Does Your Insurance Agency Really Need a Mobile App?

Does Your Insurance Agency Really Need a Mobile App?

Mobile Apps Are a Major Player in Digital Media

Fifty-two percent of the time spent on digital media is on mobile apps. And some research suggests that most people (85%) prefer mobile apps over using the browser on their mobile devices.

So, everyone should have mobile apps then, right? Well…not so fast.

Let’s look at the reasons a business should have a mobile app and then take that into consideration for insurance agencies.

Reasons to Create a Mobile App (or to Not Create One)

If you Google search “reasons to have a mobile app”, you’ll notice that usually the #1 reason on each list is simply based on mobile app usage. It’s true: people do use mobile apps a lot, but you have to look at the whole picture. What are consumers doing on mobile apps?

Business 2 Community reports that “people spend 43% of their mobile app time on games, 26% on social networking, 10% on entertainment, 10% on utilities, 2% on news and productivity, 1% on health fitness and lifestyle, and 5% on others.”

Where would your insurance agency fit on that? Maybe in the “news and productivity” section, or maybe in the “others”. Either way, those apps aren’t used much.

Another point that falls on many “reasons to create a mobile app” lists is to build your brand; they claim that an app is another opportunity to showcase your brand and get in front of people. They aren’t necessarily wrong, but there’s more to consider.

Other reasons given are to create customer loyalty, to stand out from the competition, to send push notifications, to increase engagement with prospects and clients… honestly, the list goes on.

But my favorite on every one of these lists is to provide value. It’s my favorite on every list because this is where insurance agencies need to be honest with themselves. What value can you bring to prospects and clients that you can’t with a mobile-responsive website? After all, mobile apps aren’t cheap to develop or maintain. What will your ROI be?

The price of developing a mobile app clearly depends on what you want it to do, but even a simple app can cost you around $25,000. More complex ones run up into six figures.

There’s also a lot that businesses tend to overlook when thinking about developing a mobile app. The price doesn’t end at the initial development. There’s continuous upkeep and updates that need to be made every time iOS and Android update their software.

So, I’m not saying to just immediately throw out the idea of a mobile app, but you really need to consider why you’re making it. What value will it add? You definitely shouldn’t have a mobile app solely for the reason that people use mobile apps a lot.

In general, there are a few reasons insurance agencies might consider a mobile app:

  • To allow clients to pay their bill
  • To allow clients to view their policy information
  • To allow clients to contact their agent

What do you notice about this list? It’s a lot of one-time needs. Usually at most, clients pay a bill monthly. They might need to view their policy information for a specific reason every few months, if that. Contact with you is very important, but again, it’s as the need arises.

Think about the mobile apps you do use, like games and social media. There’s always new content to view—that’s why we keep coming back to them. We use these apps daily, not every few months.

That’s why a responsive website might be a better fit for your agency—after all, every agency should have one regardless if they have a mobile app or not!

Responsive Websites for Insurance Agencies

Responsive websites are websites that scale based on the screen size you’re using (computer, tablet, phone). They make it so much easier for your visitors to view your website and quickly find what they’re looking for because they aren’t scrolling and pinching endlessly.

Responsive Web Design Example

Image: NB Communication

The image above illustrates the point: showing the same website layout on a mobile screen is extremely hard to navigate and read. The mobile-responsive website on the right is built specifically for the smaller phone screen.

This is honestly a must-have for every insurance agency. It’s no secret that most people use their phones now to search online for businesses and services, especially local ones.

U.S. Local Mobile Search vs. Desktop Search

Image: Smart Insights

Still not convinced? Forty-seven percent of people will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Many (40%) won’t come back to your website if they’ve had a bad experience with it.

In other words, you don’t have much time to make a good impression on your website visitors, especially those using phones or tablets. Because of this, many companies are beginning to redesign their websites with “mobile-first” thinking in mind.

Sixty-two percent of businesses who designed a website with mobile in mind saw an increase in sales.

So, going back to mobile apps. If you’re still considering having one developed for your agency, make a list of the reasons. Then, take that list and see if those things can be accomplished with a mobile-friendly website instead.

The list we looked at earlier was:

  • To allow clients to pay their bill
  • To allow clients to view their policy information
  • To allow clients to contact their agent

All of these things can definitely be accomplished on a mobile-responsive website, likely for a lot less time and resources.

If you still want a “space” on your clients’ phones or tablets, have them create a shortcut for your website.

On an iPhone, you open the webpage in Safari (you can’t do this from the Google Chrome app/browser). Then, you tap the Share button at the middle-bottom and select “Add to Home Screen.”

  • AgencyBloc App Login Screen on Mobile

  • Add AgencyBloc as Shortcut on Mobile Phone

Now, they can access your mobile-responsive website without typing it into their browser app every time.

Bottom line: deciding to develop a mobile app should NOT be based solely on statistics that say people are using mobile apps a lot. You have to dig deeper and look at what apps they’re using and why.

Developing a mobile app can get very spendy and shouldn’t be a “fad-following” decision that’s quickly made.

A mobile-responsive website is, however, a necessity for every insurance agency and will usually be able to include all of the capabilities a mobile app accomplishes.

To learn more about making your website better:

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Kelsey Rosauer

By Kelsey Rosauer on November 16, 2017 in Online Marketing

Kelsey is the Marketing Brand Specialist at AgencyBloc. She plans and creates educational resources to help our customers organize, automate & grow their insurance agency. Favorite quote: "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it." —Charles R. Swindoll  More articles

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