Common Questions about Insurance Marketing
What You May Not Know & The Truth About Paid Search
Because our agency specializes in helping insurance agencies grow their business, and we’ve made our clients millions of dollars in revenue, we get calls from insurance agents all the time asking us questions about what we do, industry best practices, and what marketing method is best for them.
Many of these agents are asking the exact same questions in regards to PPC (pay-per-click) marketing. They have somehow formed an impression of paid search that doesn’t accurately reflect its potential, so we wanted to answer these questions, correct the misconceptions, and help you understand how this can be one of the best, if not THE best, revenue generating sources for your agency.
Here are some of the common questions we hear from insurance agents (you can also view our video series on this topic here):
“I already have a good lead source, why do I need another?”
It’s always smart to diversify your leads, and there are two main reasons for this.
One is to mitigate risk. The “don’t-put-your-eggs-all-in-the-same-basket” proverb is as relevant in the marketing world as it is anywhere else because it’s simply logical. Your lead source can be performing really well, but if something ever happened to that lead source, there goes all your progress. You would need to start back at square one, and you would forgo money you could be making in the time it takes you to find another profitable lead source. When you have multiple lead sources, you increase your reach while reducing this risk.
The second reason is optimization. When you have more lead sources (and a good data visualization platform) you’ll have more data to analyze. You’ll be able to see which lead sources are performing best, and allocate more budget to those sources. You can raise awareness of your brand faster online and get more qualified leads by placing yourself in front of targeted audiences through different channels. If you don’t have as many lead sources, you can’t optimize as effectively.
“Shouldn’t SEO be my first priority?”
Your competition in the insurance industry is billion dollar carriers (Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield) that are firmly established. Because SEO is an organic way of rising to the top of search engine results, it takes time to rank higher. You won’t rank for a long time – that’s just a fact. SEO is a long game.
Now, you can certainly work on your SEO strategy – we are not saying to ignore it – but it shouldn’t be a primary focus, because while you are building SEO, there are other things you can be doing to rise above your competition that will bring immediate results and foster SEO as a byproduct. When you start advertising through paid search, and get favorable interactions with your landing pages and your website, search engine optimization is going to happen, and in the meantime, you’ll get qualified leads right away.
“Can’t I just buy leads instead of generating them?”
You could, and that’s actually what we recommend for agencies that have a limited marketing budget ($1,500 – $2,000). But the problem with buying leads is that you can’t optimize. You don’t own anything, so you are dependent on a third party that doesn’t know or care about your unique business goals. When you buy leads, the extent of your attribution is whoever the source is. You don’t know exactly where the lead came from, and you can’t adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.
When you generate leads, you have total control. (The large players in the insurance space use their own marketing to scale this way). Your attribution goes much farther; you know where the click came from, what landing page they arrived at, what ad copy or phone call led to a conversion, etc., so you end up with higher quality leads and increase your lead-to-customer conversion rate. You also spend less; according to HubSpot, companies that rely on inbound lead generation experience a 62% lower CPL than companies that use outbound sources for lead generation.
“Why didn’t PPC work out for me when I tried it last time?”
One of the main hesitations we hear from insurance agents is that they’ve been burned by PPC before, sometimes more than once. They’ve been promised much and delivered little. We understand that, because we’ve seen it firsthand; it’s actually one of our frustrations with the digital marketing industry. And the insurance space is tricky, because there’s just so much volume for it. So if you’re skeptical about PPC, remember that every PPC agency is different, and that agencies have different areas of specialization. You need an experienced, reputable agency that can prove they have achieved results for clients like you, and that is willing to discuss your concerns.
“Why should I choose PPC over social if it’s so expensive and competitive?”
Many people are deterred from paid search because the cost per lead is so high – for a Medicare Supplement lead, for example, if you’re doing it really well, the CPL is $35. You have to look at things relatively; look at your overall cost per acquisition. If you forget that, it will seem much more expensive than it is. The fact that it’s expensive and competitive means that it works, and that people are actively looking for your product. Google and other search engines use auction-based systems; if your competition is bidding for it, they must be finding it profitable, so it’s a channel you can trust to bring in business! And the return on investment when it comes to the cost-per-click is going to be significant if you structure your account correctly.
Agents also frequently also ask about advertising through social media. We don’t recommend social for prospecting, only as a branding or reputation management tool. Think of social like a party; people are scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram feeds to be entertained and connect. They’re not searching to convert or purchase. Intent is low; while they may stumble across something they like and click on an ad, the likelihood of them scrolling past it is greater, because they’re not specifically searching for it at that moment in time, unlike in PPC.
“How can I compete against large carriers?”
Insurance is a competitive industry, and one of the questions we always get asked is how a small 15-20 seat call centers can compete with the major insurance carriers, that are already on the first page of Google search results organically. The thing about paid search is that you can bid on keywords and show up at the top of the page, above everyone else. Think of their auction system like the stock market; if you do PPC the right way, you have a chance to own a piece of the pie – not the whole thing, but a piece of it. You can absolutely compete against large carriers, and you don’t have to invest heavily in SEO to do it.
“Can I put specific filters on leads for short-term medical?”
With short term medical, you have to work around pre-existing conditions; it’s challenging to do that with PPC. It can be done, though! Most lead selling entities have a form on the landing page with criteria and exclusions, which is a good model because they have a huge network of agents they can disperse those leads to, but by the time the leads trickle down, there’s high competition for them at that point. So Empirical360 has a different approach; one of the things we look at doing is targeting geographically the healthiest and wealthiest zipcodes in the country. People who live in affluent areas typically have less pre-existing conditions. Another way we filter is through ad copy. We structure it in such a way that it will dissuade someone with a pre-existing condition from clicking on the ad at all.
We’re passionate about helping insurance companies grow, and we want you to be informed about your options. We are also experts in this market, and if you’re looking for an agency that will do PPC the right way for your business, you can contact us for a free quote. If you’re skeptical, that’s okay – you don’t have to take our word for it! Watch these testimonials from insurance companies that have trusted us to increase their ROI.