By now, you’ve integrated technology into every aspect of your insurance agency — but have you taken full advantage of the mobile market?
A strong competitor in the modern insurance market needs to be plugged in and online 24/7. After all, that’s where the customers are, and you need to meet them on their turf. Even a few years ago, that simply meant that you needed to hone in on your agency’s website, making it a comprehensive portal to your business and a friendly home base online. It’s a subject we’ve covered before — historically speaking, nothing has been more important for capturing the online search audience than a well functioning, attractive homepage.
Nothing, that is, until now. With shifting market demographics and new technologies, the ways in which we access the internet are changing, and that means your priorities have to change as well. Your website will continue to be an extremely important part of your business — but an optimized mobile app is quickly becoming the most powerful tool any insurance agent can have in his or her arsenal.
The Shift to Mobile
Increasingly, your customer base (along with just about everyone else) is turning their attention to the mobile platform. Smartphone penetration is at a whopping 79.3% in the U.S., which translates to 198.9 million plugged in people around the country. What’s more, mobile internet usage overtook desktop-based browsing back in 2014 and is only continuing to grow. Not only do more people have phones — they’re using them to go online at a greater rate than any with other device.
Clearly, engaging customers on mobile has become a priority, but it’s important that you know just how they use their phones. When mobile users are accessing the internet, they’re usually not pulling up their browser and manually typing in a website address — they’re using apps. Consumers spend about 85% of their smartphone usage time within apps — for some outside context of just how much time that is, consumer app usage recently overtook time spent watching television. Just let the implications of that sink in for a moment (we’ll wait).
Best Practices for Agency Apps
Apps are important for consumer engagement, but the major values they provide don’t just end there. Especially for smaller agencies, apps can provide even greater levels of customer engagement than ever before. The key is understanding which will be the right features for your business and the industry as a whole.
When a customer downloads your agency’s app, they’re just looking for a mobile extension of the personalized interactions people typically seek out when buying insurance. As such, it pays to be proactive in the relationship — utilize push notifications to keep customers informed of policy changes, as well as more general industry and agency news. Having an open channel of communication like this leads to increased customer interaction, which leads to greater levels of customer satisfaction, which leads to even more sales.
If you’re concerned about the logistics of building an app, don’t worry — most of the insurance professionals we know aren’t coders either, and local offices likely don’t have the time, bandwidth, or funds to pull a design team together. Industry-centric DIY services like Insurance Agent can build a specifically optimized app for your business easily, or you can spring for a wide-open platform like AppMakr and ShoutEm to really customize your design. The possibilities are endless.
Just remember: your app is important, but it shouldn’t take up all your focus. Omnichannel marketing remains the best practice for insurance sales success, so make sure other efforts like your website, SEM campaigns, and lead generation service usage don’t fall by the wayside. A mobile app is the best new thing on the block, to be sure — but it’s only one part of your overall strategy to grab your business as much attention as possible.