The Price Is Right: Handling Price Questions Through Digital Marketing

July 1, 2019 Dylan Brooks

The Price is right blog image

If you’re looking for three words to define the past decade of marketing, those words are Content Is King.

This concept pops up repeatedly in books, at conference keynotes, and in articles like this one.

While content marketing has its roots in the 19th century, it’s having a moment in the digital era.

That’s because it’s easier than ever to determine what consumers desire. It’s easier than ever to crank out content to meet those needs. And it’s easier than ever to track the success of those content campaigns.

A generation ago, marketers often lamented: Half my money gets wasted on advertising. But I don’t know which half.

Thanks to technology-enabled marketing, that saying no longer applies today.

Yet, even with digital marketing at their fingertips, insurance agents face challenges.

For there is one topic that is too tricky for insurance agents to broach head-on. And it happens to be the one topic consumers want clarity on most of all.

That topic is price.

Here’s how to manage the price conundrum.


The Price Roadblock

Price can be a powerful tool. But it’s off-limits to insurance agents.

That’s because there is no static price for an insurance policy. Premiums depend on context.

The basis of insurance is risk probabilities. Insurance companies only have a certain amount of assets to use for claim payouts. They need to balance what they pay out with what they take in through premiums to stay solvent.

So, insurance companies score each prospective customer on risk. Then they price policies based on those specific risk factors. If a prospect has bad credit, bad habits or bad luck, they’ll pay more than someone with a lower risk exposure.

This keeps insurance companies afloat. It ensures policyholders get reimbursements when they need them.

But it also adds friction to the shopping process.

Consumers want transparent, static pricing upfront. This is clear if you search for many insurance terms on Google. You’ll find How much does it cost? in the People Also Ask feature.

The lack of clarity in the insurance pricing model frustrates consumers. And it forms a roadblock to sales.

How can you navigate around this?


The Price Discussion

When it comes to pricing, it helps to follow the advice of Benjamin Franklin: Honesty is the best policy.

But, there’s a twist.

Consumers want an estimate of what they’re expected to pay. No more. No less.

Most consumers don’t want to know the details, even if they help refine that estimate.

They don’t want to learn about their insurer’s business models. And they don’t want to hear that someone else might pay less than them for the same coverage.

Sharing these details unprovoked can backfire. So, it’s far better to frame the discussion.

And content marketing can help you do that with gusto.

You can create web content, blog articles and graphics that tackle the price question. These assets can appear in search engine results. They can boost awareness of your agency’s brand, foster trust and even drive quotes.

Of course, the content you provide must pass muster for any of this to work. So, how should you approach this task?

Here are three ways to approach the price discussion.


1. Use Agency Averages

It’s impossible to know individual premium costs without running quotes. But it is possible — and easy — to pull averages.

Pull documents that show how much your agency garnered in premiums last year. Then, divide this amount by the number of premiums managed. The result will be your agency’s average insurance rate.

Of course, it can help to dive deeper, if you’re able. Consider segmenting the data by new business and renewals. Divvy up the numbers by line of coverage, or by carrier. Then, get specific averages for each one.

This will take some legwork. It will involve some spreadsheets and some math. And it could expose your relative pricing to competitors.

But the benefits can outweigh the costs. If you can pull this together, go for it.


2.  Use Third Party Averages

You don’t have to data mine your financial ledgers to share average pricing information. Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of third-party resources to pull from.

Two of the best sources of quote data are QuoteWizard and ValuePenguin. These websites break down average coverage costs by state, policyholder age and gender. (Thanks to my colleague Neal Smith for sharing these sources.)

Yet, the data from these resources is generic and high-level. So, if you want to dive deeper, check out your state’s Department of Insurance website. Many states have resources to compare sample rates.


3. Use Percentage Savings

15 minutes can save you 15 percent on car insurance.

Do you recognize this tagline?

Of course you do! You work in insurance! And that tagline is GEICO’s calling card.

It’s catchy. And it’s effective.

GEICO has quadrupled its annual revenue over the past two decades. Advertising messages featuring this tagline have played a role in that growth.

You can use this strategy to your advantage as well.

As an independent agent, you partner with several insurance carriers. Many of them have their own marketing departments. And these departments work on crafting their company’s value propositions.

Reach out to your contacts at these carriers. See if they can share average rates of discounts for their customer base. Then take a grand average of these averages to see how much you of a discount you can promote.


Putting It All Together

Once you have general pricing figures, incorporate them into your website content.

Tell consumers how much they can expect to pay, or how much they could save. You can share this information on your homepage or line of business pages.

Explain why costs can vary on your blog. That way, consumers who want to learn about the topic in-depth can do so.

And share resources on how consumers can save money on their premiums. Some of these options — such as bundling coverage — can benefit your agency as much as the consumer.

Price is a challenging subject with insurance. But it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.


With ingenuity and diligence, you can incorporate price into your digital marketing materials. Both your agency and your consumers stand to reap the benefits.





About the Author

Dylan Brooks

Dylan Brooks helps ITC clients improve the visibility of their agency websites, working directly with them to improve their search engine rankings. Dylan has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Miami and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Dylan has extensive experience with writing, strategy and marketing analytics. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys cooking, participating in 5K races, and spending time around Dallas.

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