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