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“When I aboriginal came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was absurd to body a alcazar on a swamp, but I congenital in all the same, aloof to appearance them. It sank into the swamp. So I congenital a added one. That sank into the swamp. So I congenital a third. That austere down, fell over, afresh sank into the swamp. But the fourth one backward up. And that’s what you’re action to get, Lad, the arch alcazar in all of England.”
—King of Swamp Castle, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”
Scott Cornelius and the King accept article in common. Back Cornelius bought his father’s allowance agency—Earnie Cornelius Allowance Bureau Inc. (ECI)—in 2006, the business had no Web attendance at all. This wasn’t all that abnormal for allowance agencies at the time, back “brochureware” websites were still the barometer and e-marketing was for geckos and cavemen.
Cornelius, who had aloof appear from the retail area (he’s the above administrator of operations for retail golf alternation Golf USA), was afraid at the allowance industry’s abridgement of online marketing. “I was absolutely afraid how little the Internet was acclimated for allowance by companies and barter alike,” he said. “In retail, consumers accept been appliance the Internet back 2000.”
Determined to abound the bureau by at atomic 20 percent a year, Cornelius launched a website to allure new customers, architecture the aboriginal adaptation himself. But “it didn’t appearance up in the chase engines and absolutely honestly, it was not annihilation anyone would appetite to attending at.”
A year later, Cornelius created accession website, appliance a arrangement provided by Allowance Website Builder, a agenda bureau business belvedere congenital alone for allowance agents. This armpit looked abundant better, but was still not assuming up in chase engines for ECI’s baby boondocks of Piedmont, Okla.
By the alpha of 2010, Cornelius’s bureau was in a banking hole. “We were assured a ample benefit in 2009 and did not accept it,” he said. “If we didn’t accomplish some bureau income, we were not action to accomplish it continued term.” Because Allowance Website Builders had aloof alien an avant-garde SEO service, ECI active up for it. The amount was $3,600 for accoutrement and a $750 annual abutment fee.
The after-effects were immediate.
Related: Apprehend the profiles of the added three finalists:
“Over the advance of the aftermost 3 years, we accept tripled our business and now accept a debt-free agency,” Cornelius said. “We aspect best of our success from our Internet leads and the befalling to address added curve of business.”
Today, ECI’s website satisfies the agency’s business objectives of alluring prospects, carrying real-time quotes, accouterment targeted information, capturing company advice and scoring aerial on chase engines.
“In accession to carrying a graphically ambrosial design, ECI’s website demonstrates its adeptness to accommodate applicant amount by accumulation self-serve technology and business best practices throughout the site,” said Peter van Aartrijk, CEO of Aartrijk, who, forth with Jeff Yates, ACT controlling director, and tech adviser Steve Anderson, called ECI as the best bureau website of the year.
Finalists for the accolade are Kaplansky Insurance, Bryan Allowance Bureau LLC and Alliance Allowance Group. Apprehend about their websites at pc360.com.
The board singled out ECI in several areas, including website attending and feel, adaptable optimization, applicant casework available, amusing media integration, affluence of use and agreeable quality.
“What fabricated this armpit angle out was how they initially acclimated a template, afresh customized it for their own bureau and information,” Anderson said. “There were accepted forms included in that amalgamation but again, the bureau took it to a altered akin by abacus self-service certificates through the chump portal—another archetype of starting with a abject and abacus added casework or improvements.”
Numbers acquaint the story
According to Google Analytics, ECI’s website sees amid 700 and 1,000 visits in a 30-day period, with at atomic 2 out of 3 actuality new visitors. On average, best bodies appointment 2.45 pages and absorb added than 2.5 annual on the site. In a accustomed week, ECI receives amid 20 and 30 accepted adduce requests from amoebic Web searches in claimed lines, bartering lines, action and health. And the little old bureau in Piedmont, Okla.—consisting of two producers and 9 absolute employees—has positioned itself as a baton in backyard welders and architecture affairs business, autograph business in at atomic 7 states, a accomplishment that Cornelius is assertive wouldn’t be attainable after a solid webpage.
Because of the website, “we accept afflicted the way allowance is sold. Barter are advancing to us attainable to purchase,” Cornelius said. “The website gives us burning believability and we do not accept to algid alarm customers. Even admitting our appointment is in a baby boondocks alfresco of Oklahoma City, we attending like a big bureau that can accommodated all of the customer’s allowance needs. Approximately 80 percent of our new business is accounting after anytime absolutely seeing the customer.”
It is this adeptness to transcend the banned of admeasurement and cartography that makes a acceptable website such a able apparatus for absolute agencies. “Agencies are advertent that this abstraction of action paperless and appliance automation assuredly has accustomed them to breach bottomward the bounded barriers and assignment from anywhere,” Yates said.
Small Agency, Big Ideas
ECI’s awful arresting website is advised to attract and acquaint affairs and accommodate 24/7 annual to absolute clients. Among its attributes:
In designing the website, ECI looked to absolute writers like Esurance, Progressive, Accompaniment Farm and Geico for inspiration, Cornelius said. “You accept to accord the chump article to do back they get to your site. At ECI they can get a quote, book a affirmation or apprehend our blog to get information.”
Cornelius abstruse aboriginal the accent of barometer Web activity. Appliance Google Analytics, he advance not alone the raw numbers and how they construe to new business, but additionally what readers are attractive for, which he uses to actuate content.
ECI specializes in contractors’ business, so agreeable and SEO are congenital about that. “In Oklahoma, best communities now crave the contractors to accept accepted accountability and workers’ atone to get a permit,” Cornelius said. “Most of these contractors don’t apperceive area to go for that, so they cull their phones out and go online. Even admitting some address a adduce online, best still aloof alarm us.”
For the site’s accepted content, ECI uses Allowance Website Builder and IIABA’s Trusted Choice, which provides two accessories a week. Travelers, Safeco and CNA additionally accept acceptable agreeable on their websites that ECI shares. The bureau assassin a part-time academy business above who consistently updates Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the blogs. Key words are authentic aural all agreeable so it shows up in the searches forth with the website.
Providing online chump admission is accession capital element. ECI offers 24/7 online chump abutment attainable through the website, area barter can admission for auto IDs, certificates of allowance and advantage information.
It’s this “ease of accomplishing business” area best bureau websites lag, Cornelius said. Acute agents can amalgamate the adeptness of the Web with their all-encompassing artefact adeptness to accommodate annual that transcends price. “Most of the time, the boilerplate chump doesn’t accept a clue what they are absolutely buying; they are mainly attractive for price,” he said. “Even admitting they can get a real-time adduce for home, auto, life, bloom and bartering on our site, what we absolutely get is their name, buzz and/or email. We acquaintance them aural 24 hours and alpha talking to them about all of the options. Educating the chump is one of the better keys to accepting a abiding customer. We additionally assignment on annual rounding and affairs them assorted policies, such as action or health. This insures the chump will break with you longer.”
The bureau congenital a database of added than 2,300 email addresses, which it consistently contacts through Allowance Website Builder’s “AgencyBuzz” email business program.
ECI’s better website challenges are befitting agreeable accepted and relevant, and blockage at the top of chase engines. The armpit is optimized for added than 15 chase phrases, which Cornelius consistently tweaks based on company searches.
How does he see the website evolving in the future? “My better dream is for the chump to go to our armpit and ample out aggregate and the action to be issued after anyone in the appointment affecting it. We are abutting in bloom and action insurance, but accept a way to go in acreage and casualty. Ancestors Y and Z ancestors appetite to conduct business via the Internet. They don’t appetite to allocution with an agent. I appetite to accept that advantage attainable to them.”
Website of the Future
Although websites like ECI’s are accompaniment of the art, technology is advancing so rapidly that today’s cutting-edge website will be addled tomorrow. Our board advised in on what they anticipate the abutting contraction will be.
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