As the landscape of the industry changes, you recognize that the Internet and social media are major driving factors in the decision-making process of consumers. You also see the writing on the wall: adapt or perish.
Many producers make it look so easy. They’ve adapted well and are thriving in the midst of this social-technological boom.
Some studies show that consumers will access the Internet on their mobile devices more than they will via a desktop computer by 2015. Half of Internet searches are done on a smart phone. Then, there’s the social media aspect. Users are enchanted by YouTube videos. There are millions on Twitter and billions on Facebook. Users share pictures, life updates, reviews of goods and services and make suggestions to their friends and families.
To put yourself in the best position possible, you have to have a web presence, preferably one that is mobile-friendly. If everything is being done on the web and mobile, and you aren’t anywhere to be found, consumers will find someone else.
So get started right now! It takes five easy steps.
- Buy a Web Domain If it is possible, make sure your most important keyword is part of the domain name. For example, if you sell life insurance, a domain that contains that keyword in the address will be more valuable than a website without. If you already have a website and it is feasible to optimize the domain name with keywords, do so. Pro Tip: Keywords are important, but so is length. Which domain name is easier to remember: CALifeinsurance.com or LifeInsuranceforCaliforniaResidents.com? Keep it as short and clean as possible. Avoid using hyphens and underscores. Lastly, remember that “.com” is more valuable than “.biz” or “.net”. Pro Tip #2: If you want to rank quickly, you can buy a website that already exists but is now up for auction. You can find reasonably priced websites for sale on EBay or GoDaddy that have established time and web presence on Google (marked “PR6” or higher meaning they have a page ranking of at least 6 on a scale of 1 to 10) with backlinks pointing to it already.
- Build an Optimized Website Using keywords throughout your site is as important as having a keyword in your web domain name. That said, make sure you don’t overstuff your site with keywords in an unnatural way. Use them strategically and within a context that benefits the content surrounding the keyword. For example, this sentence sounds unnatural: “42% of Californians don’t own any form of life insurance including term life insurance, permanent life insurance, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, however, life insurance is very important.” Keyword stuffing is noticeable and unattractive to consumers. The same sentence can be rephrased: “Though life insurance is extremely important, 42% of Californians don’t own any type of policy.” Pro Tip: Sometimes “optimizing” your website means keeping it simple. Make sure it’s easy to navigate for consumers. The busier and more confusing it is, the less likely they are to stay, come back, and recommend to a friend. Easy, logical layouts provide the best results. Pro Tip #2: Utilize tools such as Google Keyword Checker or UberSuggest.org to check the value of a keyword. Or simply do a Google search as if you were your target consumer; as you type in the keyword you think your target consumer would use, Google will give you recommendations for what other people have already searched for. Use those keywords in your content as well.
- Use Calls to Action On every page you should have a form to get more information, a place to sign up for a newsletter, an online quoter, etc. If you don’t present a tool to help users do exactly what you want them to do while visiting your site, they won’t do it. Whatever you do though, make sure the message and what you want your visitor to do is clear. And make sure it actually has a purpose. Calls to action are one of the most overlooked and misused items on websites today. Pro Tip: Easily identifiable and simple buttons work best. Long blocks of text are ignored as are many plain hyperlinks. Likewise, pop-ups work better than pages that take you to a new window and away from what was originally being looked at. Pro Tip #2: Using pictures draws in the eyes, but if you want to make it even more clear that you’d like visitors to click a button, using arrows to literally point to a button or call to action will work.
- Continue Expanding The goal for any website should be to rank and maintain a No. 1 ranking or at the least be on the first page of results. To do so, you must keep your content fresh and continuously update your pages. A stagnant website will not rank high. If you keep your content fresh, it gives consumers reason to keep coming back (and Google loves it too—especially home pages). The more visitors to your page you have, the more important your website is deemed and the higher you will be ranked. Pro Tip: Keep a running blog, updated daily if possible. Link your website to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites you use. Make your site interactive! Add in RSS feeds too. Swap out main images with each new campaign, season or just once every month or two to freshen things up.
- Get Linked It used to be a simple rule: the more links that point back to your website, the better. But many took advantage of this and went overboard, posting links to their page in mass quantities, all over social media, on message boards, etc. Today this is frowned upon. Still, natural links to your website are seen as a vote of confidence. If your website is shared naturally, this will help with your overall ranking. Pro Tip: Build links by hosting and creating rockstar content that people want to share. Think about what your consumers and their friends and family need, then provide shareable content that will (a) benefit consumers and (b) make them want to share.
So you made the decision to build your web presence. You studied up on key terms you have to know. Now you’ve learned about the first five steps: buy a domain, optimize it, expand, use calls to action and make it shareable to get links.
It’s time to get out there and start bringing in new prospects.