“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” — Henry Ford
I’ve always loved Henry Ford’s famous quote about the birth of the auto industry — it’s one of my favorites actually. That’s probably because I’m a firm believer in the connection between success and the ability to think outside the box, take a chance, or do something unexpected. And in the insurance industry, local search constitutes a huge opportunity to make a major leap forward.
Image Credit: Philanthropy Roundtable
The insurance industry has earned a reputation of being reluctant to change. Granted, there are certainly many examples of insurance firms embracing change (just look at the newest brands offering “pay as you go” auto insurance for example). But too often, senior marketers in the insurance industry still cling to a “we’ve always done it this way” type of thinking, based on conversations I have had with digital marketers attempting to drive change within some of the largest and most prestigious insurance brands in the United States. As author Dax Craig notes, “It’s no surprise . . . that insurance — not exactly known for being on the forefront of technology — is one of the last remaining industries to innovate and fully embrace data, analytics and customer communication technologies.”
And yet, when it comes to marketing, we’ve been living through a historic and unprecedented time of change. I often hear that there has been more change in marketing in the past two-to-five years than in the past 50. Digital disruption is everywhere, with “Uber-like” businesses popping up daily. And mobile responsive design is no longer a nice to have but a must, especially with the ongoing struggles brands face to be found and to create a great customer journey in the mobile era.
For most large insurance brands, local search certainly falls into the category of “we’ve never done it that way.” But the time is now for brands to quickly embrace a holistic local search strategy and to drive more conversions for the agents and advisors who sell their products. Cleansing, publishing, and ongoing distribution of location data is essential along with a local page optimized for organic search for each agency and agent. Local pages need to be filled with hyper-local content that is brand compliant, regularly refreshed, and built to maximize conversions.
For those marketers who may need a little bit of help getting their executive team better educated on why local search has to be a priority as planning begins for the coming year, Forrester Research’s “Uncovering the Benefits of Local Marketing” is be a great resource. And if you are looking for the right questions to ask as you consider potential solutions, the SIM Partners “Local SEO Platforms Buyer’s Guide” is a helpful tool.
Remember: you’ll never win the race against a sports car by riding a horse. Don’t allow your brand and your agents to be left in the dust.