Insurance Agency Marketing Scams

Watch Out For These Common Internet Marketing Scams

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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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. “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.

Insurance Agency Website Design

8 Pillars of Amazing Insurance Agency Websites

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Great insurance agency websites can mean the difference between people looking for insurance and people buying insurance. There are no quick tricks left when it comes to marketing your insurance agency, just great work so you stand out in a crowded industry (the single most competitive online).

If you’re in the process of designing a new website, or working on an existing one, be sure to include these eight foolproof ways to improve your customer and prospective customer experiences.

  1. Visualization & Personalization

Your website has to look good and most professional website designers can make you a great looking site. First impressions are important and cheesy stock photos may not be your best option. Personalize your site with staff photos taken by a professional photographer and share some stories about why you’re in the business.  Be sure that your site gets your message across immediately. Tell that customer why you should be the choice for insurance within the first few seconds of them arriving to your site.

  1. Content

Without good content the search engines won’t find you. Write great landing page content for your site, explain coverages, and discuss different types of insurance and deductible options.

Feeling like you want to get more advanced? Learn basic SEO and optimize your website for search keywords to improve your search engine rankings.

  1. Easy to Navigate

Great insurance agency websites need great navigation. Be sure to organize your menu in ways that customers can find what they’re looking for. Also, be sure you have a search function on your site so people can type in what they’re looking for.

  1. Do-It-Yourself Options

Some people want to do things themselves and your website should allow them to do that. From quote options with comparative raters to Service Centers where they can get claims & payment information to requesting policy changes and proof of insurance cards. Be sure that your site has these basic features.

  1. Clear and Many Calls To Action

I still see a lot of websites that don’t have quote buttons. You really have to search the sites for how to get in touch with the agency. This is turning people away. Be sure that your website has three basic options:

  1. Quote Button
  2. Clearly displayed phone number (clickable to call on mobile)
  3. Text Us (or Chat feature)

6. Blog

Blogging is a hard thing to do consistently, but I promise it makes a huge difference in your search engine rankings if you do it correctly. Even if done poorly, the search engines will still reward you because your site has new content for it to index.

  1. Responsive Design

If you’re working on a new site, pretty much any design at this point will be responsive to different devices like mobile and tablets. If you’re working on an existing site, be sure that it is, if not it is time to consider a redesign. Because of mobile first indexing, avoid separate mobile versions of your website at all costs.

  1. Speed Optimization

Nobody likes slow websites and your abandon rate will increase tremendously with every second of additional load time. If your site loads slowly, people who visit your site will leave. Furthermore, it is a widely known fact that Google and other search engines use desktop and mobile speed in their search engine algorithms. Some quick tips on this are: compress images, eliminate flash, avoid sliders and excessive animation.

There is a lot that goes into making your insurance agency website stand out from the pack. By following these tips you’ll be in a great position to do well. If you’d like help creating your new site, we’d love to help. Our programs are designed to be automated and will include what is above as well as more items we didn’t discuss so you know everything is done right the first time.

 

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.

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.