Developing tools for your website that your visitors can use for free, without obligations attached, can feel counter-intuitive for some insurance brands. However, despite the time and resources required for getting a useful calculator or another tool that people can use quickly and easily onto your site, there can be multiple benefits to your business that make it an exercise that is definitely worth your while.
The specific type of calculator or tool that would work best for your business will depend largely on what type(s) of insurance you offer and being able to pin down the target audience problem that your tool or calculator will solve.
Understanding your audience and their challenges are key to finding the right tool to offer them. You want something that will make their bigger task (buying a new insurance policy) a little easier or give them some context or frame of reference that will help them to better gauge value for money for this type of insurance cover.
Copying another brand’s tool won’t work – you need something that offers a different (even if only slightly different) take that they can’t get elsewhere in order for yours to stand out from what is already freely available.
Let’s use the example of Confused.com’s tool to show average car insurance premiums in your area.
Quite simply, this calculator uses the company’s own (extensive) customer data to calculate from just three pieces of information (the region in which the driver lives, their age and gender) a rough average annual premium for car insurance. It also shows a comparison of this figure with the same data from 12 months ago. The whole process takes just a few seconds and the user has a useful outcome – they now have a better frame of reference for the ballpark their quote is likely to fall within. The tool also contains several calls to action to ‘get a quote’ to encourage visitors to take that next step.
We can only guess at how many actual policy quotes the Confused.com tool has directly generated, but we can see that this URL has gained backlinks from around 100 domains at the time of writing, many of which are from high authority news websites that we can fairly safely assume also sent some referral traffic. These links didn’t happen on their own; PR activity was required to make media publications aware of the tool and its relevance to their readers. Using local angles (made easy with the tool’s regional information) means the majority of their links come from local news outlets, along with some nationals and some trade media. Find out more about the benefits of links to insurance websites here.
As well as links, the brand references that come along with the press coverage can only be positive for brand awareness – which is vital in such a competitive market.
Other benefits for your insurance brand developing a tool or calculator will include getting in front of your target audience a little earlier in the user journey than you may have in the past. Setting your tool on a landing page that is effectively optimised for organic search will help ensure people find your tool in the first place when they are researching around the topic.
Giving potential customers a positive view of your brand at this stage can be pivotal when it comes to attracting them back to purchase a policy. You can, of course, use paid remarketing ads to maximise the number of people using this tool who will then return to the site to take the next steps at a later date.
Whilst this is a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ type response, the answer to this question will depend greatly on the specifics of the tool you want to develop and the development resource you have available to you. If you have the resource in-house to develop something like this, and the in-house data to power the calculator or tool already, the costs will be minimal.
Keeping it simple, with as few pieces of data input from the user required as possible, will help to keep development costs down and also mean that the tool is super-quick and easy to use. No one will want to use a calculator that takes longer to do its stuff than getting an actual proper quote through the site.
Developing a tool is just part of the process. To get the best possible return from it, you can incorporate it into what is essentially an omnichannel content marketing campaign. Using a combination of PR activity, remarketing ads to encourage return visits and a strong SEO foundation to your tool’s landing page, you’re stacking the deck in your favour on several fronts when it comes to making the tool a success.
If you want more information on how we help insurance brands to increase their online visibility, get in touch today or on 0800 011 9715.