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:

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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1Video is a highly effective marketing tool because videos quickly convey your message and deliver results almost immediately. Videos receive 100% more engagement than other types of posts on Facebook. Videos on websites are more likely to convert visitors to buyers.

Even though many insurance brokers, wholesalers and agents know the value of video marketing, creating a video can be challenging. Here’s how to get started:

Start with a PLAN.

Creating a plan ensures that you and your team will be on the same page and minimizes editing time. Here are the elements to include in your plan:

  1. What is the purpose of the video?
  2. Narrowed down topic. The more specific the better. What do you want prospects to learn from watching your video?
  3. Call-to-action. What action do you want the viewer to take after viewing the video?

Having a plan in place will help facilitate a smooth and efficient production process.

Write your SCRIPT.

Writing a script is an art form in itself. A script is a written format of the words that will be spoken during the video. Try to write the script in a conversational tone that will sound natural when spoken. Avoid complex jargon or buzz words that will sound out of place or cloud up your message. Try to write the script so clearly and with enough detail that any novice reader would understand the message.

Check back soon for part two…

Originally posted by John Scranton on July 13, 2015

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Complimentary Insurance Agency Video Library

  • Posted on September 5, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Agency Video - Insurance Web MarketingCheck out this complimentary Insurance Marketing & Lead Gen Video Library which is accessible for all insurance agencies and brokers. These videos and on demand webinars help agencies and brokers improve their marketing, extend their branding and generate more leads. The StartUpSelling library offers well over a hundred comprehensive insurance agency marketing videos including:

  • Marketing Automation & Lead Generation
  • Email Drip Campaigns For Insurance Agency Leads
  • Changing The Rules For Insurance Agency Search Engine Optimization
  • Filling The Pipeline With Truck Insurance Agency Leads

The library is available on the StartUpSelling Website or YouTube, and covers insurance marketing topics like:

  • Using video to improve insurance web marketing results
  • Creative lead generation and appointment setting strategies
  • Engaging prospects and clients using educational content
  • Leveraging webinars to improve insurance email marketing results

There are no fees to download or access this video library.

If your insurance lead generation or web marketing initiatives are in need of refinement, contact the insurance marketing experts to learn more.

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Insurance Web MarketingOne of the most common questions insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers pose is “why do I need to invest in my online presence?” This is an excellent question that needs to be addressed.

Corporations prefer companies with a strong online presence.

First and foremost, today’s buyers expect to be able to visit an insurer’s website. A study by J.D.Power found that 52% of insurance shoppers start their shopping process online, and 73% visit at least one insurer’s website at some point during their shopping experience.” Potential customers will compare your website, social networks, testimonials and reviews, and other elements of your online presence with your competitors and usually choose the company they “like” the best.

Businesses are buying more online.

As much as consumers are buying online, businesses are buying more. Forrester Research Inc. predicts that B2B sales next year will likely more than double. The online presence of your agency builds your search engine findability and boosts your business in Google ranking.

Gives your business a competitive edge.

You have competition online. If your direct competitors don’t have a strong online presence yet, they will. Establishing – and enhancing – your online presence gives your business the competitive edge it needs.

Increases brand awareness and recognition

As the insurance industry becomes more competitive, one of the biggest challenges agencies face is how to build their brand.  The internet is available 24/7. This means that potential customers have the opportunity to become aware of your business at anytime, day or night. Having an online presence is like having billboards up all around town. Your online presence is an advertisement of your brand that never sleeps!

Increases trust and credibility

Companies are nervous about buying from insurance agencies they don’t know, especially businesses that seem “spammy” or lack integrity. Your online presence can help to dispel these fears if done right. Your website needs to be high quality; your content needs to be professional (and be spelled correctly, grammatically correct and easy to comprehend.) Your images and graphics need to be attractive and have a high resolution. You need to answer your prospective customer’s questions in a way that shows you understand their needs and point-of-view. Your agency needs to show consistency to demonstrate trustworthiness and reliability; customer reviews and testimonials will go a long way to establishing trust and influence the decision making process.

Learn about your customer

Successful agencies, brokers and wholesalers know that they need to establish and build relationships with their customers. Your online presence helps you do this through content and through listening tools. Being able to listen to the needs and wants of the companies that buy from you helps fine tune your offers and expand your business offerings in ways that will be attractive.

Measure your effectiveness to increase your ROI

The effectiveness of your online presence can easily be tracked and analyzed, giving you important data that can help you make improvements. Measuring the performance of your business gives you valuable information that will put you ahead of your competition.

While having a strategic online presence that is research-based and relentlessly executed does require an ongoing investment, an internet presence that is done right can have a major positive impact on the future. Regardless of your business type or size, don’t let the low-hanging opportunity of building equity in your online presence slip through your fingers.

Originally Posted September 2016 by John Scranton

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5 Insurance Agency Web Marketing Best Practices

  • Posted on August 7, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency Marketing - Insurance Agency LeadsWrite a Blog – Your marketing team should post weekly (if not daily) blogs that will be of interest to your target audience. Offer solutions to problems, complimentary advice and deliver value.  A great example would be a web marketing company sharing web marketing best practices.

Record a Video – YouTube has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity, however many business continue to lag in the video space. Record the seminars and webinars that you are already presenting.  Record vlogs at your desk during downtime.

Share Everything – Posting a blog to your website is good, sharing it with LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers is better.  Posting a video to your website is good, posting it to YouTube is better.  Make sure you capitalize on your efforts by proliferating your content across the web.

Measure Analytics – What works? What doesn’t?  You will never know unless you are monitoring and measuring your traffic and analytics.  At a minimum, Google Analytics and StartUpSelling Visitor ID should be installed on your website.  This combination of tools will show you the who, what, when, where and why of website traffic and conversions.

Do Not Sell – Insurance Agency Web Marketing success is completely contingent on your ability to deliver value without selling your product.

Originally Posted on November 2, 2012 by John Scranton

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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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1Social media is here to stay.  As a matter of fact, social media will continue to be integrated into our lives, just like the internet itself.  Social media will change and evolve as technology improves and people begin to truly comprehend its power.

Keeping up with social media on multiple platforms can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Social media is a noisy place. It takes continuous effort to stay on top of it. Listening and monitoring are two secrets to social media success.

4 Ways to Manage your Social Media

  1. Make a Plan Base your plan on your business goals. Use goals that are results-based like “We will increase our sales by 30% monthly.” These types of goals reflect your bottomline. It is fine to set social media goals like “We will achieve 500 followers within the next 6 months” but those types of metrics are indirect. Be sure to set direct ROI related goals as well.Your plan should clearly define your goals, strategies, tactics and measurements.
  1. Set Up Dashboards Dashboards provide information at a glance by aggregating information in one place. They save time and energy and help prevent information overload. So, what are the dashboards that you need? You need dashboards for RSS and social networks because they present different types of information. Feedly is one way to manage RSS feeds.How do you get started? When you subscribe to sites, information gets sent directly to you. One great monitoring tool for brand mentions and competitors is Giga Alerts. Use folders and headline view to make it easier. Read what you can and star the rest! Set a timer on yourself.

    For social network management and analytics, a SocialReport dashboard is recommended. Link all of your social networks together. Use Tabs and stay organized. Set up Searches, #’s, and lists. Use the scheduling post feature just make sure to change content/verbiage depending on platform. It should not be used for total replacement – the point of social media is being social after all!

Originally Posted May 6, 2015 by John Scranton

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