This past year I finally pushed myself to accomplish the goals I set for the business. It took a lot of time and research to execute everything, but it was worth it to see business improve. The goal of this post is to minimize time (and possibly money) that goes into implementing these new year's resolutions for insurance agents.
In no particular order here are some great insurance agent resolutions:
1. Start a blog
This might be the best and easiest thing you can do to increase traffic to your web page and improve your name brand in your local community. Blogs are really easy to create and can be about anything. You might want to tailor your blog posts to insurance topics that will be beneficial to your clients. The key is to write about interesting and helpful topics. Place quality over quantity when it comes to blog posts. Below I listed websites where you can start a blog for free.
Blogger.com - this is Google's version of a blog. It takes a Gmail account to begin.
Wordpress.com - one of the best blogging websites. You can add a custom URL or attach it to your existing website. Not as user friendly as some blogs.
Squidoo.com - very helpful for connecting with other blogging experts.
Freevlog.org - blog geared towards video blogging.
Tumblr.com - blog focused on media rich posts.
Tblog.com - platform for blogs with a focus on generating traffic.
2. Join local organizations
This is something that I was never good about doing. Organizations and group meetings take up valuable time and as an insurance agent, there is never enough time in a day. However, once I started joining groups and organizations in my city I found myself networking like I never thought I could. When you truly involve yourself in a group you naturally make connections with people. These connections might not lead to business right away, but the more time you spend with members the more comfortable they will feel around you. This personal friendship could eventually lead to a future business relationship.
Listed here are a few national organizations that would be great to join. These groups are typically open to new members and provide plenty of opportunities for community involvement.
With each organization, make sure to join your local chapter.
- Local Chamber of Commerce
- Business Professionals of America
- Young Professionals of America
- Ronald McDonald House
- Habitat For Humanity
- Your church
- Small Business Association
- Local entrepreneur groups
- Local school board
- YMCA committee/board
- University business organization
3. Update your website
If you do not have a website than you really need to consider getting one. For those of you who already have a website take some time to examine the website for potential updates. Here are some helpful hints on what to look for when determining if your site needs revised.
1. Make sure the site is mobile friendly. This is a must! Close to 70% of the US populations is using a phone or tablet for their "everyday" device. While the site needs to be mobile friendly, you do not want your site to be a "mobile only site". This means when a user is visiting your page from a mobile device it should look like a mobile website and when visited from a desktop or laptop the site should look appropriate for the larger browsers.
If you find that your website is not mobile friendly do not fret. Their are very inexpensive ways to get your site up to the new standards. Dudamobile.com converts your website to mobile by just entering your URL. If you use a web developer, tell them you want your site to be built (or re-built) using HTML5. This is the new language that many webmasters are using to create their websites. HTML5 allows sites to be responsive. This means the website adapts to the size of screen it is being viewed from. Pretty cool if you ask me.
You can read more about making websites work across multiple mobile devices at Google's Multi-Screen page.
2. Integrate social media with your website. This is important because it gives clients and potential clients and easy way to communicate with you and you them. It also allows a web visitor to share your websites content with their friends and followers. At first I did not see social networks as a good way to market my business, but I have since revised my opinion. There is no better way to keep your name in front of clients. Email use to be the best (and it still works), but now social media has proven to be a faster and easier way to communicate with fans.
The links below will show you how to place social media buttons on your website. If your website is controlled by a 3rd party web administrator, contact them to have social buttons added.
Facebook "Like" button:
Twitter "Follow" button:
Google "+1" button:
3. Eliminate broken web links. This is important for how Google looks at your site. If you have a lot of broken links or links to poor websites Google will use this information to drop you in their page rank. You also want your site to be easily used by your clients and other web visitors. Broken links will hinder them from moving fluidly through the site.
4. Check that all of your pages are indexed on Google and Bing. This is a common mistake if you manage your own website. Each page must contain a Google and Bing verification code in the header. There are other ways to do this and your safest bet is to have a trained web coder do this for you. If your website is managed by an IT person then they most likely have already taken care of this for you.
5. Add a comment section in your website. In my opinion this is optional. If you like the thought of clients being able to leave testimonials on your web page then you might consider adding a comment section. The website htmlcommentbox.com allows you to easily create a comment box widget to add to your website.
4. Use Social Media
I spoke a little about this in the last section, but wanted to expand on how to use social media in your insurance business. First of all, do not think you are going to bring in new business from social media. This medium is good for branding yourself. It is also a great way to communicate with clients. For instance if your office is going to be closed for a day, you can post this on your social sites to make sure everyone knows.
You can drive traffic to your website and blog by posting content from your site(s) to all of your social networks. You can also post other online articles that you find relevant or helpful.
You do not want to troll your Facebook page for new business. Do not bother people with solicitation. They will most likely un-friend you. Keep the posts to a minimum. You do not want to bombard your friend's news feed.
If you have a good product you want people to know about go ahead and put it up on your social sites. Just do not over post it.
5. Spend more time communicating with current clients
I do not want this point to be mistaken. You still need to set your primary goal to bringing in new clients, but your current clients could be potential new business as well. I am as guilty as anyone in forgetting to mine my current book of business. Do not make this mistake in the new year.
Your current clients should be an easy sell. They know who you are and see you at least once a year so they feel comfortable with you. It takes some tact to encourage your clients to do additional business with you. Make them understand how this will be beneficial to them. An easy time to do this is during your annual review with clients. (If you are not doing annual reviews make that your number one new year's resolution.) If you are, then it does not hurt to solicit new business when you visit clients for reviews.
6. Start a Newsletter
A newsletter is an incredibly easy way to keep your name in front of clients. Just like with social media, do not expect to bring in a great deal of new business. What a newsletter will do for you is maintain your status as a community insurance leader. Your clients will know they can call on you when they have a question relating to insurance.
It is a good idea to insert your social media buttons in your newsletter email so subscribers can easily share your content.
If you need help with starting an insurance newsletter try the following companies:
If you want a free way to set up your own newsletter you can download SendBlaster. This works for Windows. Jot Form will allow you to insert a newsletter subscriber form on your website.
7. Spend some time learning SEO
For those of you who have never heard of SEO it stands for Search Engine Optimization. To make a long story short SEO is the the ethical, natural, and most effective way to increase your page rank on major search engines. There are several methods that go along with search engine optimization. There are free tutorials and videos that will help you get started so you can maximize your website ranking.
I found the best videos to learn about SEO come directly form Google. Matt Cutts, head of Google Search, has hundreds of videos to watch on Youtube. Here are a couple of videos from Matt explaining Google Search and SEO.
Matt Cutts on Google Search
Matt Cutts on SEO
8. Make a better effort to cross sell insurance products
We all can acknowledge that cross selling is a great way to increase insurance sales. I thought instead of going in depth about something most of you already know about, I would post a link to a previous post with a real life example of how to cross sell insurance.
Here is the link. http://blog.leadstoinsure.com/2013/12/real-life-example-of-how-to-cross-sell.html
9. Try a new marketing technique
I am not going to tell you which technique to try nor attempt to persuade you that one marketing campaign is better than another. However, I will tell you that you should not let your marketing become stagnant.
If your current marketing system is working that is great. Keep doing it. But you might consider adding one or two new plans to keep things fresh. You might find something works that you never new about before. If nothing else, research a few different techniques so that you know what is out there. You might be able to take certain parts of one marketing plan and use them with your current plan.
In my opinion 2014 will see the return of quality online insurance leads. New companies like LeadID and TrustedForm provide a verification system that eliminates duplicate leads and bogus IP leads. Lead aggregators that use this type of verification will have a higher quality lead than those who don't. Read our previous post The Insurance Lead Industry in 2014.
10. Create one piece of viral content
This is easier said than done and it is not necessary. It just sounded like something fun that the whole office could participate in such as the Harlem Shake.
Read this article to better understand how content goes viral. http://socialtriggers.com/craft-contagious-content/
11. Start a Vlog
By vlog I mean a video blog. You can do this on Youtube for free. Your vlog can go hand in hand with your blog. You can use a lot of the same content from you blog for you vlog script.
Google search robots like video content. Display your videos on your social sites, website, blog, and even in your newsletter.
Just like your blog, make sure you create videos that involve something helpful for your viewers.
Also, allow yourself enough time to shoot and edit your video. Make it look professional. Have fun with it and don't forget to smile when your talking. I know it sounds trivial, but I am always amazed at how many videos are out there where the presenter is stone faced while talking.
12. Give a public speech
Public speaking can be a good way to establish your name in the community. There are several places that typically need a public speaker.
Local public schools occasionally offer leaders in the community to speak to students and sometime even staff members. It might be beneficial to call up the superintendent or a board member to see if they need a presenter for the school year.
Universities also frequently have public speakers address the student body. Sometimes there are even specific groups or clubs on campus that will have a speaker come in to talk to members. I suggest finding out if the local university has a business or investment club you can speak to.
Your church might need someone to speak to the congregation. In this case, you do not need to talk about business or insurance unless that is what the clergy requests.
If you belong to any organizations offer to speak at their next event.
13. Maintain a work-life balance
At the beginning of this post I said that these resolutions were in no particular order. That wasn't entirely true. I saved the most important resolution for last. In my experience a work-life balance is the key to the success of all other resolutions, personal or business. Give yourself set hours, even if they are long hours. If you say that you work from 8 - 5 but realistically always leave at 7 then set your hours to 8 - 7. Never leave later than 7 o clock. This will help you and your family plan events and work around each others schedules. Remember a happy wife is a happy life!
I know the business can be stressful. It has its highs and lows. The most important thing I learned from my days of playing baseball is that you can't get too high or too low. The same applies to the insurance business. You will have some months that you are riding a huge wave others you will be in the cellar clawing to get out. Keep your emotions consistent and you will survive the year.
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