In order to be successful in any business, you have to adapt to the times. Back in 2007 it became clear to us that it was time to give our website a real overhaul and start taking online seriously. That may seem a bit late in the game, but its the reality for most busineses. Without a significant investment in in-house technology and/or a good parter to guide you, competing successfully onine can be daunting.

At that time, GreatFlorida.com had a minimal presence on the web and it was becoming increasingly obvious that our future in the Florida Insurance industry would be greatly influenced by our efforts online.

Florida Insurance SuccessToday, we offer a technologically advanced website combined with strategic marketing and sales features that are benefiting our clients as well as our local independent insurance agents and increasing our online insurance leads.

Yuca Productions (www.yucapro.com), our web marketing agency in Miami, initially prepared a strategic plan to not only redevelop GreatFlorida.com but also to make it a game changing tool for us in terms of generating increased leads, offering more information for our visitors, and allowing all of our 100 independent GreatFlorida agents statewide, to compete in their local markets.

That was early in 2008. Since then GreatFlorida.com has increased its web traffic by 788% to date. With that increase in traffic comes a boat load of online leads, local calls to our agents, as well as calls to our web based toll-free number that allows us to track calls in the same manner that we track web visits. Overall, GreatFlorida is now as relevant to Florida Insurance as other major insurance players we see on TV every 5 minutes.

Our website’s success is one that any insurance agency, or and business for that matter, can achieve with the right marketing partner, the correct mix of investments, both monetary and non-monetary, and a real commitment to embrace the new media marketing that is redefining how we do business in the 21st century.

Our Yuca Productions has been carefully migrating us away from the traditional Yellow Pages type of advertising that had allowed to grow as we did since 1991, but was no longer delivering the return on investment it once did.

The new strategy for GreatFlorida would incorporate new technologies like Pay-per-Click advertising, Search Engine Optimization, a custom online lead system, dynamic video as well as many others. And the strategy has paid off.

GreatFlorida.com is now ranking alongside AllState, StateFarm and Geico on some of the most competitive keywords searched for daily by millions of Floridians. The core of this online search traffic obviously comes from Google.

Google represents +70% of all online searches done worldwide on a daily basis. If you’re not on page one for those searches that are relevant to your business, you’re nowhere. Therefore we have concentrated many of our efforts on making sure that if anyone is looking for Insurance in Florida, GreatFlorida.com will be hard to miss.

We’ve also localized our agent’s sites by using local directories and GPS mapping technologies that populate most online map databases, IPhones, GPS Systems in cars, etc. Finally, we created city-specific insurance pages and worked directly with Google and Bing to ensure that GreatFlorida.com is listed and indexed as efficiently as possible.

Don’t beleive me? Google “Florida Insurance,” and you’ll see we appear on the first page, and are more “relevant” than any other insurance agent or insurance provider

GreatFlorida’s site performance was also adjusted for speed, a new relevance meter for Google, and we implemented interactive videos by a female spokesperson to encourage visitors to learn more about our services.

Using a web based telephony system we added a click-to-call feature, which instantly connects site visitors with their local agents by simply entering their number online.

However, we didn’t stop with website technology upgrades and search engine optimization. We also wanted to attract customers through additional online tools that would draw them to GreatFlorida.com.

Pay-per-click campaign target users by demographic, location and insurance needs. It also allows us to bid for Sponsored Links on Google, Yahoo and Bing to immediately increase traffic for those clicks that have a greater percentage of sales than those that do not.

We also created a GreatFlorida fan page on Facebook as well as agency-specific GreatFlorida pages and added Facebook “Like” buttons on GreatFlorida.com as well as the website pages of individual agencies. Social Networking is here, and will soon be as important and even more important that organic Google searches.

The overall goal of the campaign is to obviously increase site visitors and increase client leads. I’m happy to report that it’s working.  How do we know? We have implemented industry leading online tracking tools to ensure that our investments are working.

We track and measure site visitors and match these statistics to specific GreatFlorida agency locations through Google Analytics, an industry standard web traffic analysis tool from Google. Through this tool, we are able to accurately measure lead generation and phone calls.

Last but not least, we integrated call tracking with Google Analytics to help to identify whether customer response is online or by phone and also to identity what advertising works. We also use these statistics to help us adjust monthly online ad spending, which now accounts for a large percentage of our total advertising budget.

Compared to a typical agency solution offered by a popular competitor, Astonish Results, GreatFlorida.com allows our local independent agents to compete more successfully. They pay 90% less per month, without the need of the 5 year contract required by Astonish, allowing them to achieve a quicker return on their investments, with less risk and better performance than the cookie-cutter approach they offer.

We’re obviously not the only insurance outlet in Florida using these new technologies, but thanks to our marketing partner, Yuca Productions, GreatFlorida.com has done it quicker and with more success than most.

Statistics show that more and more, consumers begin their search for a product or service online. In an article by Steve Anderson in Florida Underwriter Magazine, he writes, “Young Internet-savvy consumers are using search engines and websites to research all types of online purchases.” He also adds that, “This new generation of consumers wants to do business with companies that mirror their personal and business lifestyles.”

In other words, the new generations of consumers we want to target, have never, and will never pick-up the Yellow Pages. It’s online or bust.

Ellsworth Buck is the vice president of GreatFlorida Insurance. Contact him for questions and comments.

Reference:

Anderson, Steve. “Transforming Your Agency.” Florida Underwriter Magazine. Web. 1 August. 2010.

http://www.floridaunderwriter.com/Issues/2010/August-2010/Pages/Transforming-Your-Agency.aspx?page=1