When I talk to agents about their websites, the conversation always turns to traffic. I commonly hear complaints about not getting enough traffic.
But when I ask what they're doing to generate traffic, I often get blank stares.
I get it. Insurance website traffic and how you generate it can be difficult to understand.
So I decided to write this blog post explaining the truth about website traffic. Because if you understand traffic and its cost, you are more likely to generate it.
The Truth About Insurance Website Traffic
You have a lot of competition for consumers' attention online. I'm not just talking about the big insurance advertisers. I also mean the social networks, the news websites, the shopping websites.
The estimated number of websites is more than 1 billion. And that number is only getting larger. We have almost unlimited ways to spend our online time. Convincing people to spend some of that time on your website is no easy task.
In that moment of trying to get someone to click to your website, you are competing with at least three other options where that consumer spend her online time.
Traffic does not magically find its way to your insurance agency website. And traffic does not come free to the agency or company with the best looking website.
Here's the truth. There are two ways you get traffic to your insurance agency website. You either pay for it. Or, you earn it. (Tweet this!)
How You Get Traffic to Your Insurance Agency Website
1. Pay for itIf you don't have a lot of time, but you have the budget, you can pay for traffic. There's pay-per-click advertising on the search engines and content networks. There's advertising on the social networks.
There is one thing you need to remember about paid traffic. You need to make sure your paid traffic converts at a level that works for your agency.
How do you do that? First, identify what your cost of lead acquisition is. Then, determine your close ratio and identify how much you spend on each sale.
Cost Per Lead
To calculate cost per lead, determine your spend for a year across all lead generation sources. This can include buying leads and any marketing you do. Then, divide that dollar amount by the unique number of leads you got in that same year. This is your cost per lead acquisition.
The easiest way to calculate your close ratio is to use the reporting in your comparative rater. If you don't have a rater, divide the unique number of sales by the unique number of leads.
Don't just look at cost per lead and close ratio though. Look at your return on investment. Are you taking a loss, breaking even or profiting from your paid traffic investment?
Let's say you spend $1,000 on paid traffic a month and get 20 leads. ($50 is your cost per lead.) If your close ratio is 10 percent, you spent $500 on each sale. (Let's assume there were no other costs involved to keep it simple.)
Is it worth it to you to spend $500 on a sale? Well, that would depend on your commissions and how long you keep a client on average. Let's assume it's an auto insurance policy, which has a smaller commission and shorter lifecycle. So $500 to sell one policy is way too much. You're losing money.
Increasing how much you spend doesn't fix this scenario. Yes, it gets you more leads. You can also tweak your cost per lead if you are using pay-per-click advertising. But there's more to it than that.
You should work to improve your conversion rate and get more leads for the same amount of money. But you also might want to look at your close ratio and see if you can improve your sales process to close more sales.
What to Remember About Paid Traffic
With paid traffic you need to be detail oriented and disciplined. It is easy to lose money fast with paid traffic. Especially if you're not paying attention to your costs, conversion rate and close ratio.
One more thing I want to mention about paid traffic. The trouble with paid traffic is if you stop paying, you stop getting traffic.
If you decide to turn off your advertising, your traffic will drop. That is unless you have worked to earn traffic at the same time.
2. Earn it
If you have some time and not much marketing budget, you can do the work to earn traffic.
Get to the office early, and write original content for your blog. Find people to follow on social media and engage with them. Optimize your website for the search engines. Work on getting online reviews.
Do all this every day.
Yes, it is a lot. Yes, it can be difficult and tiring. But if you want online marketing success and don't have much of a budget, you need to invest your time. Really commit to it.
It takes time to build an online reputation. It takes time to establish yourself as an expert. You cannot do this overnight. But when you commit to it. When you focus on earning traffic, you will begin to see it increase.
The Cost of Earned Traffic
The problem with earned traffic is that it is easy to forget its cost because we pay it in the past. The cost is easy to forget or ignore. We often don't realize the true value of earned traffic.
But earned traffic, like paid, has a cost. Don't allow yourself to diminish the value of earned traffic. It can lead to forgetting about the most important step of any traffic: conversion.
Earned traffic keeps coming in even if you stop advertising. To sustain earned traffic, you will need to continue your content and optimization efforts. That is part of the cost.
When You Do Both Well
Doing both paid and earned traffic well is the holy grail of digital marketing.
Building earned traffic comes from building trust and an audience. By ranking well in search engine results. By engaging on social media and building a good email list. You get these from creating and sharing good, valuable content.
Paid traffic that converts well and at a profit is a helpful strategy. It can help support your earned traffic and get you a little more reach.
Traffic is not free. You either have to pay for it or earn it. To build consistent traffic and have digital marketing success, it takes money or effort. Sometimes, it might take both.
Got a question about how you can generate traffic to your insurance agency website? Leave a comment below, and we'll answer it.
About the Author
As vice president of marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s growth through marketing and drives the overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and public relations. Becky has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their three daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder