Posts Tagged ‘ strategy ’
The movies are not only for the big screen- they can be just as entertaining in your blog posts! It is not always easy coming up with topics to blog about, never mind an interesting topic. However, in order to benefit from your blogging, it is important to make sure the content that you write is interesting and worth sharing. If your post does not catch the public eye, then what is the point?
As a blogger, I have found that incorporating pop culture into your insurance marketing strategy and blogging efforts will always pay off. These posts seem to get the most traction and are shared the most often! Whether you choose to blog about a hit-single, a movie or television show, you are sure to be appealing to a much larger audience than if you are blogging about a policy.
To get started, here are 15 movies that you could be comparing to your policies in your next blog post:
There are millions of films out there; it’s time to choose one of your favorites and find a way to write about it! Insurance is not always the easiest topic to relate to pop culture, but these 15 ideas prove that it is not impossible.
Have a movie in mind? Let us know about it in the comment section! We would love to hear your creative ideas!Continue Reading »
By now, it’s safe to say that we all are aware of how crucial blogging is to one’s overall Internet Marketing strategy. Whether you publish content weekly, 3 times per week or even daily it’s likely that the time will come when you are struck with writers block. It’s not easy to create content that not only naturally incorporates your keywords but is also readable, entertaining and something your readers will want to share.
When you’re struggling for ideas, where do you turn? Perhaps you scour the office for industry-related updates or maybe you check your favorite news station’s website; whatever you do to dig up some blog-worthy ideas can easily be combined with these tips for creative content creation:
Your blog serves many purposes including the need to: to increase your overall SEO efforts, thus increasing traffic and generating leads – as well as highlighting your agency’s culture. The goal with any good Insurance Marketing strategy is to capture the attention of prospects, retain current clients and inevitably grow our business. To do so you have to position yourself at the forefront of your consumer’s mind; and how do you do that – by separating yourself from the competition.
When you think of insurance, what comes to mind? Most often you’ll envision accident scenarios, policies and claims. But there’s so much more to what you do and who you are, so showcase that on your blog. Do you celebrate employee birthdays with a giant cake? Maybe you volunteer with a local charity. Perhaps you have launched a friendly office-wide competition…take Astonish Results for example and our office’s RFM Weight Loss Challenge! By providing current clients and prospects with a sneak-peak into what life is like at your agency you are allowing them the opportunity to connect with you on a different level and build a relationship that goes beyond simply selling them an insurance policy.
Appeal to the Season
Changes in season are the perfect starting point for an informative, yet appealing blog post. You can coordinate your blogging efforts with the ever-changing weather patterns; think about including information about recent storms, local damages and how to best prepare for severe weather.
Seasonal posts can stretch farther than what may be falling from the sky. Think beyond weather and consider the activities that your consumers may participate in during any given period of time. Perhaps in the winter you talk about preparing your vehicle for the colder weather or in the summer you highlight the watercraft insurance policies your agency can offer its avid boaters. Nearly everything has its own season; weddings, back-to-school, holiday prep, etc. focus on providing useful, valuable information that can apply to your consumers’ everyday lives.
Tips & How-To’s
One of the most popular and well-received blogging styles is those that include tips and “how-to” information. Alongside your mission to gain a competitive edge, increase your agency’s visibility and strengthen your SEO, your blogging should also serve a greater purpose—providing value to the reader. You should strive to craft content that can positively impact your current and prospective clients, give them the facts, advice and general knowledge they both want and need.
These types of blogs can include general insurance tips, such as how to keep particular premiums low or can span across a variety of topics such as how to protect your home from burglars or fires safety tips for one’s home and office.
Another aspect of your blogging strategy is using your content to brand your agency as a credible, knowledgeable expert – and better yet an active community leader. To do so you need to know what’s going on in the world around you and how it both applies to and affects the lives of your consumers. Developing a reputation for your agency which portrays you as a trusted resource for valuable information and news can help you both draw in readers (and prospects!) as well as keep them coming back for more.
When blogging about current events, make sure that they are either applicable to the industry or specific to your local community. Look for changes in legislation, new acts or regulations or even choose to stay up-to-date on the constantly evolving issues with health care. Perhaps a new driving-while-texting ban was passed in your state; that would serve as a quality blog post as well as provide you with the opportunity to incorporate some auto insurance information within the content. Or maybe flood damages reached a record high in your region, explain what this might mean for area homeowners and their insurance premiums.
Whatever you choose to write about, make sure your blogs are always valuable, interesting and portray your agency as a leading insurance resource. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box—do what you can to make your insurance content appealing and share-worthy.
Have any suggestions? Where do you go when your content has you stumped? Share your suggestions and comments with us below and feel free to check out our additional blogging tips for making the process more enjoyable!Continue Reading »
If you have missed the latest buzz about Google’s latest attempt at going social, they have recently released their +1(Plus One) button for everyone, both businesses and consumers alike, to start using. The Google +1 Button, Google’s version of the Facebook “Like” button, except it is available for you to click on in the search results when you perform a search on Google. By clicking this button you basically say that this site was relevant to what you had searched for.
Why You Should Embrace Google +1
A person’s +1 recommendations are visible to everyone of their online connections. The same goes for your customers. If your customers are using the +1 button to promote your business chances are their connections when they perform a similar search. Seeing that someone who is close to them, that they trust, has recommended your product or service via the +1 button will give them a heightened sense of security and more of an incentive to inquire about what you have to offer.
This study on the affect of Google +1 on organic traffic had found that,
“The Google +1 button saw a 20% increase in rankings which led to a corresponding lift in Clickthrough rate (CTR).”
“If a +1 increases clicks, it naturally follows that sites will see a boost in search position (even if they don’t show up as +1′d to non-logged in users) as well as the automatic boost from appearing in social circle results.”
Many blogs and website’s are already integrating and promoting the Google +1 Button to their followers and fans on their social networks to have a greater impact. The greater number of +1s your blog or site has associated with it will positively impact the traffic you receive as well as reduce the uncertainty of the new customer base who is just starting to do research about you.
Here are a couple quick tips how to drive more +1 recommendations using your social networks:
- Tweet to all your followers that the +1 button is now on your site and blog, encourage them to click the +1 Button.
- Use your Facebook Fan page to spread the word about your new button and stress to them how much you appreciate them clicking it reinforcing that you truly value the customer’s interaction.
- Push out a blog post to drive attention to the button and to share this news with their connections.
Don’t pass over this opportunity, add the Google +1 Button to your site today! Working it into your social media strategy will only benefit your organization, so don’t get left behind, get social!Continue Reading »
If there is one thing I’ve learned about Internet Marketing it is that it’s easy to make a simple strategy unnecessarily complex. When marketing online it’s important to keep in mind that the role of the Search Engine (Google) is to essentially play matchmaker. Search engines inevitably are trying to match the user’s query or “question” with a result or “answer.” Your job as the marketer is to do the necessary work that will prove to Google your web site has the right “answers” for the important “questions” or “searches.”
At Astonish Results, I run a pretty white-hat Internet Marketing department. White-hat refers to SEO practices that are legitimate and kosher. White hat practices usually involve writing high-quality, keyword-rich content that are useful to searchers. Black-hat practices refer to strategies that try to trick the search engines into giving their site priority over others. This can be done by outsourcing low quality backlinks, stuffing keywords into your meta data and a handful of other insincere techniques.
From everything I’ve seen online, I know that the more “zen” your Internet Marketing approach is, the better.
What does a “zen” Internet Marketing plan look like? Here are five points to a “zen” SEO Strategy:
1. Love your keywords. And then let them go.
We all love our keywords. Keywords can be like little nuggets of gold. But if you think about it for a minute, the act of doing keyword research alone can be thought of as well, not black-hat, but possibly gray-hat SEO. If you know that one keyword is more searched than another, you’re going to want to use it more often than others in order to begin ranking higher for this term. While this is common practice, it is still – in essence – trying to trick the search engines into ranking you for the more popular keywords. So my advice to you is to love your keywords…and then let them go. This means that you should know what your keywords are and try to use them as naturally as possible in your content. But beware. Sometimes if you love something too much, you can smother it. Be careful not to stuff your keywords or over optimize. Have your copy read naturally. Use the research and the data you’ve gathered to give you a leg up, but don’t use it excessively. Using keyword research is an art and not a science.
2. Think Socially.
It is crucial that every small business have an effective social media strategy. Your social media fans, followers, and friends can be thought of as an email distribution list. By posting something to your wall on Facebook, your message can be seen by all of your fans. So start thinking about who these fans are and what you can offer them. A Facebook-only coupon, offer, or prize? An event that only goes out to Twitter fans? Think about how to grow and nourish your social relationships as you would your email-base.
3. Act Locally.
Most small businesses are interested in doing business locally. So that means, you’ve got to implement a solid local strategy. After you have confirmed your local listings on the major search engines and begun to ask your very favorite customers for positive reviews, it’s time to take your local strategy to the next level. Solicit relevant links from local directories like DMOZ and ISEDB.com. Consider paying for placements with Business.com, Best of the Web, Insurance Journal Yellow Pages, or a Yahoo! Enhanced Local Listing.
4. Be nice to your friends.
When you’re creating offline partnerships, how do you judge a positive relationship? Do the same online. When you meet colleagues in your industry on social media platforms, you should always be thinking about how you can work together for mutually beneficial marketing promotions. Two heads are better than one.
5. There’s no time like the present…to write a blog post.
What have you added to your web site lately? If the answer is nothing, then you are in trouble. The search engines are checking in regularly to see what is new about your web site that keeps it “fresh” and “updated.” If you haven’t been posting on your onsite blog regularly, I suggest you begin today. Adding fresh, useful content to your web site shows the search engines (and your visitors!) that you’re alive, healthy and relevant.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 »
Businesses that are new to digital marketing often ask, “How do I make social media work for my business?”. Social media supports and enhances business functions that are focused on achieving specific business objectives, such as expanding brand awareness, driving leads, customer service, and more. However, just as in any other department of your business you want it to be well planned. Producing an effective and successful social media campaign comes down to three factors:
Having a Clear Vision
Clarity about what you want to achieve with your social media campaign is of most importance and must be discussed thoroughly before you even begin your campaign. Get with your staff and outline what it is you will be using it for. What is the focus of your campaign:
- Cut cost on customer service?
- Expand your reach and brand reputation in your market online?
- Encourage repeated business?
- To gain valuable information from your customers on how you can make your business better?
Regardless of what your goals might be, they must be clearly defined before you even think about registering your twitter account!
Purpose = Value
As important as what your goals are for the social real, what is equally, if not more, important is “why” they are of valuable objectives. Don’t get caught up in the mindset of, “We have to have a twitter account because our competition has one” or “We can rank better for terms in the search engine.” While these have some truth to them, they should not be the driving force of your campaign. Purpose creates value, and customers can smell it a mile away. If your market sees that you are there for a specific reason and feel you care for their needs, they will know where to go when they have issues. Make it more about the sale, make it about the customer, for without them there is no sale.
Execution Requires Time and Patience
You may have heard the common phrase, “Social Media doesn’t happen overnight.” Well there is a reason it is common, because it’s true. Developing a successful engaging social presence doesn’t happen on your first try. It requires trial and error, which implies failure. Temporary failure. Finding out what doesn’t work is just as important is discovering what does work, by learning not to make those mistakes again. What can ease the sting of failure is being hones with yourself about all the things that can go wrong and create a plan of action should that situation arise. Make small objectives and take them one at a time until you find what works. You will see your wins increase as you patiently press forward in your social journey.
Go For It!
Combine all these elements Clear Vision, Purpose and Execution and no doubt you will begin to see astonishing results. Olivier Blanchard from from the BrandBuilder Blog said it best,
“Understanding the objectives, clarifying the value, and demonstrating that you understand the risks, hurdles, and challenges ahead will go a long way toward deflating fear and instilling confidence in your endeavor.”
Remember you are the expert in the field and you know your customer’s better than anyone, give them what they need in a way that only you can. Speaking with authority and confidence will build a customers trust for your brand. A little trust goes a long way.
We would love to know how you organize your campaigns, define purpose and brainstorm for social media success! Comments are always welcomed and appreciated.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 you spend workdays explaining the joys, benefits and best practices of social media/networking to insurance agency employees, common questions emerge. One of the most frequent inquiries, How do I attract more fans to my Facebook fan page?
Sadly and surprisingly to some, there’s no magic bullet that will instantly flood your Facebook page with droves of relevant, prospect-worthy fans. Set it and forget it only works with rotisserie ovens.
However, a dedicated approach showing the agency does more than just provide quotes, write policies and service claims is the best strategy for picking up fans who matter, and ideally, turning them into insureds who become brand ambassadors. I understand this blog post has been written dozens of times (a couple favorites are a the bottom), but here are nine ways to help drive your insurance agency Facebook efforts.
Before getting to the last tip, one specific question that constantly pops up is the inability to comment on Facebook pages or profiles from an agency fan page. When posting on other walls directly, it always shows up from the personal profile.
9. Use the “@” Symbol to Appear on Other Fan Page Walls – After liking a fan page, use the “@” symbol before writing the name of a business/organization in your fan page status window. A dropdown will appear and you’ll be able to post an update that appears on both your wall and the wall of the business or person mentioned, with an internal Facebook link to both.
DO mention your favorite brands, carriers, local businesses, networking groups etc.
DON’T use for individuals who may not want their name blasted out for the world to see.
These ideas are not earth-shattering but the perspective given is aimed at agency owners and insurance marketing people committed to a well-rounded Facebook strategy.
As promised, here are a couple other like-minded articles to provide inspiration.Continue Reading »
Short attention span? This graphic from The Steel Method is an informative snapshot view of social media concepts that can help insurance agencies, or any business owners understand how they should be interacting on the social web. While no item listed is the “silver bullet” for social media success, adhering to these best practices will result in a stronger online community and a more clearly defined brand.
Effective insurance marketing is a blended strategy, but having an agency vision with objectives to guide social media usage allows interactions to be more productive, something we can all benefit from.
Via: The Steel Method