The mantra of “mobile first” for marketing is a bit misleading as the average consumer is now connected through five different devices.
Marketers everywhere are taking their mobile marketing approach and preparing it for a cross-device and multi-channel strategy.
So what does this mean for internet life insurance agents, or rather life insurance marketers?
Hint: they’re the same thing.
Well, if you really think about it, the days when an insurance customer picks up the phone to call their agent and get a quote is over.
Now the entire buyer’s journey from awareness, familiarity, consideration to purchase takes place on social media, blogs, policy comparison sites, peer recommendations, videos, and of course through research on search engines.
To add further complexity, customers are embarking on this journey across a variety of devices; from smartphones and tablets to their personal laptops and work desktops.
As an example, let’s take a customer who posted a status on Facebook asking their friends for a life insurance recommendation.
After receiving several different suggestions, they visited each website to gain more information*.
They began filling out an application on one website with well-designed user experience and easy-to-use quoter but then got distracted.
Hours later they returned to that site on their cell phone but had a question so they decided to call the number.
Turns out the number was too difficult to press on their screen since the site was not optimized for mobile, so they clicked on the Facebook link to go to their Business page to find the number there, which they could not do.
Frustrated, they returned back to their list of suggestions and started the process over.
This life insurance agent did not create a multi-channel marketing strategy to keep up with changes in consumer behavior.
* Side note: With shrinking attention spans, your website only has 7 seconds to make a good impression on a first-time visitor. If you don’t that first time around, they will most likely never come back.
What Is Multi-Channel Marketing And Why Life Insurance Agents Should Care
According to WordStream, “Multi-channel marketing is the practice of using multiple channels to reach customers.
In addition to allowing businesses to reach customers through different mediums, multi-channel marketing also makes it easy for customers to complete desired conversions on whatever medium they are most comfortable with.
Multi-channel marketing lets the user decide, giving them a choice.”
Some examples of online channels include:
- Social Media
Then, of course, you have offline channels like radio, TV, and print, but we won’t be going into those here.
Why Multi-Channel Marketing Impacts Life Insurance Agents
Life insurance customers are looking for a seamless experience as they move across devices and channels, and if they are presented with anything less, they’ll move on immediately.
To prove how important your internet presence is, consider these statistics:
- In a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, “digital and social media channels influence 40 percent of consumer decisions made during the consideration phase.”
- For life insurance specifically, 83% of consumers would use the internet to research before buying a policy if they had the option, as discovered in a study by LIFE and LIMRA.
Let’s consider the niche group of Millennials, a growing and profitable segment for agents everywhere.
This generation is notorious for not wanting to speak on the phone or meet in person until they absolutely have to.
They rely on peer recommendations from social media and prefer to conduct research on their mobile phones.
If your digital experience isn’t smooth and enjoyable as they move along the process, you can consider their business gone.
As internet agents, you must consider how and where your customers make decisions and ensure you’re catering to them.
Benefits of Multi-Channel Marketing
- Creates A Better Customer Experience: When consumers are shopping for and researching policies, having a seamless process across channels will provide them with a much more positive experience, in turn, increasing the odds of a sale and lifelong customer. It also allows customers to choose their favorite medium, whether it’s their smartphone or tablet.
- Greater Visibility: Having your brand across different channels will give you more recognition and higher traffic.
- Collect Data: With more touch points in your marketing funnel, you will be able to collect more insight data on your users, which in turn will help you understand your customers better.
- Brand Consistency: Having a consistent image across channels, both online and offline will instill a greater sense of trust in customers and help you and your company look more professional. According to Josh Martin (Founder of Good Life Protection), the more professional and consistent your image can appear across multiple channels, the better the life insurance purchasing experience will be for your clients.
How Do I Succeed At Multi-Channel Marketing
Optimize Your Digital Presence
- Ensure that your website and landing pages are mobile optimized so that they load quickly and are easy to use
- If your site is taking too long to load, it’s probably because your images are too large. Be sure to optimize them prior to uploading by using apps like WP Smush for WordPress or Optimizilla
- Have mobile optimized CTAs and buttons so users can easily click on links
- Make sure any forms on your site are easy to fill out and all text is legible
- Ensure branding and messaging consistency across all your channels, including social media, your website, landing pages, emails and even the way you interact on the phone
De-Silo Your Marketing Channels
Instead of thinking of each channel independently, think about them as a complementary group.
Create a cross-promotional plan that takes into consideration the strong suits of each channel, the type of content your audience would like to see, and then be sure your messaging is consistent across each.
Have a Deep Understanding of Your Customers
Create detailed buyer personas: A great article and free resource to do this can be found at HubSpot.
Once you have your personas, begin mapping their journey.
Think about what steps they take as they move through the buying process, and what questions they may have along the way.
You should also consider reading our blog post about how buyer personas can increase your sales and conversions.
Behavioral Analytics Data: So first take a good look at your Google Analytics to track their behavioral data.
You should be able to glean what they do and don’t like and where they’re losing interest or getting confused.
If you see a page with a high bounce rate, this should tell you to start adjusting and testing different design elements and messaging.
Testing assumptions & talking to them: Truly understanding your customers will come by validating your assumptions and actually speaking with them, both pre and post-purchase.
Ask them how they found you, what the experience has been like for them, were they confused ever, and if so, what would’ve been helpful to have.
After you’ve closed a deal send a personalized follow-up thank you email asking for their feedback or even asking for them to fill out a quick survey.
Chances are, if you’ve built up a good rapport with them through the process, they’ll be happy to do so.
Remember though that great insight can come from those who were unhappy too, so even if a call did not go well, asking for feedback in exchange for a $5 Starbucks gift card may be a good route too.
Engage At Multiple Touch Points
As your customers explore your service across channels and devices, you must be engaging and communicating with them along the way as an insurance marketer.
It is not as simple as throwing up a website and a few social media pages and waiting until you talk to them on the phone to seal the deal.
In fact, 80% of the purchasing decision has already been made before a customer actually speaks to an insurance rep, because of the experience they had up until that point.
This applies to first-time customers, prospects you didn’t close, and those you’ve already marketed to but never heard from.
Since many are waiting until a significant life event occurs before purchasing life insurance, like having a child, you want to be sure you’re still engaging with them and not assuming they’re a lost cause.
To engage effectively with prospective customers, you should be reaching out to them through multiple channels as they’re doing their research.
Using channels like email marketing, paid advertising, surveys, social media, real-time chat, blogging (on yours and on affinity sites), and phone calls.
It’s important to note though that simply repeating the same message over and over through each channel is not an effective strategy.
Your messaging needs to be tailored to your different customer segments so that it fits with their demographics, lifestyle choices, behaviors, hobbies and life events (which is why user personas are so great).
Test Your Multi-Channel Marketing Channels
As a rule of thumb for all digital marketing, you should always be testing.
Set up A/B tests on your website, landing pages, and emails.
Create control groups that are retargeted with multi-channel marketing and those who are not.
At the end of the day, meeting the needs of the multi-channel life insurance shopper means that the customer and their online behaviors must always come first.
Once you’re equipped with the right data, messaging, and channels, you as an internet agent can target and convert your ideal new policyholder.