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Three ways to leverage predictive insights to reach millennials

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It’s not easy to reach a multitasking, screen-obsessed generation. My fellow millennials (ages 18 to 32) are entering their prime buying years for life insurance, and agents still haven’t quite figured us out.

Gen Y represents a massive opportunity (read: We’re getting married, having kids, etc.). Couple that with the fact that this year the total number of millennials will surpass baby boomers, a generation that fueled insurance sales in the 1970s.

American millennials already spend $1.3 trillion every year, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group; and yet this spending hasn’t trickled down to some important, personal purchases. This generation remains largely underinsured and undereducated about life insurance.

Agents have historically struggled to reach mobile, tech-savvy millennials. It’s a group that grew up with Internet access during their formative years, which has shaped the way they communicate. The average millennial spends 18 hours a day consuming media and 5.4 hours on social media per day, according to a recent study.

Because we’re hyperconnected and social, engaging my peers isn’t as hard as it might seem. The key for agents is to connect with Gen Y based on the information they’re already sharing. With the first cohort of millennials in their early thirties, many are thinking about or experiencing key life events, like career moves, buying a home, getting married and having children. This is a pivotal time to build trust and get to know this younger generation.

Here are three ways to leverage predictive technology to capture our attention and build meaningful relationships.

1. Know when to reach out.

Staying in touch with younger generations can be time-consuming. It’s not easy to know precisely when to reach out and learn about a major life event. Luckily, social media has completely changed the landscape and it is now much easier to connect with Gen Y at the right time, in the right way.

According to a report from the Council of Economic Advisors, three-quarters of millennials have an account on a social network, compared with only half of generation Xers and less than a third of baby boomers. This makes them an easy demographic to both track and engage.

They’re updating social networks with major life announcements about new jobs, moves across the country and sadder news, like deaths within their families. According to a recent study by LIMRA, 41 percent of consumers say a life event was a trigger for them to buy life insurance.

The news people publish on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can indicate a mindset shift or a willingness to consider the future in a new way. For example, agents can start to build relationships with younger investors by starting conversations around life events, such as having a first child. An agent could send flowers and a note of congratulations to the new parents, which could lead to a conversation about life insurance. This is a natural time for you to reach out and be helpful. And these nuggets of information can equip agents with more context to forecast future behaviors, like buying products or services.

2. Be where your clients are.

Young people have access to more information than ever before, thanks to their phones. It’s all just a swipe or tap away. According toGoogle Think Insights, consumers spend 15 or more hours per week researching on their smartphones and, on average, visit mobile websites six times before making a purchase. If you want to connect with Gen Y, you need a slick, findable site that looks good on a mobile phone.

Since more people are doing online research before talking to anyone in person, it’s critical that people get a good first impression when they land on your website. A great way to show off your brand is by sharing dynamic, engaging content. But it’s not enough to have great content on your website — people have to be able to find it.

To be found online, agent sites have to be much more than a Web version of a business card. Google recently began ranking mobile-friendly websites higher in search results, making it imperative to take another look at your website. Now, websites with hard-to-read text or links that are too close together will rank lower in search results.

Web analytics also have come a long way, and you can now track customer behavior based on how people interact with your website.

For example, if a prospect downloads a whitepaper on life insurance, you should have both the individual’s contact information and context for a conversation. You can now reach out to that person and have a meaningful conversation based on what he or she is reading, clicking, and engaging with when landing on your page.

3. Build a meaningful relationship.

New technologies from direct-to-consumer websites like SelectQuote are putting a dent in the existing insurance ecosystem. As savvy young consumers try to better manage their insurance and financial lives, their demand for automated tools will increase. But, buying life insurance is still a highly relationship-based sale. Agents should remember this is an opportunity for them to connect with millennials one-on-one, in a human way. There’s no robo replacement for a conversation with a real person who can talk through big life decisions.

By embracing a multi-channel marketing strategy, agents can see a 360-degree view of their clients. Data from social media, website interactions, and email campaigns empower you to know when to reach out to consumers at the right time. You’re in the driver’s seat. No more making cold calls to find out what’s going on in your clients’ lives. With all this relevant information, agents are armed to build stronger agent-client relationships.

At the end of the day, insurance is a business built on strong relationships. By embracing predictive insights, agents can start to build trust with millennials early. This will lead to better relationships and more business with a generation that will be an important engine of the economy for decades to come.

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