Keeping Your Head Above Water with Insurance Marketing & Lead Gen?

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October 21st, 2021

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Agency owners, principals and marketers often feel like they are barely keeping their heads above the water when it comes to insurance agency marketing and lead gen initiatives. Ongoing initiatives are crucial to future growth, yet with the many challenges that accompany running a successful agency or brokerage, many ambitious marketing and lead generation initiatives sink to the bottom of the priority list. Agencies and brokers should incorporate the following ongoing initiatives to ensure future growth:

  • Email Marketing
  • Website Optimized for Engagement & Lead Capture
  • B2B Appointment Setting
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Insurance Agency SEO
  • Value Proposition & Explainer Videos
  • Content Library

If your agency is looking to improve your insurance lead generation and marketing programs, reach out to the insurance marketing team for a complimentary consultation.

YouTube Videos for Insurance Agency Marketing & Lead Gen

Posted on

October 7th, 2021

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Insurance Agency VideosInsurance agency marketers spend a lot of time discussing insurance SEO (insurance search engine optimization) and Google rankings. However, they often miss an outstanding opportunity available directly with YouTube. Consider these ten compelling YouTube statistics:

  1. The 2nd most visited website in the world with 23 billion visits a month
  2. It is the second largest search engine after Google
  3. Used by 1.3 billion people globally
  4. There are 2 billion monthly active users
  5. 5 billion videos are watched every day
  6. 1 billion videos a day are watched on mobile devices
  7. Male users outnumber female users by a 2 to 1 margin
  8. Users average about 40 minutes per day on YouTube
  9. Approximately 79% of all internet users own a YouTube account
  10. The largest market for YouTube is the US (15%)

Okay, so YouTube is clearly a major player when it comes to traffic and stickiness. But how does that translate into opportunity for businesses in general and insurance agencies and brokers specifically? Videos offer agencies, brokers, TPAs and wholesalers an opportunity to:

  • Showcase expertise
  • Create sticky content
  • Educate your prospects and clients
  • Engage prospects for 5, 10 or more minutes
  • Leverage content across multiple channels
  • Improve website performance
  • Generate in-profile leads

YouTube videos can pay dividends for years, and as your videos garner increasing views, your videos rise to the top of the rankings. Let’s use a few examples from the StartUpSelling YouTube video channel. As you can see in the image, some of our older videos are approaching 20,000 views, and continue to attract viewers even though they are five to ten years old! Videos can have a long shelf life if done correctly, assuming the topic remains relevant. Thus, topics should be selected with shelf life in mind, though trending topics can attract more views short term. Agencies and brokers can create videos on a wide variety of topics, a few general examples are below:

  • Experience Modification Factors Impact on Rates
  • Five Hidden Business Risks Which are Not in Standard Policies
  • Best Practices for Remote Employee Enrollment
  • 5 Creative Ways to Increase Benefits without Increasing Costs
  • Leveraging Safety Programs to Reduce Insurance Premiums

What type of videos should agency marketers create? There are many styles to choose from, here are some of the primary types of videos insurance marketers can use:

  • Image Based Video
  • A-Roll Video
  • B-Roll Video
  • Typography Video
  • 2D and 3D Animation
  • Whiteboard Animation
  • Recorded Webinars
  • Voice Over PowerPoint
  • Talking Head Videos

SUS Video Samples

Our two most watched videos are a 26-minute Recorded Webinar, and a two-minute Voice Over PowerPoint, each with almost 20 thousand views. Content is king, regardless of length, though shorter videos are often recommended.

YouTube for Insurance Agency Marketing

So, what’s stopping your agency from leveraging this powerful medium and platform? Agencies lacking the time or resources necessary for this initiative, can reach out to the insurance agency experts at StartUpSelling.

Restricting Access & User Roles to Improve Insurance Website Security

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September 22nd, 2021

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Insurance Cyber SecurityWordPress is the most popular and pervasive website content management platform on the market, with market share estimated by some to be over 60%. Website owners (or those responsible to maintain their Insurance WordPress sites) can and should manage user access to tasks such as writing and editing, page creation. Category creation, comment moderation, plugin and theme management, user management, by assigning specific roles to all users.

WordPress Predefined Roles:

  1. Super Admin
  2. Administrator
  3. Editor
  4. Author
  5. Contributor
  6. Subscriber

Role Definitions

  • Super Admin: Allows access to all sitewide administration and features. This role should be severely limited, as it is the most powerful, and allows the user to make major site modifications.
  • Administrator: Not as powerful as Super Admin, but still has access to all administration features within a single website.
  • Editor: Allows users to publish and manage posts, including other users’ posts.
  • Author: Allows the user to publish and manage their own posts.
  • Contributor: Allows the author to write and manage their own posts but does not allow them to publish the content.
  • Subscriber: Read only access, allowing the user to review content and manage their profile.

Leveraging the power of user access helps ensure a more secure WordPress website. Let’s begin by discussing roles and tasks. Each assigned user role allows for a set of tasks to be performed which are called capabilities. There are many capabilities, a few examples include publishing posts, moderating comments, and editing users. Default capabilities are preassigned to each role, but other capabilities can be assigned or removed, allowing for custom user role creation. Greater control and refinements of user roles will improve overall website security and limit the user errors that can cause security breaches.

Website owners can also harden their WordPress sites using Permission Modes. For example, permissions can specify who and what can read, write, modify, and access directories and files. This is important as WordPress may need access to write to files in your wp-content directory for the site to function properly.

FTP access is another area to address to improve website security. For example, if you need a third-party contractor to modify your site or customize a plugin, they may require FTP access. But you do not have to grant them full access to the root directory of your website. Limit access to the specific area they are working on, such as the theme’s directory. Provide support logs if needed instead of granting FTP access to the logs on your site. And make sure the FTP access and password are time limited, expiring in a week or two (as short a duration as possible).

Following these WordPress best practices will help ensure a more secure insurance agency website, employing greater user role restrictions, and limiting website access. For more information on how to prevent cyberattacks and breaches, check out this cyberattack blog post or contact the StartUpSelling Technical Support team.

Securing Your Insurance Agency Website From Cyber Attack

Posted on

September 15th, 2021

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Insurance Agency Cyber Security - Insurance Websites

Cyberattacks are on the rise, so it’s no surprise that cyber insurance continues to be one of the fastest growing areas in the insurance industry. For insurance agencies, there are two sides to this coin, opportunity for cyber insurance related growth, and the potential for a malicious cyberattack against their own agency website. Consider some of these cyber stats:

  • Data breaches exposed 36 billion records in the first half of 2020.
  • 45% of breaches featured hacking, 17% were malware related and 22% involved phishing.
  • 88% of organizations worldwide experienced phishing attempts (2019).
  • Between 2005 and 2020, there have been over 11,000 recorded breaches.
  • The top malicious email attachment types are .doc and .dot (37%), the next is .exe (19.5%).

How can you make your insurance agency website more secure and limit your exposure to a cyberattack or breach?

The Basics

  • Install SSL. This is a mandatory step for all websites!
  • Update your software frequently. This includes your operating environment, coding, theme, plugins, etc.
  • Use complex passwords. All passwords for all user access to your website should be complex. It’s often best to use the computer-generated passwords provided by your system.
  • Educate your users. Take the time to ensure all employees and contractors understand cyber security best practices including preventing phishing emails and other hacking emails.
  • Use anti-malware solutions. Invest in anti-malware solutions for ongoing scans to and prevent malicious attacks.

Advanced

  • Harden your server. Server hardening is a set of techniques used to improve the security of your server. For example, you should manage server access, minimize the external footprint (including hiding key files from public view), patch vulnerabilities, restrict admin access and minimized user access permissions.
  • Use parameter queries to mitigate SQL injection attacks.
  • Multifactor authentication should be used for login security. MFA is an excellent addition to your security protocol, and authenticator apps like LastPass, Microsoft Authenticator, and Google Authenticator are easy to use. They reside on your smartphone and allow you to enter a 6-digit code to validate secure login.
  • Add a firewall. Most hosting environments offer a firewall option, and you should take advantage of this. For example, GoDaddy offers an optional Securi firewall to help prevent hacking attempts. These are an inexpensive addition and should be a standard. Note that you will need to change your DNS A record when adding a firewall.
  • Protect against XSS attacks. Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks can inject malicious JavaScript into your insurance agency web pages, which can change browser page content, or potentially steal information. The best defense is to limit how and what JavaScript is executed in the page. For example, your website can disallow the running of any non-hosted scripts (disallow inline JavaScript).
  • Manually accept on-site comments. Don’t allow comments to automatically post, this cuts down on spam and script attacks.
  • Use captchas. Every form should have a captcha, and in the event of cookie compliance captcha issues, create a mandatory field which requires the user to decide something. For example, 5+4=___).
  • Encrypt data. If you’re capturing information of any kind, or as a general safeguard, encrypt your data while at rest.

Preventing cyber security breaches is important to both agency principals and clients. Make sure your insurance agency website is protected! Contact the insurance website experts at StartUpSelling to improve your website branding, lead capture and security!

* Internet statistic sources include Verizon, Gartner, Varonis, Symantec

 

Insurance Agency Email Marketing & Preview Text

Posted on

August 13th, 2021

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insurance email marketingInsurance agency owners, principals and marketers should be taking advantage of preview text for all of their email campaigns. If you are unfamiliar with preview text and its role with insurance email marketing campaigns, read on:

What is preview text?

Preview text is the text snippet below (or next to) an email subject line in the email client inbox. It gives additional detail into the subject matter of the email, and improves the look and feel of the delivered email, which translates into the overall professionalism of the message and campaign. Preview text prevents garbled or unrecognizable text under your email subject line (see image).

Who uses preview text?

All major email clients now support preview text, including Outlook, Gmail and Apple Mail. Gmail refers to this as Snippets, Apple Mail calls it a preview, and in Outlook it’s a Message Preview.

What happens when you don’t use preview text correctly?

Incorrect Preview Text

In the image above, the preview text is pulling the image name as opposed to information that would be helpful to the reader, thus impacting campaign professionalism and expertise. Graphically rich emails, or emails that begin with an image often cause problems with preview text.

 Proper Preview Text

In the image above, the preview text is pulling customized and appropriate content pertaining to the message. Insurance agency marketers should review each message, especially with graphically rich emails, to ensure their preview text is correct. Bottom line, make sure all your email campaigns are using preview text properly. It’s best to customize the preview text to compliment the subject line, as opposed to repeating the subject line.

Looking to take your insurance marketing to the next level? Contact the insurance agency marketing team at StartUpSelling for your complimentary insurance marketing & lead gen review.

A Winning Insurance Lead Gen Strategy Should Include Educational Webinars 

Posted on

July 29th, 2021

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Insurance Agency Webinars

Insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers which have incorporated insurance webinars into their marketing initiatives often see impressive results, with registration increasing over time to hundreds and a 60% or greater attendance rate which can be achieved with educational content and timely topics. Insurance webinars are effective for essentially any agency, broker or wholesaler, but are most effective when targeting niche markets such as transportation, construction, and benefits. 

 

Webinars help showcase expertise, demonstrate thought leadership and elevate the conversation from insurance sales to partner and consultant. Where can agents and brokers find topics and speakers? Agencies and brokers can use internal experts, external partners, carrier partners, consultants, CPA’s tax advisors and industry consultants to create a well-respected and well attended webinar series.

 

The marketing catalyst for successfully implements insurance webinar series often rests upon email marketing and social media marketing initiatives. Both can prove highly effective in driving registrants to an insurance webinar series. Agents and brokers must ensure they are adhering to CAN-SPAM and opt-in email marketing best practices. Email marketing initiatives are only as good as the underlying email marketing list. Agents and brokers who do not have a comprehensive prospect and client email list should work on building one immediately, and if they are unsure how to accomplish this, should seek qualified outsourced guidance on this important topic. A high-quality target list is not only the foundation for successful insurance digital marketing, but also an important and valuable digital asset for every agency and broker! 

 

Social media marketing is often an untapped resource for agencies, brokers and wholesalers, as it is now common for 50% of registrants to be gleaned from LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, assuming agents and brokers have a viable insurance social media marketing program in place. LinkedIn remains the most important social media platform for B2B centric insurance agencies and brokers, while Facebook is often the go to platform for personal insurance campaigns. That said, with there are many good tools available to post simultaneously to all major social media platforms. For example, let’s say a broker wanted to announce a new “ACA and Compliance Update Webinar”. This message could easily be posted simultaneously to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and the posts, efficacy and interactions could be easily tracked.

 

Webinars combined with professional email marketing and social media marketing campaigns can provide an impressive educational foundation for agents and brokers seeking to differentiate themselves from the pack. Web seminars can target prospects, clients or both, to help agencies, brokers and wholesalers establish and maintain their “digital” relationship. These live webinars can then be recorded, and used as video fulfillment on both their insurance website and YouTube to extend the reach, and help grow the business.

 

Agencies, brokers and wholesalers which lack the marketing staff or expertise to accomplish effective email marketing can contact StartUpSelling for assistance at 888-304-3638.

Webinar: Insurance Lead Gen for Your Work at Home Prospects

Posted on

June 11th, 2021

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Check out this 8 Minute Power Webinar about Insurance Lead Gen for Your Work at Home Prospects!

Many of your best prospects are working from home and may do so indefinitely. Learn how your agency can reach your virtual prospects in this concise new webinar recording:

Insurance Agency Lead Gen for Remote Workforce Prospects - Splash Image

Click here to view the webinar.

  • What new lead gen approaches have you adopted to reach these prospects and close more business?
  • Do you have an effective and integrated online strategy to fill the sales funnel with these virtual prospects?

Watch our executive webinar which includes these topics:

4 Fastest Methods to Drive Insurance Agency Leads

Posted on

October 1st, 2020

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sell-more-work-less - insurance email marketingMarketing encompasses a wide variety of methods and tools to increase exposure and carry your insurance agency message to clients and prospects. But which of these are the fastest and most effective to drive leads into your agency pipeline? There is a long list of marketing initiatives to consider, here are just a few, noting that there is overlap in some of these categories:

  • Appointment Setting
  • Blogging
  • Brand Awareness
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Event Marketing (on-site)
  • Organic Social Media Marketing
  • Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEO)
  • Snail Mail Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing (Sponsored Posts)
  • Video Marketing
  • Virtual Event Marketing
  • Webinar Marketing

However, when the goal is to rapidly fill the pipeline with B2B leads, the list quickly narrows to the top 4:

  1. Appointment Setting
  2. Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
  3. Social Media Marketing (Sponsored Posts)
  4. Email Marketing

There are nuances to this lead generation list. For example, Appointment Setting works best for niche insurance markets such as transportation or contractors. Pay Per Click Advertising and Social Media Sponsored Posts offer a fast path to leads, requiring only a compelling offer and/or quality digital content for fulfilment. Email marketing offers broad appeal and a long shelf life. Quality content, including webinars is essential for Email Marketing, though list building can be an obstacle for some agencies.

Bottom line, when looking for a vehicle to drive leads into your insurance agency pipeline, look for the fastest path to bring your message to your target prospects. If your agency lacks the time, tools or personnel to accomplish this, reach our to the insurance marketing team at StartUpSelling for a complimentary marketing consultation.

4 Methods to Help Producers Prospect While Working Remotely

Posted on

July 31st, 2020

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Insurance Agency MarketingHow can your agency help producers prospect more effectively and continue to fill their pipelines in the current work from home environment? Here are the top four methods to drive leads into Producer pipelines:

  1. PPC (LinkedIn Pay Per Click Sponsored Content Ads)
  2. Email Marketing
  3. Social Media Marketing
  4. Appointment Setting (for trucking and other niche markets)

If your agency needs assistance with any of these lead generation initiatives, contact the insurance marketing experts at StartUpSelling.

Insurance Agency Marketing Checklist in a COVID-19 Climate

Posted on

July 3rd, 2020

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Insurance Agency MarketingThe novel coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the way most agencies do business. Insurance agency sales and marketing was once reliant on face to face interaction, referral sales, and networking. Though changes to these traditional insurance agency sales and marketing methods were already in process, COVID-19 accelerated them in an instant.

The days of focusing on in person networking, referrals, trade shows and on-site seminars have come to an abrupt halt. Meanwhile, agency executives and producers seeking to carry their unique value proposition to targeted commercial insurance and group benefits prospects, need an improved marketing and lead generation strategy to increase their suspect and prospect pools and grow their pipelines.

The list of possible marketing and lead generation initiatives is extensive and can be daunting for many agencies and brokers regardless of type, size, or geography. Some agencies may attempt to staff up to accommodate theses skills, but the skillsets required are varied and often specialized, and may include the following:

  • Appointment Setter
  • Blogger, Vlogger
  • Content Writer/Editor
  • Email Marketing Manager
  • Graphic Artist
  • Marketing Generalist
  • Marketing Strategist
  • SEO Specialist
  • Social Media Marketer
  • Telemarketer (Appointment Setter)
  • Video Production Specialist
  • Voice Over Specialist
  • Web Analytics Manager
  • Website Programmer

Some of these skills may be combined into one marketing position (writer, editor, blogger for example), while others require highly specific skills, for example video creation or search engine optimization.

Here is an updated insurance agency marketing and lead generation checklist which includes many of the key initiatives insurance agencies should leverage. How many of these insurance marketing initiatives can your agency check off?

  • Blogging & Vlogging
  • Branding
  • Client Case Studies
  • Client Testimonials
  • Contact List Generation & Email List Generation
  • Create Buyer Personas
  • Create Prospect Scorecards
  • eBrochures
  • Email Marketing
  • ePublishing and LinkedIn Publishing
  • Insurance Agency Marketing Plan
  • News Releases
  • Newsletter Creation & Distribution
  • PPC Ads and Post Boosts
  • Search Engine Marketing – SEO
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Telemarketing & Lead Handling
  • Updated Insurance Agency Website
  • Video Creation
  • Web Seminar Marketing
  • Website Updates & Content
  • Website Analytics Reporting and Analysis

There are other marketing initiatives which can be used including snail mail marketing (not recommended for B2B insurance agency marketing), traditional seminars (currently on COVID-19 hold), sponsorships, traditional advertisements, etc. Though some of these more traditional marketing initiatives can be considered, a focus on digital and repeatable is your best mantra, especially in this coronavirus climate. Producers, agency executives and owners all seek to grow their book of business. Marketing is time and budget driven, and if done correctly, your agency marketing should provide a compelling ROI to cost justify your investment. Can all the above activities be accomplished a few days or a few weeks? That’s not likely to happen. But over the course of a year or less, most if not all of these can be achieved.

Looking for additional information about insurance agency marketing and insurance agency lead generation? Visit us at: https://startupselling.com/.