The Digital Marketing Imperative: Key Strategies for Insurers to Target Today’s Modern Insurance Consumer
Today’s insurance consumer shops across more digital channels, turns to social media for recommendations, and uses mobile during the entire purchase journey. To address the needs of these digitally savvy consumers, insurers must implement acquisition strategies that span traditional, digital and mobile channels.
Most insurance executives realize they have to step up their digital investments, yet many remain unclear about exactly where to start and how to proceed in organizing for digital innovation and redesigning their processes. According to Bain’s Global Digital Insurance Benchmarking Report 2015, “many lack confidence in their ability to execute the digital transition. Almost half of the companies do not believe they have set up an achievable plan, because they are missing some key elements for the journey, such as a clear vision, or compliance and risk processes.”
How Do Consumers Shop for Insurance?
Mobile and digital channels play a critical role during the insurance decision-making process. Take a look at these key statistics that indicate the increasing importance of having a digital strategy in place:
- 40% of insurance research time was spent on mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) and 25% of study participants used mobile devices exclusively in their research. Half of insurance buyers began their research on mobile devices as well. (Mobile Path to Purchase research by Nielsen, xAd and Telmetrics)
- According to research by LeadSift, the number of social opportunities on social media is a huge goldmine of untapped potential. In one month, the company uncovered 3.7 Million tweets about insurance, 23,401 social tweets about purchase intent, and a dollar value of insurance opportunities on social media of $15 million.
- 71% of consumers surveyed used some form of digital research before buying insurance (e.g. price comparison or social media) and 26% of consumers surveyed bought their policies online (e.g. web or via a mobile device) (PwC)
Target Insurance Consumers on Social Channels
Reaching your customers and prospects at the right moment and through the right channel is key to any business. And social media is proving to fulfill this role for businesses across all industries. The insurance industry is certainly no exception. Research by LIMRA, the world’s largest association of life insurance and financial services companies, discovered that 93% of life insurance companies had social media programs in place.
Historically, insurance isn’t known as being an industry that emotionally connects and interacts with consumers. Yet, insurance covers very emotional events in a person’s life. Social media is a powerful tool to create these customer connections and to engage with consumers on a more personal level. When done correctly, social media can establish your brand’s reputation as being customer focused, reputable, and trustworthy – all important factors for consumers when deciding which competitor will win their policy.
Consumers also turn to social media when looking for information to help them make a decision about which insurance carrier or broker to do business with. A study by Accenture found that 48% of consumers would consider comments on social media when making insurance-buying decisions. Additional research by Celent showed that insurers stated marketing as being the top benefit of social media, followed by customer service and new sales leads.
Focus on Educating Consumers
Many consumers don’t fully understand insurance. They know they need it, but when it’s time to really dig into deductibles, coverage, premiums, liability and so on, consumers don’t know the ins and outs. As an insurance professional, it’s your job to educate them—and in doing so, find opportunities to gain loyal brand advocates and new policyholders.
Content marketing is one of the best ways to reach out to consumers and put your brand front and center as they research across digital channels. But your content must be informative and educational, not simply a sales pitch that will fall on deaf ears. A consumer can go to your website to read about product details when they reach that point of their purchase journey. The trick is to drive them there in the first place with enough interest and intent to purchase.
Take a look at some eye-opening statistics about the value of content marketing:
- 61% of consumers say they feel better about—and are more likely to buy from—a company that delivers custom content.
- Interesting content is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media.
- 78% of consumers believe organizations that provide custom content are interested in building good relationships.
- The average cost to generate a lead through inbound marketing is $143—about half the average for outbound marketing, which is $373.
- 78% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) think custom content is the future of marketing.
- Organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound marketing leads have a 1.7% close rate.
- 90% of consumers find custom content useful.
- 60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site.
- Companies with active blogs receive 97% more leads.
- Eight in 10 CMOs believe custom media should be an integral part of a marketing mix.
- 55% of business-to-consumer marketers plan to increase content marketing spending next year.
Insurance content marketing can take many different forms, including articles, blog posts, images, videos, social posts and any other type of content that businesses can share online. For example, a U.K.-based auto insurance company publishes articles that contain winter driving tips, advice for driving abroad and information about how to avoid breakdowns.
Use Video Marketing to Engage Your Audience
Video today represents 67% of all Internet traffic, and by 2019, it is expected to represent 90%. Video is a powerful marketing tool, especially for mobile users who can watch video content on the go as compared to reading pages of content.
Consider the following statistics about how video can make a powerful impact for your brand’s marketing goals (Source: American Agents Alliance):
- YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world
- One-third of all online activity is spent watching video
- Three-fourths of video viewers visit the business’ website after watching one of their videos
- When videos are included in emails, click-through rates increase by 200-300% and opt-out rates decline by 75%
- Only 20% of website visitors read the entire page content on a website, but a 80% watch videos from start to finish
- It’s 50x’s easier to get a page-one ranking on Google when a video is included on a website
- Video improves brand association by 139% and purchase intent by 97%
There are numerous ways you can use video to engage new prospects and create brand loyalty among your current customers. While there are numerous types of videos you can create, here’s a look at a few ideas to help you get started.
These don’t have to be super professional or scripted – your audience is looking for real testimonials. Rather talking about how great your company is, ask questions to try and solicit responses that will help overcome specific objections of your prospects.
Frequently Asked Questions
Establish your agency as a concerned brand who cares about its customers and as a place they can freely go to for answers.
Educate your audience on the importance of getting insured, provide safety tips, create “welcome aboard” videos for your new customers. Anything to showcase your brand as a leading authority will go a long way in establishing confidence yourself as a trusted advisor.
Use Email Marketing for Policyholder Acquisition and Retention
Email marketing is a great digital channel for insurance marketers to acquire new policy holders as well as retain existing customers. With the right data insights on your audience, hyper-targeted emails have the potential to dramatically boost conversions and retention. Be sure to analyze both your internal data sets and enhance your database with 3rd party data enhancements for finely tuned audience identification.
Emails can be segmented in any number of ways, but the key here is to be sure you are using email segmentation strategies. For example, send emails according to the buying cycle. Consumers may contact you immediately for a quote or more often than not, they are in the early stages of the buying cycle. They may just be checking out your company for future consideration, may need more information and need to be nurtured, or perhaps they indeed reached out indicating they are ready to purchase. Different messaging should be used for each stage.
- Welcome Emails – Consumers who first sign up on your website are in the early phase of the buying cycle. Send them a welcome email to set the tone, personalized with their first name of course. Although you may not have other consumer details at this point, an email enhancement provider can provide additional demographic details so these prospects can be nurtured better in the future.
- Nurture Emails – These emails should provide content and show subscribers what your agency has to offer in terms of products, value adds, services, etc. Nurture emails should be focused on getting the subscriber to take an action such as filling out a free quote form or contacting an agent.
- Active Emails – These emails should be sent after an email subscriber takes a specific action that indicates he or she is ready to purchase, such as filling out a free quote form on your website. The goal should be to get the prospect to the next stage – purchasing a policy. Use these emails to provide more information, a specific offer or promotion, or more details about the policy of interest.
A successful digital strategy begins with the understanding that traditional channels are no longer enough to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. Insurance companies must forge ahead with a digital mindset in order to boost acquisition and retention among today’s modern insurance consumers.
Download our Insurance Marketing Guide for best practices, tips and strategies on how to target and acquire today’s digital consumers.