When we talk about the people coming to our insurance Web sites, it is easy to think of them as one group. But in reality, like the traditional insurance buyer, the needs of online insurance customers can vary greatly. Your Web site visitors have different navigation styles, are looking for different kinds of information, and make decisions in very different ways. Don’t make the mistake of having a “one size fits all” Web site.

Fortunately, the needs of different Web site visitors tend to fall into groups. If you understand these groups, you can make sure your site meets their needs.

The Insurance Believer

These visitors know the value of insurance. They want to protect their family and finances and don’t want to leave themselves exposed. The challenge they have is that they don’t know what they don’t know. This leaves them a little fearful both of missing critical coverage and getting sold something they don’t need.

Your site should provide content that appeals to their emotions. They want to know that you can help them protect the things they care about more than they want details on specific policies or types of insurance. Most important, remind them that you, their trusted expert, are always only a phone call away.

The Reluctant Researcher

The reluctant researchers understand the value of insurance but aren’t always sure it’s the best way to spend their money. They take control of their finances, actively managing their investments and want the final say in any decisions.

These visitors are skeptical. They don’t want to feel like they’re getting a “sales pitch” or are being talked into something. To meet their needs, your site should give them access to analytic information about the coverage you’re offering and the carriers you work with. They’re going to want to see carrier ratings, financial strategy, and options before they will make a purchase decision.

The Focused Shopper

They know what they want and are seeking to get it as quickly as possible. Their search for insurance is based primarily on the thought “I know what I need. Can you provide it?”

Ultimately, you’ll want to stay as much out of their way as you can. These visitors are going to ignore marketing content and call-outs, and instead zero in on specific product information. The more “self-service” you can make your site the better it will meet the needs of the focused shopper.

The Internet Disciple

There’s a growing market of insurance buyers that turns to the Internet to “Google it” when they aren’t quite sure what they’re looking for. The Internet Disciple is online not just looking for answers about insurance, but also trying to figure out exactly what their question is.

You’re going to need to establish trust with these visitors quickly. (“4 ways to build trust through your Web site“) However, they don’t know enough about insurance to recognize your expertise. Instead, you need to convey your knowledge and expertise in a more subtle way. Because they’re Internet-savvy, they form strong first impressions based on your Web site. Your site better be slick and well-designed. Logos and a nationally recognized brand will go a long way toward earning their trust.

Aaron Kassover, managing partner of AgentMethods LLC, has spent the last 10 years helping insurance carriers, agencies and brokers bring their services online. He has applied this knowledge to the development of AgentMethods, a Web site platform for insurance agents, agencies and brokers. For more information, visit Aaron’s Web site at www.agentmethods.com.

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