How marketing automation helps the insurance industry

Cape Town, 18 Oct 2017
Read time 6min 30sec

Much like it helps just about every other industry, marketing automation offers a number of benefits to the insurance industry. This industry is traditionally extremely cautious, highly regulated and geared towards a slower rate of change rather than rapid technological growth. As the era of digital continues to change the way that businesses operate all over the world, the insurance industry is slowly but surely awakening to the benefits of automation.

A study conducted by ITC and Velocify, Techsurance Marketing Revolution, surveyed over 1 000 insurance agencies in the US. The results offered some valuable insight into how marketing automation may just be the best thing to happen to the industry. Some of the most interesting insight from this study included the following statistics:

* 71% of consumers shopping for insurance went online to get a quote.
* 62% of online insurance shoppers sought two or three quotes.
* 66% of online insurance shoppers were looking for a lower price.

Essentially, consumers are using the Internet to compare quotes and find the best deal online. What this suggests is that savvy insurance marketers can take make use of e-mail marketing, mobile marketing and lead generation to target these consumers online in a way that increases conversion. Some additional results in the study above are also worth noting:

* Insurance companies that have a higher marketing spend are more likely to see significant revenue growth - whatever their size and niche.
* Insurance companies that invest in paid marketing have a higher growth rate compared to those who are not considering new avenues.
* Insurance companies selling a higher percentage of unique insurance policies are more likely to spend more on marketing over those selling standard policies.
* Insurance companies that generate more leads are more likely to use marketing automation tools as a way to manage leads.
* Insurance companies using automation also sell more policies on average than those who are not automating their marketing.

Marketing automation for insurance businesses

Now that you have a better idea of the value that marketing automation can offer insurance businesses, let's take a look at some of the ways that you can use automation to increase insurance leads...

E-mail Marketing

E-mail personalisation can be incredibly useful for every type of business. For insurance, an industry that typically relies on a great deal of trust, reputation and authority, personalisation is particularly useful. Personalised emails could include birthday messages, reminders when policies are updated or premiums are increased, value added offers from partners, tips on home or vehicle security, healthcare tips and a wide range of other emails that add value to customers.

This strategy is very useful when used alongside market segmentation. When you have segmented your lists according to unique factors such as age, gender, location, insurance type, policy value, and even behaviours, such as frequently viewed pages, clicks and activity, you will be able to reach customers in a way that helps you engage, connect and build relationships.

Automated sequences

You can also use automated sequences that are defined by triggers. Many insurance policies are presented along with benefits such as free vehicle towing, health checks or cash backs. Not all of these are used however. Some consumers may simply be unaware, while others may have forgotten. You may also want to keep customers reminded of important updates such as premium changes or even confirm claims or send out more generic automated responders.

An automated sequence that is designed as a sales funnel can be an effective way to remind customers and keep them informed. Likewise, automated responders can also be useful. This can be done not only on e-mail but also on SMS or even push notifications. An automated response sends customers the message that you are listening, that you are there and that you are responding.

Choosing an insurance company can be a big decision for most people. Their very wellbeing lies in the hands of the company they have chosen. With that in mind, you can see why it is so important to respond quickly when customers have reached out. Simply sending out a generic auto response won't cut it, however. Instead, you will need to ensure that these messages are genuinely useful. You could include links to your FAQ or other links, include emergency contact numbers, or you could personalise the emails to make them more relevant to your customers.

Cross-selling and up-selling e-mails

Marketing automation also allows you to cross-sell and up-sell products. In the insurance industry, this is very useful. If you offer a number of products, from pet insurance to household and car insurance, and you have a customer that already has a policy with you, they are more likely to be receptive to messages promoting additional insurance products, as they have already established trust.

This is where you can use behavioural data to identify customers that have browsed specific website pages, shared relevant content online, clicked links from previous e-mails or shown interest in certain products without yet converting. Here, you can create a sales funnel that is designed to entice the customer from browsing to purchasing. You could have a sequence that shares major auto challenges, the top benefits of auto insurance, some tips on how to get started, or a special one-time offer.

Mobile marketing strategies

Marketing automation is effective for your mobile marketing efforts, too. Considering how many people use their smartphones to get online, read e-mail and communicate, it would be a mistake to not keep mobile front of mind. The most effective strategies are omnichannel, incorporating mobile as well as e-mail and additional strategies so that you are able to offer your customers multiple touchpoints on how to connect with your brand.

You could consider a mobile app, an SMS sequence, or USSD as a way to get the full benefit of mobile. When used alongside your e-mail and lead nurturing campaigns, this ensures that you have the best way of reaching customers through a helpline for fault reporting or claims, for new policies, for policy updates, and anything else that they may need.

Customer retention e-mails

When it comes to any type of insurance, whether it is household, health or auto, you want your customers to stay with you through the years. Many insurance businesses will lose clients when they focus all their efforts on new customers without paying attention to the current customers. Companies investing in marketing automation will often see a higher customer retention rate. Investing in automation is the first step in showing your current customers that they are valued, but you could also develop a series of emails designed to rewards loyal customers.

Although it is clear that automation offers great value to insurance companies, there is no-one-size-fits-all approach. Each organisation has different needs, focus and goals. To learn what makes sense for your company, a customised automation assessment can show you where you are on the marketing automation roadmap and give you a clear understanding of what steps need to be taken next in achieving digital marketing success.

To learn more about our innovative marketing automation options for insurance companies, contact Grapevine today.

Editorial contacts
Grapevine Group San-Marie Smith (+27) 21 702 3333
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