Canadian Underwriter

Being offline ‘is a huge red flag’

May 22, 2019   by Adam Malik

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Finding a business is much simpler these days.

Rather the fishing around for the yellow pages, dropping it with a loud thud on a desk and flipping through the pages, people opt for a much simpler approach – Google.

Anyone in the market for a broker is likely opening the world’s biggest search engine and typing something like “insurance brokers near me.” If your brokerage can’t be found, you’re at a significant disadvantage.

“People turn to Google first and most for information on practically everything and everyone,” said Garrett Wasny, a Vancouver-based technology skills advisor who works with professionals. “The internet is this vast ocean. The entry to it is through Google. That’s how most people gather their information.”

Not being on Google is akin to not existing.

“You are invisible to prospects,” Wasny said, adding that it sends the message of technological illiteracy. “If you’re illiterate in technology, what else are you illiterate at? Why should I trust you with my business, with my money? Especially in insurance, which is literally life and death, you’re not on the most important channel for communication? No thank you. That is a huge red flag.”

The easiest way to be found is to set up an account with Google My Business. It’s similar to having a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram profile. Businesses input their vital statistics – hours of operation, phone number, and so on – and your business shows up when someone performs a search.

Some brokerages don’t even have a website. Having a Google page can act as a de facto site.

“That information you provide to Google is immediately and automatically listed on the Google search engine,” Wasny said. “So I can’t name a better way to improve your visibility and enhance your credibility than to use the Google My Business page. You can use that as a branding tool.”

Google makes it a fairly simple process. Its page set up is designed like a form. Input the information in the right spots and you’re off and running.

By doing so, you’re actually creating a four-pronged digital strategy. First is having the Google page for people to learn about your business. Secondly, your brokerage is now tied into the search engine so your business can be found. Third is through Google Maps, where anyone can search for “insurance brokers near me” and find you even though they didn’t directly search for your brokerage. Finally, there’s YouTube — including a video on your page will bring you up in the video-sharing site.

“Video is growing. It’s not just for entertainment,” Wasny said. “More and more people are going online to check for vendors … and they want to see that face to the name. There’s that authenticity.”