It’s commonly accepted that in order for any company’s marketing efforts to be effective, knowing who you are trying to reach, what motivates them and what kind of problems need solving, is vital, but many firms, especially those in business or financial services, still struggle to know where to start when it comes to developing personas, especially if their products or services are suitable for wide range of people.
However, we firmly believe that developing accurate personas, based on real data, is essential to make the most of the available marketing budgets and resources. They help insurance firms to focus on the customer profiles that are most profitable to the business (or have the potential to be) and those which can make the biggest difference to the bottom line.
Your starting point will vary, depending on the type of insurance you offer. For those offering a niche insurance product, this is usually a little more straightforward.
Business insurance packages for self-employed personal trainers, for example, has a fairly obvious audience, which can be broken down into different types of personal trainers at various points in their career, or those offering specific services. You can then tailor your marketing activity appropriately so that it’s answering the needs and questions of the specific types of personal trainers that you want to become (or renew as) customers.
If your insurance products have a much wider appeal, e.g. car insurance, it doesn’t mean you need to have dozens of personas. In fact, we would actively discourage this. Unless you have a huge marketing team and an unlimited budget, having more than a handful of target personas to focus on at any one time will cause your efforts to be diluted across the board. It is much more effective to concentrate your efforts on 2-4 personas at most for a period of time. You can always look to expand to new personas further down the line. For now, you need to focus on the people who will make the most difference to your business now.
There are several data sources than can help to show you which types of customer are your most profitable, or have the most growth potential, and the most accurate and significant of these sources will be your own quote requests and policy purchases.
You will have a wealth of customer data from those who have requested quotes or already hold a policy with you. Their age, gender, occupation, where they are located, and many more pieces of information, can be used for you to find patterns that indicate a certain type of person makes up a higher proportion of your customers than others.
You should also factor renewal rates into this, as this value shouldn’t be underestimated. If a type of customer isn’t your biggest when they first buy a policy, but they do renew at a much better rate than other, bigger, audience groups, they could still be a significant section that it would make more sense to focus on than some larger customer types, due to the revenue they bring to your business. If a pattern emerges about a group of similar customers that submit lots of quote requests but rarely go on to buy your policies, you can decide whether to focus on finding out why they don’t convert and fixing that issue or turn your attention to a different audience segment with better conversion potential; for the time being at least.
The key factor when deciding which personas to build out is that they are led by data rather than by assumption.
This is a huge topic that we won’t attempt to cover in this blog post, but there are many different ways that you can use data to ensure your personas are as accurate as possible. There is a balance to be found between spending time getting your personas as well pinned down as possible, and spending too much time on the details that don’t really matter.
As well as your existing customer data, we also use information from Google Analytics, Facebook Audience Insights (if appropriate), your existing social media audience, YouGov profiler (if available) and wherever possible, we try to speak to real people that would be in the market for your product to give additional context to the persona.
The types of information that will be useful in terms of your marketing strategy may vary a little, depending on your active channels, but we generally include:
Personas are absolutely not meant to represent every type of customer you will ever have. They are simply a way of ensuring that effort and resources are focused on the right areas and not being wasted on things that have little chances of bringing a return on investment.
For more information about our approach to improving conversion rate and overall user experience for insurance brands, CLICK HERE, or alternatively feel free to get in touch today on 0800 011 9715 or Enquire HERE!