Admit it: building your insurance agency's online presence can feel at times like an impossible task. From social media to search engine optimization, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of digital marketing options. For starters, the cost and time commitment required by digital marketing can be deceptive. If it takes just a few minutes to set up a Twitter account and using Twitter is free, then this can't be all that hard, right? Unfortunately, it can be, especially when you add in juggling your agency's current clients and business development needs.
While the initial cost for marketing strategies like social media or blogging is relatively low, without a clear road map in place, opportunity cost can soar. Creating original content, curating industry news, monitoring social media accounts, keeping website Search Engine Optimization (SEO) up to date with Google's ever-changing algorithms, and integrating analytics feedback is a full-time job. Feel like you're behind the eight ball already? All is not lost. If you're just getting started with digital marketing, concentrate your efforts on the tactics that could generate the biggest return with a minimal amount of time and resource investment.
Consider these helpful digital marketing tips:
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website so it can rank higher in local search. Optimizing your local business in listings like Google+, Bing Places and Yelp is one of the most cost-effective and time-effective digital marketing opportunities for any insurance agency.
- Claim your listing. Google and Yelp auto-generate business listings based on the information on your website. Unfortunately, since these listings are auto-generated, not all the information may be up to date. For example, Google might show your agency as closed Saturday mornings, when it's actually open until noon. Claim your Google listing and ensure NAP (name, address, and phone number) alignment. Do the same for your other directory listings, including Yelp and Bing.
- Optimize your site. Check for the following on your website: do you have (1) location-rich keyword HTML tags and (2) meta description tags with location keywords? Take a look at your on-page headlines and sub-heads; are there ways to naturally include your location here, too? For example, instead of simply titling your homepage "Auto Accident & Home Insurance", call it "Washington DC Home Insurance: Serving Georgetown and Glover Park Homeowners & Renters Since 1992". Be careful not to be too zealous in your use of location keywords. Clients will find the content awkward and Google may ding you with a penalty.
Social media is a powerful platform for giving your agency a voice and connecting with your audience on the issues they care most about on the networks they already use, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
- Pick two. Yes, Snapchat is popular, but that doesn't mean you need to (or even should be) active on this network. Go where your clients are: identify the two most relevant networks for your client base and concentrate your efforts there. For example, if you primarily work with small business owners, you'll want to be active on LinkedIn. If many of your clients are new homeowners, Pinterest could be a great platform for curating DIY home-related tips. Think about your clients' needs and how you can best serve them.
- Be consistent. A few sporadic tweets won't build brand loyalty or help increase sales. To be effective, you need to consistently publish content and engage with your followers. That said, hopping on and off of social media throughout the day is not an effective use of your time. Instead, plan a week's worth of posts in advance and schedule them using social media management apps. These services are also useful for tracking user engagement so you can optimize content and posting times. Different networks require a different level of engagement. At a minimum, social media best practices call for 3-5 times per day with Twitter; 3-5 times per week with Facebook, 5+ pins per day with Pinterest; daily photos with Instagram; and 1-2 times per week with LinkedIn.
Content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating, curating and publishing relevant, valuable content. Unlike sales or promotional material, content marketing doesn't push consumers to make an immediate purchase. Instead, the goal is to strengthen your agency's brand, demonstrate your expertise, and build relationships with prospective clients, current clients, and industry peers. Great content marketing can also give SEO a boost.
- Engage your audience. To be an authentic voice in the insurance industry, take the time to understand the different needs and motivators of your audience. What does your audience care most about? What are their pain points and how can you create free content that addresses these needs? Finally, remember that audience engagement means allowing space for others to share their stories, too.
- Publish relevant local content. Score a 2-for-1 digital marketing coup by combining your content marketing with local SEO. Think about the local calendar: what events happen locally that you can capitalize on for your agency? Keep an eye on the local news, too. For example, police officers in Austin, Texas cautioned drivers on Interstate 35 to watch out for rocks being thrown at moving vehicles. This is something your auto insurance clients will certainly want to know about. To further optimize content, take a look at Google's keyword planner tool to see which keyword phrases are most common in your city or neighborhood. Optimize your content for local search by naturally integrating geo-specific keywords into your text.
Investing just 15 minutes a day in digital marketing could have a huge ripple effect for your agency—as long as you're spending your time the right way. Follow our roadmap to help you achieve digital marketing success.