The last few weeks have had some stunning developments with regard to the cost of labor figures, stunning in their quickness and severity. I have to admit, for many months, I bought into the whole tra...
Many financial institutions are getting into the property and casualty insurance game by adding an in-house insurance agency to their list of offerings. And, it makes sense—you originate auto, home, and other loans, so why not insure the collateral in which you have an invested interest?
The problem: many organizations today are trying to cope with a lack of partnership between marketing and IT. This unity is vital to your marketing efforts and can determine whether your institution is successful or not, especially when it comes to secondary products.
Why is IT important for selling insurance, you ask? The answer is simple. When you open your insurance agency, or promote your already established agency periodically throughout the year, you could spend a lot of money on billboards, in-branch displays, post cards, radio spots—heck, maybe even a commercial or two. But, that doesn't guarantee you'll get the bang for your buck.
While all of these marketing pieces may (or may not) be creative, eye-catching, and engaging to the higher ups at your institution (and maybe even your marketing department), it's expensive to have them produced, and they only reach a very limited audience, for a limited length of time. Plus, let's face it, no one pays attention to them.
Today's consumers are not the ones from yesteryear whom you could hook with just a lobby poster, yard sign, or radio jingle. And, even if your ad or promotional display does catch their eye, it's only for a split-second and typically doesn't leave a lasting impression.
To really be truly successful with your marketing campaigns and see a measurable ROI, marketing must unite with your Web development team (a.k.a., your beloved IT folks) to fully develop your campaigns so they incorporate your institution's website and online banking portal. This not only supplements your print, radio, and TV ads, but also gives your insurance agency the chance to market their products and enjoy a steady revenue stream all year long.
Need some ideas to get started? Here are six easy things you can do to market your insurance agency and their insurance products like a seasoned pro!
1. Cross-sell insurance any time you are promoting auto, home, or commercial loans.
Most financial institution websites have pages for auto, home, and commercial loans. These pages explain the type of loan(s) offered and provide an overview of their features and benefits. But, they don't say a word about the one thing that goes hand-in-hand with every loan you close—INSURANCE!
Insurance and loans should always be sold as a package deal. Why? Because once a person gets a loan, the next thing they will purchase is insurance. So, make that relationship apparent on your Web pages, emails, landing pages, etc. You could add banners, buttons, or links to calculators, quoting engines, educational info, etc. Just make sure on every page that mentions your loans, you have something that mentions the fact that you sell insurance as well.
2. Add a static insurance banner/button/link to the sidebar of your online banking portal where customers generally look for more information.
Make sure it's on every page of your online banking site—not just on the high-level account overview page. It should also have consistent placement on every page and be noticable without being distracting. Over time, people will get used to that banner or button being there. They may not always notice it or look at it, but as time goes on, and they've looked at it enough times, they remember it whenever they have a need for insurance.
3. Make sure your insurance Web pages aren't hidden deep within your site.
You may think your website is easy to navigate, but if your insurance page is more than three clicks away from your home page, you are missing out on potential insurance business. To see if the structure of your site is keeping people from finding our insurance offering, test it. Hire a focus group to test your site for usability, and make finding the insurance page one of the tasks they are asked to complete. Testing your site for usability is something that every institution and every business should do periodically to ensure their customers can find the information they need, when they need it. You'll get invaluable feedback and help bring in more business for your institution.
4. Don't put insurance under the "benefits," "about," or any other navigation tabs' drop-down menu that isn't intuitively associated with insurance or the products you offer.
This is similar to #3 in that people won't find your insurance pages if they are placed somewhere that doesn' make sense. Think about it—is insurance a benefit to doing business with your institution? Or is it a thing that helps explain your institution and its origin? Nope, it's a product you offer, so it belongs in a product category. Check your website's navigation now to see if you are an offender.
5. Don't force people to call you or visit your branch—offer an online quote option!
As you probably know, in this new age of consumers, everyone wants the option to self-serve. If you're not offering an online insurance quote option where people can get a quote at their convenience, you're giving your competitors a huge chunk of business that could (and should) be yours.
If you think an online quote engine is out of reach, whether because of a lack of IT resources or a lack of funds to pay for it, don't fret! There are many vendors out there, including SWBC's Insurance Partners, that can hook you up with a self-serve insurance portal. Having an online quoting engine not only helps you bring on more business—it also gives your customers the convenience to take care of their insurance needs whenever and wherever the need presents itself.
6. Integrate your print materials with the Web.
If all of your ads, post cards, commercials, posters, etc. are asking people to call you for an insurance quote, you're doing your insurance agency a disservice. I mean, what are the odds someone is going to stop and write down your phone number, much less, take the time to memorize it? Even if they do write it down somewhere, unless they are uber organized (which let's face it, most people aren't), they will more than likely lose the note they made.
Rather than spewing a jumble of numbers and expecting people to remember them, offer a Web address that's short and easy to remember (ex: xyz.cu/insure). <--This is an example of a short domain. The purpose of a short domain is to create short (sometimes called "vanity") URLs that are easily shared. You can ask your IT folks if you have one. If your institution already has registered a short domain, use it! Use it on everything to help generate more insurance leads and more business for your insurance agency.
If you don't have one, start searching available domains today by going here or doing a quick online search. You can also get a bit.ly account, which will allow you to generate these shorter urls without registering a domain, but you won't be able to customize or brand those URLs. So, you could end up with a URLs that looks like this: bit.ly/bchdfhsg789t. As you can see, that's not very "user-friendly," so a registered domain that you can control what comes after the "/" is ideal.
Once you start generating short URLs, plaster them everywhere, and make sure it leads to a Web page where the end user can take some sort of action like getting a quote through your online quoting engine or requesting a quote through an online form that passes the customer's info to your team of agents.
There are many, MANY other ways you could improve the online visibility of your insurance offering, but the six listed here are a pretty good starting point.
If you have a great idea for marketing insurance, please share with the class by commenting below!
Kristina Herrin is the Digital Media Manager for SWBC, focused the development, execution, and ongoing management of online marketing campaigns for each division and for SWBC as a whole. Kristina's responsibilities include Web development, social media, online content creation and management, SEO, digital advertising/PPC, email marketing, CRM administration, conversion tracking, lead nurturing, and managing SWBC's online brand.