We talk about digital marketing a lot. One recurring element about digital marketing is leveraging data insights to create relevant campaigns for qualified leads. In order to effectively accomplish this, it’s crucial to identify your target audience. This can be achieved by using insurance agency market research tools.

It’s pretty safe to assume you already know your target audience. As a broker you’re constantly on the frontline engaging with prospects and clients. But, do you know how to or where to engage with your audience online? With so many online channels, it can be difficult navigating the digital landscape to ensure your marketing efforts reach qualified leads.

There are hundreds of free online marketing tools that provide valuable data about your target demographic. Fortunately, we’re here to point you in the right direction. Here are 5 of the best insurance agency market research tools to help you identify your target audience.

These tools will help you identify:

  • Geographic location
  • Company size
  • Industry
  • Psychographics
  • Even how your target demographic found your agency

1. GOOGLE ANALYTICS

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service. You may be wondering how good can it be if it’s free? Research shows that when it comes to acquiring reports and analysis on user behavior Google Analytics ranks as the number one, most used resource, among Fortune 500 companies. Despite being free, Google’s web analytics tool is packed with massive reporting capabilities; enough to rival high priced, paid solutions.

Some amazing features Analytics provides can be found in their Audience and Acquisition reporting. Audience reporting identifies your buyer persona and where they are in the digital landscape. It identifies age, gender, geographic location, lifestyle interests, and product interests. Also, it provides reports on how prospects navigate your agency’s website. Add tracking codes to gauge various landing pages on your website; about us, products, services, contact us, etc. Google Analytics will provide reports on content hosted your website, and help you identify high exit pages. This of course will help you understand which landing pages garner the most interest from your leads and clients, and which pages lose visitors.

Other beneficial tools within Analytics are the ability to compare your website with direct competitors, reports on how visitors found your website, and a site overlay to view your visitors clicking habits. All of these valuable features makes this a great insurance agency market research tool. Is important to note that as amazing as Google Analytics is, it does have limits. Here are some of the pros and cons of this free web reporting service.

Pros:

  • FREE! – paid upgrades available for access to premium features
  • Tracks multiple sites
  • Records social media traffic
  • Ability to track mobile phone users
  • Reports on video content performance

Cons:

  • Limited customer support
  • Reported statistics are not real time

2. GOOGLE ADWORDS 

Keyword optimization is essential to ensuring your digital marketing efforts reach qualified leads. For this purpose, Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a useful tool for brokers to utilize. This free AdWords tool will assist you in a number of ways:

  • Forecast keyword performance
  • Keyword search/suggestions
  • Combines keyword lists to create new phrases
  • Suggested bid (if you use Google Adwords)

Understanding keyword combinations your prospects use when searching for a broker online is no simple task. Which is exactly why it’s incredibly valuable that the best aspect of this tool is how easy it is to use. It’s as simple as entering your desired keywords into the search box and, from there, everything is laid out for you in an easy to digest layout. The sleek interface provides a one stop shop feel, thanks to the seamless manner in which multiple features work together to create a cohesive user experience.

Google Adwords gives you insights into how customers search for insurance agencies; what keywords they type into Google, the arrangement of keywords, long tail or short tail phrases, etc. This essentially provides you with a guide that you can use to improve your agency’s search engine ranking and so much more. For your SEO efforts, Google Adwords – Keyword Planner is one of the best insurance agency market research tools. Here are some pros and cons of Google’s keyword research tool.

Pros:

  • FREE – optional upgrade purchases
  • Very easy to use
  • Pull keyword data directly from Google
  • Unique ability to combine keyword lists to form new phrases
  • Hundreds of alternative keyword phrases
  • Filters – by location, language, include or exclude specific words

Cons:

  • No indication of trends – Average monthly searches are calculated over 12 months. This means it’s not a good place to research trending keywords. To research keyword trends, we recommend Google Trends.
  • No more device targeting (mobile)
  • Does not suggest long term keyword combinations.

3. FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE 

Many brokers utilize Facebook for business to establish or complement their agency’s online presence. With projections indicating that Facebook will hit 2 billion active users this year, there’s no denying that’s a marketing force to be reckoned with if there ever was one! Facebook for business is also free to use, and provides some great insights to understand your online target audience. Facebook’s page insights is one of the more commonly overlooked insurance agency market research tools that reports on valuable data.

The social media giant provides a variety of ways to understand how your audience engages with your page. It reports on age, gender, and location of people who like your page. It also shows you how your agency’s Facebook page stacks up to competitors. This can assist in seeing which competitors are performing well and with what type of content. Facebook is a great way to test different types of content to see what drives engagement with your audience.

Here are some pros and cons for Facebook for Business.

Pros:

  • FREE – with low cost add ons
  • Results are easy to measure
  • Easy to test multiple ad campaigns to see what your target audience responds to
  • Campaign target is very specific
  • Promoted posts – this feature allows you to broaden the reach of your posts without using Facebook Ads. Your promoted post will appear as a ‘sponsored post’ at the top of a lead’s newsfeed.  

Cons:

  • Building a following on social media can be a long process
  • Advertising bidding system – You can bid as low as one cent for PPC ads. However, your advertising will easily be outbid by competitors. This will significantly decrease how many times your ads appear to users; if it appears at all.
  • Time consuming – there’s a reason companies hire full time employees dedicated to social media management. In order to gain powerful insights into your target audience and tailor your marketing efforts to suit, it takes a lot of time and dedication.

4. MY BEST SEGMENTS

This is one of the most incredibly useful free insurance agency market research tools reports on an area’s demographic information. For a broker, this can provide a more in depth understanding of the demographics of your community. It reports summaries on an area’s lifestyle habits, family structure, household income, what areas would be most receptive to a campaign, nearby competitors, and shifting community trends. Of course the free version of this tool is limited in the insights it provides. It does still offer a valuable snapshot for your segmentation efforts.

Insights on the average family structure of a community, and average income, are valuable to finding your target audience. More thorough reports can be accessed through a paid subscription. Here are the pros and cons of my best segments.

Pros:

  • FREE – with paid upgrades for detailed reports
  • Generates summarized persona profile
  • Identifies family structure
  • Easy to use
  • Snapshot provides useful data

Cons:

  • Detailed reports require paid subscription
  • Does not provide direct contact info for specific leads

5. SURVEYMONKEY

Surveys are the best way to identify your target audience, and where to find them, because you’ll get responses right from the horse’s mouth. In the realm of online surveys, SurveyMonkey reigns as king. The basic, free, version supports

  • 10 questions
  • 100 responses
  • Standard email support

With a clean and simple interface it’s very easy to solicit input from your customers or prospects. One of the amazing features of SurveyMonkey is the wide variety of questions that can be input and the level of customization available to suit your needs. With ready made, built in ‘Q&A’  surveys and suggested questions it’s an incredibly intuitive tool that will make survey building quick and painless. Simply drag-and-drop questions into your survey and then type your own text to customize to your needs. Also, the reporting and analysis tool in SurveyMonkey outlines suggested actions based on survey results which can accelerate data-driven decisions for your agency. This will provide invaluable insights in finding your target audience online, what type of media they prefer, etc. SurveyMonkey is one of the best insurance agency market research tools that can be used to understand everything about your target audience and their online habits. 

Distributing your survey is just as easy. You can share it through email, on social media, or use the survey URL  and embed it on your agency’s website. Results reporting is also easy to understand, with various graphs and charts that show clear statistics. You can also filter results based on various categories; location, gender, etc.

Pros:

  • Easy survey creation
  • Seamless user experience
  • Intuitive
  • Wide question bank
  • Great customization options
  • Easily distributed
  • Can source data directly from customers

Cons:

  • All support is from online resources
  • Useful features can be difficult to find at times.

INSURANCE AGENCY MARKET RESEARCH TOOLS

These useful insurance agency market research tools all provide free basic versions, with relatively low cost upgrades for a more robust experience. When prospecting season begins for 2018, these tools will be perfect for identifying your target audience. When it comes to executing an effective digital marketing strategy it’s crucial to identify your target audience, and understand their online habits. Digital marketing revolves around leveraging those insights to implement a customized campaign that is relevant to your audience. This results in a stronger brand identity in the eyes of your prospects. Capitalize on these tools to understand how to effectively engage with your target audience online.