Announcing Your Insurance Agency
When you create your agency, you will want to make an announcement about it, most especially to those with whom you have done business in the past. If you have no non-compete agreement in place, then you probably will not have any restriction issues. If you do have any restrictions in place, there are still ways you can make an announcement — just make sure that it does not to violate your agreement. You can do this in the form of (a) a mailer, such as a card, as many practices do; (b) online, such as sending out emails; (c) posting a social media announcement; or (d) a combination of these. Please read about Non-Compete and Non-Piracy Agreements on the previous sections of this guide to see if any restrictions apply to making such an announcement. To be certain that you do not violate your previous agreement, the announcement should be discussed in advance with your attorney.
Your Insurance Agency Website
Having a website is a must for all insurance agencies, including new insurance agency startups. You want to have this site up on the day you open for business so that prospects can verify your legitimate existence and to be found on search engines. If your own name is not included in your business name, make sure to include your name somewhere on the site so that it will be captured by search engines. For those people who want to learn more about you and the services you provide, a website is the absolute best way to inform the public.
Many vendors specialize in building websites for insurance agencies. You may check out Websites for Insurance Agencies on AgencyEquity. Some agencies do not have websites, which is tantamount to turning business away or hiding when people are looking for you! In this day and age of everything virtual, your website is essentially your storefront, most especially if you don’t have a physical office presence. Be a smart businessperson and invest well in a professionally looking website. It can work to your advantage.
Insurance Agency Social Media Strategy
The purpose of social networking sites is to keep in touch with people who know you and to reach out to others you may not know. These include those who may have been your previous clients and trust you. It can also help introduce you to friends of friends. If you don’t have an online social media presence yet, now is the time to do so. Create it and build it well in advance of starting an agency if possible, as this is one of the better ways to stay in touch with those who know you.
If you plan on specializing in personal lines, Facebook is probably the best site to use. For those focusing on commercial lines, LinkedIn may be your best bet. If you plan to be a multi-line agency, have a presence on both sites. You can create your own personal profile on each site, and you can also create your agency profile (via a company page). You can also post information as often as you want to your connections. There are many social media experts who can help you with social networking, and it’s not that expensive to outsource. Not utilizing these very popular sites would be shortchanging yourself — especially when you are transitioning to your own independent agency.
Insurance Agency Directories
Being listed online is huge, and your agency should go on as many legitimate websites as possible, which will help prospective clients find you easily and increase the ranking of your website in search engines. Start by adding a Google business listing. There are many online directories in which you can list your agency. The more popular ones can be found in Google organic searches. You may want to try these keywords:
- “Insurance Agency Directory”
- “Insurance Agent Search”
- “Insurance Quotes” (directories will target key words such as this)
- “Insurance Agent” or “Insurance Agency”
By doing these searches, you should be able to locate the top 10 insurance directories. For the more popular directories, it may be worth testing how effective a paid listing is as long as they don’t lock you into a long-term contract. You can find out which directories are more popular by going to Alexa.com. A US Ranking (ranking only in the USA) of anything below 100,000 may indicate that they are getting some level of traffic (anything higher may mean that they may not be getting significant traffic for a national insurance directory). The lower the ranking, the more visited and valuable the website is to you. However, being on Google is key, since Google is typically ranked #1, which may not cost you for a basic business listing. Nevertheless, being on more than just Google is important because people may not search your agency as a keyword; they may search for an agent or agency in general.
You may also want to check with your local business journal publications and local sites (such as those for local news) to place your agency listing or online ad. Also, submitting a press release to your local publications can be helpful. While you should try to get your name out there as much as possible, please exercise discretion regarding the sites you list on. You want your name associated only with reputable websites.
You will also get a lot of help in this area from any professional organization you join, such as agent associations or an agency network. Most of these groups have directories or agent locators on their websites. As you get carrier appointments, they will automatically list your agency information on their “agent locator”. Nevertheless, you may want to check your information in these directories to make sure that it is accurate. Users of these sites may choose among many agencies, so don’t miss out, especially as a start-up agency. Also, make sure that your information is complete and that your website is linked if that is an option.
To reiterate, you want to make sure that those who are searching for you by name can find you. This means that, if your own name is not part of your agency name, then you want to make sure you include your name in every listing that allows you to do so. This is very important, because those who know you will search for you, but most will not initially know or remember your new agency name. Without this important piece of information, the Internet will not be helpful to those who want to find you by name.
Guide to Starting an Insurance Agency Table of Contents
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