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.
Television Advertising and Young Adults
There are a half dozen or more auto insurance companies currently advertising in heavy rotation on television.
Here are 5 I can think of right now (I watch too much TV):
Can you name these carriers? Most young adults won’t have any clue. Why? Because 61% of young adults use streaming services to watch television.
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in August 2017, streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Go have dramatically altered the media habits of Americans, especially young adults.
About six-in-ten of those ages 18 to 29 (61%) say the primary way they watch television is with streaming services on the internet, compared with 31% who say they mostly watch via a cable or satellite subscription and 5% who mainly watch with a digital antenna.
Tips For Creating Your Independent Insurance Agency’s Mobile-Friendly Website
Young adults, millennials and Generation Z (Gen Z), are constantly connected to their mobile devices. As stated above, they are watching streaming services on their mobile devices. They have cut the cord on cable.
When these young adults go to shop for insurance products and services on their mobile devices, will they find your website and like what they see?
5 Mobile Website Tips To Keep Young Adults Engaged
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!
3 Content Marketing Ideas for August
A little content marketing inspiration for your independent insurance agency’s website blog and social media pages.
Safe Driving Tips for Labor Day Weekend
Labor Day is September 3rd this year. It’s a busy time for that one final summer getaway. Provide driving tips like:
Back To School
August means back to school. Provide safety reminders and tips like:
Teens are heading back to school and some will no longer be taking the bus.
Taglines - Reinforcing Your Agency’s Brand
You’ve seen them in advertising for big companies like McDonald’s with “I’m lovin’ it.”, Nike “Just Do It”, and Verizon “Can you hear me now?”. These are all taglines. Taglines are a branding slogan that emphasize the brand and help reinforce a product or service. Taglines should come to you when you say the company’s name. Do you know the tagline for Delta Airlines?* You probably know at least one. Delta has used several taglines over their 89 year history.
Your Agency’s Tagline
Have you considered creating a tagline for your independent insurance agency? Taglines work for both big companies and small businesses. A tagline is an audible way to grab your potential client’s attention. You want it to be impactful and memorable. Taglines should be short and concise for use on your insurance agency website, business cards, email signature, advertisements, brochures and anywhere you put your agency’s name.
Creating A Tagline
Your insurance agency’s tagline should be positive and emphasize the benefits of using your agency. Here’s an example, (the beginning) of an insurance related tagline. Can you finish this one? “Like A Good Neighbor…”
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take some time to craft your tagline. Get input from your employees, customers, family and friends. Analyze your agency’s key benefits and write down keywords and emotions that describe your agency’s purpose and image. For example:
Does your agency already have a tagline? Are you using your tagline on your insurance agency’s website? Is it part of your logo? We’d love for you to share them in the comments section.
* "We love to fly and it shows.” “Keep Climbing.” “The World’s Most Trusted Airline.”
One of the main questions our AccuAgency Business Development Marketing Representatives hear in the field is, “How can I generate more leads?”. In an ongoing effort we try to share various ways for your independent insurance agency to generate more leads. We hope you find this helpful.
Both of these lead generating tips require that your agency has a website so don’t read any further if your agency doesn’t. Instead, drop everything right away and contact a company that builds websites for independent insurance agencies.
If your current website does not include quote forms, contact your website design company and ask them to add quote forms for all the lines of business you write. If you work with an insurance software company that offers an instant auto quote generator or any type of instant quote generator, contact them about getting the feature added to your website.
Here are 2 ways you can generate leads with little effort on the front end (just contact the appropriate parties to get things rolling.)
1. Lead Generating Quote Forms
You’ll want to be able to generate a quote for prospects so you’ll need to ask the right questions without driving them away by asking too many personal questions. Be sure to capture their contact information including name, email address and phone number. Those fields should be required. Make sure all quote forms are SSL Secure forms. These forms should use the same encryption and security required by your E&O policy.
Taylor all quote forms and fields for each type of insurance and make it clear what type of insurance quote they are requesting. You’re familiar with insurance terms but you’re prospects probably aren’t. Consider using a photo that represents the type of insurance they are requesting a quote for.
Once the form is completed and submitted, the form will be sent to the email or emails of the people you have assigned to handling the quote requests.
TIP: Respond to leads IMMEDIATELY if at all possible. After just a few minutes the lead will get cold and the prospect will move on.
2. Instant Quote Forms
The difference between quote forms and instant quote forms is “instant”. With an instant quote form, your prospects will receive a quoted premium for the coverages they have selected instantly.
SAME TIP: Respond to your lead immediately. Consider assigning your staff to handle these leads during off hours and have them follow up right away.
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.
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.
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.
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+).
Optimize Landing Pages for Lead Generation
A landing page is defined as a web page a visitor arrives at after clicking on a link. Typically you arrive at a landing page after clicking on a link on a website home page. Let’s say your insurance agency website has a button to “Get A Quote” or “Get An Instant Auto Quote”. When a visitor clicks the link, they are taken to a landing page.
A landing page should be designed using the KISS method. The acronym KISS stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. The principle was designed by the U.S. Navy in 1960. It states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than complicated. The goal is simplicity and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.
15 Things to consider when designing your landing page:
Once you have built your landing page and your campaign is live, be sure to track your campaign. Is it successful? If your campaign needs improvement, consider making changes to your landing page and test other versions.
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”!
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.
If you want people to find your insurance agency you’ll need to show up on search engines. Search engine marketing or web marketing involves more than just having a website. When we launch a website for an insurance agency our clients often ask, “When will I show up on Google search now that my website is live?” The harsh reality is never. Unless you claim your business listings on search engine websites.
You should carve out time each day to claim your listings. You want to make sure you are entering all fields as precisely and as detailed as possible. It’s a time-consuming process that you want to get right.
These search engine listings vary in what information you can list. You’ve heard the term “Search Engine Optimization”. Not only does that entail claiming your listings on multiple search engine sites, but optimizing those listings to the fullest extent. For example, Google My Business which has been called Google Places or Google+ offers many fields for your business. Take advantage of all of them. Make sure you pick the primary category that best describes your business and keep it consistent on all of the listings you claim.
If your business has been in operation for some time then you should find it listed on the search engine waiting to be claimed by your agency. If you have recently opened, you may have to create a listing, but surprisingly your business may show up. Remember to be patient, as you read earlier, it’s a time-consuming process.
Once you have completed filling out your listing you will submit it for verification. The search engine websites want to make sure this is a legitimate claim by the owner or someone on behalf of the owner. Verification can be completed via an immediate phone call that provides you a PIN to enter on the listing, verification by postcard and verification by email. As we have learned, postcards tend to get thrown in the trash. Be sure to give your staff a heads up that you are expecting a postcard. These postcards can take weeks to arrive. You want to avoid having to re-submit and wait another 4-6 weeks before the replacement postcard arrives.
Even after verification it can take time for your listing to appear online. You may see your listing immediately or months later. Be patient. Set a reminder every week to check on the listings that are not appearing and/or not yet live. You may be tempted to add more information or change the listing. Resist that temptation as it may restart the verification process.
Track your listings and note your logins and passwords. Once they are live, keep your information fresh and up-to-date. Always keep an eye out for business reviews and respond to them in a timely manner.
Now it’s time to start blogging...
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.