I talk with businesses everyday about their websites and one common sense thing almost always gets overlooked and for some reason this is especially true in the insurance industry. That very common sense thing is developing an actual strategy BEFORE you build the site. We've all heard the saying "failure to plan is planning to fail", this holds true in pretty much everything in life including your website and overall marketing strategy. One of the first questions I ask someone when discussing their site is "how much new business is your site generating now?". Nine times out of ten the answer is none. My followup question to that is always "what was your strategy to generate business from the site?" and the answer is usually silence and then pretty much a response of "we didn't have one". This means that the majority of businesses out there are all building websites for no actual good reason or purpose which is just insane! Think back to when you had your website built, did you have a real strategy and purpose in place? Why did you put the time and money into building the site? Has your website met the goals you had for it when you initially built it? In 2017 your website should be the cornerstone of ALL of your marketing efforts both online and off. This includes radio, newspaper, direct mail, referral building, client retention and even in person networking. Today when someone hears or sees your ad they're not going to go pick up the phone, they're going to look for your website first. This means your website is almost always your first point of contact and your initial sales rep as well as plays a direct role in how successful your offline marketing is. Before building or rebuilding your site you should have a good strategy in place for all of the following: 1. Clean modern and intuitive mobile responsive design focused on CONVERTING your target new customer. This means limiting distractions and keeping the sole focus on and funneling directly to your primary call to action, less is more here. 2. Determine who your target ideal new customer is, "Everyone" is not your ideal target customer. If you're in P&C then you know most new customers reach out to you for a car insurance quote, that's where your primary focus should be as far as converting new customers. You can possibly even refine it even farther into a certain age group, income level or whatever other criteria you tend to do the best with. Car insurance is the honey, once that new customer is attracted then you can explain the benefits of bundling homeowners, life insurance etc. 3. Determine your primary call to action, what do you want your visitors to do? Too many times people tell me that they want to "give people information" and use calls to action like "find out more". Folks, you're NOT in the free information distribution business, you're in the business of writing policies. Your primary call to action should either be to get a quote or to schedule a consultation. If they want more information they can find it farther down your site or give you a call but your above the fold section of your site needs to only focus on the primary call to action. 4. Develop a strategy to integrate your offline marketing campaigns with your website. People are going to go to your site anyway so you need to direct people to a specific landing page that laser focuses your message on that specific campaign. If you send out a direct mail piece your call to action should be to go to yoursite.com/landing-page which should be designed to reinforce the product/service your promoting in that campaign funneled to a clear call to action, again usually to get a quote or schedule a consultation. This simple tactic will dramatically improve your offline marketing campaign conversions and ROI as well as help you better track specific campaign performance by checking basic analytics on how many people visited that site and how many clicked through your call to action. 5. THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT... Establish and improve your local online presence in Google Places, Bing Local and Yelp. This is incredibly easy to setup, costs no money, simple to improve and will give you the biggest quickest improvement out of anything else you could do. If you're not yet listed in Google Place (business) then head over to google.com/business and setup your account. They'll mail you a postcard with a verification code on it to prove you're at the location you provide then you're in and you'll start to appear in the local listing results at the top of the search results (section with the map) for competitive keywords such as "car insurance", "insurance agents", etc. Once you're listed you need to start working on raising your ranking and the best way to do this is start getting customers to review you on Google. You should have a link in your website footer to review you on Google as well as in your email signature, the more reviews you get the better. Bing & Yahoo both rely on Yelp listings to power their local results so this means you MUST have a Yelp account. Once you have a Yelp listing setup for your agency start asking for Yelp reviews as well as Google. Again, the more reviews you get the better! Just like you ask for referrals, ask for reviews too. 6. Search engine optimization is not quick, cheap or easy. The cold hard truth is you just can't compete for keywords like "car insurance" in the organic search results, there's only 10 spots and you're competing against companies with million dollar marketing budgets. What you should do however is determine 3 "long tail" keywords that you can realistically rank for and optimize your website for those 3 keywords. This would be something like "mytown car insurance agent". You're not going to get a ton of traffic from these keywords but if they just get you 1 new client per month that's 12 new clients per year you would have missed out on had you not done it. 7. Create a "tell a friend" referrals page. You can include an option to allow people to put in an email and refer a friend directly from the site, post a recommendation on Facebook and again ask for reviews on Google and Yelp. A link to this page can be included in your email signature and you can always email your existing book of business and ask them to visit the page to refer you to friends. You should also print out some sheets that you include with quotes and new policies asking to visit the page and refer you to a friend and review you on Google and Yelp. 8. Give existing customers a reason to visit your site AGAIN. First, you need to have access to basic customer service tools in your main navigation menu such as a "request certificate of insurance" form, "file a claim" link, etc. Second you need to have new/different content, if you never change stuff on your site then nobody ever has a reason to come back. One simple thing you can do is setup a blog on the site and periodically post agency news, advice, etc. Another thing you could do is setup a customer appreciation page and list customer appreciation events. If you don't already hold these types of events I highly recommend you start, these are things like bicycle safety courses for kids, fire safety & prevention classes you can host with your local fire department, new driver seminars for families with teens about to get their license and medicare 101 type seminars to explain medicare to customers getting ready to turn 65. These types of events don't cost much to put on, a little bit in refreshments and if you don't have the space at your office you can usually find a reasonably priced place to host them like in a local hotel. None of the stuff I listed above is rocket science, most of it is free or very low cost & most of your competition is simply ignoring this stuff! Obviously there's a lot more you could do in addition to what I listed here, I didn't even touch on social media marketing. But these simple things listed above you can start doing right now and will get you light years ahead of most of your competitors quickly without breaking the bank. Good luck and if you implement any of this stuff come back and let us know in this thread how it works out.