Your independent insurance agency customers come from your local community. It’s essential that your agency has a good local web presence to attract local web searchers. Here are a few tips to help with local SEO.
Local SEO - local search engine optimization is the practice of increasing the online visibility of a brick and mortar company that does business face-to-face in their community.
These are just a few tips to help improve your agency’s local search results. Two statistics to keep in mind, per BrightLocal, 92% of online searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search and 97% of people find out more about a local company through the internet.
Google recently changed the name of their ad platform Google AdWords to Google Ads. They have made some changes to the ads interface that makes it easier to dig into the performance of ads. Google ads have gotten bigger and take up more real estate on search results.
PPC (Pay Per Click) continues to grow, but research shows, people who perform Google searches prefer organic search results over the paid ads search results.
Organic search results refer to the listings on a search engine results page (SERP) that appear because of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). And SEO is the marketing practice, strategy and tactics focused on increasing organic (non-paid) visibility in search engine results.
Here are 3 factors that will help increase the chances of your website showing up on page one of organic search results:
1. Keywords - Keywords are the key words and phrases in your website’s content that make it possible for people to find your website via search engines. Your independent insurance agency’s website should contain keywords and phrases a potential customer would enter as a search term. For example, “affordable car insurance”. These keywords should be included in your agency’s web page title tags, headers and body/content, URL, keyword description tags, meta tags and H1 tags (second title tag of your website).
2. Unique Content - Every page of your website should include quality, well written content. Generic content won’t help your agency’s web pages show up on search engine results pages. Write content that describes what makes your insurance products and services unique. Ask your customers what they were searching for and write new content that pertains to their needs and how your agency can help them with their needs. Before you begin to write your content, write down everything someone might enter as a keyword search term and use the terms in your content. Create valuable content that provides useful and informative information about what each product and service your agency is in the business of selling and what makes your’s stand out from the competition.
3. Blog - Blogging is a very effective way to increase your organic website traffic. A blog is a regularly updated page of your website that is written in a conversational and informal style. Try to keep your blog post focused on one topic or one product or service per post. Don’t try selling your product within the blog but inform your audience about a product or service. Show your readers you’re an authority on the product or service. Use the SEO content acronym, E-A-T. Demonstrate to your readers a high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness in your content.
There is no exact formula that will land your agency’s website on page one of organic search results. With quality and regularly updated content you should see your organic rankings improve over time.
The numbers don’t lie. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, twitter, Google My business and blog posts that are personal generate more engagement.
In January Mark Zuckerberg announced a big change to what you see in your Facebook news feed with a shift to building relationships and bringing friends and family closer together. He said, “you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Facebook Live Video
In social media you can’t get more personal than live video. Adam Mosseri, Head of Facebook News Feed said, “Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”
In 2017, 100 million hours of videos were watched on Facebook EVERY DAY.
Facebook Live is the social network’s live broadcasting feature that’s easily accessed from your mobile Facebook app. Open your Facebook business page, click the camera icon and click “live video” to get started.
Before going live, promote the video well in advance to generate interest and ensure you will have an audience. As an independent insurance agent, consider the following:
Be Professional and Be Prepared
Before going live, set the scene. Make sure background noise won’t interfere with the audio. Make sure your film set (if you will) is clean and professional. Ensure there isn’t any personal information visible on someone’s desk or computer monitor.
Once you’ve broadcast your first Facebook Live video, review your engagement and experiment with more live posts. It seems scary at first, but once you broadcast your first live video, you’ll be more confident. And, HAVE SOME FUN!
Don’t Let Your Domain Name Expire
GoDaddy, a popular domain name registrar says, “You can’t have a website without a domain.” They don’t say this, AND without a domain you won’t have a website.
Your domain name is your insurance agency’s website address like www.independentinsuranceagency.com When you register your domain name with a domain name registrar like Go Daddy, NameCheap or HostGator you are renting the domain. Domain registrars default the term to one year and usually offer a better deal if you purchase a plan for 2 or more years.
When you purchased your domain name you probably incorporated the name of your insurance agency into the website URL. You put your website address on your business cards, brochures, possibly your outdoor signage and more. Your website address is special and is part of your brand. You have to protect and maintain that brand.
Held For Ransom
It is up to you to renew your domain. If your domain expires there will be a an auto-renew grace period for 0-45 days followed by a 30-day redemption grace period. Once that grace period is up, your domain name will be released to third parties. These third parties may scoop up the domain and possibly hold it for ransom.
We recently had a customer let their domain expire. It is now available from a third party for $495. If they had renewed it in time, it would have been less than $15 for another year. Now they have to decide if they want to pay the price or get a new domain.
If this customer gets a new domain, they will have to change all of their documentation, marketing materials, update all of their SEO and fall in organic search until their web marketing efforts are cleaned up and reestablished.
Set A Reminder AND Watch For Renewal
Do you know when your domain name is up for renewal? Log in and check the expiration date. Set up a reminder at least 30 days in advance of the expiration date to go in and renew your domain. Ensure your email address is up-to-date so you won’t miss emails regarding your domain.
Don’t fall prey to domain kidnappers!
Online Reviews - They're A Pretty Big Deal
Statistics show that 92% of consumers read online reviews and use those in their purchase decisions. So in other words, online reviews are a pretty big deal.
There are multiple websites to leave online reviews including Google (the big daddy of review websites), Facebook, Angie’s List and Yelp. Reviews of your agency help build your online reputation.
The simplest and easy way to get your clients to leave a review is to ask. One suggestion, create a postcard that gives them the steps to post a review on Google. Google offers a star rating as well as a write a review section. Star ratings add to your overall rating score. Encourage your clients to write a review about their experience to give your agency’s Google business page an additional online boost.
Google Add A Rating or Review Instructions:
They say one bad apple spoils the bunch and one bad review can drive away business. Monitor your agency’s online reputation or risk, for example, one bad review sitting at the top of your online search results rotting away the road to your online traffic.
Help other potential customers by responding to negative reviews with a positive response. If your agency did something wrong, offer to fix the issue. Empathy and caring go a long way. Help instill trust in your agency and respond to all your reviews either positive or negative. Just a thank you for a positive review shows you’re appreciative of a client for taking the time to leave a review.
How are you doing?
Online reviews are a great way to gauge how your employees, products and services are performing. Reviews help you discover and track what people like and dislike about your agency. Take action when you see a trend of comments that indicate a need for improvement. For example, address issues like poor customer service or no returned phone calls.
Consider using social media to announce how your agency has addressed or plans to address ways to improve on what people have negatively said in an online review.
Do you have some great reviews? Would you like to encourage people to review your independent insurance agency?
Google is offering small businesses free marketing materials to promote online reviews of your agency. Your independent insurance agency must have a Google business page account to take advantage of the free marketing kit.
Visit https://smallthanks.withgoogle.com/ to request your free marketing kit by mail.
Summer is soon approaching which means summer break, summer vacations, graduations, college kids returning home and, of course, road trips.
Here are 5 summer related blog topic ideas for your independent insurance agency website blog page.
Keep cool this summer and keep on blogging!
5 Ways To Help Save or Generate More Money For Your Insurance Agency
1. Printers & Paper
Generate More Money
4. Curb Appeal
What do people see when they drive by your insurance agency? Potholes in the parking lot? Peeling paint? Dirty windows? Old, discolored signage? It only takes a second for a potential client to form an impression. If your independent insurance agency looks run down, you’re probably losing potential customers.
Spruce up your physical space AND spruce up your web presence. It’s important to freshen up your web presence on a regular basis.
5. Your Insurance Agency Website
Have you recently made significant changes to your agency? Share what you’ve done to freshen your agency or your agency’s website.
5 Blog Tips for Your Insurance Agency’s Website
A blog is a regularly updated website or web page written in an informal or conversational style. The word “blog” has been shortened from “weblog”.
Blogging is a great way to attract customers. Blogging helps validate your expertise as an insurance agent. You’re able to show off your knowledge and help your agency convert website traffic into leads and leads into customers.
These are just several tips. You need to drive traffic to your blog so be sure to share your blogs on your agency’s social media pages. Tell your friends to follow your blog. Link to your blog page on your email auto signature. Ask your employees to like and share your blog. Ask your employees to add a link to your blog on their email auto signatures.
The more you blog, the more you establish authority in insurance and financial services. Take a few minutes and check out your competition. If your insurance agency’s website doesn’t have a blog, add one and set up a schedule. Set aside some time each week and write a blog. You’ll find it becomes something enjoyable once you sit down and start writing.
5 Content Ideas For Your Insurance Agency Website Blog Page
Do you need some blog topic ideas for your independent insurance agency’s website? Here are 5 ideas to help you get the creative juices flowing.
It’s February and Valentine’s Day is only a couple of days away. People give loved ones chocolates, teddy bears, candy hearts and big ticket items like jewelry. Homeowners insurance generally covers valuable and precious items such as jewelry, but these policies have limits. Blog about homeowners insurance and what is covered and what isn’t. Offer tips for protecting and insuring jewelry like having the item appraised, keeping the receipts, taking a picture, etc.
Cleaning Your Dryer Vent Can Prevent a Fire
Keeping your dryer vent cleaned after each use is a great way to keep your home safe. Each year over 17,000 fires are caused by dirty dryer vents. Blog about keeping it clean and other ways to prevent fires.
Why Your Auto Insurance Rates May Go Up
As an insurance agent you’re familiar with the many reasons why auto insurance rates go up. But your customers may not be aware of those reasons. Write about why moving, buying a new car, your age, your marital status and other life events may cause rates to go up. And don’t forget the big ones, being involved in an accident or getting a ticket. Remind customers to contact you if they want to shop around and find lower rates.
Daylight Saving Time - Sunday, March 11, 2018
This year Daylight Saving Time is Sunday, March 11, 2018. This is a great time to remind your customers to set their clocks forward, test, check and change the battery in their smoke detectors. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths occurred in properties without working smoke alarms. A smoke alarm only protects you when it is maintained and since most fires occur late at night and early in the morning, an early warning significantly increases your chances for survival.
St. Patrick’s Day - Saturday, March 17, 2018
Erin Go Bragh! (Ireland Forever). Blog about St. Patrick’s day and share some recipes for Irish dishes like corned beef and cabbage, Shepherd’s pie, or how to make green beer.
Identifying Backlinks To Your Independent Insurance Agency’s Website
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are hyperlinks from other websites/domains that point to your website/domain or pages on your website. Backlinks are also called inbound links. Backlinks or inbound links are important in determining the popularity of your website. Search engines like Google consider websites with more backlinks more relevant to search results.
Are Backlinks Important?
Google considers backlinks a strong search result ranking indicator. In the past it was quantity over quality. You could pay someone to generate hundreds of garbage backlinks to your website. Google squashed that tactic with link scoring. A backlink should come from a high domain authority page that has a high quality score or Page Rank. The more you have the better, but you don’t want low quality (spam) links to your website.
Create a list and make the connections.
Make a list of high quality authority websites where your agency can be listed. In all cases, make sure you receive a backlink to your agency’s website.
These are some suggestions to get you started. Do you have other backlinks suggestions for your fellow agents. Please share in the comments section below.
Grammar, Spelling, Proofreading and Your Content Marketing
Grammar and spelling aren’t just elementary school subjects. They play a very important part in content marketing. From your insurance agency website to your blog, grammar and spelling should be given a great deal of attention.
Bad grammar, misspelled words and incorrect punctuation can ruin first impressions. For example, when a visitor comes to your website, your Facebook page or your insurance agency’s blog page, the last thing you want them to do is leave because of poorly written content.
Here are a few tips to remember:
1. One of my pet peeves is the misuse of You’re and Your.
It’s really easy if you say it in your head before typing it out. You’re is short for “You Are”. If you read your sentence out loud, say “you are” instead of “you’re”. Does it make sense? If yes, you’ve used it correctly.
Your indicates something belongs to you or is related to you. Your home, your auto. Your precedes a noun or a pronoun and shows that it belongs to you. Your is a possessive adjective.
(P.S. - Don’t forget to double-check for any grammatical errors with There, They’re and Their)
2. I Before E, Except After C (Unless it sounds like an A)
This is one I say in my head quite often. I’ll admit, I don’t always get it right.
I Before E
It’s a piece of cake. Believe me.
Except After C
We received your payment after we gave you the receipt.
Unless it sounds like A
The weird clown yelled, “seize the day!”.
3. The plural of words that end in -s, -ss, -z, -ch, -sh, -x
Words would look quite odd if it weren’t for this rule. Adding -es to these words prevents the clashing of letters. Here are a few examples:
Box - Boxes
Quiz - Quizzes
Watch - Watches
English Is Hard!
It’s often said that English is one of the hardest languages to learn. Many say spelling is hard because words that end in the same combination of letters aren’t always pronounced the same. I can’t imagine learning how to speak and spell English as a second language. I’m very impressed by those who have.
These are just a few tips to consider when you write and publish any content for your agency. I highly recommend using spell check and always proofread your content several times before publishing. I’m guilty of not taking the time to proofread. It’s not uncommon for me to publish a blog and later have to go back to correct a mistake and then republish. I'm going to make a 2018 proofread resolution!
What are your potential clients looking for on your insurance agency’s website?
Keep in mind most fresh leads who contact your agency have already done a search and somehow found you online. What are these potential clients looking for when they search? Here are a few must-haves for your independent insurance agency’s website.
It seems simple enough but not all insurance agency websites make it easy to find the phone number. Your insurance agency’s phone number should be visible on every page a user navigates. It should be prominent and glaring at them right in the face. Consider using a call to action in addition to your phone number. “CALL US NOW 800-555-5555”
Of course, you also want to make sure your insurance agency’s location including your address, map of your agency and contact names are easy to find on your website.
Do you have what they’re looking for?
Your insurance agency’s website must list all of the products and services your agency offers. If a potential customer is looking for something you don’t have listed, they will move on to another search listing result that does. List all of your products and services on the home page of your website. If a potential customer has to search and navigate multiple pages to find what you have to offer, they will move on. Add links to your product list items which will take them to learn more. Bottom line, make sure your website is simple and easy to navigate.
Is your insurance agency website designed to look modern and up-to-date on any screen size or device?
Your insurance agency’s website should be optimized for any sized screen or layout orientation. Visitors aren’t just coming to your website on a desktop computer. Visitors are using tablets, iPads, laptops and, of course, cell phones. Your website design should be responsive. This means your website can detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout to accommodate the device making use of cascading style pages, flexible layouts and flexible images.
Facebook Advertising - Audience Insights
Facebook Audience Insights is a tool used in selecting your Facebook advertising target audience. Using the tool you can find people who, for example, like motorcycles. Target the select audience and advertise motorcycle insurance.
Once you have identified your target group, you can advertise your agency’s insurance products on Facebook’s Desktop and Mobile feed, Facebook right Column, Instagram and more. Or as Facebook puts it, “Get to know the people who matter to your business, so you can understand what matters to them. Learn about their locations, interests and behaviors, so you can create messages that will help your business grow.”
Facebook Audience Insights Steps:
One step that deserves a lot of attention, selecting interests. As an exercise I created an audience who likes motorcycles. It would be easy to select only “motorcycles” under interests but think about what you follow and like on Facebook. Is it a broad like? If you own and love your Ford F150, you don’t just like cars or trucks on Facebook. You like Ford Motor Company.
There are many different makes of motorcycles. My new audience generated 1500 - 2000 monthly active Facebook users. Here’s what I selected.
Location: Norcross, GA
Interests - Hobbies and Activities - Vehicles - Motorcycles
Interests - Additional Interests:
Expand the audience by adding additional motorcycle makes. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t allow you to directly target your ad to people who are connected to Pages that you do not admin. (I would love to be able to target fans of Harley-Davidson's dealerships in the area if you could.)
I saved and named my audience and can now access it in Facebook’s Power Editor where you create the ad. From here you can tinker with the audience. I see my estimated audience is too specific and the reach is low. Since Norcross is just north of Atlanta and near other well-populated cities I’m going to expand my demographic audience and add some more locations.
Audience is too specific and narrow:
By adding more cities I find my reach is still too low. The motorcycle brands list is too narrow. Once I add more makes of motorcycles my potential reach is now in line with my reach goal. My audience is defined to give me a potential reach of 580,000 people. My estimated daily results show a reach of 1,900 - 5,000 and 27-100 clicks per day.
So now that I have my audience, I’m ready to create my ad and ad content.
Facebook advertising is very affordable. It’s a great web marketing tool for your independent insurance agency.
Remember! Your Facebook ad and landing page should be well designed. Your goal is to get clicks as well as conversions.
How long has it been since you launched your insurance agency’s website? How long has it been since you made updates to your insurance agency’s website?
Your website is like a grocery store to Google. They are looking for freshness. Google and other search engines look at the freshness of your website content. Over time your website will become stale as content becomes older.
Google’s search algorithms look for factors as they sort through hundreds of billions of webpages in the search index to give people relevant results. Google loves to see fresh content and updates.
Here are 5 ideas regarding fresh content for your insurance agency’s website:
After you have updated your website, log into your Google Analytics account. Compare your before update sessions to after update sessions. You should see an increase in session visits over time.
Inspiration can be hard to come by so here are 5 blog topic ideas to consider writing about:
Insurance Agency Websites - Do It Right Because When Will You Have Time To Do It Over?
You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you are going to do something, then do it right”. Then there’s a quote by John Robert Wooden who was an American basketball player and head coach at the University of California at Los Angeles who said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”.
I don’t believe there is a perfect website on the internet. It’s subjective, but it’s easy to spot bad ones. There is a lot going on within a website that we don’t see, but what we do see can either make a great impression or a bad one.
Here Are 5 Elements of a Good Website
Design - Is it aesthetically pleasing? The design of your website will be the first thing a visitor will see when they arrive on your agency’s website. You only have seconds to grab a visitor’s attention before they leave your website. Use a website theme or template, uncluttered layout, appealing colors and make use of white space.
Content - In my experience, this is the one independent insurance agents struggle with the most. Think about the quote, “If you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”. If you have decided to build a website for your independent insurance agency, you don’t have to rush to get it published. Take time and think about what your agency offers and how you stand out from the crowd of other local agents in your area. Answer the questions your potential customers want to hear, why they should contact you for their insurance needs.
Call To Action - They like what they see. Make sure they know exactly how to contact you no matter what page of your website they’re on. Examples of calls to action, “Get A Quote Now”, “Click Here To Call”, “Directions To Our Agency”.
Continuity (Page Navigation) - When a visitor comes to your website, it should be easy to navigate to the information they are looking for. Page navigation should be clear, concise and uncluttered. Don’t bury pages deep within other pages.
Mobile - Your website should be mobile-friendly. Period. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you are losing mobile visitors immediately. Most people will visit your website from a mobile device. If they have to use their fingers to zoom in to see your page and content, they are leaving.
These are just a handful of tips. Don’t forget to keep your website fresh. Update your website with fresh content, blog, use real photos of your agency, use your brand and logo to prominently stand out and separate you from your local competition.
As an independent insurance agency owner, you want your agency’s name and brand to stand out in the local crowd.
Does your agency have a logo? If yes, does it help represent your agency’s brand, products and services?
I recently came across an agency’s website that uses a bird in the logo. The name of the agency includes a bird species in the name, but as a standalone logo you would never know it was the logo of an insurance agency. But together, the logo and text were very memorable. I saw that logo and name a couple of months ago and I still remember the name of the agency. To me, that is great brand recognition.
The goal of a logo is to build brand recognition.
Here are 5 reasons why your independent insurance agency (small business) needs a logo for the agency’s brand:
These are just a handful of reasons why your independent insurance agency should have a brand. The brand and logo should be used consistently on all marketing materials including your independent insurance agency’s website, your web marketing business listings, marketing materials, email signature, forms, and anything with your insurance agency’s name.
In Journalism they used to teach the 5 WHs for writing a news article: The Who, What, When, Where, Why and sometimes How of the story. Think about your independent insurance agency’s website as the story people are searching to read.
Your agency’s website must have all the important elements to be a successful insurance website.
Within seconds of that first look, a visitor should be able to see who you are, what you sell, when you are available, where you are located and why people should do business with your agency. Your website might have beautiful pictures and fabulous design but if the content isn’t there to show a potential customer those 5 WHs, then you will lose them before they look any further.
Does your agency’s website make it easy to:
If your website is optimized and people are searching for the products and services you offer, your agency’s website is the first thing people will see. Remember, a majority of your clients and potential clients will visit your website before they make contact with you or your staff. Does your insurance agency website have the who, what, when, where and why of what they are looking for?
Take some time and audit your website. Make good notes and make improvements where necessary.
How To Use Facebook Live
Would you like to increase the number of likes and followers you have on your insurance agency’s Facebook page? Would you like more exposure for your insurance agency?
Mark Zuckerberg introduced Facebook Live videos on April 6, 2016. He said, “Facebook Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket.” He noted, “When you interact live you feel connected in a more personal way. This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it's going to create new opportunities for people to come together.”
Video is growing fast. Really fast. 500 million people are watching videos on Facebook every day and 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. Consider using Facebook Live video.
You might try one of the following:
It’s easy to go live on Facebook. If you want to be mobile, log into Facebook from your phone. If you have a webcam on your computer, use the Google Chrome web browser. You’re limited to a single view on your computer’s webcam. For the suggestions above, use your mobile phone and access Facebook Live.
To go live:
That’s the easiest and fastest way to go live. For the Best Practices visit the Facebook Live “Tips for using Facebook Live” page. Get tips on how to tell people you’re going live ahead of your broadcast, broadcasting from a strong connection and writing a great description before you go live. You’ll find a bunch of examples of Facebook Live videos to check out.
Time To Write The Blog
Your independent insurance agency should have a website and if you have a website you should have a blog page you post to weekly, if not more often. A blog is a way to share information. You aren’t promoting your insurance products and services, you’re stimulating interest in your agency and the insurance products and services you offer.
Drive More Traffic and Get More Leads
You may ask, how does blogging benefit my agency? Bottom-line, blogging drives more traffic to your website. How often do you update and refresh your website content? Probably not often. When you blog you’re updating your website and adding more content. Search engines like Google like to see that you are actively updating your website. When they see updates, they index these updates and it improves your search engine visibility. More organic search engine visibility means more website traffic and therefore more leads.
Here are 15 blog topics you might consider writing about:
Writing your blog:
Publish at least one blog a week every week. It can be overwhelming and time consuming to write a blog but your efforts will really pay off. Once you start writing and publishing you’ll be on a roll. You’ll see things in the news and online and get inspiration. Follow other insurance blogs for ideas.
Use images to make your blog look more professional. Set up a stock photo account and purchase images that will make your blog stand out. Make sure you have the rights to the images you are posting on your blog.
Always share your blogs on your insurance agency social pages (Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and Google+).
Slow Load Times Can Mean Lost Customers
People are impatient. Everyone wants everything fast. When you do a search online you expect fast results and slow load times can mean lost visitors and lost customers.
42% of people expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
A one second delay in page response can result in a 7% decrease in conversions.
Does your insurance agency’s website load in less than 2 seconds?
If your insurance agency’s website doesn’t load fast, your potential customers will click the back button and return to their search to find another result.
There are websites that will tell you how fast your web page is loading. Google “web page speed test” and you will find a number of services that will tell you how fast your web page is loading.
Check your mobile and desktop page load speeds. You may need to address both once you get the results.
If you manage your own website, you should look at the following factors that impact web page speed:
Improving website performance can be a bit overwhelming, but once you fix some of the main culprits you’ll see a noticeable improvement in page load time.
Insurance Agents Are…
It won’t come as a surprise to hear that insurance agents have a less than stellar reputation. I have Google alerts set up for certain phrases that appear online in the news. I set one up for “insurance agent arrested”. I recently received Google notifications for stories including, “Grifton insurance agent charged again with embezzling from elderly”1, “Two Former Agents Face 55 Felony Counts in Life Scheme”2, and “Loris insurance agent arrested for scamming customers”3.
Here’s something that may make you laugh or cringe, go to Google and type in “insurance agents ar”. Google’s autocomplete search predictions returned the following:
I would never say insurance agents are scum or crooks. But if Google predicts that is something people will search then someone has to be writing about that topic. Now consider if one of those two phrases took you to a page about you and your agency.
Does your agency have a good online reputation? As an agent you want to know what is being said about you online. Think about your entire insurance agency’s internet marketing presence. Will potential clients see your insurance agency as reputable? Engaged? Knowledgeable? An authority on insurance products and services? An independent agency with a clean and unique insurance agency website?
Manage your brand reputation
Managing your agency means managing your brand reputation. Monitor what people are saying about you online. People trust online reviews. So needless to say, you need positive online reviews. When you get a review you should be notified so you can respond to the review.
Manage your notifications in Google My Business
Google says, “You can choose which kinds of Google My Business notifications you receive on your mobile device and in your email inbox. Notifications can help in a variety of ways, like letting you know when customers leave photos or reviews for your business listing, alerting you to product news from Google, and reminding you to keep your listing up-to-date.”
Turn on Google My Business customer reviews notifications:
Manage your notifications on Facebook
If you have elected to allow people to leave reviews on your Facebook business page, you can get a notification each time there is activity on your page.
You can adjust a number of settings and get a notification each time there is activity on your agency's Facebook page or an important page update, get a notification every 12-24 hours on all activity and updates on your page during that time or turn off all notifications.
Never turn off your notifications. Closely monitor all of your online social activity.
I mentioned Google Alerts at the start of this blog. I have alerts set up for work related and non-work related notifications. At the least, I suggest setting up an alert for your name, your agency’s name and your competitor’s agency name(s).
Setting Up Google Alerts
Freshen Up & Tune Up
Once you have set up alerts and notifications on Google and Facebook, take some time to freshen up and tune-up your social media and internet marketing. Do you have products you would like to showcase? Facebook allows you to showcase multiple products. Take some time and create a unique product or services page. In Google, add more photos, add a video testimonial, check your business hours and business categories and update your listing as necessary.
Now go help Google’s autocomplete to say, “Insurance Agents Are Awesome”!
Are you and your agency on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social media network designed for business professionals to showcase their job experience and professional outlook and thoughts.
LinkedIn is a great place to discuss industry news and the products you specialize in at your agency. LinkedIn was created to be a networking tool. It’s a great place to tell your agency’s story, share career opportunities and market your insurance products and expertise.
LinkedIn is growing fast. 2 new LinkedIn members join per second. 3 million LinkedIn users share content each week.
You may think LinkedIn isn’t for you but you should reconsider. Google and other search engines rank LinkedIn company pages and posts high in search engine results pages.
Just having a LinkedIn company page isn’t enough. You will need to update, share, post and contribute insurance industry and product knowledge to your company page. Optimize your post content with insurance terms to improve your search results on Google and other search engines. As a result you will see your insurance agency website traffic increase.
If you still haven’t bought in, consider creating your insurance agency’s LinkedIn page as a boost to your agency’s reputation and trustworthiness.
One of the worst things you can do for your body and your health is nothing. Leading a sedentary lifestyle, for example, parked on a couch, may contribute to anxiety, depression, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
Now let’s say your body is your agency’s website. Your agency’s website lives on the internet. If you don’t frequently update your website with fresh content and new information, it will become stagnant and drop in organic search rankings never to be found on search engine inquiries.
Fear not. If you update your website often with high quality content, search engines will reward you for it. Keep your website healthy by staying engaged and up-to-date. Consider updating your website with blog articles, videos and new web pages. The more frequently you update your website the more often a search engine will crawl and index it.
A web crawler or spider is a program that visits websites and reads the pages to create entries for a search engine index. Here’s how Google describes their indexing, “The crawling process begins with a list of web addresses from past crawls and sitemaps provided by website owners. As our crawlers visit these websites, they use links on those sites to discover other pages. The software pays special attention to new sites, changes to existing sites and dead links. Computer programs determine which sites to crawl, how often and how many pages to fetch from each site.”
Note that Google pays close attention to “changes to existing sites”. Google sets the bar for all other search engines. You want to cater to the Google Gods when it comes to updating content for future indexing.
When you publish new content be mindful of using keywords. Frequently added content like a blog post or an article post allows you to optimize the content with keywords pertinent to your products and services that can help attract visitors to your website.
Google is not looking for repetitive keywords throughout your content. Google is looking for quality content that has keywords within it. Write content that provides information your readers are actually interested in reading. Not a bunch of insurance jargon and gobbledygook.
Providing new visitors with valuable, up-to-date and relevant information about your insurance agency lets them know you are actively involved in your business. Inform your audience about customer satisfaction, benefits of your insurance products, why they need your insurance products and they will be more likely to contact you for your services.
Last week I saw a tree service vehicle drive by my house. The company’s name was listed as AAA Tree Service. There used to be a time when the alphabet helped you get a leg up on your competition. Businesses were clever with spelling and grammar with names like AAA AAuto Alignment & AAuto Care. These clever names meant you would be listed first in the Yellow Pages under your business category.
These days a Yellow and White Pages phone book are hard to find. Most businesses have turned to the internet. The triple A this or triple A that won’t get you a leg up on the competition anymore. If you want your insurance agency to be found you must have an internet presence. Your agency won’t be found by many without one.
Take some time and do an internet presence audit. Is your website design up to date? Is your business listed correctly? Has anything changed? Are there calls to action on your website? Are you using keywords? Is your website mobile optimized? Are you actively updating your social media pages? Is your website listed on each of your social media pages like Facebook, Google+, twitter and LinkedIn?
Google your business and see how your agency information is displayed. Search for your agency on Bing. Search for your agency on Yahoo. Pull up your agency’s website on your mobile phone. Is your website mobile friendly? Test your website on Google’s Mobile Test Tool.
Do a keyword search to see where you are showing up for searches like “auto insurance”, “home insurance” and the lines of business you want to sell. Who is showing up first? Take a look at the competition and see what they are doing. It doesn’t hurt to find a little “inspiration” in the competition.
These are just a few simple ways to check your online presence. There are many factors that affect where your agency ranks online.
Vikki Thomas has been working in the insurance industry since 1995. Vikki has worked for several carriers in customer service, quality assurance, underwriting, product management and marketing. Vikki has worked at AccuAgency since 2008.