In a recent research study we asked insurance professionals, "what do you feel is your biggest challenge?" The response: 63% said that attracting new business was their biggest challenge. This isn't too surprising because attracting new business is what keeps any agency running and profitable.
To understand how to go about attracting new business let's first take a look at where consumers are searching when it's time to make an insurance purchase. This research sums it up pretty well:
So people are doing research online before getting in contact with an agent. With this data in mind it makes sense that attracting new business starts online and sales happen in person.
Take-away: you need to figure out how to generate leads online so that you can set up in person meetings and ultimately write more policies.
A lot of agencies try to generate (or buy) leads online, but the conversion results are disappointing so they give up. The results are disappointing because this new, online consumer is different and requires a different approach.
So what's the approach needed for this new, online consumer? Here are 3 way to convert more online insurance leads:
Respond to online leads quickly
A study by the Harvard Business Review looked at the importance of timely responses to online leads. The key stat: responding to a lead within an hour generates 7x the conversions.
"Companies that try to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving queries are nearly 7 times as likely to have meaningful conversations with key decision makers as firms that try to contact prospects even an hour later. Yet only 37% of companies respond to queries within an hour."
Companies know that they need to respond instantly, so why aren't they? The study found the following reasons for slow responses:
- Retrieving leads from a CRM happens only daily rather than instantly. (PS: if this is your excuse, here's your solution.)
- Agents are focused on generating their own leads rather than reacting quickly to customer-driven signs of interest (i.e. filling out a form on your site).
- Rules for distributing leads among agents based on geography and "fairness" are slow. (Again, if this is your excuse check out AgencyBloc lead forms.)
Develop a measurable process for responding
Whether you're using paper files, electronic spreadsheets, or an agency management system, you need to have a process in place for collecting, distributing, and following up with online leads. This process also needs to be measurable so that you can see what works and what doesn't work so that you're marketing dollars are being allocated appropriately.
Your process, whatever it is, needs to be managed and measured to ensure that online leads are being handled according to your agencies decided upon process. The best and easiest way to set up a measurable process is to automate it using an industry-specific agency management system.
Nurture your leads until they're ready to purchase
Online leads are not all ready to make a purchase right away. This may be the biggest factor for disappointment with online leads. You may have done everything right; placed a lead form on your website, collected a lead, instantly distributed it to an agent, followed up within 5 minutes....and still didn't write a policy. So what's the deal?
Online leads fall into your funnel at all different levels. Some are ready to purchase and others are just interested in the content you're offering. A lead nurturing program allows you to build a relationship with online leads even if they're not currently ready to purchase. When the timing is right the relationship is already established and it's likely that the lead will turn to you for an in person meeting.
Drip and automated email campaigns combined with an automated and personal follow-up process is the best lead nurturing process for converting online insurance leads. Learn more here.