Customers are increasingly turning to the Internet to find the best rates on auto insurance. In its annual insurance shopping survey of the U.S., J.D. Power found that one in five shoppers turn to the Internet to choose auto insurance. Typically these consumers cite cost as the primary concern. As rates continue to rise, cash-strapped consumers are looking for the best deal they can find and the Internet allows them to shop around conveniently.
For insurers, this means an online presence is more important than ever. Today’s consumer turns to the web first for almost everything, including shopping for insurance. Even those who choose to work with a local agent are likely to track down that agent’s website to do thorough research before making contact. J.D. Power takes this a step further to conclude that agents who fail to provide an online quote service fail to position themselves to reach out to a full 20 percent of American insurance buyers.
Build a Presence
To best take advantage of the thriving online insurance market, it’s important that agents ensure their online image represents them properly. The first step to doing this is through researching what customers currently find after entering certain search terms in popular search engines like Google and Bing. If a Houston-based insurance agent tries search terms like “Houston auto insurance” and “best auto insurance agencies in Houston” and finds their competitors showing up, they’ll get an idea about the terms they need to include in their own website content to improve their visibility.
One great way to increase search engine rankings is by regularly posting content. This can be in the form of blog posts, news items, and even social media posts that pepper two or three instances of a popular search term throughout. For best results, avoid simply marketing to customers and post helpful, informative content about related topics.
Partner with Aggregate Services
An aggregate service (such as this example) serves as a directory of insurance agents in a specific area. By being listed in one of these directories, an insurance agency furthers his online presence while also reaching customers who go directly to these services. These sites also allow agents to include profile information and a list of coverage options to directly address customer needs.
Include Rate Quote Option
Many customers are no longer satisfied with insurance agent websites that read, “Call today for a free quote.” While this can bring in a few calls, if your competitors are offering more, your potential customers may move on to the next site, causing you to lose their business without you even realizing it.
If your goal is to get them on the phone, consider allowing them to enter information for an email quote, and return those quotes as quickly as possible. Attach to the quote an offer for an additional small discount if they contact you within a certain timeframe. This will give you the opportunity to close the sale without losing out in today’s e-commerce-based society.
Keep Existing Customers
The J.D. Power study revealed that price satisfaction declined in the past year, with customers unhappy with current insurance rates. While customer retention remained at 97 percent for the companies who participated in the survey, it’s still important that agents work to keep the customers they currently have by offering “customer appreciation” offers and repeatedly reviewing each customer’s policy to see if additional savings can be achieved.
With a generation of constantly-connected consumers, insurance agents are challenged to reach out to them in order to remain competitive. By making it as easy as possible for customers to get a quote while shopping around, insurance agents can retain that competitive edge and continue to bring in new business, while keeping existing customers too.