Stop Buying Leads And Create Your Own Instead

POST WRITTEN BY Brad Cummins, Founder of Local Life Agents, a nationwide independent life insurance agency.

Anyone in sales can tell you that no new leads typically means no new business. Without sales, you truly don’t exist.

When I entered into the insurance business, I initially tapped my natural market. But — as you can imagine — that only goes so far. In order to succeed, you need to have an ongoing plan. Mine was to purchase leads.

I started using a service called NetQuote, where I could buy leads from online shoppers who were looking for insurance. These leads were $15 a piece — and for the most part, the individuals were interested in purchasing coverage. But in addition to the cost, those same leads were also being sold to other agents from competing companies. So if I didn’t get to them first, I was essentially throwing away my $15. I had only a 15-20 percent closing ratio, so I knew I had to find a better way.

Using SEO

Throughout the past decade, the Internet has changed the way we do business — insurance is no exception. Gone are the days of sitting across the kitchen table and discussing benefit options. Just like most other products and services, people want to be able to search and compare what options they have available, and they want to do it quickly.

I decided to learn everything I possibly could about search marketing, lead generation and SEO, and I also started to build a resource list. A few sites that helped me were Moz.com, Distilled.net and QuickSprout.com. Even today, for any beginner who is looking to learn, I highly recommend these websites. They contain some great content, along with helpful video tutorials.

Once I had my go-to sources, I then obtained the proper tools for tracking and I further developed my plan. Two great sources that I recommend in this area are AHREF and SEMRush. You can learn a lot from these tools, and even though they are paid, I found them well worth the money.

Building Local to National

My initial plan was to rank on a local level in my home city of Columbus, Ohio, for homeowners, auto, life and business insurance leads. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I had no lead generation or web design experience. In addition, Columbus is already host to some major insurance brands such as Nationwide and Safe Auto, so I had stiff competition, especially as Google GOOGL -0.17% loves big brands and they rank well for the most difficult keywords.

I admit that my first website, ColumbusInsuranceMarket.com, wasn’t pretty. Yet I was still able to reach my goal. In fact, I was able to generate more leads per month from that site than the ones I was purchasing for $15 apiece for all those years. To this day, we still generate local insurance leads from this website.

Once I’d reached local success, I decided to up the ante and see how I could do on a national level. I was lucky enough to buy the domain name TermLife-Insurance.com at an auction. This was great, because at the time Google liked exact and partial match domain names. These days it’s hard to brand a partial-match domain like the one I bought, so I’ve also since built my most current and best website, LocalLifeAgents.com. This site has brought both the local and national aspect to one site. As you can see, each of these sites is progressively better from a design and user flow aspect, which helps.