Happy New Year! It’s a new year with new opportunities to generate more leads, close more sales, and grow your book of business. Last year, on a number of occasions, I spoke about how marketing has shifted focus to the customer experience. I’ve previously discussed how to strategically optimize your insurance agent marketing plan to revolve around this concept; everything from content to branding. To get your new year started off right I’ll touch on an often overlooked aspect of marketing; insurance agency website design.
Many insurance brokers are guilty of utilizing outdated design styles for their website and marketing assets. In today’s landscape, marketing requires flawless design combined with seamless functionality – this is essential for keeping modern consumers engaged. No matter how relevant and informative your content is, if it’s hosted on a website or channel with poor design you’ll lose engagement. So what is considered quality insurance agency website design as we begin 2018? Here are some design best practices for you to implement in the new year.
LESS IS MORE
Many insurance agencies make the common mistake of trying to fit a wide variety of content on their homepage – an agency overview, products offered, the quotation form, recent blogs, an intro video, a hero image, latest news, the list can go on.
A cluttered website provides a poor and confusing customer experience which will result in a high exit rate for your website and other pages. With Google now prioritizing the user experience for their SEO algorithms, exit rate is now a major factor to your website’s search engine ranking. To understand how to keep exit rates low, you need to understand how modern consumers interact with websites.
Research shows that people only read about 20% of a page. Modern consumers basically just scan through your website. You may be thinking that’s all the more reason to stuff as much diverse content as possible into your homepage. However, studies from Adobe found that 59% of consumers globally would rather engage with content that’s beautifully designed. In today’s landscape beautiful design is minimalist design.
While this concept has been popular for years now, clean design has evolved in recent years to border on minimalism. MailChimp is one of many great examples combining ample white space, with clever utilization of color and simple fonts. Your agency’s website needs to balance beautiful design and useful content for quality results.
As you can see from the above image, MailChimp’s website uses a lot of white space, minimal text, and cleverly integrated color and design for “pop”. For the modern consumer who tends to skim through content, this page is optimized for that behavior.
Another common outdated design trait found among insurance agency websites is the use of too much text. Going forward in 2018 you need to understand that consumers prefer visuals. Eye-tracking studies show internet readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. In fact, when the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page.
Many companies are already aware of this fact and have revamped their website to suit. Take a look at State Farm’s website in the images below.
Notice anything in particular?
Images help make your website’s information easier to digest, more relatable, and provide an overall easier customer experience. Many brokerages have yet to implement this insurance agency website design trend, so lessening the text on your website and adding more images will help you get a competitive edge.
Switching between different types of fonts doesn’t provide a user friendly experience. Yet many brokers tend to do this in various sections of their website. Be consistent with your typography. If you look at State Farm’s website in the above images you’ll see that they’re consistent with their typography in each section. This seemingly minor detail contributes to the overall customer experience.
In order to understand the value of typography you need to understand some basics – like the difference between serif and sans serif.
a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter in certain typefaces.
a style of type without serifs.
So what’s this “slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter”? See the image below from Wikipedia for reference.
Now that you understand what serif is, you can understand how to get creative with your website and content. At the very least you can have more informed conversations with your graphic designer.
Even though we mentioned being consistent with your typography, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. In 2018 you’ll find that the bigger and bolder, the better. Artistic effects, large font sizes and huge headlines are becoming the standard across various industries. Helvetica-inspired sans serifs typography has dominated the digital space for years, and while they’ll remain a mainstay of digital design, you can expect more variety this year.
This variety will include more decorative fonts as well as serif fonts. Serif has been making a comeback in the digital space and is now commonly paired with sans serifs. I’ve talked about omnichannel marketing before which includes consistency across all media. In previous years serifs were mainly utilized in print while sans serif dominated the digital space. Now that brands are creating consistent experiences across all media, serif returns to the digital space.
Trends mainly seen in print design will find their way in digital design. These include experimental and artistic typography, more creative layouts and placements involving imagery, and bolder variations in alignment.
Google fonts provides a free resource for acquiring a variety of typefaces. This tool will allow you to bring unique typography in over 135 languages to your insurance agency website design. Integrating these fonts into your website will not only help highlight your brand’s personality; it will also improve your website’s load time and performance which in turn impacts your SEO ranking and customer experience.
This is a more advanced style of graphic and web design. If you work with a graphic designer or marketing agency that is capable of animation it’s worth the cost and effort to optimize your insurance agency website design.
Animation can help create a better user experience especially if used for functionality. Here’s one example of functional animation – Skeleton Screens.
The screens complete the User Interface (UI) incrementally before the content is fully loaded. This keeps users interested during slower load times. Animation is achieved by the content cascading onto the page skeleton.
On our own website easecentral.com we use animation to showcase some of our platform’s features.
Animation, used strategically, can help your website’s SEO rankings by keeping visitors engaged and decreasing exit rates in the process.
MOBILE FRIENDLY DESIGN
I can’t discuss insurance agency website design without highlighting the importance of mobile responsive design. Customer preferences are now favoring mobile commerce, and innovation is creating the future of worldwide commerce. For employers who are constantly on the go and seeking a quote for employee benefits plans, responsive mobile designs ensure maximum accessibility while delivering a seamless digital experience. Whether you choose to implement all of the design trends I’ve listed or only some, remember to optimize for mobile no matter which route you go.
Design is a technical skill that the average broker will have to outsource. While some may place it low on their priority list, the reality is that design is a reflection of the value of your brand; you, the agent, are synonymous with that brand. Design also plays a crucial role in the customer buyer journey.
In an age where a consumer can jump from website to website in a matter of seconds to find the most relevant service, the design and layout of your website is the very first noticeable element of your page. Invest the time and resources into design to ensure you make the most of those first few seconds a lead interacts with your agency’s media channels.