As an insurance professional, you know that the internet is an ideal way to prospect for new business. The local and global reach of online marketing campaigns provides opportunities unheard of just a few short years ago. However, direct mail is still an option, and some agents may be steadfastly holding on to this form of prospecting, perhaps due to past success or simply because they have been doing it for years.
Whatever the reason, one should consider internet leads, as they could help you find more success in the short and long term.
Direct mail often suffers from high costs and poor returns.
There are many reasons why most agents prefer internet leads to direct mail. At one time, the US Postal Service was the most efficient way to get in touch with a large group of people at once. However, with the dawn of the internet and the establishment of a medium that enables people to get in touch instantly, the number of people who send things through direct mail has fallen off considerably.
To compensate for the drop in demand, the postal service has had to increase the cost of its services. As just one example, the price of a stamp has skyrocketed over the last decade. With the latest price hike in January, a single stamp will run you 45 cents. Even at bulk postage rates, the costs of insurance mailings and postcards can really add up.
In addition to direct mail being a less cost-effective way of marketing, the return on investment is not what it used to be either. Response rates for direct mail are lower than ever, mainly because the internet has changed the way in which potential customers have come to expect advertising and services. In short, as noted by a young agent speaking to Insurance Journal, today’s society has adopted an “anytime that you want” attitude, where technology and convenience are more highly valued and almost expected.
Fortunately, for agents as well as for insurance prospects, internet leads have accommodated these changes in expectations. In almost every way imaginable, internet leads are vastly superior to direct mail marketing efforts.
One of the main ways they are superior is their price, as costs per lead are much lower than costs per mailing.
Internet leads allow for quicker contact.
Another improvement is that, just as prospects get responses to their insurance inquiries faster through the internet, agents are also able to connect with their prospects much more quickly. For example, instead of waiting days on end for a postcard to come back, insurance professionals are receiving the consumer’s information in real time. This has a huge impact on the likelihood of converting a lead into a sale, as agents can jump on the opportunity while prospects are still in “buying mode.”
By their very nature, leads supply agents with the information they need so they can get in touch with prospective clients. However, there is often important information that a lead might not include. Internet leads solve this problem, as agents can get in touch with the prospect quicker to ask a follow-up question that may help them better understand their situation. In contrast, direct mail leads have only a small number of fields limiting agents in their approach, and it takes longer to hear back from them. Internet leads, meanwhile, can contain a great deal of information about the potential customer. Online leads that include more than 20 fields are not uncommon.
This extra knowledge about the prospect obtained through internet leads benefits both the consumer as well as the agent. Because agents have more information to go on, customers are more likely to get a pitch that is tailored to their specific situation.
Screening eliminates false leads.
Internet leads bring a sense of assurance that direct mail leads don’t, as agents can receive a refund if their leads turn out to be bad or phony. Depending on the provider, internet leads should go through a rigorous screening process.
Thanks to that instant screening, bad leads that result in dead ends are weeded out. Data for Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck should not be included in the leads you purchase. Contact information is also critical to success. The phone numbers that insurance prospects provide should be validated. Simple measures such as weeding out phone numbers with mismatching area codes and prefixes are easily implemented in an online environment. This process is in place to make the insurance professional’s life as easy as possible.
Our advice for those who are curious about online leads is to find an online insurance provider and ask questions. Adding this sales method to your toolbox will allow you to contact more consumers and turn prospects into policies.