The New Year brings with it hope and new opportunities for success, which can be great inspiration and motivation. If you want to make 2014 your best year yet, I've got five online marketing tips to get you started.
There are many ways to market your agency online, but just because you can do any of them, it doesn't mean you should. Market smarter means take the time to identify the places your target audience is and find the marketing tactics that work for your agency. For example, if your agency sells only commercial lines, LinkedIn would be a better use of your time and money than Facebook. If your yellow page ads are not bringing in leads, it's time to stop advertising in the yellow pages and use those marketing dollars elsewhere.
Create an online sales funnel
Every visitor is not going to be ready to contact you for a quote right after landing on your insurance agency website. But if you offer different levels of interaction, you can guide that visitor through your online sales funnel. Perhaps Jane, who lands on your website for the first time from a link to a blog post she saw a friend post to Twitter, isn't ready to fill out a form for a free quote, but she might be ready to fill out a form for a free report or home inventory checklist. Then she might follow you on Facebook or Twitter. After engaging with you on social media, Jane signs up for your agency newsletter. Then some strategic email marketing encourages her to call you for a comparison quote. This online sales funnel (blog reader -> report downloader -> social media follower -> email subscriber -> prospect) is longer than the 'Call us now' call to action, but it is a lot more effective because your prospect knows and trusts you.
Stop ignoring Google+
Consumers may not have adopted Google's social network, but that does not mean you should ignore it. Do you want your website to be found in Google? Remember that Google+ is Google. The activity on Google+ influences search engine results, and the search engine giant is likely to continue increasing that influence. At minimum set up your Google Authorship for your website.
Complete your Google Local listing
Google determined that when people search Google for products or services, the majority of the time they're looking for a local solution. So Google shows local business listings, which take up a significant portion of the first page results. Completing your Google Local listing will help you get to the first page of Google results. Darmini wrote a great blog post last week about creating and enhancing your listing. I highly recommend you take some time to read through it.
Set a social budget
Social media started out as a free platform for communicating with your online fans. However, the exposure businesses used to get on social media has been reduced as social networks change and try to monetize. For example, Facebook's algorithm change in early December has affected the organic reach of posts. On our Facebook page, updates that once would reach roughly 25% of our fans are now reaching about 5%. If you think social media should be free, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that time is over. Social media advertising is a lot more affordable than television or radio. Set a budget for advertising on social media, and use it to promote important or highly relevant updates you want to make sure the majority of your fans see.
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