The diversity of digital marketing opportunities accessible to Australian businesses has equipped insurers with an arsenal of weaponry to promote their products and services online. Leveraging these tools to acquire new customers profitably can prove challenging – too often we hear of businesses that have failed to meet their digital marketing goals by simply “jumping in” and not taking a strategic approach to customer acquisition.
If your business is considering using digital to acquire insurance customers, or has trialed online marketing in the past but have not been happy with the result, here are some of the key factors that need to be considered when planning and executing your customer acquisition strategy.
Where does your company and product offering sit in the digital marketplace?
Can you answer the following in relation to the products and services you are looking to promote online?
- How does your company differentiate itself within the traditional, off-line marketplace?
- Are these differences still relevant to a digital consumer?
- Who are your main online competitors for the product you are looking to promote?
- How does your value proposition differ from their offering?
- Who is the target market for your product offering?
- How and where does your target market engage online? Do they use search engines? Are they active on social media?
The answers to these questions must justify your choices in digital marketing channels, influence the content and campaign assets produced, and inform the strategies implemented to engage and convert online audiences into customers.
Customer acquisition is more than just digital marketing
Advertising platforms like Google and Facebook encourage businesses to commit marketing dollars with aggressive incentives to launch trial campaigns, and the promise of a new source of revenue with just a few clicks of a button and a credit card number.
However, driving traffic to your website is only one piece of the customer acquisition puzzle. Even the most highly targeted digital marketing campaign will not realise its full potential if it is not complimented by optimised campaign assets and supported by relevant processes.
You must address the entire customer journey within your customer acquisition solution, from the first contact with your company through the entire conversion process; from lead to sale.
Understand the true cost and value of a sale
When determining the initial budget for an initiative and assessing performance of a customer acquisition solution, a clear understanding both of the costs and value associated with a sale is critical.
Costs involved in creating a sale can include not only marketing spend, but also development costs, external agency fees , operational costs and transactional fees.
The value a sale will deliver to the company can come not only from initial policy purchase, but should also factor in the projected lifetime value of each customer, including renewals, cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
Consider the impact of offline activities
Offline activities and processes have an enormous effect on the value generated by digital marketing initiatives. The success of your online customer acquisition solution could be completely undermined by a bottleneck in your offline conversion process and post sales activities – it doesn’t matter how many leads a campaign generates if your sales team fails to grasp the opportunity to deliver new business!
Equipping staff with the right tools and processes to manage their sales pipeline efficiently will ultimately deliver a better experience for both staff and customer, and in turn result in more success in closing sales.
Response time to new leads, for example, is one of the most important factors in closing a sale. Having an effective CRM or lead management solution in place to immediately inform you sales team of new enquiries, and assisting them in responding in timely manner with required information, will result in better experience for potential customers. In turn this is likely to generate an improved lead-to-sale conversion rate, reducing cost per acquisition from the associated campaign.
Also, look at ways to empower your sales team to deliver greater value from the opportunities generated. Are there complimentary offers that can be included with the initial sale? What cross-sell and up-sell opportunities exist and what role can digital solutions play in promoting these offers to your customer base?
Put in place a framework to measure success
An effective customer acquisition strategy must include a framework for monitoring and measuring your organisation performance in response to any initiative launched, as well as pre-defined KPIs used to determine the success of the initiative. Too often companies launch a customer acquisition initiative without first identifying the metrics that will be used to determine success or failure. In many cases determining these metrics post-launch is too late – if the required tracking and analytics software is not in place pre-launch the required data may be impossible to obtain after the fact.
Analyse and optimise
Every company that invests in digital marketing does so with the intention of a positive return. If initial results fail to meet expectations, it may be tempting to pause further activity and dismiss digital marketing as an ineffective tool. Take this opportunity to analyse your results and to understand where improvement can be made. What are the insights that can be gained by tracking customers through initial engagement and pre-sales activity, and how can this information be used to improve the performance of active campaigns? Are some digital marketing channels delivering a better return on investment than others?
Don’t underestimate the task at hand
The digital marketing landscape in Australia is extremely competitive – according to eMarketer, Australia has the highest annual digital ad spend per user in the world, at an estimated $265.45 per user per annum . Remember, you are competing not only within the insurance industry for a customer’s attention, but with businesses worldwide across many industries.
The reality is that building a sustainable and scalable customer acquisition solution takes planning, patience and willingness to invest beyond an initial online marketing budget.
The potential return on this investment is significant, delivering new sales opportunities in the short term and continued revenue from retention, cross sell and up sell initiatives for many years to come.
About Aptiture Digital
We are digital agency with over 10 years experience helping insurers attract, engage and convert online audiences into new insurance customers. Our customer acquisition solutions for insurers combine key digital capabilities with specialised industry knowledge to build digital sales channels for B2C and B2B markets.