Guest post from Steve Anderson, nationally recognized expert in agency automation and social media, will be here for an encore presentation of his popular Agency Internet Boot Camp on June 18th. Don’t miss out on this working seminar designed to give you the tools you need to use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube to enhance both the visibility and the revenue of your insurance agency.
In the past, being visible on an Internet search results page required a fairly decent website and some basic knowledge about search engine optimization. While an agency website is still the cornerstone of your Internet presence, it is no longer nearly enough. In today’s interconnected world, being visible to prospects that are searching for insurance information requires a much broader Internet presence than a single website.
Following is a list of some of the areas that every insurance agency needs to explore in order to expand their visibility and become “findable” on the Internet.
Agency website(s): As just mentioned, an agency website is a cornerstone of your strategy. Your existing website should be transformed into a customer service portal specifically designed for current clients. Your prospecting and marketing website(s) are then designed for the specific type of business or line of coverage you are marketing.
Website content: Every agency needs to consistently update their website with fresh content. I know what some of you are thinking: How can I write a article? When will I have the time? I can assure you that creating new information to put on your site is much easier than you think.
Fresh updated content will help increase your findability on search engines. Search engines like fresh content and they reward you with a higher possibility of showing up on a search engine results page.
Local search: Insurance search terms are in the top three most expensive paid terms on Google. Most organizations simply can’t compete with the advertising budgets of the Progressives and Geicos of the world. But any organization can compete when they maximize their local search presence. Every agency with a physical location needs to claim their Google Place. Facebook Place and LinkedIn Company page.
Facebook: Every agency needs to have a well-designed Facebook page for your agency. This is an important first step. Facebook advertising should also become a vital part of your marketing budget.
LinkedIn: Successful producers know that the core of their success is based on being able to network effectively. LinkedIn provides a platform that allows you to network with other business owners, just as you do with Rotary or Chamber meetings. Every person in your agency should have a fully complete LinkedIn profile.
Twitter: I don’t care what people are having for lunch—but Twitter has become much more than a narcissistic listing of the details of your lives. For me, it has become another research tool. If someone I trust tweets information about an article they found helpful, I’m more likely to read that article. Search engines also have begun indexing tweets in real time. Tweets will help increase your Internet presence.
YouTube: Video is big—really big. YouTube is a great site to help you build your video presence. You can create video’s that explain coverage, or provide information in an emergency.
Mobile: “There’s an app for that” is a phrase everyone is hearing more and more. Add to this the dramatic increase in tablet platforms like the Apple iPad and the Motorola Xoom. Mobile is big and will just get bigger. Your agency needs a customized agency mobile app.
Text: The average teenager sends over 4,000 text messages a month. Text is how a growing number of your prospects and clients communicate—not just with friends but with everyone. What are you doing to make text a communication option for your clients?
Ratings and reviews: Consumers have a voice today unlike any time in the past. But, this option makes most agency owners very nervous. “What if someone gives us a bad review?” is a question I hear often. A negative review is your opportunity to know about a problem, take steps to try to correct the problem, and then let others know how you handled the issue. A negative review is your opportunity to shine. If you receive a lot of negative reviews, then you have other problems that management must address.
We recommend that you spend 15 to 30 minutes each day working on maximizing your Internet presence. Decide what is the most important for your agency and simply begin. It is more important for you to start than to worry about making everything perfect. You will make mistakes. Some items won’t work well for you. That’s OK. Learn and keep moving forward.
Keep in mind that maximizing your Internet presence is not a project that you complete; it’s a process that you need to build into your marketing, sales, and customer service strategy.
Steve Anderson provides information to insurance agents about how they can use technology to increase revenue and/or reduce expenses. He speaks professionally to hundreds of agents each year at National Alliance events and at many state association conventions and technology forums on the future of technology, the social web, and how insurance agencies can establish their Internet presence. He has authored many articles that have appeared in virtually every insurance industry publication. Steve has over 30 years experience in the insurance community. Check out his website for more information: http://steveanderson.com