New agency leads are derived, or at least should result from a wide variety of sources. Some sources are more traditional, such as word of mouth, canvassing, old fashioned “snail mail” flyers, or telesales. Taking advantage of the new internet offerings opens up many new lead generation sources. Leveraging an insurance agency website to sell is one obvious lead generation tool, but other avenues include insurance agency webinars and insurance SEO to drive traffic, and utilizing insurance agency social media marketing, an important new frontier for any agent. These tools are available to any agency willing to make the commitment to use them effectively. Since insurance agency web marketing and lead generation will continue to grow in importance, it is important to examine these strategies thoroughly.
Webinars often go hand in hand with eMarketing. A common tactic is to send out a targeted email blast to a prospect listing inviting them to an educational webinar, with a link in the email directing the prospect to a customized registration page, sometimes referred to as a custom landing page. There the prospect would input selected contact information and receive a link to the webinar. Of course, to properly run a webinar there are quite literally one hundred or more steps that need to be reviewed, including effective use of webinar registration, software and presentation tools. There are several key factors that apply to any webinar. One is to know your audience – agents must tailor their message to the people who will be listening to it. This also applies to the length of your webinar. An hour or longer web seminar must offer truly compelling content to be interesting to attendees. As a general rule, shorter is better.
Taking a direct sales approach, that is, trying to sell insurance products to the attendees will often alienate the target audience. Offering an educational topic will make an insurance webinar series an anticipated event, resulting in a more satisfied audience. Finally, make sure your agency has the proper tools in place to run the webinar smoothly, and know how to use those tools correctly. It takes experience to run an effective webinar, and even then problems can arise. If your agency or broker based business does not have the right mix of software, hardware, and expertise in house to run a webinar series, consider outsourcing to a quality insurance agency marketing firm.
Using an insurance agency website for lead generation is not really a new strategy, but few agencies actually do a good job in this area. Many websites have not been updated in years – and it shows. Poor coding, browser incompatibility, and outdated content are just a few of the numerous problems seen with a major agency agency websites. It's important to note that Internet Explorer continues to lose browser market share monthly, and website coding must support Firefox, Chrome, Opera and other browsers. Without this critical support, a potential client may be completely unable to correctly view your website. Updating your website's code is only one piece of the puzzle. Another critical item to remember is that a website is the new storefront window – it is probably the first thing a prospect will see when trying to find information about your business, and certainly one of the most important things a prospect will see. Insurance agency websites should convey agent and broker messages concisely and clearly to visitors, and do so in a professional and attractive manner. The best performing websites are clean, uncluttered, and free of overt virtual agents or overly flashy components. Branding should be integrated with insurance websites. This means that logos, colors, images and other key identifiers are consistent including the insurance agency website, brochures, business cards, promotional items and other marketing materials.
SEO, or search engine optimization, should be an integral part of all websites. Good SEO starts with on-page optimization, header tags, meta tags, keyword descriptions and other coding elements. Few people outside of a small number of insurance agency SEO experts really understand on-page SEO. The important thing is that your website is on-page optimized, whether your coding is done internally or by a quality external SEO vendor. Of course, on-page optimization is only half of the SEO story – off-page optimization is equally, if not more important. Off-page optimization includes any content that is not actually on, or coded into, your website. Backlinks, external blogs, directory submissions and other external elements will increase traffic and visibility, and establish your internet presence. The main purpose of SEO is to drive quality traffic to your website and help prospects find your agency. After all, 90% of all searches stop at page one – if your business is on page one, people will find you. If not, they'll find your competition.
A lead generation strategy that is increasingly important is social media marketing. Already, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are some of the most highly trafficked sites on the internet, and posts made to those sites are at or near the top of many search results. Getting involved in social media marketing is not simply a good idea, or something to consider for the future – it is absolutely vital that your business establishes a strong social media presence today. Getting started is fairly easy – establishing a Facebook page, Twitter account or LinkedIn profile takes only a few minutes. The more important aspect is committing both time and resources to grow your social media presence. For example, it is not enough to simply create a LinkedIn profile – you must connect with others in your industry, engage in dialogue, join groups relevant to your business, start your own groups, post thought provoking discussions, and reach out to potential prospects . This may sound like a fair amount of work – and it does take time to accomplish this. However, social media marketing should be given the same priority within your agency as any other aspect of a comprehensive marketing program – it must be established, nurtured, monitored, and most especially tracked and quantified. It is absolutely possible to validate a direct ROI for insurance agency social media marketing programs. Agents should prepare a simple report citing hours invested, prospects yielded, and business closed from the relevant social media marketing program.
Of course, social media marketing has value beyond simply yielding new prospects and new business. It also establishes these agencies and brokers as understanding the changes taking place in the market, indicating that these agents are progressive and ready to help with new changes and trends in the insurance market too. Social media marketing also impacts SEO. For example, agents should not be surprised to see properly generated posts on Twitter listed on the first page of a given long tail SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Effective social media marketing takes time, effort and expertise, but the results are well worth the investment. If the time and resources do not exist internally at your agency, a partnership with a quality insurance agency marketing provider can help establish a comprehensive social media marketing program at your agency.