Insurance shopping behavior is changing.
Are you changing with it?
Compared to the past, today’s insurance shopper is more likely to do their own online research, decide what carrier to buy from…
And THEN contact an agent.
It’s still important to catch people at the beginning of their insurance shopping process, but I want you get you thinking about how to capture them at the end…
Right before they pull out their wallet!
When you are the agent both search engines and real people most closely associate with your carrier(s), you’ll be the agency shoppers call when they’re ready to buy.
Here’s 21 ways to be the agent people find AFTER they’ve decided which carrier they want to buy from.
(NOTE: Some of these ideas are better for captive agents, others are better for independent but for all them – don’t use your carrier’s brand in a way that violates your agreement with them)
1) Include Every Carrier’s Name on Your Website
This one’s more for the independent agents.
If a particular carrier isn’t written somewhere on your website Google will question whether they should show your agency for a search of that carrier’s name.
A picture of the logo is great for building trust from your website visitors but it does nothing for Google because their robots can’t see the picture.
Make sure your carriers’ names are written somewhere in text.
A link to their website isn’t going to hurt you either.
2) Get Lots of Positive Reviews
Imagine you’re an insurance shopper:
You’ve already decided to buy insurance from XYZ Company but you just need to decide which agent.
You go out to Google and do a search for XYZ agents and get a page full of agents to choose from.
Would you choose the one with 10 positive reviews, 1 iffy review, or no reviews?
Get your happiest customers to write positive reviews before the one unhappy one destroys your reputation.
3) Get Listed on Every Carrier’s Website
Whether you write for one carrier or hundreds, it’s important to take advantage of all the promotion you can get on carrier websites.
Not only is it huge for your local SEO, people often use the agent directories on carrier websites to find an agent close to them.
Making sure you’re listed is an absolute must. It’s even better if you can…
4) Get Featured on Your Carriers’ Websites
There are a lot of ways to be featured on your carriers’ websites. I know some companies give preference in their agent directories to those with the highest customer service ratings and other factors.
In any event, the agent directory is a great place for people who are ready to buy to find you.
The agent directory isn’t the only way to be featured on your carrier’s website. Work closely with the PR/marketing team for opportunities to get extra attention on their website or blog.
The key is making your carrier look good. If you can do that they won’t mind giving you the extra publicity.
5) Create Online Content About Your Carriers
If you have a blog or other content platform to use, create a lot of content specifically about your carrier.
Today’s consumer is more empowered than ever before to research the products available to them online, and if they’re already seriously considering your carrier enough to research the products etc, you want them to find you before any other agent.
You can write about the history of the carrier, their executive members, current events, insurance products, claims processes, billing procedures, and anything else related to that carrier.
The best information would be things people are actually interested in, like how a certain policy works, but any content you publish online that connects your carrier with your agency will help.
Obviously you need to have some discretion and make sure you’re not violating any agent guidelines. One way to avoid problems is to stick to information about “your experience”. No one can dispute that.
Most importantly, remember that when you make the carrier look good you’ll look good too and it’ll be a lot harder for them to slap you on the wrist.
6) Include Carriers In Search Engine Profiles
The major search engines allow business owners like you to create a profile about their business.
Your profile includes the most important information about who you are, where you’re located, and what you do.
The search engines use this information to determine what searches you rank for so put every carrier you write for in those profiles.
7) Include Carriers in Business Directory Profiles
Much like the above example, when you’re filling out a business profile on a website like Yellowpages or Superpages make sure to include your carriers within your business description.
The more times Google comes across webpages with your agency and a carrier name listed, the stronger they’ll view the connection between the two and the more they’ll show your agency when someone searches for the carrier.
8) Plaster Your Social Media Profiles
Make sure to include the carriers you write for within your social media profiles.
In addition to continuing to create an online footprint for Google and Bing that associates your agency with the carriers, you’ll also show up better for searches of the carrier’s name within the social media websites.
9) Follow All Your Carriers
Like all the Facebook pages of your carriers (including their ancillary pages) using your agency page.
Liking the pages is a good step but don’t stop there.
Like and comment about their updates and share relevant information from their pages on your agency page.
Remember that the people who run your carrier’s page are in the marketing department and engaging with their social media efforts can put your agency on the radar at the home office.
10) Connect with Out-Of-State Agents
I know agents who are so well-connected with other agents on a national scale that a large percentage of their new business comes from people moving into the state.
Here’s a great tip: Connect on LinkedIn to every out-of-state agent you meet so your contact information is always only a click away for them.
Here’s another one: Follow the Facebook and Twitter profiles of out of state agents you meet and consistently “like” their posts.
When those agents lose a customer to your neck of the woods they’ll send them straight to your door.
11) Customer Testimonials Focused on Carrier
I write a lot about the power of testimonials (especially video) and it relates to this topic as well.
You don’t always need to get testimonials from clients that are specifically about your agency. It also helps if you can get people saying nice things about any of the insurance carriers you write for.
Post videos to YouTube so they can get more exposure and some carriers may even help you promote them.
12) Create Video Website Tutorials
Are there processes with your carrier’s website that customers are often asking you about?
Create video tutorials about using the carrier website. Things like: how to check your balance, how to print your Dec page, how to file a claim online, etc.
You might get a bit more value from tutorials about the shopping process like “how to get a quote online” but any content you can publish that helps customers navigate the carrier website will reinforce that you’re the expert for doing business with this insurer.
Don’t forget to include a link to your webpage in the video description.
13) Agent Testimonial About Carrier
I already mentioned creating customer testimonials about the carriers you write for, but an agent testimonial can work great too.
Create a video featuring you, or the agency owner, explaining why you decided to sell insurance for your carrier despite all the other options available and why you’re pleased with the decision.
A great video like this can get lots of views and will make both you and the carrier look great.
14) Inbound Links To Your Page on Carrier’s Website
This is really just a straight insurance agency seo play.
Although I could, I’m not going to go into too much detail here about how to get more links or the types of links that are important because that’s just not what this article is all about.
For now just know this: The more websites that link to your page on your carrier’s website, the higher that page will show in search results.
15) Make a Page About Every Carrier on Your Website
I already recommended independent agents include the name of every carrier they write for on their website somwhere.
If you want to take this a step further, create an individual page for each carrier.
When someone searches for XYZ Insurance, Google is more likely to show a page that is entirely about that carrier than a page with that carrier and 50 others.
Make the process easier and cheaper by creating a format for each carrier page so they all look the same but with the key information changed.
For example, each carrier’s page could have a logo, headquarters address, claims phone number, company history, and some simple facts that would be easy to get for every carrier.
And of course every carrier’s page needs your phone number and a link to your quote form!
16) Get Customers to Switch to Your Agency
The rules are always different with this. Sometimes it’s discouraged, sometimes not. Sometimes you’ll make commission, sometimes not.
It doesn’t matter.
Regardless of who’s making the commission, the more customers you have, the more connected you’ll become with all the carriers that are represented and the more opportunities you’ll have for referrals.
Even if people don’t switch carriers, being the agent of record for more clients is worth the additional servicing time. Most of the time at least
17) Engage More With Your Carriers
How hard are you working to build personal relationships with the employees at your carriers?
Are you connecting with them and writing recommendations about them on LinkedIn? Are you sending personal thank you notes?
When I used to work in the home office of a major carrier there was an agent who would send 20 pizzas for our entire office once a year.
Every employee knew that agent and who do you think they referred all their friends and family to?
18) Wear Carrier Apparel
How many times have you found yourself in a discussion about insurance just because of the shirt you were wearing?
It happens to me all the time.
Wear clothes with your carrier’s branding everywhere you go so people will always connect you with that carrier.
19) Social Ads to Carrier Followers
Facebook allows you to show ads to people based on what pages they follow.
Why not show ads to people who already follow your major carrier’s brand?
You could advertise umbrella policies or some other type of policy that most of the current customers don’t already have.
They’re already convinced on the brand, you just need to get them thinking about the product.
20) Branded PPC Ads
I’m not a big fan of PPC ads for insurance agents most of the time. They’re way too expensive and most agency websites have too low a conversion ratio to make it cost-effective.
On the other hand, if someone is searching for, “XYZ Insurance Quote” and they see your ad, I’d say that’s a pretty targeted lead to send to your site.
Disclosure: I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of agents using this tactic so give it a try only if you think it’s a good idea. It might still be too expensive to be worthwhile.
21) Drink the Kool-Aid
I’m a pretty critical guy. In fact, I’m hyper-super-intensely-critical of the way insurance carriers use their agents.
But I’ve also met agents who could find a hidden agenda behind everything their carriers did. Agents who never believed anything, never went along with anything, and tried to resist everything their carriers said, encouraged, and recommended.
They were not successful.
Of course the carriers are out for themselves – so are you!
Just remember that you have to play their game if you want to get all the perks given to their favorite agencies.
You don’t have to swallow the Kool-aid, but at least make it appear like you like it.
No matter what you do, the brands you write for will always have stronger influence and branding than your agency.
Don’t reject it.
And share this article with another agent or sales manager you know that’s willing to embrace it too.
I hope this helps,