2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents


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Slides from the webinar presentation of 2014 Online Marketing Playbood For Insurance Agents. Presented by Insurance Library in conjunction with Insurance Forums.

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  • What’s in store: We are going to cover a lot of exciting tactics in a relatively short period of time. Tactics related to social media, local SEO, Google authorship, Web Analytics, and more. As you have questions, please post them in the chat box – once the presentation is complete we will take questions at the end. Please take notes. There are a lot of great little nuggets in here… I am very confident each and every one of you is going to leave this webinar very happy you attended.
  • More social integration with search SEO changed big time We had hummingbird, which hit on August 20th and made a huge splash. Essentially overhauling the core of Google’s search engine. For those that aren’t overly familiar, this was a huge update to the way Google ranks search engine results. Google has stated that this update We had the onset of the infamous “not provided” taking over for essentially all organic referrals. Basically, Google used to tell us every search query that people use to access our sites. In 2013 they decided to stop doing this. social signals put users in charge of what is good content, not robots. The foundation of Google search is based heavily in links, but as the algorithm continues to evolve – you can bet social signals will become a larger poart of the mix. Authorship was all the rage in the organic SEO circles, and it continues to be a very hot topic in 2014. Mobile growth – April of 2013 is when we hit the tipping point of having more mobile users accessing the web than desktop users.
  • It’s still pretty early on for 2014, but we are naturally seeing the things that were prevalent in late 2013 continue to be common themes in 2014. From an organic SEO standpoint, authorship, microdata or schema.org micro-formatting and Google Plus are the big items of focus this year Social activity continues to be a larger factor in an overall effective SEO strategy Mobile access of the web continues to grow. For me, it seems like we are years away before people are really using mobile devices more than desktops. The reality is, that has already happened. We tend to work on computers by nature of the work we do… but consumers, especially those that are going to be first-time buyers, are spending the vast majority of their time on mobile devices. A side effect of that is that search continues to evolve to serve mobile users with local search. And that continues to evolve.Facebook continues to grow. They have been enriching their ad options a ton in the past year. Hands down, Facebook is where insurance buyers are spending the majority of their time online.
  • Topics not keywords. When writing content, think about a topic – or a theme, and write a piece of content that addresses the topic thoroughly and answers key questions the reader has. It’s not about having 10 instances of an exact match keyword, it’s about having a few natural instances of the keyword and a load of semantically-related content surrounding it. Think beyond the website. Good content is great to have on your website… but it’s only reaching the people that come to your website. If you can get a piece of content in front of a new relevant segment of consumers on someone else’s website, that’s a good place to be. It’s not exactly easy to do this… perhaps there is a relevant local business you can partner with, but if you have a friend or colleague with a site, you can leverage theirs. Along the same vein, make sure your content strategy involves getting your content published on sites with authority to help boost your overall visibility. Again, it’s not easy to strike up this kind of partnership, but if you can do it – try to go with one that has some good “authority” behind it. If you can, post content on sites that already have a consumer audience, and a highly trafficked consumer audience at that. This isn’t necessarily easy, but when you find an opportunity – it can be a gold mine. The best place to start, if you haven’t already, is to leverage Insurance Library for this. If you put some hard work into a good piece of content, make sure you also put some effort behind making sure the right people see it. Facebook ads are in my opinion the best way to do this, I’ll go into greater detail on that in a bit.
  • Do you notice a theme with these things I have been talking about? Almost all of the things I have mentioned so far are related to serving mobile web users.The Hummingbird algorithm update, as I touched on earlier, at the very core of the update was rolled out to make Google better at serving these people. The individual components of Hummingbird overhauled a major part of Google’s search infrastructure in order to better serve the rising use of:MobileVoice Search arrival of a new generation of young searchers that haven’t ever searched in keywords beforeGoogle is being smart and getting out ahead of this up & coming wave of users – you need to get out ahead as well and make sure your business is positioned to serve this generation.You wanna something else about these guys? As annoying as they look, they are the people that are beginning to buy insurance for the first time – and they are also the market segment that is going to be your business’ primary customer for the next 50 years.It’s important to serve this market. In order to do that, we need to be where they are online.
  • Twitter isn’t a tool you are going to use to generate leads for your business. It’s not a direct response tool, but it can be used to amplify some of the other things you are doing.For example, search engines are likely figuring these social signals into their algorithm. The old school way of SEO thinking is that it’s all about what sites link to you. While links still do matter – social signals are playing a larger role than they ever have. A search engine like google can easily see how many mentions on Twitter your company gets.What does this mean? Well, if Google sees that you are getting links to your site from 100 websites, but not a single person has ever mentioned you on Twitter – that seems unnatural – right? It’s a lot easier for someone to tweet about your business than it is for someone to add a link to you on your website. A naturally link profile needs to also include social activity.
  • No surprise, Facebook is huge. Especially amongst those that are 25+ It’s a bit less popular with those that are younger.. They are gravitating more towards image based social networks like Instagram and Snapchat. The whole key to Facebook is to not be boring. This seems obvious… but it needs to be said. Don’t waste your time posting things like “call me for an insurance quote”. It’s not effective and it’s only annoying. The key is to fit in. Don’t be boring. Newsflash… an insurance related Facebook update is about as boring as it gets in someones news feed on FB Just be a member of the community. Talk about the things others in your community are talking about. Be visible and be real. Consider running some Facebook paid Ads. They offer a completely different opportunity than any other advertising you have ever done. The targeting is unreal. Let me show you an example
  • This is a scenario I came up with late last night… but it’s something that almost every one of you could go out and do right away after this webinar.Go out and create a paid facebookad.Take a look at this. Here is an example opportunity where you could target newlyweds in your city with a customized message and a link to your website. Check out this image with the Facebook targeting options. In this example, I have narrowed the targeting to Denver as the city, targeting only those aged 22 to 50. I have also targeted newlyweds.. Those that have been married in the last 3 months.I think this could be a good segment for a campaign. You can basically create an ad that congratulates a couple on getting married, and then include a note about how you can “merge” their policies for them. This is a good demographic to target on facebook right now, and the ad tools make it very easy to target. As you can see in this example, there are over 8K people that match our criteria for targeting… and this is always going to be a “rolling segment” that churns every 3 months… so this can be an ongoing campaign with no need for an end date.I have never run this campaign because I am not an insurance agent myself. But if I was, I would have this running before I go to bed tonight.I challenge everyone on this webinar to set one of these up and run a minimum of $5 a day to it and see what happens. I have a feeling it will open up a whole new door for you.The key here is to get creative. You really need to focus on the image, that’s what drives the action. Run a news feed ad as well. Sidebar is a default option, but I typically opt out as it doesn’t show up on mobile… and well, who really looks over in the right sidebar when on Facebook?What does everyone think? Do you think this is doable? Now, please know, $5 a day won’t get light it up too much… but I’m betting it’s enough to turn you into a believer. You’ll likely get a couple contacts, but you’ll also probably get a lot of likes. Once you get a like, you can market to them for free.  You can definitely go bigger… but always start with a small budget. Start small, hone your ad copy and your image and get it humming. Then start adding incremental spend. Nail it, then scale it. This is powerful some powerful stuff.I think I’ll start sharing some more of these targeting ideas via newsletter. I have a bunch more  Go sign up at InsuranceLibrary.com and you will automatically get my newsletter.
  • Alright, moving on to Google+ Google Plus is interesting in that it’s somewhat essential to a successful digital marketing plan, even though your target customers aren’t necessarily spending any time there. There are many SEO related benefits to having a strong Google+ presence. For example Profile pages are capable of building authority. They hold page rank well and can rank very well on their own. Shared links pass page rank to the original poster’s profile… so when people share your content, it creates followed links from the google.com domain back to your G+ profile. I also use Google+ a lot to get a piece of web content indexed quickly. If I have a page that I want to get in Google’s index right away, I share it on Google plus. Lastly, all activity on Google+ helps support your “authorship” in the eyes of Google. We will get into authorship a bit more soon.
  • Before we talk about authorship, however, I want to touch a bit more on some of the nice linking benefts within Google+ the user name of a mentioned user is followed, so PR flows to the other person’s G+ page every other link (the hash tag and the shared URL) are not followed The fact that the only followed link here is the user name further shows how much Google is investing in the idea of “Authors” and individuals on Google+. Their algorithm is still largely based on links, this, to me – signifies that Google is being very intentional about following this link because they want user profile pages to hold PR.
  • You can also get a followed link with customized anchor text within the “Introduction” section of your profile. To do this, you must navigate to the “About” page and you will see it within the “Story” module. This is an easy little link to get, but the value is very good. It’s not every day you can get a followed link from Google
  • Ok, moving on to Authorship. This is an exciting and emerging area of SEO that further integrates Google Plus into SEO. Authorship is a way to tag the content you produce on the web with your name in order to tell Google that you are the author. This also ties back to your Google+ profile.The primary benefit right now with authorship is getting the thumbnail of your Google+ profile picture to display in search results next to your content. This has been proven to be a great way to increase click throughs from a search engine results page. You might be ranked #5 on a page, but you are probably going to stand out more than results 1-4.In order to enjoy the benefits of authorship, you will need to add a small code snippet to your website. You can also leverage other websites that already have this code “built in” for you. In addition to having the authorship code in place, you also need to be active. Regular Google+ activity and regular publishing of authored content is a great way to help increase your authorship.Creating content is one thing, promoting it on Google + is crucial. Step one is authoring and publishing the content, step 2 is distributing it on Google+. Remember all those nice little links that can come along with that too?Build up your authorship now. Now is the time to get started. Being an authoritative author will be bring you opportunities in the future. As Google’s algorithms evolve, the authority of authors will likely be a larger part of a site’s overall ranking algorithm. This will make you very valuable to online publishers and bring you many new exposure and link building opportunities.Lastly, leverage InsuranceLibrary.com to build up that authorship. Below is an example of how authorship looks in the search results for an Insurance Library result. The coding piece is automatic – simply add your Google+ profile URL to your free agent profile and you are all set. You will then begin being awarded authorship for every page on the site in which you are the first to answer.
  • There are 2 other social media sites that are definitely worthy of noting, but due to the time crunch I have to be a bit brief in covering them.The first is LinkedIn. Every agent should have a Linkedin profile. In addition to having an individual profile, and participating in industry discussions – you should also check out their company pages. They are free and they just underwent an update which improved them quite a bit. This is another place to link back to your site and create a strong local citation by including your business address and contact information.The other day I noticed a LinkedIn company page that was a page rank 5, and it had zero links from external sites… all links were from Linkedin. So make sure to check out the company pages.Lastly, I want to very briefly touch on YouTube.YouTube is owned by Google, so Google makes sure to rank YouTube videos highly in search results… you have probably noticed this. This is a great opportunity for you to create another piece of “rankable” content. Just create a couple quick videos that address some of the most commonly asked questions you get from your customers. Don’t worry about production value. Let people see the real you… use the webcam on your computer or even your smart phone… it doesn’t have to be pretty. Also, when completing your profile on YouTube, make sure to add a link to your site and your other social media properties. Use the opportunity to get another citation as well.
  • In late 2013, a large survey was conducted across experts in the local SEO field. They were asked to rank the individual factors they feel contribute mostly to local search rankings. These are the top 5. Google local category choices. Obviously the first step here is to make sure you have claimed your Google Plus local page. In addition to making sure it is filled out as complete and accurately as possible, make sure to pick as many relevant categories as Google allows you to. Google currently has categories for:Insurance AgentInsurance AgencyCar Insurance Agency Health Insurance Agency Home Insurance AgencyLife Insurance Agency The 2nd biggest factor in local rankings is the presence of a physical location in the targeted city. Back in the day, a person in Bloomington, MN could actually rank in local results for search phrases that targeted Minneapolis, MN. This isn’t the case anymore. If your physical location is not in the city being searched for, you won’t rank for the query. NAP consistency, or consistency of your Name, Address and Phone across the web is huge. This is what builds Google’s confidence in the location data they have for your business. The more confident they are that they are serving 100% accurate information, the more likely they are to surface your local profile higher in search results. Quality & authority of structured citations refers to having your business information included on higher authority websites and websites that use schema.org microdata to provide additional details to search engines. A citation is simply the presence of your business name and contact information “chunked together” in different spots on the web. Authority of website relates to your individual website. Google takes the authority of your website into consideration when factoring in rankings for local results.
  • To kind of summarize these local search factors, I’d like to break it down into 3 main ideas:Make sure to complete you Google Plus local page thoroughly and completely. Add any photos, videos, etc. The more complete, the better.Make sure you are always using the same phone number, address layout and business name everywhere online. For those of you that have a suite number, make sure you are consistent with suite or ste. It should always look the same. Same with business name. Claim and complete as many online local business profiles as possible. If you haven’t already, obviously make sure your Google Profile is claimed, but do the same for Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, Yellow Pages, City Search and Insurance Library
  • Switching gears slightly, I wanted to make sure I covered analytics. Having analtyics tracking like Google Analytics installed on your website is absolutely essential if you are serious about using your website to drive you business. Without analytics, you are flying blind. Not only will you have no idea how many people actually visit your website (hint, if you don’t have analytics installed – it’s less than you think) – there is no way to track what pages on your site they are looking at and what factors are encouraging your visitors to pick up the phone and call you or send you an email. Also, it means you have no way of telling if all your other efforts are working. It’s 100% critical in order to be able to understand what works and what doesn’t. It’s also a great way to see what your mobile traffic looks like Once you have Analytics installed, you can begin tracking conversions as well. This means you can learn all kinds of things about the people that you have successfully turned into a lead on your site. When you know these things, you can optimize your site to increase conversion based on these findings. Simple things for conversion optimization range from the placement and design of email capture forms and phone numbers to the images you use on your pages. Test, test and test more. Always be testing. I think this Jim Collins quote is perfect as it relates to your conversion efforts on your site “Good is the enemy of great”.
  • If you are someone that doesn’t have a website at all, there are still many ways for you participate online and be successful First, make sure you have a Google+ page completely filled out. Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn are also important profiles to have. None of these are necessarily replacements for a website, but they do allow you to be active on the web without having a site. Insurance Library is also great for agents without a site. You can get a free, optimized agent profile, and it also has some great built in easy content opportunities for you. It also allows you to build authorship without a website. Lastly, if budget is the primary concern for not having a site, consider a free hosted website on wordpress.com or blogger.com. They are free and they are very simple to use right out of the box. Ok, so we have gotten through a ton of content and tactics here with about XXXX to go in the webinar. I now want to take a couple minutes to show you how Insurance Library can kind of tie all of this stuff together for you and make life a bit easier as a busy agent.
  • Insurance Library is the epitome of what the Hummingbird algorithm update was set up to serve. Questions & Answers rank very well in the post hummingbird world. Also, keep in mind Hummingbird was partially developed to help support future voice search. Think of the future of search and voice search. How do people search with Siri? By asking questions. All of the content you answer will be perfectly optimized for not only regular search, but also voice search. From an agent standpoint, one of the biggest appeals is also the ability to leverage the existing traffic stream of InsuranceLibrary.com. We get close to 75K consumer visitors every month, you can get your name and face in front of them for free. You also get an optimized agent profile that allows you to link out to your website and social media properties. Also another great place to get a citation. We have already talked about the Google authorship integration… but that one is huge. You won’t find many sites offering that yet. You can also get free leads from consumers on the site via the contact me button and contact form on every agent answer and on your profileIt’s 100% free.Next, I want to show you a few tips that our current Power Users do to help them crush it on InsuranceLibrary
  • Familiarize yourself with the “Browse Questions” page… there is a lot of power here Another great strategy is to actually let Google help you decide what questions to answer. You can do this by:
  • Now, I know all of you are crunched for time every day, this is a way you can inject a shot of steroids into your digital marketing by only spending 15 minutes a day.So, how do you get started?
  • Sign up before the end of the day and get 150 bonus points. Get another 50 bonus points for completing your free profile. That will give you enough points to give you what we call an enhanced agent profile, which provides you with the ability to add a link to your website on your profile and add a “contact me” button to each one of your answers.
  • 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents

    1. 1. 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    2. 2. Welcome! A little about me: • • • I live in Sioux Falls, SD Over 10 years digital marketing & SEO experience Founder of InsuranceLibrary.com What’s in store today: • • • Covering trends & tactics Discuss how to easily put it all into motion 3 minutes at the end for a shameless plug 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    3. 3. Recap Of 2013 • • • • • • SEO changed BIG-TIME! Hummingbird “Not Provided” More social integration with search Authorship Mobile growth 2013 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    4. 4. What’s New In 2014? • • • • • SEO continues focus on authorship, microdata, G+ Social signals matter more than ever Mobile usage continues to rise Local search continues to evolve Facebook opportunities growing 2014 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    5. 5. Content Strategy • • • • • Topics, not keywords Distribute content beyond your website Leverage sites with authority Target high traffic sites Amplify content with local Facebook ads 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    6. 6. Notice A Theme? The web is evolving to serve these people. 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    7. 7. Twitter It’s not a direct response tool, but it can be used to amplify your other efforts. • Search engine signals • Indexing content • Ability to mention someone – Great way to establish a relationship with someone for link building purposes. 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    8. 8. Facebook • Huge amongst 25+ • Less as big with teens, early 20’s • Don’t be boring (newsflash - insurance is boring in a newsfeed) • For organic, unpaid efforts – be a member of your community and remain visible • PPC offers good unparalleled targeting 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    9. 9. Facebook Ad Example Congratulate newlywed couples in your city with a nice note along with an offer to take care of “merging” their policies. • Laser targeted • Cheap clicks • Awesome Branding • No click, no charge CHALLENGE: $5 / day 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    10. 10. Google Plus • Profile pages are capable of building authority • Shared links pass Page Rank to the original poster’s profile – Optimize content for shares – Entice followers to share – “share if you agree, etc.” • Content posted on Google Plus ranks well on its own • Indexes web content quickly • Activity is tied to an author 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    11. 11. Google Plus Links Mentions are “followed” 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    12. 12. Google Plus Links “Introduction Links” are followed (About > Story > Introduction) 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    13. 13. Google Authorship • • • • You must be active Author content on multiple websites Contribute to sites that provide rel=author Creating content is one thing, promoting the content on Google+ is also crucial • Build your authorship now. In a few years, the publishers will be knocking on your door for content • Leverage InsuranceLibrary.com to build authorship 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    14. 14. Other Social Media Opportunities • LinkedIn – Take a look at the features in the new company pages – I have noticed small business company pages on LinkedIn attain PR5 • YouTube – A YouTube video will almost always outrank it’s “text counterpart” for consumer-facing messages 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    15. 15. Local Search Ranking Factors • Google local category choices • Physical location in targeted city • NAP consistency – Check yours at www.getlisted.org • Quality / authority of structured citations • Authority of website 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    16. 16. Local Search Ranking Factors In simple terms: 1. Complete your Google local page accurately and thoroughly. 2. Make sure you use the same phone number, address, and format of business name everywhere online 3. Claim and complete as many online local business profiles as possible 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    17. 17. Analytics & Conversion Optimization • • • • • • Essential if you are serious about generating leads Without it, you are flying blind Understand what works and what doesn’t See mobile traffic data Begin optimizing your site for more conversions A site that is well optimized can easily generate 3X the leads as an “un-optimized” site “Good is the enemy of great” – Jim Collins 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    18. 18. If you don’t have a website • Make sure you have a Google+ page • Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn are also important • InsuranceLibrary.com gives you a free agent profile as well as content opportunities • Consider a free, hosted website on wordpress.com or blogger.com 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    19. 19. InsuranceLibrary.com • • • • • • • • Hummingbird loves us Tap into major stream of traffic for free Agent profile Inbound link Local citation Google authorship integration Generate leads It’s 100% Free 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents 75,000 Consumer Visitors Every Month!
    20. 20. Pro Tips! Use The Question Filters • • • • On the “Browse Questions” page Filter for unanswered gems Stake your authorship claim on all of them Filter by keyword (state, city, company, niche terms, etc.) Let Google Lead You • Search google for site:insurancelibrary.com keyword • Example: site:insurancelibrary.com kansas auto insurance • Add your answer to all relevant questions • By having your authorship on these pages – you are telling Google “hey, I am relevant to Kansas auto insurance!” 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    21. 21. 15 Minutes A Day Spend 15 minutes each day working on sending the signals the search engines like to see. • • • • Laser target 5 perfect questions to answer Answer those questions One-click sharing of answers Automatic authorship when applicable 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    22. 22. Get Started With Insurance Library Increase the exposure of your entire online portfolio. Use this link to get 150 bonus points: www.insurancelibrary.com/webinarbonus 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents
    23. 23. Q&A justin@insurancelibrary.com http://blog.insurancelibrary.com/ 2014 Online Marketing Playbook For Insurance Agents