There is a joke... How do you know someone does Crossfit? They tell you. The same holds true for pilots. We love to fly. We love to talk about it. It is one vice that gets you literally, not figuratively, high. Every free thought I have is about the next time I get to fly. When you combine that with my second most frequent thought, Internet marketing, they will eventually coalesce into one great idea. Internet marketing is just like flying.
Four Forces of Flight
There are four forces at work during flight: weight, thrust, lift and drag. These same four forces are at work as you build your online presence. Once you can control these forces, your online dreams will soar above and beyond the clouds.
Before you even get into a plane, you must check the weight and balance. Are you too heavy to take off? Are your technologies and processes ready for flight? Are you physically, mentally and emotionally able to fly? This is your reality check.
To be ready for online marketing, you need to make sure your agency is light and nimble. Are you able to quickly respond to the ever changing needs of today's insurance customer? What about technology? Do you have an insurance agency website that provides quality content, customer service, online quoting, and online purchasing? What about a proper lead management solution? Finally, do you have a documented and repeatable follow-up process that includes automated drip email marketing with a phone marketing process?
If so, preflight is complete. Time to start the engine.
Without thrust you are motionless. Without forward motion you are not able to generate the necessary airflow past the wings. How do you achieve forward motion? You need an engine of course. The four engines of your online marketing campaign are search engine placement, social media, email marketing, and pay-per-click.
Search engine placement includes the optimization of your insurance website. You want to be well indexed by the search engines in the organic and local search listings.
Next comes social media. You need to be on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. Having a page is not enough. You need to engage your followers. You need to post regularly. You need to post about topics besides insurance. Keep it interesting. Reach out. Be social.
Email marketing is one of the most important things on your checklist. It allows you to market not only to prospects but existing clients. If you are not doing email marketing now, you are missing out.
Your last engine is search engine marketing or pay-per-click (PPC). PPC places an ad in the search results when a consumer searches for your targeted keyword. While expensive, when it is used correctly, you can fill in the holes of your existing strategy and move forward in a hurry.
Just as you would not fly on one or two engines, neither should your Internet marketing plan. They all need to work in concert to achieve maximum thrust.
The thrust you have applied has turned into momentum. This forward motion has overcome the overhead of running your business (weight). You are up. Stop applying thrust, and you coast at best. Most likely, you will start to descend. As with flying you must always be moving forward to achieve the upward trajectory of your dreams and success.
Drag is an inevitable consequence of flight. The wings produce induced drag while the airframe creates parasite drag. In business, drag is what holds you back. Included drag is what you do to yourself through your everyday actions. How do you limit your own growth? Are you not putting in the effort to continue moving up? When you make a change how does it affect your business?
Competitors, employees and other factors outside your control can cause parasite drag. When parasite drag happens, you must act quickly to mitigate the effect it has on your plan. This is where being light and nimble will pay off.
Just as four forces apply to flight, they apply to your agency marketing plan. Stay aware of them; learn how to handle them properly. And, you will soar.
Every time I go up in a plane, I learn something new. The same holds true for Internet marketing. Each day offers a new opportunity. With each new opportunity, you have a new direction to fly in.
Stay current on marketing trends. Read blogs, industry articles, attend networking events, and research your competitors. When you do, you will make sure you are the right pilot for the job.
Making the Investment
Just like flying, investing in an Internet marketing plan is expensive. You need a plane. You need to maintain it with regular and ongoing maintenance. You need fuel to feed those engines. Are you ready to make the investment? If not, don't try to fly just yet. Stay on the ground until you've hit all points on the pre-flight checklist.
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