Ryan Hanley - Senior Vice President of Marketing at TrustedChoice.com and Managing Editor of Agency Nation

Content marketing mastermind reveals groundwork for successful digital marketing strategy

When Ryan Hanley started as an insurance salesperson, he struggled with how much he was interrupting other people’s lives. Then Ryan developed a strategy that brought customers to him – on their own terms – and his success launched into the stratosphere. In one of our most information-packed discussions to date, Ryan Hanley reveals how to design a successful content marketing strategy, and the low-cost but effective ways insurance agents & brokers can embrace technology to engage their audience on a deeper level.

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster?  Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures.

One More Thing! What do you think? How will you and your peers use this to grow your agency or brokerage? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, subscribe to get updates delivered to you and *please share this if you found it informative.

[Transcript] Ryan Hanley – Senior Vice President of Marketing at TrustedChoice.com and Managing Editor of Agency Nation

Michael Jans: Ryan Hanley, thrilled to have you with us today thanks so much for joining us. How are you?

Ryan Hanley: Mr. Jans is always my pleasure to be with you, so thanks for having me.

Michael: Indeed, when you call me Mr. Jans, I know there’s a generational difference, I suppose we’ll talk about that later but let’s not rub it in all right.


Michael: All right. So, Ryan first of all I’m really looking forward to this conversation, I know that you keep your finger on the pulse of trends but you also have a unique perspective on the industry really different than almost anybody else that I know. You’re an observer of the big things that are happening, but you’re also quite comfortable in the weeds where practical and tactical things happen, you know what’s happening with agents and brokers and you know what’s working and what’s not. So, we’re going to dive into practical marketing tips, tricks and techniques, I’m sure very shortly-

Ryan: You described me as a whole spectrum nerd. I thank you for that compliment.

Michael: Well, Ryan let’s start with how you got to be where you are, your story is interesting, tell us a little bit about the journey of how Ryan Hanley became Ryan Hanley?

Ryan: Well, I’ll just take you back to the… to the most interesting part. I fell into the industry like all people do, not on purpose, it was not my—my seven year old self was not dreaming of being an insurance marketer someday, but somehow that happened. What actually happened was I was a bum and my then girlfriend that however father, I think that I don’t– spelled the writing on the wall and said I don’t want my daughter to be married to a bum.

So, he sent me down in a high leather back chair in the office of his super nice house and said, “Why don’t you come work for me at the agency?” I shouldn’t say it all, I just, I had okay whatever job. I said, “Fine.” I thought maybe sales was the answer for me and I sold insurance for eight years, in fact be honest with you especially at the beginning I was really terrible at it.

Just about every part about it, especially the part of right I didn’t know how people lie and teach my worries at them. Long story short, the answer for me ended up being digital marketing, I really liked it as a method to educate people and give them the opportunity to choose me versus me interrupting their life. Over the course of those eight years, I became quite proficient at digital marketing and ended up developing a love for selling it well and I would like to consider myself a fairly decent selling today. Yes, that was a ride and the next question that I always get is, “Why aren’t you so uneven if its going so well.”

Well, the insurance that I worked at, my wife worked there, my wife’s twin sister worked there, my brother-in-law worked there, my father-in-law worked there, and nothing there wasn’t fun working with all those people, its just– I wanted to do something bigger, it wasn’t my agency, my name was never going to be on the back, I wanted a bigger challenge and the trustedchoice.com opportunity came around, I took it and the rest is history.

Michael: All right. Well, you’ve made a tremendous contribution to the industry, so that is something to be proud of. I do want to take you back to those years where you were working in an agency and digital marketing at the same time. Back then– first of all obviously there were a lot of platforms available, but there were probably some tools and technologies that were not available then that are available now. What were some of the things that you did that you tested and tried and particularly what are some of the things that you did then that really worked for you, regarding the things you talked about educating people and more as presumably warming up prospects before you have talked to them?

Ryan: That’s a great question, like I said I was a teacher, the other interesting part about it was even though my father-in-law allowed me to use the agency name and use it, you know he was my boss and he could have said, “No.” He wasn’t going to spend any money on-


Michael: You went for low cost no cost high leverage activities right?

Ryan: Yes. Advertising, even though he forgets really just in the very early days then, there’s few little things you can do with them and even most. Even when I first started it, it was only for select accounts, the standard and I’m glad for obviously available but I wasn’t paying for any of that stuff, I didn’t ever know. What I used was a video in particular YouTube and a standard Word Press website that I did convince them today pay $1000, can have a website cleaned up, we put just a really generic Word Press theme on it, you don’t need to know what that stuff is, if you don’t know it, basically is like the basic of basic websites their standard but it allowed me to publish content, that was a thing that I had versus a preview site which was just like five postage.

Michael: You mean you don’t advise people in agents just to throw up a website and never pay any attention to it?

Ryan: Yes. The first thing is set it and forget it, that’s a great thing and it doesn’t exist in anything in life yet for some people believe that it exists in there’s a market but in particular website, I used YouTube, basically my– will call it my kicking off point, my claim the same, the thing that really sold me on digital marketing and essentially made my career as an agent. I answered 100 insurance questions in 100 days, two minutes or less in YouTube video. I basically took the month of December 2011 and I need to add every single person I bumped into, whether I knew them or not, working in agency, email people, Facebook, I just said, ‘If you could have one insurance question, just one, would it be anything, no stupid questions, what would it be?’

I got the whole gambit that you possibly think of and I paired those down I got 150 questions somehow like that, I paired it down to 107 or some nice cleaneven number and there were some duplicates on somehow my careers. January 2nd of 2012, I just started answering questions. So, I would hold my phone up might a five megapixel, none HD, android pro its terrible phone. I would hold it up in my hand I say, “Hello my name is Ryan Hanley, I work through the Murray group Insurance Services, I’m an insurance producer. Licensed agent and today I’m going to answer the question, what is New York City short term disability?” A short-term disability is a mandatory coverage blah blah blah blah blah.

And that actually one that I just gave you for the one minute and 32 second answers that is generated over a hundred thousand dollars of revenue that video alone. Single most profitable piece of content I’ve ever created in my life and it took me 27 minutes from start to finish to have a YouTube video and a blog post posted that I could then share on social media and email out to my clients.

Michael: So, the technology that you used was your phone, and your arm. So you could hold the phone– you have long arms, you could hold the phone far enough away that you got a decent picture, obviously you weren’t using a teleprompter or anything sophisticated like that, you probably weren’t in a– like I’m in now studio with soundproofing.

Ryan: I was not in a studio.

Michael: Okay, and then YouTube. Then did you embed those on the WordPress site, so bam that was the marketing stack there for the most part-

Ryan: That was the whole thing, I put a little text, a block or two or text, in front of the video just as lead up and then I would put all our contact information or conversion underneath the video and that was the entire thing. Now, if I were to do it again I would a huge tweet follow me, but the point that you are so rightly making with questions that you’re asking is that just with very minimal equipment you can generate results which is a goal.

The thing that I think so many people miss, and so many Talking Heads thought leaders social media rocks are ginger gurus miss is that the number of likes your video gets doesn’t mean anything, no one is going to sums up on YouTube your insurance video, that does not mean that people aren’t getting value from it, gracelessly marketers marketing to marketers those metrics that they talk about are so meaningless in what we do, what matters is that your phone is ringing, that’s what matters.

Michael: Got it, let’s break that down a little bit. First of all, did you do anything to drive traffic to the YouTube videos or to those videos that were on your site?

Ryan: That’s a good question. So it would depend on the topic in the video, some of them were questions that I thought were valuable if someone had that question but I didn’t think it was a particular interesting question, other videos that I thought had some run, that I thought people would potentially have interested in particular business, clients or personalized client I would segment them out. I would email them or I would post them to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn three main social platforms of the day, and then I would drive a little traffic. But I’ll tell you at the at the end of the day it was really Google, it was search track-

Michael: It was a search value of that content.

Ryan: That’s what made take for me.

Michael: Got it, typically were you getting more views on your site or on your YouTube channel?

Ryan: That’s a tough one for people that to take in, at first it was the YouTube videos, over time it became the website because the YouTube videos have value on their own as a video, the site has domain Authority in and of itself, as the site gained authority which is a topic we could spend a day on we don’t have to go into that just understand that a site has a number attached to it that we don’t 100% know, we can guess at it but Google gives it an authority level, your site as a whole is domain Authority and then each individual page has its own authority.

At first because YouTube is a high domain authority site, the videos on YouTube got more authority. Now, I didn’t care because my phone number was in the video and was in the description. So, I don’t care if you call me from my YouTube video or you call me from my website and call me problems as long as my phone is ringing I’m happy. Over time that value shifted to the site because I created so much content and I was getting found in so many different searches and people would hit one page watch a video and then they would go to three more pages on a similar topic, use you our Google half a lot of authority to our study and when I left our little insurance agency website I was doing about 12000 hits a month, got a pretty decent.

Michael: You did that a few years ago and things do change rapidly in this fast changing world, would you recommend that agents or brokers should repeat that exact same strategy?

Ryan: Yes. Many things have changed. Let me give you only interesting thought here. I have been a professional insurance speaker for seven years now, teaching what we’re talking about right now, I have told this 100 insurance questions answered story and its entirely with every detail on how I did officially, I officially lost count at one 107 times, I told this story to an audience, a large audience. Now, one person I ever duplicated and I would tell you today that if you did, you just took 30 minutes out of your day every day for 100 days, that’s a huge app, it’s also a big project but only a 100 days doing 30 minutes. They just need the knowledge you have in your head already.

If you did this, you drastically increase your awareness and or your agency in general just in terms of the ecosystem that you play in and a frequency at which your phone rung with inbound opportunities would increase exponentially, no one has ever done it.

Michael: It’s funny that you should say that because my next question was going to be, ‘How many people have copied your strategy?’ One thing I can promise you my audience gets stuff done.


Ryan: I hope that’s true.

Michael: -we are going to change the landscape of the insurance industry. Now, looking back at that experience, what would you change either because it was something you learned or what would you change because technology or the world has changed?

Ryan: Yes, that very question. I would probably do a little more work on the post, the posts were very shallow on my site they were maybe it was a video which was great, when they were only an additional 200 or 300 words, I was going deeper, I would have got them all transcribed. Again all that additional information value added to the consumers, I use a lot of technical things differently, I think you could get away, I also would have the video title on YouTube, I would have made slightly different from the blog post title which in my campaign were exactly the same. Essentially they were competing against each other.

Michael: Interesting, Okay.

Ryan: I would have done a post title on YouTube that was slightly different so that maybe they were capturing similar but different searches for the same demographic just expense a lot of little technical things, but I’ll tell you YouTube is still an incredible place to drive people, you always have to have a call to action, at the end of every video are they, if you enjoyed this content, if you have questions, if you need a quote just pick up the phone give me a call on here all the time, if I don’t answer the phone leave a message I’ll call you back.

As soon as I get back to my office I can’t wait to talk to you and then you have to do that, you have to be responsive and flexible. I would do it scarily some of the things there are different additional amplification methods I would you today, I would do some advertising, I would pony up and pay if you can find good high-quality converting pages on your site and you run traffic to them, it’s like a cash machine, I didn’t know that back then in order to have the resources to do but I would do that, I would use PI social a little bit more. Really social is not really a conversion engine, it’s more of a branding and awareness engines which is great and incredibly important but paid search ad content and email are really where that if you want to make this a big cash registering.

Michael: Now to the agent of brokers listening and thinking a hundred, I can’t do a hundred, let’s simplify it, what categories of content did you find got the most traction?

Ryan: Auto is really tough because it’s just so saturated, I’m going to give you away, give you all my secrets.

Michael: I want all your secrets free, that’s my Job.


Ryan: Unfortunately I’ve been giving away for free for so long now I can’t charge, I think you made a good point, first of all you can even do 500 videos because we have so much experience just open up a Policy Forum. Everyone says well how did you get all that information, every single carrier sends with every single hard copy policies as they send to your office all the policy forms, just pop them open and figure out the answer, is so-and-so covered on all merchants your coffee I don’t know, let’s see what traveler says, okay yes it is covered great.

Michael: Ryan, answer this question, I’m being the spokesperson for agents and brokers. I don’t know– they hear about creating content, and then obviously common responses. I don’t know what to say.

Ryan: Yes.

Michael: Now, give them an answer.

Ryan: Well, tell them what you do for a living man, in the state decree times and all day long on the phone and emails, if people want the knowledge that we have you are no longer the gatekeepers of our expertise. They can go out and they can find that information online, are they going to find that information from you there going to find it from somebody else.

But the difference is regardless if you think you’re good. I was a math major, I was just a geek nice and cheesy way through a math major, I don’t have any acting experience I had, no predisposition of marketing I’ve never taken an official marketing class. Everything I learned, I learned because I would have gone broke and my wife would have probably broke up with me at the time if I hadn’t started selling more insurance.

Michael: Then we would have had a real bum on our hands.

Ryan: Yes, right official bum, ours starts super basic starts super short, answer common questions. Think like this one here is the ultimate exercise during your day, whenever you’re listening to this or it feels in at the end of the day tomorrow. The very next question that someone asks you about the insurance business, whatever it is even if it’s something like can I pay for that policy with a credit card? Perfect pick up your phone you don’t have to publish this online, you don’t have to post it, what you need is to practice.

Michael: Practice.

Ryan: Practice pick up the phone and say hi, my name is Joe Smith I work for this agency, I’m a licensed agent and today I’m going to answer the question does credit can you pay with your credit card for a homeowner’s insurance policy In the state of Virginia. Move the answer on them, and there it is you just created content, you were content creating machine now.

Michael: No doubt you could ask, for an agency principal could ask their CSRs to track the questions that came in for a week and they would have your hundred questions right?

Ryan: Very easily.

Michael: Very good. All right, let’s bring things forward to today you’ve seen the world change fairly rapidly– you jumped into insurance marketing. As a as the world was changing and you were a little bit of a pioneer and they haven’t stopped changing Ryan, they see things seem to be changing the pay seems to be accelerating. What do you see as the big trends the big changes transformations maybe disruptions that agents and brokers need to be aware of?

Ryan: Yes, we’re not really looking at the disruptions yet, disrupter is a label for most of the people that have it today. I don’t think any of them are really disruptor, that doesn’t mean that they won’t change the business. They won’t push innovation and that they won’t be players down the road. I’m not knocking on them as businesses. I’m just saying the label of disrupter I think is a misplaced. Two disruptions are going to come from things like block chain and autonomous cars and telematics and things like that. You take a simple it was you the West Coast guy Reus labs who come into our conference is coming up elevating them on the phone the other day and basically it’s telematics company, they have a smart smoke detector and they’re really pioneering technology, is there smart water detection system.

So they can detect water leaks before they happen, they can detect a water leaks as they’re happening it drastically reduces water claims. Okay, you want to talk about changing the face of the industry not all these things are bad for carriers or for independent natives—if I’d imagine, if and I’m going to give you some this is just a scenario, you’re an agent and you’re forward-leaning and you see a company that says, “You take my advice and you stick it in the homes of every one of your personal lines clients” and we will reduce the chance of water loss across your book of business by 85%. So, water loss is traditionally our one of the largest in terms of not necessarily frequency though they can be but ultimately size for clean water looks can be enormous and you want to clean up in the potential mold and all those things.

What if you can prevent 85% of the time that from happening, how much so how much more do you get in your contain see check because your loss ratio goes to the floor because you prevented all those water losses from happening. That right there is a positive in the space for agencies and is it a disruption? I don’t really think so, it’s an incredible innovation that changes the face of our business, yes I do because now but so this is the full side of that is does the carrier then change contingency prices and price the rate go down.

The fact of the matter is this is a very positive thing in general for industry because it what it does is it allows us to be flying underwriters again, it was allows us to be the risk prevention experts that we were 20, 30, 40 years ago. It’s a true boom for us because what the people who are currently being labeled as disruptors, are today are saying is are all those human beings that built this industry the foundation the last 400 years of insurance in this country, they don’t know what they’re doing anymore. They’re it’s antiquated, they’re slow we’re going to create a program with an artificial picture, we’re going to give it a name and that’s going to do the job of an insurance agent, that’s complete garbage and I think those people are missing the point.

I think there are places where efficiency and effectiveness can be handled by technology absolutely, there are places that the agent currently sits that they don’t need to sit but what that here’s the rub for agent, instead of looking at that as and hopefully people. This is a topic I’m passionate about but instead of looking at that at I’m being replaced, they what we need to do as an industry and in many cases we are, so I’m not saying that we’re not currently working towards we need to think about. These where can we re position our time because we no longer have to perform that task right, Sally does not ask the proud 400 Auto ID cards anymore. It doesn’t mean we don’t need Sally, that mean Sally can spend 45 minutes on the phone with your high-tech VIP client instead of three minutes and brushing them off and then you move them to the agent down the street.

That’s how we can re position the human assets in our company, to provide the high touch human aspect in a business that makes our business important and makes our business not a commodity, If we just lean on technology and that’s all it is an all new, you look is a commodity because every chat bad thing that’s invented by some MIT graduate with a programming degree, can be duplicated in a matter of months. I mean there’s nothing I get we all are they are its like AI today. There’s a 10,000 companies working on AI, it’s not necessarily to me incredibly impressive like great you can do that but show me the human beings who could white-glove someone through a process, and make them feel like the VIP that they really are and how special that makes your client feel and how that improves retention and overall client happiness, referral volume, total pals and soul of that agency.

I think for us as an industry it’s about understanding where we plug technology in, and not how we then reduce our human assets, but how do we re purpose them and re position them in ways that ultimately as our true value or increases our true value customers deserve.

Michael: All right. Let me ask you a question about technology, let me get your response to this. In the last few minutes Ryan you have mentioned a few technologies Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, WordPress, YouTube, and so on and so forth. All right. Now, for some of our listeners for a lot of them in fact well all of us probably, at some point in our lives none of those existed.

So, new technologies arise all the time and the industry’s relationship with technology has changed a lot. The demands for insurance agents to understand and embrace and use technology, it has changed radically from let’s say a generation ago. Say something what would you want to say to them and maybe they learn more towards boomers, than Gen X or Millennial. What do you want to say to two people who are responsible for some leadership in this industry, are responsible for leadership in their agency, what do you want to say to them about technology?

Ryan: Well, I did a couple scenarios, this is like choose your own path those books where you like you read them and it’s like Sally jumped off the cliff person is going to walk back and then it you go to page 57 or you go to page 13. You get to choose your path yet, but I would give them some guys if you’re looking out over the course of your career and you’re saying, I have five what years left in this industry. I’m completely cool with selling to whoever will buy from me, and I don’t necessarily care how much I get from my agency. You do not have to do thing do not waste money on technology or to spend it buy your ways with BMW I don’t care. I’ll get a pool full of gold coins we don’t dive in them every day.

Michael: But for everybody else.

Ryan: For everyone else, should expect being in this industry 10 years from now or longer. Or who is perpetuating and cares about the person they’re perpetuating too.

You can’t head in the sand technology anymore, it’s part of a game– there was a day when you can get away with not having a cell phone and there was a day when I would walk up and do my presentation, I’m sure you’ve been speaking a lot longer than I have an industry Michael, so I’m sure you’re using this as well. You were talking about these things and someone would raise their hands and he would be proud of the fact they still had a flip phone with what I got a squiggly black and white screen done, that was a source of pride for them.

Today I look at that person I feel bad. If I were in your marketplace, I put you out of business, but you don’t even have a chance, because I can go around you, I need to run circles around you. And we all get mad about things like State Farm and I know the ads and it’s like guys, we’re allowing them to do it. Now, thankfully there’s organizations like choice.com that are fighting that, that’s a completely shameless plug, but such as yours is well Michael facilitating them with technology that allows them to play that game, and you don’t have to be a master guru.

What I would say is, ‘You don’t need to learn the technology, but you have to make the business decisions that allow your business to embrace the technology.’ So, you’re an easy principal and you’re like, you know what Ryan, I’m 62 years old, I do not want to learn an email automation system, I would say I completely understand that decision nor do I think in any way shape or form should you have to understand it from a technical standpoint, but from a decision making in leadership standpoint, you need to position your Human Resources and your capital assets in a way that allows you to utilize that technology, because having a drip marketing system or email automation campaign that communicates with your clients on a more frequent basis delivering the value—I email them, ‘I know what your product does-‘

Michael: Well, your trading shameless plugs with me, like now. [laughs]

Ryan: Yes. The idea is you as a baby boomer non technologist , you don’t need to be a technologist, what I’m asking you to be is an opportunist, that’s what I’m asking you to be today. We do not all have to be technologists and in frankly I’m not a technologist, I could barely hack through some CSS code which I’ve taught myself, but I can’t develop things, I have to be honest with you, I had to buy another DVD player because I broke the last one and that’s technology from the 90’s.

But I fully understand the utilization and the opportunity that exists in that technology, that’s all I’m asking for leadership in both careers and agencies to do is embrace it from a leadership standpoint that it’s part of the business, and then find ways to implement that technology as needed from making solid business decisions don’t just fly off the handle and start buying things. Make solid tactical step-by-step business decisions that allow you to be an opportunist, not you don’t have to be a technology.

Michael: All right, let’s give some practical advice on this here for a moment. From that following up on what you’re saying that the key thing is knowledge and understanding as opposed to becoming an engineer or coder hacker or a programmer?

Ryan: Yes.

Michael: I had a room full of clients last week. It was one of our mastermind group and I was training on—I think it was my favorite 13 productivity hacks and I asked for a show of hands, how many of you use chrome extensions? And I think maybe one hand timidly went up and I realized that a lot of what I was talking about even though it’s stuff I use every day was really brand new territory for a lot of people, what do you want to say to agents or brokers who just want to learn more about contemporary technologies and be comfortable and not be dazzled, confused and bewildered by technology?

Ryan: I would say it’s like religion. It’s all starts with finding the right guru, find the person that you trust, might be you guys without a lot of great content team is another good one, I like to believe that I’m one.

Michael: Of course.

Ryan: There are plenty of others and trusting those people to help you find the solutions, this is a tough one for me because the insurance ecosystem run I’m talking about a full spectrum nerd but we really are 360 degrees and where people stand from a technology standpoint. At chrome extensions, I guard them with my life, five that are in there, I don’t like to go much more than that part, so I can’t take them but I literally use I’m almost a level search. So, its little things like that are [unintelligible 00:35:24], I would say, don’t get to start with the basics and work your way there and again, If you’re a boomer and you’re 62 years old but you’re still coming to the office and it’s still important to you take you timing.

I think what happens is people try to rush into these things, they hear me talking, I’m from the East Coast, I talk incredibly fast, I know that’s the case, it comes off as if everything is so urgent, I know that. I’ve gotten a feedback from people like, pick the sizes only because of where I live that I talk too fast, not because I think you need you like move tomorrow or the sky is going to fall.

Be tactical, be very deliberate, say to yourself okay, I’m going to learn this week one new little thing about technology, go and talk to whoever is handling the email marketing in your office and say it talk to me about what we’re doing really how often are we contacting our clients. Once a month, okay well, what would happen if we did twice a month? That would be great, let’s just test it, let’s try that and figure out what that means and you don’t have to know how to blog, you don’t need to let you know marketing system, you don’t have to tell you about the emails. But just get a feel from a business standpoint, we can all wrap our head around what it means to communicate with them and maybe you could help with what the messages mean and I’ll tell you just get involved in those conversations more often and things will start to make sense of you that the tools today have evolved to a place where you don’t have to be so technical to understand their value to the business.

So, deliberate take your time and if you learned two new pieces of technology, just two new pieces of technology again, not how to use them but just what they mean to your business and how to help you, If you mean two new pieces of technology every month, you would know everything you needed to know by the end of the year, one year is 24 new pieces of technology that could be chrome extensions one month you’re learning the next month, it’s how to read your email signature to help drive online reviews, just a little things and you can get there, I promise but just being deliberate and don’t feel like you need to conquer the world tomorrow, because end you get overwhelmed you’re, ours isn’t working, just to take your time I say.

Michael: All right. Ryan I have a feeling that we’re going to have more of these conversations coming up, but let’s wind this one up with one thing that you’re excited about that’s getting results for agents and brokers right now, in that big scope of insurance marketing.

Ryan: There is a lot of things that are working today.

Michael: I’m narrowing you down to one [laughs].

Ryan: Yes, I’m going to give you one. I brought it up in the last statement that I made about online reviews. I think it’s a very easy way to make some hay in the digital space that will feel very comfortable, It’s very comfortable, it’s very similar to what we’ve always done is generating online reviews of your agency, there are two main places I would drive you to, there’s actually a third which is like the Empire, if you watch the old Star Wars or at first Republic, if you watch the new Star Wars writers whatever they call it, first order. And that is Google reviews, absolutely, positively work. They show up in local search, they have these nice stars and 20 reviews and it’s a really important driver of the buying psychology, a report it gives social proof to potential buyers or potential prospects of your agency, your good qualities been around it it’s great people read them it’s very valuable-

Michael: How do you suggest agencies drive their customers there?

Ryan: Here’s my one recommendation for driving online reviews. Every program that sends email for the most part Gmail, outlook, pretty much all of them, have you believed to set an email signature that goes out with every email. In the PS section of that signature, John Smith Principle and partner of Smith Agency. Like PS, if you’ve enjoyed working with our agency, you would do us an incredible service and favor and we would be very appreciative if you would go over to Google and then put a link.

So we’ll wait to Google and leave us a review of your experience. It means a lot to us and it helps us drive new business. What you’ll get is– you’re not actually even having to ask, people will see that and over time what’ll happen is two three four reviews will come in every month which is perfect. You never want more than that. You want it but nice, solid, trickle-


Michael: Steady stream.

Ryan: Yes, steady stream. Then you would switch it up. I also mentioned Facebook. Facebook reviews are starting to show up more insert so you can switch it up. Maybe you do six months in Google and then you switch it to Facebook reviews, six months of Facebook who knows. There’s also Yelp. I hate absolutely everything about Yelp. I think they’re a dirty rotten company that scams small businesses out of money in order to make you strong-arm tactics and I think they’re terrible but I really-


Michael: Ryan well, I have you on the subject how do you really feel about Yelp?


Ryan: Yes. It’s likely it could be something like that.

Michael: But that being said, what do you think agents should do with their Yelp presence.

Ryan: The problem with Yelp is if they even sniff that you drove that person there, they will block the review.

Michael: Got it.

Ryan: They will block the review. They have no problem showing negative reviews against your company. Here’s why, the moment you have two or three negative reviews against your agency, they’re going to call you on the phone. They’re going to say, “Hey, you have 20 reviews. We’re only showing your three negative reviews right now because those are the only ones we could validate our review of reviews. If you don’t want all of them to show, you pay thousands of dollars a month.

I would never drive anymore to Yelp purposely, but if you have a quality Google and Facebook review footprint, you’re going to do just fine. So work on those two platforms don’t worry about Yelp.

Michael: All right. I have one last question for you and it’s going to be a hard one for you.

Ryan: Okay, give it on.

Michael: Okay. It’s the Tim Ferris’s question. He tends to wind up his podcast with this question, and I think I know why. Okay, If you had to say something incredibly important to our audience and you had to put it on a billboard so that the more words you add the less value it has. Okay?

Ryan: Yes.

Michael: Already. What do you want to say? They’re driving by fast.

Ryan: Screw it, let’s do it.

Michael: What’s that?

Ryan: Do it, let’s do it. That’s Richard Branson.

Michael: Richard Branson.

Ryan: My favorite quote of all time. Screw it, let’s do it.

Michael: All right. Even if you’re a young guy who doesn’t know that much about insurance and never marketed before, yes you get a hundred YouTube videos by holding up a phone in your arm. Right?

Ryan: Yes.

Michael: Right, okay. Okay, screw it, let’s do it.

Ryan: I would say, don’t get caught up in the details, just go get it. Just go figure it out. Like I said and figure out one thing at a time, be deliberate, don’t worry about the details, you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to have copywriting, you’re going to copy edits in your Facebook post, you’re going to forget a word, you’re going to say– you’re going to mean T-H-E-I-R, you’re going to write T-H-E-Y’R-E and someone’s going to comment on the fact that you made that mistake and it’s who cares. Just go do it. You’re going to figure it out, have someone your agency do it if you don’t want to do it. I promise you over time, this stuff will start to make sense, it’ll become more of your business and it’ll be like any other process.

Michael: We just went from one billboard to 20 Burma-shave signs if you remember that metaphor.


All right. Ryan I do need to wind it up here. If people want to reach you, contact you, find out more about you or what you do, how do they do that?

Ryan: The first place to get a hold of me is boy if you want to find my work for the agencynation.com @agencynation.com that’s where most of my work is published today. If you want to connect with me I LinkedIn the great place, just searched her Ryan Hanley and there’s a couple of them out there, but I’d like to believe that I have suppressed them as much I possibly can. But I’m the– you all have heard my bio by now so you’ll know it’s me and I’d love to connect with anyone and everyone and I take this if you send me a message I can usually answer your question. But yes, those are the two best places to connect with me.

Michael: Very good. Ryan it’s been a pleasure spending time with you. Thanks so much for sharing your insights and observations.

Ryan: Thanks for having me.

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