With the abundance of new media platforms, there are more ways for insurance agencies and independent agents to reach their key audiences than ever before. Whether your targets are current and prospective customers or the insurance industry, it is important to understand how, when and where these individuals receive their news. For some, it’s internet media sites, social media, eNewsletters and blogs, while others still prefer to sit down with the newspaper each morning.
The question is, what mix of online and traditional media relations strategies will help you stay on the radar and impact your target markets, customers and contacts? And, what strategies should be utilized to maximize your campaign?
1. Spread Your News Online
Every agency or professional should have at least one social media account, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. For agents focused on commercial accounts, LinkedIn is the best choice. Conversely, agents with a business-to-consumer book of business should consider Facebook and Instagram. Determining what and when to post, and what visuals to use, are also critical.
All major social media platforms have analytics tools that will let you better understand the reach and engagement level you achieve.
Also, consider hosting a blog on your website featuring longer form pieces, interesting visuals and video.
2. Share Helpful News and Industry Insights
A good strategy for staying top of mind is to share news your customers can use. For example, with homeowners, you may want to share lessons learned from a particular claim or string of claims. Same with auto. If an accident occurred as a result of texting while driving, you could use that scenario to promote safer driving. Sharing industry news, such as a newspaper article or opinion piece, also gives your audience news of interest to them. When selecting content, keep in mind what the reader would be interested to learn. The key is not to waste people’s time or they will quickly move on.
3. Maximize Your Media Coverage
Whenever your agency or team member is profiled or published in print media, in most cases that article will also appear online. Maximize that media coverage by posting the article link on all of your social media channels and on your company website. Additionally, you can email the article to a list of contacts. When something good happens for your agency, share it!
4. Add a Visual
When you have news to share, ask yourself if there is a visual that can be incorporated. For example, an agency who participated in a volunteer project can include a photo from the event when sending out a press release and when posting about the news on social media. Photos are the easiest way to attract attention on newsfeeds. You can also consider creating an infographic or chart to explain the process for filing a claim or how a managed repair program works.
Producing videos is quickly becoming an excellent tool for sharing news. Many smartphones have video capabilities that are easy to use. Agents can add a video introduction to their website bio to tell potential clients about themselves and the business in their own words.
5. Going Mobile
Many website visitors use smartphones or tablets to access the web. Your website must be mobile friendly so clients are able to easily view and navigate your site. If visitors can’t easily find information, or if pages load too slowly or don’t fit on their screen, they will quickly lose interest and move on to a competitor’s site. Apps are also an excellent tool for connecting with your customers on the go.
6. SEO is Key
Once your content is set, it’s important to make sure you are reaching your target audiences. This can be achieved through search engine optimization (SEO).
Search engines, such as Google, update their “search rules” on a regular basis. While including regularly searched terms throughout your site helps your rankings, fresh and relevant content remains king.
Now may be the perfect time for a professional assessment to see how your website ranks on Google and other search engines as compared to your competitors.
7. What’s Being Said About You Online?
Review sites such as Yelp and Ripoff Report, along with Google Reviews, keep online reputation management practitioners on their toes. The truth is, review sites cut both ways. Staying on top of your agency’s ratings and feedback is almost a full-time job, but responding to a customer complaint on these sites is recommended when a solution or answer can be offered. One thing is certain: more and more, customers are making purchasing decisions based on what others say.
Consider having a tablet in your office to let customers rate their experience while there.
Most customers expect good service and will not take to the internet to talk about a positive experience or helpful staff member, but if the opportunity is there they may stop to share the good story.