What Every Independent Agent’s Website Should Accomplish
For many independent agents, starting a website is still a second-tier activity. After all, there are leads to generate, prospects to meet, and clients to serve. However, relegating the website and one’s web presence in general — think social media accounts — to afterthought is doing one’s overall business a grievous disservice. If done right, this thing that you will work on “when you get around to it,” can make your job more profitable and palatable.
To steal from Laird Rixford of Insurance Technologies Corp., “A well-designed website will serve as the hub of all digital agency marketing. When done well, it can serve multiple purposes: customer service, education, sales, retention.”
How can it accomplish so much? Let’s look at each in a little more detail.
One: Customer Service
Customers are accustomed to sitting on their questions, comments, and concerns, if it is after 5pm. They don’t place a call to your office because they assume that since it’s after prime hours, everyone has gone home for the day. While they may be right, you can utilize your website in a way that makes customers always feel connected any time of the day or night. Websites can fulfill customer service demands by offering alternative means of contact like a comment submission form, a chat feature, and links to all your social media pages. Facebook is particularly popular among the insurance crowd because there is something so direct and immediate about it. Most people keep the app on their phones and are aware within minutes of a notification. Your website can serve as a connecting point for all contact methods, thus allowing clients to reach out to you quickly in a way that is comfortable for them.
One of the greatest advantages of the Internet is that you no longer have to be a good salesperson to acquire business. Your website — if it features an easy-to-read design and it is appropriately stocked with content relevant to your customers — can do a lot of the selling for you. Since the dawn of the Internet, consumers have grown wiser to “sales tactics.” But if you can educate your prospects on a product, then they’ll be more likely to buy from you and to give you their loyalty.
As an extension of number two, the sales function that your website can perform is mostly about information. You give your clients the info they need to make their insurance buying decisions, and then you make it easy for them to sign up. Whether that means allowing them to sign up and pay through your website or giving them clear instructions on how to proceed, your website can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
A website can help with retention by accomplishing all of the above — customer service, education, sales — and by giving you the direct link that you need to make your customers feel like they’re more than customers. Successful websites get that way because they build a community of users. They get to the top through sharing dialogue, fielding questions, and making their users feel like they’re part of something. They’re not just a digital business card. They are living, breathing hubs built around the clients’ needs.
Large insurance companies offer a good template for the independent agent, who would like a better website. They make it easy for clients to gain access wherever and whenever. They educate clients on the different products available. They make it easy to buy, and last but not least, they serve as living, breathing online communities. If you’re unsure of what to do with your website, check out some examples like StateFarm.com. Make note of what you like and what you can realistically implement yourself (or outsource). A good website will make insurance lead generation much easier, and become so much more than a back burner item.