New Year – New Agency Marketing & Lead Gen Ideas

  • Posted on December 8, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

Many insurance agency owners, executives and producers will be thinking about how to best grow their agency revenues in 2018.  Looking for new lead gen ideas and marketing best practices? Look no further than StartUpSelling’s Insurance Agency Marketing & Lead Gen Resource Library. This resource library is open to all insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers interested in improving their web marketing initiatives, generating more leads and extending their brand recognition. The library offers comprehensive articles, blogs, on-demand webinars, YouTube videos, LinkedIn marketing groups, and Twitter feeds. There are no fees to download or access this information.

Agencies can also contact us for a personalized insurance agency marketing and lead generation review. Click here or call us for further details.

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Posted in: Insurance Agency eMarketing, Insurance Agency Leads, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency SEO, Insurance Agency Telemarketing, Insurance Agency Websites, insurance social media marketing
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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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Posted in: Insurance Agency eMarketing, Insurance Agency Leads, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Telemarketing, Insurance Agency Web Marketing, insurance email marketing
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From time to time StartUpSelling publishes our recent trucking insurance agency lead metrics. Here are the results of ongoing projects for three different power unit profiles. Each lead is exclusive to that specific trucking insurance agency.

These are typical results for any agency which works with us on trucking lead generation. With even a modest close ratio, these opportunities would result in significant agency revenue growth. Agencies can and should start building a robust trucking pipeline today, to ensure great results in 2018.

Contact us at (518) 222-6392 for a 15 minute trucking lead gen discussion – and learn how and why other agencies are succeeding with this proven lead generation solution.

  • 1 to 5 Power Units   – 28.5 New Appointments/month
  • 5 to 25 Power Units – 17.2 New Appointments/month
  • 5 to 50 Power Units – 13.3 New Appointments/month
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Posted in: Insurance Agency Leads, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Telemarketing
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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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Posted in: Insurance Agency Web Marketing, Insurance Agency Websites, insurance web marketing
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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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Posted in: Insurance Agency Leads, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Content Marketing, insurance email marketing, Insurance Video, insurance web marketing
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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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Posted in: B2B Sales & Marketing, Insurance Agency Leads, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Web Marketing, Insurance Agency Websites, insurance web marketing
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ItAmazon Buys Whole Foods was less than three weeks ago when I wrote, Etail Goes Retail – Amazon’s Opens NYC Bookstore. In that blog I discussed Amazon’s foray into retail bookstores, an interesting brick and mortar venture for a company that is a notorious retail killer. But that announcement pales in comparison to the explosive news on Friday, that Amazon agreed to buy the Whole Foods grocery chain for $13 billion!

Opinions were rampant on the potential reasons and impact of this paradigm shift. Stocks of traditional grocery chains and pharmacies suffered heavy losses during the day, as investors may have feared increased competition and concerns about market disruption. Amazon is now a behemoth with $136 billion in revenues in 2016, dramatically increasing from $10 billion in 2006. During this ramp up, Amazon has left their imprint on everything from shipping, to books, to electronics and online video.

Can Amazon reshape and rebuild retail? They will need to change the perception of Whole Foods, a chain many think offers choices that are too limited at price points that are too high. One thing is certain, it will be interesting to compare and contrast the Whole Foods of today, with Whole Foods a year from now.

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Posted in: B2B Sales & Marketing, Customer Service, Insurance Agency Marketing
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Long Tail Keywords & Insurance Agency Leads

  • Posted on June 7, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Search Engine Optimization and Insurance SEOHave you heard the famous saying that about the tail wagging the dog? When it comes to long tail keywords, it can often be beneficial for the long tail phrase to wag the dog. Long tail keywords are often a three to five (or more) word search phrase, some of which may only be searched five or ten times a month. These phrases are often very specific, but when a user types in the phrase, they can be an ideal prospect for your insurance agency services, and you want to make sure their search engine results page (SERP), lists your agency at the top. Let’s take a look at some examples of insurance long tail keyword phrases:

  • Arizona Garage Keeper Insurance
  • New York Owner Operator Insurance
  • California Professional Liability Insurance
  • Best Florida Business Insurance Rates
  • Florida Coastal Condominium Insurance

The more keywords included in a phrase and the more specific the term, the narrower the results, and the less frequently that term is searched. And of course, the shorter the phrase, the broader the results, and the greater the competition for the phrase.  An example of a broad phrase might be “Trucking Insurance”. When targeting long tail keywords, quantity is important. Your agency should target 100 or more long tails, along with more competitive phrases, for a comprehensive approach to your insurance agency search engine optimization efforts.

On page insurance search engine optimization (insurance SEO), includes both content and Meta data. This is the text, images and video that appears on your page, and the Meta such as Page Description, Alt Tags and Header Tags and blog content. Effective insurance search engine optimization also includes off page optimization such as news releases, social media posts, bookmarking, and videos to mention a few. Effective long tail optimization will result in improved insurance website traffic and increased insurance agency leads.

With the increasing number of mobile searches, your agency should add questions to your long tail efforts. Some examples include:

  • Where do I buy Arizona Garage Keeper Insurance?
  • What are the best New York Owner Operator Insurance agencies?
  • What are the lowest California Professional Liability Insurance rates?
  • Where do I find the best Florida Business Insurance Rates?
  • Where can I get the lowest Florida Coastal Condominium Insurance prices?

Though organic insurance search engine optimization and social media marketing are an important aspect of insurance agency marketing, agencies seeking to rapidly build their pipeline often find that insurance agency email marketing and targeted appointment setting calls can represent a faster path to lead generation.

For more information on insurance web marketing and lead generation, go to: startupselling.com

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Posted in: insurance agency email marketing, Insurance Agency eMarketing, Insurance Agency Leads, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency SEO, Insurance Agency Websites, Insurance Content Marketing, Insurance Search Engine Marketing
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Etail Goes Retail – Amazon’s Opens NYC Bookstore

  • Posted on May 31, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

What’sAmazon Etail Goes Retail up with this, Amazon the king of Etail is opening retail bookstores? This sounds like an April fools story rather than a new strategic initiative. But as it happens, the latter is true as Amazon opened the first of three New York City retail book stores in May.

It was reported that the first Amazon store occupies 4,000 square feet, carries 3,000 book titles, and is located at Columbus Circle. It also carries Amazon tech products like the Echo and Kindle, and faces all books outward for easy viewing of the covers. Signs underneath the books note the Amazon online star rating (only 4 stars and up are selected for the store) and the total number of reviews for each book. Amazon Prime members pay a preferred rate, while non-members pay a higher rate.

To add a further touch of irony to the story, the store is located in a mall that once included a Borders bookstore. Will this be a trend for the giant Etailer, identifying retail opportunities once the retail competition has been decimated by their more efficient Etail model?

Amazon likely envisions a new type of retail opportunity, because the traditional retail book business has hardly been robust. According to The Street, Barnes and Noble continued to see declines in their 2017 comparable store sales, expecting a drop of approximately 7% for the year. Then again, Amazon’s new books store is not the same animal as Barnes and Noble, taking a page from the Apple Store concept with their own Amazonian twist. With malls trying to reinvent themselves, as more and more retailers shut their doors, a national chain of Amazon retail book stores would be a warmly welcomed surprise.

Looking for assistance with your marketing and lead generation – contact the experts at StartUpSelling for a complimentary marketing and lead gen review.

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Posted in: business, emerging business, Virtual Business
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Poor Customer ServiceLast night around 8pm, I called Netflix because an error message was displaying on my TV. I got a recording, which said my wait time would be less than two minutes. I’d estimate a customer service agent answered within a minute, completely fluent in English (likely US based), and not from an offshore call center. They solved my issue quickly and cheerfully. It was the second time I called Netflix over the past year. The prior instance provided the same result, fast, friendly, even cheerful service. I spend about $100 bucks a year for Netflix, so at that price, one would think almost any company could offer great service like this.

Two days ago, I was buying TVG train tickets to go from Paris to Avignon. I went online to the SNCF website (French National Railway Corporation website). I was having an issue processing my credit card, so I called them. They answered immediately, the customer service agent spoke English (quite well), and was very polite and helpful. However, he informed me that since I was from the US, I had to pay through their partner, Rail Europe.

When I went to the Rail Europe site, I found the ticket prices were significantly higher, so I called their support line. The estimated wait time was, 45 minutes! They did offer a call back service, but I would still have to wait 45 minutes. The tickets would run about $600. After reviewing online comments, complaining that Rail Europe charges extra fees, and there is nothing that can be done about that (sounds like Ticketmaster doesn’t it), I purchased the tickets.

Then we come to United Airlines customer service specifically, and the airlines in general. Another day, and another video surfaces. This one was about a United customer getting charged $300 to check a bag, and then having their reservation cancelled because they were video recording the discussion. The customer service agent seemed really cranky, the baggage fee seemed excessively high, and United seems to have a massive customer service issue. But for that matter, so does American, Spirit and many other airlines. Last winter, we pulled a delay due to an engine issue on an American flight, and missed our connecting flight. The next flight we could take was 6 hours later. American did nothing for us, and the customer service agent we conversed with seemed to care little about our delay or predicament. That said, I recently flew Alaska Air and Jet Blue, and thought their customer service was fairly good. I try to fly these two airlines whenever possible, as I’ve have mainly good experiences with them.

It seems that customer service has little to do with the price tag, and much to do with the company culture. There are plenty of companies that provide great customer service, and too many that don’t. It starts from the top down, and as consumers, we should do everything possible to reward those companies with great service, and avoid those who with a poor service record. Unfortunately, with companies like Rail Europe, and the airlines, sometimes there is no choice but to voice our frustration.

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Posted in: business, Customer Service
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