Think your agency website only needs to provide a general overview of services, essentially acting as an online brochure? Consider these facts:
- 20% of all consumers currently purchase their auto insurance online.
- 58% of Generation Y, or millennials (everyone born from about the early 1980s to the early 2000s), use carrier websites to gather information on insurance.
- 48% of younger users gather quotes directly from carrier websites.
- While 52% of all life insurance purchasers prefer to buy directly from an agent, 21% prefer to make this important financial purchase online.
Sources: Comscore 2011 Online Auto Insurance Report, 2011 JD Power Shopping Study, Accenture.
February is Digital Marketing Month, and Project CAP is offering special digital marketing packages to help agencies and producers connect with consumers online and achieve new levels of success this year.
To learn more, visit dmm.projectcapmarketing.com.
As your youngest prospects—those most comfortable with online shopping—continue to age, the volume of online business transactions will likely continue to rise.
So what are the minimum requirements to compete in this virtual mall?
Make your agency easy to find online. This requires you to produce and update content for your site.
If you have a blog, at a minimum post weekly. Keep your blog conversational, fresh and relevant. Avoid a hard sell, positioning yourself instead as a trusted resource, so that a customer ready to buy will think of you first.
An Accenture study found that 75% of purchasers rank trust as a primary measure of selection. Ultimately, if consumers trust the agent, they feel better about their purchase decision and are more likely to remain loyal.
Steady, valued communication is a key element to building this trust. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Update your website regularly through news content and links. Liking, following or leaving replies on other sites are simple ways to build your online footprint.
Select online tools that best suit your purposes. If you are seeking to engage the public through a community service project, Facebook is a natural choice. Trying to entice major business clients? Focus on LinkedIn, or post whitepapers on topics that demonstrate your expertise in a particular specialty. The goal is to make your agency visible, accessible and relevant.
Tools from Project CAP can help simplify your task. As the launch of its consumer portal nears, get your other online material in place and ready for customer review.
Ensure that you’re speaking with one voice, and presenting your brand with a consistent, positive, cohesive effort. If you feel as if you have too much on your plate, concentrate on only one or two online efforts. It’s better to execute a few online projects well than to dabble half-heartedly in many.
Any work now will pay off later. When the consumer is ready to shop those virtual shelves for insurance, your products and your brand will be right at eye level—ready to be pulled and put into that prized shopping cart.
So, ready or not, the online, virtual shopping mall is in place. People are already accustomed to making purchases, or at least window shopping virtually.
And this trend isn’t slowing—it’s accelerating. In fact, statista.com found that in 2010, 172.3 million Americans were online shoppers and had at least once browsed products, compared prices or bought merchandise online. During that year, e-commerce sales amounted to $228 billion. What’s more, the researchers at Statista project a 20.6% increase in just six years to 206.8 million online shoppers by 2016.
The train, as they say, has left the station. Are you on board?
Marty Agather is vice president of client development for Project CAP.
Project CAP provides digital marketing tools and services to help independent agencies, brokers and insurance carriers build their online brands and visibility in order to attract and interact with today's digital consumers. Project CAP was created through an alliance of the Big "I" and affiliated state associations, Trusted Choice® and insurance carriers to expand the independent agent's share of the personal lines insurance market.