Insurance Marketing Strategies to gain new internet leads

When It Comes To Online Leads, Simply Having A Website Isn’t Enough Anymore For Online Success

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Insurance Marketing Strategies to gain new internet leadsDid you know that the category “Insurance” is the most competitive category on the internet? In fact, it is more competitive than the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th categories combined. This is why you not only need a great website, but you need additional marketing strategies in place to be successful online.

Would you be surprised if I told you that according to Statista.com there are 1.135 million insurance agents, brokers & service employees in the US? This number is up nearly 250,000 since 2010 alone. You’re in a competitive industry that is only going to get more competitive as more agents invest in their websites, SEO and digital marketing spaces.

So, what are some things that you can do to stand out in this space?

Create Video: Video isn’t something new or revolutionary, but you don’t see many agency websites using video. Video is a great way to meet the staff, showcase community involvement or explain coverages or create video proposals on more complex risks.

Write Funny Blogs Or Address Common Questions: Insurance can be boring. By creating a funny blog you cannot only get traffic, but you can receive backlinks from other websites. If you’re looking for traffic, writing a blog on commonly asked questions can be a gold mine. Keep a notepad at your desk and after a week of jotting down clients questions, you’ll have a pile of great blog articles. If they’re asking it, chances are other are looking them up online.

Run Paid Search Campaigns: Paid search is a great complimentary source for all of your digital marketing. Avoid running ads for things like “Auto Insurance” or “Home Insurance” as you’ll be competing with companies with national carriers who have much larger budgets. Look for niche opportunities to get the most bang for your buck.

Solicit Reviews for Google My Business: Google My Business (GMB) is equally important to having a great website. Have you ever looked at your GMB pages analytics? You’d be surprised at how much traffic, views and clicks they get. Be sure to send all of your happy customers directly to your GMB page to leave a review. I find that it is the single most impactful thing an agency owner can do for themselves online.

Participate In Your Community: Community involvement isn’t just good for others, it is good for your business. There isn’t anything self-serving about participating in your community and letting people know you did it. Share pictures of your team on social media and update your about us page showcasing your efforts to help out your community.

Complete Online Directory Listings: Creating online directory listings are a huge pain. Be smart about it and either focus on the aggregators or utilize a service like WhiteSpark or MozLocal to help you create and manage these listings.

Online marketing is tough and competitive, but by using the tools above you can stand out from the crowd. Differentiating yourself online and getting leads from the internet is all possible, but you can’t expect that your website will work for you, if you’re not doing things to work for it.

Good luck out there.

What to Do When Insurance Quotes Are Slow For Your Insurance Agency

When New Business Quotes Are Slow, Shift The Focus To Your Existing Book Of Business

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What to Do When Insurance Quotes Are Slow For Your Insurance AgencyFor some reason or another, insurance has slow periods. Whether this is during the holidays, or simply on and off during the month, insurance quotes and new business seem to come in chunks. We can’t explain it, but perhaps someone at Google could let us in on the secret.

Until you break the algorithm code, when it gets slow one thing every insurance agency should be doing is focusing on retention and cross-selling their book.

Perhaps you got busy and your agents didn’t cross-sell everyone they could. Perhaps you were short staffed and just wrote the customers requested policy. Regardless of what occurs in your office, there are things you can do. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Revisit business quoted and review every policy written in the last month
    • If you didn’t write someone, review it and see why. Perhaps a simple phone call can generate the business.
    • Set a reminder to follow up with that lead in 5 months to see if you can requote them. Perhaps they now have prior insurance or a ticket or accident fell off the record.
  2. Create and send out a newsletter to your existing clients
    • Newsletters are invaluable when it comes to retaining your clients. Every agent should be trying to touch base with their clients at minimum 5 times per year. Newsletters can quickly be created in systems like MailChimp or Constant Contact. Share some agency news, some personal agent news and mention some cross sell pieces like umbrella or talk about a hot topic like Rideshare Insurance
  3. Policy Reviews
    • I love it when my agent calls us to review our policy every year. It shows me that they care and they check in to see if anything changed. It is also a great opportunity to mention your referral program or to ask them to like your social media pages.
  4. Look for Low-Hanging Fruit
    • If you have an agency management system, run a report for monoline home or renters insurance.
    • Run a report for monoline motorcycle insurance. Did you know that over 50% of motorcycle owners are homeowners?
    • Cross-sell umbrella to your high limit homeowners.

There are many things you can do when it gets slow at your agency. Working your existing book of business is the simplest way to generate new policies and make more money when things are slow. Don’t sit there waiting for the phone to ring when you already likely have more leads than you could possibly work that are already your customers.

Insurance Agency Website Design

Why Your Old, Out-Dated Website May Be Your Agency’s Best Future Marketing Asset

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What if I told you that even though you hadn’t invested a penny into marketing your business in the past 3 years that with a little effort you could dominate results in search engines like Google? You’d probably be interested, right? When it comes to marketing your agency through your website, there is a lot to discuss. Often the most overlooked starting point is how valuable your outdated website is to the future successes you’ll have online marketing your agency.

It seems backwards that your obsolete, non-mobile-responsive website could somehow benefit you, but it’s true. And in a big way.

What Matters

When it comes to a website and the success you have online, two of the most important factors are domain age AND search history (whether or not a website has existed and has been indexed by the search engines).

We wrote about brand new insurance agency websites and the challenges they face in a blog post about 5 years ago. Much of that still holds true today. The difference here is this blog article addresses agencies that purchase brand new domains and build out a new website.

If you’re considering building a new website where one already exists here are couple big pointers:

  1. Do not change your domain. By using your existing domain for your new site, your results can come lightning fast. (If you must change your domain, there are ways to transfer your domain authority to the new domain, but it gets complex). Google and other search engines should reward your new website, content and SEO work as soon as they stop by to index your information (usually every few days).
  2.  Spend some time optimizing your content by following SEO best practices.  Even basic SEO like page titles, meta descriptions and word count make a big difference. If your new website content and optimization is good, you can go from not ranking at all, to being top of search for many of your targeted keywords. That old indexed domain and website will allow your new site and content to be reindexed immediately and rank well if done correctly.

A Word on Domain Authority

Domain authority is basically a grade for your domain based on several web-based factors. Your domain authority is ranked on a scale of 100. The higher the domain authority, typically, the higher your site will rank in the search engines. There are many factors that come into play with domain authority grading that include links, age of your domain and others, but mostly it is related to how many other sites link to yours as well as how good your internal link structure is. Improving your domain authority is extremely difficult on a large scale. In fact, the highest domain authority I’ve seen for an insurance agent is about a 40/100. That old website you have has been around for a long time, so chances are you have some good links pointing to it like your insurance carriers, review sites and directory listings. Even if you haven’t made a concerted effort to get them, you’d be surprised how many there are.

Use Caution When Changing Your Sitelinks

If you have an existing website and are going to build out a new one, it is important to redirect the old pages to new pages if you change your sitelinks. If your site is old, chances are there isn’t much information there, or pages to redirect so this effort could take just a few minutes.  If your new website pages generate 404 error pages because you didn’t recreate your sitelinks and redirect them, Google and other search engines may penalize you. Additionally, it is possible that your old pages are bookmarked or are linked to by other sites, so you’ll want them to redirect to the new page on your website so you don’t lose valuable domain authority. You don’t want your website visitors getting to a 404 page, so put in the effort to update this.

Content & SEO

Your new site will require some new content and SEO to do well. Updating your website to a new look and feel won’t do you any good if the search engines can’t understand your content. Remember, when a search engine looks at your website, it isn’t actually seeing your design, it is looking at your source code which, unless you’re a web developer, looks Greek. Working with a website developer and someone knowledgeable in your industry for SEO can reap you quick rewards when you launch your new site. But, do your homework when hiring a SEO. I can’t tell you how many times throughout the years I’ve heard an agent say, “I’ve been burned by this before.” There are some great SEOs for insurance out there, so be sure to get someone who specializes in insurance and is not a marketing generalist.

By having your old website simply existing online will catapult your digital marketing going forward when you design a new website. Taking a few additional steps to ensure that you preserve what was working well with your existing site before you change it can greatly impact your results. While it may be a costly change to get a new website up and running for your agency, the results should pay for themselves through new client acquisition and user experience when they get to your shiny new website. Enjoy the process and let your brand shine online!

If we can be of help, we’d love the opportunity to show you some of our designs for insurance agents.

Mobile First Indexing Insurance Agency Websites

What Mobile First Indexing Means for your Local Insurance Agency

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Back in March, Google began moving to their “mobile first” ranking platform. The function is actually quite simple. Essentially Google is rendering their crawls, indexing and rankings based off of what is visible on a mobile device instead of your desktop version. Because Google only has one index and not separate indexes for mobile and desktop, you should check and see what is displaying.

Since 2013 we’ve been designing mobile responsive insurance agency websites. This means that your entire website is shrunk down to fit onto a mobile device. This also means that your entire website is indexed by either desktop or mobile versions. This was important in 2013 and is even more important now that Google has moved to “mobile first” indexing.

This could be bad news for insurance agents who have an aged website or who have a separate desktop and mobile website. If your web designer built you out a mobile site that was smaller than your existing website or was not optimized in the same way as your desktop version, this could mean you’re missing out on a lot of website traffic because only a few pages of your site would be indexed.

Try this test. Go to google and type in the search field: site:yourwebsite.com (see image below). This will produce a list of indexed pages of your website. Are any missing?

Mobile First Indexing for Insurance Agents

The good news is that any current web designer should be incorporating a mobile responsive website layout instead of having separate platforms for both. If it has been over 3 years since you had your website built out, you may want to check with another designer to see if you’re compliant. If not, it may be time for a website redesign.

Summary:

  • Mobile first indexing is rolling out now.
  • Having mobile friendly content is more important than ever.
  • Having a website that loads quickly (faster than 3 seconds is a good target) is more important than ever.
  • Redesigning your website to be mobile responsive is an easy, quick project for most designers.
  • You can utilize free services like Google Webmaster tools to test your website and look for ways to improve overall.

If you need help with your existing insurance agency website or if you have questions about whether or not your site is mobile-first index ready, please feel free to contact us. We’ve worked with hundreds of insurance agents across the country to improve their position in search results. Our insurance agency SEO programs are designed to be cost-effective and produce results.

How to Maximize your Page One Google Rankings

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First page search engine rankings don’t come easy. You’ve either spent many hours researching or hired a reputable SEO agency to help you master your online keyword ranking positions. But, with first page rankings on Google, Bing or other search engine, doesn’t always mean the new business quotes will begin flowing in. There is more that needs to be done. If you want more insurance quotes, follow these additional steps to ensure your first page rankings lead to conversion.

Professional Website – If you’re working with an SEO company, chances are they either redesigned you a new website or you had one built already. If you’re working with an old website, you may need to consider upgrading to a more modern, HTML5 website. Some things that may hurt your conversion include:

  1. Your site is not mobile responsive.
  2. You don’t have an SSL certificate.
  3. Your call to action isn’t obvious.
  4. Your site looks dated.
  5. Your site formats incorrectly on tablet or mobile phone.

If your site is more than a couple years old, it may be time for an upgrade. New websites look modern, fresh and it shows that you care about your business. After all, your website is the “face” of your business and is often the first impression for a new customer.

Domain Based Email – I’m shocked how often I still see professional insurance agents still using Yahoo, Gmail, MSN and AOL email accounts. Getting a domain based email account (yourname@youragencyname.com) can help you with conversion. Nothing looks more unprofessional than getting a quote from a generic email account. Best of all, you can get domain based email for a couple of dollars a month! Domain based email also tells the recipient the name of your business helping with brand recognition and loyalty.

Reviews – Reviews on reputable sources such as Google, Yelp and Facebook further help new customers make their purchase decision. Take this example: If you’re searching for an ice cream shop near you and one has 25 positive reviews with an average of 4.5 stars and the next best one has no reviews, which one are you likely to try? Reviews not only help convert but can improve your organic SEO rankings even further, cementing you in the top and pushing your competitors down the page.

Make Quote Options Easy – People want things now. Studies all say that consumer’s attention is at an all-time low so when they get to your website, have several places where they can take action:

  1. Have an obvious get a quote button or form on each landing page.
  2. Have a phone number in an easy to find location such as your header.
  3. Have after-hours options and if you’re comfortable with it, have an instant rater from a comparative rating vender.

Understand your leads – When people contact my business to discuss marketing, my first two sentences are always the same.

  1. Thank you for your interest in Tosten Marketing.
  2. How did you hear about us?

Thanking them just comes naturally. Being an insurance agent is competitive, so telling your prospect that you appreciate them contacting you is important. Secondly, by understanding how they heard about you, you can cater the remainder of your call and relating to that. Perhaps you both know the same person, attend the same church, or maybe they saw a Facebook post. Regardless of how they heard about you, these two sentences always setup the rest of the call.

Track Your Leads – You’ve worked hard to just get a customer to call your office. Stacie Cooper of Safeco’s Bricks and Clicks team says, “Each agency should be logging the lead source in their agency management system for future marketing, analysis and reporting. It is great to ask, but even more important to track it.” By tracking your leads you can have a better idea of how your marketing dollars are working for you. Do you have an ad with a local paper that isn’t producing any leads, or is your current web team not getting you ranked for the keywords you really want? Maybe it is time to move your marketing budget around. Don’t have an agency management system? A monthly Excel spreadsheet works too!

Name with a Face (meet the staff) – Meet the staff pages are great. There was a time, not long ago, when people actually came into an insurance agent’s office! Remember those days? Today, about 95% or more of business is done over the phone or internet/email. By having a meet our staff page, people can learn more about you and your business and stay in touch (links to LinkedIn pages etc.) The better you can establish a relationship over the phone with someone, the more likely they are to refer you business or leave you a review.

Stay in Touch – Once you won the customer, it is absolutely critical to stay in touch with them! Consider reaching out to your customers one time a year by phone at renewal to ensure they’re happy with their current company, or to share any news like significant rate increases, new products etc.  Also, sending out a newsletter from the agency several times a year sharing events you’ve partaken in, charities you’ve donated to and more. Additionally, you should be asking every customer to follow you on social media.

There is a lot to do these days in order to keep your customer and to win them over once you’ve established your first page rankings in the search engines. By following the steps above, you will not only be more successful with capturing the leads but you’ll be improving your overall marketing return on investment (ROI).

If you have questions about marketing your insurance agency, feel free to reach out to us and discuss them. Tosten marketing specializes in insurance agency marketing with an emphasis on search engine optimization and website design.