Last week, I talked about the importance of creating an online presence. Specifically, the focus was on personal websites, which today have become even more important than a business card. Today, let's talk about internet prospecting.

Potential customers use the internet everyday, whether it be for social interaction, shouting their thoughts to the world, or research on goods and services. They come home from work, jump on Facebook to say hello, tweet a thought about trending topics, then Google how much a product costs, where the nearest particular service is, and which professional/business is the highest rated. If you are nowhere to be found on the internet, your prospects will go to someone else.

But a website isn’t the only thing you need.

Utilizing multiple platforms can drive traffic back to your main page. The beautiful thing is, there are plenty of free services out there that allow you to employ online marketing strategies and get in front of a prospect’s eyes. Let's take a step back and figure out how to incorporate these very simple steps.

Create Your Own Website

There’s a slew of host sites that will allow you to create a basic website without spending an arm and a leg (though it is worth noting websites are a “you get what you pay for” service).

Creating a website will help your potential customers find you. It also allows you to provide information on your area(s) of expertise, qualifications, and industry insights you have. Furthermore, you can supply your website with testimonials—the visual version of word-of-mouth marketing.

Maximize your site with easy navigation, beneficial tools, upfront rates, clear and concise information, and calls to action that will make the next step (buying) simple. For more on the importance of websites to promote your business and services, click here.

Once you get a bit more tech savvy, you can begin incorporating these next steps.

Start a Blog

Last week’s post also included the basics for creating and maintaining a blog. Essentially, the best strategies include making the blog easy to navigate, finding your target niche, and updating it often with fresh content.

Blogs allow you to share your content with prospective customers. Consumers come with a “what’s in it for me” approach. The more helpful you are — the more you provide a free service (a piece of advice, the steps of a process, breaking news) — the better. Information they deem useful can then easily be shared with their friends, but only if it’s online of course.

Your blog should be used to interact with consumers, NOT to sell them something.

Lastly, if your blog isn’t on your main website, be sure to link back to it so interested parties can seek additional information as needed.

Create a Facebook Business Page (Twitter too!)

Facebook is an immensely popular social media platform. But if you think it’s just for interacting with friends and family, you’re dead wrong.

Facebook users see ads for goods and services every time they log in. Building a strong Facebook presence has become a must because consumers place a high value on companies who have that commanding presence. Build your brand by posting your blog articles, press releases, industry news, or by coordinating local events. Remember to be social and interact too. Respond to comments, ask questions, follow up, and humanize yourself to gain deeper trust that you’re not just in it for a buck.

Twitter works in similar fashion.

This unique tool allows you to search for keywords and send messages directly to consumers. Though, to start, it’s best to learn how to be an outstanding listener. To learn more about how to use Twitter to connect with clients, click here.

Use LinkedIn to Find Prospects

LinkedIn is one of the most underrated and underutilized tools out there. In my opinion, it is the best prospecting tool we insurance professionals have at our disposal. LinkedIn is the Kevin Bacon of the professional world — it allows you to find the path to your ideal prospects through just a few connections.

At the recent “20 Ways to Jump-Start Your Sales” event, hosted by Pinney Insurance Center, I provided one strategy for using LinkedIn to find that next client.

The idea here is that you can do a bit of scouting ahead of time when you have a client coming in. Take a peek at the client’s LinkedIn page, find a few potential prospects, then ask your client if they would be willing to make a referral.

By clicking here, you can listen to this idea in its entirety on the podcast (skip to 18:03).

Once you get the hang of social media and blogging, and you’ve made sure they ALL link back to your website, you’ll be on your way to more prospects.

One last piece of advice:

While it’s important to manage your social media, blog, and website, don’t let it become an overwhelming, time-consuming headache. The process should be fun and rewarding. So get out there! Grow your online presence. Share your thoughts and expertise in a blog. Connect with your audience on Twitter and Facebook. Start the conversation.

Just make sure everything goes back to your website, where those prospects can find your phone number to continue that conversation with you personally.

Want more tips to get started in internet prospecting and virtual sales?

We're here to help. As the top-producing digital BGA in the country, we know what it takes to sell online or by phone. When you partner with us, we'll give all the tools you need to sell more and earn more in less time. Sound like a plan? Click here to find out how to join the Pinney team. We can't wait to hear from you!