Insurance Agency Marketing & Lead Gen Library

  • Posted on November 15, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Agency MarketingInsurance agencies and brokers are invited to view over 100 insurance marketing and lead generation articles in our Ezine library. These articles cover topics from insurance agency email marketing and split testing, to insurance search engine optimization tips and best practices. Whether your agency is seeking to learn about insurance website SSL mandates, cyber protection, email marketing for lead generation or appointment setting and the insurance agency elevator pitch, you can find articles on this and other topics to speed up your pipeline and top line growth.

Use this link to visit our insurance agency marketing library.

A few of our recent articles include:

StartUpSelling specializes in territory exclusive insurance marketing, web marketing and lead generation services. Our virtual model allows us to employ subject matter experts, licensed insurance agents and insurance marketing veterans throughout North America. Because we have no brick and mortar office expenses, we are able to deliver superior value to our clients. After all, why would your agency or wholesale brokerage need to pay for our rent on the top floor of a prominent Boston office building? Contact StartUpSelling for a complimentary insurance agency marketing and lead gen review.

 

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Webinar: SSL Mandates & Your Insurance Agency Website

  • Posted on October 30, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency Marketing - Insurance Agency LeadsIs your insurance agency website in compliance with SSL requirements? Why is Google mandating all websites move to SSL? Learn about this and other important topics in this concise and educational webinar:

* SSL – What is it and why is it important
* Leveraging Social Media Feeds
* Using Full Motion Graphic Video to Improve User Experience
* Mobile Responsive Design Requirements
* SEO for Increase Traffic and Lead Gen

Date and Time: Wed, Dec 6, 2017 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM EST

Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2256757897947564033

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Forcing Function vs. Failure

  • Posted on October 23, 2017
  • by John Scranton

1Recently my team met with a prospective client to discuss a website development project.  This great group of talented people mentioned that they have had difficultly with internal website projects in the past.  We responded by explaining that this is very common, and is in fact one of the reasons StartUpSelling exists.  We provide project management and become a forcing function to meet deadlines, goals, and to complete projects.

Many of you who have handled website projects internally (or outsourced design and coding but provided content, editing and project management) can relate to the obstacles standing in the way of success.  Tell me if any of these scenarios sound familiar:

  • Our CEO has not yet approved the design.  Of course s/he hasn’t – s/he just interviewed a new producer over lunch and is trying to buy another agency this afternoon.  Maybe the website will earn 5 minutes of attention on a Sunday night.  Maybe not.
  • Our benefits and financial services pages are not yet approved by compliance.  And it might be weeks before they do.  Your internal financial services director is in Chicago closing a 401k for a 500 life group.  No time to make another follow up with the broker/dealer.
  • We can’t agree on the navigation structure.  Since there is no website design specialist on your team, it is going to be impossible to select the right nav.  My web dev team would not be able to build consensus and select the best health plan for their needs – its not their job.  Nav design isn’t yours.

These are just a few of dozens of stumbling blocks we have seen insurance organizations experience.  Everyone already has a day job.  Allocating time to project manage a website is not realistic.  A forcing function is needed from an expert in the field.  Without a forcing function, a project is destined for failure.

Originally Posted on February 22, 2013 by John Scranton

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Why Insurance Agency Websites Need SSL

  • Posted on October 22, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Agency Cyber Security - Insurance WebsitesThere are many compelling reasons why insurance agency websites should move to SSL, including security, encryption and trust. Google is making a big push to move all websites to SSL, and said that as of October 2017, “Passwords and credit cards are not the only types of data that should be private. Any type of data that users type into websites should not be accessible to others on the network, so starting in version 62 Chrome will show the ‘Not secure’ warning when users type data into HTTP sites. And eventually, we plan to show the “Not secure” warning for all HTTP pages, even outside Incognito mode.”

What is SSL & Why Is It Secure?

When navigating to a website, you might see a domain name resolve as http://startupeslling.com. Sites that begin with http: are not SSL sites. SSL sites begin with https: and would look like this: https://startupselling.com. SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer, which is the de facto standard used to establish an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. The SSL link ensures that all data communicated between a web server and a browser remains private.

In other words, SSL keeps information sent across the Internet secure and private, allowing only the intended recipient to receive it in an understandable format. Many people don’t realize that information they send over the Internet is passed from computer to computer, before it finally arrives at the selected destination server. That means that any one of those computers, which are communicating your information in this chain, can intercept important information such as usernames, passwords, credit card information, medical information, etc. SSL encrypts this data, making the information unreadable for everyone except the final destination server. This is important for increased security and to protect confidential information from hackers and identity thieves.

SSL Authentication

SSL provides authentication in addition to encryption.  As mentioned previously, your information will typically be transmitted through a series of computers. A good example of this might be a quote form, which might contain confidential information about prospective insurance clients.  Any one of these interim computers could potentially pretend to be the final destination website and hijack your confidential information. This security issue is thwarted by using a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), and getting an SSL Certificate from an authorized SSL provider. SSL certificates are provided to verified entities like your insurance agency for example, after they have gone through several identity checks to prove they can be trusted. Insurance agencies wishing to accept credit card payments will be required to use SSL for their sites.

Browser Warnings & Visual Clues

Major web browsers like Chrome, Mozilla, Safari and Edge are now providing indicators to help users determine if an insurance website is secure. Site that have SSL indicate that the site is secure in the top left hand corner by using the word secure, or offering visual clues. For example there might be the word “Secure” displayed, or a lock or other icon indicator. Conversely, a site that is not SSL, might contain a warning icon, or indicate in another way that your site is not secure, warning users that they should not send any sensitive information using your website.

It’s only a matter of time before all insurance agencies and brokers will be required to move their sites to SSL. SSL certificates are not expensive, they usually cost between $50 and $70 per year depending upon the hosting provider, and many provide multiyear discounts. Our recommendation is that those insurance agencies which have yet to convert to SSL, should do so immediately. SSL certificates will help protect your agency, your customers, your prospects, and your confidential data. Agencies needing assistance updating their insurance agency website or converting to SSL can reach out to the insurance agency marketing experts at StartUpSelling for a complimentary assessment.

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Content MarketingBy now, most insurance agencies and wholesale brokers have realized the power of content marketing as a critical element of social selling. Content marketing is a powerful tool for attracting potential customers, making connections and building relationships with your target audience.

Content marketing isn’t easy. But if it is done correctly, content marketing works in every industry, in every business, every time. All too often businesses don’t adequately prepare for the demands of developing and executing a successful content marketing strategy.

In practice, content marketing is hard work. You need to have a strategy so that search engines (such as Google) and your target audience can find you. It’s the hard work of sharing valuable, relevant content that your audience is looking for that captures their attention.

Here are 5 keys to successful content marketing:

  1. Take content marketing seriously – Content marketing can be an efficient and powerful way to grow your audience and your agency. For content marketing to work, you need to invest, prioritize and execute. In order to achieve serious results, content marketing must be taken seriously.
  1. Build relationships first – Content marketing is a long-term strategy. Success is no longer measured by the size of your email list, but by the size of your audience. When we build relationships first, those relationships turn into your audience. That audience then becomes your customer or partner, which turns into revenue.
  1. Stop overtly selling – People (including people in your target business audiences) are tired of being sold too. They are savvy consumers who understand the connection between where they are consuming content and who provided the content. Always selling pushes your potential audience away because they will seek other sources of information.
  1. Focus on your specialty/ies – The era of generalization is gone. People look for experts in the specific area of topic for which they are seeking. From a search engine and brand-building perspective, specialization is a pillar of content marketing success.
  1. Invest in your content marketing strategy – Content marketing can have a very high ROI if done right. Doing it right means investing in bandwidth, tools and people. You need to have all of the parts of an online marketing funnel functioning well in order for a content marketing strategy to be successful. You will need to invest time and money in order to see the results you are seeking.

Want to learn more about how you can gain a competitive edge with a content marketing strategy? Contact StartUpSelling and we will be happy to help you explore how content marketing can benefit your company. Call us today at (518) 222-6392 to get started.

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1As more and more business-to-business organizations are embracing the power of social selling, content marketing is fast becoming an important technique to success in the new marketing dynamic of social media marketing. This includes middle market P&C and large group benefits brokers.

Understanding the role content plays in the sales funnel is a key element of designing a winning strategy. Knowing how to use online content to attract a potential customer, make a connection and build a relationship that leads to a deal is critical to your online marketing effectiveness.

In today’s internet-based world of commerce, successful sellers are content creators. Today’s customers recognize the value of information to help them make buying decisions. The best social selling teams and representatives are content creators who know how to deliver the right content to the right customer at the right time in the sales cycle. Research shows that consumers spend a great deal of time online self-educating – searching, reading and researching. Many have made a buying decision before even reaching out to a company representative.

  • 90% of customers start their purchasing decision with a search engine. (Forrester) Provide the type of content that will get you found early in their search efforts. LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Search are top B2B search networks. This is the “secret sauce” to beat and differentiate yourself from your competition.
  • 46% of buyers consume content weekly. 37% spend time daily to better understand business problems and solutions, reports ITSMA/CFO. Another study found that buyers will consume at least 3-4 content pieces to help them make a purchase decision.
  • 45% of buyers require person-to-person contact in the buying process, reports ITSMA/CFO. Customers are looking for expertise and answers to their questions. LinkedIn and Twitter are excellent avenues for demonstrating your expertise through content.

There are three important reasons to use content to build your social selling advantage.

  1. Unique, relevant content will differentiate your company from your competition. People are tired of being sold to. When you offer useful, distinctive, remarkable content you are signaling to the potential client that you are here to help. People will naturally gravitate to sources of beneficial information, where they will be turned off by relentless inundation to try to get a prospect on the hook.
  1. Content can address common sales objections. A well-crafted article or blog post can help answer frequent questions or protestations before they even become a full sentence.
  1. Content marketing will help move prospects through the stages of buying. At each stage, the customer will be hungry for the next stage – so make sure you give it to them! Your bottom line will thank you!

Interested in learning more about you can gain a competitive edge with a content marketing strategy? Contact StartUpSelling and we will be happy to help you explore how content marketing can benefit your company. Call us today at (518) 222-6392 to get started. We’d love to hear from you!

Originally posted by John Scranton on July 28, 2015

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1View Part 1 Here: https://startupselling.com/johnscranton/tips-for-writing-a-great-b2b-video-script-part-1/

Keep it BRIEF.

Short videos keep the attention of your audience better than long videos. According to White Board Geeks, a video script should have approximately 150 words per minute. So a 3-minute script would be 450 words.

Professional Voice Over

Trust us on this. Do not waste time trying to create a perfect voice over in house.

Video marketing exposes your brand to larger audiences, captures the attention of your target audience and will help you boost your online presence. Videos establish your authority and credibility in your industry and will lead to increased sales.

Originally posted by John Scranton on July 17, 2015

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How to Keep Your Insurance Agency Email Marketing Fresh and Effective

  • Posted on September 4, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Email MarketingEmail marketing is here to stay. While there are some naysayers who try to assert that email marketing is “dead,” wise B2B insurance marketers have discovered the incredible power of email marketing over the long-haul.

Scientific evidence supports this perception. Even though there are competing marketing channels (i.e. social networks, mobile apps, online advertising campaigns, etc.), email remains a vital and central component of an effective B2B marketing strategy. In research conducted by eMarketer in 2014, researchers found that “email is one of the most widely used and established of all platforms.”

And in a study conducted by Adobe, researchers studied email marketing opportunities and trends. They found that not only is email an effective marketing strategy for the company, but it’s undergoing “a remarkable transformation.” Just as the world of marketing has been transformed by the internet in general, new technologies and consumer expectations are driving new ways of thinking about and using email marketing to reach target consumers.

First of all, consumers today expect email to be personalized and relevant to their interests. Gone are the days of “one-size fits all” email campaigns. In today’s mobile lifestyle, consumers continue to relay on email that reaches them directly in ways that are meaningful to them.

Design Email Campaigns that are Mobile-Friendly

Readers today open 61% of their emails on mobile devices. 80% will delete emails that “don’t look good.” Marketers need to ensure that their emails are optimized for all viewing scenarios, including mobile. Mobile responsive designs will increase open rates by 16-17%, and click-through rates by up to 24%. (Adobe, 2014)

Use Data to Tailor Messages to Subscriber Segments

People today are inundated with information. Email messages need to be personalized and relevant to the needs and interests of the individual. Using data tracking and retargeting technology, marketers can adjust the messages according to the histories and interests of the target groups. Using post-delivery insights, marketers can update the message based on new information. The ability to make emails more dynamic gives brands a chance to deliver a more relevant experience.

Ensure Content is Robust and Compelling

Content is vitally important in today’s world of email marketing. Stay abreast of trends and technology; be prepared to engage the reader and compel them to take the next step in the sales funnel.

Understanding consumer expectations and new email trends, as well as exploring ways to meet those expectations and play to those trends will garner an increasing ROI on their email campaigns and will breathe new life into customer relationships.

Many insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers outsource their email marketing campaign management to a competent marketing firm. Outsourcing is a cost effective option because it eliminates the need to hire, train, supervise and compensate a digital marketing team. Contact StartUpSelling today to learn more about effective email marketing strategies for insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers.

Originally posted by John Scranton on July 7, 2015

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1By now, astute insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers understand the value and importance of content marketing. Content marketing refers to creating and distributing relevant content using online frameworks such as websites, social networks, blogs, white papers, videos, e-zines, e-newsletters, etc. Many agencies struggle with the workload issues, motivation and inspiration needed to keep up with a long-term content strategy.

Here are some strategies that may help you plan and stay on top of your content marketing goals:

  1. Take time to curate content to explore new, interesting ideas. Use content curation tools like Feedly, Pocket or Evernote to help you discover, track and easily locate articles, videos and other relevant content your clients will appreciate.
  2. Use social media sharing tools like Buffer, PostPlanner, Hootsuite or SendSocialMedia that allow you to find and post to your social platforms directly from your internet browser, saving time and effort.
  3. Organize a team to help. The process of implementing content strategy is fraught with many nuances and challenges and requires an understanding of content creation and an established pattern of interaction between all members of the team. A strong content development team should include a content strategist, developer, copywriter, designer, SEO expert and other company representatives as needed.
  4. Assign the primary responsibility for content to a single project manager who will assign duties, provide oversight, ensure quality control standards are met and deadlines are met.
  5. Develop a content strategy that includes: target audience demographics and buyer persona, a primary message, secondary or tertiary messages, a compelling offer or “hook”, calls to action,  multiple types of delivery methods (i.e. blogs, social network posts, graphics, videos, webinars, articles, white papers, resource guides, etc.).
  6. Set regular meeting times to review issues as well as progress.
  7. Evaluate the results of your content strategy and refine future planning as needed.

Many insurance agencies, brokers or wholesalers outsource content creation to a competent marketing  firm. Outsourcing is a cost effective option because it eliminates the need to hire, train, supervise and compensate a digital marketing team. Contact StartUpSelling today to learn more about effective content marketing strategies for insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on June 26, 2015

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