In this edition of the Lowdown, I’m sharing insights about Google My Business and a new paper hosted on Research & Trends, Local Organic Marketing: How P&C Davids Can Beat Goliath. In his paper, SocialSurvey’s Caleb Stanton discusses the incredible opportunity agencies have to improve their ranking on Google and to be listed in search results based upon quality of work and reputation regardless of size and SEO spend. By taking full advantage of the Google My Business free offering, an agency that builds out and manages its listing, and actively encourages reviews, can reach 1st page rankings in a google search against the ‘big guys.’
With little knowledge of Google My Business (GMB), I took to my iphone in search of insurance agencies in major cities and small towns across my region to see how actively the insurance sector is utilizing GMB. Lo and behold, most agencies and agents are not using it to it’s fullest capacity…that is, the vast majority are not taking advantage of features available to improve search rankings, engage potential leads and capture reviews. With so few stand outs on GMB, I reached out to those who appeared to have success with it, by means of their 1st page ranking, to learn more.
Meet Frank Ramos of Allstate Insurance in New York City. I found Frank by searching ‘insurance agent New York City’. Frank is among the few agents to appear with reviews that break double digits across the city. In fact, of the 80 listings I scrolled through, he attained the most reviews (74) with a near perfect rating of 4.9 out of 5. Frank ‘claimed’ his listing 3 year ago when Allstate informed agents of the opportunity to do so. At the time, ‘claiming’ one’s listing was foreign to Frank and fortunately, Allstate sent along instructions. Since then, Frank has experimented with the new ‘post’ feature, however his work load makes creating posts a chore. He believes his best practice is to focus on obtaining reviews and verbally encourage all of his clients to review him, especially when they praise him. He will send them the link to his listing if they don’t know where to do so. In addition, his phone recording asks people to rate him. Has GMB worked? Frank is convinced it has, as he always asks “how did you find me?” and increasingly he hears that he has been found on-line and that he has great ratings. Hence, asking for reviews as a best practice is paying off for Frank.
A-Affordable Insurance Agency of Worcester, Ma. has received a staggering 332 reviews while most of their competitors barely broke single digits. I reached out to A-Affordable’s CEO, Mark Winiker for additional insights into GMB. Mark is quick to adjust expectations for other agencies as he has 15 locations and over 100 employees working for these reviews. He feels the benefit is greater to him, than perhaps a single location agency, as he wants to show up in multiple geographic searches along with those agencies that have a single location. Further, A-Affordable is not targeting a specific type of policyholder, but rather, seeking volume and visibility. Similar to Frank’s best practices, requesting reviews and sending clients to the link are standard business practices across the organization. Mark is not convinced it’s a game changer, but rather a preventative against the unknown downside of not maximizing it. Should the GMB use increase among agencies, A-Affordable Insurance Agency has a great head start on reviews.
If you haven’t claimed your listing yet, or have, but are neglecting it, from my searches you are not alone, which could make this tool a game changer for you in your local market. To learn more, check out Local Organic Marketing: How P&C Davids Can Beat Goliath. This paper includes numerous links on ‘how-to’ claim and build out your GMB, as well as justifications for doing so. Finally, Caleb provides Must Do’s to win the local marketing war – and here’s that lowdown:
Page 6: Claim and build out a GMB Listing for each of your locations
Page 7: Best practices for collecting customer feedback and encouraging reviews on GMB
Page 8: Drive those local leads directly to your producers
Page 9: Harness the power of customer feedback and client testimonials
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Happy Reading – Pam Simpson
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