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.

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.

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.

Utilization of your Marketing Budget in 2016

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Insurance Agency Marketing Options in 2016Marketing Budget

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!

Set-up Your Insurance Agency for a Successful 2014 by Implementing a Marketing Plan Now!

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2014 Insurance Agency MarketingPlanning your insurance agency marketing now will help align you for a successful 2014.

By Taber Streur

Agents far too often think that in order to have a great year, they need to implement their marketing plans early in the New Year. Instead, consider starting your marketing in the Fall to ensure your marketing plan is up and running smoothly PRIOR to the new year beginning.

Crickets

It never fails… September through December in our office is quiet with new business leads because insurance agents are letting the year coast out with their existing marketing in place. What many don’t consider is that waiting until the New Year to launch their marketing plan will only delay the opportunity to grow their business in the New Year. Marketing an insurance agency online takes time and patience and a successful insurance agency marketing campaign takes months to gear up. From registering with directories, to claiming your social media profiles and gaining a following, the sooner you begin revamping your insurance agency marketing, the better.

You’re at the mercy of the search engines

If your marketing plan includes updating your website with a new look and feel as well as a strategic content marketing strategy (blogs), the sooner you start, the more likely the search engines will begin visiting your site sooner as well as index your new website pages. It typically happens in a week, but if you have a stale, older website that hasn’t been updated in years, the search engines won’t likely visit your site very regularly. Once a content marketing program has been implemented it will benefit you to have started earlier so your pages are indexed and you can begin attracting customers through the search engine immediately.

Gain Followers

Growing your social media following on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn takes time and if you don’t work at it now, you’re bound to have a slow start to your year. Growing your social media following and networking now will allow you more access to new leads and a greater marketing pool in the New Year. Don’t forget the easy ways to gain followings. Your agents are your best resource. Ensure they’re reminding customers to like the agency on Facebook to receive important updates and notices. Many social media management companies can “keep the lights on” with regular social media posts, but only you and your agents in the office can truly grow your social media following.

Amass Your Blog Content Now

If it is slower in your office now and you have the time, consider getting your content marketing strategy started now so you can free up time when you get busy in the New Year. Having your blog articles written out in advance will allow you to post them quickly when you’re busier later in the year so you don’t have the added stress about writing the articles. Quickly post your articles, share on social media and get back to writing the business that will surely follow from your great post.

Assemble 52 weeks of Social Media Ideas

Finding fresh content to share on social media can take a huge amount of time and often leads to a large distraction. Consider taking one working day to compile 52 weeks of social media posts or ideas. Look for simple wins like “National Donut Day” or other fun, yet little known, national celebrations. We recommend a mix of fun with the business to keep your followers engaged. Let’s be honest, insurance is NOT that interesting to most people! Keep it light to keep your audience happy and visiting your page.

Managing an insurance agency marketing campaign can be a fun project and updating your online marketing will only benefit you in the long run. Become a resource for prospective clients and you’re sure to win them over. If the thought of managing an extensive online marketing campaign is overwhelming, consider hiring a company who specializes in insurance agents. We just so happen to be one who would love the opportunity to help you with your insurance agency marketing. Tosten marketing offers programs designed to be affordable, comprehensive and are proven to work. We specialize marketing the independent insurance agency channel. Be sure to visit our testimonials page to see what our clients have to say!