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Internet Prospecting

In my last article, I talked about the importance of creating an online presence. Specifically, the focus was on personal websites, which today have become even more important than a business card.

Think about it.

Potential customers utilize the internet every day whether it’s for social interaction, shouting their thoughts to the world, or researching goods and services. They come home from work, jump on Facebook to say hello, and maybe tweet a thought or two about trending topics. Then, they Google how much a product costs, where the nearest particular service spot is, and which professional or business is the highest rated. If you are nowhere to be found on the Internet, your prospects will go to someone else.

But, a website isn’t the only thing you need.

Utilizing multiple platforms can drive traffic back to your main page. The beautiful thing is that there are plenty of free services out there that allow you to employ online marketing strategies and get in front of a prospect’s eyes.

Many overthink it. But, if you take a step back and begin incorporating the simple steps below, it will eventually pay off.

Create Your Own Website

There’s a slew of host sites that will allow you to create a basic website without spending an arm and a leg (though it is worth noting that websites are usually a “you get what you pay for” kind of endeavor).

Creating a website will help your potential customers find you. It also allows you to provide information on your area(s) of expertise, qualifications, and any industry insights you have. Furthermore, you can supply your website with testimonials—the visual version of word-of-mouth marketing.

Maximize your site with easy navigation, beneficial tools, upfront rates, clear and concise information, and calls to action that will make the next step (purchasing your product or service) simple. For more on the importance of websites to promote your business and services, click here.

Once you get a bit more tech savvy, you can begin incorporating these next steps:

Start a Blog

My last article also included the basics for creating and maintaining a blog. Essentially, the best strategies include making the blog easy to navigate, finding your target niche, and updating it often with fresh content.

Blogs allow you to share your content with prospective customers.

Consumers come with a “what’s in it for me” approach. The more helpful you are—the more you provide a free service (a piece of advice, the steps of a process, breaking news)—the better. Information deemed useful can then easily be shared with friends.

Your blog should be used to interact with consumers—not to sell them something.

Lastly, if your blog isn’t on the main website, be sure to link back to it, so interested parties can seek additional information as needed.

Create a Facebook Business Page

Facebook is an immensely popular social media platform. But, if you think it’s just for interacting with friends and family, you’re dead wrong.

Facebook users see ads for goods and services every time they log in. Building a strong Facebook presence has become a necessity, because consumers place a high value on companies who have that commanding presence. Build your brand by posting your blog articles, press releases, industry news, or by coordinating local events. Remember to be social and interactive. Respond to comments, ask questions, follow up, and humanize yourself in order to gain a deeper trust with your target audience.

Get on Twitter Too

This unique tool allows you to search for keywords and send messages directly to consumers. Though, to start, it’s best to learn how to be an outstanding listener.

Use LinkedIn to Find Prospects

LinkedIn is one of the most underrated and underutilized tools out there. In my opinion, it is the best prospecting tool we insurance professionals have at our disposal. LinkedIn is the Kevin Bacon of the professional world—it allows you to find the path to dream prospects through just a few connections.

At the recent “20 Ways to Jump-Start Your Sales” event, hosted by Pinney Insurance Center, I provided one strategy for using LinkedIn to find that next client.

The idea here is that you can do a bit of scouting ahead of time when you have a client coming in. Take a peek at the client’s LinkedIn page, find a few potential prospects, then ask your client if they would be willing to make a referral.

Once you get the hang of social media and blogging, and you’ve made sure they all link back to your website, you’ll be on your way to more prospects.

One Last Piece of Advice:

While it’s important to manage your social media, blog, and website, don’t let it become an overwhelming, time-consuming headache. The process should be fun and rewarding.

So, get out there! Grow your online presence. Share your thoughts and expertise in a blog. Connect with your audience on Twitter and Facebook. Start the conversation.

Just make sure everything goes back to your website, where those prospects can find your contact information and continue that conversation with you personally.

About Ryan Pinney

Ryan Pinney
Ryan J. Pinney is a five-year MDRT member with five Top of the Table qualifications. A regular contributor to financial publications such as, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business News, as well as, he is a sought after expert in using technology to drive insurance business and streamline the application and underwriting processes. He leverages his experience with search engine optimization, social media, and online marketing to assist agents and agencies alike create their online presence and profit from it. Utilizing the same principals and technology his firm provides to agents, his agency sold more than 16,000 policies direct-to-consumer over the internet last year.

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