Over the past decade, digital marketing has revolutionized advertising practices for every industry. The insurance sector is no exception; today, online marketing efforts are critical in driving business growth. Emerging technologies, platforms, and strategies make marketing insurance an ever-changing landscape. Consumer preferences have also evolved, creating new challenges for digital marketing professionals.
In 2020 and beyond, what are the best ways to conduct insurance marketing strategies? In this guide, we will explore best practices for insurance agencies, allowing them to improve their online visibility, ensure steady traffic, and create a foundation for organic business growth.
Cultural Shifts Influencing Insurance Marketing
Beginning in the late 1990s and expanding rapidly, consumers with internet access began to rely more and more on online search engines to learn about the companies they wished to do business with. Today, the use of search engines exceeds billions of individual searches every day; Google alone processes over 70,000 searches every second, or about 5.8 billion searches on an average day.
Search engine use is not the only aspect digital marketers need to take into account for marketing insurance in 2020 and beyond. It is how consumers are accessing information; in the United States, 63% of Google’s daily search engine traffic comes from mobile devices. This percentage is only expected to grow in the coming years. Mobile computing has put the consumer in the driver’s seat, allowing them to compare multiple insurance companies and their products and pricing with a few swipes of a fingertip.
Local (Geo-Specific) Search
With the rise of mobile devices, the concept of “local search” and its importance for insurance marketers grew. Consumers are increasingly turning to Google to learn more about the businesses in their areas; in fact, about 45% of all Google searches are looking for local information. For insurance firms, mobile devices and local searches represent tremendous potential in connecting with new customers, as 88% of searches for local businesses result in calls or visits within 24 hours. Think about how your insurance agency can be seen locally. One strategy is optimizing your brand’s Google My Business page.
A Younger Generation
Finally, there have been profound generational shifts among consumers seeking insurance information. Today’s insurance market is younger and includes so-called millennials, young professionals, first-time homebuyers, and individuals just starting out with their careers or lives away from their parents. These younger consumers are more comfortable in the online environment, and smart insurance agencies cater their information to the unique needs and interests of this important group.
Search Engine Optimization
The key to improved online visibility, regardless of business or industry sector, is standing out in online searches. Here, the principles of search engine optimization (SEO) are a valuable tool that is used by digital marketers. SEO is the process of using strategies both on webpages and behind the scenes to allow search engines to better index and categorize web content. SEO should be a part of every digital marketing initiative; after all, if consumers cannot find your site, it makes no difference how functional or informative that site may be. Insurance agencies and brokers should always prioritize SEO in their marketing insurance plan.
Because mobile devices are ubiquitous in modern consumer behaviors, mobile-friendly web content is a must. It is important to remember that people aren’t just looking for information; they may wish to complete purchases or connect with business representatives. Developing sites that allow for seamless functionality, regardless of the access device, is a critical process. Search engines also favor sites that are mobile-friendly, and this factor alone makes the extra effort to develop such sites worth it. Finally, many insurance firms even use standalone apps to assist their customers in making purchasing decisions or to complete transactions, and this aspect should be given serious consideration.
Creating the Right Content
Consumers want information about insurance company products and services. To deliver this information, digital marketers know that text-based web content is crucial, but is no longer the only option. Many marketing initiatives now feature online slideshows, infographics, podcasts, videos, and traditional online advertisements to supplement text-based information. The goal here is to anticipate what consumers need to know, such as how your insurance products and services will be beneficial to their lives. Delivering that information, then, encourages consumers to take the next step.
Social Media: Keeping Brands Fresh & Up-to-Date
It is no secret that social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Reddit have transformed the digital marketing industry. Companies of every type are enjoying the benefits of social media marketing; in fact, those companies without a social media presence tend to lag behind their competitors who have harnessed the power of these online environments.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of social media is the ability to make direct and personal connections with consumers. With a few clicks of a mouse, it is easy to post content, respond to comments, or share photos and videos. These acts build engagement and trust, making followers feel as if they are part of something larger. Adding incentives into the social media mix works, too: according to a study conducted by Yahoo, 63% of social media followers would interact with a given business if a coupon or discount were on offer.
Focus on Local Search
As indicated earlier, local search represents a huge opportunity for insurance agencies to grow their businesses. Google has directed much effort into making local search a critical part of the search landscape as well and offers l tools that give business owners the ability to harness this power. Perhaps the best practice for insurance agencies is to claim listings on Google My Business (GMB). By populating a simple form with business and contact details, the listing will appear in search results and on Google Maps. Best of all, this service is free and can enhance the online visibility of any business operation, from independent agents to MGAs and brokerages.
Once the GMB listing is claimed, it is a good idea to share the same business and contact information on industry and online directories. The goal here is to get contact details in front of as many people as possible. Most of these directories offer free listing services, and may even host online review tools for consumers.
Online Reviews on Third-Party Platforms
Third-party review sites and review features on Google or other search engines have quickly influenced how people respond to businesses. Good reviews help to fuel business growth, while lackluster or poor reviews can have negative consequences for business owners. Repeated studies have shown that as many as 67% of all online users are influenced in some way by reviews posted about businesses they are interested in.
More important than the reviews themselves is how the business responds to reviews. Marketing professionals agree that responding to every review is a smart practice; thanking positive reviewers for their comments and addressing the concerns posed by negative reviewers builds engagement and buying confidence. It also shows the human side of a business – that the business values feedback and uses it as a learning tool for improvement. When responding to critics, it is vital that a professional tone is maintained; too often, businesses get heated in defending their operations, and this can backfire. Instead, thanking the customer for bringing a problem to attention, then inviting them back to the business can defuse an angry customer.
Insurance marketing is a complex process comprised of many parts. By building a robust website, then supplementing it with social media, business profiles, and reviews, insurance agencies can get the most out of the digital marketing experience. Together, these tactics build engagement and position the firm ahead of its competitors in online visibility both now and for years to come.
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