For insurance advisors content is king – or almost – so far as prospecting tools go.
No surprise, then, that insurance company websites are slowly offering advisors and consumers access to their companies’ respective “content kingdoms.”
Take Jackson National Life, which recently unveiled a cleaner, more streamlined look to its corporate website.
Jackson’s Center for Financial Insight is found under the “Resources” tab. This section of the website offers a trove of analysis, research and white papers where advisors can go for guidance, or where advisors can refer prospects for more information.
“People are hungry for this content,” Daniel Martin, director of Jackson National’s digital communications and strategy, told InsuranceNewsNet.
For advisors willing to slog through pages and pages of “brochureware,” large insurers always have had valuable reflections to share about the goings on in the marketplace, even if the information wasn’t easy to find.
Once the information in hand, it was often just as inconvenient to share it and documents weren’t optimized for a smooth web experience. But sharing now is becoming a one-click experience at more and more insurers.
“Sharing is the most important piece,” Martin said.
Principal Financial and Great-West Financial, are among the latest companies to have recently revamped their corporate websites, as have Lincoln National and Guardian Life.
Carriers have several goals in improving their websites. They want to make the sites easier to use, offer visitors a cleaner look and feel, and make sure the sites load quickly onto desktop and mobile platforms. In addition, carriers want to ensure that when advisors or consumers search for information, they will find content that is relevant to what they are looking for.
Speaking With a Consistent Voice
In their website revamps, insurance companies have learned to speak with a consistent tone and deliver a similar look and feel across a variety of platforms, Martin said.
That wasn’t always the case. In the rush for an online presence, insurers, as with many other companies in other industries, simply transposed the physical world of printed documents onto a screen. This often left viewers with a jarring and uninviting experience.
Messaging inconsistencies cropped up across an explosion of channels.
A light-hearted TV advertising campaign for a life insurance product would draw viewers to visit the website, only to run into a product-centric thicket sagging under the weight of features, company history and lengthy executive biographies. These proved to be invitations for viewers to click away from the site.
Today’s tone revolves around insurers projecting more of a one-on-one conversation with advisors and consumers. The goal is to have a conversation driven by transparency and honesty, which is critical since so many people are online, Martin said.
Websites frequently group the carrier's products along categories of need, company client segments or life stages.
Insurance companies need to make a case for themselves, and tell advisors and consumers why they should do business with that company.
Good Websites Table Stakes
One of the biggest questions is whether a revamped website actually brings in new producers to sell on behalf of the insurer.
Martin said that’s hard to say. However, he added that an “above average” insurance website experience is quickly becoming table stakes for insurers in a race for wallet share with other financial services companies.
Claims that the corporate website is dead are overblown, he said. Websites remain differentiators. Poor or middling websites mean insurers risk losing business.
Martin used the example of a tax primer or an article about variable annuity fees written by a financial advisor and vetted by an insurer. He said those types of information are more likely to be read and distributed if they appear somewhere on an insurer’s website and are blasted out through the company’s social networks than they would if they were sent through an advisor’s personal email account.
At a time when retirement savings are low, when Congress is paying more attention to lifetime income strategies, and when agent distribution channels are coming under still more regulatory pressure, advisors can do with all the free resources they can get.
“Advisors are still our main client and the content has proven to be truly valuable for the advisor audience,” Martin said.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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