Remember word-of-mouth advertising? It’s how insurance agencies built their reputations and their bottom line in their local community. Because insurance markets used to be so localized, a smart agent would network through local organizations, sponsor ball teams, and be there when their customers needed them most.
But a lot has changed since those pre-internet days, from how insurance is marketed to the high expectations of a savvy digital audience. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the power of word-of-mouth advertising. It still works in the digital world, but it’s now known as social proof.
Your online audience looks to social media platforms, review sites, and other resources to find that social proof. What they find is your reputation, like it or not. Add in that your audience is more knowledgeable, has more choices, and expects more than ever before, and it’s easy to see why your online reputation matters so much.
How Your Online Reputation Impacts Your Agency
Consider some findings reported by Social Media Today about the importance of maintaining a solid reputation online:
- About a quarter of your agency’s market value is based on your reputation.
- Your audience trusts online reviews 12 times more than your product and service descriptions.
- Star ratings, like those used by Yelp, Facebook, and Google, are the number one reason consumers choose or reject a brand.
Those three statistics alone should convince any agent to learn more about reputation management and how they can improve their odds. So how does your reputation affect different aspects of your operations such as sales, staffing, and finance?
A Better Reputation Means More Sales
Your agency has plenty of competition and potential customers have access to a lot of information about how to choose an agency. It’s important to understand that before someone contacts you, they’ve likely done their homework and may have already made a buying decision. But what about all those prospects who don’t contact you?
Check out these other statistics from the report cited above for more insights on how your reputation can make or break a sale:
- More than 90% of consumers check online reviews to learn about a business.
- 80% of consumers report getting buying advice on social media.
- Almost 70% of consumers won’t buy from a brand if they see from one to three negative reviews.
- 40% of consumers make up their minds about a business after reading one to three reviews.
This data shows there’s not a lot of room for error when it comes to managing your agency’s reputation. If it seems like your reputation is at the mercy of Instagram and Yelp users, you’re right. And that’s why it’s so important to show up on these social media and review sites to tell your side of the story.
If You Want to Hire Excellent Employees, You Need an Excellent Reputation
Your customers want assurance that your agency can meet their needs before they sign on and it’s no different with job seekers. Many job applicants turn to the same resources used by your customers, like online review sites, and they’re looking for many of the same things. Here are some key points from a study published on Human Capital Online to drive the point home:
- 97% of job seekers consider a company’s reputation to be an essential component for choosing a new workplace.
- About 70% of potential employees say they distrust a company and even the validity of the job listing if they can’t find sufficient information about the company’s reputation.
- 65% of the participants say they have a better opinion of companies that respond to negative reviews.
- 63% of job seekers report that online reviews by current and past employees are the most critical factor for choosing to work at a company.
Before you decide to throw in the towel because the statistics seem to be stacked against you, know that your competition is dealing with the same challenges. People aren’t going to stop buying or quit looking for a job because they can’t find the perfect company. But they can hold out for companies with the best reputations.
Take Control of Your Reputation
To make your reputation the best it can be, you first have to know what people are saying about your agency. That means monitoring the major sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Yelp, and others. Now that you know why your insurance agency’s online reputation matters so much, it’s time to take control of your reputation.
There is plenty you can do to improve your reputation, like providing a high level of customer service and engaging detractors and promoters online. Check out our post for how to manage an online reputation for an insurance agency. Find out more about how you can put automation, the latest marketing tools, and more to take your reputation to another level.