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Start Building Your Web Presence NOW

01/29/2010

Okay, first you may publicly flog me for using the buzz word “web presence” two posts in a row. But some buzz words are worth exploring before tossing them aside. My opinion is that this one fits that bill.

Earlier this week I asked whether or not your agency had a web presence. Does it?

In that post I talked about how building a multi-pronged approach to the web takes time and it takes more than setting up a website and updating the copyright every January.

Don’t get me wrong, a website is still a necessity, but increasingly consumers are looking for businesses who are active and alive on the web in 2010 – not 1999. All too often a website is a static space. It is important to point out that it still takes significant resources to build a fully functional site for an independent agency, especially if you want to offer the ability to quote, request policy changes, or add billing functionality. However, you can still build a web presence by seeking  out other areas on the web .

Here are some ways to start expanding your agency’s web presence:

Your Home Page: Wait, didn’t I just say that this wasn’t enough? You need a home page, so make it the best you can with the resources you have. Drive people back to it over and over again. Don’t have the resources for a quoting mechanism? Go a different direction and set up an FAQ page, or staff profiles, or share some success stories from your agency.

Claim your business and create strong profiles on sites that matter in your community like Google Profile, Yelp, Citysearch, Wicked Local. Many of these sites allow you to upload a picture, insert a web URL, add operating hours and key words for your business. I looked – very few of you are claiming these profiles.

Create Content: Build a Facebook Fan Page or write a blog.  Not sure what to write about? My suggestion is to think about what you find useful when you search for a local business. Highlight your customers by  publishing some video or photos of the places you insure. Let people know about the money you saved the business next door, or the pizza shop you saved from a stop work order. Talk about the great things your employees are doing, too. Any new licensees? CIC Designations? Important anniversaries?

Connect to others:  Does your community have some social networking going on? How can you be a part of that? Start participating and you’ll be popping up in people’s minds much like you do when you join the local business association. For instance, the town I live in has a Facebook page dedicated to the “Shop Local” movement. This is a really good example. The whole town isn’t on the fanbook page, but the people who are actively participating are the influencers…the people that you want to not only to know you, but also talk about you.

Remember these are just ideas- starters to get you thinking about where you’d like to be…where you need to be on the web and in your local community.

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