With over 3,500 insurance brokers in the UK, many of these companies rely on the use of search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC) to drive sales through Google, Bing and other search engines.
There are around 550,000 monthly searches for the term ‘car insurance’ on Google, not to mention the 50,000 for ‘van insurance’ and 22,000 for ‘bike insurance’ – plus all other kinds of insurance related keywords with thousands of monthly visitors. (Source: Google Keyword Tool)
This creates a highly competitive environment where digital marketers bid ferociously for adverts in top positions (PPC) or use a variety of techniques to climb up Google’s organic search listings (SEO).
Some insurance brokers will use in-house digital marketing teams and others will outsource to specialist freelancers, agencies or companies. But the question begs: How do you know if you are getting the right returns?
Why you might not be getting the best results
As an insurance broker, all you want to see is good enquiries coming through and to make a profit on your digital marketing spend. Above all, you want to see some sign of growth, which for PPC would be lower cost-per-clicks and higher conversion rates and for SEO, you just want to see your rankings going up for more and more keywords. If this is not the case, then you are not getting the right returns and we explain why this might be:
Who you use – Obviously some practitioners are more experienced than others and in the fast-moving world of digital marketing, those researching and using the most up-to-date techniques will yield the best results. Using a local agency or experienced consultant should give you the best possible return compared to outsourcing your SEO and PPC to the Far East which might be cheaper, but come with shadier practices and lead to potentially volatile results.
User experience – If you are generating a lot of traffic through PPC and have good search results through SEO, you also need to ensure that you have a good user experience on your website. It is vital that your landing pages are conversion-driven and include things like content, videos, trust signals, contact information and data capture forms to maximize your chances of making a sale. Simply adding phone numbers and forms to your landing pages could increase your conversion rates by 30% and all of sudden, your digital marketing is starting to pay for itself.
Margins – To truly measure your return on investment, you need to look at your margins and how you value for a visit, enquiry, quotation and new business sale. Digital marketing can be very measurable, especially PPC, and if you know exactly how much you are spending per month, you should be able to calculate how many enquiries you need to break even and be profitable.
Insurance related keywords are expensive on PPC so you want to make sure that you are getting the most out of each click such as capturing data or using remarketing to capture that user’s attention again.
If your margins are too low, you may need to reassess your relationships with the insurance providers and the products on offer.
What you should be expecting
Your PPC strategy should always provide you with immediate and constant traffic which you can manage according to your budget. SEO is considered a more long-term proposition, because it can take several months or even years to rank for highly competitive keywords in the insurance industry.
However, once you start to rank well for SEO, you will find that your cost per click and cost per acquisition reduces significantly and is far cheaper than PPC. So ideally, you want to see your PPC bringing in steady traffic, but long term, you want to see your SEO rankings improving as this will be more cost effective long-term.
Furthermore, you want your SEO specialists to be adding value to your website such as regular content, videos and links as this is physically adding to your site and can be used for several years to come.
Are the days for PPC numbered?
Looking at the trends for other competitive industries such as loans and gambling, PPC advertising on Google is becoming more expensive, with some firms needing to pay £20 to £50 per click to be on page 1 for their target keyword. This questions whether the cost for insurance PPC will follow suit and how this will impact profit margins.
Moving forward, insurance brokers will need to optimise their PPC campaigns and websites to get the lowest cost per acquisition possible. They must also look at ways to improve internally such as providing quality customer service and the right product for the customer whilst keeping within the regulatory guidelines.
Mark Wright is the founder of Climb Online, an award-winning digital marketing agency that was co-founded with Lord Sugar. Mark and is currently working with Be Wiser Business Insurance.
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