Online marketing can build your brand, grow your lead count, and expand your revenue.
And, few subsets of online marketing are as effective at achieving these goals as SEO.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a pull marketing discipline.
Consumers start the process by entering a search. Then, your agency provides the solution to that search in hopes of earning business.
This means SEO gets your agency in front of consumers when they’re looking for your services.
As such, SEO is a very effective discipline. But could it be too effective?
SEO can boost your web traffic and lead count. But the leads you get might not be the ones you’re looking for.
Let’s explore why that is, and how you can manage the situation.
The Firehose Method
If you rely on lead providers, your acquisition process can be best described as a faucet. You turn it on by paying the provider. Then leads flow in until you stop paying for them.
The same principle is true for paid search and paid social advertising campaigns. You bid for access to prospects. When you stop paying, the leads faucet shuts off.
SEO is different. Your goal is to earn a position in the search results. And you must invest plenty of time and hard work to make it happen.
This process can pay off. In fact, reaching the SEO mountaintop can has two distinct benefits.
- Your spot at the summit has staying power. It takes time to earn the trust needed for search engine visibility. That trust can help you keep high rankings.
- Your business will build a reputation as a top resource for industry-related topics. These topics can include lines of insurance, quoting expertise and claim filing precision.
While both benefits are a blessing, the second one comes with a catch.
Many people use similar terms to search for industry topics. But they don’t all enter these searches with the same intent.
Some may be looking to do research. Others might be ready to buy.
Furthermore, the demographics of these searchers can vary. A budget-constrained consumer could enter a search similar to a well-endowed one. A small business owner could use the same terms as a larger business representative.
If you’re looking to target one of these groups more than the others, the ambiguity can be frustrating.
It’s the Goldilocks problem. You’ll need to sort through leads to find the ones that are right for you. And you might even need to turn away some prospects who are a poor fit.
This is the great trade-off of SEO.
Search optimization focuses on matching consumer needs with the most relevant answers. It emphasizes search characteristics over searcher characteristics.
In other words, search marketing is a firehose. It can blast your agency lots of leads.
You need to be willing to get drenched by that firehose to turn those leads into customers.
It can seem like a hassle. But, it’s better than thirsting for leads in the first place.
How to Gain Control
Handling leads is a critical component of any independent insurance agency. Great lead management protocols can grow both your agency and customer service reputation. Poor lead management can send potential business to your rival down the street.
A successful SEO campaign can put your lead management tactics to the test. You’ll have more leads to follow-up with. And, you’ll have a wider base of prospects to score.
Here are two strategies for managing that process.
1. Staff Up
If you see more leads coming in, there’s a good chance more business will follow. How much business you get depends on how well you close leads.
If a high lead volume is hurting your workflow, your closing percentage could suffer.
It takes time to score leads. And it takes time to refer those that don’t fit your needs to other providers. If you don’t have enough resources to handle this process in short order, consider hiring help.
It might seem as if hiring staff without a revenue spike is putting the cart before the horse. But, if the staff can help you close leads, the investment will pay for itself.
If you’re getting leads from search that don’t meet your requirements, you might ask Why? But it could be better to ask Why not?
SEO is more than a lead generation tool. It can be a powerful consumer intelligence tool.
If customers from a certain demographic are searching in force, that’s an opportunity. If consumers are looking for a certain type of coverage, that’s also an opportunity.
There is strength in numbers. Going where the market exists can turbocharge your growth.
So, if leads don’t fit your Goldilocks requirements, don’t despair. Consider widening your scope and playing in a bigger sandbox. The business is there waiting for you.
Putting It All Together
Turning on the search firehose can be a daunting experience. Getting hit by a deluge of leads is like getting thrown into the deep end of the pool. You’ll need to get your bearings to swim to safer depths.
Your mindset means everything. You could curse the lack of precision you’re getting from search leads. But that’s like punching a gift horse in the mouth.
It’s far better to think ahead. It’s better to see the search firehose as an opportunity to scale your agency. Your staffing and services decisions can aid your growth, if you play your cards right.
Your next step matters in the wake of SEO success. Move with purpose.
About the Author
Dylan Brooks helps ITC clients improve the visibility of their agency websites, working directly with them to improve their search engine rankings. Dylan has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Miami, and he is pursuing a masters in business administration from Southern Methodist University. Dylan has extensive experience with writing, strategy and marketing analytics. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys cooking, watching football, and spending time outdoors in and around Dallas.Follow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Dylan Brooks