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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
AccentureAvoid 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.
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.
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
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:
- They can make it easier for you to drive targeted/segmented organic search traffic to your website.
- They can make it easier for you to turn those visitors into leads and sales.
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.
The targeted strategy allows for hyper-relevant messaging. (Image source.)
Don’t just stop at one segmented market. There are unlimited opportunities here in the insurance space. Do the research, and as they say, ‘rinse and repeat.’
Online leads cost less than half as much as leads from any other marketing channel.
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 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
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.
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.