Promote Your Insurance Agency Website

Do you search for your own insurance agency to see how it is ranked?

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  • 07Aug

    It is important to be selective about which websites you link to on your insurance website. For instance, what value does this link have for your customers? Does this website also offer insurance products? Or do they have an agency locator?

    Every link that you add to your website is one more chance to lose a site visitor. Is it worth loosing a site visitor to this link?

    When linking to sites it is always good to type out a sentence or two explaining where the link goes. FAQs are an excellent resource for external links.

    Example of a valuable FAQ with a link to an external site:

    Question: How do I find out about state insurance laws?

    Answer: Washington State has valuable resources located at: http://www.insurance.wa.gov/

    Replace Washington State with a state that you write business in and you are set.

    The following screenshot (located here) illustrates how you can have a page that is specific to an external site. In this example we are linking to the Trusted Choice website; but instead of just putting a link we created a page with the Trusted Choice® Pledge of Performance.

    Why is Linking to external websites this way so Effective?

    We are explaining to the user what the site is and why we are members of the site.

    The page is content rich providing us a great SEO page.

    We are able to link to the website, include a logo, and still keep the visitor on our website.

    Insurance Demo Website

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  • 24Jul

    Recently married, I was ready to combine my financials with my new wife’s. Her auto and homeowner policy were with a captive agent; someone whom she had been with since she was 16 years old and mine were with an out-of-sate agent. Working in the insurance industry for over 8 years (company side and now agency side) I had plenty of questions about her existing policy and was ready to combine our policies hoping to save some money. My actions are pretty typical for this turning point in my life.

    My job working with independent agents and designing their websites I was ready to shop with an independent agent. I found a local agent and long story short I transferred all of our policies to them. Throughout this process, I thought to myself where did her old agent go wrong? Why did he loose our business? There are a couple key points where he easily could have made contact with us and possibly kept our business.

    Each premium increase (A letter from the company does not count as a contact)

    When I was added to her existing insurance policy (A great time to discuss insurance options)

    When I called to ask about her existing policy prior to shopping for new insurance (I called her agent up to find out what her premium, expiration date and coverage A was)

    Annual Reviews – She has yet to receive an annual review

    What web resources could have used to save this account?

    Annual Review Wizard – With the click of a button agents can send an Annual Review to a customer. No paper needed!
    More Information on annual reviews http://demo2.cfluent.com/annual-insurance-reviews-tutorial

    Simple Email – When I called her prior agent to request her policy information the agent could have easily got my email address and sent me an email. Even something as simple and quick as: “Thanks for calling us today, if you would like to review your insurance needs just let us know…”

    Sorry we lost your business form – We’re sorry to have lost you as a customer, and would like to learn if there are improvements we can make that will help us not to lose excellent customers like you in the future. Please take a few moments to answer the five questions below, or feel free to call or email me with comments or questions, my contact information is below. Try out the form.

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  • 13Oct

    One of the most effective and cost efficient ways to increase your insurance agency website page rank is to make sure other sites have links pointing to your website. When search engines crawl websites they take note of which websites the site they are currently crawling is linking to.  The more links pointing to your insurance website the more valuable your site is. Links are also scored by the quality of the sites that are linking to you. For instance, a link to your website from Traveler’s website is better than a link from the local lumberyard. For more information please visit this Wikipedia entry on PageRank.

    Find out who is linking to you:

    Google has a great tool that helps you find out who is linking to your insurance website.

    To find out who is linking to your website:

    1. Go to www.google.com
    2. In the search box enter: link:<Your domain>
      Example: Your agency website is: www.abcdinsureance.com you would enter: link:http://www.abcdinsurance.com
    3. Hit search.
    4. The following results show a list of websites that are linking to your website.


    How to get more links pointed to your website:

    Now that you understand the importance of incoming links pointing to your website you may be asking yourself; how do I get more websites to point to my insurance website…?

    Insurance Companies – Your best option to get quality websites linking to your agency site is to talk to every company that you represent. Most insurance companies have some type of agency locator on their site. Go to each company that you represent find their agency locator and make sure there is a link to your website. If not, you will want to talk to your marketing rep.

    Press Releases – Press releases are also another good way to get more links to your website. PR websites such as PRWeb.com have very inexpensive options for submitting press releases. These press releases then get picked up by online aggregators and spread throughout the web. In a couple weeks I will talk about press release examples; for now, a press release can be anything from a new product, new company or a self promoting piece.

    Local directories – There are many online local directories where you can submit your company information (for free) and have a link to your website. A good example of this is a Seattle based website Lost in Seattle.

    Associations, Groups, Churches, Charity Events – Any association, group or community that your agency may be involved with most likely has a website. Talk to the association and find out if you can have a link pointing to your site.

    Trade a Link Programs

    I have had many inquiries over the years from agents who receive solicitation from companies who want to “trade-a-link”. Basically, they will put a link on their website if you put a link to their website on yours. Seems fair enough right? Before getting involved with such programs you will want to ask yourself a couple questions. Who is this company that I may be linking to? What types of websites are also linking to them? Will adding a link on my website to their website distract from my insurance website? What is the benefit to my users/customers who may stumble upon that link?

    Linking to other sites

    It is important to be selective about which websites you link to on your insurance site. For instance, what value does this link have for your customers? Does this website also offer insurance products? Or do they have an agency locator?

    When linking to sites it is always good to type out a sentence or two explaining where the link goes. FAQs are an excellent resource for external links.

    Example of a valuable FAQ with a link to an external site:

    Question: How do I find out about state insurance laws?

    Answer: Washington State has valuable resources located at: http://www.insurance.wa.gov/

    Replace Washington State with a state that you write business in and you are set.

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  • 15Sep

    Everyone knows how beneficial word of mouth advertising can be for your insurance agency. It is no surprise that potential customers will go to Google or another search engine and research a company or a product before making a buying decision. What is the best way to take advantage of customer reviews? Some agencies have a testimonial page on their website. Having a testimonials page on your site is a good practice and the amount of effort required to add the testimonials is very little. I talked a few weeks ago about claiming your business with Google. If you have not done this; stop reading this post and claim your business

    Google, Yahoo and MSN Live all have local search functionality. All of them also have an area where they allow users to write reviews about a company. Customer reviews can easily put your insurance agency website above the competition all of which can be done easily and for free. In my example to day, I’m going to use one of my favorite pizza restaurants; David’s Pizza located in Spokane Washington. 

    David’s has customer reviews on all three major search engines:  

    Google

    Insurance Search Engine Google Example

    Yahoo

     

    Insurance Search Engine Yahoo Example

    MSN Live

     

    Insurance Search Engine MSN Live Example

    (Click on any of the images above to view the actual listing) 

    What does a pizza restaurant have to do with insurance? Search engines don’t care if you are a pizza restaurant or an insurance agency. They all have a local search area for local businesses within these listings there is an area where business owners can upload photos, post hours and update contact information. The more information Google has about your insurance agency the better. 

    User reviews work the same way. If you have 10 of your best customers, friends and family write positive reviews about your agency on the three major search engines your insurance agency website value and position will increase. 

    Try to think like a search engine. 

    Your local listing has ten reviews and your competitor across the street has zero reviews who do you think the search engines will give more credit to? When a customer writes a review Google knows who they are (You are required to login first) they also know other reviews they have made and can score each user’s reviews based off of the quality of reviews they have made. The more reviews the better. 

    What about bad reviews? 

    Don’t think it has happened before. Upset customers, someone accidentally selecting one star instead of five stars, competitors giving bad reviews to make their own company look better… Since you have already followed my instructions for claiming your business on Google, Yahoo & MSN Live; you also have the ability to agree, disagree or mitigate your comments.

    I cannot stress enough how beneficial this can be for promoting your insurance agency website. 

    Next week: How to get more reviews about your agency website. 

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  • 08Sep

    All of this talk about search engines started making me think about search functionality inside of agency websites. How useful are they? Come to find out they are VERY USEFUL. I did a survey on insurance agency websites and a couple other non insurance sites and found that 30% of users went straight for the search box vs. trying to navigate for what they trying to find.

    Some of the top searches included “Auto Quote”, “Business Insurance” & “Homeowners”

    You could spend a lifetime analyzing search traffic only to find out that you pulled out all of your hair before you learned something worthwhile.

    Interestingly, users who searched for “Homeowners” were not always looking for homeowners quotes. Many of the users were looking for homeowner FAQs such as “Do I have enough coverage for my possessions (Coverage C)”

    Example Search for Homeowners:

    http://demo.cfluent.com/search.php?search=homeowners

    This goes to show that insurance agency websites need to be more than just quote forms. They need to have information for the user.

    Building a search engine for a website is not easy. There are however, a couple free search engine APIs that you can install on your website that will work. The disadvantage of these free search engine APIs is they usually come with some type of advertising. (Hey there isn’t such a thing as a free lunch, right?)

    Google’s Search API: http://www.google.com/coop/cse/

    Yahoo’s Site Search (Requires your site to be hosted through Yahoo)
    http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/smallbusiness/webhosting/addons/psearch/psearch-02.html

    Ask.com Search API: http://about.ask.com/en/docs/about/add_search_to_site.shtml

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  • 01Sep

    A recent newsletter put out by Confluency Solutions recommends adding a separate phone number to your website. Allowing you to track how many people go to your insurance agency website looking for your phone number. This is something that the phone book companies have been doing for years but the price is a lot cheaper if you do it yourself.

    Google Grand Central – calls can be automatically rolled to any number (like your normal agency phone line). The service is free, but is not widely available. grandcentral.com

    Vonage - Small Biz Basic from Vonage at $40/month (1500 minutes, $0.039 per min after), – You can also get area codes and exchanges for ads you might be running in different market areas. vonage.com

    Skype - This service has been around as a computer-to-computer (Skype user) type of VOIP for a long time. More recently Skype added the ability to call land lines and cell phones, and to register a traditional phone number to your Sype account so you can receive calls from land lines and cells. The cost of a traditional phone number is $60 a year; calls can be automatically be forwarded to your regular phone line at the rate of $0.021 per minute. skype.com

    There are some advantages to adding a separate phone number to your site however; you will want to be careful not to confuse customers who have been calling the same phone number for years.

    You might be tempted to just use a separate phone number on your regular home page, but be careful. Customers will be used to seeing your phone number in other places, and your agency may have had the same phone number for years. Broadly displaying a different phone number on your website will confuse some customers, especially since a large number of your customers will look up your website just to get or verify your phone number before calling.

    Quotes source

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  • 11Aug

    Just like Google and Yahoo, Microsoft has a live search where you can go and claim your business and enter in your own information.

    To claim your business through Microsoft’s Live Search go to: http://maps.live.com/localsearch/YPDefault.aspx

    Enter (search for) your insurance agency name and city.

    Once you find your insurance agency name in the search results: (If you are unable to locate your insurance agency web site in the search results than you will need to submit your domain to MSN Live Search first.)

    Select your agency from the list. (While you are there be sure to give yourself 5 stars!)

    On the bottom right of the page under the map there is a link that reads: “Business owners edit listing” (The link may also read: “Change your business listing”)

    Select that link and follow the instructions to update your information.

    See also:

    Google Local Search
    Yahoo Local Search

    Next week: DMOZ

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  • 28Jul

    When it comes to search engines local search should be a top priority for your insurance agency website. Integrated with Google Maps and normal Google Search; Google local search does an excellent job displaying local companies. The best part about local listings is that it is free!

    Doing a Google search for the key words: “insurance, Jacksonville” I am able to see a handful of insurance agencies listed next to a map above the normal search area. This is prime real estate for your insurance agency website.

    How do you get your agency listed on the top?

    Well that question is really only known by Google, but there are some things that you can do to help get noticed.

    Own your business

    Well, you may already own it, but let Google know that you do.

    http://www.google.com/local/add/lookup?hl=en-US&gl=US

    The above link allows you to enter information about your business. To make it even better, Google goes an extra step and will either call you or send you a postcard in the mail to verify that you are who you say you are. Once you have verified your business; Google allows you to enter hours of business, photos and more detailed information.

    On a scale of 1 to 10 for importance, I would rate this as an 11. A must for every insurance agency.

    See also:

    Local Search – MSN (Live.com)
    Yahoo Local Search

    Next week: Yahoo local search

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