How scalable is your life insurance lead funnel?

Generating online life insurance leads can feel like a huge undertaking, but we break down what you need to know about attracting and converting new leads from your website and social media!

Charlie Conron
August 23, 2023
Growth

GENERATING NEW LIFE INSURANCE LEADS

Generating a new life insurance prospect is hard work, and not just any prospect, a qualified one. Someone who has the budget, authority, need and the timing is right (BANT).

Now scale that up and find hundreds of those kinds of people every year, for your entire career. No question sales is a challenging profession, but selling life insurance makes it even more challenging because we are dealing with a very serious subject matter.

LIFE INSURANCE SALES FUNNELS

As mentioned above sales is hard, but like any kind of sales business, we can organize our sales approach into "sales funnels", which are distinct segments of the buying journey for your client. The stages of a funnel were broadly categorized as "awareness, interest, desire, and action" (Originally coined by Elias St. Elmo Lewis).

Broadly a sales funnel can be applied to any business, create awareness of your product, have some interest from people looking for a solution, people will naturally take action without being prompted & you will generate revenue... sounds very utopian!

The reality is we have a lot of competition for our client's attention and budget so in practice we need to make sure we are able to move people through our sales funnel(s) in an efficient and effective manner and this means we need to examine each sales medium at our disposal and create a unique funnel or path that leads to predictable results.

A familiar example for a sales funnel might be something like this; Call 100 people, get 10 Appointments, make two sales. Now generally speaking the larger you can grow the top part of the funnel the larger you can grow your business overall, however, there are going to be limits on the total number of prospects we can reach based on the approach or medium we are using to market. Thinking about our cold calling example, we are going to be challenged to scale up how many dials we can make in a day, or month, over a year, how about the course of your career?

While this article is going to focus on digital lead creation strategy I think it's important to understand that all marketing mediums are unique, each medium will yield different results (ex calling 100 people vs emailing 100 people) so it is important to segment each type of marketing you do and study the results. It's also important to keep in mind you don't need to go all in on any one approach, if cold calling works for you keep doing it! Experiment with different marketing strategies and use some in conjunction with each other (kind of like a balanced portfolio).

TRADITIONAL VS DIGITAL SALES FUNNEL

As pointed out above digital sales funnels behave a lot differently than something like our cold calling example above. To acquire a digital lead you may need something like 2000 visitors to your website or blog, to get 100 email inquiries, that result in 20 zoom meetings, resulting in 2 sales. At first you may think wow that is a lot of views, but the difference is that you can scale your website visits with limited effort compared to the time it would take to make 100 cold calls (not to mention the rejection you will save yourself from!).

TRADITIONAL (OFFLINE)

In this article we explore both traditional (offline) and more modern (online) marketing mediums advisors have at their disposal with a heavy focus on some of the digital marketing techniques advisors should be thinking about.

Referral

Referral clients should be part of every advisor's business. Many advisors have built a business on leveraging referrals from clients but also from building out a circle of influence (COI). Your COI might consist of accountants, lawyers, advisors in complementary lines (ex group benefits or P&C). Referral clients should also have a high rate of conversion as they often come from people asking their friends who they trust for life insurance, however, while referrals have a high conversion rate they can be hard to scale and generate consistent leads from. Want more tips on building your COI check out our article on "How to become more referable"

In-force

In-force policies are some of the best ways to find new life insurance sales. Be proactive with in-force policy service by showing existing clients their policy compared to replacement and/or conversion options. (LDA makes this easy by helping your request, sort, and notify you of sales and service opportunities inside your block). The size of your block will dictate the number of opportunities but you should have a high conversion ratio as these clients need to replace term before it increases in cost plus you have done business with them before.

Social Networking

Outside of the professional network COI outlined above, social groups such as golf memberships, community volunteer work can be a great way to meet people and share "what do you do for a living?". This is a hard marketing activity to scale but boy is it ever a fun one (especially if you are a golfer) but it can also be an expensive form of marketing with no guaranteed results.

Paid Marketing (offline)

Paid marketing offline is a big area, this is everything from radio ads, magazine placements, sponsored events, flyers or even renting space on the menu at your local greasy spoon. It is a challenging marketplace to contend in and many of these mediums (radio, print media, events) are under significant pressure from their digital counterparts resulting in lower reach. Offline marketing tends to be expensive as generally it needs to be physically produced and it is also very hard to measure success from as there is not always an obvious impact or way to track how many people even saw your message. As a result, there is a lower conversion number at each level of the funnel. This does not mean you should abandon this medium entirely but rather be selective of the opportunities you use it for. I have personally seen good success with advisors creating a policy review mailer to draw existing clients in to have their needs review.

One way to add some visibility to your print media is to combine it with a digital medium, send people to a unique landing page and track the visits. Only people who got the flyer should find the page so if we use our term review example from above we could:

  • Send out a "time to review your life insurance" pamphlet to existing and prospective clients.
  • Direct clients to a unique landing page where we can capture client info, review assets/liabilities, and produce some options for their new needs.
  • Follow up with people who take action to review
  • By sending traffic to a unique landing page you will get a measure of the success of the flyer, some of those who visit the page and convert by reviewing their needs and take action to invest their information to find out if they have the right insurance coverage moving them down the funnel closer to conversion.

    ONLINE

    Online Marketing is also a vast area that can feel hard to understand and constantly evolving. The rewards can be massive but the learning curve is steep. For the purposes of this article I want to focus on a couple of key areas I think advisors must have some kind of presence if they expect to generate meaningful results.

    Website

    Websites are no longer optional for advisors or any business for that matter, if you don't have a professional-looking & mobile-friendly website you are missing opportunities. Your website is important for many reasons, not only is it your digital business card but it should also have a way to book appointments and capture prospective client details. Advisors should consider content marketing as a means to educate to the specific situations insurance can solve. People are generally confused by their life insurance options and want to find information prior to any purchase decision. When people want to find information today, they turn to Google, and to answer that question google looks at your website to know if it should send people your way.

    Did you know 73% of people shopping for insurance want to be able to use your website to educate themselves about insurance.

    Having good SEO gets people to your website but once they are there we need to nurture our visitors with meaningful content and an engaging experience, if we are going to successfully move them through our sales funnel (from consideration to action). We need to give them a reason to invest their information so that we can contact them and explore their needs. In the marketing industry they call this a "gate". Gated content is an exchange of personal contact information for valuable content (generally insight into the challenge they are looking to solve).

    Think bigger than just a "contact us" page to collect client info, today's client wants an interactive needs analysis, real-time quoting, and a growing segment want an option to buy now, completely non face to face.

    Another example of gated content could be a gated white-paper written around your niche, for example, "download the white-paper on the CEO's guide to structuring a buy-sell agreement" or Life Insurance as an Asset Class (replace with your niche). It's ok to have several gates and landing pages but just make sure the content you offer has value because it will be key to the credibility of our follow up marketing efforts.

    Blog (content marketing)

    Content marketing is probably the most successful way to attract digital prospects and move them through your sales funnel. Content marketing is particularly successful because it solves a problem for the visitor. Think about your ideal client, what information would they search for. Well, it largely depends on what market you may be in but here is a few examples.

  • Corporate - 10 Reasons every business owner should consider Key Person Insurance
  • Family - How much insurance is right for moms? We explore 2 different approaches
  • Funny - What insurance would your favourite superhero own?
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    You have probably heard of SEO and may even understand that it's how to make your content more findable and consumable by search engines and the indexing tools they use to crawl the internet. The nitty-gritty of how it is done may be a bit abstract depending on your level of technical expertise. However, the good news is that there are many CMS (content management system) websites like WordPress or Drupal that do a lot of the heavy lifting and let you focus on the part that really matters the content. Don't underestimate how many questions people make on very specific insurance services.

    If you don't have a CMS system with a built in WYSIWYG use a visual HTML editor like the one at html5-editor.net

    Moz put together a pretty good article on the SEO basics but I think this visual they have of the Mozlow's Hierarchy of SEO needs does a great job of showing the most important aspects.

    SEO Hierarchy

    LDA LeadGen

    LDA LeadGen gives you the ability to capture and nurture digital leads from your website or landing page and convert them into clients. We provide a snippet of code you can easily embed on your website to capture leads, establish needs and produce dynamic reports of their options that have been proven to increase sales. LDA LeadGen is the perfect tool to convert all that new traffic going to your site into qualified contacts.

    embedded needs
    Retargeting

    Retargeting sometimes called remarketing is a way to connect with people who previously interacted with your website or mobile app. It allows you to strategically position your ads in front of these audiences as they browse Google or its partner websites, thus helping you increase your brand awareness or remind those audiences to make a purchase.

    remarket needs

    Re-marketing is a great way to deliver a more targeted CTA or bring people back for more dedicated actions for example get a quote. You could think about re-marketing visitors who play your YouTube videos and asks them to review their current insurance needs using LDA LeadGen. There are a lot of creative ways to stay top of mind so advisors should consider the way they can use this powerful advertising technique to move prospects from a top-funnel activity like educating themselves on the different types of insurance to the action stage of the funnel of getting quotes and considering product.

    PPC Ads (google ad words)

    Creating content is hard and not everyone has the technical skills, sometime you just want to buy visitors. Google Ad's is a way in a few steps you can create an ad goal (calls, website visits, etc.). You can also decide where to advertise (ex your surrounding area). The other nice thing is you can set budgets so you can experiment with different search terms and see what works before spending without results. Digital ads are extremely measurable so you will be able to define customer acquisition cost (CAC)

    Social Media

    Social media is a great place to market as an advisor, why? well because just like everyone else your customers are there and rather than make them come to content you wrote on your website you can put it in front of them! Sounds great, the only trick is each platform has it's own set of rules, so let's run down some of the basics.

    Linkedin

    LinkedIn is a great place for B2B prospecting & marketing. LinkedIn has powerful targeting tools so if you sell to a niche (business owners or professionals) it can be very easy to find them and connect there are even browser add-ons that can capture and catalogue their information for other marketing campaigns.

    With social media I personally believe you don't want to directly connect with a prospect and send them a sales pitch immediately. Unsolicited canned sales pitches can do more damage to your reputation than the odd sale you might create from them. Rather the idea behind connecting with your ideal prospects is to nurture and educate them. If you do want to send a message thank your prospect for connecting and let them know you look forward to sharing ideas and content. The point of LinkedIn is no longer to post a resume, it's to create awareness of yourself and your expertise to your network, this can create interest in your product and build your reputation as an expert in your field. Its also a good idea for advisors to have a separate page for their business, even if you post similar or the same content, this is one more link that will show up when people search for you on google.

    search

    To take the social media rewards even further you could create a retargeting list from the people you connect with on LinkedIn and that can be used on another social platform (like Facebook) to display ad's that have a more aggressive call to action. This is effective because we know the list is targeted prospects from our LinkedIn research but we don't want to connect and pitch on LinkedIn (that is our nurture network) so we use the connection to capture the info and target our ask on another platform for more success.

    Advisors can use tools like Dux Soup to scale their contacts and tools like social pilot or HootSuite to schedule content as well as post it across multiple platforms at the same time (where the content subject is applicable across all platforms)

    Facebook

    Like LinkedIn, Facebook has changed a lot from its original use case, however, it is a great place to market your business. As stated above it's going to be one more link that a search engine will find and you can syndicate a lot of the content you would post on LinkedIn using a tool like Social Pilot or Hoot-suite. Facebook has a less business vibe so this is a great place to share customer feedback, join groups and answer questions, maybe even post some funny Friday content if you have created blogs or evergreen content make sure to schedule it to recur at an appropriate schedule.

    YouTube

    Video is a great medium to break thru the noise, and like our other two social platforms above when people do a search, there is a dedicated way to stand out. Video is a great way to break down complex ideas, make a video sales letter about your services, maybe even walk thru a concept in your LDA account but describe it as if you were sitting down next to your ideal prospect. Make a video about how to pick an advisor. The goal here is to think about what questions people have and how can I answer them, because when people have a problem today the first place they turn to is search and this is a huge opportunity for you to introduce your personality. Not sure on where to start to produce video content? I recommend the Wistia blog for DIY video tutorials.

    Twitter

    Twitter is another platform that advisors can leverage even without sending a tweet, simply by following your favourite insurance carriers or hashtags --> (#) you can have updates come to you. Popular advisor hashtags to follow:
    #lifeinsurance
    #insurance
    #healthinsurance
    #insuranceagent
    #businessinsurance
    #autoinsurance
    #homeinsurance
    #financialplanning

    When you see a good piece of content re-share it. Like our other social networks, it's best to keep the selling to a minimum and only where appropriate (like someone asking), but there are lots of creative ways you can share the need or benefit of your products without directly asking.

    Reddit

    Ok can already hear the eye rolls, really I am going to pick up life insurance business by being on Reddit? In short maybe, like our other platforms it depends on how you use it but if you take a look at some of the "subreddits"(sub-topics) people are dying for financial advice:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/LifeInsurance/https://www.reddit.com/r/PersonalFinanceCanada/

    There is some very good dialogue that goes on between consumers and advisors. Similarly if you work in a unique market segment you might look to reddit to find an advisor group as a way to find split cases with other peers having challenges with something that is your specialty.

    These kinds of forums are stocked full of people looking for answers to problems, this is not the place for the hard sell but a place to nurture and build leads. Thought leadership goes a long way, if you can provide value first you can become a trusted source to the 14+ million people who follow personal finance on Reddit.

    Snapchat

    I'm sure there is some advisor using this well but leave this one for the kids, this may be the hardest platform for life insurance.

    Instagram

    Insta may not be for every advisor, but there is no reason you can't create value by maintaining this platform. It will gain us an extra search property on the web & it's a good place to show stories of behind the brand, community involvement and highlight some of your humour with the occasional meme at the right time.

    Want more meme-worthy content? Check out our article on "The Best Life Insurance Quotes Analogies and Memes"

    Each platform has its preferences for picture size, content style, word count, so it's best to pick a few key platforms and have a strong presence rather than spread yourself thin over more platforms with less meaningful content.

    I would highly recommend a tool that can post on multiple platforms at the same time and schedule content so that you spend a minimal amount of time having to keep up with your social strategy.

    Marketing Automation

    Advisors should have a platform to communicate content to segmented audiences, so you can have a catered sequence of messages that makes sense depending on how you acquired the prospect. This could be something affordable like mail-chimp to a more full-featured CRM like Agile or SalesForce.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN AN AGENCY

    Lets face it, this stuff is hard to learn and if you are not the DIY kind but want to benefit from the scale of the internet, here is what we recommend looking for if you outsource your digital marketing:

  • Management fee, you shouldn't be spending more on management than you do on ad spend.
  • Compare rates from agencies/freelancers.
  • Confirm if reporting is being provided or not/included in quoted rate.
  • Make sure that Google and Facebook accounts are in your ownership, not the agencies.
  • Request a "search term" report to ensure keyword bidding is accurate to your offering and any negative keywords are set up properly.
  • Determine what is being reported on. Look for reporting on:
  • Impressions - How many ad's are being displayed (if too low you may need to adjust your bid)Clicks - of the people who saw your ad how many clicked (if too low you may need to adjust your message)CTR - the percentage of people who click on your add (Impressions/Clicks = CTR) 2% is an ok number believe it or not.Spend - Total Monthly SpendConversions - How many people converted after they visited your site (conversion will be custom goals you set such as booking a meeting, subscribing to your blog or newsletter)CPC - Cost Per Conversion individual cost per click thru (Conversion / Total Spend = CPC)CPA - Cost Per Acquisition (Spend/Conversion = CPA)

    The goal with these stats will be to lower your CPA and weight with the lifetime value of a customer. For example, if your average sale or customer life time value is $5000 and you find you can acquire clients at a cost of $80 you would do that every time. So when you find messaging and targeting that starts to resonate with your client base you can scale up your budget to bring more people to your funnel.

    TYPICAL AD'S REPORT

    ad spend

    CONCLUSION

    The idea of creating a sustainable digital funnel that creates qualified life insurance leads does not have to be mystifying it is however worth investing in, as the future of life insurance and commerce, in general, is going to be increasingly digital and while it will not be something you can build overnight it's something we are dedicated to helping make as easy as possible for advisors no matter their technical ability.

    Please get in touch if you are and insurance advisor looking for assistance with your digital sales process, we are more than happy to help.