It’s no secret that the healthcare insurance industry­–like so many others across the country–is rapidly shifting online. No longer is it viable for brokers to rely solely upon word-of-mouth referrals; now, brokers must evolve and learn to navigate a new digital-first landscape if they want to drive new business and expand their customer base.


To do this, brokers must begin to shift their marketing strategies online while actively monitoring vital new considerations like reputation and reviews management. In our recent webinar “How to Harness Your Digital Presence to Drive Growth in Today’s Evolving Industry,” Mployer Advisor’s Chief Marketing Officer Aaron Clifford moderated an insightful discussion with Sterling Sky’s Joy Hawkins and Colan Nielsen.


Here are some important conclusions from their roundtable discussion.


1. Recognize the power of local listings. Early in the webinar, attention turned to the power of local business listings. Hawkins, in particular, noted that search results are much more localized than they used to be a decade ago.


“There used to be a time where you would search for auto insurance, for example, and get nothing but GEICO's homepage,” Hawkins said. “But now your results will spit out businesses that are ‘close to you’ or ‘nearby,’ and you get what we call a three-pack. Essentially, a three-pack is a map specific to your search results that normally shows up with three different business listings beside it. So, when we talk about Google My Business and localized search options, there are significantly more of those now than there used to be years ago.”


2. First, claim your profile. If you’re not sure where to start, remember that the first step is easy. Claiming your Google My Business (GMB) profile is free and straightforward. During the webinar, Nielsen said: “The most important thing is just to get started by claiming your profile; from there, there are so many wonderful features inside GMB that you can customize.”


To learn more about managing your GMB profile, download our complimentary e-book “A Digital State of the Union: What Your Insurance Brokerage Need to Know About Google My Business.”


3. Understand how the buyers’ journey has evolved. Nowadays, when employers research brokerages in their area, their search begins online. This means that, according to Hawkins, you have to find ways to attract employer interest and quickly demonstrate your expertise.


“A good number of people won’t make it your website,” Hawkins said. “What tends to happen is that the individual researching brokers will see the information on that brokerage’s Google My Business (GMB) profile and look at their Google reviews. If they’re acceptable to that individual, they will likely reach out via phone or email to set up a meeting. Now, this isn’t to say that your company’s website isn’t important; in fact, your website is still the key driver that controls how well you rank on Google.”


4. Prioritize the reviews process. After you’ve claimed your GMB profile, one key advantage is the ability to respond to customers who have left reviews. As an owner or manager, it can sometimes feel awkward to ask clients to leave public feedback. Hawkins says she understands that reluctance, but she stresses that prioritizing reviews can be hugely beneficial to a broker’s online reputation and­–perhaps more importantly–how well they rank on Google.


There have been several studies done that talk about how if you don't ask, then you don't get, Hawkins said. “If you passively expect people to leave your reviews, you may get a couple, but business should be proactive. This means having a strategy in place to ask customers for reviews; when you do, I guarantee you’ll get more.”


Hawkins also reminded webinar attendees that positive customer reviews impact local search query results. For instance, if an employer searches Google for the ‘best insurance brokers near me,’ then the list that comes out will only feature brokers who have an average rating of 4.0 or higher. “So it is in your best interest to try and get lots of reviews,” Hawkins said.

Eager to learn more? Click here to watch our free, on-demand webinar for a full breakdown of how and why brokers should utilize their GMB profile.

Looking for more related content? Check out the latest posts over at the Mployer Advisor blog.