Diversified Insurance Service in Ohio was just another agency trying to figure out this digital marketing thing when they brought me in as an intern.
At the time we didn’t even have a name for what we were actually doing.
At first, I was fired up to have a job where I managed a Facebook page and did the blogging.
But after a year of no blog views, barely a Facebook comment on our page and no real success generated from the web, I was quite worried about what was going on.
In a couple short years, we became found online more than any other insurance agency our size and begun making real customers from the web.
This blog post tells about our journey, the steps we took and where our stats are today.
Like I mentioned above, when we started off no one really knew what we were doing.
We just knew that this was where the industry was going and that we had to get into the space.
Starting off, our numbers really sucked. After the first year, the only success I really saw was that we hit over 100 Facebook likes.
Here’s what we were doing:
We started blogging
As an intern new to the insurance industry, I did not really know what to talk about.
I had done a few posts on basic insurance topics (things I could actually wrap my mind around like discounts). I talked about seasonal safety topics. I blogged about healthy eating and fitness and how it related to health insurance. Really whatever seemed to relate to insurance that I could easily talk about, I blogged.
We were on Facebook
I had known a little bit about Facebook marketing before becoming an intern but I had very limited experience with it.
At Diversified I tried my best to get engagement but posting funny pictures, witty posts and by asking questions. But I had close to zero engagement.
We were learning
We were not really seeing many results but part of my job was to do research and find out how to make this really work.
I searched for Facebook marketing, I looked into other social media platforms, I searched for better blog topics and I tried to see how others were effectively doing digital marketing.
This was probably one of the most valuable steps I was taking and still do today.
First Sign of Results
A few months into me starting my internship we had picked up a couple software packages that would help us with our digital marketing efforts.
We bought Hubspot, Salesforce and Zywave. Three large investments that we hoped would give us an edge in the internet world. (This is not a plug to purchase any of these items, they are just the options we chose.)
With these products we now had control of our own website.
We had a new blog. I had access to industry content to help me blog. I discovered what keywords were and had the tools to track them. We also started doing more email marketing, joined Twitter and we started working on our LinkedIn company page.
Our results at this point were not huge yet, but we started gaining some Twitter and Facebook followers.
We saw our website visits starting to climb and we finally hit 1000 visitors a month. Prospects also starting calling our office which before this the phones were pretty quiet besides customers calling in with questions.
We weren’t really making any money yet. Realistically, our agency was still declining.
We were blogging and posting to social media and getting into other aspects of digital marketing, but it was not very consistent.
After a year, we weren’t digital marketing super heroes, but there was some hope that what we were doing would work.
When things really started taking off
Things were pretty quiet for a while as far as successes.
We were still working hard constantly adding new tools into our arsenal, educating ourselves, trying new things.
I begun trying to really understand SEO and what made Google search.
We finally had a blog rank on page 1 of Google.
It was vacant land insurance.
Yeah I know, my boss was not very happy with the terrible inquires we got from that.
But shortly after that, we were #1 for snow removal insurance. That winter also happened to be one of the snowiest winters we’ve had in years.
Two big search successes and by this time we had better analytics to see where people were coming from and what they were doing. Finally all that blogging made the phone ring!
Better yet there were more successes in store.
We were refining our pages, social strategy and email marketing. We began getting visitors from every platform we were engaging on.
The sales weren’t pouring in yet, but we knew what we were doing was working. Then what we had strived for, for 3 years, we finally hit.
Things were really taking off.
Where the agency is today
Today, the agency is growing faster online than ever before.
Instead of getting traffic from two niche blog posts, we are getting visits every time a blog post is published. We watch every month as another keyword gets closer to page one.
As I look back at the year, I can see that our search traffic increased almost every single month in 2015.
People are following us on social media weekly and our email campaigns have grown by thousands of contacts.
Our marketing team had to readjust our goals because less than half way through the year we had already almost hit our yearly goals.
Now instead of worrying about being found online, we are tightening up conversions.
Our focus is on grading the leads before hitting sales because soon our sales team won’t be able to call everyone and do their own job in the same day. We finally had proved to ourselves and our staff that this digital marketing thing really works.
Here’s a snapshot of where we were to where we are today compared to when we started:
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As of today (October 2015)
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This post is not designed to brag on our success but to give you hope for yours. We made a lot of mistakes along the way that really taught us how to do it right.
It took us 3 years to see results and we are far from perfect. But from a desire to learn, consistency and dedication, we’ve come this far. And we know you can too.