Archive for the ‘social media’ category

“Going Mobile” – The Industry Radar’s New Site

April 26, 2010

On of my enduring memories of the fall of 1971 when I started college was the Who’s “Going Mobile” blasting across the quad. So now 39 years later  I am really “Going Mobile”!

Of course or nearly 3 years we have had mobile versions of most of our feeds but never a mobile site until now.

Bookmark this page and enjoy The Industry Radar home page and our always popular daily cartoon and 6 main Radars on any mobile device!

We will also be launching a dedicated mobile support center soon as well as sites for each main radar.

Still one of my favorite songs and albums you can hear it hear if you would like to.

I don’t care about pollution
I’m an air-conditioned gypsy
That’s my solution
Watch the police and the taxman miss me!
I’m mobile!

Ahh those were the days…

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Agents and Brokers – How to Build A Strong Online Presence for Free (Part1)

February 20, 2010

I am sure everyone’s first question is why is Julia Child’s picture in an insurance blog?

Simple, we are going to give you the recipe to create, build and maintain an online presence – website, social media and search engine visibility for free with out any techy, geeky html programming or knowledge.

Yes free. It is called ‘Web 2.0″  and if you will invest a little time, use the tools available to you it is easy, fun and powerful.

The two major components that we are going to need are a website and a social media presence.

Website – Did you know that blogs are actually websites? In fact the blog platforms like www.wordpress.com are really easy to use tools like Microsoft Word online. They allow you to “blog”, ie add comments and ideas but also use pictures, video, links to other sites and more in a very easy to use package.

So go to www.wordpress.com and get a free account, pick a theme from the hundreds they have that match your logo and get started. You can have multiple pages like a website, links to carriers, forms etc, news feeds et al

This is a far better way to create a website than the free tools from Yahoo and others and much easier and more powerful to use and maintain and it will connect to your social media tools as well.

Social Media – Are you a LinkedIn member yet? If not go to www.linkedin.com and become one. You will be amazed at how many people you know are there and how easy it is to add contacts to people you want to know there.

OK now go to Twitter – www.twitter.com – and setup a free account there as well.

Step 1 is complete. Our next post on this will get into how we tie all these together, add some other free tools and create a truly professional online image for solopreneurs like you….for free or almost free!

Google’s 5 Simple Tips to Improve Your Firm’s Website

July 15, 2009

Our extensive broker consultant website survey – offered free of charge – covers over 650 brokers who do 95%++ of the group business in the nation.

The first of its kind it was created to provide a baseline for brokerage firms to measure themselves against best practices and competitors – not insult anyone – simply offer a broad comparison tool.

One click links for checking Google rankings and basic web visibility make it a simple tool to use and compare with others.

Want to improve your site> Here are the top 5 SEO tips from Google’s lead SEO engineer and their own webmaster’s SEO handbook:

  • use well designed titles with keywords they want to be found for
  • use metatags for descriptions and keywords
  • use excellent content on pages that describe your business
  • use a blog or RSS, the backbone of social media for content and sharing to add fresh content
  • have links in from other highly ranked sites

We add one more which is local directory links are important for Google and Yahoo.

Over 85% of the 650 firms we surveyed are not easily visible to the search engines mainly because they have not incorporated these basic principals.

Also 90% do not even track their web traffic to know what foes on with their site, even though Google Analytics is free and easy to add to your site.

If you would like to see an an overview of what you can do to improve your site click here for a great overview we put together.

“If a tree falls …” – Broker Website Questions

July 15, 2009

The old question of “if a tree falls in the forest and no is there to hear it does it make a sound” applies to the web as well.

The web corollary would be “If you have a website and no one can find it online does it really exist?”

The answer to both questions of course is “Yes” but merits a little discussion

I have had numerous brokers tell me that they have never gotten any business from the web. That “no one buys online” etc. That may be true for them (and you) especially if your website is not easily visible to the search engines  – and  90% of those in our survey are not.

In the case of the web there are well over a trillion searches a month. 400 million++ of those relate to benefits, healthcare and insurance in some form.

  • If just 1/1o,o00th of a percent of these found your site monthly that would be 400 visits.
  • If just 1% of these were real buyers that is 4 real prospects a month or 50 per year!

One final step if your conversion rate for prospects is just 10% then your website – if found and seen as valuable by the searcher – could produce 5 new customers. Multiply this by the average revenue that your firm generates for a new benefits client and your potential return on some modest changes is enormous. Just 1 new client would be great!

So would you rather:

  1. Have a terrific looking website that no one sees?
  2. A mediocre website everyone sees?

or the best of both worlds – a  really nice site that the search engines can find and rank?

It is not hard to do the basics to insure Google can find you. This post will give you an overview. In the very least any firm should do this just for competitive purposes.

Check out your firm on our survey and click on the “Google Rank” link for your city? Are you there on the map list or first page? Are your main competitors?  Are firms you do not consider “players” in your area there?

Our Broker Survey – Commented on..

July 13, 2009

LinkedIn Groups

  • Group: Unum Employees and Alumni
  • Subject: New comment (1) on “Why are nearly 70% of Insurance Broker Websites so Bad?”

It may be because someone who wants to sell improved website design says so.
Posted by Joe Markland

To Joe Markland – HR Technology Advisors:

Joe, I just got the the comment above in my daily email update that you posted on the UNUM LinkedIn group. I saw you deleted it but as we all know what we say on the web has a long tail and it merits further comment.

Our extensive broker consultant website survey – offered free of charge – covers over 650 brokers who do 95%++ of the group business in the nation – and that includes all your members as well.

The first of its kind it was created to provide a baseline for brokerage firms to measure themselves against best practices and competitors. One click links for checking Google rankings and basic web visibility make it a great tool.

There are some great sites out there and we make it easy for folks to see and compare (for free) and thus far our survey has gotten north of 5000 page views as folks use it to compare and learn making it the most viewed pages The Industry Radar has posted in 3+ years.

The issues the survey raises are:

  • Why do only 43 out of 650  appear in the top 10 in their market in Google?
  • Why are only 33% ranked a 3  or higher?
  • As we expanded in the last 2 weeks from 390 to 650 firms to include more big name member firms and affinity groups like HRTA the percentage went down, not up. Why?

Based on these findings the conclusions are whether the nation’s top brokers prepared to deal with the rapidly changing Web 2.0 and social media landscape and their own customer’s expectations?

Let’s look at your own HR Tech site as it is an interesting business case. You define your business as follows:

“HR Technology Advisors, LLC (HRT) is a national, independent benefits and HR technology consulting firm focused entirely on serving the needs of employee benefit firms and their clients.”

Your comments are a bit disingenous as you sell software and services to brokers, as well as design websites, and have created what appears to be a member group that competes with groups like UBA.

Your site is attractive and informative and I would give it a “3” – a good score. Folks you send there will like it. Not many will find it from the search engines. With your target market that may be unimportant.

For your brokers however, website quality and maximum visibility is important, especially as the healthcare markets change. Being prepared for the impact of social media and maximizing ROI in tough economic times is key as well.

Let’s look at what this independent SEO analysis site tells us about your own site:

  • HR Technology Advisors has a “0” Google rating
  • Has no “Title” or metatags
  • Only 3 Yahoo links and
  • no Alexa, compete.com links or ranking

It does have Google Analytics installed so you obviously know what your traffic volume is and where it comes from.

Your site appears on page 3 for 2 major search terms simply due to the firm’s name. With almost no effort you could get much higher and really be seen on page 1…

Most importantly – just like your site, and most of your clients – the nearly 70% we reference in this post do not follow the top 5 SEO tips from Google’s lead SEO engineer and their own webmaster’s SEO handbook:

  • 85%+ do not use well designed titles with keywords they want to be found for
  • 90%+ do not have metatags for descriptions and keywords
  • 90%+ do not even use any sort of analytics to track their site activity (You do)
  • Almost none have any sort of fresh content to get regular attention from Google
  • Less than a dozen use a blog or RSS, the backbone of social media for content and sharing.

Several that do like Precept – run by old UNUM colleagues Wade Olsen and Alex Wasilewski – use the media well as part of a very innovative business

As a benefits “technology consulting firm” I  hope that you find our research helpful in improving your own site’s visibility and in helping your clients as well.

My 11th Website Pet Peeve..

July 8, 2009

OK, I found one more that drives me nuts.

CEO videos on insurance broker websites.

While well intentioned these videos are the height of self centeredness.

Another way to put it would be – “Enough about you, lets talk about me, what do you think about me?”

Just what the web needs less, not more of..

Why are nearly 70% of Insurance Broker Websites so Bad?

July 8, 2009

In this networked age how a company presents itself online is an even more critical part of its corporate image than its office space, staff, how the phone is answered, logo, proposals et al were and still are.

Hopefully you have looked at the extensive research The Industry Radar has done in reviewing over 500 local and regional brokerage firm websites.  Our original goal was to see how in this day and age of Google, Twitter and online communities like LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook the top firms in our industry fared by state and local city markets. (editors note – The large national firms fare no better and we will be posting separately on them tomorrow)

Our intent was not to embarrass anyone but to put all the information in one place that it can be viewed as a whole, compared, competition evaluated and hopefully some ideas gained for improvement. Obviously it is a resource now for customers to use as well and use it they have!

Views of these pages by brokers and employers this week have set all time records for us.

We rated firms from a “1” – basic billboard site,  to a “4” a well designed, well presented site with real value for visitors.  A “2” was essentially just an brochure/ad for a firm and a “3” a basic website with some value. There were even 2 “0” ratings for firms with no site. Yes, there really are 2 firms with no site in 2009… one is even a member of one of the independent brokers groups.

In a staid old industry like insurance no one was expecting a slew of cool iphone hip type websites, but neither were we expecting the poor results of 544 firms sites we have reviewed to date:

0 – 2 – .024%

1 – 72 – 13.2%

2 – 302 – 55.5%

3 – 139 – 25.6%

4 – 31 – 5.6%

Over 2/3’s of broker websites fail the “basic website” threshold we set – which compared to news, banking, financial and consumer sites we all use everyday was very low.  Why?

The easiest way to sum the difference between the 1/2 and 3/4 groups is simple – Focus. The 1 and 2’s are self centered. They want to tell the visitor all about them, how old they are, who they are, what they think. Generally these sites are not visually engaging and often look very dated as well.

I have already shared by 10 Pet Peeves on website design with you but a new one to add is video intros from the CEO.  While well intentioned these videos are the height of self centeredness.

Another way to put it would be – “Enough about you, lets talk about me, what do you think about me?”  Billboards and brochures online.

The 3/4 sites focus more on the customer, the problems they have and then how they can help solve them. More thought and creativity has gone into the look and feel of these sites – esp, the 4’s –  as well as in the type of tools and content they offer. By engaging the customer these firms tell their own story subtly, not as a data dump all over the visitor.

The lower ranked firms did not set out to be self centered, they simply miss the point of the value of the web and the opportunities it creates for them. The web is not a a place to put a brochure online. It might have been 10 years ago but not today. This is a place to engage customers and have prospects get a look at you on their own time.

For now visit the site. See how your site and competitors fare. If you are an employer see how your broker site compares to others in your area.

We will be posting more this week on this topic, especially on why over 90% of the  sites fail the 2 most important tests of the web – search engine visibility and tracking and measuring their web efforts and investment..