Misspelling the company name in your own logo; links on your site that look like spam; sending out a press release that doesn’t name the person quoted.
You wouldn’t turn up drunk, stinking of cigarettes in last night’s rumpled work clothes to a business meeting. So you shouldn’t do the equivalent online.
In insurance, as in other industries, your website is the online face of your business. Insurance Business, within the scope of story research and outreach, comes across some dire online insurance presences. So we asked an expert – Kelly Donahue-Piro, president of Agency Performance Partners – to examine a couple of the very worst examples and to give some tips on what not to do.
One agency may take the cake for poorly executed insurance websites.
If you click the “Marijuana Insurance” tab on its website, you are redirected to a page for a GoDaddy site where you’re given the opportunity to buy the marijuanainsurance.com domain. The tab for “Trampoline Insurance” takes you to the site trampolineinsurance.net where there is a rambling Japanese tale. When translated with Google, the final sentence reads: “I’m scared, but I feel like I’m getting into the mood like riding the table.”
Donahue-Piro said the agency’s website was “like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”
“It’s unprofessional. Your web presence is the first step in your customer’s experience. So if the first step is broken and unprofessional, how do you think people are going to consider your actual services? To me it really shows that you just don’t even care about your business or your customers.”
Aside from just the broken links, Donahue-Piro said the site was also antiquated and unoriginal. Insurance agents needed to do more to stand out from the crowd, she said.
“You have to have something that stands out and screams, ‘This is why you should do business with me’,” she noted.
But that’s far from the only case of insurance players swinging-and-missing.
One UK insurance “practitioner”, who claims to specialize in social media for independent insurance agencies in the UK, US, and Canada, recently pitched a press release to publications in the US and UK [including Insurance Business].
The website link he advertises is blank, save for a banner that says “coming soon”. If you were to persevere and click on the link to “download our broker presentation!” you are taken to an external page that reads: “404 - File or directory not found.”
The press release that accompanied the email also had several typos in it – including mixing up “you’re” and “your”, and starting paragraphs with lowercase letters – and it did not include the full name of the “practitioner”.
The company name, in its own logo, was also misspelled.
Donahue-Piro said this example was “very alarming”: “His program wasn’t ready yet, so all of the links, etcetera, went nowhere. He doesn’t even have a website. [In terms of social media] I don’t know what you would even learn from him.”
So what simple lessons can agencies learn from these shockers?
“Your website has the greatest reach. You can only be in one place at a time, but your website is working 24 hours a day. It should be the most polished piece of brass in your arsenal,” she said.
“If you are going to be online, you have to embrace the idea that you’re going to have to tend to this stuff. If you’re not qualified or you can’t handle it, you need to find someone that is [by outsourcing or with an intern]. You sell insurance – let someone with a little marketing experience bring that special stuff out front and center and make it real for your consumers.”
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