Website Best Practices For 2017

  • Posted on January 4, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Agency Video Marketing

It’s a New Year, and time to make your Website Resolutions! Creativity and originality in web design is important. It makes sites stickier and makes users more engaged. Once they are engaged, it is of the utmost importance to quickly let them know what you are offering, why it is of value to them, and make it very easy to learn more or contact you for more information, or to make a purchase. Consider these best practices to ensure your website is easy to navigate and offers a happy user experience.

Make Mobile-First A Top Priority

People now view more websites on mobile devices then they do on desktops. Having a website that looks good on a cell phone or tablet should be priority number one. There should only be vertical scrolling. A website visitor should never have to scroll horizontally on a mobile device under any circumstance! Headers, footers, font sizes, and images should look perfect on mobile and then scale up for larger sizes. Easy to use drop downs and large call to action buttons should be your mantra.

A Value Proposition Should Be Placed High Your Homepage

We all know people’s attention spans are not very long and they are unlikely to get longer anytime soon. Give yourself the best chance of getting a potential customer’s attention by placing a value proposition high up on the page. Let them know early why some of their hard earned money deserves to go to you. If you focus on trucking insurance, your banner should rapidly convey this. If your agency is commercial lines, but offers specialty lines, convey this quickly to keep prospects from “bouncing” to a competitors website.

Calls To Action Should Also Be High On The Homepage

After placing a value proposition sufficiently high on your Home Page, encourage visitors to take action. Your call to action could be a “Get a Quote” or “Contact Us For More Information” or “Register for a Webinar” – encourage them to act and make it easy for them to do so.

Always Keep Your Logo In The Top Left And Linked To The Homepage.

This may seem trivial, but users are accustomed to this practice. If someone needs to get back to the homepage, the majority of the time they will click on the logo. If it doesn’t work and the user has to search your navigation for the home link, it can cause frustration and possible site abandonment.

Contact Information Should Be Placed In The Header

Just like having your logo in the top left side of your website, you should place relevant contact information in the top navigation area (often in the upper right). That is the area users are accustomed to looking first. You could place it in the footer or on a sidebar, but when it comes to contact information, make it fast and easy for the user. Many websites now offer contact information in multiple, prominent areas of their site. The contact information could be a phone number, an info@email, or a link to your contact page.

Social Icons Should Be Placed In The Footer

Placing your social media accounts in the footer has become convention. While people look at the header for email addresses and phone numbers, they generally look to the footer for social media accounts. Make the icons (chiclets) large and prominent.

Feature A Video

Video is stickier than text, more interesting and compelling, easier to consume and helps insurance agency websites improve their search engine optimization. Feature a video on your home page, and other key pages of your website.

If your agency is interested in improving your insurance agency website, produce high quality videos, or optimize your insurance agency marketing and lead generation, contact StartUpSelling, and receive a free insurance lead gen or web marketing review.

 

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Posted in: Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Web Marketing, Insurance Agency Websites
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My 10 Favorite Books of the Year 2016

  • Posted on January 2, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

My Top 10 Books of the Year 2016Every year I look back at the books I read and select my ten favorites. This past year certainly a tumultuous one, a year of bitter campaigning, failed pollster predictions, and the surprise election of a real estate magnate who refused to release his taxes and had six bankruptcies on his resume. This may have influenced my reading selection which tended to be fictionally centric, perhaps in part because of the constant reality of political bickering during the election. Also notable was that none of my ten favorite books of the year were about politics! This year I read some great fiction and non-fiction, science fiction, business, and poetry books. For what it’s worth, here were my favorites in alphabetical order:

  1. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

In the early months of WWI, an opulent ocean liner sailed from New York toward Liverpool. The Lusitania was one of the fastest liners in service, and thought to be able to outrun attackers, if any dared to threaten a civilian ship. Enter U-boat Unterseeboot-20, on a mission to sink large tonnage ships, and the mystery of why British intelligence tracked this U-boat, but failed to warn the Lusitania. Though we all know this sad tale, Larson once again provides a compelling, historically accurate story that makes the reader feel like they were there. Another great work by Erik Larson.

  1. IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation by Edwin Black

In this day and age, where a single smart phone provides greater computing power than a building full of computers in 1940, it’s hard to fathom how thousands of IBM keypunch machines and tabulators effectively ran the Nazi war effort. But Edwin Black details the intricate and concerning business dealings of International Business Machines (IBM) and its European subsidiaries, as they helped the Hitler government during the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Black’s meticulous research examines, in disturbing detail, how IBM’s Hollerith based technology helped facilitate everything from Nazi genocide to the efficient running of the German train system. Black illuminates how every Nazi concentration camp maintained its own Hollerith Department, responsible for keeping tabs on inmates using IBM punch card technology. It brings a new and nefarious connotation to the “Hollerith punch card” and how IBM and Watson capitalized on profits by empowering Germany’s national data programs.

  1. Macaroni And Cheese Manifesto by Steven H. Biondolillo

This is a wonderful collection of poems and prose by an author who has faced and overcome adversity. Many of the poems have an athletic theme, including my favorite, In Centerfield. To read these poems is to understand the author, his life, his challenges and his pervasive optimism. Biondolillo was orphaned by the age of 10, went on to become an elite free style wrestler, and ultimately a successful entrepreneur and businessman. I found the poems compelling and inspirational.

  1. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

Foer is on a mission to improve his memory, and decides to seek out the top mental athletes of our time, those competing in the world memory master championships. Along the way he explains the history of memory training, and how it’s changed over the millennia. Readers learn about the link method, the story method, the peg system, the Loci method and the memory palace. Ultimately Foer trains for, and enters the USA Memory Championship, with surprising results.

  1. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

In this interesting, illuminating and entertaining book, Gladwell asks what attributes, conditions and circumstances make people the most successful. In what way are these over achievers different from others? His answers are intricate and fascinating, stating that timing, culture, family, their generational imprint and their up upbringing are all part of a complex formula that separates the greats from the rest. From Bill Gates attending the right high school at the right time with the right computer technology, to why hockey players need to be born early in the year to become stars, to why the Beatles became one of the greatest rock bands, Gladwell advances his surprising findings.

  1. The 5th Wave: The First Book of the 5th Wave Series by Rick Yancey

This is a YA novel is similar in genre to Hunger Games and Divergent. It is an apocalyptic scenario, where aliens invade earth in five well defined waves. The first wave results in an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) which destroys all electronics. In the second wave, an object causes massive coastal flooding, wreaking havoc and destruction on all coastlines. The third wave unleashes a virus which wipes out most of the remaining population. And so on. The book follows our heroine Cassie, as she forages to survive, and meets some interesting people and challenges along the way.

  1. The Frontiers Saga by Ryk Brown

I’d describe this as a “Star Trek meets Star Wars” series of 15 books. Each book is an episode, similar perhaps to one hour television show (or perhaps a two hour Star Wars type movie). The year is 3472 and the Earth is recovering from a millennia of despair caused by a plague that nearly destroyed the entire population. However the discovery of a “data ark” allows the Earth to advance rapidly. Enter a brutal enemy invasion, a James T. Kirk type captain, and a loyal starship crew, and Ryk Brown has a formula for an entertaining book series, and perhaps a new TV show. Readers who like Star Trek and Star Wars, will probably like this series.

  1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This work was written in an interesting style, from the first person perspective of three women, Rachel, Anna, and Megan. Rachel is a 32-year-old alcoholic, Anna is a young stay-at-home mom, and Megan is a beautiful woman with a troubled past. It was a little confusing in the beginning, as the author slowly weaved the progressively intertwining tales of these women. The Girl on the Train is full of twists and turns, mystery and suspense, love and murder. It keeps the reader guessing until the very end. What did not come as a surprise, was that it could be repurposed into a movie.

  1. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

If you liked River of Doubt, you’ll undoubtedly like this book. This is a story about an explorer, Percy Fawcett, who disappeared in 1925. He vanished with his son while exploring the Amazon in search of an ancient lost city. For decades thereafter, dozens of explorers and scientists tried to find evidence of his journey, without success. Enter David Grann, a New York journalist who knows little if anything about camping or exploring, who is compelled to make his own journey into the Amazon, to find new evidence about Percy Fawcett and the Lost City of Z.

  1. The Second Variety by Philip K. Dick

PK Dick was ahead of his time, and a prolific writer. Many of his works have become movies (Total Recall, Blade Runner, etc.), and most recently Amazon has created a TV series, Man in the High Castle, based on one of his stories. The Second Variety is a post-apocalyptic tale, where the world has been destroyed by a US/Russian nuclear war. The last remaining humans are hunkered down, fighting from bunkers. But perhaps there is hope, as the Americans have invented robots capable of roaming and killing the Russians. Then again, it looks like the Russians may have invented robots of their own. Or is it the robots who have invented new robots, a foretelling of the famous Terminator stories to come?

And for those who might like to read one of my books, or learn more about marketing, please visit my website: http://startupselling.com/web-marketing-books/

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Highly Targeted Email Marketing That Works

  • Posted on December 29, 2016
  • by Alan Blume

sell-more-work-less - insurance email marketing

It’s difficult to get published, by many estimates less than 1% of would be authors ever receive an offer from a reputable publisher. Of course it is easier to get published if you have a literary agent representing you than if you approach publishers directly. Landing an agent is a formidable challenge; nonetheless, it seemed that literary agents offered the most viable path to publish my book.

Finding and signing with a literary agent seemed no different to me than finding and closing a prospect for any product, service or solution. I would simply use the same approach I use every day. It was a simple beginning, after a half dozen Google searches resulted in many sites listing literary agents. Next, I downloaded about 1,200 agents from several of these online list sources into an Excel file.

Many agents list their emails for book query submissions (a brief letter or email to whet the interest of a prospective agent). As a proponent of the virtual model, CEO of a virtual company, and would be author of the benefits of virtual business, I couldn’t imagine working with an agent who did not accept query submissions via email or a web form. If they didn’t accept email solicitations, they were culled, cutting my list to about 800. My list was then culled further to 100 agents who were interested in business books, non-fiction and prescriptive books (most agents listed the types of books they typically publish). And lastly, emails were sent to these 100 agents, with a succinct message about my book and background.

Here are the results of the highly targeted email campaigns to the 100 literary agents:

  • 100 Sent
  • 9 Interested
  • 32 Not interested
  • 59 No response

The results were impressive, as 9% of the targeted agents expressed interest, and responded as such to the email call to action. Normally I would follow-up an emailing like this with a phone call, however most literary agents prefer no phone calls, many stating so on their web site. Of the nine agents who expressed interest in my query, four of them asked me to email my full proposal (a proposal usually has a biography, marketing section, competition section, chapter outline and sample chapters). Another four asked me to print out a full proposal and mail it to them, and one asked me if I would like him to immediately contact publishers on my behalf to determine if they had interest.

I sent my book proposal to all four agents who requested it via email attachment, and called the agent who expressed interest in contacting publishers on my behalf. Two of the agents quickly reviewed the proposal and asked if I would speak with them right away. One of these was Wendy Keller from Keller Media, who asked if we could set up a conference call the next day. The call (actually a web meeting) lasted about 30 minutes, and I was impressed with Wendy’s background and enthusiasm. She was excited about the direction and topic of the book. During the meeting I secured a commitment from her for representation. It took less than four weeks from the time I approached the literary agency market to sign with a prominent agent.

Six months later, with help and guidance from my agent, we secured an offer from a well known business book publisher, Career Press. My book, Your Virtual Successwas published, and my second book, Sell More & Work Less was published a few years later.

Although there are additional nuances involved with successful current email marketing best practices, the basics used for this seven year old campaign are very similar to that which can be used for effective digital marketing and lead generation today. Contact the email marketing experts at StartUpSelling and learn how to extend your reach and jump-start your pipeline in the new year.

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Posted in: B2B Sales & Marketing, business, insurance agency email marketing, Insurance Agency eMarketing, insurance email marketing
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17 Significant Stats On Why Insurance Agencies Should Use Videos

  • Posted on December 15, 2016
  • by Alan Blume

Here are some compelling statistics about the use and efficacy of video as a marketing tool. Insurance agencies should investigate video, including whiteboard “explainer” videos, to help convey their value proposition, products and solutions.

  1. 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a weekInsurance Agency Video Marketing
  2. 50% of executives watch business-related videos on YouTube
  3. 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website after viewing a video
  4. About half of all internet users view a video at least once per month
  5. 100 million Internet users watch online video every day
  6. 4% of all Internet users view at least one video per month
  7. The average user is exposed to 32.2 videos per month
  8. Over 40% of those watching videos take some action after viewing a video
  9. 64% of website visitors are more likely to buy a product after watching a video
  10. The value of one minute of video is 1.8 million words (about 3,600 webpages)
  11. Videos increase people’s understanding of your product or service by 74%
  12. 80% of Internet users remember the video ads they watch online
  13. 90% of Internet users say seeing a video helps the decision making process
  14. Websites with video are 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of a search engine
  15. When video is included in an email there’s a 2 to 3 times increase in click through rates
  16. There’s also a 51% increase in subscriber-to-lead conversion rates when video is included in email
  17. Website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product after watching a video

Check out one of our marketing videos here: http://startupselling.com/services/insurance-marketing-videos.

If you are looking for ways to improve your insurance agency website, produce high quality videos, or optimize your insurance agency marketing and lead generation, contact StartUpSelling, and receive a free insurance lead gen or web marketing review.

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Posted in: Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Websites, Insurance Content Marketing, Insurance Video
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Top 10 Tips To Improve Insurance Agency SEO

  • Posted on November 30, 2016
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Search Engine Optimization and Insurance SEOEffective insurance agency search engine optimization can help drive traffic to your website, generate inbound leads, and increase the health and credibility of your insurance website. Let’s review these top 10 tips when it comes to improving your insurance agency search engine optimization.

  1. Know Your Keyword Phrases

Keywords, which are technically keyword phrases, are short three to five word phrases your prospects might use when looking for insurance products and services. For example, Ohio business insurance, Charlotte employee benefits, and New Jersey truck insurance, are all keyword phrases potentially applicable to your agency. To create a list of these phrases, there are many free tools and techniques your agency can use. For example, Google AdWords and Keyword Planner will help you determine the number of searches, by phrase, for your preferred keyword phrases. It will also recommend similar phrases for you to consider. There are many other free and paid tools, including Moz Keyword Explorer and SEOBook Keyword Tool.

  1. Review Other Insurance Agency Websites

Many agencies and brokers don’t do a great job with insurance search engine optimization (insurance SEO). That said, it can be still helpful to investigate other insurance agency websites to see if your agency can glean keyword phrase ideas. To do this, simply navigate to another agency website in your state and View Page Source, and search (Ctrl F) for meta. Or you can install a free tool bar from Moz or SEOBook to make this process simpler.

  1. Social Bookmarking and Google URL Submission

Once your agency has optimized your website for SEO, make sure you submit any unranked pages to Google using the Google Webmaster Tool (Submit URL). And, to better ensure your pages will get ranked, add them to prominent social media platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

  1. Keyword Phrases in Titles and Subtitles

Creating titles and subtitles on a web page that includes your preferred keywords will help search bots and human readers more readily scan your content. If they find relevant keywords in your subtitles, they are more likely to read the entire article.

  1. Alt Image Tags and Header Tags

The title for a page appears on the search engine results page. The main header will appear when viewers open the page, similar to a headline in a magazine or newspaper article. Focus each web page on a specific topic and keyword phrase. Your title and header will be indexed by the search engine and seen by prospects. It will increase the chance viewers will open your article instead of an alternate article. Make sure you limit each page to a maximum of three keyword phrases. Both your prospects and the search bots will be looking for well organized, focused content, so keep your content streamlined and relevant.

  1. Dynamic Content Not Duplicate Content

Search engine like to see new content as their search bots scan your insurance agency site. Adding dynamic content with a blog, video, and article publishing will help your insurance search engine optimization efforts. Make sure your website isn’t using boilerplate, duplicate content. If you purchased a site from a vendor that offers boilerplate content, rewrite all your content, as rapidly as possible, or your rankings will suffer the consequences.

  1. Word Density

When it comes to word density, you should repeat your phrase, a reasonable number of times. There are many opinions on word density, ranging from 4% to over 10%. In general, a simple rule should be, when reading your content, it should read well for your website visitors first, and search engines second. Beware of “keyword stuffing”. When writing a page, focus on the topic, not the keyword phrase. When following this process, I find my keyword density is usually in the 5% to 8% range. For example, if you are writing about Florida flood insurance, it’s fine to repeat that phrase 4 or 5 times in 150 words, but not 10 times. You should include the phrase in your page name, page title, description and as header tags as discussed prior.

  1. Boldface, Italics, Underline, Links

It’s good to boldface, italicize or underline your keyword phrases, but do so within a reasonable writing context on your pages. Links can also be helpful, linking to other pages within your website, or conversely, linking from other pages to your preferred pages. Don’t confuse this process with “link building” schemes. Many agencies were led astray with SEO link building scams, including link farms and other black hat SEO practices. Any external links to your insurance agency site should come from high quality, relevant sites.

  1. Insurance Videos

Website visitors are 80% more likely to watch video then read your content, and search engines weight webpages that contain videos. And if your video has a longer view time than other websites in the same search results then your rankings cam improve even more.

  1. SEO Tracking

There are tons of tools available for tracking insurance search engine optimization. Many are free, most are inexpensive. From Moz, to SEOBook, to WebCEO, your agency can pick from dozens of highly functional choices. That said, you’ll need to learn the tool you select, and run and measure the reports on a consistent (monthly should suffice) basis. And it goes without saying, that every agency should have Google Analytics loaded on their website, to track general traffic, traffic patterns, search engine referrals, and social media referrals to their website.

Insurance search engine optimization is a complex and nuanced task, but any agency can begin by following the ten tips above. If your agency wants to get the next level, leveraging a well written, unique, mobile compliant, and SEO optimized insurance website, contact the insurance agency SEO experts at StartUpSelling.

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Posted in: Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency SEO, Insurance SEO, insurance social media marketing, insurance web marketing
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Insurance Agency VideosVideos have great shelf life and offer insurance agencies and brokers an opportunity to provide educational, sticky, and effective content. Videos can range from recorded webinars, to voice over PowerPoint, to professionally composed whiteboard productions with scripted voice over and complimentary background music. A good example of this is found on the StartUpSelling Insurance Agency YouTube Video Library. Some of these insurance sales and marketing videos have been viewed one thousand times, five thousand times and even ten thousand times.

Why add video to your insurance agency website, and why create a branded YouTube channel with videos? One important statistic to consider, is that your insurance prospects are 80% more likely to watch your video than read your content. Another is the impact of video on your insurance search engine optimization efforts. Google gives more weight to webpages that contain videos, and of course, they own YouTube. More video typically equates to better insurance SEO. And when your insurance agency video has a longer view time than other websites in the same search results, you receive an even greater SEO boost from Google. Furthermore, insurance agency video provides producers with great collateral for their email marketing, and social media marketing efforts.

Though prospects (and clients and partners) often prefer videos to written content, not all of these website visitors will watch your video in its entirety. Insurance website visitors want to know if the video pertains to them, and if they don’t see its benefit quickly they will leave your video and bounce to another site. To help improve stickiness, make sure you add captions and transcripts.  Captions and transcripts will help improve the chance people will watch your entire video and boost your authority with Google. Captions and transcripts help by:

  • Increasing view time (up to 80%)
  • Improving deep linking with keywords in video
  • Improving search results for keywords included in video

Take the time to create insurance videos, and leverage their benefits to the fullest. Including insurance marketing videos on your website and adding them to a branded YouTube channel will help your insurance search engine optimization efforts, increase website traffic and drive more insurance leads into your pipeline.

If you are looking for ways to improve your insurance agency website, produce high quality videos, and optimize your insurance agency SEO, contact StartUpSelling, and receive a free insurance lead gen or web marketing review.

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Posted in: Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Web Marketing, Insurance Video
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The Who, What, When, Where & Why Of Insurance Email Marketing

  • Posted on November 1, 2016
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Agency Email MarketingInsurance email marketing often seems like a daunting task to insurance agencies and brokers, because of the complexity of CAN-SPAM Act and opt in email marketing best practices. Conversely, some agents think you simply need to buy an email list and blast out an offer. Today, email marketing is a highly nuanced method to engage both clients and prospects, and should be a staple for any agency or broker.

The goal of these initiatives should be to build a trustworthy online relationship with both prospects and clients. Agencies and brokers can utilize email marketing to extend their reach, to demonstrate expertise and to establish thought leadership. When thinking of insurance email marketing, think of it in terms of the “Five Ws”, namely the Who, What, When, Where and Why.

  • Who: Develop A High Quality Prospect & Client Email List
  • What: Relevant Topics & Content
  • When: Date, Time & Frequency Distribution
  • Where: Calls to Action
  • Why: Lead Conversion, Insurance Leads

Using this famous formula, agencies and brokers can focus on the following five critical tasks when it comes to rolling out this marketing initiative:

  1. Assemble a high quality email marketing list, and follow opt-in best practices and CAN-SPAM regulations.
  2. Digital content should be educational and relevant. Talk to your audience with content that they will find beneficial.
  3. Determine a reasonable frequency – wait at least two weeks between email campaigns. As of this writing, Tuesday and Friday mornings have the best open rates.
  4. Provide clear “Calls To Action.” CTA’s include “Register for a webinar”, “Click here to learn more” or “Sign up for our newsletter.” It’s usually best to have one CTA per email campaign, two at most.
  5. Determine the goal of your campaigns and measure the results. Use AB split tests to better refine open and click rates. Be careful that you don’t include spam phrases or rush words (buy now, hurry, offer ends soon, etc.).

As agencies and brokers begin their email marketing initiative, they should take the time to create a well thought out lead handling process. After all, how will the leads from these campaigns be distributed, followed up and tracked. Agencies and brokers should determine how to disseminate, track and measure incoming email marketing leads.

  • Lead Scoring: Which leads are your highest priority?
  • Lead Distribution: How, why and to whom are leads distributed? What happens with: Request more information, get a quote, newsletter subscriptions, and other type of leads?
  • Lead Follow-up: Preferred method of follow-up for lead type by producers.
  • Lead Tracking: How will you track these leads? Do you have an agency management system that does this, or do you need to create a simple tracking system for all your email marketing leads.
  • Lead Reporting: How will your agency share the results with the executive team and producers?
  • Lead KPIs: Key Performance Indicators can be very helpful in measuring lead gen campaigns. Examples include: Total Leads Per Month, Meetings Scheduled, Quotes Per Lead, Closes Per Lead, Appointment Show Rate Per Lead.

Insurance email marketing is an important and nuanced lead generation initiative. Agents and brokers lacking the time, staff or skills can consider outsourcing this lead generation initiative to a proficient insurance marketing agency.

For more information about
territory exclusive Insurance Agency Marketing Solutions contact the StartUpSelling insurance agency marketing experts.

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Posted in: insurance agency email marketing, Insurance Agency eMarketing, Insurance Agency Leads, Insurance Agency Web Marketing, insurance email marketing
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Insurance Agency LeadsA buyer persona is a composite representation of your ideal customer based upon existing client profiles, preferred prospect profiles and market research. The profile should include demographics, personal and business attributes, and behaviors that are typical of your ideal prospect.  Let’s review some examples to better illustrate this definition:

Your buyer personas should be a one or two paragraph written description of your ideal buyer. For example:

  • “Jerry Jones is a CEO, CFO, COO or Risk Manager who works at a distribution company between $15 million and $150 million dollars. He has at least a decade of experience and has been in his current position at least one year. His goal is to improve efficiency and refine processes within his company, which will contribute to bottom line savings. He is a consensus builder, but knows how to drive change, and has the credibility within his organization to implement a new initiative or allocate budget.”

  • “Gina Martinez is a CHRO, Vice President or Direct of Human Resources, with a manufacturer, distributor, technology company or restaurant group. Revenues can range from $5 million to $150 million dollars depending on industry. She has at least a decade of experience and has been in her current position at least one year. Her goal is to improve employee morale, increase wellness programs, ensure compliance and maintain competitive benefits programs. She is open to change, and will consider innovative approaches to this including captives, gap programs, leading edge tools and PBM alternatives.”

Creating an insurance agency buyer persona can help improve producer prospecting and closing, resulting in a leaner pipeline and improved close ratio. And they are also valuable when agencies outsource their appointment setting initiatives. If your agency has not yet created buyer personas, or if you haven’t updated them for a few years, it’s time for a review. For more information about insurance agency buyer personas or a complimentary Prospect Scorecard for to help build your buyer persona, visit StartUpSelling.com. And for more insurance agency marketing and sales tips like this, read Sell More & Work Less.

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Posted in: Insurance Agency Leads, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Telemarketing
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Web Beacons And Insurance Agency Email Marketing

  • Posted on October 13, 2016
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Agency Email MarketingLet’s begin with a simple definition of a web beacon. It is an object embedded into an email, to determine if a user accessed the content sent. There are other names used for web beacons such as tracking pixel, invisible pixel, pixel tag, pel and clear gif.

Web beacons are often used in email marketing to determine which recipients open the email. Doing this allows digital marketers to see which recipients have viewed or interacted with the email they sent. Email marketing tracking is not a perfect science, as tracking can be disabled by recipients who do not use HTML email clients, opting for text only emails. Some email preferences like turning off image display (while still using HTML), can also disable web beacons.

A web beacon is usually a transparent graphic image, often just a pixel that is placed unobtrusively in an email. When the HTML code for the web beacon points to a website to retrieve the image, it can also pass along important marketing information. This information can include the IP address, a time stamp, length of time the beacon was viewed, and the type of browser that retrieved the email. For many insurance agency email marketers, the most important metrics relate to the open rate, and the subsequent clicks that occurred in the email.

Web beacon options are included with most email marketing solutions, from the basic solutions to high end integrated platforms. When you send out insurance agency email marketing campaigns, the marketing engine will offer an option to track the emails. If selected, a tiny web beacon will be placed on the bottom of your HTML email to detect opens. Note that I said these would be on the bottom of HTML emails. If you are using text emails or multipart mime (the text portion of that email) the web beacon will not be used. This beacon is unique to each insurance email campaign that you send. When someone opens your email and the beacon is downloaded, they will register as an “open”. Automated replies, such as out-of-the-office messages, often do not download the beacon and as a result would not be counted as opens. This process can vary by email marketing provider.

Now that you know how web beacons help track your insurance email marketing campaigns, you can determine if your agency want to use this tracking. Open tracking is a fairly innocuous and unobtrusive way to determine email campaign efficacy and to fine tune the content for your audience. Almost all email marketers do use open tracking, and find it helpful. Click tracking is considered somewhat more intrusive, and that is a decision each agency can evaluate based on their preferences. Some agencies offer tracking and cookie notifications on their site, when using these technologies.

Insurance email marketing can be highly effective for lead generation. Those agencies lacking the time, tools or staffing to add this lead gen staple to their overall marketing initiatives should contact the insurance agency marketing experts at StartUpSelling for a complimentary web marketing review.

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Posted in: insurance agency email marketing, Insurance Agency eMarketing, Insurance Agency Leads, Insurance Agency Marketing, insurance web marketing
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