Google Website Requirements

Google Doesn’t Care About the Age of your Website but It Does Care About This

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Some businesses have the misconception that because their website is old and has been around for a really long time that it is better to “spruce it up” versus build out a new design. When it comes to your business website, one of the only things that matters is what Google thinks about it and where it ranks. And, Google does not care about how old your website is. It does however care about:

  1. How old your domain is. If you purchased a domain in 2000 your site will rank better than if you purchased a domain in 2017. That is a fact.
  2. How good and new your content is. If your site has great content and a lot of it that is fresh and updated frequently, it will rank better than a site that hasn’t added in any content in months (or years!). Google visits sites more frequently if they have new content (a blog) than sites that do not have content updated regularly. Simply put, they are considered more relevant.
  3. Can it crawl your site and understand what it is about: It is shocking how many websites lack the basics of SEO. If your homepage title is: “ABC123 Insurance” Google doesn’t really know what your page is about or where you’re located. Having a site that is properly optimized is absolutely critical. Tell Google what your site is about and where you’re located. “ABC123 Insurance Agency – Serving Seattle, WA Since 1943” is better.
  4. Mobile Responsiveness: Is yours site mobile responsive? It better be. In 2015 Google said it will penalize rankings of sites who are not mobile friendly. Nearly 50% of all agency website traffic is coming through mobile. Is your site mobile responsive? If not, it’s time for a rebuild.
  5. Links: If your site has been around a long time, it would be important to ensure any rebuild of your site preserves these links. It is easy to find sites that are linking to your content by using tools like When your designer rebuilds your site, be sure they either add redirects from these old links or preservers your link structure.

There are many things that can help your business succeed online. Understanding what doesn’t matter can be equally important and save your agency valuable marketing dollars.

Tosten Marketing is an insurance agency marketing company specializing in fully automated marketing programs that include website design, search engine optimization (SEO), insurance agency newsletters and more! We are endorsed by leading insurance carriers and help agents across the country manage marketing campaigns. If you’re interested in learning more about Tosten Marketing or getting in touch visit us online at

Insurance Agency Review Online

Utilize Online Reviews to Grow Your Insurance Agency

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Agents often ask, “What else can we be doing online to continue improving results?” The answer is simpler than most think: Online Reviews are more and more important in the search engine optimization (SEO) ecosystem. Soliciting reviews from your customers is not only imperative, but in my opinion one of the best ways agents are currently utilizing their staff and their own time.

How do I get Reviews Online?

To increase your reviews online you have to ask. If you don’t ask, you simply won’t get them. Agents who implement this into their daily strategy are benefitting now and will continue to lead other agencies including yours if you don’t begin using this free tool.

You employ great agents and you’re a great business owner yourself. We know time is limited at your agency, but during all policies being issues over the phone, taking payments, or while sending out the application to the client via email, you should be asking for a review. It only takes a second to ask!

Make it Easy for Clients to Review Your Business

Two of the best ways to easily get reviews from clients are also some of the easiest to implement.

  1. Your email signature: Add something along the lines of “Happy with our service, please LEAVE US A REVIEW” to your email signature. This way, they have the link every single time receive an email from you.
  2. Have your web developer add a page on your website dedicated to reviews and add buttons to the different platforms for reviews so all your clients have to do is click which one is best for them. Take the below example:

Agents that have reviews on Google, Facebook or Yelp, simply rank higher for local search. If you want to grow your business online you need to implement this strategy today! If we manage your agency marketing, we do our best to solicit reviews in newsletters, social media and on your website. By requiring you’re to add the small extra comment, “Would you mind leaving us a review? I will send you the link!” to every phone call!

Tosten Marketing is an insurance agency marketing company specializing in fully automated marketing programs that include website design, search engine optimization (SEO), insurance agency newsletters and more! We are endorsed by leading insurance carriers and help agents across the country manage marketing campaigns. If you’re interested in learning more about Tosten Marketing or getting in touch visit us online at

Marking Misconceptions in the Insurance Industry

Debunking Common, Misleading Marketing Promises or Guarantees

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Marking Misconceptions in the Insurance IndustryI can’t tell you how many agents over the years have said, “I’ve been burned by that before” or “Well, this other company promises…” One reason I started Tosten Marketing was because I disliked seeing agents get taken advantage of because the complexity of the web was too much for them to manage. Five and half years later I still talk to agents who have been taken advantage of. Let’s take a look a couple of these common promises that should be red flags.

Guaranteed Page One Google Rankings

This has to be the most common one I hear or see. Companies sending SPAM email that guarantees page one Google rankings. They even send them to our company email. The only way to guarantee page one Google Rankings is through a Google AdWords campaign. That’s it. These companies advertise themselves as SEO companies, but in reality, all they are doing is taking your money, siphoning some off the top and handing the rest to Google. AdWords is a great marketing tool, no doubt, but don’t be fooled by someone claiming they can guarantee ranking other ways. Only Google knows their algorithm and it changes hundreds of times per year. Now, if you were not in the most competitive industry online, insurance, and perhaps a taxidermist, you might be able to guarantee page one rankings.

Website Hosting $2.95 a month

Managing a web server is a lot of work. Many companies say “Get started for $2.95!” While this might be okay for a small, couple paged website that gets minimal website traffic, it just won’t work for most businesses. Not only do websites themselves require updates and malware protection, you also have bandwidth usage to monitor. Most insurance agency websites can run off of a basic web server plan, but keeping that site up and running is another story. We recently talked to a major malware monitoring company who said their minimum fee was $5,000 to remove malware from a website. While that is seemingly ridiculous my point is you won’t find an all-encompassing web host for $2.95 that serves all of your needs.

Submit Your Website to Search Engines

This one cracks me up. Let’s keep the answer simple. If you website is functional, the search engines will find it! Additional Search Engine Optimization techniques can certainly improve your positioning within the search engines as well as off-page optimization, but don’t fall for the ridiculous claim that you need to pay a company to “submit your website” to a search engine. It’s just not true!

Web marketing is complex, no doubt. But, avoiding these common, misleading marketing schemes can save you time and money. Talk to a reputable company and never sign on with a company who sends you an email unsolicited. Do your research, ask for references and you’ll be fine. If we’re lucky enough to talk to you, we hope you found us through a search engine, referral from an existing agent or one of our many partner insurance carriers. Good luck with your marketing!

Is a Microsite Right for your Insurance Agency?

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A microsite may benefit your agency by targeting a specific product or niche market.

If your agency writes many insurance products but you have a great niche, you may want to consider a microsite. Microsites are small, very specific websites (separate from your main website) with a collection of pages dedicated to only one product. The site would have a separate domain and would be associated to your main website through branding and backlinks. The microsite will have a look and feel all its own devoted to your specialized product.

Consider this example (a microsite can be anything, this is just for demonstration purposes):

A website dedicated to commercial auto can include landing pages for:

  • Box trucks
  • Semi-trucks
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Front loaders
  • Tank trucks
  • Auto haulers
  • Pickup trucks
  • Fleet vehicles
  • Garbage trucks
  • And many more!

Not into commercial auto? How about AirBnB, the marijuana industry, Uber & Lyft, or landlord insurance?

The benefits of a microsite are many:

  1. It works as a great email marketing piece
  2. It is indexed in the search engines as a separate website
  3. You can email it to a new lead so they can learn about your products without having to navigate past all the unrelated insurance products you offer.
  4. You can create a “microbrand” to go along with your microsite.
  5. Specific targeting for keywords and products
  6. Works great in conjunction with AdWords campaigns

If you’re considering a microsite for your business, we’re ready to help. Microsite marketing programs start at only $129 per month and include:

  1. A new domain
  2. Website design
  3. Content (up to 10 pages)
  4. Images
  5. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  6. Hosting
  7. Site Security (malware, hacking)
  8. Access to our AdWords campaigns (cost of ads separate)

If you’re ready to start your microsite and generate some new business leads contact us.

Retention Secrets for Your Insurance Business

Creating Lasting Customer Relationships

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Retention Secrets for Your Insurance Business

I recently had a customer service experience that was so extraordinary that I felt compelled to leave reviews online and now, write about my experience. This experience at Men’s Wearhouse left me thinking about earning customer’s for life. Not one-timers, but companies that earn my business even if their prices may be higher. I can think of a handful of these businesses who had such excellent customer service, that even if prices were better elsewhere, I would still go back. My insurance agent is also one of these companies. I’ve been there for years and unless they close, would not likely go anywhere else because of the exemplary customer service they’ve provided.

As a full-service insurance agency marketing company, we often forget to remind our clients of ways you can provide your customers service that will keep them loyal. Not only are there ways to improve your closing rate, but there are ways to grow your overall book of business. Take a look at these few items you can do to earn an insurance customer’s business.

Create a great culture

  1. Reach out

When was the last time you reached out to a customer just to check in? When did they hear about news from your agency like charity work, local community involvement, a new agent, new carriers you have or new products you offer like earthquake or life insurance?  Insurance agency newsletters are a great means to reach out to your customers and you can do this at a tiny cost! Companies like MailChimp and Constant Contact cost about $.01 per email address and have easy to use, mobile responsive e-newsletter creators. Thinking about mailing them? We’d recommend a mix of both mailed and electronic. If you have to go one way or the other, email is certainly the lower-cost route.

  1. Yearly Reviews

My agent calls me once a year. I know they’re busy writing new business, but they appreciate mine. It makes me feel good to hear from them. So many other agents through the years simply wrote my business and I never heard from them again. My agent calls and ask if anything has changed, if I’m happy with my rates and offers me options like breaking up my home and auto insurance if they see something that I don’t. I’ve had it a variety of ways from packaged with one carrier to 3 separate companies.

  1. Offer value

When I look back at my Men’s Wearhouse experience, I was offered a retail value and exceptional customer service. They went above and beyond to ensure I was happy. With insurance, we don’t have a tangible product, nor can we mark it down in price to make someone happy. We need to be more creative. You can offer clients value in many ways. You know your companies inside and out and just by talking to your customers, you probably know whose rates will be best and what company profile they will fit best. Simply showing your customers your rates is a great way to build trust and show them, “hey, I’m trying to earn your business.” Please note, we are not saying rate shopping is the best approach for all agencies. Offering many company choices is a great value. Multiple quotes provided by a comparative rater is a value.

  1. Give back

I love giving to charity. Both in my personal life and in my business. Giving to charity or donating time can be a part of your business culture. My insurance agent donates time of the business, time of her employees and monetarily to causes she believes in. Letting your customers know you’re giving back to your community or other charitable organizations shows them that money they spend with you is going to a greater cause. It makes them feel good to spend money with you. It’s a win-win.

Just like my experiences, you too can create lifelong customers for your insurance agency. We do what we can, providing services to our clients to help them along the way. It may not generate more revenue for us immediately, but the long-term benefit of the services we provide for free from time to time far outweighs the negatives of those services.