I review many insurance agency websites every day. On occasion, I see an up to date website leveraging Web 2.0 best practices, populated with high value dynamic content, optimized for insurance agency SEO, and utilizing social media icons with a clear and well placed call to action. These websites are easy to identify and the result of time and energy expended by the agency to ensure clients, partners and prospects realize a compelling and professional website experience. However, far more often I see sites in need of attention, some are simply out of date while others are template sites which utilize the same or similar content across many agency websites.
In years past, many clients, partners and prospects may have opted to visit agents at their actual location. Today, far more people visit an insurance agency website than will ever walk through the agency door. This is as true for Personal Lines as it is for Commercial Lines. We’ve all heard the credo that “cash is king” when it comes to business. But when it comes to websites, “content is king”, which should really be quotes as “unique content is king”, and it is imperative that your website has original content and your own unique look and feel. Your website should convey your unique value proposition, your agency theme and the special attributes of your products, services and solutions.
The Top 10 website elements that your agency should review when designing your website:
- Header, logo and value proposition
- Navigation (keep it simple)
- Page title, meta description, keywords (on page SEO)
- Unique design
- Graphic versus content balance
- Color and theme
- Content including text, graphics, video, blog
- Download speed
- Quality inbound links, no-follow outbound links
- Call to Action!
The Top 10 Watch Out tips include:
- Beware of templates that make your agency site look the same as other agencies
- Out of date content
- Out of date images and photographs
- Comingling of Personal Lines and Commercial Lines
- Vague or non-existent Call To Actions on each page
- Too many Calls To Action on a given web page
- Browser incompatibility
- Large graphics or Flash video with limited content
- Broken links
- Using utilities and features that make your site look the same as other sites
Now that you have a target list for your insurance agency website, what is your unique value proposition and how do you convey this to web visitors? Let’s say that you are a trucking agency. Do you offer special group health insurance programs, guaranteed major medical for owner operators, Hours of Service updates in a newsletter, a 24 hour hotline in the event of a spill related emergency? Are you a local firm which provides personal attention to each and every client or a large agency with robust resources and deep expertise? Perhaps you think your agency offers an amalgamation of both of these, personalized service and deep fleet expertise. Does every agent have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) or have the received specialized training to ensure they can address the unique requirements of your trucking agency clients and prospects?
Your agency website should synthesize your unique value proposition and clearly convey this on your home page, and throughout your website. The same concept holds true for other vertical oriented agencies and also for general agencies. Remember, services including bundled services are often underutilized themes on agency websites, whereas get a quote now, is often an over utilized theme. Make sure your unique value proposition and website are clearly articulated and refrain from using the same content, spokespersons, “chatterbots”. Wikipedia defines chatterbots or chatter robot as a computer program designed to simulate a conversation via auditory methods. If an agency does decide to use a chatterbot, I’d suggest they use someone from their own agency to discuss their value proposition. If you use the same chatterbot as another agency, it would be similar to seeing the same spokesperson on TV pitching competitive products (would GM, Ford, Honda and Toyota all use the same spokesperson in their competing product advertisements). As an alternative to using chatter robots, agencies can record a series of short videos and place them strategically on each website page. These videos also have the advantage of YouTube placement, to help their insurance agency SEO efforts. Agencies, agents and brokers should take the time to provide original content, video and graphics to convey that which makes their unique agency the better choice.