Insurance Marketing HQ

10 Reasons Not to Miss the E-Agent Summit

Posted on Aug 20, 2012

Have yet to sign up for the E-Agent Summit? We have gathered 10 reasons why this is an event not to be missed. Who should attend? Astonish welcomes agents, producers, agency principals, bloggers, and more to attend the 4th annual summit this year in Orlando, Florida. Here are 10 reasons you should join us on October 28-30th at the Bonnet Creek Resort:

1. Networking

When you aren’t attending the keynote or breakout sessions, you can network with other agency principals, CSR’s, Marketing Managers, and more! The summit is a great opportunity to meet other agency personnel, marketing experts, and industry veterans to share knowledge, ask questions, and participate in conversation.

2. Speakers

The list of speakers keeps growing. Besides the ALL NEW keynote address by our own Adam DeGraide and Tim Sawyer, some of the speakers featured are Dr. William T. Hold, of the National Alliance, Dennis Chookaszian, Chairman of FASAC, Don Phin, President of HR that Works, and Eric Jansen of FS Marketing Solutions. Come listen and learn from the best in the industry on a diverse group of topics. New speakers being added daily.

3. Social Media

Not sure how to use social media at your agency quite yet? Or maybe you already use social media but want to take it to the next level. This year, we have added specific social media courses that include not only Astonish’s best practices, but insight from agency leaders and bloggers on how they use different social platforms to grow their business.

4. Industry Experts

All of the speakers are experts in their given industry. Learn how to round out policies from the top insurance trainers in the nation, how to grow your business online from consulting executives, how to hire employees from HR professionals, and of course how to FIND, SELL, and KEEP customers and grow your business from those who have done so.

5. Orlando

Does this point even need explaining? This year’s summit is at the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida. Not only does the hotel have direct complimentary transportation to Disney World for your family that joins the trip, it is located only 30 minutes from Orlando International Airport, and within miles of the area’s top attractions! Did we mention all summit guests receive a 10% discount at the hotel spa?

6. Breakout sessions

If you attended last year’s summit in Las Vegas, you remember the many breakout sessions Astonish had on topics from sales to Facebook. We took your feedback and this year, we have added even MORE sessions for you to attend. Check out the agenda to see what sessions are being added daily!

7. Speak to those who have been there

The E-Agent Summit is an opportunity for you to meet other agents who have been in your position. Ask them how they grew their agency, how they got employee buy in, and how they utilized the Astonish system to change their businesses and their lives! See some of the 2011 E-Agent testimonials.

8. Find Solutions

Each sponsor of this year’s summit has something to offer you. Whether it is a digital marketing system, educational classes, online subscriptions, or an HR program, many of this year’s vendors are happy to discuss how they can help your agency. Not sure what the next step is? We can help! Astonish representatives will be onsite to direct you to the right person to discuss the solution you may need.

9. Golf Tournament

Love to Golf? We have added to the agenda a summit only golf tournament at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club on Tuesday October 20th starting at 1:00 PM. Bring your clubs or rent them there, but if you are a golf lover, this is not an event to miss!

10. Have fun!

What is the second best part of conferences besides taking away amazing information? Having a good time with other industry professionals! While at the E-Agent Summit be sure to check out the on location spa, go swimming in their 3-acre Florida-style lazy pool, have the family go to Disney World, or join us on Day 2 for a dinner reception with entertainment provided by ARANDA!

Be sure to sign up today for the 2012 E-Agent Summit. Sign up before the end of August to receive a 25% discount when purchasing two or more tickets. Questions? Shoot us an email or give us a call at 888.577.7691. See you in October!



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All You Need is LinkLove

Posted on Apr 9, 2012

The world of Internet Marketing is always changing, so Astonish Results makes it a priority to provide employees with opportunities to educate themselves and stay on top of the latest trends. On April 2, I was lucky enough to attend Distilled’s LinkLove conference in Boston.Link Love Boston Logo

LinkLove is the ultimate gathering of the web’s top link builders. We met at the Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School (I like to think spending the day at Harvard made me smarter by osmosis) and had the honor of listening to nine speakers, each with their own area of expertise. The presenters were the best of the best in our field. If there was a king of SEO, Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz would be the reigning monarch…and he was there! Other presenters included Justin Briggs, Ross Hudgens, Rhea Drysdale, Wil Reynolds, John Doherty, Adam Audette, Colby Almond and Tom Critchlow – all AWESOME.

I learned a ton and look forward to implementing some things I learned in to Astonish’s link building tactics, but there are also some things I learned that are great for you as a business owner to keep in mind:

  1. Focus on good, quality content. When you invest in top-notch content, you can target multiple marketing channels all at once resulting in stronger social following, more brand visibility, higher organic search rankings, more direct traffic, bigger fan base and more referring links.
  2. Discover what your audience shares. Although insurance is a necessity, it is not necessarily the most interesting of subject matters for your target audience. Think about what kind of people buy insurance from you, and then think about what those folks are interested in in their daily lives. You want them to find some kind of value in the content you post so they like it enough to share with their friends and family. They may not be shopping for insurance right now…but they will be eventually and they will remember that fun little agency that posts interesting content. Tip: Check out Followerwonk– you can browse the profiles of your Twitter followers and analyze them. It gives great insight in to what your followers like!
  3. Thinking of trying Pinterest? There’s a lot of buzz around the 3rd most popular social media website. When is the best time to “Pin” your content? Colby Almond says that you should submit your content at 5AM or 5PM. Why? Because traffic is highest at 6AM and 6PM.

I want to thank Distilled for hosting such an outstanding conference and Astonish Results for giving me the opportunity to attend. I can’t wait to put all of the speakers’ great tips and tricks in to action for our clients!

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Lessons and Swag from Day 2 of Alliance of Insurance Agents and Brokers 2010 Conference

Posted on Sep 28, 2010

After day two of the Alliance of Insurance Agents and Brokers 2010 Conference, we take a step closer to realizing the true meaning and value of attending the largest western regional P&C trade show. A day full of energizing Astonish Results executive seminars, meandering the showroom floor, interviewing vendors, collecting goodies and networking with industry colleagues provided some valuable take-aways.

Lesson 1: Relationship building and relevance are boosted when you are employed by a “gold” sponsor. Not to say I couldn’t have forged relationships with board members, vendor presidents, agency owners and marketing executives otherwise, but every little bit helps.

Lesson 2: Despite the perception of insurance professionals being boring/sleazy/unfashionable, a great number of agents and other insurance professionals are well-groomed, style-conscious individuals with great stories and an altruistic mindset, especially when it comes to serving their clients and the communities they represent.

One particular encounter that impressed me was a random, 40-minute, in-between booth conversation with the 79 year-old, father of an agency owner, who’s been intimately involved with the web design and social networking for his 47 year-old daughter (the agency primary). Self-taught at the age of 73, this forward-thinking internet-savvy senior has been dabbling with SEO, web design and WordPress development since before Mashable and Twitter even mattered. I was floored by his knowledge of H1 N1 tags, keyword research tools and overall web acumen, even picking up a few helpful nuggets while attempting to match wits with a man whose shirt was fabricated before my original birthday. Well played Roger, we’ll certainly talk again.

Lesson 3: There are opposing camps when it comes to the value of social media and networking for insurance agencies. While most people are willing to admit its significance, there is still a way-too-prevalent mindset that insurance agencies are the LAST businesses on earth that should be engaging on social media, because of the perceptions stated previously. While I try to make it clear that social networking is not a silver bullet, nor is it an option for every agency, with the right person to manage and the right content/engagement strategy, there’s no reason social media shouldn’t play a role in branding, community building and marketing for insurance agencies.

Of course, for agencies with skeletons in the closet that can get re-hashed, it can be a tricky proposition, but the opportunity to turn antiquated negative perceptions into fresh, positive thoughts, is a risk worth taking. More than a few agencies I spoke to are dealing with this.

For those who’ve embraced social media, both vendors and agents share a similar feeling of, “We have a Facebook page (or blog or Twitter) but we don’t really know what we should be doing with it.” Despite acceptance, many of those responsible feel a disconnect between realizing the significance and understanding the best practices of social media. There’s pressure to maintain a presence and use it for marketing/communication purposes, but visions of how to execute remain unclear for many.

Lesson 4: Stress balls are the most popular form of swag when roaming the trade show floors. Maybe it’s the affordability of squishy foam, or the high-pressure/tension nature of the insurance industry, but half the exhibitors in attendance were giving away some sort of stress-relieving, squeezable tchachke.

Despite the prevalence of stress reducers, there was still some pretty cool free stuff being thrown out. The abundance was so impressive, that IMHQ decided to rate the top Alliance of Insurance Agents and Brokers 2010 Conference swag bag give-aways. With stiff competition for swag supremacy, it was a hotly contested battle, but we were able to narrow it down to a couple “Best Swag” runners up, a winner and a couple losers. Please enjoy the slideshow below for highlights.

Worst Swag Runner Up – Decapitated Bobble Head Pen

Worst swag Runner up - Decapitated Bobble Head

Worst Swag WINNER -Leaking Animal Kidney on a Stick (supposed to be some kind of Mexican candy, but looks more like the internal organ of some small creature impaled on a lollipop stick.)

Worst Swag - WINNER!

Best Swag Runner Up 1 – Builders & Tradesmen’s Insurance Services Reusable Water Bottle

Best Swag Runner Up 2 – HealthCompare Sleeping Mask

Best Swag Runner-up - Sleepy time

Best Swag Runner Up 3 – G.J. Sullivan Co. Rearview Computer Mirror

Best Swag Runner-up

Best Swag WINNER – 27 Piece Tool Tote (sadly the winning vendor DID NOT include any sort of branding on the tool tote so they don’t receive recognition for the generous give-away. The lesson – ALWAYS BRAND YOUR SWAG!)

Best Swag Winner - Car Toolkit

Day 2 Conclusions

After two days, I’ve come to realize that a mass gathering of independent insurance agents and professionals is not unlike a college community. There’s learning, opportunistic vendors, imbibing and experimentation that not only solidifies relationships, but gives attendees a sense of purpose that goes beyond selling insurance. It’s easy to see how someone stuck in the ruts of day-to-day business could be refreshed by the perspectives, knowledge and emerging trends/services advanced by fellow colleagues in the insurance industry.

Tomorrow is supposedly the busiest day for #AIAB10, so we’ll be focusing on the agent’s perspective, including what attendees hope to accomplish and why these industry events matter in the overall realm of serving the modern consumer.

It’s midnight, the hip lobby bar still beckons with uproarious laughter and an overall clamor of excitement, but a 9 a.m. Social Networking 101 seminar has this IMHQ blogger focused on the surprising syndication of a Matlock re-run and seven hours of respite before the next caffeine injection.

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Alliance of Insurance Agents and Brokers (AIAB) 2010 Conference – Day 1 Recap

Posted on Sep 24, 2010

After one full day of insurance trade show enlightenment at the Alliance 2010 Convention & Expo,

there’s plenty to feel good about. Billed as the largest P&C agent trade show in the west, the first day began with a spirited golf tournament on the beautiful JW Marriot Resort’s onsite 18-hole golf course. Hackers wrapped up the tournament around lunchtime and awards were handed out for longest drive, closest to the pin, best group score and most drinks before noon (kidding).

After a satisfying meal from the veggie and hamburger buffet complimenting the tournament, a brief respite and on to Social Networking 101, the photo below a snapshot from the Thursday afternoon class.

While attendance suffered slightly because of late check-ins, the golf tournament and other offerings a Palm Springs resort supplies on arrival day, we were grateful for the turnout and positive response. Despite a demure demeanor, the audience was engaged and active in question and conversation, with handshakes and well-framed questions following. Two of the memorable questions…Better to have on or offsite blog? Isn’t it a waste of time if I can only contribute to social media minimally?

The next big adventure came in the form of a Texas Hold ‘em Tournament featuring close to 100 card sharks and, perhaps the highlight, delectable ahi tuna tacos, coconut prawns and fudge brownies. The tournament winner collected a $1000 gift card, while the runners up were rewarded with a full poker chip set (3rd) and a weekend vacation of some sort (2nd). All received handsome, engraved medals signifying their eternal significance.

The Final Table

The other highlight came in the form of the sobering band, with two members closely resembling musician and fried chicken purveyor, Kenny Rogers (also referred to as Kenny Loggins by several attendees), and chain-smoking, whiskey swilling comedian Ron White. Judge for yourself below.

As I write this, roars of excitement beckon from the lobby bar below, but the Alliance holds a deeper meaning that needs to be unearthed. Tomorrow, the trade show floor, with all its vendor and carrier splendor is the environment of exploration.

Rousing before 12 p.m. may be tough for some, but not for the intrepid IMHQ. We’ll be there for the opening bell with on-the-spot coverage of what’s shaking in the largest P&C trade show the west has to offer.

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