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Why You Must Have Video

video-iphoneWebsites have come a long way in just the last two years.  Two years ago, content was king.  No new content meant no one cared, and two years ago, the buzz was all about mobile.  Now, if you’re not mobile, you’re simply not relevant.

Today, websites without video are just not very effective compared to those with.

Insurance agencies may feel a bit overwhelmed with what is needed to keep up with all of this.  After all, we’re insurance people not internet marketers!  Or are we?  The truth lies somewhere in the middle.  The fact is that almost all commerce, including insurance purchases, takes place either directly on the web or is influenced by it.

So, like it or not, keeping up with what consumers expect in their web experiences isn’t an option, at least for today’s winners.

With that said, are there some best practices for video that can be adopted by anyone?  Yes, to begin with, web videos should be short.  The stats seem to indicate that past 30 seconds you begin to steadily lose viewership, although interestingly people will currently watch videos longer on their mobile devices.  Go figure.

Of course, videos need to be interesting.  That can be a challenge if you only think of insurance in policy terms.  But think about Progressive’s, State Farm’s, and Farmer’s ads on TV.  They manage to convey a message, with humor, in 30 seconds.  You can do the same thing with web video if you flex your creative muscles.  Or, you can put some of the videos your carriers have created on your site.  That saves time, money, and creative brain cells and leverages their brands with yours.

Make it personal.  This goes a bit against the last paragraph but where local agencies have a real opportunity is to personalize their offerings.  This is especially valuable when you share the video beyond your site into your social media posting.  You’re posting on social media, right?

Be topical.  What makes videoes go viral isn’t production values, its interest.

Turn it over frequently.  Change things up every few weeks.  Anything on your site that is a year old is, well, old.

Being a 21st century marketer is challenging, but so was being a 19th century marketer.  Try things.  Fail.  Get better.  But try.  Video is where it’s at in website marketing for now.  Who knows what will be hot and required in another two years.  Virtual reality anyone?

Websites

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As consumers continue to move online for virtually all their shopping needs, it has been stated countless times how critical it is for an insurance agency to have a website.  By now, there are few agents who can possibly survive without one.  Chances are, you have a website up and running – but have you rebuilt it in the last 24 months or so?

If you have not, you may want to take a look at your competitors, so as to understand whether or not your website is keeping up with them.  Better yet, take a look at those you frequent and ask yourself if your website is as engaging and easy to use.

Are you using video at all?  Estimates show consumers spend 88% more time on sites with video.  What is more, video increases organic search engine traffic over 150% and 300% more monthly website visitors.  Video doesn’t have to be difficult to produce.  In fact, at OAA, we have even used our iPhones to create compelling and engaging videos.  Start with something, watch your analytics to see what improvements you get, and go from there.

Get rid of as much text as you can.  We are all so busy and distracted; truthfully, we don’t want to read a lot on websites.  It is wise to go through your website and get ruthless with words.  Consider replacing words with image.

Optimize for mobile.  About 25% of Americans only access the web on mobile devices.  If one out of four of your prospects and customers have to scroll around your pages trying to read itty- bitty type, they’re not coming back!

I remember ten years ago, when we thought websites were just brochures in cyberspace we could print once and forget.  Then a few years ago, new and fresh content regularly became important. We learned that in order to be effective, regular attention must be paid to them.  Also a few years ago, we realized that we needed to create websites from scratch every two or three years.  In the same period, we learned that we needed to link them to all the online social media outlets.  Now, they need video, less writing, and mobile optimization.

I don’t know what’s next, but I do know it will come fast and that keeping up is even more important to attract and retain today’s increasingly demanding consumers.