Content marketing refers to the approach insurance agencies and wholesale brokers use to create, curate, distribute and promote information (content) your clients and prospects will find valuable. The goal of content marketing is to drive sales, fill the pipeline and help your company grow.

Content marketing, when it’s done right, offers value that is separate from the products and services you sell. When you share content that is educational, entertaining and useful to your audience, you will drive engagement, awareness and sales for your brand.

Here are the types of content that marketers use that can help promote your company:

  • Social media postings
  • eNewsletters
  • Articles on your website
  • Blogs1
  • In-person events
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Photographs, illustrations and other images
  • White papers
  • Online presentations
  • Infographics
  • Webinars/webcasts
  • Podcasts
  • Research reports
  • Microsites

Content marketing is an investment in your company. Unlike a verbal strategy, which can be forgotten or misunderstood, published content can be referred to, modified and reused over time.

Struggling with keeping up with a consistent marketing strategy? Take the time to develop a content strategy and plan and follow it very closely. Frequent publishing is important for any organization that wants to grow their online presence.

The most effective marketers use social media more than any other tactic; on average, the most successful companies use an average of seven social media platforms. According to the research, LinkedIn is both the most popular and the most effective for content promotion for business to business marketing. (Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 2015.) Regardless of your industry or company size, a blog should always be the hub of your content marketing efforts.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on May 22, 2015

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Insurance Agency Cyber Security - Insurance WebsitesCyber security threats are constantly changing. It is important to stay on top of emerging trends to keep your insurance agency website secure. A secure website not only protects your customers, it protects your brand. Here are the six top tips to help you keep your insurance website protected.

  1. Be Cautious When Creating Login Credentials
    Giving someone access to the back-end of your website is sort of like giving someone a key to your business. Maintain caution when giving someone login access and always keep login access to the minimum amount of people necessary to keep your website up-to-date.
  2. Update Security Patches, Limit Password Attempts, Use Malware Protection Software
    One of the most proactive ways you can keep would-be hackers at bay is to keep all aspects of your website’s code updated. When security patches, plugins, or dependency updates are released, install them as soon as possible. Hackers are constantly looking for code weaknesses. When one is discovered it is typically patched by the code developers as quickly as possible. The sooner you update your code the sooner you remove a threat that’s accessible to thousands of hackers. It is extremely important for all insurance websites to use a malware detection and prevention solution, and limit password attempts.
  3. Create a “We’ve been hacked” Response Plan
    Even the best attempts at keeping your site from hacking can fall short. It is absolutely imperative you have a response plan. Audit logs, backups, and contact information for IT support should be included in your response plan.
  4. Collect Detailed Activity Logs
    Make certain you have access to log reports on all back-end website functions, to help pinpoint issues when a breach occurs. Every login attempt, page adjustment, code adjustment, and plugin addition should be logged with user time stamps.
  5. Perform frequent backups and keep a copy of recent backup data off premises.
    Backing up your website should be an integral part of your response plan, and some hosting providers offer daily backup services. How often you need to backup your website will depend on how often you update it. When your insurance agency backs up your site, save a copy of the backup off of your server in easily accessible cloud storage. If your host is hacked and the server’s contents are compromised, you will have an unaltered version stored out of the hands of hackers.
  6. Train Users on How to Stay Secure
    Once you have your Cyber Security plan enabled, train all users on how to stay safe and prevent attacks. Educate users on how to generate very strong passwords and keep them safe by using a password manager, recognize email phishing scams, and how to encrypt emails that contain sensitive information. What’s a strong password? Today, use at least 10 characters, with alpha (including a cap), numeric (random not a sequential string), and special characters (exclamation, etc.). Many website platforms such as WordPress, will generate and/or measure the strength of your password.

To protect your website, start with the basics above, then determine if you have the expertise to continually stay abreast of potential cyber attacks. If not, consider outsourcing this initiative to a proficient web hosting and development company or insurance marketing agency.

 Visit our website for more information on Insurance Agency Marketing Solutions.

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1Educational webinars are a  valuable resource for insurance agencies and wholesale brokers. They are especially potent when they explain how to use new technology or share detailed information about a policy or regulatory mandate.

Webinars have certain advantages over other educational delivery systems. Webinars don’t require the time or expense of travel. And participation in webinars doesn’t necessarily require an extensive network.

Here are some webinar delivery strategies that can improve the experience for webinar participants.

  1. Choose topics carefully. Take the time to research and survey your clients and prospects to before the selecting topics. Many organizations implement polls or ask their community members to vote on topics for possible webinars.
  2. Concentrate on subjects that can be taught through short presentations. Stay away from subjects that require long explanations or lengthy discussions.
  3. Focus on training, not analysis. A webinar is not the place for debate or customization to make it relevant for all audience participants. They are a better delivery avenue for training or sharing objective information on a discrete topic of shared concern and importance.
  4. Create opportunities for engagement. Online meeting technology now allows participants to submit questions or make comments in real-time. A skilled presenter or moderator can bring questions or statements into the discussion. Smaller regional or interest-based discussion groups that can be scheduled after the webinar presenters have signed-off.
  5. Give participants the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise or knowledge. In cases where the webinar counts toward professional development credits a measure of mastery – a quiz perhaps – can be offered at certain points during the webinar or at the end. If participants can gain professional development credits or achieve recognition for their participation they will listen more closely.

A well-planned webinar is an extremely valuable experience for agents and brokers alike. Web seminars can then be recorded and added to insurance video channels and website video libraries, increasing website traffic, expanding reach and conveying expertise.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on May 11, 2015

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1Click here to view Tips 1 & 2.

3. Build an Editorial Calendar

Use an editorial calendar to stay organized. Put Industry Events, Holidays, Contests, Giveaways, Book Releases, and News Events in it. There are a lot of tools including Google Calendar, Outlook, and paper calendars that you can use. Spreadsheets can be useful too. Be adaptable and flexible.

4. Use Notifications

Give notification a second chance. You need to be on top of interactions and respond in a timely manner. You don’t need to be on social media 24/7. In general, a 24 hour window of time for responses on social media is acceptable.

Bonus Tips: How to Manage Social Media in One Hour Per Day

  • Review your Feedly page first thing in the morning while you drink your coffee – 10 minutes
  • Conduct a blogging blitz and write, edit and schedule blog posts – 30 minutes
  • Execute a neighborhood check-in twice a day – review your social networks and respond to comments, followers, retweets, customer service questions, etc. – 10 minutes
  • Perform a community search to build your network (work on different networks each day) – 10 minutes
  • Share the workload! Delegate social media tasks to other staff members. Many hands make light work.

Originally Posted May 7, 2015 by John Scranton

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