This post originally ran on MediaAlpha.com.
Auto insurance consumers are shopping online more than ever before, and it’s important for agents to meet them there. According to recent reports from J.D. Power and William Blair, 90% of auto insurance shoppers are open to purchasing policies online, and consumers across the board are spending 56% of their media consumption time online.
This makes digital marketing an important tool for auto insurance agents to acquire new customers. If you’re not working to reach this growing pool of online shoppers, your competitors will beat you to them.
Of course, digital marketing is a broad field, with a wide variety of tools and tactics to choose from. If you’re new to it, it’s helpful to start by considering the options you have available and thinking about what might make sense for you to prioritize.
Here are six popular digital marketing tactics you might want to employ, and some things to keep in mind about each of them:
1. Build a helpful, mobile-optimized website to help shoppers learn about your business
Building a website is less of an option to consider and more of a crucial first step for any agent hoping to do online marketing. Websites are fairly inexpensive to build, and it’s important to tell the people who seek out your agency what products you offer and how they can request a quote. Now that consumers spend nearly four hours with their smartphones daily, a mobile-friendly site design is key.
2. Invest in search engine marketing to reach consumers while they’re researching auto insurance
Purchasing search ads for keywords like “auto insurance near me” is a great way to get your agency in front of insurance shoppers when they search for relevant topics on Google or Bing. The downside is that these ads can be expensive if you’re trying to buy a search term that other advertisers value highly, and not everyone who searches “auto insurance” is ready to buy a policy.
3. Expand your reach with digital display ads
Digital display ads are a cost-effective way to get your agency in front of a lot of people, but these ads can be easy to ignore and the audience can be a mixed bag. Still, there’s something to be said for volume in digital marketing—that is, the number of people you’re able to reach—and display ads are an inexpensive way to add additional scale to your operation.
4. Start an email marketing program to reach people in a high-attention setting
Checking email is a daily routine for most of your potential customers, presenting a great opportunity for you to meet consumers where they’re at. You can get started by purchasing an email list from a trusted vendor—just make sure you’re providing useful information and contacting people who are actually interested in buying a policy.
5. Activate social media to build relationships with your customers and find new ones
By posting regular, engaging content on social media, you can improve your agency’s public perception and stay top-of-mind with customers and prospects. You can further grow your audience by buying social media ads using Facebook and LinkedIn’s small business tools, but the users you reach might not be in-market.
6. Acquire new customers by using online leads to connect with high-intent shoppers
Online leads are a great way to reach the most valuable consumers of all: those who are actively seeking an auto insurance policy and getting ready to make a purchase.
When you buy a lead, you receive contact info for an insurance shopper who has already requested a quote on a comparison shopping website. In addition to giving you valuable information about the consumer’s household and driver profile, this act proves that the shopper is invested enough in purchasing a policy that they’re willing to fill out a potentially lengthy form to get a quote.
Once you have the lead, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to call or email them. Either way, it’s important to contact them as quickly as possible, while they’re still shopping for a policy.