Utilization of your Marketing Budget in 2016

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Insurance Agency Marketing Options in 2016

Not much has changed from 2015 to 2016 so far. But that doesn’t mean that figuring out where to spend your marketing budget is any easier this year. How much do you spend on each item and area? How do you compete? How long will it take to recoup your investment? It really all depends on what you want to accomplish and in what time you’d like to see results.

Responsive Website Design

Last year, mobile responsive website design became a big deal. If your site wasn’t mobile friendly, the search engines decided it wasn’t as relevant for mobile users (currently about 35% of all searches) and penalized your organic rankings by not displaying your agency website on mobile devices. If your site is mobile friendly, great! If you’re not sure, utilize this great tool from Google themselves to see if your website is mobile friendly.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Sure, we’ve all heard about how important search engine optimization (SEO) is for your insurance agency. But my goodness it can be expensive. We often times tell agent to break up their insurance agency marketing budget into categories at the beginning of the year and determine how much of it goes to each area. Our recommendation should be to spend no more than 30% of your budget on SEO specific activities. Search engine optimization has both on-page and off-page activities to complete. Make sure that your SEO vendor can provide you with specific examples of work they’ve done in the insurance industry. All SEO providers are not the same. Find one that specializes in insurance and understands the complexity of our industry.

Great Web Hosting

Believe it or not, how your website is hosted can make a difference for your search rankings. If your website provider is slow and response times limited, it can impact your customers patience and willingness to stay on your site. Additionally, providing a secure connection (even if you don’t transmit sensitive information) can help! Ask about an SSL certificate and dedicated IP address.

Content Marketing

Adding regular, up-to-date content to your website is critically important. Consider writing a blog a few times a month and publishing it to your site. This will show the search engines that you have an active site that is growing! Sites that are active and growing appear to be more relevant versus a static website that hasn’t changed in months. Having trouble thinking of things to write about? Look to your customers! Customers ask questions all the time. Write those questions down for your blog ideas. If they’re asking, others are asking search engines the same questions. You can become an expert by answering questions about insurance and writing them to your blog. Next, post your blog to social media for others to share.

Retention Efforts – Newsletters & Social Media

I am yet to hear of many insurance agents that have been really successful marketing their businesses to new customers on social media. Social media at this time remains a good tool for retention purposes and to showcase the good, local involvement you have in your communities. Charity work, donations, events and other things are great ways to showcase your business. Utilize these marketing pieces in your newsletters and social media. Should newsletters be mailed or emailed? Mailing newsletters has a substantial cost. We’ve seen agents with great results by doing a mix of mail and email. Want a 3rd party vendor to manage this for you? Consider using them as supplemental only as they can’t know what you’re doing in your business all the time.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Pay-per-click, also known as AdWords for Google or Bing Ads for Bing, can be really expensive if not setup properly. When you setup your PPC campaign, be sure to utilize the location target. This will ensure your ad only shows up where you actually want it to! Also, select your keywords carefully and use negative keywords for products you don’t want to target. PPC rarely has an immediate return on investment, but over the policy life expectancy (PLE) you can build a great return on your investment!

Eliminate Losses

Are you investing in marketing programs that simply don’t return your money? You should closely look at your marketing output to determine if it is worthwhile. Use this simple calculation to figure out your ROI.  (number of policies written) * (average policy premium) * (commission) * (average PLE) = TOTAL LIFETIME COMMISION – (Cost of program) . For instance if you  have a campaign that costs $5,000  and you write 10 policies with an average value of $1,000 per year, at 12.5% commisison and your PLE is 3.5 years it looks like:

(10 policies) * ($1,000 commission) * (12.5%) * (3.5 years) = $4,375 lifetime commission – $5,000 marketing cost = $-625. Now, subtract your yearly spend. If it is greater than the lifetime commission, consider eliminating the venture.

 

If you’d like help running a marketing campaign for your independent insurance agency, we’d love to win you over. We offer programs that fit almost every budget. Our team is excited about marketing and we love working with our customers to develop strong online marketing programs for you. Click the contact us now button on the right and get started today!

Utilize Google Authorship for your Insurance Agency

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Google Authorship can help Improve Credibility and Develop Trust for your Insurance Agency!

By Taber StreurGoogle+ Author Insurance Marketing

Google authorship is a quick and easy way to establish credibility at your insurance agency.  As a small business owner, you’re constantly looking for ways to get noticed in your local communities and to drive traffic to your website or business door. Content marketing is without question one of the best ways to get traffic to your website. Posting well written articles on your website can produce new traffic avenues to your site and build customer engagement.  What better way to get your content displayed and noticed than to participate in the Google Authorship program! Google, the leader in internet search, will provide your agency with a picture of you, your name and your article prominently in the search results.

Having Google prominently display your name and picture in the results will only add to the credibility of your website and post.Google Authorship Insurance Agents

So, why should you care about Google Authorship?

  1. Attention: Having a picture next to your article is unique and not only lends to the credibility to your article, but helps in developing trust with the reader.
  2. Sooner Indexing: Having Google verified authorship may set your articles up to be indexed sooner than they would be otherwise.
  3. Ownership: It clearly claims ownership of the article to you!
  4. Website Traffic: More traffic = more prospects to your business.

If you’re not convinced yet, consider this: It takes only one minute to verify authorship! If you already have a Google+ account, and chances are you do (even if you may not be using it), the confirmation process takes literally moments.  Just go to http://plus.google.com/authorship to start the confirmation process.

There are countless things to blog about at your insurance agency. Consider funny claims that have occurred, coverage questions like, “do I need rental car insurance?” or “Will my umbrella insurance cover me in Europe?”

Tosten Marketing provides SEO services for insurance agents, we also write content for blogs, social media and more. If you’d like help with your insurance agency marketing give us a call or shoot us an email. We’re always willing to help agents with ideas to continue the march forward!

 

Happy Marketing!

7 Things Your Insurance Agency Must Do in 2013

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Insurance Agency Marketing in 20137 Things Your Insurance Agency Must Do in 2013

Insurance Agency Marketing in 2013

by Taber Streur

The New Year is upon us and it is the best time to implement your marketing plans for the coming year. No doubt you have some goals, but how are you going to get there? By utilizing the 7 items below, you can start your year off right and get a head start on achieving your goals. If any of them are too much for you, feel free to contact us at Tosten Marketing for help.

1. Modernize your website

Consumers want to purchase from a company that has a nice website. Of 200 people surveyed about making a purchase decision, only 3 said that the company’s website had no effect on their purchase decision. If your website is old, outdated or has stale content on it, consider updating it early this year. There is no reason to wait! Consider these few items when creating your new website:

  1. Each page should have a minimum of 400 words on it.
  2. Put your most important products first. Search engines read the pages from top to bottom, left to right. (And, so do consumers, usually!)
  3. Avoid templates (themes are okay). Your business is unique – Your website should be too.
  4. Write your content for consumers, not for search engines.
  5. Include your social media links and a company blog.

2. Blog

What exactly is a blog? A blog is simply short for weblog. A blog is a great place to showcase ideas and add valuable content to your website, regularly. A blog easily allows you to write about a new service, lower rates, explain coverages and more. When you blog, it adds new, fresh content to your website. Search engines love this. WordPress is a valuable blogging software that can easily be added to your domain such as http://tostenmaketing.com/learn (we chose to use learn, rather than the word blog).

3. Produce Video

Video is important now, and it was important last year. If you haven’t started to utilize video at your insurance agency, now is the time. Video is important because it is considered rich media and the search engines love this! We take video a step further and include search engine optimization (SEO) with our client videos. This allows them to show up in search results and can direct more traffic to your website. What content should your videos contain? How about an agent explaining what comprehensive coverage covers, or what water damage isn’t covered by a typical home insurance policy. The topics are limitless.

4. Get a Mobile Website

Okay, we’ve been hearing it for a few years now, but currently only about 15% of our agents website traffic comes through on mobile devices. 2013 just might be the year that this changes. How many people do you know have a smartphone? A tablet? Probably quite a few! Mobile will soon outpace the desktop for search. Your agency should be prepared with a mobile friendly website. Be sure to include a link to your whole site, but general guidelines for a mobile website should be a clear location, phone number and brief description of your business. Keep it simple with minimal pictures to improve load times.

5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization can be a painstaking process, requires constant attention and you must follow Google’s strict webmaster guidelines to ensure you don’t get put into the “sandbox.” Take that and pair it with the fact that insurance is one of the most competitive industries on the internet and you’ve got quite a task ahead of you! When optimizing your website look for easy wins. It’s not easy to rank for “Insurance Seattle, WA” so don’t waste your homepage on that term. Look for niche markets such as a small insurance company you represent with a large local presence. Here in the northwest we have several such as Mutual of Enumclaw, PEMCO, Oregon Mutual, Sublimity and more! Optimizing for these terms gives you a better chance of ranking on page one than if you were to try to compete with national carriers such as Farmers, Allstate and GEICO. Look for local optimization wins and be sure to utilize Google’s free keyword tool (just Google “keyword tool.”)

6. LinkedIn

Tosten Marketing can tell you first hand that we’ve gotten business through LinkedIn! LinkedIn is a powerful tool to create a professional network unlike any other. Think about all that is “overshared” on Facebook and then contrast that with the professional posts that are written on LinkedIn. LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to work with others such as real estate agents, mortgage brokers and other small business owners to generate business for each other. If you haven’t already, create a profile, spend some time clearly explaining what you do and then start searching for people to network with. Networking does generate referrals! We’re proof!

7. Create a Newsletter

It is said that it is 75% less expensive to retain an existing customer that it is to gain a new one. It is also said that the #2 reason (second only to price) that people leave their insurance agent is they haven’t heard from their agent. A newsletter is a fantastic way to stay in touch with your existing customers. In your newsletter, talk about seasonal risks such as boating or motorcycles, pipes freezing and cleaning your gutters. Talk about a new insurance company you have, highlight a new endorsement you offer. By sending out a newsletter you can touch your customers, showing that your agency is still working for them, informing of any changes that may impact them. They add value.

By taking these steps now, you’re sure to get more business and make for a better year for your insurance agency. If you feel that the above tips are too much, please feel free to contact us. We know you’ll be amazed at the value we offer our clients. Best of luck in the New Year!

 

Why have an insurance agency blog?

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Insurance Agency Blogging: Content, Keywords, Differentiation

by Taber Streur

Often I am asked, “Why do I need a blog?” While I often give the short answer of, “it helps you be found on the internet,” the answer isn’t quite so simple.

Let’s address a few more reasons to have a blog for your insurance agency.

1.      Fresh content on your website

Search engines love when a website has fresh content. Writing a blog is an easy way to add new content to your website without constantly modifying your website’s page content. A blog is easily installed through a program like WordPress to most websites. Then, you simply post a new article to your blog and the search engines pick it up as if it were new content on your website. Eventually, if you keep blogging, your website will become huge – full of great keywords, information and content overall.

 

2.      KeywordsInsurance Agency Blog

Okay, this kind of goes along with #1, but keywords are very important to search engines. Say for instance you want to blog about life insurance. This gives your website a page about life insurance, plus a blog post about life insurance. You’re essentially doubling your chances to show up in search for the term you decide to blog about. It is important to have someone optimize your blog or do it yourself by adding the keywords in the post title, blog post header and in the first sentence. Then put a couple references to it throughout.

 

3.      Differentiate your agency from others

What happens when you visit a website that sells something and you can find lots of information about that product? It probably makes you more comfortable with your decision to purchase from that company because you feel they’re an expert in their field or product. The same goes for your insurance agency. If you establish yourself as an insurance expert and people can find great information on your website, you’re likely to get some clients from it.

A final word:

There are many other reasons to start an insurance agency blog. However, keep your expectations moderate. A blog won’t suddenly increase your business however, if done correctly and consistantly, over time, you will establish a huge website with tons of content. Search engines LOVE content because after all, “content is king.” (did I really just say that?)

If you’re interested in blogging, feel free to reach out to us about it. Inquire about our blogging program that will add 24 articles per year to your insurance agency website. Fully optimized so you can be found online!