A question that gets thrown at me on a regular basis is, “What are your guidelines for developing a digital marketing strategy for your agency?” So I wanted to take the time to address it in this article.
Get a Started with Instagram
If you haven’t started an Instagram account for your agency or for yourself, then what are you waiting for? The younger generation has flocked to this social media platform with over 260 million monthly active users, and growing. Even though this platform has a younger following, that doesn’t necessarily mean your agency shouldn’t be there. This is a very visual social platform, and I truly believe every agency needs to be using it.
Facebook – a Lookalike Audience
“What exactly is a Facebook Lookalike Audience?” – a question I always get asked. Let’s look at what it is and how it can help you and your agency. “Lookalike Audiences” let you reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business (agency), because they’re similar to a customer list you would naturally care about. When you use custom audiences via Facebook, you can choose to create a lookalike audience, or people who share your interests. So for example, my agency targets people with children, so this platform helps me identify those individuals so that we can connect with them on Facebook. The people we are target are worth marketing to, because it is more likely we can earn their business and generate new leads. So, your agency must have a target market first, then you can look into implementing this strategy.
Pay to Play
Let’s start by adding 5 or 10 dollars in a promotion to a few selected Facebook posts (that are on your agency’s page). This will drastically increase your reach. You’ll notice a major spike in communication on your pages and your traffic when you boost your post with even just a small budget. With Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm, the likelihood for an insurance agency to appear with high priority in a news feed is less likely when your posts aren’t paid for. In the year 2015 and moving forward, you should focus on promoting posts that can yield the best results, and boost them for a small budget. As you grow, look at spending a few more dollars when you see fit, and you will see the interaction in the Facebook world go up, which will bring a larger ROI to your overall strategy.
If you are an agency that only sends out one email blast per month, consider doubling this number, and try to send out at least two per month. Nordstrom, Progressive, and Geico are just a few insurance providers that come to mind that send out multiple email blasts EACH DAY! If you have compelling content that would be informative to the subscribers on your email list, tell them about it via email. According to econsultancy.com, email marketing remains the best digital channel for ROI. Start strategizing heavily as to how you will make this form of online marketing work for your agency. And please remember the golden rule of digital/email marketing: you need to have handcrafted templates with compelling content. Every agency needs a digital marketing system, and if you are looking for advice on what tools you should be using, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
There has been a lot of frustration amongst marketers/agency owners/business owners over all of the advertising that various forms of social media are forcing businesses to partake in. Luckily, Twitter is still a great platform where you can grow your following organically. Yes, organically, meaning it’s important to a business’s bottom line. One place that can get you started is to search for hashtags within your targeted industry, and reach out to users who are engaged in subject areas in your niche. Don’t just sit back and watch in the Twitter world; reach out to and even compliment someone on Twitter about a blog post that they wrote, or charity work their involved in. You can begin by asking questions related to your hashtag, and the result will be more interaction and a stronger core following, filled with people who are interested in your content! There is a very good reason why Twitter has nearly a billion registered users and growing, so join the flock!
Remarketing in the Facebook World
The number one reason why every agency needs a full time social media person in their agency is for remarketing via Facebook! If you are a social media marketer and have not taken advantage of display advertising on Facebook, you are missing an outstanding opportunity. Not only will this yield one of the highest return on investments for your clients, but it will also help with brand exposure (your personal and agency brand matters), lead to better conversion rates, and even provide a flexible budget which will lead to a more effective strategy. Facebook is still a great place to get an ROI, and I say this because the demographic of the everyday user is generally getting older, and for the average agency owner, we aren’t interested in writing 20/22/24 year olds, but more so the older generation, because they usually have many more things to insure.
Step Up Your Blogging Game
We like to refer to blog content as the lighter fluid that starts the fire. When you write a compelling blog, it has the potential to rank well organically in the search engines. A blog can serve as content for a Google+, Facebook, and Twitter post, as well as a teaser for an email marketing campaign for your agency. By creating better blog content with great visuals, your web traffic will increase, and your content will become more compelling
The Power is in the +
Google+ might not gain you or your agency that much interaction on your social media posts. This social media platform plays a crucial role in search engine optimization (SEO) on the localized level, which makes this a must for you and your agency. The more reviews you get, the more content you can post onto your page, and the more followers you will obtain, resulting in a higher likelihood that you will start ranking well for localized search terms. Yes, it’s all about SEO, and if your agency isn’t in the Google+ world, you’re losing out on leads everyday.
The Power of Videos
Did you know that Google owns YouTube? By implementing videos into your online marketing mix, you can start to get search engine exposure for the videos that you upload onto YouTube! There are a lot of great tricks to obtain more video SEO exposure. Choosing a proper title, tags, uploading a transcript, and embedding the YouTube videos onto your pages are just some of the tricks for optimal SEO exposure. Online video should definitely be included in your email and digital marketing strategies as well.
The more compelling your graphics are on various social media channels, the more interaction you will receive. Yes, the world is going VISUAL. If you have a graphic designer, start sending him or her your social media calendar so they can help create beautiful imagery, and if you don’t have one I would highly recommend you hire one. Your graphics matter to your open rate and to prospects reading your content; it’s a key component to your online success.
The Three Letters that Haunt Me… SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) leads have an average close rate of 14.6%, while outbound leads (such as cold calls or print advertising) have an average close rate of 1.7%. Having your website optimized for SEO is a necessity in today’s complex marketing world. By having an SEO strategy in place, you can increase your leads and grow your business for the coming year. If you need to locate a great SEO professional, reach out to me, and I can introduce you to 3 different people to interview.
Content, Content, and more Content
If you want your content to be seen by more eyes and gain more exposure in today’s marketing world, start contributing content to other blogs in similar fields. If you own an apartment community in Nashville, start writing for a local Nashville website that talks about the best activities around town. You will be seen as an expert in your city, and that can help drive more traffic to your website. While people might not be looking for an apartment immediately, they will remember that you have invested time and effort into content within their community!
Go Digital and use PR
You can build off of the agency’s content contribution by implementing a Digital PR strategy. If you reach out to various media related websites and/or social sites, and send them over a solid pitch, they might just write an article on your agency or feature your CEO in a blog post. The more people and prospects talking about your agency, Tweeting about your agency, and mentioning your agency’s brand, the better exposure you will receive.
Here are my guidelines on where to start, and I wish you and your agency the very best.
This is pure gold, Chris. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and ideas. I will be using much of the advice from this post and I may take you up on the offer for help with email marketing. What kinds of posts do you think work best on Instagram?
Thanks again, Chris.
It’s my pleasure Keith. As for Instagram, it’s purely visuals, but it’s a bit more of a personable social network. We use anything from customer pictures, to branded visuals, to candid photos of our staff. You just have to capture your agency’s message or brand while showing people you are just as human as they are on Instagram. You can find us and check out some of our posts by searching for “Paradiso Insurance” if you’d like to see some examples.