Finding a local insurance agency used to be very simple with the help of the phone book that was in every home. Times have changed. Now, people look to their phones, tablets or computers to help them find a local insurance agent. But how do you get your agency to appear in those search results? When a phone only pulls up five local insurance agencies, how does the consumer decide which agency? Local business listings with online reviews help with both of these things.
A business listing is a detailed summery of your agency that shows a business's physical location on a map as well as information such as the website, phone number and business description. A business listing helps consumers find and locate a physical location. Search engines also notice business listings and pull the listing up when it matches a similar search query. The more information and online reviews a business listing has, the more the search engines see it as legitimate. The more legitimate a business, the more likely the business listing is to show up in the searches. When someone searches the Internet for a local insurance agency, the results are determined by relevance, prominence and distance. For instance, if you were to search auto insurance in Buffalo NY, the results you would see are determined by the following factors:
- Relevance - Only agencies with auto insurance in their information will appear in the searches. Unrelated businesses like bakeries and banks will be filtered out.
- Prominence - The most prominent businesses will be displayed. This is based on citations, search engine optimization (SEO) and reviews.
- Distance - Locations that are closest to the requested area will come up in the search results. If only auto insurance is searched, your phone knows its current location and searches for listings within a reasonable distance.
The Benefit of Online Reviews
Websites like Google+, Yelp, Angie's List and Facebook all allow customers to leave reviews of local businesses. Adding as much information as possible to your profile about your agency, including quality photos, correct address and contact information, is pivotal. This all helps communicate to potential clients that your agency is one they can trust to provide quality insurance and good service. You can create free business listings on all of these websites. Yelp also has an option for paid listings with more information, but a paid listing does not give more visibility than a free business listing.
Once you have these business listings set up, it is important to advertise them. A good first step is asking long time trusted clients for a review. When talking with these clients, asking them to review your agency is a good way to gather a few quality reviews. Next, advertise, advertise, advertise! Icons that link to these websites in your email signature and on your website are a great way to advertise. After a client has renewed his or her policy is the perfect time to ask for an online review. Ask your followers on social media to leave an online review. Be sure to include the link to your business listings. You want to make it as easy for them as possible. You can also ask for reviews and include links to your business listings in your agency newsletter.