You Cannot Neglect the Search Engines
At our family's San Francisco agency, we are currently receiving 20-30 insurance quote requests a day. Quite frankly, the office cannot handle the volume of business, and my sister (who does the processing of new business) has told me from time to time: "you've got to slow down the Internet stuff - I can't process it all."
If the Internet business was ALL we did, I guess we could manage it - but as you know, there is a lot more to running your agency than handling just one thing. So, the agency is in the fortunate position of being able to "choose" what business they want to write, which means that of many of the quote requests are told to try again later.
I get asked, "How do you get people to your web site?" That is a big question, with a lot of answers. Most insurance agencies struggle to get new viewers to their site. Basically, we derive 100% of our customers from SEARCH ENGINES, at NO COST to our agency. Wow - what a deal! We are so well placed in the engines, we don't have to spend anything for advertising - but remember - that is 7 websites and online for 12 years. Starting fresh will be a challenge, but you can do it.
Since I have had our agency on the Web for over 12 years now (which is longer than most), we have had time to develop strategic positioning in the major search engines at no expense. Of course, with my knowledge I have a dramatic advantage over the average agency, but during the days when search engine submissions were all "free" - it could be done quite easily.
At this time though, I think a "hybrid" approach (using free listings and some pay-per-click) is probably necessary to get substantial traffic without waiting several years. Try to get free positioning in all of them (through a constant submission regimen as described below) - but there may be some you'll have to pay for, and you should consider doing so, if you have no traffic at your site right now.
If you follow these instructions, and if you have a well designed web site (you need both), you should develop at least "some" web traffic within 3-6 months.
1) You MUST submit your website to search engines AT LEAST monthly. That means your main page (which would be your domain name) and all sub pages, since they may have content that would rank better than your homepage.
2) You must concentrate your efforts on submitting to the MAJOR engines. I'm talking about Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Network (now BING), Alexa (Amazon' engine), and a few others. Don't bother with minor ones for now. But it's VERY worth your time to take an hour once every three weeks to submit. (Look for the add URL pages in each engine - it's free.)
3) You may want to consider a modest pay per click ad campaign with either Google or Yahoo, or both. They drive 90% of internet traffic. Don't go after generic terms like "auto insurance." They cost too much per click. Go after secondary phrases like, "low cost auto insurance Texas" and so on.
If you want to make sales online, the search engines need to be your best friends. By all means, get to know them. Submit your site often. If you don't have the time, or don't want to learn how, spend just $15 to have it done once a month through a reputable service at: Submit By Hand.
Submission will pay for itself many times over.
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