Local Relevance Crucial to the Decision Journey of Insurance Customers
As consumer behavior becomes more nuanced across devices, what we once viewed as the traditional decision journey is now far less linear, and defined by a variety of complex experiences and brand interactions. Mobile has set the stage for a new level of personalization, giving marketers a crucial opportunity to better understand, and capture the multitude of intent-rich moments when their customers are looking to engage. In this mobile-first era, personalization means delivering a content experience unique to the individual, and additionally in many instances, in a locally relevant environment.
Local strategy, and local search in particular, is exceedingly critical in the insurance sector. With customers moving from broader brand awareness at a national level, down the funnel to finding a local agent, local search strategy can ultimately help to deepen the understanding of customer needs across the entire buying journey, while being a primary driver of high-quality leads.
Take a look at some of these recommendations for building out a smart local search strategy, while maintaining brand voice consistency across all levels of the organization:
Localize Your Content
Before diving into paid media campaigns, a low hanging fruit for ensuring a strong local presence is leveraging Google My Business listings to their full potential, as the data entered here is what gets pulled through to the Local Packs. This goes beyond filling out the necessary local information, like company and agent name, phone number and physical address. Accurate hours, photos and specific insurance categories must also be included in order to complete the picture on the customer’s end. And even more importantly, this information needs to be maintained and updated as needed.
Another element that can set your business apart from others is a positive review, which will also appear within the local pack. Trust is the cornerstone of relationships between insurance brands/agents and their customers, and so if potential customers encounter positive reviews during the consideration process, they may be more likely to investigate your brand over others– in fact, positive reviews can influence someone to explore a new company that they hadn’t considered in the past. Even if reviews aren’t all shining, it’s important to consider the value of transparency, especially for customers bombarded with so many choices.
Test Local Search Campaigns in Designated Markets
For organizations whose businesses rely on the relationships built by hundreds or even thousands of local agents, it’s not always feasible to run multiple device, keyword combo and geo-specific search campaigns at once – at least not right from the start. Continually test, and take the time to understand what’s performing before casting a wider net and investing more dollars.
This, in turn, means understanding the different goals you’re trying to achieve, and the audiences you most want to influence. For instance, if the goal is to grow market share in a particular area where presence is just emerging, you may want to bid more aggressively on geo-specific + nonbrand keywords to help those local audiences begin to connect with you. Specific areas, “auto insurance near me” or “home insurance provider near X location”, for example, are terms that typically make up the go-to searches for customers looking at agents in their immediate vicinity. In terms of their decision journey, using broader insurance terms shows that these customers are higher up in the funnel, and are open and willing to consider a variety of options. With smaller mobile real estate, the companies that show in paid position 1, or just above the local packs, will naturally be the ones these searchers consider first – make sure you’re there!
Improving areas where local authority is already strong can require a more nuanced approach. While you may have a solid position in the SERP, there is likely an opportunity to enhance the ad experience with geo-specific content. In these cases, marketers would want ensure they’re using locally relevant ad extensions that allow potential customers to connect through one simple click from the paid listing.
Maintain Brand Voice Consistency
Depending on an organization’s size, sophistication and internal resources, local strategy can happen in a more centralized, corporate structure, or on an individual basis through the agents themselves. The right goals can certainly achieved through either of these management structures; however a common thread is ultimately the brand’s voice. For this reason, maintaining a consistency across campaigns and content is key to giving customers a unified experience. While agents can create more individualized content that would appeal to their customers, or is unique to their value proposition, customers shouldn’t feel as if they’re getting a different experience all together. In the digital realm, this holds true in local websites, landing pages and local social media strategy; and offline, it means providing a consistently high level of service associated with the national brand.