Successful Online Marketing Strategies and Blogging for Brokers
Presented by Robert Sanzalone, Technology Evangelist, to the IBABC on February 8, 2007 in Vancouver, Canada.
Successful Online Marketing Strategies and Blogging for Brokers Presented to IBABC by Robert Sanzalone Technology Evangelist February 8, 2007 Blogging Brokers! or How I Stopped Worrying About Online Marketing and Learned To Love Blogging or Technology and Brokers Most brokers understand traditional means of advertising: pens, magnets, flyers, newspaper, radio, television All means involve creativity, time and resources Many agents perceive technology as a necessity but a burden too many new tools and toys. Sometimes difficult to use, sometimes difficult to understand. Technology Even the use of traditional e-mail can be appreciated but misused. How many people still today in 2007 get confused between cc and bcc when copying material to colleagues? Technology Facts remain, Insurance Brokers cannot run and hide from world trends In 1994 agents first heard about online marketing with the popularization of the Internet. Gradually more and more agents established an @ on their business card. In 1997, it became imperative to have an online presence and agencies began to include www on their marketing material Technology In 1999, online technology became faster as individuals and businesses shifted from dial-up to broadband access. Technology In 2002, wireless technology became common place in the home and the office. Many cut the cord by connecting through Wi-Fi even in public locations. These were called hotspots. Technology So now its 2007. Has everything to do with and technology and online marketing been achieved? Whats next.? Technology Windows Vista? Technology A new iPhone? Ooooooh! AAaaaaaah! Technology and what does all this mean for you? What should you know and NEED to get yourself in front of prospects and customers making them understand only YOU can provide them with the BEST coverage for their needs? Technology A website. Technology But wait. Isnt that SOOOOO 1997? Yes. But theres something new. To begin with, lets step back to think how clients FIND you. Word of mouth, referrals, all the usual suspects. But late at night, what really makes up their mind when searching for the best advice and service? Technology Think about your own searching for services. How does it work? You put in WORDS and TERMS and hope youll get the right answer. You probably dont go very far perhaps 2 to 3 pages on the same words, then move on to a finer search. What if you wanted to show up on the FIRST page for YOUR clients when they put in the terms YOU WANT THEM TO FIND YOU with? Would that be valuable? Technology To put yourself on the first page or higher ranking is called SEO or SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION. The slang for this is called Google Juice. Technology So how do you get Google Juice for your business and your clients to find you? Technology So whats the difference between a website and a blog? Static vs. Dynamic With a website, a web spider will visit your site and look for various elements to catalogue. One of these elements are the metatags. When creating your site, your webmaster SHOULD HAVE included them at the top of your front page like this: Technology These words are VERY, VERY important in finding YOU when clients search. If you only have your company or personal name and contact number, a search engine such as Google wont be able to find you if your client types in Vancouver auto insurance broker except perhaps on page 8 of Google (if youre lucky!). Technology A blog is a publishing tool which CALLS Google EVERY TIME you write an entry. If you blog everyday, Google will re-index your blog just as quickly. If certain words are PUSHED each time you blog, Google will catch those words and index them. Eventually you will be on page #1! Technology Lets take an example. Last September I sat down with Greg Mansfield, Educational Coordinator at the IBABC for an interview. The entry was blogged. Technology Within a few short weeks, the post was not only indexed, but began to be shown on many, many other links on the Internet The power of the keywords were so great, that one post now has almost the same potency on Google as the IBABC itself. Take a look Technology Even if you ONLY put in the words, Greg Mansfield Vancouver, this one post still appears as #1 Technology Can YOU achieve the same success with your own site? YES YOU CAN! Here are the steps. Steps to Blogging 1. Make sure you have a unique name for your website with its own domain. Marketing as a subdirectory of another umbrella company makes the task much more difficult. Domains can be purchased for as little as US$5.99/yr. (www.1and1.com) Steps to Blogging 2. Create a FREE blogging account on the Internet. The best choices presently are Blogger and WordPress. Either one will do a great job to start things off. Steps to Blogging 3. Discover and promote your FEED! This is also referred to as RSS or Really Simple Syndication. A feed can be found with the following icon Many people are now putting this address on their business cards just as www was in vogue in the late 90s. A feed address looks like this: http://www.pacificIT.ca/feed Steps to Blogging 4. Share the love by linking to other resources. 5. Comment on other blogs and websites 6. Blog frequently Steps to Blogging 7. Set up a Technorati.com account. 8. Utilize the services of Feedburner.com 9. Bookmark your entries at del.ico.us 10. Get a Digg account and prepare to be Dugg! Steps to Blogging 11. Enhance your blogging efforts by adding a sound file and creating a podcast. Host on odeo.com, podomatic.com or Blip.tv 12. Enhance your reach by adding a video file and creating a vlog or videocast. Post to video hosting sites such as YouTube.com, Dailymotion.com or Blip.tv and link back to your site. Technology Make this technology show your expertise and human side. It DOES NOT have to be too personal. You DO NOT have to give up your privacy. Never post about a topic you were given a present for or monetary favour. This will brand your blog as a splog or spam blog. Have fun when you blog. If you dont enjoy it, you wont do it. Technology Any questions? Please let me know [email_address] http://www.pacificIT.ca (604) 669-0015 Remember, technology can be fun AND profitable! Thank You! Illustrations are provided by http:// www.bLaugh.com . Thanks Chris Pirillo!