As digital marketing becomes more advanced and complex, and the sources for marketing training and tools begin to feel infinite, it can leave many local insurance agency owners feeling overwhelmed. The number of marketing solutions providers continues to scale up with technology advances, and deciding where to focus one’s limited time and marketing dollars can understandably challenge the savviest of business owners.
The truth is that many local independent agencies are actually falling behind the digital marketing curve – with upwards of 12% still without a website and many more who have yet to embrace the mobile and social media wave.
Not sure where to start? Cover these 5 basic online marketing must-haves before you tackle the complexities of transforming your agency’s digital capabilities:
- Invest in a mobile-friendly website. Making your website mobile-friendly is an absolute must today. Mobile is where your customers are – and where your agency should be too. If that is not compelling enough, consider that Google openly gives preferential treatment to sites that are optimized for mobile devices. So if your site does not use a responsive design and look great regardless of what size the device is, it is time to begin the search for a partner to help upgrade your website.
- Claim your business listing on local search and review sites. You can boost your agency’s digital presence by claiming and updating local business listings in major search engines like Google and Bing as well as review sites like Yelp and Facebook for business. This typically starts with claiming the listing of your business online to verify that you are the owner and authorized to maintain its presence on the web. Each online local business index has its own claiming process with unique steps to verify your listing. When filling out the listings, remember that the more consistently you categorize and describe your business, the more it will help your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts. And don’t forget – ask your best customers for their reviews.
- Stop using a Gmail, Yahoo or similar email account to conduct business. Personally attached to that AOL email you’ve had for 25 years? Stop using it for your business right now! Having an official email associated with your agency’s domain name adds credibility, authenticity and a sense of security in today’s world of data hacks and breaches.
- Link your website to social media sites. With 69% of consumers more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site , it makes sense to have a decent presence on social media. Prospective customers have a multitude of choices when it comes to having their insurance needs met, and may very well opt for the local agent with a large social following over one that is asleep or invisible on social channels like Facebook or LinkedIn.
- Make community and staff a key part of your online persona. Your agency personality and brand should be reflected in your digital identity. The local independent agency is very often heavily involved in its community and often the staff are as well. Don’t let that get lost in your desire to showcase a professional and modern digital image. Including pictures of your staff and showcasing your community involvement on your website and social media can be a good strategy with so many other less personal options available online.
Have all 5 of these covered? High five! Not there yet? Don’t panic. If you are like most local independent agencies, finding the time to dedicate to the complexities of online marketing can be challenging. Starting with the essentials will give you a foundation to build upon and with 2017 in our headlights, the time is now to commit to improving your online marketing strategy.