The Digital Age has officially swept the insurance industry, changing the way we keep in touch with customers and identify new prospects-and the way prospects find us, too.
The good news is that digital marketing is the most efficient client-acquisition tool the industry has ever known, allowing you to generate leads faster, easier and more cost-effectively.
It’s important that you-and your Managing General Agency (MGA)-understand how digital tools can be leveraged to increase sales and strengthen relationships with existing clients.
The Power of Search
Google search is increasingly how consumers find insurance agents. According to a recent comScore study, entitled Online Auto Insurance Shopping and Servicing Reports:
80 percent of U.S. consumers purchased auto insurance offline, after first conducting an online search for information.
62 percent of those consumers chose to buy their policies from a local insurance agent.
So while consumers seem to prefer shopping and comparing their options online, they want a human being to answer their questions and help them complete the sale.
Boosting Search Results
Your website is the hub of your digital activity so, at minimum, it should look professional and contemporary. Your site should also be integrated with a customer relationship management (CRM) system that automatically loads new contacts into your database, generates reminders, helps you manage your pipeline and produces e-mail marketing campaigns. Those are the basics.
To fully capitalize on the consumer shift toward the Web, your site should also be:
Search engine optimized-for your city and region, with keywords and tags that give you visibility on search-engine results for your local area. Optimization is what drives high rankings and visitors to your site. Eventually, your rankings should grow organically, or naturally, as your website receives more traffic.
Supported by a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign-which places your website at the top of paid search-engine results. When you use Google, have you noticed the two or three results that appear at the top of your searches, with a yellow background? Or the list of results that appear in the right-hand bar? Those are all company-paid advertisements, associated with the keywords you typed in. Many insurance agencies advertise as a permanent but flexible way to supplement organic results. Your MGA should be able to negotiate volume pricing with a pay-per-click provider that can serve all its independent agents.
Staying Top of Mind
The comScore study on auto insurance purchasing also showed that 63 percent of consumers “rarely” speak with their insurance agent in person, representing a huge opportunity for you to bring back the personal element to insurance.
Social media and e-mail marketing are wonderful ways to keep in touch with clients. Most people appreciate an occasional e-newsletter, provided it contains relevant information, and is brief and easy to read. E-newsletters can prompt immediate phone calls from clients and prospects, or can be easily passed along to friends and family who may have insurance needs. Make sure that your MGA provides you with access to a good insurance agency software and CRM system to help automate portions of your e-mail marketing.
Social media, such as Twitter or Facebook, can help you build rapport with customers. Bear in mind that social media is not a direct sales tool. Its purpose is to serve, inform and engage with clients in an authentic manner. To do this, re-post interesting articles, promote community events, answer questions or offer a fun freebie to new followers or fans. Just remember to be responsive. Keep the conversations rolling with thought-provoking questions or polls.
Pick an MGA That Gets Digital
When thinking about how to start an insurance agency, or grow the one you’ve got, leveraging cutting-edge digital marketing will set you apart from your competition and deliver more sales leads at less cost. So pick an MGA that knows its stuff when it comes to digital and can help you navigate this relatively new but fruitful territory.
My name is Pamela McCann and I am COO of Alliance Insurance Group, a Master General Agency (MGA) headquartered in Golden, CO. We’ve got insurance franchise opportunities for both entrepreneurs and independent agents.