There are a lot of opinions in the marketplace about what tools agents need to deploy a successful online marketing strategy. Much of this “noise” comes from providers wanting to sell you products and services. Other information comes from industry “experts” and other well-wishers. So, what are the minimum internet marketing requirements for independent agents and agencies?
Your agency won’t get far without a well-built website. The use of “well-built” is intentional here, because agents sometimes get more concerned with the beauty of their website than they do with how it is found. A well-built website serves two stakeholder groups. Your website needs to capture visiting prospects with compelling content. But, for your website to be seen, it needs to be found, so your website also needs to serve Google and Bing.
Many agency owners and managers don’t understand the difference between a website designer and a webmaster, but they are very different. Designers are artists, so they will focus on the “art” of your website. Webmasters, including search engine optimization experts, are instead focused on ensuring that your website can be seen as a search result. A successful website will have a balanced combination of the two.
Second on your list should be a well-conceived auto-responder system. Auto-responders are systems that send scheduled and often personalized emails to prospects and customers. The first sent email would typically be a welcome or thanks for asking for a quote type email. Because you have built the email content in advance, you are only responsible for getting new email addresses into the system and this step can also be automated.
Your newsletter should include topics about the local area, protection strategies like emergency readiness kit ingredients and testimonials from new and existing clients. With a more sophisticated auto-responder, you can integrate customer statements and billing directly into this system as well.
Social media may be the most confusing ingredient for successful internet marketing, but it doesn’t have to be. A simple Facebook page that is devoted only to the agency and showing consistent new posting is plenty of social media for most agencies. There are free and low cost solutions that allow you to also pre-schedule your Facebook posts so that you can focus your attention on the customer in front of you.
A simple Facebook posting strategy is one weekly post with subject matter that rotates from agency information to neighborhood information to general information that might include support for local charities or pictures of the Little League team you sponsor.
Although you can certainly add other ingredients, including YouTube and Twitter, it is more important to build and maintain a solid internet marketing foundation and these are the basic must-haves for internet marketing success. As a bonus, you can also tie your website, Facebook page and auto-responder together to make each one more powerful.