FAQ

Table of Contents

Tracking Results

If you have connected your Google Analytics tag to our platform, you will be able to compare/contrast your web traffic from before you began implementing our strategies.  See the video/transcript on “Maps and Google Tools” for helpful links and instructions. If you use our ad services, you will get separate reports monthly showing the traffic and phone calls specifically generated by the ads.

We can lead the horse to the water…but you have to put some sweetener in the pond. Marketing is exposure and engagement. We can share information that may help you identify where prospects are falling out of the funnel, but things like site content, carriers, competitiveness, quote processes, responsiveness, staffing, etc…all of these factors affect sales. We will absolutely collaborate with you to interpret the data and help you plug the holes. Steady streams of traffic and potential prospects give you the luxury of refining your methods and seeing immediate impact. You can’t improve sales if you have no prospective customers.

You will have robust SEO reporting available on your dashboard- as well as reports that are specific to your local listings and reputation management.  

Web traffic data is collected and reported by Google, so it is as reliable as any report can be- since Google knows as much about internet traffic as any company on the internet.  The data about where you are ranked can fluctuate between SEO platforms- which is why we use several of them and focus on trends, not just daily fluctuations.

For the reporting tools we provide to work, you must share your google connections with us. Without shared access, our tools simply cannot work. Google already has great instructions on how to share access to third party vendors. Click the links below to see how to share access with us by adding our email.

agency.advisor@smartinsuranceinc.com 

  1. Google Analytics – Click Here. Follow their instructions to add a new user. You’ll need to select all the check boxes except “Manage Users”. Allowing someone access to manage users is dangerous and could allow them to lock you out of your own analytics.
  2. Google Search Console – Click Here. This doesn’t actually share it with us technically. It shares it with your Analytics, which we will be able to see if you completed step 1.

Ads/Marketing

Fair question. Some analogies would be: knowing how to cook, but still going to restaurants- or knowing how to sell but still hiring sales people. Digital paid advertising is a combination of 1) Experimentation 2) Tracking 3) Optimization, and it can be an expensive learning curve. If you have the time, desire, and chops to self-direct your digital ad strategies- kudos! As your agency grows, you may recognize a benefit to outsourcing that effort. It is also true that scaled strategies and data give us the ability to be more efficient and effective than any individual campaign manager…even if they are really, really good.

Ads are a mix of display (with images) and text ads with various calls to action depending on the device and context – including phone extensions or invitations to click on your site or request a quote.  Using data from campaigns across the country, these strategies are cycled and optimized to get the biggest bang for your buck. We can post samples of ads we have created/used- but the reality is that the ads are updated and interchanged so frequently, that it isn’t possible to share them all in real time.  The results will speak for the quality and effectiveness of our strategies.

We use a master campaign structure for several reasons that all relate to efficiency, but most importantly it means that our agents’ campaigns don’t compete against each other online in a way that would increase their cost. There are huge benefits, but one of the ramifications is that if you have access to see one campaign, you have access to see all. We won’t share your individual campaign data with others…and we won’t share others with you.

Absolutely. Our strategies are currently focused in areas within 5-10 miles of your physical location and include a mix of general insurance terms and product specific terms. The most effective complimentary campaigns would likely cover a larger area and target specific niches. These strategies are less scalable and more suited to individual management. We will consider additional management services on a case by case basis for customers who have specific needs.  Monthly mgmt costs start at $250-300/mo for these “one-off” campaigns.

Ads start running within 2-3 days, but it typically takes 2-3 weeks for them to get to full optimization and placement. If we don’t use your full ad budget in the first month, it will simply be rolled over to the next month.

Yes, Sort of, and Yes. Your Ad budget is completely up to you. You can adjust that amount anytime. The geographic area is automatically 5-10mi around your location (depending on your budget, search volume, and demographics). We protect the footprint of all active customers on a first come, first serve basis so we do not have 2 customers competing for clicks on the same kw in the same area. You can request specific keywords and opt in or out of targeting certain lines of business at any time.

Our strategies have been optimized over a number of years in collaboration with agents, industry professionals and Google certified ad managers – some of whom are former Google Ad employees. Our Google certified managers control the campaigns logistically and the insurance teams collaborate on ad content and performance analytics.

SEO is a core part of your digital consultant subscription.  The videos provide insight on how to optimize your site, choose keywords, and more.  If you prefer to have someone else do the work, there are a variety of a la carte requests that can be submitted depending on where you are in the process.  We have been reluctant to offer “comprehensive SEO” because there is often a lack of transparency with the billing for services provided.  Our model allows you to pay for specific sets of tasks without an open ended monthly commitment with no accountability.

If you have traffic and believe your website does not deliver as many prospects as it should or you think your website forms are very simplistic, then our engagement suite should be viewed as an “upgrade” to your existing website.  There are lots of reasons why you should use them and sites with a lot of existing traffic may increase conversions just by using better tools.  That said- the tools are included with the subscription- and we strongly encourage you to use them- but it isn’t required.

Our Master Campaign structure keeps us from having campaigns that compete internally and drive up cost. As a result, if we cannot provide efficient volume for your ad budget, we may reject new registrations in certain areas on a first come, first serve basis.

Websites and Forms

If you have traffic and believe your website does not deliver as many prospects as it should or you think your website forms are very simplistic, then our engagement suite should be viewed as an “upgrade” to your existing website.  There are lots of reasons why you should use them and sites with a lot of existing traffic may increase conversions just by using better tools.  That said- the tools are included if you pay for marketing- and we strongly encourage you to use them- but it is not currently required.

We provide an installation guide (here) and online/email support if you need it. If you don’t have a site manager, you can submit a ticket for assistance and we can do it for you in most cases for a minimal one time cost.

No- only the ones that you think you need.

Probably…as long as you have a dedicated “Thank You” page that customers go to when they complete a submission. However, tracking in our forms is much better because it also captures “partials”- which are partially completed entries that often contain phone or email info.

You receive all of the information submitted- no matter how incomplete. Our tracking also picks up those interactions so you know how many people attempted to interact vs how many people successfully submitted.

As of June 2020, rates are in testing/development. Workers Comp will be available first, followed by select GL classes, home, and auto.  Frankly- not all insurers are thrilled about presenting rates to customers, so we are working with individual carriers and agent groups to customize solutions. Carrier adoption is preferable, but we can use public data and agency data to deliver rates and generate prospects.

Early versions will be accurate for prospecting, but not bindable as quoted.  In other words, it will set a reasonable expectation for your customer so the prospect is pre-qualified.  

For customers who manage their personal insurance in an online account (ie. Geico, State Farm, etc), Canopy Connect allows them to login without sharing their credentials with you, and automatically send the contents of their online insurance profile to your email.

Our forms are custom developed versions of GravityForms and already connected to Zapier.  If you google compatibility with either of those, you will get a very long list. Some agency management systems are a little more cumbersome to connect with, but our goal is to send the data wherever you decide it should go.  The only thing we don’t do and probably won’t do is use AL3 or IVANS xml download processes.  These are outdated methods for data transfer.  We want to push the industry forward for your benefit….not backwards.

Probably.  However, as you can tell by the current pricing structure, we aim to give tons of value for your dollars.  We want the tools to be universally useful and affordable.  While we haven’t committed to “locked in” pricing, we will almost certainly give early users some permanent pricing advantages for supporting our growth.

Yes.  We can migrate and update your existing site- or start from scratch depending on what you need.

Yes.  We can host and maintain your site for $75/mo…which does make it easier for us to access your site if you need customization or assistance.

Billing

The recurring subscription/management fee is what we charge for the setup and management of your campaign. The ad budget is collected by us, but it is spent directly on ads and it is your money. Think of it as prepaid escrow ad dollars. Ads are not charged in whole dollar increments, so each month, there will be a rolling reconciliation showing an under or over utilization which just rolls to the next month. This is typically 1-2% and certainly not more than 5%…but again, all of the ad budget goes directly to ads.

The day you register is your monthly recurring date. Your card will be billed monthly on or around that day.  If you also use our adwords or website hosting/maintenance, those amounts are billed separately on the day those services are started.  All other services are ‘a la carte’ and do not involve recurring charges. For your Google ad budget, you can choose to have your selected amount billed weekly or monthly in advance.

Yes, it is a month to month agreement and can be canceled anytime with 5 business days notice to allow time for your ads to be taken down. Once you request cancellation, your membership will be terminated at the end of that monthly cycle. Any remaining funds in your advance billed ad account at the end of this cycle will be returned.

Yes, you can pause your campaign at anytime. Simply click the “Pause Campaign” button on your Ad Campaign dashboard. To restart, return to your dashboard and click the “Restart Campaign” button. Once your campaign restarts, it can take several days for Google to re-optimize your campaign, so traffic may not pick back up immediately. 

Please note…there are geographic limitations to how many agents we will manage campaigns for and we will not allow ads to compete with one another.  As long as you continue paying the campaign management fee, you will not lose your place to another local agent.

No. The only exception would be for extensive website revisions or builds for which we have agreed to defer billing.  This is not technically a recurring contract, but a payment plan based on scheduled progress.

Yes. Allow a 5 day notice to stop the recurring payment. 

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