It's crucial to stand out above the rest, and if you're sending your clients elsewhere to research Medicare or Life insurance or any other senior healthcare product, you're doing yourself a disservice.
You're the expert and you need to let your clients know why they should choose you. Marketing yourself and your services is vital to growing your business. If your tell clients to go to another website to research Medicare, the likelihood of them buying a Medicare Supplement from you is nil. After all, why should they? You didn't explain their options to them. They had to research for themselves and it's quite likely they will either A) buy from another insurance agent who will help them with their choices or B) buy direct from the carrier. If you're going to make them read up on Medicare or any other insurance topic that you're knowledgeable about, at least send them to YOUR website.
In order to market yourself, you need to let your clients know why they should choose YOU. What do you bring to the table that another insurance agent doesn't? What makes you so special? Your clients and prospects are online researching insurance agents and products, just as they're researching doctors, restaurants and real estate agents. And with that being said, having an online presence is paramount. Make sure your face-to-face presence is in alignment with your online presence.
Having a website is an expense I can't really afford.
You can't afford a website you say? Well let me tell you, NOT having a website is an expense you can't afford. You already know your clients are online doing research on an array of topics. If you don't have a website or even a micro site you're just losing out on potential clients. Websites don't have to be complex and expensive. They don't have to be chock full of bells and whistles. They DO, however, need to be current, informative and user-friendly. Your clients and potential clients need a way to research you and your expertise online. If you don't have that available for them, it lessens your credibility. You hand out business cards and brochures, right? Your website is your online business card and brochure. It's yet one more way to promote yourself. Your competition down the street has one, you can count on that.
Your website may not generate thousands of leads for you, but what it will do is increase your chances of being found more easily. And? It will demonstrate to your clients that you're on top of your game. When your clients can go to your website and read up on the services you provide, just as they would if you mailed them a brochure, they are more likely to refer your site to someone else who needs your services. How easy is it to send a link in an email? VERY.
Where do I start? Who do I hire to build my website?
We have a myriad of solutions to help you with getting your presence online. Be it with a full-blown website, a micro site, or simply claiming your business on Google and building a free site with Google's tools. Don't let the internet intimidate you from realizing your potential. Think of it as a giant encyclopedia, and you need to grab your page in it. You'll be glad you did. And so will your clients past, present and future.
The first step in creating a digital footprint is to start off slowly, and in increments. Trying to be all over the web in one fell swoop is completely unrealistic. There are too many places to be, and it takes time to be where you want to be, and offer content that is of value.
Having worked in Sales for Lactalis Group and Apple Inc., and currently working in Marketing and Social Media Marketing, it takes time to build up a digital presence. And not all digital spaces are created equal. By implementing a digital strategy in 2018, you can help bolster your sales and broaden your network, but you must be open-minded and be ready to roll up your sleeves and do some work.
Some of the biggest misconceptions about social media is that people assume they will suddenly have clients knocking on their door the minute they create their social media platforms, and start pushing content. STOP right there. It does NOT happen overnight. It takes time to grow followers. It takes time to cultivate a community. It takes effort to deliver meaningful content. And it takes time to engage with your followers.
There are two ways to share content on social media platforms:
We haven't talked about websites and why you should or should not have one. Having a website is paramount if you're an established agent with a solid book of business and a client base that needs to find you online and your resources 24/7. If you're a new agent just looking to get established, then I have a suggestion for you. Hold off on the expense of building a website and start off slowly (again). Begin by building a business facebook page where you share (primarily) industry-related content. Sharing your story and how you came to be and personalizing your page DOES provide value, but be mindful of how much you share about your personal life. A business page is exactly that. A page for your business.
LinkedIn is another must when you're starting off. It's essential to have a LinkedIn profile because that's where industry leaders, colleagues and consumers hang out. Again, start off slowly. Build your profile and take time to craft your work history, education, accomplishments and awards to include all pertinent information about your career. And please? Don't forget to use a professional looking photo of yourself for your avatar. Being online is about connecting with others. People like to see what others look like when they're networking. Nothing screams "INCOMPLETE PROFILE" like a LinkedIn page with no picture of the person. Be professional and have someone take a well-lit picture of you if you're uncomfortable taking a selfie. You don't need to incur the expense of a professional photographer.
If you've started off slowly and now want to move on to additional platforms, then start with one you feel most comfortable with. In November Twitter lengthened the amount of characters you have to tweet with. The old 140 character limit is no longer in effect, and you now have a whopping 280 characters to play with. Instagram and Snapchat are very brand-oriented when it comes to social sharing. These platforms are more about sharing your story. These are platforms where you can share more of your personal life in combination with industry information.
If any of this sounds like I'm speaking a foreign language, or if you understand some of it, but need a little 101 on it, I'm available to help you. Everyone makes New Year resolutions and sadly many fall by the way side. Embracing technology and expanding your digital footprint on the world is beneficial for you and your business. Whether it be by launching a new website (we have referrals for you for agency websites), building your facebook business page, composing your first tweet, sending you first mass email campaign, or submitting your first electronic application, we're here to guide you and give you assistance.
Technology does not have to be challenging. Nor does it have to be a nuisance. Technology is here to assist you, and help you grow. If you're serious about expanding your digital footprint and want to take the next steps to build your online presence, reach out to me directly at 800.928.4998 ext. 8 or email me at [email protected].
I'll share some of my tips for finding news-worthy industry content. I'll give you examples of insurance agents who are killing it with their websites and social media content. I'll give you my best practices for scheduling out content. And lastly? I'll be here to show you the ropes and how to navigate the digital waters. So grab your life jacket, and give me a shout or shoot me an email.
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.