Why are nearly 70% of Insurance Broker Websites so Bad?

In this networked age how a company presents itself online is an even more critical part of its corporate image than its office space, staff, how the phone is answered, logo, proposals et al were and still are.

Hopefully you have looked at the extensive research The Industry Radar has done in reviewing over 500 local and regional brokerage firm websites.  Our original goal was to see how in this day and age of Google, Twitter and online communities like LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook the top firms in our industry fared by state and local city markets. (editors note – The large national firms fare no better and we will be posting separately on them tomorrow)

Our intent was not to embarrass anyone but to put all the information in one place that it can be viewed as a whole, compared, competition evaluated and hopefully some ideas gained for improvement. Obviously it is a resource now for customers to use as well and use it they have!

Views of these pages by brokers and employers this week have set all time records for us.

We rated firms from a “1” – basic billboard site,  to a “4” a well designed, well presented site with real value for visitors.  A “2” was essentially just an brochure/ad for a firm and a “3” a basic website with some value. There were even 2 “0” ratings for firms with no site. Yes, there really are 2 firms with no site in 2009… one is even a member of one of the independent brokers groups.

In a staid old industry like insurance no one was expecting a slew of cool iphone hip type websites, but neither were we expecting the poor results of 544 firms sites we have reviewed to date:

0 – 2 – .024%

1 – 72 – 13.2%

2 – 302 – 55.5%

3 – 139 – 25.6%

4 – 31 – 5.6%

Over 2/3’s of broker websites fail the “basic website” threshold we set – which compared to news, banking, financial and consumer sites we all use everyday was very low.  Why?

The easiest way to sum the difference between the 1/2 and 3/4 groups is simple – Focus. The 1 and 2’s are self centered. They want to tell the visitor all about them, how old they are, who they are, what they think. Generally these sites are not visually engaging and often look very dated as well.

I have already shared by 10 Pet Peeves on website design with you but a new one to add is video intros from the CEO.  While well intentioned these videos are the height of self centeredness.

Another way to put it would be – “Enough about you, lets talk about me, what do you think about me?”  Billboards and brochures online.

The 3/4 sites focus more on the customer, the problems they have and then how they can help solve them. More thought and creativity has gone into the look and feel of these sites – esp, the 4’s –  as well as in the type of tools and content they offer. By engaging the customer these firms tell their own story subtly, not as a data dump all over the visitor.

The lower ranked firms did not set out to be self centered, they simply miss the point of the value of the web and the opportunities it creates for them. The web is not a a place to put a brochure online. It might have been 10 years ago but not today. This is a place to engage customers and have prospects get a look at you on their own time.

For now visit the site. See how your site and competitors fare. If you are an employer see how your broker site compares to others in your area.

We will be posting more this week on this topic, especially on why over 90% of the  sites fail the 2 most important tests of the web – search engine visibility and tracking and measuring their web efforts and investment..

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One Comment on “Why are nearly 70% of Insurance Broker Websites so Bad?”

  1. Pam Says:

    As a web copywriter focused on web content that actually works, I applaud you for explaining that the most successful websites are customer-centric and not “self-centered!” The companies that embrace this important difference will attract and delight more potential clients … which equals more business. If there’s any way I can help these brokers improve their sites with solution-based content (as well as search-engine optimization), just let me know! Thank you for this informative, eye-opening article. Pam Foster, pam@contentclear.com

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