Working Virtually May Be Easier Than You Think.
It goes without saying that we’re in strange times. I wanted to put together some ideas to help our customers be more comfortable with working virtually and share technology and tips that have helped other agencies.
I’m confident that a physical location is not necessary to effectively run an insurance agency today. Many of our clients’ offices are closed as a safety precaution to staff and/or because of state mandates. While working from home is new for many, working in a digital world is something any business can do.
Tools for Working Remotely
Team chat allows your agents to communicate with each other in a very organized manner besides email. Several companies offer team chat functionality. For a couple great options, look into:
Microsoft Teams (part of Office 365) Many of you likely already have access to Teams.
- In Windows, click Start > Microsoft Corporation > Microsoft Teams.
- On Mac, go to the Applications folder and click Microsoft Teams.
- On the web, go to https://teams.microsoft.com.
Slack has free and premium versions and the difference between this and Teams is just really user preference.
To make it easier for customers to reach you, consider adding a chat function to your website. There are many free and premium versions available. Some of my favorite are below.
Facebook Messenger (https://www.messenger.com/)
- (Free and takes just seconds to setup)
- (free and premium versions)
- Free and premium versions.
- Data & history
- Subscription required
- Popular with insurance agencies
There are really two different approaches you can take on video. If your customer wants a “face to face” meeting, consider using Skype or FaceTime. You can also use video for other things such as:
- Team Meetings
- You can hold team meetings using a group setting on your Skype or FaceTime app.
- Video Proposals
- We recently worked with an agency to provide their customers with video proposals. This is a very personal way to provide detailed explanation of the quote. Some companies to look into for video recording are:
Sitewide Notice on Website
Web banners are quick to implement and effective at notifying your customers of your business changes. In addition to the message, give your customers direction on other options such as using your service centers or talking to someone via chat button (Podium pictured). Adding a pop-up or web banner onto your website for your customers notifying them of changes can be helpful and quick.
Many agencies have a reluctance to offering service centers. I’m of the mind that your website can and should do more for you than drive new business. It can help you with workload and keep phones freed up. Here is an example of an effective service center. This can eliminate workload and allow you to work virtually easier. Offer options for claims, payments and change requests.
Email is still an effective tool for communication. Consider sending out an email to your entire client base. Use your management system to help you run a report of all active clients and use a mail delivery service such as:
- Constant Contact (https://www.constantcontact.com)
- MailChimp (my personal favorite) (https://mailchimp.com)
In September of last year I wrote an article titled, “How An insurance Agency Can Successfully Run A Home Based Business.” You might find a couple tips there to help.
We are here to help implement these strategies and/or technologies. Please keep an open mind with the way you run your business – these technologies can help but you need to be open to adapting (change is hard, but sometimes necessary).
Google Analytics For Insurance Agents – What to look at and how to utilize the data
It isn’t uncommon for a customer to ask for access to their Google Analytics data. While we are always happy to provide this, having access to your website data is only as good as your understandings of the data. Today I’ll cover the top 5 areas you should familiarize yourself with on your Analytics report.
Acquisition Channels – Where did the site visitor originate?
Understanding how your website is getting traffic is one of the most important parts of marketing your insurance agency website. If you know how people are getting there, it can provide great insights into how your overall marketing campaigns are performing.
Acquisition channels are broken up into 6 main categories.
- Organic Search – This is where your SEO campaign shines. Is your website getting organic traffic? This means you showed up in search results as a result to a search in Google or Bing and the visitor clicked through to your site.
- Direct Traffic – Direct traffic is when someone goes directly to your website. For instance, if you’re looking for Tosten Marketing and you just type in: https://tostenmarketing.com into a search browser.
- Display – Paid search traffic that gets visitors to your site by displaying an advertisement on another site. Banner ads and image ads are the most common display ads.
- Referral Traffic – When someone is browsing another website and sees a link to your site embedded in an article or in a listing such as a directory listing.
- Paid Search – Traffic to your site that is generated by running paid ads in search engines such as Google and Bing.
- Social – Traffic to your site that came from a social media platform like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
How to see your acquisition channels:
From your main dashboard on the left hand side, navigate to Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Channels.
Audience Location – Where are the people physically located who visit your site?
Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of insurance agencies. Most I’d say only look at a number in their analytics for how many people visited their website. The more important question than how many is where.
For example. If you’re a licensed independent insurance agent in Texas, getting traffic from Canada, India and Japan really doesn’t do your website any good.
If your marketing is working correctly, you should get the bulk of your website traffic from the United States and furthermore, from the state that you have a physical presence in.
Identifying your audience location can be a great sign that your SEO and other digital marketing is working correctly. If you’re seeing a lot of traffic from other countries you’ll want to identify why. Perhaps you have a paid search campaign that isn’t properly setup, or it could even be a good indicator that you site may have malware.
How to see your Audience Location:
From the main dashboard on the left hand side, navigate to: Audience -> Geo -> Location (then if you want more specific state data, click on United States).
Audience Device – What type device did the visitor browse your site from?: Desktop, Mobile or Tablet
The importance of understanding what type of device the user visited your website with is important for a few reasons.
You can measure time on site and abandon rate variances between devices. Knowing this can help you identify opportunities such as improving bounce rate or time on site. For instance, if you see mobile has a high abandon rate, it may be because your site loads slowly or displays poorly on a mobile device.
How to see your Device Usage Type:
From the main dashboard on the left hand side, navigate to: Audience -> Mobile -> Overview
Site Content Overview: What pages did the user look at on your site?
Understanding what content on your site people visited can give you great insights into where your site is performing well or understanding where it is performing poorly. However, low traffic doesn’t always indicate poor performance – it may simply indicate low search volumes.
For instance, if the auto insurance page of your website has 100 visitors a month and your funeral home insurance page of your website has 2 visitors, it is likely because not many people are searching for “funeral home insurance.”
By understanding what content on your website is performing well and what content might be standing out can give you rich insights to do more targeted content around that topic that is driving traffic to your site.
How to identify Site Content
From the main dashboard on the left hand side, navigate to: Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages
Site Speed Suggestions: How quickly is your site loading and what can be done to improve?
Because speed is an SEO factor it is important to pay attention to a slow loading website. Google Analytics gives free insight and scores each of your pages with a PageSpeed score. This quick look can help you identify issues with your site and work with your website developer to improve these metrics.
For page speed, aim for a score of 80+. Perfection is impossible so a score of 80 or higher is a good goal.
How to view your Page Speed
From the main dashboard on the left hand side, navigate to: Behavior -> Site Speed -> Speed Suggestions.
Understanding these Google Analytics measurements will not only help you understand how your site is performing, but can help you identify issues with the site, issues with your digital marketing or areas in which you can simply improve upon. Ultimately you don’t need to spend too much time overanalyzing your reports. If you’re overwhelmed, a website audit can help identify areas of opportunity.
We hope you’ve found this post on Understanding Your Insurance Agency Website Google Analytics Reports helpful. By paying attention to these reports, you can continue to improve your website with the tools that the search engines give you.
Working remotely as an insurance agent is simple and you can absolutely run a successful insurance agency out of your home. The days of meeting with clients in person has passed and you no longer need a brick and mortar location to write business. In fact, most insurance companies today no longer require you to have a physical location and will give appointments to agents who work out of their home if they can display potential for new applications. What they care about is how much you can write and can you provide the same level of service from your home as you can from a physical location – the answer to that is yes you can.
How To Ensure Success
Set standard business hours & stick to them
When you work from your home it is easy to get distracted, work on house projects, go out to lunch, play with the dog etc. The best advice I can give on this is stay focused during business hours. Working from home has perks, but if you’re constantly doing other things because you can, this will hurt your business and your growth. Treat your business hours like you would have from a typical office.
Dedicate space in your home to your business
When we relocated our business from an office park to a home office we made sure that our dedicated space felt like work and was not multi-functional. We had some space so we actually built a detached office at our home. This space was great to keep work and home life separated. When we moved, our new home had a large flex space downstairs with a closed door and two separate work areas for a total of about 400 sqft. It is a great office and offers quiet closed door office space. It feels like work and is only used for work. Best of all, you can deduct the dedicated space from your taxes. Talk to you accountant about this.
Use Google My Business the same way just with one important change
Many people fail to utilize Google My Business when they work from home because they don’t want to display their home address on the internet. Great news: You don’t have to display your address! A single checkbox in Google My Business will hide your physical address but still provide you with all the advantages that Google My Business offers!
- Access your claimed Google My Business page.
- Go to the Info section, then the address field. Click the Pencil.
- Go to the bottom of the address field and click, “Clear Address”
- Next, go to the Service Area just below the address. If this is blank, you can specify where you service, such as within 25 miles of Redmond, WA. Remember, local search is all about being local so don’t push out your service area too far. Hyper local is better than too broad.
That’s it. You’re all set.
Have a great website & service center
Consumers will always visit insurance agency websites and look around. Whether it is to check you out or just find your phone number be sure that your website makes a great first impression. Invest in a professionally built website that looks great on desktop and mobile. Your mobile version should be a responsive version of your website, not a separate mobile site. Google’s mobile first indexing means your mobile site is indexed first, so be sure it is the same as your desktop. This is called mobile responsive design.
Now that you have a great looking site, offer your existing customers a way to service their own policy when you’re closed. Not only will this free up your time, but it offers them something that other agencies aren’t doing. These service centers can allow customer to request driver or vehicle changes, request proof of insurance or access links to make payments online. This little bit of extra service is what will help you grow your home based insurance agency from home.
If you have questions or need help with growing your home based insurance agency we’d love to help. We’ve spent years helping agents market their businesses and be successful online.
Watch Out For These Common Internet Marketing Scams
Unfortunately, there isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t talk to a client about common marketing scams that exist online. Whether it is received through your website contact form (most common), email or even by phone, protecting yourself from these common marketing scams can save you a huge headache. Here are 4 of the most common ones that seem to be recurring:
- Domain SEO Service
If you receive an unsolicited piece of mail listing your domain with a heading, “EXPIRATION OFFER NOTICE” or something like that and also mentions, “SEO REGISTATION” this is a scam and not something that you need.
Why is this a scam? You do not need to submit your domain to search engines. Additionally, this makes it appear that your domain is expiring. If you don’t remember who your domain is registered with, simply go to: https://whois.net and type it in. It will tell you your domain registrar as well as reference your domain renewal date. Not sure? Forward us a copy of the mail you received and we’ll help you out.
- Domain Renewal Scam
While this sounds like the first one, it is entirely different. When your domain is nearing its expiration (or not sometimes) you may receive a letter telling you to renew now! While this letter may be legitimate, it is always best to verify who your domain is registered with currently before filling out the renewal. Use the same tool: https://whois.net to verify your domain.
Why is this a scam? You do not want to transfer your domain away from where it is at. Doing so can interrupt your email and website as well as ruin your SEO. It is possible this new registrar will hold your domain name hostage too unless you pay them a fee to release it.
- Guest Blogging – “I’d like to share an article with you.”
If you receive an unsolicited email asking you to post an article written by someone you don’t know because they feel it is related to your website, this is completely self-serving. They’re looking for a link from your site.
Why is this a scam? Adding links to your website that go to off-page sources such as their website only benefit them. This takes away some of your page authority and sends it to them which can adversely impact your SEO. It is also highly unlikely that this blog will generate traffic on your website or that your audience would be interested in what their article is about.
- “I Visited Your Website and You’re not On Google” Email
Be wary of anyone saying they visited your website and have some suggestions or claim that you’re not listed in Google.
Why is this a scam? No reputable companies are searching the internet looking for websites that are not ranking well – in fact, if they found you online, then you’re probably doing okay! Additionally, insurance is the single most competitive keyword on the internet, so unless they understand insurance in the United States, how do you think they are going to help you?
The internet is full of scams. Your internet presence is critically important to your livelihood so don’t risk it by assuming someone is trying to help you out. If something doesn’t feel right, simply reach out to us to review it.
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Our Latest Blog Posts
- Protected: Website + SEO Service – Next StepsJune 18, 2020 - 11:33 am
- Technology & Strategies Every Agency Can Use For Working RemotelyMarch 19, 2020 - 12:01 pm
- Tutorial: Google Analytics For Insurance AgentsFebruary 13, 2020 - 2:51 pm
- How An Insurance Agency Can Successfully Run A Home Based BusinessSeptember 17, 2019 - 11:50 am