Insurance Agency Marketing Report Card for Web Marketing Initiatives

How is your agency progressing with your insurance agency marketing plans? Are you talking about executing these important insurance marketing initiatives or actually accomplishing these tasks? Are your marketing efforts yielding the results you seek, and are you measuring the campaigns to determine ROI? Are your programs traditional or web based, or some combination of both? Review the key insurance agency web marketing activities below, and see if your agency receives a passing grade. Check off each item and add your total below to determine your web marketing grade.

___ Insurance Agency Emarketing – Your agency utilizes professional e-marketing campaigns offering a monthly webinar, newsletter or case studies and has developed substantial opt in email list (5,000+). You closely follow CAN-SPAM regulations and measure the efficacy of each campaign. You have no spam complaints and honor opt-out requests immediately.

___ Insurance Agency Website – You have an up to date website, attractive, easy to navigate, browser compatible with compelling and sticky content. Social media icons are prominent and link to your social media venues.

___ Agency Blog – Your agency provides at least one blog, prominently displayed on your website, with 2-3 postings each week. Extra credit if you’re adding images to your blog postings.

___ Agency Video – Your agency has invested in website video vignettes, providing information about your value proposition, products and services. This video is leveraged on your website and blog (insurance agency vlog).

___ YouTube – You have created a YouTube channel leveraging the website video mentioned previously, and are working on expanding views of this channel.

___ Insurance Agency Social Media Marketing – Agency executives, agents, producers, account managers and service teams are using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to expand your insurance agency web marketing reach. Extra credit if you have standardized your employee profiles on LinkedIn and have created a professional company page on both LinkedIn and Facebook.

___ Agency Webinars – You have created a professional webinar series for your prospects (and clients) and have established a following where you receive 50 – 500 registrants per webinar.

___ Client Testimonials – You have professionally branded client testimonial PDFs, describing how your insurance agency improved service, coverages or solved a unique problem for a multiple accounts. Extra credit if you have both written (PDF) and video testimonials and have added them to a private or public area of your website.

___ Value Proposition, Elevator Pitch & Telemarketing Pitch – Your agency has vetted all three versions of these pitches, published them across your agency and practices them periodically at sales meetings and company meetings. These are refined and polished over time as your agency and the marketplace continually change. And, of course, the value proposition is the theme of your insurance agency website, prominently displayed on your Home Page.

___ Collateral – This is actually eCollateral, electronic fulfillment that can be printed on demand if needed. This eCollateral is professional, branded and conveys your value proposition and services. It is used for email information requests and for producers as they work their respective pipelines. eCollateral is critical for lead response and professional lead handling.

___ SEO – Your insurance SEO long tail keyword analysis is complete and your website has been professionally optimized. Your insurance agency appears prominently in organic search results (SERPS).

Now it’s time to determine your grade. There are 11 insurance agency marketing initiatives listed above. When we refer to “ongoing” initiatives in the grading, it means that your agency is providing an ongoing monthly webinar series or biweekly e-marketing campaigns for example, not simply one or two of these campaigns per year. Here is your grading criteria:

Web Marketing Report Card

A – 10 or more of these are completed and ongoing. Congratulations, you’re a top web marketing agency and are well on your way to creating an enviable marketing foundation.

B – 8 or 9 are completed and ongoing. Great job, you are moving your agency toward the creation of a powerful web marketing machine. If video or SEO is a missing item, tackle this quickly, these initiatives offer great marketing value to agencies.

C – 7 are completed and ongoing. You receive a passing grade, but there is important work to be done.

D – 6 are completed and ongoing. About half of these web marketing initiatives are in need of attention – and your agency should find a path to tackle these as quickly as possible.

F – 5 or less of these are completed and ongoing. The web marketing train has left the station, and you are not aboard. Determine which of these open initiatives can be done quickly, assign them to a competent internal source (or outsource that function) and move forward. Social media and SEO often work in tandem and you can move from an “F” to a “B” for example, very quickly.

Many agents and brokers lack the internal resources and expertise to accomplish these initiatives. Even if the tools are available, they often lack the knowledge to properly use them. In these cases, agents and brokers can opt to outsource these types of tasks to a competent insurance agency marketing firm

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White Hat Insurance Agency SEO Methodologies

White Hat SEO

Hopefully your insurance agency is now familiar with terms like insurance agency SEO, insurance agency search engine optimization or insurance agency search engine marketing, the process in which agents attempt to lift their websites to a top position on page one of Google or Bing’s search engine results pages (SERP). There are two basic approaches to accomplish improved search engine rankings, which can ironically (or iconically) be found in old Westerns. I’m referring to the old white hat versus black hat cowboy days featuring white hat actors like John Wayne and Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) against black hat actors like Jack Palance. For a more contemporary version, Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader comes to mind, minus the hat for Luke. Fast forward to today and we’re now referring to white hat versus black hat SEO tactics. Hopefully your agency is not engaging in black hat tactics accidentally or otherwise. As with the movies of yesteryear, the black hat represents the villain, and the villain is usually vilified. Black hat SEO tactics can get your agency in trouble with the search engines, and there is no need to resort to these methods to achieve compelling SEO results for your agency.

Long Tail Keywords and White Hat Keyword Density

Insurance Agency Search Engine Optimization begins by creating a list of preferred insurance keyword phrases, often referred to as trophy words. Examples of this may include: California Liability Insurance, Massachusetts Business Insurance, New York Truck Insurance or Group Health Insurance. These phrases are called long tail keywords and need to appear on insurance agency websites in a variety of ways. Once your agency has determined the best keyword phrases (after reviewing them in Google AdWords or other keyword analytics tool), your agency should populate your website using your preferred keywords. This needs to be accomplished with your metadata (description, meta keywords, page title, etc.) and on the actual content which appears on your web page. Your agency should also measure “on page” keyword density. Each page should be optimized for one to three phrases. Experts and empirical data varies on this, but many consider 5% to 6% to be optimum density for the major search engines. Working within the boundaries of “reasonable” keyword density, meta best practices, quality inbound links to your insurance agency website and a robust social media marketing initiative will yield positive results for your insurance agency SEO web marketing plans.

White Hat Link Building

These days, Google and Bing are trending toward quality over quantity, your insurance agency should focus on building quality links with reputable sites. These can include insurance carriers and partners with whom you work, resource sites about insurance or business topics related to your target market, reputable ePublishing sites and external blogs. Buyer beware if you’re contacted by an organization that boasts they can provide “10,000 inbound links” to your website, you must carefully assess the type and quality of these links (and the company which is contacting you) to ensure there are no improper link building tactics being employed.

Follow Search Engine Guidelines

Content should not be hidden or disguised in any way, and meta tags should be representative of your agency and the content provided on that page. Custom landing pages are appropriate and helpful, falling completely within white hat SEO tactics, as long as it is correctly optimized for your specific solution. For example, you can create a landing page for Professional Liability Insurance, featuring relevant content and appropriate keyword density exclusively for your PLI products and services.


Most agencies should leverage the old “crawl, walk, run” approach when it comes to search engine optimization, working first on relevant content with optimized meta, meta tags and keyword density, then supplementing these efforts with blogging, ePublishing, YouTube Videos and other Social Media Marketing campaigns.. And remember, no matter how pretty that big photo or image happens to be on your insurance agency website, these do nothing to help your SEO efforts. Make sure your website is balanced between graphical appeal and sufficient, relevant and “White Hat SEO” optimized content.

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Insurance Agency Marketing and Insurance Agency Lead Checklist

The days of relying solely on referrals or in person networking as an insurance agency lead generation strategy are coming to a close for many agents and agencies. New economies of scale offered by more efficient marketing methods are typically needed to supplement traditional marketing methods such as networking and referral generation. Producers seeking to carry their unique value proposition to targeted prospects, especially in the commercial insurance and group benefits markets, typically need an improved insurance lead generation strategy to increase the suspect and prospect pools in their respective pipelines.

The list of possible marketing and lead generation initiatives is hardly endless, though somewhat exhaustive, and can be daunting for many small to medium sized agencies and brokers. Defining the type of agency we should describe a small to medium in size is subjective, so in this case we’ll use financial parameters from $2 Million to $50 Million in commission revenues as an attempt to frame this group. Granted, though there is a major difference between a $2 Million agency and a $22 Million broker, there are also similarities when it comes to their respective marketing challenges. Once an agency exceeds $50 Million in revenues, they should be able to sufficiently staff up for most of the initiatives noted below. The skills necessary for these types of marketing initiatives are truly varied, and include all of the following:

VP Marketing (Marketing Strategist/Generalist)
Programmers for Websites (HTML, PHP, etc.)
SEO Specialist
Web Analytics Manager
eMarketing Manager
Blogger, Vlogger
Social Media Marketer
Graphic Artist
Telemarketer (Appointment Setter)
Video Specialist

Some of these skills may be combined into one marketing position (writer, editor, blogger for example), while others are disparate and would require specific skill set staffing of that position. Even larger agencies, those with $50 Million and greater in commission revenue, outsource some of these tasks when there is not an ongoing, full time need for that skill set. Video is a good example of this, as are graphic artists and SEO specialists.

Here are 20 insurance agency marketing and insurance lead generation initiatives every agency can leverage. Some of these are modest efforts, others far more comprehensive. How many of these insurance marketing initiatives can your agency check off?

Insurance Agency Marketing Plan
Updated Insurance Agency Website
Website Analytics
Web Visitor Identification System
Organic Insurance SEO & PPC Ads
Insurance Search Engine Marketing
Insurance Social Media Marketing
Agency ePublishing
Agency Blogging & Vlogging
Insurance Agency eMarketing
Insurance Web Seminar Marketing
Contact List Generation & Email List Generation
Agent Buyer Personas by target market
Prospect ID or other Prospect Qualification Methodology
Website Video Creation & Client Testimonials
eBrochures & Client Case Studies
Newsletter Creation & Distribution
News Releases
Insurance Agency Telemarketing & Lead Handling
Prominent, effective and measured Call To Actions for your website and all marketing materials

There are other marketing initiatives which can be used including snail mail marketing, traditional seminars, sponsorships, traditional advertisements, etc. Most of these leverage the skill sets discussed earlier and all of these can be considered, though a focus on digital and repeatable is usually advisable. Producers, executives and owners all seek to grow their book of business. Marketing is time and budget driven, and if done correctly, should provide an ROI driven formula to cost justify the investment.

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Insurance Agency Web Marketing for Lead Generation In A Soft Market

When considering the current economic climate and soft insurance market, every agency and agent wants to generate the optimum number of qualified leads with the lowest possible marketing investment. There is always a tradeoff between insurance agency lead flow today versus long range marketing plans, branding and agency awareness campaigns for the future. Let’s review some of the web marketing options available and discuss the length of time necessary to generate leads for insurance agents, or at a minimum, how long it would take to complete the task. These are in a suggested order for a typical insurance agency web marketing initiative.

Insurance Agency Website:

This is the first and foremost task for every agent and agency. Today your website is your Main Street fa├žade, the front store window which every prospect and client will view. Regardless of lead flow, it is of paramount importance that your website is up to date and professional. After all, would you want to enter a store with peeling paint, a cracked front window, a faded sign and a general look of neglect? It only takes 30 days to revitalize a website, top to bottom and a compelling website will start to pay dividends immediately.

Insurance Agency Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Now that your insurance agency website is current and compelling, we need to focus on SEO. Arguably, much of the on page optimization was already accomplished if your website was redesigned, although many agencies have found that web designers may not be conversant with SEO. Regardless, it’s time to ensure your insurance agency SEO is at an optimum level. This encompasses both on page and off page optimization initiatives and both are extremely important to your success. Insurance agency SEO projects can put your agency on Google page one in as little as 30 to 60 days, resulting in a dramatic improvement for web traffic and an increase in lead generation.


Blogging is a great way to increase website traffic, showcase agency expertise and improve insurance agency SEO. It’s fast, easy and arguably fun to do. Blog entries can be short; even two or three relevant sentences will often suffice. Blogging can also be outsourced to an insurance marketing agency or a proficient copywriter. Blog topics can often become articles, published in online magazines or article directories. Blogs can be integrated into social media marketing programs, and lead generation can be tracked through website analytics programs (including Google Analytics which is a free solution). If done correctly and consistently, blogs can increase lead flow in as little as 60 days.

Electronic Publishing

Electronic publishing or epublishing offers insurance agencies another way to generate website traffic, inbound inquiries and establish a positive internet presence. These days, electronic publishing can be more beneficial to drive in profile prospects to an insurance agency website than social media marketing or bulk web lead purchases. Articles should be educationally oriented focusing on your area of expertise. For example, perhaps your agency is proficient in compliance, workers compensation or marine insurance. Articles on these topics showcase your expertise and will help drive traffic to your website. Electronic publishing can drive leads within 30 days. Articles are typically published within a week of submission.

Social Media Marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr)

Social media marketing is interesting, fun and empowering. Every agency and agent should have a presence in the major social networks, and should join relevant prospect groups on LinkedIn. Integration between social media (linking your blog to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for example), improves speed and efficacy of your content. Video offers advantages for marketing through YouTube and other social networks, and of course, makes your agency website more interesting and “stickier”. It takes time to germinate leads from social media marketing. Assume at least three or four months of effort before you see a return. However, when combining and integrating social media marketing with some of the other lead generation tools mentioned here, your return can be much faster.

Insurance Agency eMarketing

Agencies who try to use email blasts to blast out offers for cheap insurance will be sadly disappointed in the results. However, agencies who leverage eMarketing to distribute quality newsletters, white papers or educational webinar series can find this a highly effective lead generation tool, one which can dramatically help lead gen in a soft market. Campaigns can yield results very quickly, though it takes time to map out a successful eMarketing and seminar strategy, and an agency should plan on a 90 day cycle.

Insurance Agency Web Seminars

Web seminars, when combined with a professional eMarketing initiative, can be one of the most effective, long term lead generation tools available to agencies, in a soft or hard insurance market. Web seminar series build tremendous credibility, internet presence and agency awareness, and when done correctly, can virtually eliminate cold calling while adding qualified leads to the agency pipeline. It takes some time to create a successful webinar series, often up to six months to build awareness and loyalty. That said, once an agency establishes credibility, their webinar series will continue to draw impressive numbers of prospects. Agencies should assume three to six months to build an effective web seminar program.

Pay Per Click (Google PPC Campaigns)

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising can be an effective way for insurance agencies to increase website traffic and generate leads. Organic SEO is superior in that there are no ongoing click based fees. However, for specific agency marketing niches, including commercial insurance, benefits insurance and personal lines. Pay Per Click marketing campaigns can offer a beneficial boost to insurance agency lead generation. Other variations on this include Pay Per Inclusion and Pay Per Impression. An important note, these campaigns need to be monitored and measured closely, as some keyword clicks can cost $5 to $15 every time someone clicks on the advertisement.

Web Lead Bulk Purchases

There are many companies which drive insurance consumer traffic to their respective websites and then parse and bundle leads, ultimately selling these to agents in their respective target areas. For example, some of these companies drive life insurance prospects to their websites, collect information, then sell these prospects to insurance agents and agencies on a per lead or lead bundle price. This can be beneficial to drive activity into and insurance agency pipeline, however, these leads are often sold to multiple agents and brokers, resulting in a pool of agents competing for the same prospect, armed with the same information. These bulk lead purchases can drive activity into a pipeline within 30 days, though the downside is that the leads are a free for all, and your agency will be one of many calling on the same leads.

These web centric activities can help drive leads to an agency, even in a challenging soft market as we have today. Your agency should focus on areas in which you have expertise. For example, perhaps one of your agents or support specialists likes to write, you could have them work on blogging and electronic publishing. Or, you may have a principal who would like to create a prominent social networking presence. However, if you lack the internal expertise or bandwidth, you can outsource all or part of these activities to a competent insurance marketing agency.

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Insurance Agency Web Marketing Plans

As insurance agencies create their marketing plans for the upcoming year, many will focus on insurance agency web marketing as a key marketing driver to generate insurance agency leads. Web marketing is not merely a trend; it is a new way of doing business, and one which agencies cannot ignore. The days of agency growth from a purely referral driven perspective are gone, as more and more communication becomes virtual in nature, as networking moves from handshaking to internet surfing, and younger buyers embrace digital communication over face to face meetings.

Yet what does web marketing mean these days? According to Wikipedia, web marketing “refers to the placement of media along many different stages of the customer engagement cycle through search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), banner ads on specific websites, e-mail marketing, and Web 2.0 strategies.” This serves as a reasonable definition for our discussion, as we answer important questions relating to insurance agency web marketing: Let’s begin by identifying the key components of an insurance agency web marketing plan:

  • Agency Web Seminar Marketing
  • Blogging and Vlogging
  • Insurance Agency Website Design
  • Insurance eMarketing Campaigns
  • Insurance Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Insurance SEO (Insurance Agency Search Engine Optimization)
  • Pay Per Click (Google PPC, LinkedIn PPC, etc.)
  • Social Media Marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, StumbleUpon)
  • Insurance Agency Telemarketing (augments web marketing)

Arguably, insurance agency web marketing always begins with a comprehensive insurance website redesign, unless the agency website was recently completed and is up to date. An insurance agency website must be graphically attractive, it should have current and compelling content, a blog (and vlog if possible), and industry news to mention a few important elements. Video is becoming increasingly more important as it provides a medium for the quick conveyance of information in a compelling and personal manner. Website video can also be leveraged on YouTube to further increase insurance agency internet presence. Vlogs, which are video blogs, can be very helpful to a website. Vlogs can be a talking head video, recorded PowerPoint presentation or even voice over photographs. They integrate the contextual power of a blog with the enhanced impact of a video or PowerPoint.

Content is king on the internet, and insurance agents should take great care in the creation of their website content. A graphically attractive website, short on content, will result in a sub-optimized insurance search engine marketing result, adversely impacting insurance agency SEO efforts and mitigating website stickiness and efficacy. These days, a key aspect of any insurance agency web marketing plan should include an annual review of website content. Further, the content should be of interest to both prospects and clients alike.

Social media marketing incorporates Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and StumbleUpon to mention just a few of the major opportunities, allowing agencies to dramatically expand their marketing reach. Social media marketing offers insurance agencies the ability to expand branding, share content, establish subject matter expertise and participate in discussions. There are many aspects of insurance social media marketing to consider. For example, a simple blog entry can be utilized in many ways to expand reach. A blog can be tweeted, reblogged, ePublished, and incorporated in a newsletter or eMarketing campaign. In this case, one blog is reused five times, though there are methods where one blog can be used ten or more times, dramatically expanding internet reach and enhancing cyber presence and insurance SEO. Why is social media marketing a critical component of an overall insurance agency web marketing plan? Social media marketing creates a cyber foundation for an agency to build upon. Ultimately, social media marketing, if used correctly, can become one of the key drivers for insurance agency leads. For the purposes of this article, we’ll add blogging and ePublishing to the social media marketing category since these are tightly interconnected. Blogs which are repurposed as articles can then be shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and StumbleUpon, helping insurance agency SEO.

Social media marketing along with insurance agency SEO help with organic search engine rankings. Another option is paid engine ranking placement otherwise known as PPC or Pay Per Click advertising. At the top and side of the organic SERP (search engine results page) are paid PPC ads. When an internet user clicks on one of these, your agency is charged a fee. These fees can range from under a dollar to $15 or more depending upon the competitiveness of the search term. For example, let’s say that your PPC keyword phrase is New York Business Insurance, and when someone types in that keyword phrase your PPC ad appears. Depending upon your budget and keyword phrase bid, you might appear on the top, and when someone clicks on the ad, you are charge a PPC fee, let’s say five dollars. The great thing about this is that the volume, efficacy and conversion ratio are really easy to track. The negative is, of course, that you are constantly paying out ad fees. Thus the difference between organic and PPC, and predicated on your insurance agency web marketing plan, you may have budget for only one or the other, or perhaps for both.

Web seminar and eMarketing campaigns represent a compelling outbound approach for agents. Agency webinars offer the ability to communicate on a high level with B2B prospects. eMarketing campaigns that offer educational content are much better received than insurance product offers or pitches. A long term approach to agency web seminar marketing can yield significant dividends, though it is important to note that eMarketing and web seminar programs can often take up to 6 months to establish a following.

Lastly, where and how does telemarketing fit in, after all, it is not technically a web marketing solution. Telemarketing, or in this case perhaps appointment setting is a better description, can be an important component of an overall web marketing plan. After all, these web marketing leads need to be followed up upon. If producers are busy with renewals, or if they only have time for warm prospects, the outsourcing an appointment setter can be very helpful to an agency’s overall pipeline building effort. For example, when doing an eMarketing campaign, all prospects who click through to an agency website and all webinar registrants should be called directly after the web seminar to ensure that the agency has taken advantage of their web marketing efforts. If producers don’t have the time to call, the calls should be done with a qualified appointment setter. After all, the primary purpose of any web marketing plan is to drive qualified leads into the pipeline.

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