There aren’t many marketing teams who haven’t jumped on the business blog train. Not only can you create content for sharing across social media, your business can improve upon current SEO efforts and become a thought leader in your industry. Whether your company focuses on small business insurance or errors and omissions insurance, you can be sure a blog is a good idea. Building an audience is one challenge many businesses face and overcoming that obstacle can be tricky. These 4 tips will help you build your blog’s audience.
Find Your Niche
Find your online niche and join groups that are directly related to it. You can do this by incorporating keywords and anchor links into your posts and searching for groups and blogs with these same terms. Use the key terms of your business insurance company as a starting point in your search. Not only will you get to network with people in your niche and industry but often times those people become readers of your blog.
- Tip: Instead of targeting one or two specific keywords in each post, create a hierarchical category structure of top keywords and phrases to create a broader topic based blog while still incorporating content loosely targeting specific keywords.
What you write and how you write are what keeps readers coming back to your blog for more. However, posting on your blog once a month is insufficient to really gain traction. You need to post high-quality content frequently – whether that’s once every couple days or once a week (at the minimum). This also means focusing consistently on your particular audience. While it’s okay to branch out every now and then, keep your content geared toward those who would be regular readers.
- Tip: Develop an editorial calendar with when blog posts need to go live, the key concept of each, and keywords each post will focus on. A schedule such as this one will keep
Producing valuable content that is informational and interesting is the most important part of a business blogging. “Content is king” is one phrase that has been floating around for a reason. Your content has to motivate readers to comment, share, keep reading, etc. Current, insightful and relevant information to your industry is what will be shared. Make sure your blog content meets those requirements.
- Tip: Each blog post needs to have the appropriate “share” buttons for social media channels and the option to subscribe to your RSS feed.
If you’re considering a business blog, chances are you also use various social media channels. Use these networks to spread the word about each blog post. You can also incorporate these posts into your email marketing campaigns. Link to other articles you’ve written using specific keywords or phrases to promote other posts and encourage your visitor to keep reading.
- Tip: Space out when you promote the new blog posts on different channels. Doing so will give your post a longer life-span and because each network has optimal post times, you can maximize your impressions by posting at those specific times.
Many businesses are under the assumption that blogging is only for certain industries, or that only the blogs that provide certain information, will generate traffic. People are searching Google, Bing and other search engines daily for information of all kinds, ranging from SEO optimization to various types of business insurance. Having a blog that fits your industry and business’s niche and embraces keywords, engagement and sharing is the best way to generate new readers and build a fan base from current ones.
Author: Erica Bell is a small business writer who focuses on topics such as commercial insurance and social media trends. She is a web content writer for Business.com.Continue Reading »
As an insurance agent in the age of evolving technology, you rely on many tools to help you stay organized. One of the main methods you most likely use to communicate besides the telephone is email. Email can be your best friend or worst enemy when it comes to communicating with your clients. Sending a quick message out is an easy way to create reminders, update clients, check in with them, and strengthen your insurance marketing strategy. However, email can also be a time-consuming burden for leaders.
Has your inbox reached hundreds of emails or more before? This can be a huge stress on you, especially if you miss out on a very important email. The key to dealing with your emails is trying your best to stay on top of them as they come in. The following is some insights on how you can control your email account and stay organized:
Taking these tips into account, you can strengthen the communication you have with your community as well as your insurance marketing strategy. Sending out friendly reminders or goings on in your agency will keep everyone in the loop. Taking control of your email account will help you feel more organized and closer to your customers than ever before!Continue Reading »
As a leader for your company, you make small and big decisions on a daily basis. However, when it comes to your insurance internet marketing and your social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, the decision making process may involve aspects you aren’t used to. For example, how do you find your primary audience? What will they like to read about? What is the most effective way to find them? All of these questions may have arisen for you at one point or another.
In the beginning, it may have been just you and your partners, and you did every job. But now, you have others to help, so you can focus on building a social community. Being strategic about the people you want to participate in conversations with on your social media accounts is important. In addition, the content you post and voice you use should attract and engage them. To become an adaptive strategic leader, the kind who can thrive in even uncertain environments, do these three things well:
- Anticipate: Some leaders lack “peripheral vision.” To anticipate well, you must look for game-changing information in your industry and take advantage of it. Also, search beyond the current boundaries of your business, and finally, build wide networks to help you communicate with your clients better.
- Think Critically: Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill, force yourself to reframe problems in order to get to the bottom of things, such as a customer complaint. Also, challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including your own. This will help you think from the perspective of your community.
- Decide: Many leaders over analyze information. You have to develop processes and enforce them, so that you arrive the solutions you want. To do that well, you have to balance your social media accounts while also making sure they include quality content. Also, take control of incomplete information and when others have diverse views.
Effective leaders combine experience and a strong decision process. This will force you to evaluate, listen, adjust, and learn from each decision. Having all of these important skills will allow you to analyze your insurance internet marketing strategy more closely as well as appeal to a wide range of followers on your social media sites. Engagement is key, and by being a strategic leader, you can make this happen!Continue Reading »
1. Thou shalt not use ALL CAPS – Although the occasional use of capital letters can be a good way to show emphasis and enthusiasm, using all caps is never a good idea. An e-mail written entirely in caps can make it look like you are yelling at your client. SEE WHAT I MEAN? Lower case letters are also generally more legible. Forget Caps Lock and stick with the Shift Key!
2. Thou shalt not use Internet Slang – While everyone loves LOLCats, it’s inappropriate to use internet speak and acronyms in client e-mails. It can make you appear uneducated and too informal. It won’t take you much longer to write full sentences and spell out words, but it will make a huge difference in your professionalism. K? Tkx! LOL!
3. Thou shalt use spell check - Misspellings can also make you seem uneducated. Even if you were the 3rd grade spelling bee champion like me, you are going to misspell things once in a while. I don’t know how many times I’ve written “insurnace” instead of insurance. Most e-mail programs such as Outlook and Gmail have a built-in spell check program which will look over your e-mails when you hit send. A quick check can definitely save you some “embareassment.”
4. Thou shalt only speak to clients from thy desk – Although we live in a time when everyone is a multi-tasker and it’s hard to sit still for too long, it’s a good idea to plan time to make client calls from your desk. If your client hears your GPS or a honking horn in the background of your call, they will know you are not giving them your full attention. And please, for the love of your client, NEVER make calls from a restroom!
5. Thou shalt not make threats – Although you are probably hoping for quick responses from your clients, making demands of them is not the best idea. I couldn’t tell you how many sales e-mails I have gotten which have warned me that I only have “2 days left” to respond. 5 days later, when I still haven’t responded and I get another warning e-mail, my trust of that company has all but gone out the window. Your client could be thinking about their options, talking with a spouse, or even sick or on vacation. It’s great to reach out to your clients, but don’t lose a sale by being too aggressive.
6. Thou shalt follow the golden rule – The best way to attain and retain a customer base is to treat them well, and let them know you appreciate their business and loyalty. Interact with your clients the way you would like sales people from companies you’re a client of to treat you.Continue Reading »
Your friends have one, your parents have one, businesses are using it as well. Even businesses in the insurance marketing field are using Facebook to attract clients to their business. Today, just call Facebook “The Modern Phone Book.” Within it you will find names and locations of companies, telephone numbers, advertisements, even pictures and testimonials. So how exactly are businesses finding the time to sign on more and more clients? By doing exactly what Facebook promises to anyone who creates an account: taking the chance to make and sustain relationships. Simply creating and building a page can provide you even with the most instant form of contact from someone who’s interested.
Just see how powerful a Facebook page can be:
- Portal for Communication: You log in and you’re instantly connected. By putting your name and the name of your business out there people can search for you and you can search for them. What’s even better, you can use your exact location to find any business near yours and establish a presence in your very own community. Once you set up your profile you can keep your clients up-to-date with promotions you be running at the office.
- Relationship Builder: Immediately after you start the communication process you attract followers. People can become friends with you and follow your every post. You decide you may even want to start a contest or two to promote the newest deals – Facebook helps you accomplish all of that. Just post it, your friends will like it and possibly share it so their friends can see it. Kind of like the age-old math problem of “if you have 7 friends who have 7 friends who tell 7 friends…” The amount of people who can view and get information off of your page can be limitless when you harness it properly. This is a phenomenal tool for smaller, local businesses trying to get their name out there, but not necessarily needing to get it out nation-wide.
- Brand Management: This will come after the first two. How do you want your business to be viewed and perceived? Facebook will help get your name out there by using the social media site. Think of it as building a reputation. You wouldn’t buy a service from someone who continually kept getting bad reviews and turned out poor quality in their work. Your page can help let potential clients know who you are and precisely what you’re all about. The better you build up your brand with positive comments, the more likely someone is to refer you or come to you on a regular basis.
Just remember that with all the advantages that can benefit your company, there are just as many disadvantages when it comes to using Facebook as a marketing tool. However, once you learn why a Facebook account is vital for online marketing and branding today, you’ll soon realize what the worst practices are. Just make sure you get a solid grip on the best practices and you’re golden. Learn them well enough and Facebook will provide your business with a pretty successful looking future.
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You deal with customers in the office all the time. Your insurance agency is the place where your community should feel safe and trust that your services will be personalized to their needs. So don’t you think this should happen within your social media and blogging initiatives? Show your clients you care about their interests, questions, and more by creating an effective space for conversation.
In today’s fast-paced business world, customer satisfaction is pretty much required, and you can strengthen it through a variety of channels, such as your Facebook page, Twitter account, onsite blog, and of course, in person. However, the digital outlets allow you to focus on your audience in a way you could never do before. Customer service is evolving to match customers’ expectations and you must relate to them in order to attract their business.
Your clients are continuing to be deeply engaged with digital tools, which is why your agency should too. They will remain loyal to your services because of your comprehensive products and the quality of service that brings them back. So improve customer satisfaction by understanding these three main categories:
Understanding how strong customer relationships relate to the success of your agency is the key to customer satisfaction. Putting yourself in the clients’ shoes will give you a better grasp on evolving your insurance marketing strategy. Every interaction your community has with your company is an experience. Therefore, make it your responsibility to show them you care no matter what means of communication you use!Continue Reading »
Have you ever done a Google search, looked at the paid search advertisements on the top and right side of the search results, and thought … “What does that advertisement have anything to do with my search?”
Obviously, this is a poorly placed PPC advertisement. The advertiser didn’t want to appear in results for the highly competitive and highly searched term “insurance”. The obvious mistake is that the advertiser (either intentionally or not) targeted the misspelling of their brand name “Assurance”. The advertiser will not be happy when it realizes that a large percentage of their paid search budget is eaten up by clicks that come from a keyword that isn’t relevant to their business at all. Inevitably, search engine users will see this ad, click through (perhaps by mistake) to the advertiser’s site, and quickly exit, obviously with a poor user experience. The advertiser has potentially just paid $25-$30 for each click on this mistakenly placed advertisement. That is an expensive mistake.
This is an extreme example of poor ad copy construction, but it got me thinking about three common PPC ad copy mistakes that advertisers often make.
Mistake #1: Using your brand name in the ad’s headline
The “headline” in a PPC advertisement is the blue bolded line at the top of every text ad. It is the attention-grabber, the first thing that your audience sees when your ad comes up in search results. One hint: don’t waste that space on introducing your company’s name. Chances are (and I’m sorry to break the news), your small company doesn’t carry enough brand recognition to become an asset in text-based advertisements. If someone searches on the term “auto insurance quote”, they’re not necessarily looking for a specific company (like yours), they’re just looking to get a quote. So, instead of mentioning your company in the headline, why not focus on what is going to be most effective in drawing in the audience? The first thing that searchers should see is the benefits of your “product” — such as “Free Auto Insurance Quote”. Don’t waste valuable space on your company’s brand, unless you’re a company with strong brand recognition (like Geico). Besides, if someone is actually looking for your company by name, you’ll show up in search results regardless (because you ARE advertising for your company’s name … aren’t you??).
Mistake #2: Don’t be too broad in your ad copy
Make sure that your ad is as close to the search query (the term that search users choose in Google) as possible. Be as specific as possible. In keeping with the insurance example from above, imagine that you are an agency looking to attract new customers for home insurance, auto insurance, and flood insurance. Make sure that your ads for each category are specific to that search as possible. When someone searches for “flood insurance”, make sure that the ad they are served doesn’t reference a broad and generalized “insurance company”. Instead, make sure that you include language specific to “flood insurance”, otherwise your competition will have a leg up on you.
So, tailor your ad copy to each type of keyword search that you are targeting – don’t run a homogenized “insurance”-based ad copy for each type of insurance, make sure you speak to the search engine user’s intent with specific language in your ad.
Mistake #3: Target the audience that is at the end of the buying cycle
In other words, we want to attract search engine users who are ready to perform a specific action – such as “get an insurance quote” or “buy auto insurance”. These people are the most qualified audience out there, those who have signaled their intent to purchase with their keyword search. Not only do we want to show up on keywords like those I just mentioned, but we want to emphasize those behaviors in our ad copy.
Too many advertisers use broad language in their ads, with the hope of attracting as many users as possible. I’ve actually seen some ads with the headline “Curious about insurance?” – an attempt at generating visits to the advertiser’s web site, no matter what the user is looking for. Instead, make sure that you don’t waste your PPC budget on people at the top of the sales funnel (those who are just browsing, or are curious) by offering ad copy that speaks specifically to those who are close to purchasing. Use language like “Buying auto insurance?”, “Need a home insurance quote?” , or “Get a fast and free business insurance quote now”. Not only will you appeal to those who are near the end of their search, but you’ll actually dissuade those who are just browsing (and thus saving your PPC budget for more serious shoppers!).
The lesson, when constructing paid search advertisements, is to speak to your audience as specifically as possible. It will benefit your campaign by providing just the traffic that you are searching for.
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Every writer gets writers block sometimes. With all the great content out there today, how can you find creative ways to stand out? Blogging is a great insurance marketing strategy on the Internet and, i’ll tell you, one of the best ways to think of a topic is finding inspiration from the season we are currently in. Whether it’s, winter, spring, fall, or summer, there are always great ways to spin an idea through that thought process.
Whether you read local newspapers, Internet blogs, or you find inspiration from your everyday life, thinking about the time we are in is important. Using the seasons as a starting point for your idea takes a timely and immediate approach to your writing.
Some ideas to get you started:
Finding inspiration and topics to write about can be difficult, but put a little fun in your topics and you are more likely to be interested in what you are writing about. The change of seasons will give you a plethora of ideas to choose from.
Remember always write your ideas down as you think of them so you can use other topics in the future. All the topics above you will be able to relate in many ways to your readers and, it will give you a more timely approach to your writing which is very important. So stop draining yourself by thinking too hard and take a seasonal approach to your writing today.
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Link building plays a significant part in how high your website ranks in the search engines. There are a variety of different ways to get links back to your website, but one of the most effective methods is to step away from the computer and out in to your community.
1) Sponsor an Event. Nearly every city or town has a few popular events that happen every year – music festivals, 5k runs, county fairs and restaurant weeks. What better opportunity to get your name in front of a big chunk of the local population? Check to see if any of these events have websites and if so, whether or not they link to their sponsors. If you find an event that makes sense for your business to sponsor and it seems like they will link to your website, go for it.
2) Be a Speaker. If you have a special talent for public speaking, you may have some great link building opportunities. Investigate your options to speak at local and national conferences and events. Finding knowledgeable, charismatic orators can be a challenge, so jumping on board with a relevant conference will usually be a mutually beneficial relationship. Bonus points if you can get a gig speaking at a college or university; their .edu URL holds extra authority and link juice.
3) Host Your Own Networking Event. Everyone loves free food and good company, but not everyone likes to play host. Put together a small (or large, if you’re feeling ambitious) networking event and hold it at your office or a more spacious venue. You could invite local artists to display their work, plan to have a guest speaker or maybe offer some kind of door prize or raffle. Whatever you choose, you need to give the attendees a reason to show up. Once you have decided the logistics of the event, use social media to spread the news. Write a post for your blog, Tweet your Followers and update your Facebook Fans; hopefully, those who follow you will begin to re-purpose your content and alert their followers about the event as well. The goal is to not just throw a great party, but get a nice amount of back links in the process.
These are just a few ways to get started with link building in your community. Don’t be afraid to get out there and network in person – you never know what kind of back link you might be able to secure!Continue Reading »
Traditionally, Insurance Agencies were “Mom & Pop” businesses located on Main Streets. The agents typically met their clients in the neighborhood where they worked. They’d walk out on the street and greet potential clients with a handshake and a smile. Perhaps they had booths at town events or sponsored the local baseball team. They’d provide great customer service and their clients would give them referrals. The best way to gain new clients was to build strong personal links in the community.
Nowadays, potential clients generally search on the Internet for insurance rather than on Main Street. About 50% of new website traffic comes from search engines, and roughly 70% of that traffic comes directly from Google. A potential client will probably open a search engine and type in something like, “Rhode Island home insurance,” and click on the results. They might click a few of the links, and request a few quotes, but chances are they will only click the links on the first search engine result page. In fact, the top 10 results receive about 90% of the traffic. The potential client is not going to go to the 10th results page and start clicking there. That’s why you need to optimize your site! Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of helping customers find your website via search engines. A website with great SEO will come up higher in searches on sites like Google. That means an optimized site will probably have increased traffic, and therefore, the company which runs the site will have more potential business opportunities and sales.
One way to increase your SEO is through link building…and no, I don’t mean the Main Street kind! Web Link building is placing links to your website on other websites so that you can generate more traffic. If a potential client is reading a website or blog about insurance, and it links back to your agency’s website, you might get a new client. Or, if your website is linked on other webpages which have a high page rank (quality of the site, affecting the order in which results are shown on search engines), that will tell the search engines that your site is important and should show up higher in searches too! This is really beneficial since we know that a higher search result means more traffic and more potential clients.
While it will always be important to build links in your community, remember the importance of building web links as well!Continue Reading »