Can I Get Quick Results from my Online Insurance Agency Marketing?

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Marketing your Insurance Agency Online Requires Patience

by Taber T. Streur           Insurace Agency Marketing Takes Time

Now that you’ve made the decision to market your agency online, you want results! For many insurance agents, the decision to market their business through the use of the internet is a new and exciting venture. For others, the process is overwhelming. There are many things to take into consideration when you decide to market your agency online whether you’re using a professional insurance agency marketing company like Tosten Marketing, or whether you’re deciding to try it on your own.

1. Results will take time. Many don’t understand that the internet is actually stored on servers. When you make a change online, it can sometimes take up to a month for those changes to be reflected on Google or another search engine even though they may be active and live on your website. This process is called indexing. Indexing occurs when a search engine visits your website to see if there are any changes. If you’ve made changes to your website, the search engine will note those changes and store them on the computer.

2. Directories can take months to update. Local directory listings are a necessary evil. First off, there are literally hundreds of them you could fill out if you had enough time. Then, when you do take the time to fill them out, the directories will take up to 9 months to update your information! If you’ve recently moved, the process can be an unpleasant one. Start with the ones people use most, then move on to the local directory ecosystem and figure out what few sites can update many!  Remember to keep your name, address and phone number (NAP) consistent across all directories! Here are a few good ones that we start with that will get you almost immediate results if done correctly:

  • Google+ Local (and update with posts just like you do with Facebook!)
  • Bing Local Business Portal
  • Yahoo Local
  • Calculateme.com
  • BBB.org
  • MapQuest
  • Yelp
  • Angie’s List
  • Super Pages
  • Local.botw.org

Matt Marko, a Marketing Manager for Progressive Insurance, recently did a podcast where he explains much about local search, specifically Google+. It’s worth a listen as he explains why it is so much more than just a social media platform.

So, What Can I do While I’m Waiting for my Online Insurance Agency Marketing to Kick in?

Well, you should take a look at our previous blog post about what every insurance agency must do in 2013.  Here we discuss the importance of each aspect of marketing your business online. Furthermore, there are many things agency owners or managers can do themselves such as social media posts, blogging, and newsletters.

A successful marketing campaign can take over a year to build and it should be expected to see little if no results immediately, especially if you’re starting from scratch.  A recent customer of ours wanted to rank immediately for the keywords auto insurance Las Vegas. We explained this is a competitive market and results will take time! Don’t get discouraged, it will be worth your effort! If you can set aside an hour or two a week toward your online marketing efforts you can completely transform your marketing footprint. If you’re looking to get into a new website and build it out, consider platforms like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. They’re free content management system that easily allows you to update your website and blog until your heart is content. Best of all, they doesn’t require any complicated coding (for simple design)!

If the thought of marketing your insurance agency online is daunting, we’d be happy to lend a hand. We have affordable insurance agency marketing programs that can be up and running in as little as a week! Our customer’s time commitment is typically less than 15 minutes! Because our only customers are insurance agents, we understand what you do each day. Check out what others have to say about their experience with us by visiting our testimonials page.  Still have questions? Fill out the form on the right -> and we’ll get in touch with you to discuss how you can make change the direction of your insurance agency with a comprehensive marketing plan designed around your business. Happy marketing!

Tosten Marketing is dedicated to independent insurance agencies. Our programs are designed to be affordable for small to medium sized agencies. Currently Tosten Marketing markets for agents in 8 states across the U.S. If you’d like a free, no obligation consultation, please feel free to contact us.

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!

 

Google+ and Google Places … anyone confused?

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Google+ Local How to

Utilizing Google Places & Google+ for your Insurance Agency Marketing

by Taber Streur

Recently Google announced (okay, so it was back in May) that it would be moving away from Google Places and begin migrating information over to a new platform for Google+ local pages. While this has confused many business owners, don’t fret.

While many business owners have taken it upon themselves to create their new Google+ Local page for their business, Google assures us that they will eventually (best guess, maybe 6 months from today?) migrate the information you have on your Google Places account and place it on your Google+ Local account. Once that page is created, you can go through the process of claiming your page. Unfortunately, verification is currently only available via postcard. Sigh.

Some other information that you may find useful about Google+ Local is that your posts are search friendly. So, when you’re posting updates on your Google+ local page ensure you’re adding great keywords that people might be looking for.

If you have questions about this or other local search for your small business, feel free to reach out as we’re always here to help. For a “how to” visit Google+. Also, you can always find us there too!

 

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!

Isn’t a website enough?

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Insurance Agency Websites – More than Just a Pretty Design!

by Taber Streur

We know, websites can be expensive! We just signed up a new client who said they spent $7,000 on a new website with another developer, but then they found out, they were responsible to add the content to the website! Fortunately for us, we were able to get them as a new client, but we’d prefer it had not been because they’d been burned!

Websites are a powerful means to attract a new client. Furthermore, simply having a website that looks good can mean landing a new client. Take for instance the last time you shopped online and found yourself at an online retailer who had a crummy website. My guess is you looked elsewhere until you found one that you liked better.

The same goes for insurance or any other service related business – ours included! Having a nice website can mean the difference between landing a new client and not landing one.
When you’re considering investing in a new website, take everything into consideration. Who is going to write the content for my site? Does this cost include optimization? Is this a one-time optimization or will you revisit our site once in a while?

At Tosten Marketing, we work to complete an entire website solution, not just par of one. I once heard that having a website without optimization is like applying for a job without a resume… you’re not going to get very far!

If you’d like more information on our services, feel free to contact us. Our services are meant to be affordable, even on a modest budget.