Time and time again, I see agents and brokers from all around the U.S. and Canada who have not spent quite enough time on their agency website. What do I mean exactly? Well, I do see the rare case where an agency doesn’t have a website at all, and believe me that’s a huge problem. More often than not though, I see agency owners who may not want to spend a lot on their website and want to take the cheap route, or who simply think that having a website alone is enough, and they don’t take the time to frequently update it. Not to mention, some websites are missing a few key features that can help with converting visitors into leads or customers/clients. Let’s go over four things that are critical to your agency’s online success, which our marketing team has labeled as must-haves for every agency website.
- Your Brand
Whenever I take the time to discuss marketing, whether it’s traditional forms of marketing or digital, it all starts with your agency’s brand. Branding is a very powerful tool, whether it’s in the insurance space or not, and for many reasons. Your agency’s “brand” is how your customers, clients, and anyone else in your agency’s audience perceives you, your agency, your products, services, ideas, and your organization as a whole. Whether you realize it or not, your brand is carried across all points of your agency, including your marketing, your staff, your agency’s customer experience, and then some. Having a well-developed and consistent brand can make it powerful though, and here’s why.
When someone sits down to check out their social media that is connected with our agency, they’ll go through their normal routine of first clearing their notifications, then checking out what’s going on with their family and friends. After a small while, they’ll scroll past content that was produced and pushed out by our agency, and 99% of the time, if one of our customers or clients are looking at our content then they will know immediately that it came from us. Not only that, but our brand’s mental connotations are positivity, family first, and giving back to local charities (just to name a few), so a majority of the time that our brand hits our audience, it puts a smile on their face. That’s powerful. There is a mental stimulation associated with each and every brand, and how powerful that association is depends on the amount of time that you spent developing your brand, and how consistently you can maintain your agency’s brand.
When it comes to branding, many pieces of your website should be “in brand.” This includes your visual content, message, tone of voice, and including things like your logo or branded design whenever you see fit. Remember, consistency is key with a brand, so make sure everything follows the same guidelines. If you need help crafting your agency’s brand and guidelines, I would certainly reach out to our friends at Agency Appeal, whom you can check out online at www.agencyperformancepartners.com/agency-appeal/.
- Customer Testimonials
What is the number one form of new business for our agencies, even to this day? For most of us, we immediately know that the answer is word-of-mouth referrals, which is why it is critical to include testimonials on your website. When people visit your website, they are searching for cues that will allow them to develop trust in one way or another, to decide whether or not your agency is right for them. Let’s take a look at the customer experience journey to better understand this.
For this example let’s look at someone who is getting ready to purchase a new vehicle and needs to open up a new auto insurance policy. The first thing they’ll do is ask their family and friends to see what their best options are. If they are still undecided, or didn’t get the answer they were looking for, the next thing the prospect will do is check out Google, and type in something along the lines of “Auto Insurance Stafford CT,” and of course we are using our agency’s hometown as an example here. Once they did that, they’ll find our agency, and they’ll start getting an idea of what it’s like to do business with us. After perusing the website for a bit, they are still unsure of whether or not they’d like to commit to being a customer because they haven’t heard anything about the agency from their peers yet. This is where testimonials come into play, and can begin converting a wandering visitor into a long-term client of your agency.
Be sure that whenever you develop a “raving fan,” or someone who feels that your agency is simply the best one out there, always try to ask them for a review online. We have reviews set up on our website, Facebook, and Google+, so that way our customers can choose their platform to leave us a testimonial in whatever way is easiest to them. Over time, the more testimonials you receive, the better your agency will be perceived online.
Beyond testimonials, it’s important to include other “trust cues” as well. We include brief biographies of our staff, our agency’s promises that we stick to in all of our customers’ interactions, and pictures of agency and staff so that people can get an idea of what the customer experience is like with our agency before they even step foot in our doors. It’s important to use your website as a tool to develop trust, because you’ll have a much higher chance of earning a visitor’s business in the end.
- Clear Contact Information For Your Agency
This one should not be a surprise, but during any point that your customers are visiting your website, it should be very easy for them to come into contact with your agency. There are times when people have very low attention spans, and if it takes them longer than three-to-five seconds to figure out how to get in touch with your agency, they may bounce off of your website back to Google to see what your competitors have in store.
Our suggestion is to keep your phone number listed in the upper righthand corner of every page of your website—this way you’re always just a phone call away. To make things even easier on your customers, be sure to include the physical address at the very bottom of each page as well, all of your additional information, and your hours of operation, so that your audience knows when it’s a good time to call or stop in. To top it off, you can also include a “Contact Us” page as well, that has a form for your customers to fill out their information as well as why they are reaching out, and then submit it directly to your agency’s staff to get an answer for what they are looking for.
Finally, this is where we convert visitors into customers and clients for our agency, and start working on a long-term relationship with our audience online. Calls-to-action are any time that you instruct your audience to take action, or basically how you get leads to convert to customers. We suggest including several calls-to-action throughout your agency website, but first and foremost, make sure it’s incredibly easy for your customers to request a quote from your agency online. When someone visits our website at www.paradisoinsurance.com, after just a few seconds of scrolling, we have a pop-up form that comes up to let them know that they can get a free quote today. We also include a “Get a Quote” button right next to our agency’s phone number in the upper righthand corner of our website. As soon as they fill out our brief form, they are in our pipeline, and an agent from our office calls them the same day.
Beyond a quote request, there are other calls-to-action we like to include. One of our others is to request our customers download our agency’s mobile app. We heavily believe in having an app in place for every independent agency, because without one there’s no way you can provide service 24/7 around the clock. We also have calls-to-action to get our website visitors to check our social media, leave us a testimonial, and even fill out renewal questionnaires so we have better retention rates with our business overall.
At the end of the day, it should be obvious that simply having an agency website is not enough, because it takes careful care, consistency, and key features—or “must-haves”—that will evolve a simple website into a digital marketing powerhouse. I wish you the best of luck on your journey to building a profitable website, and to agents and brokers everywhere, happy marketing!