Social Media Tips For B2B Insurance Agencies

A strong social media presence can be challenging to achieve for B2B (business to business) insurance agencies. Many B2B companies struggle to showcase their professionalism, and build an audience through social media marketing. Consider the following tips to help make sure your agency is maximizing your social media marketing efforts. Create Your Online Persona Your…

A strong social media presence can be challenging to achieve for B2B (business to business) insurance agencies. Many B2B companies struggle to showcase their professionalism, and build an audience through social media marketing. Consider the following tips to help make sure your agency is maximizing your social media marketing efforts.

Create Your Online Persona

Your social media presence should have a well-defined personality. Informative, helpful, engaging, timely and relevant are all characteristics top B2B social media accounts consider when creating their online persona. Decide what your online voice will sound like. Will you be formal or informal, speaking to individuals or businesses, sounding like a reporter or an op-ed contributor? Will you be sharing company employee events, creating contests, reporting on industry changes or regulations, or all of the above? Your agency goal is to build rapport and a sense of community with both clients and prospects. But first you need to determine your social media persona.

Create a Written Strategy Including Prospect Scorecard & Buyer Persona

When creating your marketing strategy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is your target online audience – and how diverse is this group? Start by creating a Prospect Scorecard.
  • Which social platforms will best target that audience? You may have to search the different platforms to see which social media platforms are most applicable to your clients and prospects.
  • What type of content will that target audience find most useful? Would it be infographics, long-form articles, tech support information, breaking news commentary, regulatory updates, or some combination of all of these?
  • What are your short term and long term social media goals? Perhaps your short term goal is simply consistent content sharing. And your long term goal includes an ad budget for growth and prospect engagement.
  • How are your competitors using social media? You can learn a lot about what to do and what not to do by studying your competitors.

Comment on News & Regulations Relevant To Your Target Industries

Offering commentary on breaking news and changing industry regulations is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge in your industry and to provide your clients with insights on how to understand these updates. This can lead to higher engagement levels and increased exposure to your social media pages. You can use Google Alerts and social media alerts to monitor industry keywords and stay on top of dynamically changing events.

Organic Vs. Paid Posts

Once your insurance agency is consistently posting quality content, you can consider posts boosts and ads. You may want guidance with this, as the budget can get sprint quickly, and multivariate split testing with compelling images and custom graphics can dramatically improve your reach and ROI.

Achieve A Respectable Follower Base

Looking professional and demonstrating a respectable number of followers and engagement level is half the battle when starting on your insurance social media marketing initiative. The top platforms your agency should leak are: LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, likely in that order, though your target markets could impact this. LinkedIn and YouTube can be very valuable to B2B businesses. LinkedIn is a good place to start, it's very much a business centric platform. Then leverage YouTube videos, recorded webinars or even simple voice over PowerPoint updates. Try to build up your follower base as quickly as possible, to a respectable number. For example, this might be 500 followers on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Although 5,000 or more would be great, initially your agency is striving to attain a baseline of professionalism and credibility.

10 Insurance Agency Online Marketing Ideas For Agents & Brokers

Starting an internet marketing campaign or even improving an existing one can be a challenging task. Where should insurance agencies begin, and what should they focus on? Here are 10 great online ideas to help your agency improve your online marketing initiatives. 1. Blog and Vlog Blogging is a fantastic way to showcase your expertise…

Starting an internet marketing campaign or even improving an existing one can be a challenging task. Where should insurance agencies begin, and what should they focus on? Here are 10 great online ideas to help your agency improve your online marketing initiatives.

1. Blog and Vlog

Blogging is a fantastic way to showcase your expertise and attract visitors to your website. General topics typically get lost in the shuffle. Consider writing about very specific topics that are relevant to your clients and prospects. If you're a trucking insurance agency, for example, this means topics on CSA updates, DOT regulations, fuel economics, fleet management, fuel theft, cargo theft, etc. Use videos to make your blogs more compelling and sticky. And make sure your blogs (and website) are mobile friendly!

2. Improve Your Google Ranking / Insurance Agency SEO

Google ranking is one of the holy grails of internet marketing. Being on the first page is where it is at. When evaluating your online marketing initiatives, keep in mind how they can positively impact your search engine rankings. Track your SEO progress and review your website analytics to determine where your traffic originates.

3. Create a Webinar Series

Not enough agencies take advantage of online webinars. Monthly or even quarterly webinars do a lot to elevate you from an insurance sales group to an advisor and consultant. Webinars can be recorded and offered as high value on demand digital collateral after the webinar. And webinars provide a high value reason to contact clients and prospects in ongoing email drip campaigns.

4. Use Explainer Videos

Explainer videos, also referred to as value proposition or whiteboard videos, can be very useful for online marketing because they are typically short, sticky, entertaining and reusable on multiple mediums. They can be posted on your insurance agency website, your branded YouTube channel, Vlogs, and in an email marketing campaign. You can give your best sales pitch to every prospect. Create videos for each major silo in your company (commercial lines, personal lines, benefits, manufacturing, trucking, etc.), and distribute it broadly using social media.

5. Maximize Social Media

Social media is often an untapped resource for most agencies. At a minimum, every agency should have a professional and branded presence on all major social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. Beyond this they should have a “respectable” number of followers. Social media advertising can be effective for agencies, but this is a more complex initiative and should either be staffed internally or outsourced to an expert.

6. Create a Google+ Agency Page

Even though most people do not use Google+, Google will reward you with a better page ranking if you create one, and post regularly. It only takes a few minutes and will be worth the effort to improve your insurance agency search engine optimization initiative.

7. Leverage Client Testimonials or Case Study Vignettes

Happy clients will always sell your business better than you can. Profile your loyal customers, and ask them a few questions about what they love about your company. Even better, create a video and post it to your website. You can also create anonymous case study vignettes, short case studies of client success stories using type of business and general location, but not their names.

8. Use LinkedIn To its Full Potential (and get your employees to help)

If your agency is a commercial lines or benefits agency, LinkedIn is the place to be. You should invest time in LinkedIn to ensure a professional company page, ongoing posts, and to create a policy to help your employees help your agency marketing efforts on LinkedIn. Join groups and create your own to extend your reach.

9. Press Releases – News Releases

Press Releases, often referred to as News Releases in the rapidly changing world of PR, offers agencies a great online opportunity to extend their brand recognition, and improve their insurance agency search engine optimization. There are both free services and paid services that are available to agencies. Needless to say, all News Releases should start as a post on your insurance agency website, then move to a News Release service, then pushed out via social media.

10. Use Online / Email Newsletters

E-newsletters provide agencies an opportunity for high quality, direct communication with clients and prospects. There are many cloud based solutions that provide attractive, mobile complaint, newsletter templates. Or you can outsource this initiative to a profitable insurance marketing agency. A great email marketing newsletter campaign can have a large impact on your online marketing efforts.

If your agency lacks the internal resources to complete your online initiatives, consider outsourcing them to a profitable insurance agency marketing firm.

Malware Trends Insurance Agencies Should Watch Out For In 2017

Insurance agencies and brokers should remain vigilant when it comes to their websites and possible malware attacks. They need a backup plan, a fallback plan and should be sharing website and email security best practices with all their employees on a consistent basis. Malware is Becoming More Evasive and Aggressive There has been a large…

Insurance agencies and brokers should remain vigilant when it comes to their websites and possible malware attacks. They need a backup plan, a fallback plan and should be sharing website and email security best practices with all their employees on a consistent basis.

Malware is Becoming More Evasive and Aggressive

There has been a large increase in evasive malware behavior in the last year. Evasive malware attempts to undermine traditional security technologies with new methods. Novel methods must be continuously created to thwart these attacks. Make sure you are using a quality website security option that keeps its malware solutions up-to-date and at the cutting edge. Hosting providers such as GoDaddy, 1 & 1 and many more all offer a variety of security and malware monitoring and removal options. Malware advancement moves quickly and your insurance agency security solutions need to remain updated and current.

Modified Browser Settings

All major browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari) have experienced an increase in malware programs which can modify browser settings and important security-relevant proxy settings. Attackers are turning compromised systems into proxies so that further malware injections can be implemented. To help prevent this attack, never open unknown or questionable links, and train all employees to follow this important best practice.

Password Guessing Attacks

For this type of attack, the malware starts the authenticating process procedure and uses common username and password combinations to attempt to gain access to a website and escalate privileges. Brute force attacks are not new, but they are no longer contained to desks. A recent study found that 53 popular mobile applications were vulnerable to password guessing attacks. Those vulnerabilities placed around 600 million users in danger of being hacked. Always use complex, unique passwords to keep access to your site protected against this type of attack, and use a sophisticated password time out option.

Enterprise-Level Database Leaks Via The Cloud

Cloud services have become an increasing solution for businesses. This, in turn, has caused an increased interest in exploiting cloud vulnerabilities. Awareness of the vulnerabilities and risks of storing commercial information on the cloud is not growing as fast as the sophistication of cloud attacks. As cloud data management becomes too difficult to wield, new security vulnerabilities may be discovered. It is important that your agency utilizes reputable cloud based solutions, and that you follow the best practices above, for all your cloud based applications.

If your agency lacks the in-house resources necessary to maintain and update a secure insurance agency website, you can consider outsourcing this to a proficient outsourced IT organization or an insurance marketing agency which is proficient with insurance websites.

6 Cyber Security Tips to Help You Protect Your Insurance Website From Hacking

Cyber ​​security threats are constantly changing. It is important to stay on top of emerging trends to keep your insurance agency website secure. A secure website not only protects your customers, it protects your brand. Here are the six top tips to help you keep your insurance website protected. Be Cautious When Creating Login Credentials…

Cyber ​​security threats are constantly changing. It is important to stay on top of emerging trends to keep your insurance agency website secure. A secure website not only protects your customers, it protects your brand. Here are the six top tips to help you keep your insurance website protected.

  1. Be Cautious When Creating Login Credentials
    Giving someone access to the back-end of your website is sort of like giving someone a key to your business. Maintain caution when giving someone login access and always keep login access to the minimum amount of people necessary to keep your website up-to-date.
  2. Update Security Patches, Limit Password Attempts, Use Malware Protection Software
    One of the most proactive ways you can keep would-be hackers at bay is to keep all aspects of your website's code updated. When security patches, plugins, or dependency updates are released, install them as soon as possible. Hackers are constantly looking for exploits to popular coding methods. When an exploit is discovered it is typically patched by the code developers as quickly as possible. The sooner you update your code the sooner you remove a threat that's accessible to thousands of hackers. And all insurance websites should use a malware detection and prevention solution and limit password attempts.
  3. Create a “We've been hacked” Response Plan
    Even the best attempts at keeping your site from hacking can fall short. It is absolutely imperative you have a response plan. Audit logs, backups, and contact information for IT support should be included in your response plan.
  4. Collect Detailed Activity Logs
    Make sure you have access to log reports on all back-end website functions, to help pinpoint issues when a break occurs. Every login attempt, page adjustment, code adjustment, and plugin addition should be logged with user time stamps.
  5. Perform frequent backups and keep a copy of recent backup data off concessions.
    Backing up your website should be an integral part of your response plan, and some hosting providers offer daily backup services. How often you need to backup your website will depend on how often you update it. When your insurance agency backs up your site, save a copy of the backup off of your server in easily accessible cloud storage. If your host is hacked and the server's contents are compromised, you will have an unaltered version stored out of the hands of hackers.
  6. Train Users on How to Stay Secure
    Once you have your Cyber ​​Security plan enabled, train all users on how to stay safe and prevent attacks. Educate users on how to generate very strong passwords and keep them safe by using a password manager, recognize email phishing scams, and how to encrypt emails that contain sensitive information. What's a strong password? Today, use at least 10 characters, with alpha (including a cap), numeric (random not a sequential string), and special characters (exclamation, etc.). Many website platforms such as WordPress, will generate and / or measure the strength of your password.

To protect your website, start with the basics above, then determine if you have the expertise to continuously stay abreast of potential cyber attacks. If not, consider outsourcing this initiative to a profitable web hosting and debeleopment company or insurance marketing agency.

Hiring and Fostering Dynamic CSR’s Even in Rural America! (3 Easy Steps)

If there is one resounding challenge I hear when visiting with agency managers is that they are struggling to hire and maintain staff. I have an approach that I think can enable anyone to hire not just someone, but someone dynamic regardless of the job you're hiring for or where your business is located. I…

If there is one resounding challenge I hear when visiting with agency managers is that they are struggling to hire and maintain staff. I have an approach that I think can enable anyone to hire not just someone, but someone dynamic regardless of the job you're hiring for or where your business is located. I will elaborate some of my theory behind this in the 3 step outline.

You need people and people are everywhere. Sounds simple, even ridiculously obvious but do not give up on me yet. Allow me to elaborate. I think the way in which we go about staffing our businesses should be adapted to embrace the many changes influencing life today as we know it. The tried and true standard of finding employees would be to either post the position or contact a recruiter, which anyone reading this is probably already quite skilled at, so my suggestion is to possibly round out your recruitment process with an alternative approach. And this technique starts with recognizing that you meet potential employees every day, because you have to interact with people every day. Why not slow down and engage with some of these people long enough to measure potential value?

Let me break down into steps and examples:

1. Define what you want in your next CSR. Again sounds simple right? I am suggesting you spend a little more time on this particular step as it not only will help you find who you are looking for it will also help you encourage growth in your already established staff. Think about what the ultimate customer service representative would be within your agency and then take out a note pad (some old school practices are still my favorites) and write down what attributes or skills you want your potential CSR to have and then rank those in importance , I have made a very simplified example below to utilize in explaining this concept:

1 Honesty
2 Positive Attitude
3 Helpfulness
4 Problem Solver
5 Prompt
6 Licensed
7 Prior Insurance Experience
8 Respectful
9 Quick Learner
10 Adaptable
11 Professional appearance

Defining your idea of ​​what you are looking for is half the battle. If you take your time and really put some thought into this step it will not only help you find an employee but also help you re-structure your approach and expectations of your current staff. Write.It.Down. Seriously, this is key.

2. Realize that people you meet everyday are your potential employees. Now that you have defined what the position you are looking to fill is, the fun begins. Yes, I said fun. Why does this process have to be tedious? You are looking to bring a person into your work place that you will spend a significant amount of energy and time with. Should not you enjoy the process of getting to know people? Hopefully you will. Even those of you that do not love getting to know new people can certainly recognize the importance of the process I am explaining in this article.

You meet people every day and these are your potential employees. When you run errands, buy groceries, go out to eat, go to the movies, attend social events, or go to church. You meet people and if you start to observe them in a different way you can start a preliminary interview of a possible new employee. Here is an example:

Let's say you are at a restaurant with a group of friends, your waiter is clearly in a bad spot because the restaurant is packed and they are short 2 employees. Even so the experience is not horrible due to the way in which the waiter handles the situation. Maybe he communicates clearly, gives you an appetizer to keep you satisfied until food arrives, leaves the water pitcher, and keeps a good attitude despite the tough circumstance he is in because his co-workers did not show up. In this example your potential employee just showed you that they had a good attitude, that they were adaptable, and also a good problem solver … three of the items from your list (maybe four if their appearance was acceptable). This person might be worth talking to a little more. Having dinner in an understaffed restaurant might just have landed you a potential CSR. Seriously this is really that easy. Is there a super friendly attendant at the dry cleaners that you always look forward to seeing when you drop your clothes off? Why? What attributes does this person have that might potentially make them a good employee for you? Think back about all of the interactions you had last week during your day-to-day errands. Likely you can recognize a few examples even now.

The other wonderful part of this approach is that you can figuratively dip your toes in the water without jumping in. You can engage this person in a conversation, ask a few questions and see if they possibly employ even more qualities that you are seeking. If you like what you hear, ask them to visit you in your office and see if they might have an interest in working with you. Not everyone will be a perfect match or be interested. This is the equivalent to posting an ad, but your odds are much better to find the right fit for your office.

3. Clearly define your expectations in the new employee's role. Fast forward – assuming you made it successfully through steps one and two and have now hired a new CSR, the process is not complete. It is equally important to structure the initial phase of bringing someone into a new work environment to ensure that both of you communicate properly. Clearly define your expectations within the role of the new employee, and let them know what is most important to you and how they can meet your expectations. Commit to a specified time frame in which you will engage in training the new employee in daily, weekly, and monthly increments and make it a priority. Encourage feedback so the new hire can feel part of the new company quickly by engaging in constructive conversations with you and / or supervisors. Lastly, always keep the list handy of what defines the ultimate CSR and continuously guide your employees into improving into that roll. Sign them up for classes, perform training, give constructive criticism, encourage them, and reward good behavior.

Simply put, in order for you to have employees that truly suit your company and your expectations, you should clearly define and communicate those effectively and often.