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Special Report: Texting, Smartphones and Insurance

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 2, 2016

How important is it to connect with the world via your smartphone? Absolutely critical says TextRequest.com. Statistics gathered by the firm in 2015 found 84% of us can’t even go one day without checking what’s happening on the smartphone. That’s texting, email, Googling, etc.


But mostly it’s texting.


Some even admit to checking their phones as many as 150 times a day. Assuming you sleep eight hours and ignore the phone when sleeping, that’s checking it over nine-times an hour. And the surveyed say they check it last thing before going to bed and immediately upon waking up.


So how does this apply to insurance? Google’s VP of Marketing Lisa Gevelber said the industry — even those companies and agencies with super evolved marketing systems — is missing out on a great opportunity.


Our research shows that marketers who try to reach their audience solely on demographics risk missing more than 70% of potential mobile shoppers. Why? Because demographics don't help us understand what we really need to know — what consumers are looking for in an exact moment or where they are looking to find it,” she said.


Companies — she continued — that respond to the intent of those checking their phones are more likely to be “there” when the customer is there and to be of more use to them. So it’s critical to target everybody and not just certain ages and genders.


And do it with immediacy.


Customers want what they want at the exact moment they want it. Intent beats identity. Immediacy trumps loyalty. When someone has a want or need, they turn to their smartphone for help. When a need arises, people turn to search and YouTube to look for answers, discover new things, and make decisions. We call these intent-filled moments, micro-moments. And they're the best opportunity marketers have to connect with people at the exact moment they are looking for something,” she said.


So what do you do? There are lots of options says TextRequest.com blogger Kenneth Burke. He’s an expert in the art of texting and notes insurance is starting to use more social media and doing some cross-marketing everywhere from pop-ups to YouTube and combining that with traditional email. It works — kind of.


What you’re missing is the most underused tool of all — Burke said — and that is texting. It’s an art form that insurance needs to learn. Here’s why:


  Just 33% of emails are opened

  Texts have an open-rate of 97%

  95% of texts are read within three-minutes of being sent

  Nurtured leads have a 47% better purchase rate than those not nurtured


Burke added, The customers you have text conversations with will be the same ones you see spending more on your products and services.”


People are now mobile dependent. Translation: smartphone addiction. And Burke said that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like when the radio came out, and everyone depended on it for news and music, and then the television for news and music and cheap entertainment, mobile phones actually improve our daily lives and what we're able to do with them,” he said.


Want to know how well this mobile dependence works for insurance? Check out what GEICO is doing. It dominates the delivery of auto insurance products via mobile channels. GEICO uses texting for:


  Payment due reminders

  Info on towing benefits

  Instructions for claims reporting

  And all kinds of info on how to use the GEICO mobile app


And Burke concludes, if people can’t go a day without checking their smartphones and if some of them are checking them 150 times a day, and if the number-one use of the smartphone is texting, then doesn’t it make sense to use texting as corporate or agency marketing?


It makes sense to your customers says a new survey from Harris Poll. The pollsters found the online insurance channel has become the fastest growing of all in businesses in the financial services sector. Nielsen (who owns Harris Poll) VP of Brand Solutions Joan Sinopoli said, “We’re seeing anything tech-based having more positive momentum. It’s pervasive across all industries, and you don’t need much of a crystal ball to see that brand equity among online channels is going to increase.”


Generation X and Millennials are responsible for this new-found popularity. And as these two age groups age, their insurance needs will become more complex. That means more of them will need an agent and may bag the online approach to insurance purchases.


Sinopoli said marketing to them now is a good idea because from high school to middle age “those 18 years are a very active time of your life filled with huge triggers like buying a home, having a family or starting a business. That’s the perfect time for an agent to reach out and engage.”


Harris Poll has discovered that consumers do a lot of — what it calls — “showrooming.” This is where consumers — 38% of them at this point in time — do their insurance needs research online and compare prices. When it comes time to buy, they go to an agent.


The whole idea of honesty, transparency, community involvement and social responsibility — all of which engage and excite Millennials — are the sorts of things an agent-based model should be able to excel in,” Sinopoli said.


Insurance Technology Corporation is an insurance software firm. Its president Laird Rixford said millennials are a tremendous opportunity for agents willing to do the work to reach them. Do the work and you’ll have — what he says — is a seat at the table for years to come.


One thing we’re seeing across all industries is that brand loyalty is eroding, but if you look at companies that do enjoy brand loyalty — like Amazon or Netflix — you see that they make their product easy to use. That’s where a lot of carriers are missing the boat,” he said.


And it’s where agents and agencies are also missing the boat. He said smaller agencies have huge advantages over those that are larger and over carriers because they can hyper-localize branding and target messaging.”


In other words — Rixford added — they can reach select audiences like younger consumers much more easily than larger agencies or companies. Millennials and GenX-ers are more apt to look at price evaluation rather than branding, and the technology that allows them to do that is available to agents on a local, regional level. Right now, producers are able to put something up on their website that allows customers to get rates from multiple brands at once, and to buy those policies directly on the site. Making it work and making it easy to do business with you, whatever the customer’s preferred method — that’s the key,” he said.


Source links: Insurance Networking News, Insurance Business America


Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  smartphone insurance  Smartphones and Insurance  Special Report: Texting  Weekly Industry News 

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