modern insurance marketing

Marketing to the Modern Insurance Customer

Marketing to the Modern Insurance Customer – here’s what’s hurting your agency


The age of the online insurance consumer has arrived! And with this, a record number of online searches, inquiries, and quotes that are generated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The million dollar question – is your agency strategically positioned to capitalize on this market? Or, have you been slow to change, only taking half measures and doing the bare minimum?

These days, the right insurance marketing strategy will have prospects picking up the phone and calling your agency, filling out quote requests online, and sending their friends and family your way in numbers you would have thought impossible just a few short years ago.

3 out of 4 insurance purchases begin with an online search.

McKinsey

Satisfied customers, lower costs, higher growth

When consumers have an insurance itch that needs scratching, they turn to Google and their peers. In fact, a staggering 3 out of 4 insurance purchases begin with an online search.

What does that mean for digital savvy insurance agencies? A recent McKinsey research report tells us that smart insurers convert digital customers at six times the rate of their peers.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your agency had a digital marketing strategy that generates consistent leads and sales from these searches?

Let’s start with the biggest and most common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1 – a weak content strategy

Good content is what connects you to your customers online where they reside, it’s what drives them to trust you and ultimately leads them to an easier purchase decision. It’s also what separates you from your competitors – and allows you to really differentiate yourself from the other agencies in your marketplace.

There is too much ‘thin content’ in the insurance space. Content that adds very little value to readers…which, as a result, adds very little value to the bottom line for insurance agencies.

  • Insurance Sales Pages

On insurance sales pages, this often means pages that don’t provide enough relevant information for a consumer to make an informed decision. Or, alternatively, they may be presenting a great deal of information, but not what is “important to their customers.”

Weak Content on Page

The thin content here makes it a challenge to connect with the customer. There is the overused ‘family hero shot’, no persuasive copy about the value of purchasing home insurance through their well-known and highly respected agency, and no breakdown or attempt to speak to the specific home, condo and tenant insurance customer. (Image source.)

Additionally, insurance sales pages routinely miss out on excellent opportunities to utilize known and tested psychological triggers that reduce friction, increase trust, and lead to purchases.

Matching Digital Content to Stages

So, you can identify the stages of the consumer lifecycle, but how do you relate them to content marketing?

As you’ve undoubtedly realized, you’ll need different online content for consumers at each stage of the lifecycle. After all, a customer who is just noticing your brand for the first time doesn’t want you hovering around, offering to answer any questions they have; they just want to explore.

By contrast, a customer who has educated him- or herself about your brand will be happy to have you available to answer additional questions about your product or service.

Your goal is to provide customers at each stage of the funnel with the content they need to lead them toward a purchase. Remember, great content also helps to keep customers interested in your business.

QUICK TIP 
All of your online content should be written with a goal in mind and be appropriate for the stage of the consumer lifecycle it targets.

Weak Content

This auto insurance sales page is minimalist and factual, which can be very effective in some specific situations. But on a sales page that’s designed to encourage quote requests, it’s missing an emotional connection and trust signals on-the-page that you would expect to see from an 85 year old insurance agency. (Image source.)

Good content satisfies your prospects, both emotionally and intellectually. It answers questions ‘in ways consumers understand’ and it puts your insurance solution at the centre of your customer’s problem.

Good content also satisfies search engines like Google. Which in turn, means Google rewards your agency with prime real estate in the search engines.

  • Supporting Content Pages

Content that supports the sale, that answers detailed questions customers are searching for online that relate to your products are often missing entirely from agency websites.

When there is an effort to create this type of content by agencies, it typically underperforms due to a combination of technical shortcomings and a failure to adequately research the competitive landscape for this specific piece of content.

It’s not uncommon for us to see topics like “The Top 5 Spring Cleaning Tips”, or “Ways Your Business Can Avoid the Pain of Flu Season” or “How to Walk your Dog Safely in the Summer” throughout the insurance space.

Unfortunately, these types of content are not driven by keyword research and actual search appetites of insurance customers…so, they end up not ranking in Google search, not adding authority to insurance websites, and not supporting specific insurance business categories in a way that contributes to the bottom line.

Content Fails

I think it’s fair to say that this content is not offering much to the reader or to the insurance agency itself. (Image source.)

Think strategically about your content. What do you want your content to do? What part of your business does it support? And can you make it the best piece of content on this topic and actually rank for it?

The consequences of a weak content strategy are clear:

Sales pages and all your supporting pages suffer – by failing to show up on the first page of Google search results and not getting those active buyers who are looking to purchase insurance; and by being unable to persuade customers to do what you would like them to do when they are actually at your site.

Mistake #2 – no page focus

Page focus starts with identifying what action you want visitors to take when they visit a specific page. This is commonly known as ‘the most wanted action.’

Everything you do on your page, from the copy, to the design, to the colour choices plays a role in a battle for your visitors attention. And that attention is limited. All the extra ‘noise’ and distraction on the page needs to be eliminated. A whopping 58% of users will skim pages if they’re constrained by time (and who isn’t these days).

Above all else, draw the reader’s attention to what matters most.

While this is a simple enough concept in principle, it can be an extremely challenging one to implement site wide. It takes skill, experience, and a willingness to test pages and iterate for ongoing improvements.

  • Homepages

For insurance websites, the homepage is often the least focused page out of necessity. If you’re selling a variety of personal lines (auto, home, life) and commercial/business lines it can feel like an almost impossible task to limit distraction and noise.

Busy Homepage

The ‘never ending page’ is all too common on the homepage. It can be especially challenging to remove things that you believe add value, even when that makes the page overwhelming. Removing elements and doing user-testing will help with this. (Image source.)

Hick’s Law states that the more stimuli (or choices) users face, the longer it will take them to make a decision. So when you have many options – from personal insurance to business, it’s necessary to group and categorize choice. This will enable users to find items from higher categories, as if they were looking under sections in a library.

Almost 75% of customers who attempted to purchase insurance online reported a myriad of problems.

Accenture

Avoid flooding with options, but bear in mind the balance between users’ time and comfort zones for handling options on a page. Guiding them to select between clear options that will get them somewhere quickly (such as your carefully designed home insurance page) will take the work out of the user experience and reward you both.

Insurance Sales Pages
For your sales page, it’s critical that you eliminate visual competition. If you have a sidebar with alternative or competing content like in the example below, user-testing will likely reveal that it’s pulling attention away from your main page…and hurting your conversions for that page.

Sidebar Distractions

While the branding of this insurance site is excellent, this particular sales page lacks needed focus. On this home insurance page, there are 5 different types of home insurance categories presented all at once. In addition, there are multiple sidebar boxes promoting Wedding Day protection, First Time Drivers and more. (Image source.)

If you have 4 blog posts at the bottom of the page because you’re worried the page needs to look longer, try it without those posts. Chances are high that you’ll get a lift in your on-page conversions.

If you have social share buttons next to your quote request like the site below, consider an alternative location. After all, you want your social channels like Facebook to support your business, not the other way around.

Quote competition

It’s become a design trend to place social share buttons near the entry point of websites, but for insurance sites this isn’t always ideal. There are optimal times for social sharing, like when a visitor has consumed one of your blog posts…but the act of social sharing should not compete with your ‘most wanted action’ – getting users to notice and click on your ‘Get a Quote’. (Image source.)

Mistake #3 – no landing pages

Online leads cost less than half as much as leads from any other marketing channel.

Hubspot

Once you’ve done all that hard work to get visitors to your website, the next big step is to convert them into leads and sales for your agency.

And that’s why landing pages today have become a secret weapon for many insurance agencies.

What is a landing page? In the most basic sense of the definition, landing pages are any pages that drive that first entry point into your website.

Your awesome landing pages matter because they can do two important things at once:

  1. They can make it easier for you to drive targeted/segmented organic search traffic to your website.
  2. They can make it easier for you to turn those visitors into leads and sales.

Why? Because well-researched and carefully crafted landing pages allow you to compete where you can actually get wins.

Let’s say your focus is on life insurance and it would be business-changing for your agency to rank on the first page of Google by getting visitors who search for “life insurance.” So yes, create an effective life insurance page and incorporate all the triggers necessary to make it deliver.

The problem with this term (which is often called a ‘head term’) is not the massive volume of visitors you would receive if you ranked on the first page, rather, it’s simply that State Farm, Geico, Progressive and Met Life occupy that important real estate.

I’m not saying don’t compete with those big players or don’t challenge them. But go to the open meadow, pick the low hanging fruit.

  • Focus Where You Can Win

When you segment your target a little, like say, for “life insurance for over 40” – you’ve got yourself a winnable opportunity.

And because this is more targeted traffic, it allows you to tailor your message to a specific type of customer (on this specific landing page, of course), to speak directly to them, to use the power of persuasion and the science of conversion to turn them into a loyal customer.

Online leads cost less than half as much as leads from any other marketing channel.

Hubspot

In the insurance space, landing pages are most often used in PPC advertising campaigns, but they are underutilized as a means of natural organic Google acquisition and conversion. And that’s where the gold is.

Landing pages allow you to be hyper-relevant to your customer – and that’s something customers have come to expect and demand. Furthermore, they offer endless opportunities to sharpen your marketing message, to test, and to learn in an unprecedented way about your different customers.

Mistake #4 – no reviews strategy

Many insurance agencies, despite having great relationships with many of their customers, do not have a built-in system or process for asking for reviews. As a result, this process of asking for reviews can often fall through the cracks, so to speak.

The end result is that all this goodwill that your agency has earned is not being put to use…to show potential customers what an amazing experience they had, and what a terrific agency you are to work with.

The fact that 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked suggests that you should seriously consider making reviews requests a formal part of your on-boarding process.

The benefits of reviews are plentiful:

  • It helps you with local search. All other things being equal, with more reviews, the better your placement in the local 3 pack maps section. That’s valuable real estate and a great place to be.
  • When you use them properly on your sales pages, they’ll increase your conversions.
  • Implement schema markup properly at your site and you’ll have stars showing up in your search results – which will make those search results stand out more like in the image below.

Reviews with Stars

Reviews not only build trust at your website, they also enhance your listings in search results. Despite having the 3rd position here, it’s obvious which listing will receive the most clicks from visitors.

Customers expect reviews in the insurance space. After interviewing insurance customers for market research, reviews are regularly cited as a significant validator.

90% Of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews

Marketing Land

This is an area where you can get a big win even if you have no other digital strategy in place. But focus on Google reviews – they have the most impact on your search results.

Reviews are such an important area for insurance agencies to focus on as part of their on-boarding process that we wrote a post about “How reviews help your business and how to respond to reviews” here and “How the right testimonials deliver customers” here.

Conclusions

In our experience, the four mistakes outlined above are some of the most repeated by insurance agencies.

Clearly, the insurance sector has changed and is adapting to the new digital reality. However, some insurance agencies have been reluctant to fully embrace a comprehensive digital strategy and are still relying on their in-force policies.

If history in other market niches tells insurance agencies anything, it is that they need to get ahead of the curve. Now is a great time to reprioritize your digital marketing and focus on building a strategy that will fuel your agency’s growth.

Get more website traffic & leads with our proven approach to digital sales and marketing.

Get more website traffic & leads with our proven approach to digital sales and marketing.


Online-Quote-Tools-for-Insurance

How To Sell Insurance Online as a Broker in an Insuretech World

How To Sell Insurance Online as a Broker in an Insuretech World


Across the board in the insurance industry, from home and auto, to life and commercial, the pressure to innovate and to adapt is growing. By now, it’s no secret that technology and innovation are driving customer preferences and expectations about insurance.

The insurance market, once a staunch example of traditional business, is looking to make the most of these changing customer expectations and insurance purchasing behaviors (to the tune of 1 billion dollars in new insuretech investment in the 2nd quarter of this year alone).

So, what’s an insurance broker to do to stay competitive in this environment?

Online Quote Tools for Insurance are Standard

Online-Quote-Tools-for-Insurance

You need the right tools to compete digitally. That means an online quote option of some kind. Without an online quote option, you risk losing leads that are near to the purchase decision – to insurers who offer this convenience.

Online quote options are not cost-prohibitive, as there are plenty of 3rd party vendors that offer quote widgets or quote apps that are no longer technically challenging to implement into your website.

Insurance Customer Service Matters More Than Ever

Insurance-Customer-Service

There is a belief or assumption among brokers in markets of all size, that they own the “better customer service” model, and that the insuretechs of the world are simply dumbing down insurance and building their business on price alone.

While aggregators and comparison sites base their value proposition on price, this is not the case for most insurers in the online space. In fact, the B2C insuretechs of the world – that are doing it right – are beating brokers where it matters most, over the “entire customer experience.”

Where and how?

From the first point of contact, to sale, to post-transaction contact and follow-up, to reviews and referral requests, to real-time feedback. How?

  • By having carefully crafted websites that speak in the language of the customer: a website that answers the most common questions purchasers have about their specific insurance options in a way that the average person can fully understand;
  • By adding a level of transparency about coverage and claims that is uncommon in the insurance space;
  • By also providing content that is not necessarily insurance-specific, but that is in the influence realm of insurers;
  • By showing up more often in local search results;
  • By building a review and referral system into their onboarding process.

The reality, is that most broker websites have a user experience that falls short of a great customer experience. In stark contrast with B2C insuretech, the majority of insurance brokers have not invested in a content marketing strategy that serves their customer base and their potential new clients. As a result, they miss even being “in the conversation” with new potential customers when they begin their online search.

Dominate Your Insurance Market Locally First, Then Grow Your Customer Radius

Dominate-Your-Insurance-Market-Locally

How does an insurance company located on the West coast eat up and capture more and more of your market share, when you’re located on the East coast and have a geographical advantage?

Smart insurance marketers are taking a “marketing locally” approach and tailoring their messaging and their sites to specific locales. Furthermore, they are investing heavily in boosting their trust and social proof by making customer reviews work for them in a way that local brokers are not.

What does that look like in the online environment and what impact does it have?

Online insurers who are marketing with a local focus, are showing up in organic search throughout the buying cycle for local terms, which increases trust, confidence and familiarity. Sweeten that with a sprinkling of local reviews and referrals and the impact is greatly enhanced.

In other words, an insurer 3,000 miles away has more of a local presence in a specific local market than the local office in the heart of the city.

So what can a local broker do?

First and foremost, dominate local search with an investment in the same strategies that are taking away your market share. But make investments and strategy work for you in places you can get wins. And then more wins. And when those wins pile up and you start to dominate your local marketing again, begin to expand your marketing radius a little at a time with the same approach.

Insurance Lead Generation isn’t an Either or Proposition

Insurance Lead Generation

Here’s what traditional insurance marketing typically looks like: prospecting friends and family, attending networking events, hosting seminars and cold calling, mail campaigns (postcards and letters), referral incentive program giveaways, newspaper ads…even the purchasing of insurance leads.

Most insurance broker firms have a lopsided dependence on traditional marketing methods. Sometimes it’s due to the founding principal having a legacy built on this model. Other times, it’s simply because they don’t know where to start with their online marketing strategy, or what can move the needle in terms of writing new policies.

Have traditional insurance brokers come too late to the party?

Not yet. But the insurance market is adapting quickly. Delay means more online real estate will be staked out and claimed by those who act.

Acquire Insurance Customers Easier and Faster

Acquire Insurance Customers Easier, Faster

There are efficiencies to digital insurance marketing that simply outperform traditional marketing. Especially in terms of reach.

That doesn’t mean the end of customer service. It actually means you can offer superior customer service by helping your customers make sense of their questions before they even reach out to contact you.

You can establish that trusted advisor relationship online. And help that mom at 9:30pm in the evening – after she has put her kids to bed and is looking for insurance options for her family on her tablet.

Insurance brokers who are successful at selling insurance online treat it like another lead generation method – fully aware of the fact that a relationship that starts online is still a relationship.

Ultimately, by fully embracing the online insurance environment and ecosystem, the brokers of tomorrow not only make the insurance transaction easier, faster and more efficient for the consumer – they also do that for their own lead generation and customer acquisition models.

Get more website traffic & leads with our proven approach to digital sales and marketing.

Get more website traffic & leads with our proven approach to digital sales and marketing.