Independent Agents Need to Get Mobile Friendly: Here’s How

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    As an independent insurance agent, you’re probably aware of just how widespread mobile usage has become.

    Case in point: Eric Enge explains at Stone Temple that 63 percent of all Internet traffic came from mobile devices in 2017 — up 6 percent from just 2016.

    Being mobile friendly and effectively engaging your customers at the mobile level is essential. And we’re not just talking about younger generations like Millennials and Gen Zers. Monica Anderson and Andrew Perrin at the Pew Research Center point out that 42 percent of adults aged 65 years or older own a smartphone, too.

    Nowadays, the vast majority of customers are pretty comfortable handling complex interactions with businesses on mobile. Your goal is to effectively reach them through this medium.

    Let’s now take a look at some mobile friendly best practices and what you need to do to position your business to thrive.

     

    Build a Strong Social Media Presence

    Mobile users navigate the web via apps much more than they use web browsers. As such, a potential customer might be as likely to look you up on Facebook as they would be to Google your name and go to your website.

    Therefore, having an active, attentive presence on several social channels is crucial for connecting with mobile customers. In our guide to social media for independent agents, we note how important it is to engage with your followers on whichever platforms work best for you.

    So, what does it mean to engage a potential customer on a social medium? That depends. “Some will say it means that your work is interesting and engaging, or that your post received a lot of ‘engagement’ in the form of likes or retweets,” says Stephanie Giron at Neilson Marketing Services. “One thing is certain, though: once you begin to understand your audience, don’t just leave them there to dry.”

    Giron advises independent agents to be as responsive as possible to anyone who reaches out via social media with a serious question, concern or piece of feedback. The rule of thumb, she says, is to respond with 24 hours.

    Further, don’t be shy about using your social presence to celebrate your customers — or to simply be kind. “If you have the opportunity, congratulate your customer on the arrival of their new baby or purchasing their new home,” Giron writes. “A simple and kind gesture can lead to a referral or business inquiry.”

    By keeping your social channels active, you create several avenues for potential and current customers to contact you.

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    Use Direct Messages for Customer Service

    For several years, customer service has been migrating away from phone calls and toward digital channels such as direct messages (DMs) on social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are just a few examples of networks that offer DMs.

    This provides you with a means of communicating with customers in a very personal, intimate way that many insurance agents will find useful. While this won’t be every customer’s favorite mode of communication, it’s certainly an option that some will appreciate.

    As a result, you can provide this segment of your customer base with answers to their pressing questions and quickly resolve any issues that may arise.

    Cydney Hatch explains at Disruptive Advertising that DMs have some other uses including:

    • Sending promotions
    • Offering a limited discount
    • Sending a personalized holiday or birthday card
    • General networking

    But Annaliese Henwood writes at Social Media Today that for DMs to be effective, you must remember two key things:

    First, every message you send should be highly relevant and offer real value to your customer.

    Second, you need to make it a habit to actively monitor and respond to your DMs. Time is of the essence here, and many social media users have high expectations for brand response times.

    As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to reply within 24 hours max. According to the Altitude team, that’s when 84 percent of customers expect companies to respond after posting on social media.

     

    Optimize the Mobile Experience for Your Website Visitors

    Gabriel Shaoolian points out in Forbes that “mobile is becoming the status quo.” It’s no longer an afterthought but a priority for most businesses.

    That’s why the term “mobile-first” is used so frequently these days. Sarah Perez even talks in TechCrunch about Google rolling out its mobile-first indexing in December 2017, which means Google will use the mobile version of a web page for indexing and ranking to help their primarily mobile users find what they’re looking for.

    This shows us first-hand just how crucial it is to fully optimize the mobile experience. Doing so is important for:

    • Increasing your exposure in search engines
    • Lowering your bounce rate
    • Increasing the average amount of time spent on your site
    • Improving the overall user experience
    • Maximizing conversions

    If you’re hiring a web development company to overhaul your website — or if you’re confident you can DIY these changes yourself — below are some of the specific components you should focus on.

    Start With Responsive Web Design

    Francesca Nicasio explains in Vend that embracing responsive web design (RWD) is a good place to start. Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach that allows a web page to render on any device, whether that’s a desktop computer, laptop, phone or tablet.

    That way, your agency’s website will look good and the interface will be intuitive for customers, no matter how they navigate to it. Nicasio points out that this makes mobile browsing much more convenient and reduces, for example, the need to zoom or pan for more fluid navigation on a tablet or phone browser.

    Rather than making multiple versions of your site, RWD provides the same viewing experience regardless of the screen size. And don’t be concerned that RWD will require a herculean effort on your part. It’s actually pretty easy, and in many cases requires little to no development knowledge.

    By the way, new customers can get a free custom-built, responsive website when they sign up for our All Access membership. We provide ongoing maintenance, marketing and support, and the site will be optimized for conversions. Click here to learn more.

    Ditch the Inessentials

    Danny Lopez elucidates even more on RWD in IMPACT, where he talks about trimming back on content that can be disruptive to mobile users.

    His advice is to minimize and mobilize. Rather than merely shrinking everything down and cramming it into a mobile screen, you’re better off dropping things that don’t make sense and aren’t really necessary. This could include extraneous website copy, images and infographics.

    Sarah Almond at InVision adds that you’ll also want to refrain from using any pop-ups because they can create a huge headache for mobile users.

    Use Proper Formatting

    For mobile websites, scannability is key. Cassandra Kozak at the Revital Agency touches on some techniques for accomplishing this including:

    • Using short paragraphs with no more than five lines of text
    • Using plenty of whitespace
    • Including subheaders and bullets
    • Sticking with basic fonts that are easy to read

    Kozak also mentions that the most important information should be included toward the top of the screen so that mobile users don’t have to scroll endlessly to find what they’re looking for.

    The bottom line here is that a simple, clean and uncluttered interface is your best bet for keeping your site mobile friendly.

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    Consider Adding Video

    One of the best ways to get your message across and explain what types of insurance coverage you offer is to add a video to your website. This is something Jennifer Lonoff Schiff mentions in CIO. Rather than scrolling through your content and sifting through multiple pages to find information, mobile users can learn the details through a brief video.

    Schiff also references Russ Somers, VP of marketing at TrendKite, who says: “Video is an absolute must-have for any mobile site. That’s because consumers using mobile devices are three times as likely to watch videos than laptop/desktop computer users.”

    But for video to be effective, it must load quickly and consume only minimal bandwidth.

     

    Thriving in a Mobile-Centric World

    Well over half of your customers will access your site via a mobile device. And for some, their preferred method of communicating with you will also be through mobile.

    A big part of your business’s success hinges upon adapting to this demand and effectively incorporating mobile devices into your overall strategy.

    The points mentioned here are vital for helping you become mobile friendly and for keeping your customers happy.

    Images by: rawpixel

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