In the insurance industry, marketing is vital to bringing in new business and helps local agents stand out from the crowd. In doing so, there are a few channels an insurance agent can choose to get this done. When working with clients, we want to make sure they know of all available options to optimize their marketing strategy. While there is no one perfect solution, this breakdown can be a helpful guide when deciding what is right for your office!
Let's start with age old go-to's for many agents: Mailers, fliers, and inserts. This approach of direct mail is a method of blanket marketing that does get your information in front of a lot of people, but let's be real.... conversion is low with this mass marketing approach. Direct mailing consumers was fantastic in the pre-internet era, but is slowly fading away due to its ineffectiveness to close new business, as well as the effects it has on the environment. In fact, according to the Data & Marketing Association, direct mail volume has dropped 1.9% year over year since 2005. (https://thedma.org/marketing-insights/marketing-statistics/direct-mail-statistics/)
As the internet grew more popular, marketing efforts followed and entered the world of online leads. This has been a great method for many agents to get in direct contact with consumers, however the history of online leads is a murky one at best. From lead companies buying each other and consolidating the marketplace, to the use of incentive traffic, or to built in competition with shared leads where often anywhere from 4-8 agents are competing for the same business, using an online lead source can be a challenge for even the most experienced insurance agent. When using online leads, you either need to be a rockstar sales person, or have a killer follow up strategy, or both. Many times, close rates usually peak at 15-20% if you're lucky. And in fact, according to ReachLocal, 51% of local businesses surveyed said that lead generation is a challenge. (https://freely.net/marketing-statistics-2016/)
For agents who grew tired of leads, there was a need to connect with consumers in real time. Again, as the demand grew, the market changed and we saw the rise of the warm transfer. Warm transfers often come from aged lead lists where a salesperson follows up near to the consumers x-date to reengage the lead, then transfers that call to you as an agent. While this method has been fantastic for getting live people on the phone and solving the problem of chasing down a lead you just cannot connect with, it creates another problem where the consumer had to be sold to be transferred, often times after the consumer has been through a previous lead process where they were being contacted by those 4-8 agents I spoke of previously. This is where you will see filters for consumers who are "actively shopping" vs. being warmed up to sell. Additionally, the hand-off from transfer rep to agent can be jarring for the consumer, and indeed interrupts the flow of the relationship building, which can also affect close rate. That being said, you can often hope to see an average close rate over 20%. For more tips on what to consider when using warm transfers, Jornaya has a great guide on things to consider: http://www.jornaya.com/blog/3-important-things-to-address-when-considering-call-transfers
Starting to see a trend here? As a solution arises, another problem pops up, the market shifts, and then so do those savvy agents hungry to grow their business. This is where consumer initiated inbound calls come into play. Consumer initiated inbound calls.... it's a mouthful, isn't it?
Even so, these types of calls are quickly becoming more and more popular due to the fact that it solves many of the inherent problems agents have faced for years. When consumers go online, and instead of filling out all their info (often times fake info just to receive a quote) they also have an option to click a button to speak to an agent at the moment they are ready to buy! This intention is in our opinion, the golden ticket. And as the industry goes, it doesn't get much higher intent than that. Not only is this call exclusive to the agent, they aren't fighting an uphill battle to get a hold of the person, beat the quote of the next agent who also has the information, or be warmed up by another sales person. This is the ideal scenario for agents who want consumers unencumbered by sales calls and follow ups. The highest level of intent in the industry comes from this method, where from our agent feedback we consistently hear reports of close rates between 30-50%.
So while there isn't a one size fits all approach, the combination of multiple marketing streams will not only bring brand awareness to your agency, but can also drive sales helping your business thrive.
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What has your experience been? We'd love to hear from you!