ITC Press Releases
|ITC Provides Free Property Data Prefill for Florida Insurance Agents
Agents Will Get More Accurate Rates, Save Time in Quoting Process
POSTED OCTOBER 14, 2020 9:00 AM
|ITC Acquires Agency Matrix, LLC
ITC announced today it has acquired Agency Matrix, an insurance technology provider
POSTED FEBRUARY 04, 2020 9:00 AM
|Sarah Jaquez Wins the Fourth Annual InsurTech Scholarship
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of website, agency marketing, rating and management software and services, announced today Sarah Jaquez as the recipient of the 2019-2020 InsurTech Scholarship.
POSTED OCTOBER 22, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Reinvents Online Insurance Shopping Experience for Consumers
Next Generation TurboRater for Websites Brings Best of Insurtech Capabilities to Agents and Carriers
POSTED SEPTEMBER 04, 2019 2:00 PM
|ITC Named Top Insurance Workplace by Insurance Business America
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of websites, marketing, comparative rating and management software and services, has been named a Top Insurance Workplace by Insurance Business America.
POSTED AUGUST 21, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Acquires Smart Harbor
ITC acquires Smart Harbor, a provider of digital technology solutions to insurance agents. Smart Harbor works with more than 1,000 independent insurance agencies by bringing them technical expertise and industry knowledge to help them grow their businesses and retain clients through websites, smart forms, SEO, and data analytics capabilities.
POSTED AUGUST 14, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Named Top Technology Provider by Insurance Business America For Fourth Year in a Row
Insurance Technologies Corporation announced today that readers of Insurance Business America have named ITC a top technology provider for the fourth year in a row.
POSTED JUNE 12, 2019 9:00 AM
|Fourth Annual InsurTech Scholarship Open for Applications
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of insurance websites, agency marketing, rating and management software and services, opened today the fourth annual InsurTech Scholarship for applications for the 2019-2020 school year.
POSTED APRIL 25, 2019 9:00 AM
|ITC Acquires Assurance Systems Incorporated
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of websites, marketing, rating and management software and services, announced today it has acquired Assurance Systems, Incorporated, an insurance technology provider in the southeastern United States.
POSTED NOVEMBER 05, 2018 9:00 AM
|Sarah Knaub Wins the Third Annual InsurTech Scholarship
Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a provider of website, agency marketing, rating and management software and services, announced today Sarah Knaub as the recipient of the 2018-2019 InsurTech Scholarship.
POSTED OCTOBER 02, 2018 8:30 AM
|Welcome to the Agent Resource Center
Welcome to ITC's Agent Resource Center, a hub of content for agents who want to learn how to manage, market and grow their agencies in today's insurance industry.
Not sure where to start?
To search for a specific topic, click the magnifying glass located at the top of every page. Then, type in your topic and hit enter.
Just browsing? Welcome!
You'll find all sorts of helpful resources in this hub.
Our Operation Agency Success series covers various topics, including marketing in short, helpful videos.
Operation Agency Success
Find out how others in the insurance industry plan their day and achieve success in our This is the Way series. You may see a familiar face.
This is the Way: Mick Becker, CEO of PIA National
In-depth eBooks and white papers are detailed, long-form content that cover our most frequently asked questions and popular topics like "How do I use Facebook for my agency?" and "How can I drive more traffic to my agency website?"
White paper library
If you have only a few minutes a day to learn, here are some good places to start...
If you made it to the bottom of this overview, here's a secret: We put on a free insurance marketing webinar every month. Click below to learn more.
Masters of Marketing webinar series
Whew, that's a lot of content. Trying to find something and can't? Leave a comment below.
POSTED JANUARY 03, 2020 3:21 PM
|5 Headline Rules to Improve Engagement with Your Online Content
5 Headline Rules to Improve Engagement with Your Online Content
According to my English teachers, there are four types of essays:
It’s a piece of knowledge stuck in the back of my mind. Yet, I never use this type of writing in the online world.
In truth, writing for the internet isn’t about making a lengthy argument, or telling a long story. It’s not about using a five-paragraph essay to persuade a customer to buy our products.
We’re living in the age of the micro-moment. Consumers expect to ask a question and get an answer.
The goal of marketers now is to earn trust with a few words and as little time as possible. And oh, what fun it is.
But pump the brakes. You don’t get to tell your story or make your case if the consumer never opens your door. Or, in other words, clicks your link.
Hi students, welcome to Headline 101.
Rule #1: Stop the Scroll
Your first goal when writing online content is to stop the scroll. This is because step one to a sale will always be engagement.
This is not a new concept that came about with the introduction of social media and smartphones. Let me give you a different example of stopping the scroll.
For this millennial, I vividly remember my parents stopping to browse the magazine stands in the grocery store. My mom would flip through Cosmo while making sure I couldn’t see it. For my father, he would shamelessly browse celebrity gossip magazines.
The same thing that gets my 65-year-old, six-foot-five father to stop in his tracks to find out how Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel make it work, gets a person in need of insurance to read your content.
Quick and easy-to-scan headlines.
Rule #2: Write Your Headline for 1 Person
When it comes to content creation, understanding your audience is a foundational factor. If you’re writing a headline, that becomes even more important. Why?
Let’s use a scenario and a couple of examples to explain this.
Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about the necessity of specific auto insurance for people who commute to DC from neighboring states. This topic is targeted towards an already specific audience.
Your headline should capture the attention of that targeted audience.
Here’s a worst-to-best list of headline options for this blog post.
Worst: Car Insurance for Commuters
Informative, but so, so vague. So, let’s get more specific.
Not Bad: Car Insurance for DC Commuters
More specific, but still very broad.
Best: Car Insurance for DC Commuters: 2020 Local Coverage Requirements
We’ve now hit the sweet spot. You’ve provided a year to add relevance. You’ve provided context to who the blog applies to. You’ve even added in some context about what the subject of the blog will be. Adding the world coverage requirements stresses the importance of obtaining auto insurance for DC commuters.
More importantly, we’ve taken a broad general-audience headline and added context to target a specific audience.
Rule #3: Get to the Chorus
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were masters of engagement. Petty wrote songs for many popular recording artists by following the rule, don’t bore us, get to the chorus. And he meant it, too.
The chorus is the hook. In Tom Petty's famous song, Breakdown, everyone remembers the chorus. For many, it's the reason why they listened to the song in the first place.
A headline should be short and sweet. Scannable and impactful. Avoid unnecessary words and use audience targeting keywords.
Here are a couple formulas to help you draw attention.
- Thought Leadership Headline
- Benefit-First Headline
- Formula: Benefit + with (product/service/offer)
- Example: Get More Options with Florida Independent Insurance Agency
These are just a couple of headline formulas. For more, Instapage offers a free e-book with more than 200 headline formulas to choose from.
Rule #4: Write the Content First
Before you write your headline, fully flush out, and finalize your content. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an email, ad, blog post, or video script.
A headline is essentially a catchy summary. So, how can you summarize what isn’t written?
Read your content, identify the benefit or subject of the copy, and plug it into one of the formulas listed above.
Rule #5: Test, Test, Test Some More
Don’t write one headline for your content. Write 10 headline options.
Show them to your co-workers and get a fresh set of eyes. At ITC, we like to take a vote on which ones we like best. The headline is the first thing your audience sees.
However, if you want to improve your headline crafting skills, A/B testing needs to become a part of your daily routine. A/B testing is not just an email practice!
Social media publishing tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social allow you to A/B test. This tool would allow you to create two headlines and see which performs better with your audience.
Hootsuite was nice enough to write an article on A/B testing with the tools you already have.
A poor headline could be the difference-maker from being the last thing the consumer sees and a sale. Make it count.
Many people pay very little attention to headlines. But, they are one of the most important factors in creating engagement with your content. An engaging headline encourages consumers to stop at your insurance agency website. Attention to this small detail can stop the scroll and generate more leads for your insurance agency.
POSTED OCTOBER 22, 2020 12:22 PM
|5 Ways to Enhance Your Insurance Agency Product Pages with Keywords
Getting noticed on the internet is tricky.
Your insurance agency website is your online storefront. Your goal is to sell your products. Imagine you were driving down the online highway. There were thousands of signs for businesses along the road. How would you know which business offered what you were looking for?
You might’ve heard the word keyword used concerning your insurance agency website content before. Keywords are words or phrases that consumers enter into search engines. They’re also referred to as search queries.
Search engines use keywords to determine the most relevant websites to display on the first page of results. This process is a core element of search engine optimization.
So, understanding and using keywords in your insurance website content is a must. That is if you want to appear at the top of the search results.
Enhance the content on your product pages with keywords to draw traffic by using these five tips.
1. Vary Your Keywords
There are three main types of keywords that you can use in your product pages. They come together to create a net to catch as many relevant searches as possible. The three main types of keywords are…
- Primary Keyword: The primary keyword is the focal point of the content. If your product page sells life insurance, your keyword is life insurance.
- Secondary Keywords: Secondary keywords are slight variations of the primary keyword. They can also be variations of related keywords. If your primary keyword is commercial insurance, your secondary keywords may be business insurance or liability coverage.
- Additional Keywords: Additional keywords are related words and phrases that may be spelled or arranged differently but essentially mean the same as your primary or secondary keywords. This is to catch variations of similar searches. If your primary keyword is health insurance, an additional keyword may be healthcare, medical care, etc.
2. Choose the Right Number of Keywords
There are rules about how many keywords should be placed in a single content page.
Not using enough can make it difficult for the page to show up in the search results. On the flip side, putting too many keywords on one page can lead to penalties from search engines. By the way, too many keywords on a page is known as keyword stuffing.
So, how many primary keywords should you use?
There are many different opinions and recommendations you could find. A good rule of thumb is to use a primary keyword once every 100 to 150 words. Secondary keywords should not appear more than primary keywords.
3. Specify Keywords for a Specific Target Audience
You may have a particular audience you are targeting. You can tailor the keywords on a product page for that specific audience.
There are two sides to targeting audiences with specific keywords. You want to find a happy medium. I’ll show you how.
As an example, let’s say you primarily provide auto insurance for families in Florida who will bundle their home and auto insurance.
Not Specific Enough
The less specific you are, the less likely your page is going to rank. You don’t want to plug in the keyword auto insurance or property insurance without a little context.
If you make a keyword too specific, consumers might not find your product page. An example of a keyword that is too specific would be family home and auto insurance in Florida.
Finding the happy medium is as simple as providing key details that a consumer may be interested in. If your audience is auto or homeowners in Florida, your keyword should be Florida auto insurance and Florida home and auto insurance.
Specific keywords are useful for generating relevant traffic rather than consumers who will hop on and off your page. Just be careful not to fall into the gap of specifying your keywords too much.
4. Be Aware of Negative Keywords
Most keywords are positive. But, there are negative keywords that may be bringing the wrong audience to your product page.
For example, say you focus on preferred risk for auto insurance. But high-risk drivers are submitting quote requests on your insurance agency website. You would want to omit from your content the use of keywords such as high-risk drivers, bad credit, and bad drivers.
5. Place Keywords Meaningfully
You should be conscious of where keywords are placed within the content on your product page.
In general, you should use a keyword within the first 200 words and the last 200 words. The first 200 words are the introduction of the page's topic. The last 200 words could be best characterized as the summary. When pulling search results for a search query, the introduction and page summary is where Google will scan first.
This is not to say that your content only needs to be 400 words total. The content on your product pages may vary in length. You can use keywords throughout the content on your page. However, you should pay special attention to the first and last 200 words.
Also, be conscious that the perception of your reader is important. Using keywords without regard to the page's flow makes sentences awkward and hard to read. Make sure to place keywords appropriately throughout your content, so it sounds natural.
Keywords can be changed and adjusted depending on your results and strategy. But, they do need to be consistent throughout each product page. Choosing your keywords is an important part of the process.
Here are some additional resources that will help you get started with your keyword research…
Need help with the keywords for your insurance agency website? Click here to get your free website audit and consultation.
POSTED OCTOBER 21, 2020 11:01 AM
|Ask Me Anything Panel with Chief Marketing Officer Becky Schroeder
Now, more than ever, digital marketing is an essential practice for independent insurance agencies.
In this special edition of Masters of Marketing, Chief Marketing Officer Becky Schroeder answered the popular digital marketing questions of agents all over the country.
Watch the recording here.
Register once for all Masters of Marketing webinars!
POSTED OCTOBER 15, 2020 6:10 PM
|Core Web Vitals and The User Experience Game Plan
We recently published a blog post on improving your website’s user experience. In that blog post, we covered…
1: Why user experience is important
2: A brief game plan and search engine optimization (SEO) ranking factors for user experience
3: What areas of your website to focus on when evaluating your user experience
The primary focus of every website should be to service clients. That is the core element of website user experience. In the previous blog post, our focus was to offer tips and help you improve areas of your website that had poor user experience. In this blog post, I will provide you with Google’s blueprint for user experience success. I will take that blueprint and show you how you can improve your website’s user experience performance.
Why is user experience so important to Google, and why should it be important to your agency?
Let’s start with Google.
To be frank, making user-experience a ranking factor for websites is long overdue. The consumer’s experience on a website should be a ranking consideration by search engines like Google.
Why? Search results are Google's products.
If a person has a negative experience on a website that Google ranked high, that person loses trust in Google's results. Therefore, Google is inclined to seek out websites and rank them higher if they provide helpful information and a positive experience to consumers. If your website isn’t performing well, Google is less inclined to suggest it as a resource to users.
This is why providing a great user experience for website visitors will soon be a ranking factor for Google.
To accomplish this fairly, Google needed to establish a way to measure successful user experiences on websites. They’ve found their solution.
Core Web Vitals
As we’ve said many times before, it’s not enough anymore to just have a website in today's digital marketplace. Over time, your website requires maintenance, optimization, and upgrades.
If you would like to read more information about maintaining your website, check out some of these free resources to get started.
In this case, you’ll be auditing your website’s user experience so you can rank well on search engines. The good news is Google has provided a blueprint to evaluate user experience with their Core Web Vitals.
Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that measure key aspects of the user experience.
The three main search signals for page experience are…
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures the load speed of your page's main content. Your page should load within 2.5 seconds of when it first started loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): This measures the responsiveness and quantifies the experience of interacting with the page. To provide a good user experience, pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CSL): Measures the visual stability of the page.
Let’s break down each of the three primary core web vitals of user experience. I’ll also discuss how your agency can use this information to be ready for Google’s SEO ranking factor.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
This word sounds like gibberish.
Upon closer examination, it’s really a measurement of web page load speed. This metric simply reports to the search engine the load time of the largest image or text block within the first viewport of the visitor. Viewport is a fancy word for the area of the screen that is currently being viewed. That viewport can change based on screen size, device, etc.
The example below reflects the viewport of ITC’s website homepage on desktop.
In essence, this metric measures how fast the largest content loads on your website.
So how fast is fast enough?
Largest contentful paint has three tiers with respect to load time.
1: Good Largest Contentful Paint Time: 0 - 2.5 seconds
2: Largest Contentful Paint Time Needs Improvement: 2.6 – 4.0 seconds
3: Poor Largest Contentful Paint Time: 4.1 – infinity seconds
Why does your insurance agency website need a good Largest contentful paint load time? Fast load times influence website visitors to trust your website.
First Input Delay (FID)
Nobody likes delays.
On websites, interaction delays can provide a poor user experience. What do we mean when we say input or interaction delays?
Let’s say a website visitor clicks on a link to learn more about a particular coverage on your website. After clicking, nothing happens. A second or two later, the page begins to load. This lag in load time of links or buttons on your website is called First Input Delay (FID).
A delay is not a big deal when it happens once. This is because a slow internet connection can contribute to a first delay. However, it is a bigger deal when these delays happen consistently. That is because your visitors will start to lose trust in their ability to interact with your website.
Now, if you thought the optimal LCP load times were fast, take a look at the FID rendering times.
1: Good First Input Delay Time: 0 - 100 milliseconds
2: First Input Delay Time Needs Improvement: 101 milliseconds – 300 milliseconds
3: Poor First Input Delay Time: 301 milliseconds - infinity
Now, an important misconception about first input delay load time is that it measures the time it takes for the event - or the clicked -link to load. That is incorrect. This metric only measures the time it takes after the click for the event or page to begin to load.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
In my opinion, from a user perspective, this element of core web vitals represents the most annoying misstep that websites make.
Yes, I commonly run into slow websites while browsing the internet. However, it is uncommon for me to visit a website and have a page that takes longer than a few seconds to load. If I do, I assume my internet is weak, and often that is the case.
Before we begin dive too deep into what cumulative layout shift is, let’s look at a real-world example of layout shift.
Every time I publish a blog post like this one you’re reading today, I follow a simple four-step process to add the image at the top.
1: Source the image I would like to use for my blog.
2: Download it to my local computer.
3: Upload the image into the image gallery.
4: Select it from the image gallery and place it in my blog post.
Upon initially opening the gallery to select my image, the page layout will shift. If I click too early, before the layout shifts, I can select the wrong image by mistake. I will have to delete the image selected and redo the process. This can be a particularly pesky experience on a mobile device.
Hence, the name layout shift. Every time an established, visible element on a page – like an image or a button – shifts to a new visible location within the user’s screen, this is reported to Google. These cumulative reports sent to Google equal your Layout Shift Score. Cumulative Layout Shift measures the sum total of all individual website layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page.
How to Obtain Your Core Web Vital Scores
Don’t worry. You won’t need to measure these scores on your own. The developers at Google thought ahead and provided a free tool to measure your core web vitals.
This tool will provide you with an assessment of all the core web vitals on your website. However, if you have any poor scores, addressing them will be your responsibility.
How to Improve Low Core Web Vital Scores
Addressing poor core web vital scores is, unfortunately, a technical process.
Often, issues like these can be rooted in your website’s code. For example, an oversized image or video file, or missing CSS tags. If you or your website visitors are experiencing any of these issues, we recommend working with your website consultant to help you resolve low core web vital scores. They will know how to help you.
The good news is Google understands that fixing issues like these take time. This is why they have released the ranking factors for user experience early and even postponed the update due to COVID-19.
However, now is the time to prepare for this upcoming release. User experience has never been more important, and if done properly, can be an important differentiator for your website.
Contact us today for a free consultation about your website’s user experience.
POSTED OCTOBER 08, 2020 2:31 PM
|Time Spent on Your Agency is an Investment in Your Future
Six and a half months.
It’s been six and a half months since the pandemic forced us out of our normal lives and into our homes using only Zoom and social media to stay connected.
Hard to believe it’s been that long and even harder to imagine when it will end and what life will look like at that point.
There has been a lot of stress and tragedy from the pandemic. But, it has also forced us to slow down, breathe, and look around us.
Many have used the extra time at home for those things we always promised we’d do when we had more time. Lose weight. Learn a new skill or hobby. Read that stack of books. Reorganize a closet. Watch too much Netflix, ahem.
But, what about at work? Has business slowed leaving you with more time? Or, maybe like me, you have more time because you’re not traveling as much.
Now is not the time to take it easy. To take a little extra break. Now is the time to do things you’ve always wanted to do. Now is the time to work your hardest.
Why? Because at some point this pandemic will end. While I can’t predict what it will look like, I do know that the economy will pick up. Commerce will return. Those agents who put in the work now will earn dividends when it does.
Now is the time to work on your business. Here are a few ideas if you’re not sure where to start.
Call Your Clients
Get your whole agency involved and reach out to every client.
Every. Single. One.
Not to sell them something, but to check in. See how they’re doing. Use it as an opportunity to confirm their information in your agency management system. Your data is one of your biggest assets. If you plan to sell your agency in the future, data that is incorrect or incomplete can hurt your valuation. So, start cleaning up that data!
Also, ask your clients how they prefer to hear from you and make a note of that. So, going forward you are contacting them the way they prefer. That’s how you start building a good customer experience. And a good customer experience is a big step in improving retention (and your valuation).
Inspect What You Expect
As an agency owner or principal, it’s important to look at the activity logs or reports in your technology. Yes, you may trust your staff, but you still need to verify what is being done or said in your agency.
Beyond verifying that things are getting done, this is an opportunity to identify weak areas and coach your staff.
What is the average time to quote in your agency? How many quotes haven’t been closed and why? What is your closing ratio by producer?
Pulling these types of reports in your comparative rater will tell you a lot about your agency performance and show you who the outliers are. Then, you can dig into what may be going on and why. After you have a clear understanding, then you can make a plan to make your sales process stronger.
In your agency management system, look at the activity logs. Listen to calls, if you’ve got a phone system that records calls. How is your service department handling their calls and requests? How are they at diffusing an upset client? Are they asking happy clients to leave your agency a review on Google or Yelp?
Looking at this information can help you see the opportunities for coaching to improve your agency’s sales, service, and retention.
Examine Your Technology
Insurance agency software has come a long way in the last 30 years. If you haven’t evaluated your technology in the last few years, now is a great time to do so.
Do your current systems integrate? Or, is your agency having to do workarounds or double entry to get data from one system to another? Do you have processes that could be automated and take some workload off you or your staff?
Conduct a deep dive into your current systems and really understand their capabilities. It’s not uncommon to outgrow a system you’ve been using for a long time. Particularly if the vendor isn’t continuing to evolve the platform to meet the needs of a modern insurance agency.
By staying on a system that your organization has outgrown, you’re only holding your agency back from potential efficiency and growth.
Invest in Digital Marketing
I’ve seen it many times. When business gets slow, marketing is one of the first things cut. I can understand that reflex. Revenue is not coming in like expected so expenses need to be cut. That makes sense if you see marketing as an expense. But, I see marketing as an investment in your future.
One thing that has come out of this pandemic is proof that consumers want and are willing to go online for just about anything, including insurance. By investing in digital marketing, you can capture attention and build a brand while others are shying away. Those who do invest in digital marketing right now will be in a great position when the economy turns around.
One of the biggest pros in digital marketing’s favor is the ability to measure its effectiveness. So, be sure to track the results of any digital marketing efforts you embark on. You’ll know what is working and what is not. So, you can focus your time and budget on the ideas that do work.
Life as an agency owner is busy. But, you can’t hide behind the busyness right now. Sure, this has been a hard year for us all.
But, it’s also a gift because you don’t have to be reactionary. It’s a gift to move forward and try things a different way. You have the time to really focus on your agency.
Look down deep and think ahead. Dream of the possibilities. Remind your clients why they chose you. Dig into the activity in your agency and coach your staff so you can all improve. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new marketing ideas.
Never give up.
POSTED OCTOBER 06, 2020 12:43 PM
|3 Important Insurance Website Optimization Strategies to Increase Traffic
Optimizing your insurance agency website is vital to show up in local search results. It’s also important to help searchers find the correct page on your website.
If you find the website optimization process confusing, don’t worry. I’m here to break it down for you and show you where to start.
What is website optimization? It is the process of using tools, strategies, and experiments to accomplish these four objectives:
- Improve the performance of your website
- Drive more traffic
- Increase conversions
- Grow revenue
Start with these three places to begin optimizing your insurance agency website:
- Your metadata
- Your content
- Your load speeds
Optimize Your Metadata
The metadata does not directly affect rankings, as Google does not take these into consideration. However, it is vital to make a positive first impression with potential customers.
What is Metadata?
Metadata appears on search engine results pages (SERP) under the URL. It includes the title of the page and its meta description (descriptive text below the title). (Websightdesign.com)
Let’s begin with the title tag.
The title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of the web page. The title tag will appear within the tab of your website. See the image below for reference.
But, it also shows up on search results as the link title (red box).
Image Source: Google
This title tag on specific product pages should include that product. And, if you have a local focus, what city you are targeting. Many agents use the city of their primary location.
The meta description is a short paragraph that appears under the title tag in search results (orange box). When deciding what to include in this description, make it readable and compelling. It needs to be unique but also get the point across. You want to entice users to click on your link instead of a competitor.
Keywords are commonly searched words or phrases that indicate intent from a user. Ranking for keyword search is a separate skill in itself. But, generally speaking, it’s a critical aspect of showing up in search results.
You can see the bolded words in the orange box. These are keywords that were included in the search query. To do keyword research for your website, we recommend the free Ubersuggest Google Chrome plugin.
To edit the title tag, meta description, or keywords for your Insurance Website Builder website, follow these simple steps.
Optimize Content on Every Product Page
After optimizing your website’s metadata on each product page, it’s time to look at its content. It is important to start with the main title, or the H1, to cover what the content is talking about and the areas you are serving. This will help with local searches.
Example: Auto Insurance in Dallas, Texas – John Smith Insurance Agency
Each product page needs a title like this. That way, when someone is searching for a specific type of insurance using the term near me, your website will be more likely to show up if you are in their area.
Google has made a few updates to its algorithm, but the most noticeable update has been its focus around content. Quality content has become critical when ranking websites in search results. Google suggests looking over the following when creating content:
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources instead of providing substantial additional value and originality?
- Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia, or book?
You can view more questions to ask yourself when creating content here.
Optimize Your Homepage Load Speed
The homepage is almost always going to be the top landing page of your website. To create positive first impressions with website visitors, your homepage needs to load quickly. Why? Because consumers place a lot of value in website load speed.
- Forty-seven percent of users expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less.
- Forty percent of consumers will wait no longer than three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the website.
Load times are another SEO ranking factor. It affects more than where you rank in search engine results, though. If your website takes too long to load, consumers will look elsewhere.
To evaluate your website’s load speed, there are plenty of free tools. Page Speed, YSlow, and WebPagetest are a few useful resources to test page load speed.
Here are some factors that can influence an insurance agency’s website load speed:
1: Bad server/hosting issues
2: Poor coding standards
3: Too many features, widgets, or plugins
4: Poorly hosted images or videos
Professionally created websites typically follow site-building best practices and avoid these no-nos. Request a free website consultation to learn more about how you can optimize your website.
Website optimization is a continuous process. Make it part of your strategy to evaluate the effectiveness of your website content. Set goals and continually tweak your content. Do A/B testing to find what works best. These three places – your metadata, content, and website load speed - are great places to start.
To learn more about website optimization and search engine optimization (SEO), check out the free resources below.
POSTED SEPTEMBER 29, 2020 12:44 PM
|4 User-Experience Enhancing Tips to Increase Website Visitor Engagement
Launching a digital marketing campaign for your insurance agency is like building a car. There are several parts involved, each with its own essential function. And, it's only when one combines those parts that the engine hums.
A professionally designed website gives your insurance agency a stylish home online. Content marketing initiatives help your insurance website provide answers consumers are seeking. Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your website appear in search results. Social media strategies help your agency engage with your audience. And, email marketing helps you send targeted information to prospects and customers.
With the world going virtual, many insurance agencies have pivoted to digital marketing. They've invested in insurance website design, content, SEO, social media, and email. Some have even connected these campaigns to online comparative raters or 3.
They've made prudent decisions. They've deployed proper tactics. And yet, they haven't all seen the same level of success.
Why is that?
The answer isn't money invested, longevity earned, or even luck. It all comes down to one detail that the most successful agencies don't miss. It's all tied to a North Star guiding their digital marketing missions.
That North Star is user experience.
The Case For User Experience
It's hard to identify the cleanest place on earth. But, it could be Walt Disney World.
If you've been to the happiest place on earth, you should remember a few things about your visit. Cinderella's castle. Or the abundant fireworks and stylish parades. Or Mickey and Minnie and all their friends.
One thing you might not remember? Trash lying around.
Tens of thousands of people visit Walt Disney World each day. But, you could walk up and down Main Street USA and find nary a pretzel wrapper.
Walt Disney World aims to dispose of any wayward messes that might appear in its parks. And, its park designers have placed trash bins within reach of guests. That way, they never have to take a detour to throw anything out.
Cleanliness is one of the core tenets of the Walt Disney World user experience. It might not be flashy, but it makes each visit that much better.
Other companies have also earned gold stars for ease-of-use. Consumers have raved about the user experience of Apple products for years. Their consumer-focused technology has become a star characteristic of their brand. And, Netflix remains a go-to service, thanks to its personalized recommendations.
Great user experiences like these used to be a differentiator. No longer.
With the world engaging online, your website needs an excellent user experience. Modern consumers won't tolerate anything less.
If your website is clunky or hard to navigate, consumers will go elsewhere. That means you lose your chance to earn new business. Worse, those jilted consumers might head straight to your competition.
The stakes are high, and consistently positive user experiences are essential.
The User Experience Game Plan
How can you create a good user experience for your insurance agency website?
It starts with a mindset. You must critique your website from the view of your customer.
Forget about the bells and whistles. Stop obsessing over your logo design. And, don't daydream about end results.
Instead, audit your website with Google's user experience ranking factors blueprint. To evaluate user experience for ranking, your insurance agency website should focus on Core Web Vitals.
Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that measure key aspects of the user experience. The three main search signals for page experience are…
- Largest Content Paint (LCP): This metric measures the load speed of your page's main content. Your page should load within 2.5 seconds of when it first started loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): This measures the responsiveness and quantifies the experience users feel when interacting with the page. To provide a good user experience, pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CSL): Measures the visual stability of the page.
Your website will only ace the user experience exam when your core web vitals are working smoothly. If you're lagging in some areas, don't fret. There's still time to make changes.
From Google, "We recognize many site owners are rightfully placing their focus on responding to the effects of COVID-19. The ranking changes described in this post will not happen before next year, and we will provide at least six months' notice before they're rolled out. We're providing the tools now to get you started (and because site owners have consistently requested to know about ranking changes as early as possible), but there is no immediate need to take action."
Stay tuned for our upcoming full blog post on how you can improve your core web vitals and be ready when Google officially rolls out user experience as a ranking factor.
In the meantime, there are plenty of things you can focus on to improve your website's user experience.
Your website menu shows up at the top of every page. Its presence can keep visitors from getting lost and that can keep them from abandoning your website altogether.
Make sure the menu has well-organized sections. A section links to your agency information, such as your about us page and employee directory. A section for your contact form is essential. So is a section that links to your agency information — such as your About Us page and Employee Directory.
You'll want a menu section that links to your quote forms, of course. But, you'll also want a section that links to information about your lines of coverage. Some insurance shoppers do extra research before requesting a quote. If you leave out the links to the line of business pages, you risk alienating them.
Also, stick to the three-click principle. Visitors should be able to get to any resource on your website in three clicks or less. A well-designed menu can help you achieve this goal.
These may seem like small details. But, they can keep dozens of visitors on your website, who might otherwise leave in frustration. There is a bottom-line benefit to building a robust navigation. It's worth the extra effort.
Content marketing can help increase your website's search visibility. It can also get your website in front of new people.
But, throwing some words on a webpage can only do so much. The magic is in the presentation, and you need content that resonates with your audience.
You want visitors to engage with your website content. You want them to find and soak up information with ease. Then, and only then, can you grow your web presence and audience.
You'll also want to simplify your content.
Simplifying content is about creating shorter, more understandable content. But, more than that, it's about displaying your content so people can absorb it quicker. To understand this better, let's conduct a brief exercise.
Go to the homepage of your insurance agency website. How many scrolls does it take you to get to the bottom? Users going to your website are going for a purpose. That purpose might be to browse, shop, look at coverages, or contact an agent. Regardless, a website that contains too much information only serves as a distraction. Improving user experience is directly correlated to helping website visitors find information faster.
So, consider splitting up your content into sections. Add videos or charts, or widgets to display information in less space, while still communicating your message. Instead of including everything on a topic, link to related resources on other pages. If they're interested in learning more, they'll engage with that call-to-action (CTA).
By making your content interactive, engaging, and consumable, you make it more usable. You'll stand to reap the rewards of this increased utility.
Few aspects of insurance website design get as much attention as buttons. There are dozens of case studies about how a change in button color led to better results.
These studies are attention-grabbing. But the simple truth is there are more practical changes you can make to your website's buttons.
The biggest one? Ensuring you deliver on the promise of your call to action.
Yes, the wording on your buttons matters. What you say needs to match what you do.
For example, buttons that take visitors to quote forms should read Request a Quote. Buttons that go to informational pages should read Learn More.
If you put Request a Quote on a button that links to an informational page, you'll frustrate visitors. They were expecting to go to a quote form. But now, they'll need to click one more time to get there. That's not a good user experience. It leaves visitors feeling the sting of broken promises.
Avoid this situation. Cut down on friction by driving home the expectations you set on each button.
Quote forms might seem straightforward. Consumers leave their information, and you follow up with an estimate.
But, there is far more going on under the surface. When you're looking to improve your user experience, those details matter.
For one thing, many consumers expect an instant quote when they hit submit. Online comparative raters and instant bind widgets provide this option. But if your website doesn't have those, you'll need to reset consumer expectations.
Post clear instructions of what visitors should do on a quote form. Also, tell them what to expect when they submit the completed form. If possible, make these instructions visual, with graphics or bold lettering. Be sure not to make them look cheesy.
Try and keep the quote forms short. Consumers can get overwhelmed by burdensome forms. The less information you can ask them to fill out, the higher the completion rate should be. Only ask for critical information, such as the consumer's name, email address, and phone number.
Changes like these streamline the quote process for consumers. Setting the right expectations and asking less of consumers upfront can work wonders.
Putting It All Together
Your website is a one-stop-shop for a variety of needs. Some consumers will head there looking for a new policy. Others will seek to clear up questions about their existing policy. And still, others will arrive in search of customer service.
When you commit to improving your website's user experience, you can meet the moment for everyone. You can make it easier for visitors to find what they're looking for. You can make the process of engaging with your agency seamless. And, you can succeed as a result.
So, focus on well-known digital marketing tactics all you want. But, don't forget the details that go into user experience. They can make a massive difference.
If you would like a free audit of your insurance agency website's user experience, we're here to help! Contact us today.
POSTED SEPTEMBER 22, 2020 11:58 AM
|This is the Way: Jonathan Monterecy of ITC
Jonathan Monterecy, or as we like to call him, Monty, is all about the client. But what does it mean to be all about the client? In this industry, we all need to be zeroed in on the needs of the client.
Monty’s journey to becoming the new Director of Client Experience at ITC was a somewhat unconventional one.
After graduating from Bryant College in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications, Monty turned down a job offer from Fidelity Investments to work out of his friend’s basement. He says, “My parents were thrilled.” From his friend’s basement, Monty forged a new path that afforded him unique opportunities that otherwise he might not have experienced.
He says, “I’m glad I chose this path as I’m sure I learned much more about business, marketing, and management. Plus, there was never a dull moment.”
From 2009 through 2015, Monty was the GM and eventually the VP of training for a digital marketing company that provided a digital marketing solution for the independent insurance space. The system included a proprietary agency management system, websites, and a CRM tool. That’s one reason we felt he was a perfect fit for our team.
However, what we liked most was Monty’s experience with change.
Had Monty chosen a career at Fidelity Investments or, as he says, “chosen the blue pill” (a reference to the popular movie The Matrix), his experiences might have been different. He might not have learned as much about modern technology's value and its role in serving the modern consumer.
Consumers drive change, and the better you understand the consumer, the easier it is to predict where the industry is headed. This helps agencies like yours save resources, time, and better serve your clients.
Join us in welcoming our new Director of Client Experience, Jonathan “Monty” Monterecy, to the ITC Tribe!
This is the Way he works.
Director of Client Experience, father, husband, COVID prisoner.
One word that describes how you like to work.
Current mobile device:
Dell XPS … something something.
Project(s) you’re currently working on:
Client Onboarding and training processes, department structure, power washing my fence.
Accomplishments you’re proud of:
My two kids, my wife, being chosen as a VMS/MIT Mentor for RI small business and entrepreneurs, traveling abroad alone, overcoming public speaking fears.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Improve client onboarding experience and streamline department processes.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
Prioritizing tasks, retaining employees, learning as much as I can as quickly as possible, putting the right people in the right seats on the bus.
What do you like most about your job?
Working with a diverse group of professionals, fixing what’s broken, and helping to provide a better overall ITC experience for our clients.
What technology, apps, or tools can’t you live without?
Describe your workspace.
Backyard sunroom, working at a standing desk.
How do you manage your to-do list?
Clearly separate tasks by priority and time.
What’s your best time-saving tip or hack?
Use email Rules. Use email templates.
What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office?
Stretch, planks, and pushups (rinse repeat every 2 hours).
What do you listen to while working?
Spotify on Shuffle (60’s to 90’s everything).
What are you currently reading?
Nothing at the moment (I’m consumed with my 3-year-old and 8-month-old).
Coffee or tea?
Night owl or morning person?
What are you watching on Netflix right now?
The Boys season 2 on Prime.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Process documentation, team meetings and check-ins, helping with client issues, meeting new ITC team members.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Once you lick from the lollypop of mediocrity, you will suck forever. Surround yourself with smarter people. Duplicate yourself in order to move up. Give a sh**.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
Dustin Johnson (Golfer).
POSTED SEPTEMBER 15, 2020 1:45 PM
|Advanced Email Metrics That Will Elevate Your Email Marketing
Email marketing is about the long haul. It's about building loyalty and improving conversion by cultivating a relationship.
Therefore, you should be looking at the effectiveness of your emails. How do you know if your email marketing is effective? The metrics.
Join Marketing Automation Expert Henna Javed on Thursday, September 17, at 12:00 p.m. CT for Advanced Email Metrics That Will Elevate Your Email Marketing. Use this link to register to attend. We'll see you there!
POSTED SEPTEMBER 11, 2020 12:02 PM
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