Aaron KassoverThis is the fourth of a 5-part series on the components of the online marketing funnel. Pt. 1 looked at attracting people to your Web site; Pt. 2 examined how to engage those visitors; and Pt. 3 discussed how to convert those visitors to prospects or clients.

Until now, we’ve been focusing on getting prospects into your online marketing funnel. Now we need to worry about keeping your relationship with your prospects alive and growing. If you made the sale, you obviously want to keep and grow this customer. Even if you haven’t made the sale yet, you want to keep the door open so that when the time is right and a need arises, you’re there to meet it.

There are several goals for the Retain phase. First, you want to strengthen the trust your prospects have in you. Second, you want to expand their understanding of the products you offer and the ways in which you can help them. Finally, you want to develop a brand that evokes “deep insurance knowledge” so when your prospects are ready to talk, they contact you.

Retaining Web site visitors
Several key ways to retain your Web site visitors:

  • Position your Web site as a go-to insurance reference – Make sure your Web site is more than a series of quote request forms. Put good content on your site that answers the questions your prospects ask you every day. Then, in your conversations and e-mails with them, you can direct them to the relevant pages on your site. This will get them in the habit of going there for information.
  • Continually update your site with great, new information, and seasonal imagery – Show your site visitors that you’re “minding the store.” Keep the site updated regularly with seasonal imagery, fresh content, and an ever-expanding information library. A site update is a great reason to touch base with your prospects.
  • Open the door for questions – Remind your visitors that access to you is only a click away. Put links on your site to a form they can fill out if they have a question and make it a habit of responding to these questions as quickly as possible.
  • Use (but don’t abuse) e-mail marketing – E-mail marketing is a great way to grow your relationship. But be careful not to bombard your prospects with too much self-serving marketing. Make sure it’s educational, relevant, and informative. Get the balance right and e-mail will do wonders for your relationships; get it wrong and your prospects will unsubscribe and hope to never hear from you again.

Measuring retention
Because retention is a long-term activity, it is difficult to measure. You can track your overall customer base, looking at the number of policies per customer, renewal rate, and changes in coverage amounts, but you will likely have a hard time separating out the effectiveness of your Web activities. On the other side, you can measure Web behaviors such as return-visit rates, click-through and open rates of e-mail campaigns, and changes in page views, but it’s difficult to directly connect this to changes in your revenue.

  • E-mail list health – Track changes to your e-mail list to get a sense of the overall health of your retention rates. If people don’t remember you or don’t feel like you’re adding value, they’ll unsubscribe from your list. But, if you add value in your relationships, you should see the e-mail list grow steadily.
  • E-mail campaign open and click-through rates – Make sure you review the analytics of your e-mail campaigns after they go out. Look for changes in open rates and click through rates to see if you’re successful in capturing your prospects’ attention.
  • Return visit rates – Do site visitors come back more than once? If you are giving them access to good content and a gentle and steady reminder of what they will find on your site, you should see visitors return. Keep an eye on the visits per visitor and percent of first time visits to see if you are able to bring visitors back.

The long-term success of your business depends on retaining and developing relationships with your customers and prospects. Do this well and you will see your business bloom.

Up next: Part five of the online marketing funnel – Refer.

Want more information to help improve your online marketing? Download my free eBook “Make Money While You Sleep: A Step -by-Step Guide to Generating Leads from Your Website” at http://www.agentmethods.com/ebook

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.

Check out more sales & marketing articles from Aaron Kassover.