Roadmap to Writing More Insurance Policies in 2019
This post delivers a deep dive into the 7 biggest parts of the rock star insurance agent’s digital eco-system (Google My Business, Bing Places, Apple Maps, Facebook For Business, Twitter For Business, LinkedIn Company Pages and Yelp For Business) complete with an outline of the critical components for each that must be developed correctly in order to succeed and additional pro tips to maximize your agency’s inbound pulling power.
It’s no secret that Google is the biggest player when it comes to search engines, but did you know that it’s also one of the best tools for your overall 2019 digital sales strategy?
Google has made it easier than ever to manage marketing for your insurance agency. In the digital marketing business, we have a saying, “It’s all in the settings.” In this case, “It’s all in your Google My Business (GMB) dashboard.” GMB is a free platform that is linked to your GMB account.
Why Use Google My Business?
You might be thinking, “Why should an insurance agent use Google My Business?” After all, people should already be able to find you on Google, correct? Isn’t that enough?
It’s no longer enough to do SEO on your website and not understand the importance of claiming (if you haven’t already) and fully optimizing your GMB account. It can be one of the most effective tools in your digital marketing tool box that can take your insurance agency to the next level. Google is not one of the four main data aggregators (Infogroup, Localeze, Acxiom or Factual). However, don’t rely on those four, major data aggregators, nor your marketing agency, to manage the many minute details related to effectively optimizing your GMB account.
For one thing, it’s hard to control what information is out there about your insurance agency. Some information about your insurance agency, online, might be inaccurate or outdated. When we pick-up a new agent as a client, we see these inaccuracies frequently.
People these days use search engines to shop for everything, and Google is the biggest one of all, with over 63.2 % market share, as of Nov 2018. That’s one of the reasons you want to make sure you take control of what information people see about your agency.
But, more importantly, studies have shown that people who are searching online are already ready to buy: 50% of people who search with their phones visit that business’ location in the same day.
There are many people out there who are ready to purchase insurance, but they just have to find you. And Google My Business can make sure they do. Here’s your Google digital strategy checklist:
Claim your Google My Business (GMB) Account
The very first thing you need to do in order to start marketing your business on Google and Google Maps is to claim your listing. By claiming your GMB listing, your agency will appear on the different Google properties, and more importantly, help your insurance agency show up on Google Maps and local searches when someone types in your specific name and brand. This is especially important when it comes to building your book on “referral, repeat and W.O.M.” (word-of-mouth) business–this is where the “rock-star” insurance agents excel.
Google has made this process relatively easy, but it can be time consuming, because it needs to verify your NAP (Name, address and phone). Here’s what you need to do to claim your business listing on Google:
- Go to google.com/business
- Enter your business name and street address.
- Depending on what listing you have or don’t have, you will be asked some questions. Follow the prompts until you hit the last page and press submit.
- You will be prompted to have them send you a postcard.
- Wait for the postcard in the mail and follow the instructions to verify your account.
In some rare cases, someone may already have control over your Google My Business Listing. No need to fear, if that’s the case; you can always recover your GMB page.
Increase Ranking on Local Organic Searches
So, now that you have your GMB account, it’s time to make your listing more visible. But how can you ensure that the right people (i.e. potential customers) are seeing your listing? For example, if they search for “Auto Insurance in X City”, how can you make certain that your listing appears near the top? After all, the first results on any given search on Google get over 30% of the clicks. That means when someone does a search for “Auto Insurance in X City”, there’s a very high probability that they’ll click on the first agent. In many cases, they may not continue clicking down the page.
That’s where local SEO or Search Engine Optimization comes into play.
This may sound scary to the uninitiated, but for GMB, all you need to know is that “white hat” SEO can make your business listing more attractive to Google’s search engine algorithm and thus put you at, or near, the top of search results when people look for insurance agents in your area.
Though there are many techniques you can employ to improve your rankings, one of the easiest ways to do this is to add as much relevant and accurate information on your GMB listing page as possible. Optimize your GMB profile.
Verifying your correct address, website URL, phone number, categories and other details “tells” Google that you own a legitimate, local business. Remember Google always wants to serve up the most accurate results, in the shortest time possible, to its users. After all, that’s what made Google, Google.
One more reason you should have accurate information: if someone were to pull up your business listing page on their mobile phone or while using their voice search assistant, they might want to call you directly or drive to your location. So, make sure your business details are correct in your listing, so you don’t inadvertently direct them somewhere else. One of our clients recently mentioned that he asked a “new comer” who was at his office, “How did you happen to hear about us?” The “new comer” said, “I was a few blocks away and I ask my voice assistant on my mobile, “Auto insurance agent near me.” In that case, Google knows the location of that searcher, because of their GPS location.
A business description can also help your listing. Make sure it is filled out with relevant and accurate keywords that reflect your business and the types of insurance services you offer. It should be a maximum of 750 characters and you can add almost any type of information here. If you’re unsure of what to put inside after you’ve added your products (Auto Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Life Insurance, Business Insurance, etc.), you can also add any awards you’ve received, what makes your business stand out from the crowd and what makes your agency different. Don’t forget you’re limited to 750 characters and spaces in this section.
Another recent addition to GMB listing is the service menu. Previously, this feature was used so restaurant owners could upload their menu items to their page, but it has since been expanded to include services. You can add the different types of insurance and services you offer in this section. This may take a while to complete, but it is well worth the effort.
Add Photos, and Compliant Videos/Commercials, to Your GMB Account
Something else that can help your GMB listing become more visible and rank higher on searches is adding photos, and compliant videos and/or commercials, to your page.
Photos, and compliant videos, add legitimacy to your business; it’s also a great way to showcase your agency. You can put your best foot forward and entice potential customers to work with you instead of your competitors.
How can you do this? First, you may want to show photos of your office. Exterior photos can help people find your location more easily, which is especially useful for people who may be using voice search to find you on a map. Interior photos, on the other hand, are a great way to show off your happy team members and your professional-looking office.
Next, you might also want to add some photos from events, award ceremonies or perhaps any charity or outreach events you’ve attended. This shows that you’re involved in your local community and that you value those around you.
Since they don’t yet know you, potential customers will definitely be judging you by what they see first, and the photos on your account are an excellent way to give a good first impression.
Encourage Customers to Review You On Google
These days, reviews are the lifeblood of any business. In the past, consumers trusted referrals from people they knew. More recent studies have shown that about 84% of people trust online reviews as much as those of friends. Online reviews are now the new W.O.M. (Word-of-mouth) referrals.
That’s the reason why you should encourage customers to leave your agency reviews on Google. Both quality and quantity matter on GMB reviews, and they are displayed prominently on your listing page.
Getting reviews on your GMB page is simple but challenging, at the same time. It’s simple because you just have to ask them. Maybe, after you’re done writing a policy, you can ask your new customer to leave you a Google rating & review. Or, you can send out a follow-up email to your customers and give them the link to your GMB page and kindly ask them to leave your insurance agency a rating & review on your GMB page.
But, it’s also difficult because A) some customers will have a different comfort and skill level when faced with new technology and B) unless you’re sitting right next to them, you can’t be certain they will leave you a rating & review.
Most people don’t leave reviews for a variety of reasons. They may be too busy or have forgotten. Or they might not know how to leave your agency a review. Or, it might be that they don’t think you need them. Whatever the reason, you may need to kindly follow up with them several times, through a number of channels, e.g., email, phone, text or face-to-face. Keep in mind that you should never “pay customers” to write you a review. Firstly, it’s illegal in most states and secondly, it’s a “non-compliant” activity in most major brands’ compliance guidelines.
At the time of this writing, Google doesn’t frown upon a business asking for legitimate reviews. So, feel free to keep asking your customers on a regular basis.
Use Google Posts Regularly
Google Posts are a relatively new feature that was rolled out in 2018 and is something all business owners should use. It’s like posting on Facebook or Twitter, except that you’re doing it directly from your GMB page.
Google Posts allow you to promote virtually anything on your business listing. Most insurance agents have access to 50-125 products that they offer. How about writing a 100-word description of one of those products and publishing it through your Google Post section each week? If you pick-up a new team member, why not publish that on Google Post? If you set-up your booth at event, why not take pictures (use the best one for your Google Post), and add the others to your GMB “photo library?” If corporate has a particular consumer announcement or product launch, why not? You’ve got the point.
Keep in mind that Google Posts expire after seven (7) days, so make sure you always have fresh, relevant content going up on every 8th day to ensure maximum visibility. You can activate this Google Post feature inside your GMB dashboard.
With Google dominating the search engine game, it’s often easy for business owners to overlook Bing. Microsoft’s search engine may lack the pizzazz and sparkle of Google, but it’s no less important in a well-rounded and successful digital marketing strategy.
Much like Google’s GMB feature, Bing has a similar product called Bing Places, where you can control your business listing as it appears on local searches and local maps. Keep in mind that everything is going “local, mobile and maps.” Whether it’s typed-in search queries, or voice command queries, you have to be certain to optimize for “local, mobile and maps.”
Why use Bing Places?
As an insurance agent, you probably want your customers to have policies that cover a wide range of events and possibilities; it’s like placing your customers under a large umbrella. Well, think of digital marketing on Bing as something similar – it helps to cover all your bases.
In fact, you may even think of it as casting a wider net. Studies have shown that there are over 66 million people who aren’t reachable on Google. And even more surprising: 40% of these people are between the ages of 34 to 54 and have an average income of $100,000. That means there are high net worth individuals out there that you can reach using the Bing search platform. Bing Places is the “place to begin” building that foundation.
So, here’s your Bing Places Digital Strategy Checklist:
Set Up Your Bing Places Listing
To begin, you must set up your Bing Places listing. Bing makes this process relatively easy and quick (about 20-30 minutes). This step also ensures that you gain control of your agency’s listing and prevent someone else from making unauthorized changes.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Go to https://www.bingplaces.com/
- Search for your insurance agency to see if you already have a listing
- If you see your listing, then you can click through to claim it. If not, you have the option to create a new business listing.
- After you add or claim your business, you’ll be asked to create a Microsoft account, if you don’t have one. Fill in your business details (very important for the next step)
- You’ll be asked to verify your listing via a pin sent to you through email, phone call, text message, or snail mail. Once you get your pin, enter it on your Bing Places Dashboard. You may hit some snags in this process, so make sure you put in accurate information, so you can claim your listing as soon as possible.
- Once you’ve claimed and verified your listings, you’ll have access to the Bing Places Dashboard. Using this dashboard, you can change and edit your details as needed.
Complete Your Business Details
A complete and accurate Bing Places business listing is necessary for a successful digital marketing strategy on Bing. The more accurate information you give Bing about your insurance agency, the greater your changes that Bing (the search engine) will serve you up for relevant search queries in your local market area. Just as is the case with Google, Bing (Owned by Microsoft) is extremely focused on serving their users the most relevant results in the shortest period of time.
Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers who are searching for any insurance agency that can meet their needs in your area. Wouldn’t you want to be able to call the right office or ensure that you’ll be driving to the correct insurance agent’s office location? There’s nothing more annoying than driving somewhere and getting lost or calling the wrong number.
Aside from your agency name, make sure your address, phone number, email and website address are correct and consistent. Even small differences, like “avenue” vs “avenue” or “suite” vs. “ste” can make a difference. It doesn’t matter which variants you use, as long as it’s consistent with what’s written on your website. Many experts recommend that you sync all your online directories with your GMB account. ABS prefer the latter. Why? Because it’s Google!
Don’t forget to add your correct business hours, plus any special hours to your listing. In fact, “rich listings” is a big deal now. That means Bing, Google, Facebook and Yelp (and I’m certain many more by the time you read this article) are now requesting that insurance agents update their “holiday hours” throughout the year. For example, I’ll use last Thanksgiving as an example. Virtually all insurance agents, across the U.S., were closed on Thanksgiving Day. However about 10-15 percent of insurance agents, across the U.S., were open “special hours” on “Black Friday” (Day after Thanksgiving). Your top digital assets, in your market, want you to update your “holiday hours” throughout the year, so that again they can ensure their users the “best experience” possible while operating on their platform.
Choose Your Categories
Categories are important on Bing Places, as this tells the search engine how best to put you in front of the right consumers and business owners. Checking off all your products offered (categories) is an important step to ensure that you have a fully optimized business listing.
Bing will require that you choose a primary and auxiliary category. Don’t feel intimidated or confused. These are just ways to help Bing narrow down what it is you do and what services or products you offer. Keep in mind they’re trying to “perfectly parse” out this data for millions of businesses, just here in the U.S. Don’t forget they’re trying to do the same thing across the globe, and they’re doing it in a “nano-second.” That’s fascinating, right? To help make their jobs easier, let’s help them out by fully optimizing your Bing Places business listing.
Type in as many categories as your agency might fit under. You can list the types of insurance your agency provides, like “home insurance,” “auto insurance,” “business insurance,” etc. From these, Bing will give you some suggestions on what your primary category might be. You’ll want to choose “Insurance” as your primary category, of course.
The primary category is important. You need to choose the one that best reflects your business, because this is how Bing’s search engine will decide where to place you in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Again, those insurance agencies that help Bing help their users will rise to the top of page one results, almost without exception, over time.
After all, if someone is looking for “florists” or “French restaurants,” they won’t want to see your agency in their search results. Alternatively, if someone wants to find insurance coverage for their new car, then you definitely want to show up in the local SERPs for “auto insurance.”
Add Your Business Description
Your Bing Places description is like your elevator pitch. You need to make sure you capture everything about your agency in a few short words, while being able to highlight the value of your business.
Choosing the right keywords to put in your description is vital. Some people may be too busy to read a description that’s three paragraphs long. They might skim it, so make sure you add in the products and services you offer in your description. But, you should also sound personable and approachable.
The business description is also the place where you can really show off your agency’s achievements. You can add in any awards you may have received, accolades from the local community or beyond, or any programs you’ve joined that you’re particularly proud of. By highlighting these special achievements, you can stand out from your competition and entice people to do business with you.
Remember, most people doing searches are already ready to buy; they just want to be sure they are choosing the right agency to work with. A good business description can set you apart from your competitors and encourage them to contact you, instead of those other agents in your community.
It may take you awhile to find the right description, but the great thing about the Internet is that you can change and tweak your description, as you wish. Try different variants and see what works best. A professional SEO copywriter might be a good investment as well, as they will know the right keywords to ensure your business listing has the best chance possible to show up at the top of the SERPs.
Use Photos to Enhance Your Listing
It used to be, if you looked for a business in the classified ads or a phone book, you wouldn’t see their office or even an actual person until you went to their location. These days, however, it’s much easier to find photos of almost anything and everything on the World Wide Web. Much of this is happening, in the mind of this researcher, because people don’t want to read (much) anymore. As a result, your major digital asset providers are encouraging insurance agents to use more photos, images and short videos to showcase their agency. Users are demanding, to the likes of Google, Bing/Yahoo Network, Facebook and Yelp, that business listing owners showcase their business using photos/images/videos; it’s because they want to “see who they’re going to be doing business with” long before they make the decision to pick- up the phone, visit face-to-face, or fill out a quote form on an agent’s website/microsite.
The Internet and social media have transformed the way people consume media, particularly visual media. These days, it’s not enough to just have your business listed and described in words. People really do “judge a book by its cover” so you must be able to impress people with photos and other visual content in order to entice them to do business with you. Building a “photo library” is an excellent way to ensure that you “stand out from the crowd,” and it will do wonders to help you improve your online reputation.
Bing Places allows you to have only ten photos. Compared to other business listing pages, this is quite limited, so you need to make sure you have the best photos you can possibly have on your page. ABS encourage our clients to rotate a fresh set of 10-photos into their Bing Places each month or two. Keep in mind the search engines know which photos are “fresh” as compared to those that have been on your business profile for the past few months as opposed to those that have been on your profile for even the past few years.
Here are some samples of the types of photos you can use:
Exterior and interior photos of your location. Exterior photos of your building or doorway/signs can also help people find your office easily, in case they are lost.
Include your logo and award badges. Show you are your team members’, preferably while they are at the office or at an official event. With the appropriate, signed photo release, display pics of “happy customers.”
Remember, this is the first visual impression your potential customers will be getting of your insurance agency. So, make sure to choose the best photos that give your agency a professional appearance. First impressions are most important, online, today!
While Apple Maps may not have gotten off to a great start when it was first introduced in 2012, this tech giant has made a lot of changes over the years that have improved the service greatly. And like other major mapping products, Apple has also invested in its own business listings service called Apple Maps Connect. This free service allows you to claim your insurance agency’s business listing to ensure you are visible on their maps app.
Why use Apple Maps?
When it comes to maps, it’s no secret that Google dominates the market, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore Apple Maps. In fact, it would be detrimental to your insurance agency to ignore Apple Maps.
Well, think about this: iOS devices have Apple Maps as the default map app. That means if you own an iPhone, iPad, or even an Apple Watch and do a search for a local business (like hair salons, vet services, restaurants and yes, insurance agents) then your device will use Apple Maps by default.
Then there’s voice search, an idea that was actually popularized by Apple’s own Siri. Statistics show that voice search is growing and that “Mobile voice-related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text-related searches.”
And with over 217 million iPhones sold in 2017, you can’t afford not to list your insurance agency on Apple Maps.
So, here’s your Apple Maps Digital Strategy Checklist:
Claim Your Apple Maps Connect Listing
The very first thing you need to do is to actually claim your listing. To do this, you will need an Apple ID. If you own an Apple device, you probably already have one, but if not, you can easily create one on the Apple website.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Go to https://mapsconnect.apple.com/ and sign in with your Apple ID
- Choose your language
- Search for your business
- Once you’ve located it, you can now claim it by clicking on the “Claim This Place” button. If it’s not there, you can simply add your business by using the “Add New Place” button and follow the steps
- Enter your business details. Make sure your details are correct
- Verify your listing by having Apple call you on the number you wrote down on your listing. Follow the prompts and you’ll be verified
Once you’ve been verified, you’re done with claiming your Apple Maps Connect listing. You can use your Apple ID login details to optimize your listing.
Select the Proper Business Category
You’ll initially have to fill out, when claiming your business listing, the categories of insurance your agency offers. This might seem simple enough, but it’s very important that you get the categories correct, so that you show up in the right search results.
Initially, you’ll be asked to choose a primary category, which should be “insurance.” Then you can choose two alternative categories, which should be auto and home insurance. You can always modify this section later, but most insurance agents want to sell more auto and home policies. When you’re successful in these two areas, the rest will usually follow.
Complete Your Business Details
A complete business listing is vital to any digital business listing strategy, so you need to start here.
Ensure that you’ve put in your NAP correctly when you put in your business details, as you claim your listing. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to call a business or drive to their location and realize you have the wrong information. You don’t want to drive business away (literally and figuratively) by inputting incorrect details on your listing. Here at Agent Branding System, we map our listings to Google My Business (GMB) as opposed to what’s showing on an agent’s microsite. We then try to get the corporate brand marketing team to change the NAP, on their agent’s microsite, to match up with their GMB Knowledge card.
Your NAP, across your digital eco-system, should then align with your GMB Knowledge card, as well. Why use that process? Again it’s because it’s Google…….If you really know what you’re doing, you can even make slight variation recommendations to Google, on your NAP, via your Google My Business dashboard. Basic changes are done through automation. However more complex modifications may take time through automation and human intervention to get updated. There should be a sound business reason for requesting a NAP update on your GMB account. If so, Google will generally accept and publish them fairly efficiently.
But it’s not just about putting in the right numbers and name on your listing; format matters as well. Make sure your listings are exactly alike across all platforms, along with your website/microsite. Small differences like “Suite” and “Ste” even “Avenue” and “Ave” can make a difference to search engines. A more consistent listing, across your digital eco-system, improves your probability that search engines will rank you higher in the SERPs, as compared to other insurance agents in your market.
One type of business information that’s getting a lot of attention these days is business hours. Make sure you update this, including your holiday hours. This tells your potential customers when they can call you or even drop by, if they are in the area. Again, Google and the other top digital platforms want to ensure their users get the “best user” experience possible.
This type of “rich listing” can really bring more customers to your insurance agency, because they help drive your business to the top of search results.
Search engines love accurate, fresh and relevant information. They want to be able to give people the most accurate search engine query results possible in the shortest amount of time possible. And when their users are happy with their search results, they will more than likely keep using that search platform. Everything today is about “Relevance.” How far away your agency is from the “searcher” and “Prominence” (Average ratings on your reviews, how recent are your reviews and average number of reviews compared to your competition) all play a major role in terms of where you rank in the SERPs.
Add Your Social Media Details
It’s no secret that social media is a must for any insurance agent that wants to dominate his/her market area. Hopefully, you’ve already secured all your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) or are in the process of doing so.
Once you do have your social media accounts, then you need to connect them to your Apple Maps account. This will allow your potential customers to look at your pages, and it provides additional ways for them to reach out to you and your agency. Unlock multiple “inbound lead paths” to your insurance agency.
Update Your Yelp Details
Here’s something not many insurance agents realize: Apple Maps actually gets a lot of its information from Yelp and other third-party sites. For example, did you know that Yelp has signed a partnership deal (2018) with Apple’s SIRI, Microsoft’s Bing and Amazon’s Alexa platforms?
Though Yelp began as a restaurant ratings website, this review giant has now grown to include a variety of other businesses, including local insurance agencies. After restaurants and retail shops, local and home services are the most reviewed types of business on Yelp. It now generates more than 600,000 search queries per month in just the insurance and financial services verticals (Yelp, 2018).
That said, you really should update your Yelp business listing. This includes making sure your NAP and other details are consistent with all your online accounts and other business listings. Make sure you have a business description that outlines everything you offer and has lots of rich keywords that make you more visible on searches. Did you know that homeowners, consumers and business owners can do a search for keywords, such as: “Auto Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Life Insurance” on Yelp?
However, they don’t have a category (as of this writing) called, “Business or Commercial Insurance.” Wouldn’t you want to be the insurance agent served up for that type of query in your market area on Yelp? One of the keys is to include those keywords in your Yelp business description. That’s how the Yelp software knows which insurance agents offer “Business and Commercial Insurance” products. All insurance agents don’t offer business/commercial insurance, right? You get up to a total of 3,500 characters and spaces for your complete business description. Here’s the breakdown and “Best Practices:” https://www.yelp- support.com/article/What-are-the-guidelines-for-the-From-the-Business-information?l=en_US
Begin with your profile photo. As an insurance agent, you know the importance of having a face associated with your brand and agency, so use your agent headshot for your profile photo. Yelp use to limit photos to just 99. However, they recently removed that restriction. You can now add an “unlimited amount of photos” to your Yelp business description. Agent Branding System’s top insurance agent has more than 300 photos on his Yelp Business Page. Few digital strategies help you to build your online reputation like a strong photo library across your top digital assets in your market.
Don’t forget to add other photos, for example, the exterior and interior of your office. This could serve you in a practical way, for example, if someone is driving to your location, then they can use the photo as a reference. But it can also show any potential customers that you have a real location and that you have a professional environment. In addition, add “all types” of “compliant” photos. Demonstrate how you, and your team, live and work in your area. Demonstrate how your team supports the community and local businesses.
Finding customers on Facebook has skyrocketed to one of the top ways to maximize an insurance agent’s local visibility. It’s a place where your agency “must be seen.” The demographics are very impressive (http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/).
If you’re not using Facebook as a part of your customer acquisition strategy, your agency is missing out on lots of potential business. Setting up shop on Facebook for a business is different from having a personal account.
First, there are steps to creating your business profile. Then, you must optimize your page to be a destination where customers want to come. How exactly do you do that?
This can be done by providing valuable, compliant, and relevant content specific to your market area. Utilizing this strategy can help to catapult your brand into becoming a thought leader in your community.
While creating a Facebook business profile is fairly straightforward, here are some additional marketing strategies you should implement:
Create a Facebook Business Page
To create a Facebook Business page, you must first already have a personal Facebook page. While personal profiles allow for several privacy features for the user to control who can see their posts, business pages are completely public.
Therefore, the content you decide to post on your Facebook business page should be informational and relevant to your target market. That’s not to say that you can’t show your personality and your team’s culture. It just means you should keep all posts professional.
1. Select Your Business Type
Facebook allows business owners to choose their business segment for which their page will be categorized. This helps the Facebook user understand immediately what type of business you offer. More importantly, it helps Facebook’s algorithm populate your page when a user does a search for insurance in your geographic area.
It is yet another way to add to your local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, so that your agency can be more easily found online.
2. Add a Cover Photo and Profile Picture
This may seem like an obvious step, but believe it or not, you will frequently find Facebook business pages without a cover photo or profile picture.
Imagine that your Facebook page is your storefront. What if you didn’t have a sign indicating your business name and the type of business you run? Do you think people driving by would stop? Do you think your current customers could easily find you?
Insurance agents should treat their Facebook business page like they would their physical storefront. Essentially, this page really is your virtual storefront along with your insurance website/microsite. Therefore, make sure your cover photo properly explains who you are and what your insurance agency offers.
A custom graphic is great here, because it sets you apart from the competition. Creating a custom cover graphic for Facebook does take some next level web knowledge. So, consult your internet guru to help ensure that the dimensions of the graphic are in line with Facebook’s restrictions.
Some brands, e.g., State Farm, Farmers, or Allstate will have some specific guidelines around what can, or cannot, be used as your Facebook cover graphic. For example, some brands say you can only use a picture of your office (interior or exterior), an event (where maybe you showcased your booth displaying your agency name or a “compliant car wrap,” etc.).
Likewise, a custom profile picture allows you to put a face to a name, so to speak. In the insurance purchasing process, trust is a huge factor as to whether or not you will gain a potential customer’s business. So, showing your online community who you are helps to create a warm, friendly welcome.
3. Complete All Sections of Your Page
Just like your Google local SEO strategy, Facebook’s algorithm has a similar process in populating search results that best answer a user’s search query.
Thus, you want to give Facebook every opportunity to serve up your business page when a user is searching for your insurance agency or any of the products you offer.
One of the ways you can increase your chances of showing up in those search results is by completing every possible form fill available on your Facebook business page. Of course, sections like “About, Hours of Operation, Location,” etc. are the typical forms you have seen across all social media platforms.
However, Facebook has some unique features that are quite successful in helping you tell your business story. For example, there is an “Our Story” field on the right-hand rail of your business page where you have an unlimited amount of characters to use to write about the history of your business.
When this section is properly optimized, you have a greater chance to be served up in both “branded and non-branded” search results in your local market place.
4. Use Publishing Tools to Schedule Future Posts
In the busy world we live in, it can be quite unrealistic to make time to post to all of your social media platforms multiple times per week or even several times a day (depending on the platform.) Facebook offers a Publishing Tool that allows business owners to gather your unique content and schedule the day and time in which those posts will go live.
You or a team member can schedule time once per week, for example, to schedule all of your posts for the following week. Not only will this save you time, but it will also mean that your content is well thought out and meets the goal of increasing your online “engagement rates” within your community. Many brands offer sophisticated tools to help you become more effective, and efficient, in this area of posting, e.g., Hootsuite, Hearsay Social, etc.
5. Reference Insights to Track Campaign Success
Facebook has an analytics tool that allows business owners to view statistics about the type of people who are in their social network, how many page views their profile is getting, how Facebook ads are performing, etc. Businesses can use this information to understand more about post and page engagement.
In understanding engagement, insurance agents can see how successful an ad or a post is and how to optimize your content to get even better engagement. On social, It’s all about maximizing your engagement and conversion rates.
6. Create and Advertise Events
Facebook events are a great way to grab peoples’ attention and keep it. Almost everyone with a smartphone has a Facebook profile these days, and many users count on Facebook events to help them properly organize their calendars. Creating a Facebook event for your business will allow you to connect with your audience and help you to foster that connection. You can get automatic notifications and alerts directed towards the user to update them on event details and timeline.
To use this tool effectively, you must learn how to plan, coordinate, and spread awareness about your event.
In an effort to get more out of this Facebook strategy, choose an official name for the event that is catchy and memorable. For example, many insurance agents who are involved in their local community host, or co-host, at family-oriented events. Sometimes the insurance agency simply has a booth at the event.
These are great opportunities to let consumers and business owners know that your agency will be represented at a particular event. Shouting this out on Facebook events will attract potential customer that aren’t already a part of your existing book. You can also target down to as little as a 1-10-mile radius around your physical office using Facebook Business Manager.
Be sure to write a clear and thorough description. The description should include location, time, schedule of events, any special guests and any “gifts” that you’ll be handing out at the event. Get creative with explaining the details of the event so that it is compelling and unique and resonates with users.
If you are using a venue that has a Facebook profile, tag that venue in your event. The venue will get a notification that they’ve been tagged, and you can use this as an opportunity to cross-promote. Every user that follows the venue’s page will also have access to the event (even if they are not following you.)
Add a cover photo for the event and utilize the feature to add keywords for tags. Don’t limit yourself to tags that only pertain to your business.
Finally, post your event to your Facebook Business page’s wall and allow people to comment publicly on the event. This opens up the opportunity for users to engage with you prior to the event in ways like asking questions and tagging their friends to attend the event with them. Then, you can respond to questions and gauge overall interest in the event.
7. Share Original and Relevant Content
While it is time-consuming to create original content for your page, it is imperative that you do share original content a few times a week. One prominent study recommends that business profiles post 1 time per day on Facebook; depending on your creative skills, you’ll have to share some relevant content to supplement your original content.
Relevant content is essentially sharing posts that are within the context of what your customers are interested in, what your brand stands for, or something generic and “feel good,” like puppies and babies. Believe it or not, in advertising puppies and babies do actually work!
Don’t forget that your corporate brand has a robust Facebook page. However, they don’t post for their agents at the local level. Corporate Facebook pages are an excellent source from which to share your compliant content.
Scheduling your content by week or even by month will help keep you organized and up-to-date with the best practices for posting to Facebook.
8. Respond to Comments
When users write reviews for you, like posts, comment on posts, and share your content, be sure to respond! A user who is engaging with you and your content is considered a “warm” lead. This is someone who is interested in what you have to say, and that’s the hardest part in acquiring customers – getting their attention! Don’t miss the opportunity to capitalize on this engagement and provide feedback on responses you receive from users.
Whether the comments are good or bad, always view it as a chance to thank a user for a kind comment or review, or publicly address a user’s perceived issue with your commitment to making it right.
Either way, your response will go a long way with potential customers, because they will see that not only are you involved in your business but also that you care about your customers.
9. Create Facebook Ads
Using Facebook’s ad tool is one of the best ways to spread awareness about your business on Facebook. Facebook ads allow you to promote your business page throughout Facebook’s entire ecosystem, and there are a number of integrated tools to assist businesses in creating effective Facebook ads.
Facebook offers a beginner’s guide to advertising on their platform, which is a great starting place for understanding the entire advertising process from planning, creating, testing, and understanding insight statistics.
So why are Facebook ads something you should consider? Well, if you’re interested in connecting with a larger online community quickly and reach potential customers outside of your current network, Facebook ads can help. They allow you to select very specific demographic attributes that help you to pinpoint the exact type of user with whom you are looking to connect.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, Facebook has “throttled” organic reach. They’ve gone to more of a “pay-to-play” model. In other words, they want you to invest on their platform in order to reach their more than 214 million “Monthly Active Users” throughout the U.S. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/398136/us-facebook-user-age- groups/). When business page owners pay to market their agencies on Facebook, your agency has a higher chance of being served up in more organic traffic.
Twitter has become an insurance industry gamechanger in the overall business growth for local agents. Nowadays, a small business owner can’t afford not having a presence on Twitter. A prominent social media presence, specifically Twitter, will work wonders for converting online traffic into new policy holders.
Leveraging this 140-character social media giant can help bolster your brand to success. According to Twitter’s Small Business Customer Insights Study in 2016, roughly 78% of people who follow SMBs retweet content from that business. Similarly, 69% of followers have purchased a product or service from an SMB after following them on Twitter.
So, what do you need to do to start taking advantage of the growth benefits of Twitter? Here’s how to employ the platform as a powerful business growth tool.
Optimize your Twitter Bio
Like all of your social media pages, it is important to make sure that all of the information in the bio section accurately represents who you are and what you offer.
The insurance company you represent likely has regulations around what type of language is considered compliant. Therefore, research your company’s restrictions before getting too personal in your bio.
Since Twitter is rooted in the application of quick, to the point content (each tweet is allotted 140 characters), use this same idea when creating your company bio. Keep it short and sweet and packed with useful information.
For example, take advantage of the opportunity to link your microsite to your bio to give users quick access to additional information about your services.
This is an opportunity for you to show your network the identity and voice of your agency’s brand.
Research Influencers and Experts in Your Industry
The Twitter platform is a great way to connect with thought leaders and industry movers and shakers in order to further connect you to prospective customers. How does this work exactly?
When you use Twitter as a research tool to uncover influential agents or insurance industry journalists, bloggers, and writers, you open of the possibility to start a relationship, engage with them daily, and most importantly, show your followers that you, too, are well connected in the influential crowd within the industry.
Your status as a thought leader shows potential customers that you know what you are talking about and adds yet another layer of trust in the eyes of policy holders.
Get Your Team Members Involved
Tweeting daily is recommended, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that posting this frequently falls on the agent’s lap alone. Enlist the help of your team members to share the responsibility. Many agents designate a specific team member as an administrator for the agency Twitter account, and allow that individual to create relevant, compliant content, and keep up with any new influencers or breaking news in the industry.
Best practice for businesses using Twitter is to post at least once daily. Keeping your audience engaged on a consistent basis is part of the right formula to gaining a loyal following. It is your job to use this platform to stay top of mind with new and existing policy holders. Not every potential customer is in the market for a new policy every single day. Which means, you must stay on top of posting tweets or else people may forget about you. The main goal here is to be the agent that pops into a new customer’s mind when they decide to shop for a new policy.
Ask Followers to Help You Build Your Network
Let’s face the facts. Managing any social media account is not for the faint of heart. Twitter, however, can be a much more involved project since it is recommended to post every day of the week (at least once per day.)
Once you start to make connections with influencers on Twitter, don’t be afraid to ask your new connections to retweet, mention, or even share some of your tweets. Other users who are managing Twitter for their business as well are usually more than willing to lend a helping hand to help a fellow business leader.
As you grow your network in this way, be sure to share the love. When other businesses request that you retweet or mention their tweets, you can carefully select relevant tidbits from their profiles that resonate with your followers and meet regulations of compliance.
Respond to Mentions
Engaging in Twitter allows you the inside scoop on what is being said about you on the social platform. Task your designated social media guru to track mentions and keywords that pertain to your business, so you know what people are saying.
In a professional and compliant manner, you can respond to these mentions to further engage with potential policy holders.
Many customers are in the habit of posting their product and service questions and complaints online. Twitter has become a breeding ground for frustrated individuals to get a hold of large company decision makers when customer service is being unresponsive. Displaying “reviews” in a sense via Twitter is one of the largest platforms in which a customer can use to expose their true feelings regarding an interaction with a business. In many ways this can be beneficial for you.
If your interactions and customer service is up to par, policy holders will turn to Twitter to express how pleased they are with your service. Of course, on the other side, if a customer has a bad experience, their negative feedback could appear online too. The good news is that this social platform allows you to be a part of the conversation either way.
We are also seeing users take to Twitter to search for recommendations.
For example, say a new family has just moved to town and they are looking to purchase new insurance policies. The head of the household might send out a tweet saying, “I need to get new auto insurance. Anyone have recommendations for best insurance in Los Angeles, CA?” Here is where you can jump in and say, “We’d love to have you as a new policy holder.”
Retweet and Favorite Tweets!
When you see tweets that positively reinforce your brand’s message, retweet it! You can also favorite tweets, which will send a notification to the individual who wrote the original tweet.
This can get the attention of that user more effectively than even a retweet or a mention because it is more of a rare action on Twitter. If you’re engaging with industry influencers in these ways, chances are you will create lasting connections and build a more relevant follower base quickly.
Follow Relevant Trends and Hashtags. And use those hashtags in your own tweets
In the same vein as following industry influencers, it is a best practice to also follow relevant trends and hashtags. Popular hashtags will keep you up to speed on what’s going on in the insurance world. Research which hashtags are “trending” and start to use those in your own tweets. That will create a higher probability of new users discovering your tweets as they search through trending hashtags.
Hashtags can become trending when a multitude of users are incorporating that hashtag into their tweets. That means a trending hashtag can change moment to moment. Understanding that you don’t have the time to monitor trending hashtags all day every day, set a weekly schedule for when you research what’s trending. From there, craft your tweets around the hot topics for that week.
Use Images and Videos in Your Tweets
Images, videos, and other rich media have proven to be more engaging to the user than just plain words. In stream content, meaning content that the user can view directly in their feed without bouncing from web page to web page, receive more views, clicks, and shares.
It’s the convenience factor.
Twitter especially, has built its platform around quick and simple messages to connect users. Therefore, the ease of use factor contributes to how many people continue to use Twitter. Make connecting with your brand as simple as possible to garnish more positive feedback on the content you create.
Take Advantage of Promoted Tweets
As with any advertising, investing some marketing dollars in customer acquisition is a way to target your audience in a direct and impactful way.
Nowadays, promoted tweets appear in the feed in a way that looks just like a regular tweet. Although they are clearly labeled “Promoted,” it seems less intrusive to the user.
Promoted tweets are a way for agents to increase engagement and expand your network to a wider group of users beyond your follower base.
Use Twitter Analytics
Measure your Twitter performance with analytics. This tool shows you who is following you so you can reach out directly to your target audience.
Analyzing your tweets will also show you what type of content is most relevant for your followers. This way, you are able to tailor your tweets to engage with potential policy holders in a more meaningful way.
Following these guidelines for Twitter will amplify your agency’s overall social media impact. Integrating Twitter into your overall social media strategy is recommended for maximize engagement across the web.
Ultimately, investing time, budget, and resources into optimizing your Twitter account to align with industry best practices will only result in writing more insurance policies in 2019.
LinkedIn Company pages are a central hub for information about your agency. It is important to make sure your agency’s profile, personal profile, and the profiles of your team members are professional and complete so that your brand is well represented. Since LinkedIn is a business- to-business (B2B) networking site, increasing your agency’s exposure on this platform is a way to connect with more potential customers who are looking for commercial coverage.
The best brand advocates that you have are your team members. Therefore, encourage each of them to create and optimize their own LinkedIn profiles. Post fully compliant content three to five times per week, preferably Monday-Friday. Investing your time in building your presence on LinkedIn is important if you want to amp up your commercial book of business this year.
Don’t shy away from sharing content from thought leaders in given segments of the insurance industry. Take a look at the articles you already read, e.g., the news you consume about the insurance industry. What are thought leaders, like Tom Hegna, saying right now? What are the relevant topics, and has someone else thoroughly covered these topics? If so, share one of those articles to your insurance agency’s page.
Interestingly enough, potential customers will find you to be more credible when you share other thought leaders’ articles. Why is that? Buyers get a sense of comfort with familiarity. If you share an article from a reputable, easily recognizable source, your potential customers will perceive your agency as “keyed in,” or in other words, on par with industry best practices and standards.
The best thing about LinkedIn isn’t necessarily who you know and to whom you are connected. It is about who your network knows and to whom they are connected.
Create a Company Page (Some brands don’t allow company pages to be established by their agents. They recommend setting up a personal page and making mention that they represent that particular brand as an agent).
To set up a company profile page, you must already have a personal LinkedIn Profile. It would be safe to assume that if you are referencing this guide to enhance your LinkedIn marketing Figure 5: LinkedIn’s Company Page.
strategy, you probably already have a well-managed personal profile. Now it is time to establish your agency as a “category expert,” in your market. You’ll first need to go to LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions page. From there, you can create a free LinkedIn page on your agency’s behalf. All you need to get started is your LinkedIn personal account and a verified email address.
Next, click the “Create a LinkedIn Page” icon and follow the prompts.
Upload a Cover Photo and Your Company Logo
Add some personality to your page by uploading a cover photo and a company logo. Note that the company logo will serve as your “profile picture” so to speak, and it will also appear on your team members’ LinkedIn profiles showcasing their work experience. Don’t skip this step; it’s vitally important! According to research conducted by LinkedIn, business accounts that upload a cover photo and logo attract six times more traffic to their pages than companies who do not.
Write a Description for Your Agency
LinkedIn allows 2,000 characters for you to tell your company’s story. This is where you explain what your agency offers, and why members should follow your page. In addition to the 2,000 characters, there is an option to add up to 20 business specialties. Therefore, use the first part of the description to highlight your agency and team’s strengths and what sets you apart. Then, use the specialties section to indicate specific coverage products available to customers.
Optimize Your Page by Filling in Company Details
As with all internet business profiles, it is a best practice to complete the entire profile by filling in all areas where text fields are available. For example, enter your business website address. Use the drop-down menus to explain your industry, company size, business hours, and inception date.
If you are already a part of some LinkedIn Groups on your personal profile, you can include them in this section as well. If not, don’t worry – we explain LinkedIn Groups later in this guide.
Publish Your Page
Set your profile to go live by clicking the “Publish” button! Take a moment here to go view your page as other members will see it by going to “Member view.” Make sure you are happy with how your page looks, and if not, click on “Manage Page” to make any necessary changes.
Manage Your Page Admins
Setting up your profile is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you’ve got that completed, you will need to manage the page by creating, curating, and sharing content with your followers. Ensure that it’s all fully compliant with both your brand and D.O.I. guidelines. This is a job that you should not do on your own. Let’s face it; we know you are busy! Choose a designated team member or two to help manage your page. You can give them management access by adding them as Page Admins. Do this by clicking “Admin Tools,” where you will be able to select additional page administrators. Click “save changes” to complete setting up your admin team.
More Optimizing! Optimization of your LinkedIn company page is an ongoing, ever-evolving project.
To begin optimizing your page:
- Ensure that you have filled out all fields in your profile.
- Confirm that all specialties have been selected.
- Highlight key job vacancies within your agency.
- If it is appropriate for your business, you can display your company name and description in over 20 different languages.
A few additional business tips for LinkedIn include taking advantage of LinkedIn Groups, creating Showcase Pages, and using LinkedIn Analytics to monitor engagement levels from your desired demographic. Let’s break these down a bit:
What are LinkedIn Groups? LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in similar industries, or with similar interests or goals, to network, share content, view and post jobs, and position themselves and their company as leading industry experts. LinkedIn Groups not only help you to make other business contacts, but it can also help you connect with your customers. Groups can be used as a way to reach your target audience in a more focused way, because the potential customers who are in that group, or simply viewing its content, are people who are actively interested in what you have to say and what your agency offers. In marketing terms, these customers would be considered “hot leads.” However, LinkedIn Groups isn’t a place for a business to advertise. In fact, advertising in groups is frowned upon because it takes away from creating genuine relationships with people. By sharing relevant content and engaging with members by commenting on posts, you can start building credibility within your industry. This type of exposure goes well beyond what a paid ad can do. Be mindful, however, that paid advertising isn’t a bad option to help grow your business. Actively engaging with LinkedIn Groups is an excellent, overall business strategy.
Creating Showcase Pages. LinkedIn Showcase Pages are used to highlight your brand, specific details of your agency, and core business initiatives. It gives you the opportunity to share your unique content with a select audience. How are showcase pages beneficial for your agency? Well, showcases pages are an extension of your brand. If someone is interested in a niche part of your business, they can follow both your LinkedIn company page and that specific showcase page. The function allows you to create even more intimate connections with your customers. Businesses can create up to 10 Showcase Pages. The content on these pages can range from different products you offer, tips/how-to guide on selecting the right coverage, or even community involvement. It is up to you how you use these pages and what specialties are most important for you to highlight. However before setting up showcase pages, check with your marketing team to determine if they’re compliant or not, with your particular brand.
Monitor Engagement with LinkedIn Analytics. Your agency can learn so much about your target audience through LinkedIn Analytics. Analytics help you to learn what type of content resonates the most with your demographic, what time of day and what days of the week are your posts receiving the highest amount of engagement. They can also give you insights on your follower demographics and activity on your company page. You don’t get analytics if you’re only allowed to set-up a personal page as opposed to a company page.
Try one big, bold LinkedIn strategy. Have a team member go to Google. Do a search for your top commercial vertical, law firms, CPA firms, Dentists, Chiropractors, etc. Find those businesses, who are headquartered in your market, and then have them go over to LinkedIn. Once on LinkedIn, have them do a name search for that business owner. Once they find that business owner’s LinkedIn profile, send them a “connection invitation.” Don’t use the default message. Write your own, brief customer “connection invitation.” You’ll get a higher percentage of owners who will accept your “Invitation to connect.” Once they accept, start interacting with their page and content. When they become familiar with you and your page, invite them for a cup of coffee, etc. Remember the key with “social media” is to “be social.” You won’t need a direct sales approach when using this method to close more new commercial lines business.
Have you been putting off creating a Yelp page for your business? Do you have one but don’t tend to it regularly? Perhaps you have followed all of the steps in creating your page, but you are still not seeing much customer engagement? Putting together a strategy to leverage Yelp for Business is one of the best marketing tools that can help to grow your business in 2019.
Yelp is a powerful way to get more customers to your insurance agency. According to the 2018 ReviewTracker survey, Yelp ranks 2nd among sites that customers will check before they visit a business. So, if you’ve asked yourself how important Yelp is for your marketing plans, it’s huge. Consumers rely on reviews before making major life decisions and/or purchases now more than ever. If you’re business doesn’t have a presence on one of the most prominent review sites when customers are looking for insurance, you are missing out on potential business.
Since Yelp allows anyone to create a page for free, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have a Yelp page for your business. On the other hand, because Yelp allows anyone to create a page for their business, you must prepare to go beyond the basic requirements in order to stand out amongst the competition.
Through a multitude of both free and paid options on Yelp, you can strategically set your business up for success by making it easy for customers to find you.
The amount of business you will see coming to your business from Yelp directly correlates to how active you are online. The more information you provide and the more you interact with customers (and potential customers) on Yelp helps your page to become more visible on the platform and also position you as a thought leader in your industry.
The free benefits for Yelp for Business will get you far; however, if you have the budget to invest in growing your customer base, Yelp’s paid advertising can bolster your visibility online.
Don’t be fooled – once you get your Yelp business page set up, maintaining your page on a consistent basis is the way to maximize your marketing impact to bring awareness, which means more business to your agency.
Register Your Business
- Go to the Yelp for Business homepage.
- Check to see if a team member or customer has already created a business page for you by typing in your city and business name in the search fields. (Don’t worry if your business already has a page. That just means you’ll need to “claim” your business to take ownership of your Yelp profile – see Claim Your Business)
- If your business does not already have a page, click “Add Your Business.”
- Complete all fields asking for your business’ information including name, address, contact information, website, and categories*.
- Click “Add business.”
- Check your email – Yelp will be sending you a link to confirm your account.
*In order to reach your ideal customers, you will want to include the most important and/or popular business categories you offer. For example, many insurance agents acquire new customers who are in the market to purchase auto insurance. From there, the customer is educated by the agent on all of the other policies available to them like life insurance or homeowners’ insurance. So, an ideal category to select in this scenario would be “auto insurance.”
Yelp allows businesses to choose up to three categories; just make sure that any information you include is compliant!
Claim Your Business
- Go to the Yelp for Business homepage.
- Check to see if a team member or customer has already created a business page for you by typing in your city and business name in the search fields. (Don’t worry if your business already has a page.)
- If a page does exist, click the “Claim your business” button. (If there isn’t already an existing page, refer back to Register Your Business located above.
- Create your business user account.
- To verify that the business is valid, Yelp will call the number listed on your business page and prompt you to enter a verification code. (In the event that someone else has already claimed your page, Yelp will send you a prompt to submit a report to their support team.)
Optimize Your Business Page
- Upload a photo of your business. We recommend using a photo of yourself and/or a photo of your team. Customers can connect to a business more readily when they see friendly, welcoming faces. Yelp allows each business to load an unlimited number of photos to your profile.
- Confirm that your contact information and location is correct. You can reach new customers who are looking for insurance services within your 25-mile radius just by including the correct area in which you serve.
- Update your business hours. This sounds like a no-brainer, but believe it or not, many businesses start their profile with one operating hours schedule and forget to update it when it changes. It is a major turnoff to customer who are interested in your service to want to reach you when your profile says your available, but actually, your hours have changed.
- Solidify your business categories. Remember, a business is allowed to add three categories to their profile. By choosing the categories most relevant to your business, you are actually helping Yelp’s algorithm to populate your business when customers search for your business categories.
Start Getting Reviews
- Share your Yelp for Business profile link to all of your other social media profiles.
- Ask customers in your social media network to provide a review for you on Yelp.
- Include the Yelp logo in your email signature that takes customers directly to your profile. You can embed the image to your email (and other social media pages) using the “embed here” function on Yelp. This is a great call to action when communicating with current customers over email.
- Fill out a form to receive a “Find Us On Yelp” sticker to showcase in your office.
Respond to Reviews – Good and Bad
Now that you have your Yelp business page up and running, optimized, and shared with your social network, it is time to convert that content, and online customer interaction, into actual business. Word of mouth is an oldie but a goodie.
Although, the old way of conducting word of mouth reviews doesn’t quite work as well anymore. The customers you want have figured out how to have word of mouth interactions anyway, so you need to be a part of that conversation. One of the best ways of doing so is by engaging your audience across all your social networks, and that includes Yelp.
Post a “People Love Us On Yelp” sticker on your agency windows and around your office so that new and existing customers can become aware that you support the “Yelp Ratings & Review Revolution.” It also demonstrates that your agency is focused on “world class customer service,” even after the policy/policies are sold.
Once you become more active and engaged on Yelp, the reviews will start to come more frequently and more organically. Please ensure that you’ve activated the “This Customer Responds Within X Minutes” feature on your Yelp profile. Also ensure that you’ve downloaded the “Yelp for Business Owners” app on to your smart phone.
This will give you the peace of mind that your team is staying on top of any customer inquiries. Being active on your Yelp business page means more than creating the page, optimizing, and sharing via social networks. It is crucial as a business owner to be responsive to customer reviews – good or bad. In fact, Yelp tends to favor businesses that actively manage their profiles in this way. Therefore, your response to reviews is a way to boost your ranking within the Yelp search results pages.
When a customer leaves a stellar review, be sure to thank them for it! As we know, in business, and life in general for that matter, you can’t please everyone. So, don’t fret if you get a bad review. Look at a bad review as a learning experience by responding to the customer to fully understand their needs and how you can make it right.
When other potential customers see that you are genuinely concerned with what went wrong and you offer to fix it, they are appreciative that you have addressed the issue head on. Many times, once the bad reviewer sees your response and your willingness to create a positive experience for them, many reviewers will go back to revise or update their comment.
Make Your Page a Destination
By now, you’ve learned that simply creating a Yelp business page is barely scratching the surface in terms of leveraging this platform to generate new business. To make your page a place where people come to “on purpose,” it would be wise to post updates regarding things like agency announcements, recognizing a top seller on your team, or welcoming a new member to the team, and uploading new pictures on a regular basis. Remember, picture uploads are unlimited! So, create an image strategy that includes uploading a new photo each week that ties back to relevant, engaging content in order to help your profile page populate in the Yelp search engines.
You want your page to be a reflection of your agency. If your page has little content, outdated business hours, and the like, then people will think your agency is either out of business or way behind the times. Customers want to make insurance purchases from people who are excited to help them in their journey of acquiring proper coverage for themselves and their families for years to come. Therefore, your Yelp page needs to shine, just like your passion for helping peoples shines when customer walk into your doors.
We recommend creating a content calendar and scheduling your posts in advance. That way, each week you can easily upload the content you’ve already created, maintain your page by continuing to optimize, and respond to customer reviews.
Prepare Your Page for Paid Advertising
If you are looking to stay one step ahead of the competition, you may want to consider paid ads on Yelp. While all of the features mentioned so far have been free, increasing your Yelp visibility beyond the standard suggestion, consider investing in Yelp’s paid upgrades. With these paid features you can add a call-to-action button to help convert page visitors into actual customers. You can also have competitor ads removed from you page, meaning no competing business can steal your audience. Your business can have access to customize a photo slideshow, and you get access to specialized Yelp customer support.
Additionally, there are paid advertising options that allow your agency to promote your business and its services throughout the entire Yelp network. It is a simple advertising solution that lets you set your own budget and manage your campaign on your own terms. You can turn ads on and off at your discretion. Photos, text, and keywords are all customizable as well. To get the most bang for your buck, you’ll need to do some research on what types of photos, content, and keywords are the most likely to resonate with your target market that have the best chance of driving those people to take action. Marketing tactics like relevant imagery, actionable text, and lead generating keywords are constantly changing, so it is recommended that you carve out enough time to do market research on a regular basis.
Millions of people are using Yelp every day to help make purchasing decisions. In a recent survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group, businesses who just completed all of the free steps Yelp offers generated an average of $8K in incremental annual income. Are you ready to get a piece of that pie?
In order to see massive business growth by using this platform, it is necessary to adopt a habit of managing your Yelp profile like you manage your day-to-day business. It will require an investment of some time and energy. However, the payoff means more online visibility, which ultimately means more new policy holders.