If you’re thinking about creating a website for your agency, your first step should be taking the time to think through why you want a website in the first place.
Sometimes an insurance agency will create a website simply because everyone else has one. In other cases, an agency decides it needs the equivalent of an online corporate brochure—a place in cyberspace to display the firm’s history and capabilities.
Neither of these is a very strong reason for having an agency website.
I think most people would agree that the main purpose of an insurance agency website is to be a sales and marketing tool — to be used alongside the other tools in your kit, such as email, telemarketing, webinars and direct mail.
That’s why it’s a mistake to focus your website on your firm’s capabilities or to allow yourself to get distracted by implementing a hodgepodge of website features that don’t add up to a coherent marketing or sales strategy. That means boilerplate gobbledygook about being a “trusted advisor” and “better serving customers through representing many different companies” has to go — unless you can walk your talk with lots of helpful information on your site, like newsletters, webinar offerings and maybe a button for a free policy review. Building in certain functions, like quote engines, when your agency philosophy is to cultivate long-term relationships, is another kind of incoherence that might be out of line with a clear set of goals.
As you decide on the goals you want your website to achieve, keep the user uppermost on your mind.
Here are some of the main reasons a website could be an essential marketing/sales tool for an insurance agency:
- To provide existing customers with helpful information, including account details, claims reporting, coverage summaries and access to online bill payment or benefits management service
- To build your brand and increase name recognition
- To find prospects
- To target specialty market niches
- To sell products through quote engines
- To build relationships with prospects and customers
Once you’ve decided to have a website for one or more of these reasons, express your reasons as goals and build your website with features that serve those goals.
For instance, to build relationships with prospects and customers, offer a client newsletter, start a blog, have an active social media presence with FaceBook and Twitter and post testimonials. These and other methods will help bring people back to your website regularly.
If you want to find new prospects, optimize your search results and offer quotes from your website, especially where you collect minimum information requiring a call back, so you can collect the additional data for a quote and, more importantly, begin establishing a long-term relationship.
On the other hand, maybe you do want to focus on the kind of business that comes in through quote engines because you find it economically efficient to process this kind of business and the lack of persistency doesn’t bother you.
Whatever your reason is for having a website, be sure you’ve clearly articulated it, so that you can focus on satisfying the kinds of user needs required to achieve your sales and marketing goals.