Think about the last time you had to find a local barber, repairperson or handyman.

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Where did you start? Did you ask friends and neighbors forreferrals? Or do a quick Google search? If you started withreferrals, did you still take a look at the website or Yelp page ofthe recommended merchant before hiring them?

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The way people look for and evaluate insurance agents andadvisors are no different — particularly amongmillennials. That means agents need to have a strongWeb presence like never before — and a key element of thatpresence is having a prominent agent-specific footprint online.

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Yes, some prospects may go to a firm’s corporate website basedon an ad they saw or because of brand recognition, and they mayfill out a contact form. But far more prospects want to find alocal resource — backed by a reputable company name— with whom they feel they can develop a relationship andtrust to know them and their needs.

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So how can agent websites better attract and retain clients andprospects in an increasingly digital world? Below are five thingsevery agent website should have:

1. Quality content

What do your visitors find when they visit your website? Arethere just a phone number, address and bio?

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Do they find information on your experience and your approach toclient relationships? Even better, do they find tools and resourcesto help them feel smarter about their own financial future?

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Providing relevant, high quality content establishes one’scredibility and will help visitors quickly understand why you arethe advisor with whom they should build a relationship.

2. Dynamic content

While a library of quality content provides value to onlinevisitors, regularly updating your website content will keepprospects and clients coming back while also ensuring that theinformation is timely and relevant.

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Search engines also prioritize sites that frequently updatetheir content (one resource can be found here) by crawling andindexing them more frequently, which increases your chances ofbeing discovered.

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One simple starting point is to include a feed of social mediaupdates on your website — or better yet, a section of dynamiccontent like a blog, gallery or article feed that’s frequentlyrefreshed.

3. Relevant keywords

It’s important to understand which keywords are most importantfor your target audience and to incorporate them throughout youragent website. Think about what your client would search for— it might not be what you may initially believe. Fortunately,vendors and tools, such as this one, can make the use ofkeywords easier, but it all starts with consistency in whichkeywords you use across the site.

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Cellphone and laptop
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(Photo: Thinkstock)

4. Mobile optimization

In 2016, your website needs to be optimized for mobile. Thereare few online experiences more frustrating than clicking a link onyour phone and going to a full desktop site that doesn’t displayproperly on a mobile device. And search engines know this; Googlenow prioritizes sites that are optimized for mobile in searchresults, meaning websites that are not mobile-optimized mayexperience a decrease in search traffic.

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Fortunately, there is a host of readily-available tools andresources, like this one, that make it easier than ever to create amobile-optimized website that displays properly on both mobile anddesktop.

5. Local knowledge

Your strongest asset is your local presence. While they may bedigitally savvy, consumers still want to meet face-to-face withtheir agent or advisor and build a personal relationship, so yourwebsite needs to reflect your local knowledge and communityservice.

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You should have a way to share high quality and timely localinformation that demonstrates your knowledge about topics that arerelevant to the people in your community. Corporate websites mayoccasionally bring in leads from prospects who fill out forms, butthose who find your local site and value your local experience andpresence will be far likelier to become lasting clients.

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Agents who don’t optimize their websites risk missing out on keyopportunities to attract and retain clients and prospects who arelooking to engage with them. Your website must go beyond simplyserving as a digital business card. When done well, a strong agentwebsite can fuel your pipeline, strengthen relationships and growbusiness.

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Related: The great website 'swindle': Are agency portalsreally worth the investment?

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