Has your agency wanted to get more involved with giving back? It can be difficult to know where to start – Do you send a check? Do you ask for donations? Do you volunteer your time? Remember that you have an amazing resource at your fingertips: social media! Your social networks aren’t just for insurance marketing, they provide the perfect starting point for social good. Here are a few of our favorite tips for giving back and helping out:
- Share articles and information. To get started, try sharing links to articles about local or national charities. The more people who read about a charity’s work, the more likely they’ll be to help. Every share (including yours) helps! You can ask your employees about their favorite charities and read your local news sources to learn what’s going on in your neighborhood.
- Choose a charity. If you like, you can focus all your support on one charity of choice. Choose something close to your heart, or brainstorm with your employees to find a local or national charity that means a lot to one of them. Write about the charity often on your page, and link back to their website. Share their events, fundraising efforts, and anything else they publish. Remember: charities often have limited resources, so every little bit you do really helps.
- Promote your offline efforts, online. Chances are, you are already supporting local charities offline. Perhaps your employees are running a 5k to raise money, or you have a collection box in your office. Write about these things on your social networks! Encourage people to stop by and drop off a donation, or come out to an event and participate.
- Run a like or retweet campaign. Many agencies like to run like or retweet campaigns. For instance, you can promise that every new like on your Facebook Page until a certain date equals a $1 donation to a certain organization. Promote this heavily on your Page, mentioning the organization your supporting in your post. This is good for everyone, as you’ll get more likes on your Page, and the organization will get a donation! You can also do this on Twitter, by tweeting, “For every retweet of this tweet by midnight tonight, we’ll donate $1 to ABCFoundation!” Be sure to include a link to the charity so people can learn more.
- Partner with other local businesses. Maybe your agency isn’t in a position to donate a large amount of money. That’s fine – there are still things you can do! Talk to other businesses in your neighborhood to see what they’re doing to help charitable organizations and ask if you can participate. You can help promote the efforts through your social networks.
- Get creative. There are hundreds of ways to help and give back to your community. Sit down with your employees and have a brainstorm session. You’re bound to come up with some extremely creative ideas!
Choose an option that’s right for you and your agency, and start giving back. Studies have shown that giving back makes companies more successful in the long run, so it’s a win-win all around!
The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and it’s the ideal time to start a client e-mail campaign. Summer holidays are some of the happiest times with the picnics, pool parties, family, and beautiful weather. If you send your clients e-mails when they’re feeling great, they’ll probably think of you in a good context. Whenever I think of Christmas, I am reminded of the first card I get each year — the one from my insurance agent!
There are many season-appropriate topics you can focus on with a summer e-mail campaign. You might want to keep it simple and just wish your clients a happy and healthy Fourth of July, or you could remind them of the need for insurance during the summer months (that big bonfire they’re planning might be an excellent reason to increase their homeowners insurance!). If you have mostly local clients, consider including a list of fun summer happenings in your area. Another option would be to send them summer tips, such as firework or pool safety.
E-mail campaigns are easy, effective, and important for a variety of reasons. First of all, e-mails are quick and affordable! You won’t have to spend hours handwriting letters or money to mail them out. Plus, a template e-mail can be easily personalized to each client, so they feel as if you care about them as an individual rather than as a dollar sign. An e-mail will also get your clients thinking about you. If a client was contemplating increasing their insurance coverage, your e-mail might get them to follow-through. Or maybe a friendly e-mail will prompt them to refer you when a friend needs coverage!
No matter what you decide to include in your summer e-mail campaign, it will definitely be beneficial to your business and help you to build a stronger relationship with your clients!
By Shawna Arnold
It is common knowledge in the Digital Marketing world (or to any search users) how much Google changes – and how important it is to keep up with them.
About a month ago, Google announced the plan for their upcoming algorithm changes – different than the Panda updates of the past. In this initiative, the search engine stated they would begin to punish websites that are “over-optimized” or “over-SEO’d.” They have since back-pedaled on their statements to push the focus of this campaign to webspam, but nonetheless, “over-optimization” is a component to watch for.
The update, dubbed “Penguin,” officially rolled out on April 24. The Penguin update is looking to penalize websites that utilize some of the following:
- Aggressive keyword targeting (over-optimization)
- Overuse of keyword domains (over-optimization)
- Low quality article marketing (spam)
- Keyword stuffing in links (spam)
Google aims to bring searchers the most natural results they can, first and foremost. This update is aimed toward giving the Google user the most positive experience and most relevant results.
So, what can you do to help your website? Keep things natural and relevant! When writing your landing page content or your blogging content, make sure that your content is driven by topics and information that would be useful to your customers and/or prospects. You can keep your content topic-driven without losing any of your keyword optimization.
For example, if you’re writing a blog post on some updates in health insurance legislature in your area, you can easily integrate any specific health insurance keywords you have without throwing them in the reader’s face – it’s all about natural integration and keeping the post topic-driven. If your post is about a legislative update, make sure you stay on topic and give the reader all of the information needed. If your health insurance keyword only naturally fits one time in the post without sacrificing the message, then so be it. It’s important now, more than ever, that Google and the other search engines see that your content is high quality and useful to the reader – not just a 500-word post stuffed with keywords you want to be found for.
You should use the same principles in your link building as well – keep it natural. For example, if you are writing a guest post on a local community blog and you’re trying to bring visitors to your website for a health insurance term, make sure you can integrate it without sacrificing the content quality or spamming the reader. Make sure your post is relevant to the topic of the keyword and don’t squeeze in numerous links. The best practice with using keywords in links it to keep it simple – post one link back to your website using your term and only if it fits into the content without disrupting the reader. If you have a blog on your website and you’re linking to other pages within the site, use the same principles; keep keyword links minimal, simple, and non-disruptive.
There are already reports of websites seeing negative effects as a result of the Penguin update, as well as sites see positive results, such as higher keyword rankings, better traffic, etc. As long as you are utilizing best practices and ensuring your internet marketing strategies are in line with what Google is looking for in a high quality website, you should eventually see the fruits of your labor. Think of how you feel when you visit a website that spams you, whether it’s through low quality content, excessive links, or obvious keyword stuffing. Enacting a high-quality SEO strategy takes time – these are long-term strategies. But, at the end of the day, you’ll thank your internet marketing team, representatives, or even yourself for sticking it out and taking the “righteous” path in your SEO strategy.
How is your website responding to the Penguin update? Tweet me @astonish_shawna with any Penguin stories or suggestions!
By now your agency mostly likely has a blog, social media profiles, and hopefully an email newsletter set up. The question is: Are you using these channels to communicate compelling information that your prospects find useful or interesting? (Useful and interesting enough to fill out a form on your site?) To answer this question, you first need to define your content strategy.
In part one of this blog series, we’ll talk about how to set up a content strategy. In part two we’ll discuss how to take your content strategy to the next level.
5 Steps to a Successful Content Strategy:
1. Define your business goals and objectives – Perhaps your goal is to increase the number of leads coming in through your website, perhaps it’s to accumulate a local following of blog readers in hopes that they will eventually convert.
2. Evaluate your customers – Analyze your current client base. Who are they? Look at demographics. The content strategy you create will have their interests in mind.
3. Brainstorm ideas for content that will compel visitors to take action or return to your site – Your goal should be to become a one-stop resource for local community information, advice about insurance, including ways to cut insurance costs, and useful tips for preventing accidents from happening. Resist the urge to tout all the benefits of buying insurance from your agency. Sales-y language won’t keep them coming back to your blog or social media profiles.
4. Add value – Create a whitepaper, video, or a fun contest to keep visitors engaged while also providing value. You can create a whole campaign around one of these ideas. For example: if you create a whitepaper, try promoting it with an article on your blog, then drive traffic to the blog post via social media channels and email.
5. Measure – Last, but not least, it’s important to measure the impact of your content strategy. Look at how much traffic you were able to drive to your blog, how much time people spent on the page, and whether or not they filled out the form. Measuring is the most important aspect of all insurance marketing strategies because it helps you figure out what’s working and what’s not.
One last tip when thinking about content: Keep it light – Insurance can be a complicated topic. When creating content, especially for your blog and emails, think about disseminating information in small, digestible chunks. Think of it in terms of “Top 5” ways to reduce your car insurance premium… or “Top 5” ways to mitigate risk, etc. More tips like this coming up in part two!
So, who are you anyway? If you don’t know what your business is all about, your clients certainly won’t either. This goes beyond “My company is XYZ Insurance and we specialize in home insurance and employee benefits.” Plenty of businesses do what you do, so why should someone choose your agency to take care of their insurance needs? What makes you special? It’s time to consider your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Your UVP is just like it sounds – it is what sets you apart from your competition and what you can do for the customer that no one else can. No one goes in to business hoping to be mediocre and just like everyone else, so it’s important to pinpoint what you do, why you’re good at it and what kind of value you can bring to the table. Before you start to brainstorm ideas, keep this point in mind: UVPs should be short. Really short. You need to tell people in about 2 sentences or less why you rock and why you’re unique. Popular examples are M&Ms’ “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand” and Domino’s old UVP, “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less – or it’s free.” This may seem easy, but there are a few questions you need to ask yourself and answer before you formulate the perfect Unique Value Proposition.
- What does your agency do well? Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn; you’ve earned it. Forget being humble and write down every single thing you think your company excels at.
- What makes your different from your competitors? You may have a ton in common with a lot of the local insurance agents, and that is totally normal, but there has to be at least one thing you have that they don’t. Figure out what that is and make it work to your advantage.
- What do my customers value? Step outside of your world where you understand insurance and the important part it plays in helping folks secure their assets. Now, pretend you are one of your potential clients. What do you think matters the most to them? Your agency’s reputation? Your ability to get them the lowest rates? Outstanding customer service?
Now that you’ve answered all of these questions, it’s time to put your thoughts together in to a successful Unique Value Proposition. If your agency already has a UVP, please feel free to share it in the comments section of this blog!
It goes without being said that social media is anything but traditional for insurance marketing strategies. Whether you’re posting on Facebook or tweeting, your mindset should also be anything but traditional. Instead of just thinking outside of the box, use it as a soapbox. Stand above the rest and shout your message to a mass audience. Demand attention! Realistically, you want to reach as many people as you possibly can, in the shortest period of time with the best results – astonishing results!
How can you do this? You can take your social media content to the next level in three simple ways:
Get creative with what you already have.
You don’t have to go completely back to the drawing board, but take a different approach to what you’re already doing. For example, if you’ve already posted photos of the office, switch them up for the season. Showcase what’s going on! Or, use tools to enhance and add graphics to previously posted photos, this is eye catching for seasonal events and holidays.
Another way to use what you already have, is to piggy back off of a previously successful concept. For instance, if you had great traction with a call to action post or contest, entice people for the next one, by mentioning how successful the previous one was. “Since you all enjoyed last week’s tasteful debate, we’re interested to hear how to feel about…”
Be positive! Positive energy is infectious; it’s something worth spreading!
Positive and motivational statements can be used for all of your insurance marketing strategies, but are they known as some of the most shareable content posted on social media. Be sure to give credit to the author of the quote. Aside from a reference point, the use of the specific author could become a conversation starter on your pages as well!
Be unpredictable! Consistency lays a foundation for a solid follower and fan base, but you have to keep your audience’s attention!
It’s great that your fans have something to look forward to, whether it be your weekly call to action post, or your motivating Monday quote, but it is just as important to be spontaneous, as it is to be consistent! Enlighten your audience with random facts and tid bits of knowledge they may not know. Or begin a conversation about a tasteful topic that people may not expect to hear about from an insurance company! Prove to people of all ages that you are “in the know”! Turn a few heads with a simple Facebook post or tweet!
Social media is an amazing non-traditional marketing tool to reach clients and prospective customers. Once you’ve become comfortable with the basics, stand on that soap box of yours and let people know you’re there. Be anything but traditional, you may even surprise yourself!