens out to folks like restaurant servers, cashiers, clerks at the post office and anyone who serves the general public. These people use pens all the time and eventually their customers will take them. The pens will filter throughout the community delivering your message over and over.
  1. Folks often think calendars are becoming passé but they are still relevant. While it is true that some folks use the calendar on their phones, most people do not. It’s a heck of a lot easier to look at a calendar hanging on the wall than to fumble through your phone. In addition, calendars are often used by families to keep track of all the kid’s activities and appointments.
  1. Magnets are tiny billboards. Try this: hand out or mail a magnet to your insureds and suggest they stick it on their fridge. Tell them that by doing this, they’ll have your contact info handy in case of an emergency. I will almost guarantee you that they’ll do as you suggest and your agency name and contact info will be there for a really, really long time.
  1. Insurance card and policy holders are not very glamorous but they are a marketing workhorse. Print your insureds insurance card and insert it into the insurance card holder (along with their registration card if you have it). Hand it (or mail it) to them and ask them to put in their glovebox. Point out that your contact info is printed on the holder in the event they need you. 99.999% of the time your insured will comply and your agency name and contact info will be with them whenever they drive their car.

As far as policy holders, insert the policy information into the policy holder. Hand it (or mail it) to your insured and suggest that they keep the holder with the policy information in a safe place for easy access in the event of an emergency.

Let the insured know that you and the insurance company will be sending them information from time to time and to keep it all in the policy holder for safe keeping. Make sure you point out that your contact information is printed on the holder.

  1. Imprinted jar openers are one of the best promotional products ever devised. They are an amazing advertising tool. They’re inexpensive, they hold up for years and just about every person on planet finds them useful. If that’s not convincing enough: a recent survey of adults regarding promotional products found that 91% of them recall having a promotional product (like jar openers) in the kitchen.
  1. When you and your staff wear company polo shirts, jackets and sweaters your customers and prospects see a unified marketing message. Apparel tends to be kept for a long time so your brand message will be noticed everywhere you or a staff member go.

hatOne huge benefit of company apparel is that it can help to start a conversation with a prospect.

I personally know one person who wrote a 6 unit apartment building because he was wearing a company polo shirt while in the checkout line at the supermarket.

The man standing in line behind him saw his company logo’d shirt and struck up a conversation with him. The man said he was exploring the idea of getting insurance quotes on his building.

My client offered to quote on the business, the prospect accepted the offer and my client wound up writing the business.

Lastly, imprinted t-shirts are a great idea too but I recommend the t-shirt be a cool color or have a catchy saying or both.

Simply printing “Smith Insurance” across the chest won’t cut it any longer.

Remember, apparel should facilitate a conversation.

I’d be willing to bet that if you printed something like “I’m worth $1,000,000!” across the front of a t-shirt people would take notice.

  1. People love recyclable grocery bags and they keep them for a long time. They’re an efficient advertising vehicle because they’re colorful, have a large imprint area and they’re durable which means that they will last a long time. Best of all, they’re useful. They don’t have to be used just for fetching groceries either. I haul three 12-packs of soda up 3 flights of steps to my office with one bag. Those 12-packs are 10lbs each…that’s 30lbs in one bag!

Try this: give a few bags to your insured and say something like this “Sally, thanks for the business. Here are a few of these grocery bags. They can hold a lot of stuff. If you find that you’d like some more of them, please stop by any time and I can give you some more. Also, if anyone comments about the bag, please let them know they can have some too just for stopping by.”

This is a soft way of asking your customer for a referral.

  1. Drink ware such as coffee mugs, travel tumblers, stadium cups and water bottles are inexpensive and are well received by recipients. Mugs and tumblers can be mailed out in a box to new insureds as part of a welcome kit or they can be given out at your office. You can also fill them (or stadium cups) with pens and deliver them to referral partners like realtors and mortgage brokers. Water bottles are perfect for charity walks or sporting events.

If you choose to include promotional products to complement your marketing efforts, I’d like to make the following recommendations: first, have a distribution plan for the items.

You can hand them out at your office, you can mail them, you can distribute them at an event…whatever you choose to do, make sure you do it because if they sit in your supply closet, you wasted your money.

Second, there are literally 800,000 products in the promotional products industry from 4000 suppliers. Work with a promotional products professional who can help you choose a quality product that fits your budget and objectives. A shoddy product will make your agency look bad and nobody wants that.

Third, don’t necessarily buy a product based on what you like, buy based on what your target market likes.

Fourth, be consistent. If you find something that works, don’t change it…remember, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Lastly, if you plan ahead you’ll avoid rush orders which are almost always more expensive and the chances for something to go wrong goes way up. In addition, not every supplier can meet fast deadlines which results in fewer options for you.

Oh…and one more suggestion: if you want to speed up the delivery of your items while ensuring the imprint quality, make sure you send your vendor quality art files. Poor art file quality will result in delayed shipments, added expenses and low quality imprinting is a real possibility.

If your insurance agency logo was designed by a good designer, like the team here at Advisor Evolved, you should have received “vector” files such as .AI or .EPS.

If you did not receive these files, I suggest contacting the designer for the files. You will most likely not be able to open them but your vendor will. Simply save them to your computer for future use and email them to your vendor when you order.

These file types are the most commonly used files for printing just about every promotional product from apparel to zipper pulls.

The Podcast Episode

If you’re looking to add promotional products to your marketing plan and you’d like to chat, give me a call and I’ll personally help walk you through your options. Thanks! — Avery (877-558-6002)

About Avery Manko

Avery Manko is one of the most well known promotional products vendors in the insurance industry. He also knows a thing or two about marketing and is a great mind to pick. Not only does he have quality products at great prices, but he’s the type of small business owner you’ll love doing business with. I know this first hand, as I have ordered many different things from him through the years. Whether it’s insurance ID card holders, calendars, magnets, pens, or whatever you can think of, The Manko Company will deliver!

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