For agents with a small marketing budget, the Internet is a virtual playground of relatively inexpensive (or downright free) opportunities to raise awareness about your services and build your brand.
Now, before you say this doesn’t apply to you because you work with seniors and they don’t go online, check out the results of a Pew Research study that show seniors may not be as apprehensive toward the Internet as you might think.
According to this study, nearly 50% of those between the ages of 65 and 75 use the Internet. Nearly 95 percent have sent or received e-mail. So even if you work primarily in the senior market, ignoring the Internet could be a mistake.
In a 2008 MarketingProfs survey measuring marketers’ reactions to the economic downturn, 62 percent of respondents said they plan to increase their online marketing budget in 2009. That is in conjunction with 83 percent saying they plan to cut spending for traditional vehicles (print/television ads, direct mail, etc.).
1. The Internet can deliver sales-ready leads. Generally, online marketing “pulls” prospects to you, rather than “pushing” your services out to them. If they are looking for your solution, your sales cycle will naturally be shorter.
2. It allows you to spend time, not money. Almost all Internet marketing strategies are less expensive than tradition marketing and advertising solutions. But they do often require more time to implement.
3. Everything is measurable. You can track how many visitors come to your web site. You can see how many people read your e-mail. You can keep data on how many people who came to your landing page actually signed up. Internet marketing allows you to track everything, which allows you to test different variables and settle on the approach that works best.
4. Everybody has a voice. A single blogger working out of his basement can have a larger audience than a major newspaper with hundreds of employees.
Get a Web Site
Even if you do nothing else online, as a business-owner, you have to have a web site. It’s just not an option anymore. People expect a legitimate, successful business to have a web site.
Buying decisions today are heavily influenced by online research. What happens when one of your clients mentions your name to a friend who’s looking for insurance? What happens when the prospect “Googles” you? What’s the difference between them not finding anything and finding a web site that mentions your experience, credentials and has product information they can review before meeting you?
The lack of a web site may not be a deal breaker. They may still call and you may still win their business. But a Web site would have been an excellent opportunity to reinforce your image as a professional and instill confidence in a potential client.
Think of a Web site as your online brochure, which allows your business to be in front of anyone, anywhere at any time. This has become more important with the advent of online quoting and telephonic and internet enrollment options. Now your insurance practice is no longer limited to serving only people who are within driving distance. A Web site could be your key to tapping brand new markets.
Every agent who contracts with SMS has access to our web site services
These are great, affordable web site options for agents who want to take their business online, but never thought they had the time or money to devote to it.
Search Engine Marketing
We all want to show up on Google for the keywords our prospects are searching for. The problem is it can be exceedingly difficult to show up on the first page of Google for your keywords, depending on your industry.
One solution is Pay Per Click advertising on Google. With Pay Per Click, your ad will show up when people search for the keywords you selected for your campaign. You pay Google--how much depends on the keywords and the page you want to appear on--when someone clicks your ad.
E-mail is considered by many to be the most effective online marketing tool because it is:
A blog is a type of web site, usually maintained by an individual, that provides news or commentary on a particular subject in the form of brief entries that are displayed in reverse chronological order.
We mentioned search engines before. Search engines love blogs because ideally they have fresh content that is ordered by categories and tags in a fashion that makes them easy for search engines to read. Corporate blogs are skyrocketing in popularity as more and more companies supplement their marketing efforts with content their prospects want to consume. This is known as content marketing.
Anybody can have their own blog. All you need is expertise in a given area, some time and some skill for expressing your thoughts in writing. As an insurance agent, you have the expertise, but if you don’t have to time or skill, this may not be for you.
You can’t really talk about Internet Marketing anymore without at least mentioning social media. Social Media encompasses sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, where you can create your profile and connect with other people, and sites like Digg and Delicious, where users can share content.
Your first assignment in this realm: Get a LinkedIn account and join the SMS LinkedIn Group. Wait...make that your second assignment. First, you need to get a web site.
Call 1.800.786.5566 ext. 3616 to speak to an SMS Internet Marketer about launching your own agent web site.