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.

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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!

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!