Industry experts consistently recommend three best practices for the digital marketing of insurance products: enhancing corporate websites, investing in SEO and creating high-quality content marketing.
Selection of Best Practices
- Enhancing corporate websites, investing in SEO and creating high-quality content marketing were identified as three best practices for the digital marketing of insurance products based the fact that industry experts (e.g., Insurance CIO Outlook, Act-On, Blue Corona) consistently recommend these strategies as the “ultimate” and “essential” tactics for the online marketing of these products.
1. Enhance Corporate Websites
- According to Blue Corona and Insurance CIO Outlook, a life insurance company’s corporate website is often the first interaction that potential policyholders will have with a company, adding that 75% of customers will judge an insurance company’s credibility based on the look and feel of its website.
- Moreover, customers will move to a different life insurance provider if they “don’t connect with what they see” on a corporate website within 10 seconds of opening the landing page.
- Notably, industry experts (e.g., Insurance CIO Outlook, Act-On, Blue Corona) regularly cite the same key corporate website enhancements to improve the success of insurance customer acquisition and retention:
- Insurance CIO Outlook, Act-On and Blue Corona all emphasize the importance of a chat feature, such as live on-site chatting or a chatbot.
- Insurance CIO Outlook and Act-On also emphasize the importance of an “intuitive” and “customer-friendly feel” for a website.
- Blue Corona adds that any quality insurance website also needs to be “fast…secure…and mobile-friendly.”
- Meanwhile, Progressive is perhaps one of the most well-known insurers for having a customer-friendly website and accessible chatbot. Notably, Progressive’s chatbot “Flo” has over 4.7 million likes on Facebook and is consistently ranked as one of the best insurtech chatbots.
2. Invest in SEO
- Investing in search engine optimization (SEO) is particularly important now that 71% of consumers conduct digital research before purchasing insurance, according to Act-On.
- In particular, 35% of US life insurance customers use search results to inform purchase decisions, suggesting that search engines and optimizing associated results are key factors in ensuring that a life insurance provider is visible to potential customers.
- Insurance CIO Outlook, Act-On and Blue Corona add that strategies for implementing SEO can vary from hiring a “search engine optimization expert” to paying attention to the top-ranking factors (e.g., website is secure, mobile-friendly).
- Meanwhile, RSI Insurance is an example of an insurance company that dramatically increased new website visitors (1000% increase) by investing in SEO, as depicted within the following graphic.
3. Create High-Quality Content Marketing
- Lastly, high-quality content marketing, particularly in the form of a blog, is another consistently recommended best practice for the digital marketing of life insurance companies.
- Specifically, Act-On reports that 78% of consumers state that “relevant content” increases their intention to purchase a product from an insurance brand, while Blue Corona adds that the average consumer reads 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase decision.
- As such Act-On recommends investing in high-quality content, and potentially offering whitepapers, eBooks, webinars and other education tools as “gated content.”
- Insurance CIO Outlook adds that blogs are a particularly useful means to “enhance traffic” to a life insurer’s website and “build trust with customers.”
- Meanwhile, The Murray Group Insurance Services, Oscar and State Farm are all examples of insurance companies that have invested in content marketing to attract new customers.
US Life Insurance Marketing
US life insurance policyholders are typically older white men who have household incomes of $100,000 or more at least some college-level education. They are also generally married homeowners, and often have children.
Demographics of US Life Insurance Policyholder
- American life insurance policyholders have an average age of 47.78 and a median age of 48 years, according to the latest available reporting by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- Notably, parallel research from Statista indicates that the age profile of a US life insurance policyholder varies significantly for individual versus group life insurance.
- As depicted within the following charts, older generations (i.e., Baby Boomers, Seniors) are much more likely to own individual life insurance, whereas younger generations (i.e., Millennials, Generation X) commonly own group life insurance.
- Meanwhile, a September 2018 analysis by LIMRA indicates that more adults under the age of 45 are buying life insurance, while life insurance ownership rates among those over the age of 45 is in decline.
- Men are more likely to own life insurance in the US than women, and are also likely to have more coverage.
- Specifically, September 2019 reporting by The Finity Group revealed that 62% of American males have life insurance coverage, compared with less than 52% of American females.
- Additionally, women in the US have coverage that is typically 31% lower than their male counterparts.
- Notably, slightly dated information from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, LIMRA and Statista corroborates this finding, as depicted within the following graphic.
- Meanwhile, The Finity Group suggests that the “gender gap” in life insurance ownership in the US is less a reflection of gender preferences or attitudes towards life insurance, and more a result of the fact that life insurance companies have typically targeted male heads of households for the marketing and sale of life insurance.
- Although information on the typical race/ethnicity of American life insurance policyholders is somewhat limited, available data indicates that most life insurance owners are white, but that black Americans may be more receptive to future purchases of life insurance.
- Specifically, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reports that approximately two-thirds (68.5%) of life insurance policyholders in the US are white.
- Notably, Blacks (15.2%) and Hispanics (11.3%) also represent a significant portion of life insurance owners.
- In parallel, white American households typically have slightly higher life insurance ownership rates, as depicted within the following chart by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- However, March 2017 research by LIMRA indicates that Black Americans are more likely to buy life insurance in the near future, with six in 10 Black households in the US indicating that they are likely to purchase life insurance in the next year (compared to 45% of the general US population).
- Industry experts (e.g., LIMRA, Statista, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago) consistently report that higher-income households are more likely to own life insurance in the US.
- Notably, the average income level of American life insurance policyholders is $90,700, according to the latest reporting by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- In parallel, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reports that life insurance ownership rates and income quintiles are highly correlated in the US, as depicted within the following chart.
- Similarly, slightly dated research from Statista shows that US households with income levels of $100,000 or more are significantly more likely to own life insurance. Associated details are highlighted within the following chart.
- Meanwhile, LIMRA adds that life insurance ownership rates among low- and mid-income families in the country is in decline.
- Specifically, life insurance ownership by American households with annual incomes of less than $100,000 has declined by 25% over the past 10 years.
- Finally, available research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago indicates that American life insurance policyholders are generally more educated.
- Specifically, the average life insurance owner in the US has completed at least 14 years of education, with 35% having a college degree and a much larger 60% of policyholders having some level of college education.
- Notably, however, per the following chart, a meaningful portion of Americans who have less than a high school diploma also have high life insurance ownership rates.
Other Demographic Factors
- The latest reporting by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago also indicates that life insurance policyholders in the US are typically married (59%) and own their own homes (64%).
- Additionally, slightly less than half of US life insurance owners have children (46%).
- In parallel, slightly dated research from Deloitte indicates that Americans are more likely to own life insurance if they are married (3% more likely), are a homeowner (7% more likely), have children (5% more likely) or are retired (14% more likely).
Americans primarily purchase life insurance out of a desire to take care of their loved ones, and are most likely to buy a new policy during times of major family transition. While most US adults cite the cost of life insurance as the reason they have not purchased or expanded coverage, many are also misinformed about the actual costs associated with life insurance. Meanwhile, digital marketing and sales channels have become an essential part of the purchase journey for many American life insurance policyholders.
Top Purchase Motivations
- Industry experts (e.g., AALU, LIMRA) consistently report that Americans are primarily motivated to purchase life insurance out of a desire to protect their loved ones, particularly in anticipation of their death.
- Specifically, a September 2019 survey of 500 US adults by the AALU found that the top three reasons Americans purchase life insurance are:
- Slightly earlier (September 2018) research by LIMRA similarly found that US adults almost always (91%) purchase life insurance to help cover funeral and other “final expenses.”
- Additionally, the majority of Americans consider purchasing life insurance to help replace the income of a wage earner (66%) and/or as part of transferring wealth to loved ones.
Top Purchase Events/Triggers
- Consistent with the top purchase motivations for life insurance in the country, August 2018 research by Deloitte found that the most significant purchase triggers for an American in buying life insurance are major life changes that involve loved ones.
- Specifically, three of the four most significant life insurance purchase events for US adults are having children (62%), buying a home (54%) or getting married (53%). Associated details are highlighted in the following graphic.
- Notably, preceding studies by Deloitte also revealed that thinking about having a child (63%) is much more of a purchase trigger than actually having a child (16%), while becoming a first time home buyer (36%) and thinking about the impact of marriage (63%) are also particularly significant motivators for purchasing life insurance.
- In parallel, financial change and uncertainty (54%) is another top life event during which Americans purchase life insurance.
- This finding is consistent with the latest research (May 2020) about COVID-19, which revealed that a meaningful subset of Americans (25%) are more likely to purchase life insurance amid the uncertainty and financial strain of the current coronavirus pandemic.
Top Reasons for Not Buying (More) Life Insurance
- Despite these purchase motivations and triggers, many Americans are reluctant to buy life insurance or increase the value of their current policy due to financial considerations.
- Notably, research from a wide variety of industry experts (e.g., AALU, Statista, LIMRA) consistently shows that Americans are hesitant to purchase life insurance because it is “too expensive.”
- Almost two-thirds (63%) of Americans choose to not own life insurance because they believe the costs are too high, while well over half (61%) also cite making trade-offs with other “financial priorities.”
- LIMRA adds that “most consumers” overestimate the cost of life insurance to be “three times its actual cost,” suggesting that the primary reason for not buying life insurance is actually misinformation/lack of education about life insurance costs.
- Meanwhile, other commonly cited reasons for not purchasing life insurance (or not increasing the value of an existing policy) are believing that existing coverage is sufficient (52%), particularly coverage from an employer, and a lack of clarity about how much and/or what type of life insurance to buy (40%).
- Notably, less than one-fifth of Americans believe that they don’t need life insurance, and decline to make a purchase for that reason.
Impact of Digital Advertising/Sales Channels
- The latest (June 2020) research from LIMRA as well as recent (August 2018) research by Deloitte indicates that digital advertising and sales channels are becoming increasingly important in influencing when and how Americans purchase life insurance.
- Perhaps most notably, Americans’ preference for buying life insurance online has doubled over the past decade from 17% in 2011 to 29% in 2020.
- In parallel, far fewer US adults now prefer to purchase a policy in person (41%) from a decade earlier (64%).
- Notably, this preference to buy life insurance through online channels only increases when companies implement “simplified and automated underwriting,” with 50% of Americans stating they are “more likely to buy” life insurance through a simplified online underwriting process.
- In parallel, Americans are looking to the internet to learn about life insurance providers and make preliminary purchase decisions.
- Specifically, half of US adults visit life insurance company websites and/or seek related information online when considering a purchase.
- In particular, 50% of Americans use social media to gather information about financial topics such as life insurance, with Facebook and YouTube serving as the preferred reference channels.
- As such, Life Happens CEO Faisa Stafford asserts that social media is “now indispensable” for the sale of life insurance and other financial products.