Insurance websites tend to err on the side of providing more information than consumers need, which in turn makes them overly complex and tough to navigate. A report from Visible Thread, a software firm that helps companies communicate in plain language, discovered that 79% of insurance websites did not communicate with the average consumer and only two insurance websites of the 54 that were evaluated were simpler to read than Moby Dick.
While the study focused on North America’s largest insurers, independent agencies have a lot to learn from these findings as well, especially as consumer trust is tied to a company’s ability to communicate their value proposition as well as their products and services clearly to their customers.
Yet many agencies don’t even change the default content that comes with their websites, let alone make crucial information easy to find online.
“Some website providers will provide default content when they build an insurance agency website and it’s just there as a placeholder – it’s not meant to be the end-all content for that insurance agency,” said Becky Schroeder, chief marketing officer at Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), adding that this default content appears on any agency website a provider builds, leading to duplicate content, which can impact a company’s standing in search results. “Google doesn’t like seeing duplicate content on websites, so if you’re using the same content somebody else is using, that hurts your website in the search results.”
Another mistake that agencies often make is not providing contact information everywhere on the website.
“One of the things that I think makes insurance websites more friendly for consumers is if you put the phone number at the top in your header, so it’s there on every single page no matter where they are,” explained Schroeder. “They don’t have to then hunt for the phone number because it’s right there.”
Agencies should also include calls to action, so that when someone is browsing the website and they want to take the next step, they will be guided to the next step. Not including calls to action leaves people confused, and they can end up leaving because they feel like they don’t know where to go.
The use of industry jargon isn’t unique to larger insurers’ websites either.
“The language is too complicated – I think that is definitely true of the carriers, but I think even some agencies keep the language too technical and write it from the perspective of me or we, versus you, so basically talking about themselves instead of how they can help their client,” said Schroeder.
To address this and other stumbling blocks that agencies encounter with their websites, agency leaders can try looking at their site from the perspective of a consumer who may not know everything about the business. If it’s too difficult to be impartial, leaders should turn to someone they trust to give them honest, constructive feedback on the complexity of the language and ease of use.
“Another option is to look at your analytics. See what pages people are exiting the website from, which ones have a higher bounce rate, [meaning] they’re not spending a lot of time on there,” said Schroeder. “Look at that page again from the perspective of a consumer and see why they are leaving this page. Is it because of something we’re saying or not saying? Is it because of the design of the page? Is it because we’re not giving them something to do? Looking at that from the data perspective can also help find the areas that might need some attention on your website.”
The benefits of revitalizing an agency’s website include a better relationship with clients and potentially more business.
“People will stay on the website longer and that can lead to more conversions,” said Schroeder. “From the perspective of client service, if you’re trying to use your website as a method of providing service to your clients – for them to be able to download a form or submit a change request, whatever that may be – if you make it simpler, people are going to feel like the service is that much better. If you make it harder, if it’s too complex to understand or use, they’re going to view the service as not as great.”