Making the Announcement
When you create your agency, you will want to make an announcement about it, most especially to those with whom you have done business with in the past years. If you don’t have any kind of a non-compete agreement in place, then you probably will not have any restriction issues. If you do have any kind of restrictions in place, there are still ways you can make an announcement — just make sure it does not to violate your contract. You can do this in form of
- (a) A mailer such as card as many practices do.
- (b) Online such as sending out emails.
- (c) Posting a social media announcement.
- (d) Combination of the above
For additional help on Starting an Insurance Agency, please go to our Starting an Insurance Agency page and complete the form
Please read about Non-Compete and Non-Piracy Agreements on the previous sections of this guide as to see if any restrictions apply to making such an announcement. As to be certain you are not in violation of your previous agreement, the announcement should be discussed with your attorney
Getting a Website
Having a website is a must for all insurance agencies, most especially new insurance agency startups. You want to have this site up from Day One so that those searching Google can find you. If your own name is not included in your business name, make sure to include your name somewhere on the site to make sure 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
There are many vendors who specialize in building websites for insurance agencies. You may check out Websites for Insurance Agencies on AgencyEquity. Many agencies do not have websites, and this is tantamount to turning business away or hiding when people are looking for you! Be a smart business person and use your website to your advantage.
Social Media Sites
The purpose of social networking sites is to keep in touch with people who know you. These include those who may have been your previous client and trust you. If you don’t have an online network yet, build it on one of these social networking sites. Create it and build it well in advance of starting an agency if possible as this is one of the better ways to not lose 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 on being a multi-line agency, have a presence on both of those sites. You can create your own personal profile on each site, and you can also create your agency profile as well (via a company page). You can also post information as often as you want to your connections. There are many social media experts out there 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.
Other Online Resources
Being listed online is huge and your agency should go on as many legitimate websites as you can. Doing so will help prospective clients find you easily and increase the ranking of your website in search engines. The first place to start would be to add a Google business listing. There are many online directories that you can list your agency and the more popular ones will be found in Google organic searches. You may want to try these keywords:
- “Insurance Agency Directory”
- “Insurance Agent Search”
- “Insurance Quotes” (directories will target keywords 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.
“Having a website is a must for all insurance agencies, most especially new insurance agency startups. You want to have this site up from Day One so that those searching Google can find you.”
A US Ranking (ranking only in the USA) of anything below 100,000 may indicate they are getting some level of traffic (anything higher may mean 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 and this may not cost you for a basic business listing. Nevertheless being on more than just Google is important because they may not search your agency as a keyword, rather they may be searching 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, it would not hurt to submit a press release to your local publications. 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 cluster-type groups. 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 to make sure it is accurate in these directories. You want to make sure that your website is listed accurately. Users of these sites have a choice among many agencies so don’t leave anything up to chance, especially as a start-up agency.
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 this. This is very important because those who knew 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.