How to sell insurance

Once a year you put up the christmas tree, once a year you blow out your birthday candles, and generally – and slightly less exciting – once a year you buy your insurance. What tools and methods can we use to influence that decision? How can we capture that customer in the small window of opportunity?

Electricity, wifi, christmas presents, insurance. 

All things that we generally only think about purchasing once a year.

Which means for these products, there is only a small period of each year when customers are ‘in-market’.

And this is the core challenge of selling and marketing insurance. How to deliver the right message at the right times, so when renewal time comes around, consumers switch to you. 

This is a challenge that faces many of our partners at Open, which is why I want to outline a few ways to sell insurance policies in this blog. 

To understand the challenge, we need to develop a clearer understanding of our customers. What are they looking for? What messaging resonates the most? Then we can piece together a strategy that enables us to engage our customers year round. So when our customer is in-market, we can ensure our brand is at the front of their mind, making their decision as easy as possible. 

The audiences

From what I’ve learnt from marketing insurance at Huddle, there are two main groups of customers at a high level. Those who shop around each year, and those who are loyal. Both of which require different methods of marketing and messaging.

For those who shop around, they are already getting in the market by looking for another insurer. So the challenge is around the timing of your message and ensuring you’re front of mind at renewal time. 

These ‘shoppers’ are really only focused on one thing. 

Price.

Which becomes an interesting challenge when you look at marketing channels. 

For those who are not shopping around each year, they are comfortable renewing with their current insurer, so the challenge is more around the right message than the timing of the message. As a marketer you need to coax them out of their current insurer by convincing them the grass is greener with your policy. 

Brands that succeed here are able to leverage their own customer loyalty over that of the current insurer. 

Channels at your disposal

There are a number of channels you can leverage to attract these audiences. Each can be used in different ways, and what works will vary from business to business. They can be summarised in three key buckets; organic communications, paid marketing and affiliate marketing.

Organic

Organic communications is anything sent directly from your brand to your customers at no marketing cost, examples include emails, text messages, web and push notifications etc.

If you have a large customer base, utilising organic comms can be a great way to attract customers who fall into both of our audience categories.

What’s important here is to have a sustained approach. You’re never going to build a consistent revenue stream from insurance by sending out one launch campaign email. Think about a consistent strategy, keeping your brand in your customer’s mind all year. Then when renewal time comes around, they’re ready to switch, whether they shop around or not.

Paid marketing

When I say paid marketing I’m referring to all above the line marketing as well as the below the line performance marketing like search and social.

If you don’t have a large customer base, this is a good way to get your brand in front of your target audience.

Paid marketing would primarily be used to attract those who are not shopping around each year. With clever messaging and ad placement, you can slowly nurture prospective customers to forget their current insurer loyalty and switch to you. 

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

In this case I’m referring to affiliates that will accept a fixed commission for a policy sale that they have driven. The most popular in the insurance space is Compare the Market, but others include iselect, Canstar, Choosi, Finder, Mozo.

These sites are a great way to get your brand in front of those customers who shop around each year, as the vast majority will visit them to find what they believe to be the best price. However, no aggregator will have every insurer listed, so getting on as many as possible is the best option.

In the UK these aggregators make up a huge portion of insurance sales, but here in Aus their market share is much smaller and even less in NZ, so this option can depend on where your audience is. 

Finding the right mix

As mentioned earlier, different businesses suit different channels. Generally speaking a mix of all three will work best, but the right amount of each will often change.

Marketing insurance, like any product, requires constant optimizing and iterating and is not a simple set and forget. If you have any more questions as to how to find the right balance and what might work for your business, please reach out! I’m more than happy to speak to any brand about how they can get started.