Why Your Insurance Agency Blog is Your New Phone Book Ad

insurance agency blog

During this month of digital marketing, I have discussed two social platforms: Facebook and Twitter.

While those have the ability to create engagement with your target market, and help you understand their needs and interest, blogging great content helps you create your own 21st Century Yellow Page Ad.

You remember the Yellow Pages?

Years ago vendors would stop in your office, and show you data on customer usage of a book with numbers by category.  A customer could look up Insurance and find you.  You could separate yourself from the competition by the size of your ad.

Then one day you realized, I don’t use the yellow pages anymore.  Neither do my friends.  Neither does anyone in my office.  If we need something, we “google” it.

If you do this, your customer does as well.  So when they look for insurance do they find you.

Your website is probably not enough to create an ad big enough for customers to find, but your insurance agency blog can be.

Step 1:  Make sure you site has the ability to “blog”, and it can be indexed by Google.

Step 2:  Find niche topics that you can create content around so that customers can find you in your local market.

Specialty Lines are perfect for Digital Marketing.  Trying to compete with Progressive and Geico online around the keywords “auto insurance” is difficult, but you can dominate search in your market by becoming a specialist in boat insurance in [insert your city], or how about condos, or motorcycles, RVs, classic cars, jewelry insurance, etc.

Granted you won’t make much money selling $200 cycle policies, but the customer traffic this segment can drive to your agency can be huge.  Because of course you won’t just sell a motorcycle policy, you will ask about home, auto, etc.

So how do you do this?

  1.  Write articles around specialty lines & other niches using keywords you research through Google Adwords.

  2. Borrow content from your company partners.  Most have a handful of articles they don’t mind you taking and editing.

  3. Find a dealer partner or other business that is willing to provide content for you, and then you both benefit.

  4. Use your niches.  When it comes to creating content to drive traffic to your agency.  Brainstorm your commercial niches, and think how you can write about their special insurance needs.

  5. Use Slideshare Think of this as online Powerpoint.  If you have created any insurance presentations dump them into Slideshare, and embed it into your site.

  6. Don’t forget video.  Video your customers, your referral sources, the customers you want and talk about their needs and how your products match their needs.  A big key with video is to make sure you add some text so Google can index it, and don’t forget to put on Youtube as well.  In fact, share it everywhere you have a presence.

  7. Create a content calendar.  Develop contenting can seem overwhelming.  It is one more item to add to your bulging to-do list.  The secret is the content calendar.  Create 12 themes, and assign them one to a month.  Announce it to your staff, and ask for them to begin giving ideas for each of the 12 months.  It will fill up quicker than you think.

You have the power to now be your own Yellow Pages.  Take advantage of it, and being scripting out ideas on a calendar, and start today filling in with your expert content.

Be Productive,
Theron Mathis

photo credit: funkeemunkeeland via photopin cc

Here’s a Method To Help You Discover If Twitter Is For Your Agency

When I think of the major social media networks, there are the big 4 that have an impact on how Insurance Twitter Helpyou do business.

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, & Google +.

I know there are others such as Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, SlideShare.  In fact, a few agencies are already creating great strategies around these networks as well.

They can all work for you.

The big key is knowing where your customers are.  Let’s begin with Twitter.

Twitter is a quick 140 Character micro-blogging site, where you can share content.  Usually it is used to point people to content (in a form of a link) that you have found that is useful to their lives or business.

The way you engage on Twitter is to ask questions, and respond to others tweets.  You can respond by hitting reply or simply addressing them with their @ handle.  It’s almost always better to interact specifically rather than send out general questions or comments.

If your audience provides valuable material, share and comment on that as well.

To keep from spending too much time on a site like Twitter use an scheduler, because like the rest of the internet, it’s easy to chase the rabbit down the hole only to look up and see hours have passed.

The two schedulers I use are Buffer and Hootsuite.  Buffer is nice because you can pre-set a schedule of when you want your tweets to post.  From there all you do is fill it with content as you find it, then Buffer releases it on schedule.  The other place to schedule posts is Hootsuite.  I typically don’t use Hootsuite to post but to use as my command central to monitor those I follow, and see if there is any engagement of my tweets.

Don’t let the scheduler make you lazy.  I have done this.  People will engage with your tweet, and you will never respond or enter their conversation.  In the beginning, you want to thank everyone who retweets you or comments on your tweet.

My guess is most agents that start Twitter don’t do this.  How do I know?  I have tested it.  I have replied or retweeted content from agents that I know personally, and no response happened.  Even when I saw them at their office, they didn’t mention the interaction.

I really believe Twitter allows you to become a quick expert.  This could be around a niche you service or as a community connector.

Whether you should jump into Twitter is really determined by whether your target audience already lives there.  If they are not there today, don’t write off this service.  Check it again in six months, trends change.

How do you find if your target audience lives on Twitter?  The easiest way is to run email list of your current customers through their “Find Friends” service.  This service pulls email from Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, & AOL.  If you use one of these services, then by clicking one button Twitter will scan all your contacts for Twitter uses, and from there you can follow them.

Many of us don’t use these services and rely on Outlook or a similar email client.  Don’t worry there is a back door way to get your contacts to Twitter (assuming you have your Twitter account set up).  Here’s the steps:

  1.  Export all your Outlook contacts to a *.csv file and save it to your Desktop for easy retrieval.
  2.  Open a Gmail Account at mail.google.com.
  3. Once open click “Gmail” on the left hand side of the page so that the “Contact” option appears.

Twitter

  1.  From your Contacts page, click on Import Contacts…

twitter import

  1.  Choose the file you saved from the desktop and now all your Outlook contacts are loaded into your Gmail account.
  2. Let’s go back to Twitter and the Find Friends back.  Now you can click Gmail, and your Twitter will magically search for your contacts.

This will help you find out real quick if any of your audience is present on Twitter.

From here do some search on Twitter advanced search features.  Maybe one of your niches is Engineering Firms and your agency is in Indianapolis.

Type “engineer” into “all of these words” and “Indianapolis” in “near this place”.  Then hit Search.

Insurance Twitter Advanced search

 

When I did this search, several individual Engineers showed up, along with 2 firms.  Granted  I waded through some junk, but I was able to find people to follow had this been my niche.

At this point, let’s assume, you found people in your niches and referral sources.  Many of your customers were online, and you followed them.

One of the nice unwritten protocols of Twitter is that when you people follow, if your profile looks legit and doesn’t feel spammy, they will follow you back.

Begin tweeting content that your audience finds valuable.  This may take some brainstorming, but shortly you will know if your content is getting traction by replies or retweets.

Make sure your profile includes a link back to your website so interested followers can find you.  This is critical if you expect your activity to create referral sources.

If you need more information on using Twitter, one of the best “Get Started” guides has been written by Michael Hyatt at his Intentional Leadership site.

Give it a try.  An hour or two should get you familiar with Twitter and whether your customers and prospects live there.

Be Productive,

Theron Mathis

Question:  Let me know if Twitter has been an effective marketing tool for your business?  If so, do you have any tips?  

P.S.  Here are other resources on Insurance Agents using Twitter:

5 Ways I Use Twitter As An Insurance Agent

How Insurance Agencies Use Twitter to Effectively Generate Leads

How Should Insurance Agencies Use Twitter?

How to Create Facebook Tabs to Drive Traffic to Your Agency Webpage

So, you have a Facebook page, you are collecting likes, and you post a couple times a week.facebook

Is it bringing you any business?  Are you getting calls?  Is your website getting hits?  If so, can you track it?

Ultimately, you want your page to generate business, but after spending a handful of minutes surveying insurance agency pages, it is very hard to find their agency website or quote engine on their page.

Make sure you have an easy way for customers to get to your website, and if you quoting features on your site, you can set up easy links to do that as well.

The best way to do this is to create Facebook tabs.

Facebook tabs are across the top of the page under your banner.

Facebook Tabs

 

Here’s how you can create tabs that send customers to your website.

1.  Go to your agency page, and make sure you are using Facebook as your business and not your personal page.  Click the gear.Create Facebook Tab #1

2.  In the search box on the top type “Static Iframe Tab”.  You will get a list of options. Each one is a different way to create tabs.  The one I Iike best is Static HTML Iframe Tab by Woobox.  Click “Go to App”.Static iFrame Capture Search

 

3.  Facebook will give you a message sending you back to your personal page. This is fine.

4.  You will see a screen asking you to install page tab.  Click “Install Page Tab”.

Install Page Tab

 

 

5.  Next, you must choose which Facebook Page to add the tab.  Choose your agency page, and click add tab.

6.  You will go straight to Tab Settings, where you will create your tab.  The first thing you will do is to change the “Page Source” to URL.  This will create a page within Facebook.  Rather than redirecting the customer out of FB to your site, your site will open up right into a FB window.  Facebook marketing experts swear that keeping people in FB is where they want to be rather than sending them out.  By having your site inside of FB, it gives a level of credibility.Create Facebook Tab

7.  In the URL field, insert your main website address or whatever address on your site you want people to go to:  www.myagency.com

8.  Make sure all the “gate” questions are marked “off”.

9.  Change the Tab Name to Website, Instant Quote, or wherever you redirect the user.Tab Name & Image

10.  From here, there’s only one more major step, Tab Image.  Click Change Tab Image.  Then choose the file containing your agency logo.  Then hit Save Settings on the bottom of the page.

11.  You will now see the tab on your main Facebook page.

Try it out, and let us know what you think.  

If you have been successful using FB or have used tabs differently, let us know.  

Be Productive,

Theron Mathis