A Future-proof Guide To Getting Insurance Leads Online In 2021 And Beyond

HOW TO BE RELEVANT WITH YOUR MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS IF YOU SELL INSURANCE ONLINE

By Nikita Vdovenko, co-founder at nn.partnes
September 7, 2021
Introduction

Marketers and insurance agency owners rely heavily on digital channels to attract, convert, close, and delight their customers. But with the increased competition, constantly increasing CPCs, CPMs, and a decreasing attention span, is there a better way to go about it in 2021?

We'll explore this subject in this article.
1. Understanding online purchase behaviour patterns and your customers.
Let's face it, people don't think about insurance that often, if at all, before an emergency happens.

Put yourself in your customer's shoes.

People don't like to think of car accidents, let alone death, that often. People with insurance usually only reconsider their medical or life coverage if they have an issue with their current insurance carrier. Similarly, people with no insurance only start thinking of getting a plan after they get into an accident, hear a story from a friend, read a news outlet, etc. So. people start searching for products once a thought or emotion is triggered, and we need to understand this to tailor marketing communication accordingly.

How? By using data. Purchase trends are messy these days, but after you understand your customers' behavior patterns you can and will get a competitive edge to answer this question. But what if you don't have lots of internal data from a CRM or Analytics systems, can you still use this recommendation?

The answer is yes. Google recently enrolled a 98-page research paper exploring, what they call, the messy middle, which can provide some of these insights.

source: thinkwithgoogle.com,
Decoding Decisions
Making sense of the messy middle
The infographic shows us that people in the Explore phase proceed with further exploration, evaluation, and actions after a certain pattern is triggered in their mind. We can use this frame to assess the purchase journey to buying an insurance plan. The Exploration phase might be caused by upcoming difficulties a person can predict in their lives, a news outlet, a story from a friend they heard, or many other factors.

For the purpose of making this article actionable, we must think of Triggers as advertising, Content Pieces, and other sources of inspiration for customers that we can create, control, and measure the effects of in the company's bottom line.

Understanding on-line purchase behavior patterns is crucial in planning an insurance marketing strategy. It will give you lots of valuable insight into customers' way of thinking, motivations, and potential triggers to influence action. At nn.partners, we use multiple tools to create customer persona profiles to create compelling and relevant messages that address the specific needs of the customer.

You can download our template here.

Additionally, I can recommend "Make My Persona Tool" by HubSpot, and Marketing persona templates you can find in Miro. And finally here are some of the latest insights on the value of Marketing personas and the ways companies are using them to build lasting success.

After you've created customer persona profiles, the next step is to discuss communication strategy.

2. Being relevant during micro moments of potential insurance leads
People don't like to be sold to - but they love to buy
— Jeffrey Gitomer



We often forget how true this quote is and neglect the basics. The video shows exactly how this looks a lot of the times from a customer standpoint.

How marketers run ads (that sucks)
We treat this kind of communication as spam these days. "Buy now" or "GET FREE ASSESSMENT" doesn't sound appealing, but what are the alternatives?

Well, it depends on the medium, so let's start with Search ads.

2.1 Tailoring your communication to the Search networks;
While using search engines, and especially on a mobile device, customers may be in different states of mind,

● I want to know
● I want to go
● I want to do
● I want to buy moment

source: thinkwithgoogle.com,
4 new moments every marketer should know
More on that subject can also be found here.

Understanding these patterns should inform you and guide your communication strategy during the whole funnel, from an Ad text and CTAs, to the landing page experience, and closing scripts. And at this stage, for agency owners and marketers, it's important to understand how to ensure that when the leads stop flip-flopping between states, it's your agency that wins?

People use search engines to look for information about a particular subject, object, product, or service. But because the amount of available information is so vast, searches are often modified with an additional word or phrase that describes what it is the searcher wants to know about, the thing they're searching for. These keywords can make all the difference when it comes to connecting to the appropriate customer.

It's important to be relevant and compelling during each of these stages, and it should be done systematically, while always questioning your assumptions.

Let's imagine that you want to start capturing insurance leads at the very bottom of the sales funnel during their I-want-to-buy moments. It's obvious that you need to get started with the research for the specific terms your customers are using during these moments. And here I want to stress how important it is to stay open-minded.
source: thinkwithgoogle.com,
Decoding Decisions
Making sense of the messy middle

What you think may be important for your customers, might not be relevant for them anymore, and staying open-minded and data oriented is crucial in building lasting success. As you can see in the graphic above, people all around the world don't want "cheap" products anymore. They have switched their focus to "best" deals, implying value for money among other factors.

So, now after doing the research and understanding your customers better, how do you persuade someone to stop shopping around and actually buy what you're selling?

The best way to approach this in Search networks would be as follows.

First, you need to keep in mind that the goal is not to obstruct the customer or force them out of the activity they have chosen to pursue, but to provide them with everything they need to feel comfortable making a decision. Be specific in addressing the customers' needs and put search queries they use right in front of them - [Best] Medicare Insurance, Term Life Insurance, Private Health Insurance, Obamacare Insurance Plans. These should be immediately followed by the specific benefits your offer has for the prospecting customers. Things like Customization, Relevancy, and Range of insurance options should be prioritized and consistently, regularly and systematically tested on the Ad units level as well as on the Landing page.

So in a nutshell, nothing should be assumed. All the ideas, even from the most experienced among us, should be called hypotheses until they are tested with data.

But going beyond the specific terms you may be using, it is hard to underestimate how important it is to always put your customer at the center, answering their questions starting from site link extensions, and finishing with landing page experience.

source: thinkwithgoogle.com,
If we think beyond the boundaries of intentions that are already actualized in a search query, and consider social media or display networks as the source of leads, you should still consider putting your customer at the center by providing communication tailored to their current state of mind while they are scrolling the feed or browsing their favorite news outlet. While future insurance leads might be in the exposure circle, it is likely that they are looking for news in a broader sense, information of a different sort, or want to be entertained.

So what's the right way to go about it?

Knowing your customer and putting the right triggers in front of them to influence action.

2.2 Triggering the desired response to convert and sell more insurance plans on Social and Display;
In the context of shopping decisions, we might be tempted to propose that the degree of rationality increases with the size and importance of the purchase. But as anyone who has ever bought a car, a house, or an expensive holiday knows, the moment the deal closes can still be fraught with complex emotion. And at the other end of the scale, even a seemingly functional, low-cost purchase can be prompted by emotional or rational considerations, depending on the individual.

And of course, muddying the water of reason and emotion further is advertising – particularly branding. Brands often seek to cultivate an emotional connection with consumers – in fact, many people will openly describe themselves as loving or hating a particular brand. These associations, often bound up in our sense of ourselves and our aspirations for whom we want to be, are a powerful source of behavioral change in themselves.

So, let's look at the data.

Source: gwi.com
The changing insurance landscape
As the research from GlobalWebIndex shows, in the digital age, insurance seekers use a wide range of media sources while comparing their options. Understanding these trends is important to consistently deliver your brand message to the right audience and be at the front of their mind when they decide to take action.
Source: gwi.com
The changing insurance landscape
If we look at decision making from a broader perspective, there are numerous biases people may have while making a purchase decision. So things like Authority bias, Social proofs, Scarcity Bias, or Category heuristics are widely used in marketing communications. You've probably seen them at least once in one place or another.

On a broader scale, knowing them and putting them to use can be valuable to break through the noise, catch customers' attention, and then communicate your message in a short and compelling way to trigger the action.

Here, we are going to explore some of the good examples that get straight to the heart of the matter without any trickery.
Travel health insurance from Groupama reminds prospecting clients about unexpected health issues that might occur while one is travelling. Nothing to add here, absolutely great.

Home insurance from GNP reminds parents that war might be taking place in their property while they are busy working. Relevant, clear, and thought-provoking.

FMG Crop insurance ads in New Zealand uses 3 visual clues here: upcoming hail in the sky, the crops in the background, and a crop with hard hats implying protection of your income. Straightforward and to the point.


Pruhealth insurance went even further and installed a transit shelter display that releases 1 orange per minute (if the other one is taken) at bus stops in the UK. Gift-giving is a tried and tested tactic people use in sales and the way Pruhealth has been able to implement that in a relevant marketing communication, in my opinion, deserves a round of applause.

To sum up the communication process, putting your customers first and being relevant to their current experience with your communication is the most important thing to keep in mind while planning your marketing efforts.

3. Measuring your efforts to consistently beat the competition
The remaining piece of the puzzle is something many insurance agency owners and marketers neglect, namely tracking, or in other words, attributing the real business value to individual marketing tactics.

On a broader scale, brands with multiple ad sources like Search engines, Social media, Radio, TV, and others, should consider having a math model to evaluate the data from all Media types. Marketing Mix Modeling is something that usually only the biggest brands can afford and, most importantly, gain value from. Growing companies with multiple sources of traffic may consider some emerging start-ups who democratize MMM with the help of tech like VEXPOWER, for example.

But if you aren't that active with your Display and Outdoor advertising efforts, the bare minimum if you have even just 1 active source would be:

1. A CRM system where the customer profile, apart from storing the information needed to provide a quote, also stores marketing data like Keywords, Audience combination, ad units, and other things to measure the impact of marketing efforts on your business and distribute the resources based on performance.

2. A single point of Truth where you can measure the impact of marketing activities to your business in an easy and visualized way turning Data into Insights to help you make the right marketing decisions.
The CRM/Analytics combinations are nearly endless, but what we've learned at nn.partners points to the fact that the easier the system, the likelier it is that you'll get value from it ─ and will actually use it. Nearly all CRM systems allow adding custom fields to store the added values needed to make marketing decisions. And, coupled with the free solution from Google Analytics which lets you upload lead statuses as events through the Measurement Protocol, allows you to see exactly what kind of effort resulted in sales ─ and which wasted your money.
4. Conclusion
So, now you have it. To put things simply, you need to put customers at the center, and know their purchasing patterns to align your communication accordingly, along with the measurement strategy to guide you while you distribute marketing resources.

● Marketers and agency owners should prioritize their customers and make sure they understand them sometimes even better than they do themselves.

● Brand communication should be relevant to the implied state of mind of the potential customers, thinking strategically to remain relevant across all mediums.

● In the age of omni-channel marketing, having a measurement strategy is mandatory for those willing to consistently beat the average and experience exponential growth.

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