Posts Tagged ‘ digital marketing ’
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!Continue Reading »
When you first immerse yourself within the social media game, you are constantly bombarded with information about the heavy-hitters
You are told to focus your efforts on Facebook, Twitter and blogging—build a community, engage in conversation and form relationships—if you want to become a successful social media ninja then you have to tackle the biggest and boldest social sites first.
But what happens next?
Once you’ve found your social groove, and developed quite an active community of followers, it’s time to embrace a well-rounded, more blended social strategy. There are a variety of additional community-inducing platforms that you can weave into your current social media efforts.
One, which we at Astonish Results regard very highly, is Flickr—the photo and video-sharing tool. Over the past 2 years Flickr has certainly been evolving its clout as a social media outlet, although Facebook and Twitter still tend to steal the spotlight. However, despite the competition, Flickr has also experienced rapid growth and integration within various aspects of digital marketing. It currently hosts upwards of 5 billion images and its branding benefits are steadily increasing.
With the array of both personal and professional reasons to use Flickr, it’s important that agency owners focus on implementing this social resource as a means to:
- Enhance the company’s personal interaction with current its clients
- Build greater awareness and visibility of their agency brand
- Humanize their agency and showcase their individuality
- Conduct outreach campaigns and contests; driving potential clients and& increased traffic to your site(s)
Still skeptical? Astonish Results has seen incredible traction from our branded Flickr account. As a company we share an abundance of photos including snapshots from holiday parties, candids of our fearless leaders out on the road, agency visits and more. By promoting the images through our Facebook and Twitter accounts, we not only encourage clients and the surrounding community to comment, but also provide them with an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at Astonish culture. Allowing the consumer to step inside the world of your agency – and view things from a more personalized perspective – is a great asset to your branding and credibility.
So how can you begin to harvest the power of Flickr for your independent insurance agency?
Take a look at some of these helpful hints to get you started:
If you’re ready to take your social media efforts to the next level, why not begin with Flickr? With the ability to interact, comment, categorize and build up strategic contact lists, the platform provides you with the perfect opportunity to increase your online presence—all with the simple upload of photos. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Are you active on Flickr? Feel free share best practices with us below, we’d love to hear what you’re doing!
Continue Reading »
When you think of search engine optimization (SEO), most likely the first thing that comes to mind is your website. You analyze your content, title tags and whether or not you chose the best keywords in general—but how often do you take into consideration your social media accounts?
With its growing popularity as a marketing portal – and its unique ability to effectively connect customers with brands – it makes sense that small business owners would be taking Facebook a bit more seriously.
With Facebook’s nearly endless opportunities for consumer engagement, it’s crucial that you take the necessary steps to ensure you are harvesting the social platform’s full potential—including your SEO efforts on the site. It’s the little things and strategic customization that can turn your Facebook page into a serious traffic-generator:
Give your page a clear, keyword-rich name—actually use the name of your business. May seem like common sense, right? You’d be surprised how many small business owners don’t realize how critical name recognition is—this isn’t the area of your account where you want to be creative. Use whatever your official company name is—this will most likely be the keyword your customers or potential Facebook fans will most often use when trying to search for you. Keep in mind that Facebook is a personal social networking platform, so don’t get carried away trying to appear for terms that you aren’t particularly relevant for. The more spammy and salesy you appear, the more Facebook users will want to avoid you—the goal is to reach your fans, not turn them off to your business completely.
Try a vanity URL. Recently, Facebook has allowed the opportunity for its users to “claim” a vanity URL for their specific page. For example, Astonish Results’ vanity URL is facebook.com/AstonishResultsRavingFans – it includes the company name and the Raving Fans reference, a key component of the company’s culture. A vanity URL can also be something as simple as your agency’s name – facebook.com/ABCInsuranceAgency – remember to keep it clean and simple; the point of a vanity URL is to make it easier for fans and customers to find your business page.
Use the About Box & Information Tab. Why wouldn’t you take full advantage of every opportunity to write descriptive, keyword-conscious content about your business? The About Box happens to be one of the few significant places on your business page that is accessible and utilized by the search engines. What may seem like just a little box in the left hand corner of your page actually provides you with a couple hundred characters to boast about your business, what you’re all about, what your employees are up to or even just share a bit of your agency’s culture. Every little bit helps, so make sure that whatever information you share is extremely valuable and relevant.
The Information Tab is another great source for keyword-rich content. Completing the Information Tab is critical to the success of your business page, because the more inclusive and thorough your page is, the more likely you are to show up in relevant searches. Facebook also allows you to provide links to other related pages or profiles, so make sure that you are using the Information Tab to draw traffic to other areas, such as your agency website, as well.
Build Links to your Facebook business page. The easiest way to build links – as well as increase your word of mouth marketing efforts – is to organically increase your number of fans. You want quality, authentic consumers to like your page, interact with you and inevitably share your business profile with others. To keep your fan base growing, you need to actually be social—keep the conversation going, pose questions, share your expert insight and dedicate sizeable time to your social networking initiatives.
Another powerful way to gain some traction and drive traffic to your social media account is to build links off site. This can easily be done by including links to your Facebook business page on your official website, on other social media or social networking sites in which you have a profile, as well as within any blog posts that you write. The more links you can build to your Facebook page the more credibility and authority you will give it.
All in all, it’s important that when thinking in terms of SEO that you don’t limit yourself to the obvious. Yes, social media is meant to be social – it’s all about building relationships and engaging your community – but you want your fans to be able to find you, right?
There’s no harm in boosting your social SEO – just remember to keep it simple, relevant and genuine.Continue Reading »
If there is one thing we’ve all come to terms with, it’s that social media is just that – social. It may not seem like an in depth process – you type up a tweet, post a Facebook status and you’re done, right?
To truly be successful with social media, and Internet marketing as a whole, it takes stepping out of your comfort zone. If you sincerely want to grow your business—well be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do a bit of work.
Through all this hype, many businesses are in fact seeing success on social media; thus motivating others to take the plunge. However, is everyone equally successful in social media? What are the superstars doing right? And better yet, what can we learn from them?
1. Plan Your Social Media Strategy
You can’t just jump into the arena and expect that things would just fall into place. Would you dive head first into the deep end, never having swam before? You need practice, time to prepare and a plan of action. Before you even create a social media account as yourself: “why am I doing this” and “why do I need to do this?” You need to determine what the purpose of your social site will be – is it a friendly Facebook page where you can have a more casual conversation with your community, or a professional blog where you want to brand yourself as an insurance expert? Plan your social approach with your goals in mind – and always remain consistent. Be prepared to invest time and resources.
2. Structure Your Online Presence
Do you have random social accounts on ever social networking site you’ve come across? Does your company profile look different from one site to another? Simple things like using the same logo, fonts, colors, etc. on – each social account – helps tie your web presences together, keeping everything uniform.
3. Conversation is Critical
“Networking” means socializing, conversing and inevitably forming mutually beneficial relationships—making it absolutely essential that your agency is on social media, participating and listening to your target audience(s). You should be cultivating a 2-way form of communication, equipped with a feedback loop and all. You want your clients’ opinions and insights to be heard – they help you to strengthen your social brand and the overall success of your business venture. Share interesting information on your social sites, ask for feedback, respond to comments, and keep the cycle of open communication flowing.
4. Share Valuable Information
It’s key to make your presence on social media not only valuable to yourself, but also to your readers, fans and followers. Share information that is helpful to your community – rather than constantly sending out spammy, self-promotional sales pitches. Try highlighting your insurance expertise in a high-quality blog post or share a link about a recent news story that may affect your target audience; enhancing it with a comment which includes your professional opinion. It’s important to also share novelty content, such as upcoming events in your local community, stats from a favorite local sports team or pictures from the office party you had for a CSR’s birthday. It’s a delicate blend, but once you master the art of integrating newsworthy with entertaining, you will be paving your way to a successful social media strategy.
5. Be Committed, Be Consistent
This is where the time and dedication fact comes into play. In order to truly be successful in social media you must be consistent in the conversations you are having, helping to maintain and strengthen your brand image across the Internet. Being consistent, means you have to be committed, designating s set time in which you can focus solely on your social media accounts. Engagement is the keyword here; a half-hearted effort is easily detected, so always be genuine in your endeavors.
These are just a few simple things you can do to get the most out of your social media efforts. Have some additional suggestions? Post a comment below or feel free to reach out on Twitter! @Astonish_KellyContinue Reading »
With the growing popularity of social networking, it can be easy for businesses to get caught up in all the latest and greatest social media marketing tips. The use of social media in search results is growing in popularity amongst all the search engines, not just Google. It’s important to understand the simple ways that you can improve you SEO through social media.
Search Engine Journal recently released an article regarding Twitter use for SEO that really drives this point home. It’s amazing what you can do for your SEO efforts through only 140 characters. Take a look at SEJ’s 10 tips to improve SEO through Twitter.
It’s a lot easier than you may think to build your brand through SEO. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make your brand name your Twitter username (i.e. AstonishResults). Or, if you’ve devoted a Twitter account to a specific product/location, then use that as your Twitter username (i.e. AutoInsurancePA). Using your brand name or target product as your Twitter name can increase your rankings through re-tweets, replies, etc. The more re-tweets your tweet receives, the higher your significance to that brand name or product will be.
Every Twitter account has a section for a biography; use this block of text to your advantage. Make sure you use your brand name, target products, and a link to your website in the bio section. To really boost conversions, make the website link a page on your site that has a form (i.e. the contact page).
When tweeting about a product you offer, make sure you include a link back to your site, preferably a page on your site that has a form and can convert traffic. It’s also important to make sure you include relevant keywords with the link, i.e. “Finding the right auto insurance in PA doesn’t have to be a hassle. Check out how we’re helping our customers! Insert Link Here”
The use of hash tags can play a big part in your SEO efforts. Hash tags serve your SEO like the meta data on your website serves your SEO. Hash tags help to organize tweets and indicate trends on Twitter. You can use them to your advantage when promoting a target product (i.e. #autoinsurancepa or #digitalmarketing).
When you mention someone on Twitter (i.e. @AstonishResults), the relevance to that person’s Twitter page will rise. Making sure you utilize the mention feature when posting to other Twitter members can ensure that they will do the same in return. Mentions from others to your Twitter page can help boost your relevance in search.
Helping others boost their presence on Twitter is a great way to get the same respect in return. Not only can this make it more likely that other Twitter users will re-tweet your posts or mention you in their posts, it can also help build your target market. For example, re-tweeting someone else’s tweets on auto insurance in PA can help boost your relevance to the term auto insurance in PA in search engine results.
One of the key principles in tweeting is not to over tweet or “bulk tweet.” This is a principle from an SEO standpoint as well. Bulk tweeting can make your Twitter account appear like spam to the search engines, thus hurting your relevance in search engine results pages. Bulk tweeting can make you appear as a robot, which Google especially does not tolerate. Make sure you spread out your tweets – if you get a lot of great ideas at once, write them down and post them in intervals throughout the day.
This is a basic practice that can really boost your Twitter’s relevance. Whether you blog onsite, offsite, or both, make sure you push links to your posts through Twitter. This provides another outlet for links to your blog posts. Encourage re-tweets to your blog links as well. Pushing your blog posts through tweets can encourage people to read your post, comment on them, and interact with you on Twitter with their feedback.
Most of our clients have social media buttons/links on their websites, so this is something that requires no effort on your part. Having the Twitter button on your site shows prospects that you’re available to interact with – in fact, having all of your social media linked to buttons on your site is something everyone should be doing.
Just as Twitter helps build relevance to your general brand name, it also helps prospects see that you have an online brand too. With insurance agencies especially, prospects can have a hard time seeing past the brick and mortar office and accept you as an online brand. You have to use tools like Twitter to show customers and prospects that you are fully accessible online as well as in your office. Building your online brand also shows customers and prospects that you are available to them outside of normal business hours – for some, it’s all about convenience.
These are basic practices of using Twitter, but sometimes seeing how they work for purposes outside of just social presence, like for SEO, can help to drive the point home. Have any Twitter suggestions for SEO that I didn’t include? Tweet me at @astonish_shawna!
Ad spending by insurance providers hit an all time high in 2008, approaching $3.5 billion! While ad spending figures for 2009 are not readily available, the big two of Geico and Progressive combined spent close to $1.9 Billion in 2008, roughly the GDP of a small country.
2008 Ad Spending By The Numbers:
Geico – $622.7 million – Adweek.com
Progressive – $470.4 million: Adage.com
Ad spending is a part of any solid insurance marketing plan. It’s a necessary (and costly) line item that requires creative resources and well-conceived strategy to be successful, especially in a Goliath versus Goliath battlefield. Nielsen makes a case for why so much is spent (especially on TV) with a report issued earlier last year. Nielsen IAG reports:
When asked about their own banks, insurance companies and investment firms, 55% of respondents who said they had seen more advertising for their financial institution reported having “complete confidence” in the financial health and soundness of their company and only 18% said they had “little or no confidence” in their company. However, among those who said they had seen less advertising, only 18% had “complete confidence” in their financial company and 45% said they had “little or no confidence” in their company.
Richard Khaleel, EVP of Nielsen IAG’s Financial practice explains the figures
“This research shows that ‘out of sight’ can mean ‘out of business. The current economic climate makes it more important than ever for financial institutions to bolster confidence among their clients and this study clearly demonstrates the link between advertising and confidence levels.”
Mr. Khaleel draws a clear line between “advertising” and “confidence levels,” but what are we really learning about our insurance providers from the commercials we see on TV? If you consider, both basically promise the same thing:
So who’s telling the truth?
More importantly, if the insurance providers are spending so many billions just to retain customers and develop the next reptilian, prehistoric or perplexingly sexy fauxsperson, something is being sacrificed. Considering the amount Americans pay for their insurance and the state of the economy you’d think insurers would want to scale back or reallocate some of those dollars into more tangible projects, say reducing premiums/deductibles, customer service or technology infrastructure.
Fortunately for agents, the Internet is an equalizer and the heaps of money Geico and Progressive are spending to drive people to their websites can be leveraged by creating an effective online presence and strategy. While independents will never compete with the ad spending of insurance Goliaths, the social web, insurance marketing programs and a customer-driven business model are a prescription for long-term growth. Furthermore, agents have an inherent advantage because customers are retained when they are serviced with personalized policy and claims support, not entertaining ad campaigns.
I love talking lizards as much as the next couch potato. But spending hundreds of millions of dollars to reiterate the same value propositions as the competition and convince existing clients of viability? The time is coming when “confidence levels” will have more to do with efficient and helpful insurance support and less to do with slick, saturated ad campaigns.Continue Reading »
Marketing in 2010 is a bit like eating at a Las Vegas buffet. So many options to gorge yourself on: direct mail fliers, email campaigns, banner ads, airplane banners, billboards, product placement, guerilla marketing and good old-fashioned newspaper ads. However, only relics can deny that we live in a digital age. What may have worked ten years ago IS not working anymore and it’s hard to change your ways. Who likes change, right?
Back in the olden days, the Yellow Pages were king and the rest of us were just humble dominions living within its kingdom. If you weren’t in the Yellow Pages, your business was virtually unknown. Search engine experts were actually predicting its demise as long ago as 2007.
The simple question then becomes, where do people go to find information today? The overwhelming answer is search engines. Google is the number one most visited website in the world, and more than likely, the way your potential customers are going to find you (along with Yahoo, MSN and Bing).
8 out of 10 insurance leads search for insurance on the internet before they make a purchase. So the question you need to ask is, will clients find you? And if they do find you; will your website convince them to contact you?
If you’re unsure of the answer to those questions, you’re not alone. Most independent insurance agents haven’t taken full advantage of the growth opportunity the internet provides. The ones that have are generating insurance leads, writing more policies, making more money and enjoying the evolution of the landscape.
Marketing in the digital age can put independent agents on par with corporate behemoths, provided they have a voice worth hearing and the right tools to be heard. Welcome to Insurance Marketing HQ.Continue Reading »