Online Leads vs Traditional Insurance Marketing
With technology constantly evolving these days, having a successful business in any industry can seem daunting. In order to be successful, you must generate interest in your product, whether that’s a toaster oven or an insurance policy. If you want to make it in the insurance business, the key is to constantly drum up new leads and then close them. Easier said than done, right? First you have to find these prospects and then decide if any of those prospects have true potential of becoming a longtime customer. But which way is better when generating leads? Using technology – i.e. Internet lead providers – or going the old-fashioned way?
Being flexible and open to both types of marketing can be beneficial because both have their merits.
Traditional Insurance Marketing
How do you curently generate new insurance leads?
How about the the ROI of each of your marketing channels?
What does it costs to generate each of those leads?
Before we had the Internet, the way most businesses stayed afloat was by word of mouth, references and traditional networking. If one of your clients was happy with your service, they would tell their neighbors and then their neighbors would tell their relatives and so on. Even before the Internet, word of mouth could work against you fairly quickly if someone who was well connected in the community became angry with you or your company. (Kind of like a slower version of when someone tags a company in his or her angry tweet or Facebook post – everyone will know soon enough.) Negative reviews always spread faster than good ones, regardless of your lead generation method.
Traditional networking, where you glad-handed people and gave them your elevator pitch and a business card, worked well before. How else would people know you existed unless you could afford a billboard or commercial?
Traditional lead generators, such as direct mail, conducting seminars or handing out flyers, cost a lot of time and money, and consumers are well practiced in avoiding traditional methods. They toss “junk mail” in the trash, throw flyers away without looking at them and don’t take time out of their own busy schedules to show up for your seminars. And other advertising in highly sought media outlets can be extremely expensive.
Cold-calling is also daunting and not really effective because consumers know how to avoid you on the phone as well. They can sign up for “no-call lists,” or they simply choose not to pick up the phone when an unknown number calls. If you do get through to someone, most of the time, they are annoyed at the interruption (especially because most of these calls have to be done around dinner time to ensure someone is home from work), and it could really dampen your spirit when you get chewed out or hung up on several times in a row. When you finally reach that person who could be a potential new client and is willing to listen, you may not as pleasant on the phone and could come across as insincere.
However, traditional methods can often be more successful than technology-only tactics depending on your target demographic. If there is an older demographic of individuals you are trying to reach, direct mail and print advertising may be your best bet. They will appreciate the fact that you took the time to understand their needs as a consumer. If you feel like you could reach your potential clients better by meeting with them face-to-face, and you have the money and the time to do so, holding a seminar could hold more value because the potential clients can put a face to the business.
Modern Insurance Lead Sources
Modern technology can appear to be a double-edged sword at times. Yes, you may be able to reach more people at once and do so on a slightly smaller budget, but it’s hard to really differentiate your brand and stand apart from the thousands of others online. However, it can be done well if you have the right tools at your disposal.
Lead providers aren’t necessarily modern, but when using these online companies as a source of insurance lead generation, there is the potential to have incredible amounts of data about people. And they can organize these lists for you – for a price. It’s important to learn where these companies are sourcing this information and make sure the leads they provide are for people who are truly interested in learning about your services. You also want to make sure they aren’t using spyware or other unethical methods to obtain people’s information. An ethical way to obtain information would be to have online questionnaires be completed by people who actually want insurance quotes.
Another way to use the Internet to enhance your marketing is by using Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO marketing consists of using certain words or sets of words (i.e., keywords) that consumers often type in when searching for specific items, such as insurance. If they type in a keyword or phrase that is often found on your website, they are more likely to see your company’s website when doing a Google or Yahoo search online. The more online presence you have, the more likely the consumer will trust your insurance company over others. You can also optimize this by staying current with your social media platforms, e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Blog posts are also a good source for people to learn more information about your business and to increase your online presence.
Best of Both Worlds
Once you earn the consumer’s business, whether through the traditional way or via the Internet, sometimes it may be nice to go “old school” and send them a handwritten letter or card just to thank them for their time and business. Again, know who your target demographic is to be sure they would appreciate such a sentiment. If they’re younger or in busy industries of their own, maybe a letter wouldn’t work as effectively. A nice polite thank-you phone call or even email may do the trick. Try to become an expert in both styles of marketing. Use those leads you found online to send them an email invitation to a seminar you’re holding so you can meet these individuals face to face. Write blog posts and publish articles online that can be printed and used as handouts at these seminars. Sometimes a combination of both worlds, traditional and online, is what you need to be a truly effective salesperson.