Posts Tagged ‘ agency ’
Thinking outside the box and becoming more creative to generate leads is a great insurance marketing strategy for your insurance agency. Social media has become one of the leading ways to impact your community, generate interest, and draw in prospective clients. Whether you are heavily invested in Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you have got to start somewhere.
All of these social media sites provide different opportunities for your agency to brand itself on. As a leader in the insurance industry, you will want to use social media to integrate fundraising and community service into your agency. This creative and humbling Internet marketing tactic will not only bring you leads, but it will build a stronger community for your agency.
Integrating fundraising and community service into your social media strategy:
Through Facebook, you are going to be able to optimize your experience by creating interesting posts that people want to interact with. Through Twitter, you are going to be able to promote good things going on with your event or service to provide real time updates. And through LinkedIn you can update your initiative through your professional networking groups.
Being involved on a day to day basis with your Facebook friends and potential clients is a great way to generate new leads through social media. Creating a fundraiser or community service event to bring the community together, will not only benefit the non-profit or business you are donating your proceeds to, but it will benefit the community, and even better your agency. Think outside the box and bring people together through social media, and you will be guaranteed to build a larger and more beneficial community surrounding your insurance agency.Continue Reading »
Since the release of Twitter, there has been a misconception about its purpose. Many people believe that it is only useful for viewing status updates from those that you are following. In reality, it is so much more than that.
Although Twitter is a great way to keep your friends updated about events and other interesting information, it can also be utilized as an effective insurance marketing tool. Twitter is a practical way for businesses to keep their existing customers updated regarding any company news, events, and new product information.
While there are so many different tools available to help you get the most out of Twitter, I am going to narrow down a few of the more popular tools that can help you set the framework for your insurance sales strategy.
Here are a few basic applications that can be used to help you get started on promoting your business on Twitter:
Socialtoo is a free, handy tool that has many different uses! With this tool, you can:
- Keep track of all the people who have followed or unfollowed you on Twitter
- Have the ability to send a confirmation message to anyone that decides to follow you
- Follow people that follow you
- Blacklist users you do not want to associate with and prevent them from following you
- Follow anyone that has followed you in the past
- Create surveys
If you run your own WordPress blog, then this is a must have! This plugin gives you the ability can integrate your Twitter account and your WordPress blog together.
This tool allows you to pull your own tweets into your blog and also allows you to create new tweets on your blog posts from inside WordPress. With this tool, you can quickly notify your friends on Twitter when you made a new blog post.
Twhirl is a tool that allows you to post Twitter updates, follow your friends and search for specific tweets. Most of the features that are available on Twitter are also available on Twhirl.
With Twhirl you can:
- Post short 140-character updates about what you are doing
- Follow your twitter friends and read all their updates
- Send users direct, private messages
Formerly known as TweetLater, Social Oomph is a service that offers users the ability to enhance their tweets and actually send them through an e-mail! The purpose of this application is to help you be more productive and save time with your social activities on Twitter, Facebook, and even your blogs.
You can either opt to take advantage of the free service or sign up for the paid service. The free service allows users to schedule the occurrence of all your Tweets, track keywords, receive e-mail digests of keywords you specify, and efficiently view your mentions and retweets across many accounts.
TweetDeck is a Twitter application that is integrated with Twitter’s interface. This allows those who are logged in to send and receive tweets. You can also view other profiles. In comparison to many other Twitter applications, this is one of the more popular ones.
With TweetDesk you can:
- Quickly send out tweets
- Receive G-mail notifications in your inbox
- Unicode art including smiley faces, arrows, and even upside down text!
Although there are an overwhelming amount of tools available to help you maximize your insurance marketing strategy, hopefully you will take advantage of a few of these tools. Some of these applications you will find are easier to use than others, but it is important to figure out which ones will work best for your Twitter marketing strategy!Continue Reading »
During the recent #Inschat the discussion surrounded the topic of blogging. Insurance Marketing chat contributor @NicoleYeary shared a great statistic at the end of the chat showing that 14,409 people were reached by #Inschat tweets!
The conversation discussed blogging content, SEO, commenting, and more. Check below for the #Inschat round-up where we have grabbed some of the key tweets that contributed to the conversation. Full transcript available at the bottom.
Question #1—What are some good ways to promote your blog?
Question #2—Do you have a blog commenting strategy?
@doubleicf: Yes! I keep a running list of sites I hit weekly RT @LloydProGrp: Dont forget to bookmark everything and your other friends too! #inschat
@BrownstoneInsur: A2 – No strategy per say. I simply have a few key blogs I regularly read and offer further insight or interaction. #INSchat
@Berrys_Amanda: RT @Astonish_Kelly: Q2: I have a network of other #bloggers that I follow; I always try to comment on their posts ASAP after I post to generate convo #INSchat
@astonish_alicia: Q2: Finding relevant posts and posting a genuine comment and link! #Inschat
@IIABNY: Q2. No formal strategy on commenting, but I find comments are most helpful when they expand a point or introduce a new perspective #inschat
Question #3—Where do you look when you are stuck for content ideas?
@GarryInsurance: Q3: I try to use experiences like a few weeks ago I put my car in the ditch & used Roadside Assistance – So I blogged about it! #INSchat
@kellydavis226: Q3: my google reader – I subscribe to relevant blogs and there’s always new stuff to read, all in one place. Great inspiration! #INSchat
@maia_melissa: Q3: I rummage thru the search engine terms that brought people to the blog to begin with. #inschat
@iWebHound: Q3 – Take notes if you exhibit at tradeshows. We did a blog post about FAQ we heard. Seemed to get a lot of curious people clicking #INSchat
@AskTim: @maia_melissa @ReyInsurance I just did a blog post this morning based on a client question. #inschat
Question #4—What is the best way to optimize a blog post?
@PRnick: A4L: Write posts with SEO keywords, use keyword as links to relevant pages, SEO plugin, intriguing titles (w/ keywords of course) #inschat
@GarryInsurance: Q4: Using the same back link terms from post to post to keep it consistent #INSchat
@Astonish_Kelly: Q4 I try to optimize all images too! putting keywords in the ALT text & captions of photos in your post is an easy way to start! #INSchat
@ReyInsurance: hyperlink content to other sites? RT @InsuranceMHQ: Q4: What are the best ways to optimize a blog post? #seo #inschat
Question #5—Lets share blog links for networking!
Thank you to everyone who participated. If you were part of #Inschat and we forgot to add your blog just let us know! The next insurance marketing chat will take place next month; time and topic to be determined.
View the entire #Inschat transcript here.Continue Reading »
After a month off for the holidays it is time for the next Insurance Marketing Twitter Chat (#INSchat). The next #INSchat will be taking place this Friday at 2 p.m. EST. The second #INSchat featured questions on blogging; such as how to gett started and how to effectively build a community around your blog. The upcoming Insurance Twitter Chat is going to continue the conversation. Blogging is such a large topic that we have decided to discuss it again in more depth.
The definition of a blog according to dictionary.com is:
“a journal written online and accessible to users of the internet”
But we all know it is much more than that. A blog is a way to communicate with your industry, community, and the others on web. Most bloggers blog about specific topics which are usually assocuated with their interests or involves their line of work. Some companies blog about what is going on inside the walls of their office and offer advice based on their industry knowledge. Blogging is sharing your knowledge and ideas with others and creating a community within itself.
On Friday’s #INSchat we will be discussing all things blogging in the insurance industry. Discussion will range from content ideas to how to encourage comments, where you should be linking, and how to grow your blog’s readership.
If you have never participated in a twitter chat check out the post on how to participate in #INSchat and join us at 2:00 p.m. EST this Friday the 28th! If anyone has any great questions ideas for Friday let us know. You can email myself at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a tweet over to @InsuranceMHQ.Continue Reading »
In this ever-competitive insurance industry how is an agency really supposed to get noticed? What key ingredients are needed to execute the best insurance marketing strategy? Do pay-per-click ads actually work?
Astonish Results co-founder and President, Tim Sawyer, recently had the opportunity to join former National Underwriter Editor in Chief Sam Friedman along with agency owners Will Penny, Rex Caton and Nathan Dagley to discuss what it takes to develop a successful paid search approach and strategy.
Sawyer opened the discussion with a striking realization regarding the success of paid search optimization, “99.0% of the time it doesn’t work, and the people that believe that are in no danger of it ever working—belief is the key,” Sawyer said openly.
Will Penny of Penny Insurance in North Carolina couldn’t agree more with the Astonish President.
When Sawyer asked how he felt about paid search Penny explained why the tactic works for his agency, “You got to believe in it, you got to have a process to make it work; you can’t just put stuff out there on the web and expect people to react to it, find you, call you up and beg to buy insurance from you,” stated the agency owner. “We have a very specific process. When somebody clicks on us and that lead comes in our agents react to it instantly”.
Both Sawyer and Penny agree that both speed and mobility are key: the ability to stretch across a community and service the business effectively allows for independent agencies, such as Penny Insurance, to bring a local experience to a much broader geographical base.
Another concept that Sawyer brought up is one that may seem foreign to most—marketing outside one’s market.
Nathan Dagley of Dagley Insurance and Financial Services has developed a strategy that does just that. Marketing insurance in Houston, Dallas and Colorado may seem like a challenge to many, but Dagley and his agency are using paid search to their advantage. “It all comes down to processes,” the Texas-agency owners said. “And timeliness; when somebody calls in we have to be on that phone call immediately. Not only that we have to have scripts that we set aside for people to follow to make sure that there is consistency in that pattern—when you follow a great sales process it ends up getting great results”.
Rex Caton of Caton-Hosey Insurance agrees with the benefit that paid search brings to independent agencies, and explained how he justified the cost. “Think about this for a second, we have seeking insurance for themselves and asking you for it through pay-per-click”. Caton then followed up quite simply with a realization that was sure to hit home, “If you’re spending $5, $ 10, $15 per click, would you spend that if you knew you were going to close and close the right way? Of course you would”.
All in all it’s safe to say that paid search optimization is a powerful, successful tool when utilized in the right way. As Sawyer and Astonish Results are often recognized for saying, it’s all about having the right people and processes; both which are key ingredients for effective paid search campaigns.Continue Reading »
Recently, after a whirlwind of a year, Astonish Results CEO, Adam DeGraide and President, Tim Sawyer, had the opportunity to sit down together and reflect upon some of the common themes they saw while talking to insurance agencies.
It’s obvious that as technology changes so must the approach taken by agents. Sawyer commented on the mindset that today’s agencies seem to have, stating: “they discovered that they can drive traffic; they can increase the quantity and quality of traffic to their websites and they can get more sales opportunities,” – sounds like a movement in the right direction. Well not entirely, “the reality is that ultimately is not going to fix anything,” Sawyer responded.
So what will?
“Train you people,” Sawyer said. It’s the common thread Astonish Results has seen from all agency leaders they have met with this year. Both Sawyer and DeGraide couldn’t stress enough the importance of the right people, process and tools and how all of that must flow cohesively with proper, effective training.
“Just because someone has been in the insurance industry for 20-years doesn’t mean they are great at serving the modern consumer,” Sawyer explained. Agents must be trained in a way that they aren’t just told how to do something; they must be shown, in addition to being provided feedback and benchmarking. It all comes down to a “comprehensive, consistent training system,” according to the Astonish President.
DeGraide had a lot of insight to share as well, including the vital ingredient that all agencies should be focusing on, “how well do you communicate effectively with the modern consumer”. DeGraide explained how many people think that marketing their company and selling more policies are results that will spawn from the use of “widgets” and “gadgets”; something the Astonish CEO proves is very untrue.
“Technology will be different next year. The thing that will never change though, is that if you have a good process of training your people on how to sell and serve the modern consumer and you’re willing to go through the pain of what that actually takes to listen to phone calls, to actually monitor what’s actually going on in your business, then these agencies can literally change their lives”.
Like Sawyer, DeGraide highlights how vital detailed training is to the success of the modern agency. He also has high expectations for the upcoming year and the field of insurance marketing as a whole. “What I find really encouraging is that they are starting to get it. They realize what the investment is, they realize what the cost is and most importantly they train their people to convert opportunities into sales”.
As the needs of the modern consumer evolve so do those of the agencies providing them with insurance; it’s all relative to the Astonish “find, keep, sell” method and that cannot be achieved without thorough onsite training.Continue Reading »
It’s true; social media appears to be changing almost every day; the latest networking initiative—location-based services.
We have seen location-based marketing tools such as Foursquare, Gowalla and now Facebook Places and Deals take the retail industry by storm. Stores are leveraging the power of mobile marketing to attract new customers and keep their current spenders coming back for more. So how can insurance agencies take advantage of these new applications?
The third ever #INSchat focused on the evolution and importance of location-based services and how agencies can adopt and adapt thee platforms to help strengthen their social marketing strategy.
The Insurance Marketing HQ team commends all of those who participated in the fast-paced discussion; here you will find a transcript with some of the most influential questions and highlights. A copy of the full transcript is also available below:
Question 1: What LBS social media platforms are a must for agency marketers? #INSchat
@Berry_Insurance: #Foursquare #GooglePlaces #FacebookPlaces #INSchat
@PRnick: Yelp and AngiesList aren’t LBS by definition, but ppl need to be aware since customers can leave comments/reviews in real time. #INSchat
@InsuranceMHQ: Facebook Places, foursquare and gowalla are popular ones! #INSchat
@BravuraLeads: I’m going to bet on Facebook Places to become more and more relevant #INSchat
Question 2: What is the best way to use Foursquare for your agency?
@melnazar: Get your agency employees to check in whenever they are at local events, locations, etc. #INSchat
@javerlin74: tough to offer specials for agency. Partner with client. Check in at Tim Hortons and Agency get a quote and receive free coffee. #INSchat
@PRnick: Leaving a roadmap of where we’ve been and which client’s we’ve visited. Show niches, leave tips and highlight customers. #INSchat
@InsuranceMHQ: @javerlin74 Great idea! Checking into partner venues, need to be careful with offering quotes and deals together! #INSchat
@EricLeist: A tip-oriented 4sq campaign works for home & auto agencies. Check into a local car dealer/real estate; get a tip from an ins agent #INSchat
@marshberrywest: be on the lookout to create your own badge when the capability becomes available #INSchat
Question 3: How can your agency leverage Facebook deals?
@EricLeist: Fb Deals could be huge to reach GenY esp. when combined w/ Fb ads. Could give away anything just to get them in the door. #INSchat
@InsuranceMHQ: @maia_melissa Offering coffee or pizza (without mentioning quote) will get foot traffic, then pitch will be your part. #INSchat
@ReyInsurance: i have found, unfortunately, non-insurance related topics drive the most response/engagement. contests w/a prize w/i state regs #INSchat
Question 5: What type of information should an agency provide on these network listings?
@Berry_Insurance: website, telephone, contact person. #INSchat
@InsuranceMHQ: Customize! Different networks have different options but it?s important that you do as much as you can to build out your listing. #INSchat
Question 6: How much do you push customer reviews on your local listings (such as Google Local)?
@Berrys_Amanda: ask customers for testimonials; send them the link in an email, so they know exactly where to go! #INSchat
@astonish_alicia: Don’t put fake reviews! #INSchat Q6: How do you push customer reviews on your local listings?
@GarryInsurance: We have found that just asking works the best. Why wouldn’t we, when we know we have helped them & provided top notch service #INSchat
Eager for more insight regarding location-based services—view the full #INSchat transcript here!Continue Reading »
As the holidays approach the articles about Black Friday check-in’s and location based services, being harnessed by many retailers to offer customer deals, are being published hourly. The use of platforms such as Foursquare and Gowalla are becoming more popular among social media users and the new availability of Facebook Places and Deals on most Smartphone’s will result in an increase of holiday shoppers checking into stores to claim certain discounts.
For the third insurance marketing twitter chat we thought it was only appropriate to cover the topic of location based services and how they can be used to help an agency’s marketing strategy. I recently wrote a blog post about using Facebook deals in your insurance agency, but there are so many more applications and uses of location based services that many CSR’s and social media engineers do not take advantage of.
So in light of the topic’s recent popularity the Insurance Marketing HQ team would like to announce the third #INSchat scheduled for Monday November 29th at 1 p.m. EST. After the Thanksgiving holiday what better time to discuss the topic and share insights from those who participated in the Black Friday deals and those who have implemented such a strategy at their own agency.
The instructions on how to participate in the twitter chat are the same as before with the use of hashtag #INSchat of course. The IMHQ team will be compiling questions over the next week, so for any suggestions or specific topics you would like covered, feel free to email to email@example.com.
We hope to see you all there!Continue Reading »
Recently we held the second insurance marketing twitter chat. One of the last questions that came up was “What advice would you give to a new blogger or social media intern?” Especially in the insurance industry having the right approach at your social media strategy is an important first step. I have included some of the #INSchat comments along with some of my own tips for social media gurus in training.
1) Don’t be overwhelmed.
Leading the social media efforts at your agency can seem overwhelming at first. Social media is meant to be interactive and fun so don’t worry about having too much on your plate. Blogging, tweeting, tagging, it is all progressive. From the point about five months ago when I started until now I have learned an immense amount of knowledge about online marketing and different social media platforms. It takes time to learn everything, so don’t be overwhelmed just have a confident attitude and dive in!
2) Brand Yourself.
This is one of the most important points. No one wants to chat with an insurance agency on Facebook or twitter. If a friend suggested that I “like” an agency on Facebook and they have a picture of their logo and only tweet about how they can give me the best quote, I probably wouldn’t accept. Your job is to represent the agency as a thought leader. Showcase some of your own interests, whether you like football, fishing, or french fries, showing your personality keeps it interesting, makes it more fun for you, and allows others to see there is more to your social media efforts than generating leads. Lets face it. No one wants to hear about insurance unless they need a quote or have a question. So representing your agency as a person not just someone who is trying to sell something is key.
This one probably seems like a no brainer, but reading is important for content ideas and keeping up to date with the latest trends. There is so much information out there about social media, marketing strategy, and technology, so read it! The Alltop social media page is a great resource for finding the trending stories each day. If you have a question, someone has probably answered it in a blog post. The only way to learn about social media besides experience is to immerse yourself in the culture.
Things to keep in mind:
- Be sincere and authentic.
- Posts never go away, think long-term.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Many people on social networking sites, especially twitter, are more than happy to answer a question you may have.
- Get SOCIAL! Having good content is a positive but it isn’t the main source that will drive traffic to your post.
When looking for the definition of a modern hometown insurance agency, Bucci Insurance of Warwick Rhode Island has the look and feel. Situated in a well-groomed business park about 15 minutes from the Astonish Results office, the Insurance Marketing HQ team recently took a brief jaunt over to the offices for another Changing Faces of the Industry interview with their social media manager, Khiara.
Khiara is a senior at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI and has been interning at Bucci Insurance for over six months. Recruited from a Bryant college fair by Tony Bucci, the agency’s owner, she’s in charge of managing Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and the aptly named RI Insurance Blog. As a lifelong Rhode Island native, Khiara keys in on local happenings and community events. She has made a point to incorporate a sense of the Ocean State’s unique identity into the RI Insurance Blog by featuring local businesses, promoting historic Rhode Island events and designing the iconic Newport Bridge into the blog header.
A bit of a renaissance woman, Khiara also coaches a high school gymnastics team, is an RA on her campus, and works at a local golf course. Each of the positions provides her with an opportunity to fine tune social skills and network with a diverse group of people, valued skills for her as an aspiring marketing maven. Most people are surprised to hear that she does social media for an insurance agency, which has actually helped drive some interest in Bucci as a progressive-minded agency.
We sat down with Khiara to discuss insurance agency life and professions in the most recent, “Changing Faces of the Industry.”
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