If there is one specific goal in marketing your insurance agency, it is to reach consumers at those critical moments that most influence their decisions. You are consistently putting out your feelers to pinpoint those touch points when consumers are open to influence. According to the Business Dictionary, the consumer decision making process is the:
Process by which (1) consumers identify their needs, (2) collect information, (3) evaluate alternatives, and (4) make the purchase decision. These actions are determined by psychological and economical factors, and are influenced by environmental factors such as cultural, group, and social values.
The ways consumers are making their decisions have changed with the use of technology and it’s important to respond to the new customer journey. Understanding how the consumer decision making process has changed is critical to making effective marketing decisions therefore your potential for profitability.
Advancements in technology have changed the process— the internet has made an enormous impact that has affected the way consumers behave and make decisions. Since the advent of the internet, consumers actively turn to it to research and look for specific products or services. They also use it as a source for referrals and to check out reviews of their peers’ experiences so they can make an educated decision. It has quickly become the consumers’ modus operandi when it comes to purchasing and scoping out which products to purchase. From the vast review sites such as Yelp and constant communication right at our fingertips, the internet is an ever present influencer. Everyone has access to the internet, on mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers, its become increasingly simple and natural for consumers to research their every buying decision. Today, consumers are searching for in-depth product reviews as they move down the funnel to purchase. In a study from Moz.com, 67% of respondents cited online reviews as “fairly, very or absolutely important” to their online purchasing decisions.
It’s this kind of accessibility that has changed the traditional consumer decision making process model from a linear path into an always moving target. Below are some of the biggest factors from SKU Local in how the Internet has affected the winding path to purchase.
The Role of Reviews
(Source: SKU Local)
- 55% look for positive reviews online, while another 34% look for recommendations from online acquaintances and 46% look for professional recommendations
- 67% of those looking for online reviews will look at videos, and 49% will turn specifically to YouTube.
- 41% of consumers will be directly influenced to make a purchase by between 1 and 4 reviews.
- Decision making is influenced by positive reviews for 90% of consumers and by negative reviews for 87% of consumers.
- Personal stories and lists of pros and cons top the list of making a review influential (80% and 71% respectively).
- Internet influencers on social media or in the blogosphere are still trusted by 71% of consumers if they were given the product or service for free.
The Role of Social Media
(Source: SKU Local)
- 83% of consumers discover brands, products, and services via various social media outlets.
- 55% of consumers trust reviews they’re exposed to on social networks, even if the person writing the review is not someone they know in person or see regularly.
- Nearly 66% will turn to Facebook while they’re shopping, even if they’re in-store
- Sharing is motivated by positive experiences in 87% of consumers, and free products prompt 72% to share.
- 32% are motivated by dissatisfaction
- More than 66% will share their purchase on Facebook no matter what the experience, and another third will connect with the brand or other brand advocates via the network. Most will post photos and video.
- Social has become the biggest traffic referral source at more than 31% of overall traffic across eight platforms, which is hardly a surprise when you consider that social networking represent about a third of time spent on the Internet.
What does this mean for the insurance industry? Now, more than ever, is it critical to differentiate yourself when consumers can do so much for themselves already. Perfect your customer service, how you communicate, how you answer questions, your availability and anticipating your customer’s needs. Consider viewing these changes in the consumer decision making process not as a loss of influence over consumer decisions, but instead as an opportunity to be in the right place at the right time.
Why should you adapt? If you have a clearer understanding of the consumer decision making process online, you can adjust the way you approach them to capture those moments along that path in the process.
Connect with customers online.
It’s critical to your agency’s success to start treating the Internet as a tool, not the enemy. Make sure you’re connecting with your customers online! Here’s how:
- Create a Business Facebook and nurture your online community. Use your business Facebook page to interact and build relationships and show your insurance expertise. Here you can showcase your personality, be informative and create lasting relationships where your customers will keep coming back to you for future guidance.
- Allow clients to text and email you. Be accessible to them and let them know that you are there when they need you most. Customers are looking to you as an expert who can lead them in the right direction while always keeping their best interests in mind.
- Make your insurance agency’s information easy to access online. Don’t just toss company reviews and some standard FAQ pages on your website. Showcase your wealth of knowledge and expertise--display new policy options and explain policy updates in layman’s terms.
Although the consumer decision making process and behavior is ever-expanding and ever-changing, you have the ability to stay in tune with your consumer’s behaviors and tastes. Staying on top of trends will help your insurance agency and brand to stay visible, relevant and to better engage with your current and prospective customer base.
Have you adapted?
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