Insurance Leads Blog

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Return of the Online Insurance Lead

When you talk to lead generation companies they will all tell you that the future for insurance marketing is in online insurance leads. They will tell you that younger adults do their shopping on the web. I do not disagree with this statement, but these same lead generation companies have not done the best in gaining the trust of online insurance shoppers. When companies first started generating insurance leads online the quality was fairly high. This is due to the fact most were retrieving leads via online ads on Google and Yahoo and only selling them once or twice. Since those beginning days the industry has taken a drastic downturn. Leads started being sold to 10-12 agents. Consumers were being bombarded with 10-20 calls a day in regards to their quote inquiry. Can you imagine if a major company like Amazon or Walmart badgered their consumer base like this. It would be their end. Unfortunately, nobody was or is policing the lead industry. All (or should I say most) of the companies do not have the agent's or the customer's best interest at heart.  However, there may be great changes coming. Lately, there have been whispers of better leads to come. Lead verification companies have started popping up around the web. Could these companies usher in the return of the online insurance lead?

Slowly, even the major insurance companies are implementing lead verification systems. These systems allow for good leads to pass thru to agents while filtering out poor quality leads such as duplicates, wrong numbers, and incorrect IP addresses. One of the companies leading the way in this reform is the website LeadID. I spoke a little about LeadID in a past post "LeadID Is Bringing the Word "Trust" Back To The Insurance Lead Industry". Their proprietary technology allows for buyers and sellers to come together in a trusted environment. They do not expose buyers, but simply allow for them to make real-time decisions based upon "origin and history flags" that are predetermined.

TrustedForm is another website dedicated to lead certification. In fact they take it a step further and provide custom forms that companies can implement with their own websites to assure that leads are coming from one source. Think of this type of lead verification as taking a snap shot at the time the lead is created. Along with the customers data, the TrustedForm form will collect and store data such as IP address, Geographic location, browser, page URL, visit date & time, as well as the path the user took to get to the form. This is really amazing stuff for anyone who really cares about lead quality.

So what does this mean for agents?

Well simply put, it means expect better leads. I have started suggesting that insurance agents ask about lead verification before buying leads from a company. If they are reputable they will tell you that they are using a lead verification service. Do not let them fool you however, by claiming to have their own verification system in place. This can be done, but to me it seems much safer to use an unbiased third party to do this. In house verification leaves the door open for possible fraud and though we like to think of companies as being truthful, time and time again they disappoint us.

Will this affect the price of a real-time insurance lead?

To my knowledge, prices of real-time leads will stay the same. It does cost money for these companies to use lead verification software, but the added value of quality leads will reduce the amount of returned leads and therefore offset the expense. This means agents will not be asking for credit for as many bad leads so the lead companies will not have to spend extra marketing dollars to make up for those returned leads.

Why did it take this long for insurance lead companies to turn things around?

In my opinion, there were to main reasons lead companies did not hold themselves accountable for producing a quality insurance lead. First, most were greedy. This sounds harsh, but profit was a big reason lead companies allowed bogus leads to go to agents. The second reason, to be fair, was that good verification technology was not available at that time. For instance, LeadID has only been around since 2011. I am not saying this is an excuse for companies to produce poor quality leads, but it does play a factor in why lead quality suffered over the past few years. Affiliates new they could get away with generating false leads because there was no technology to catch them.

I truly hope this return of the quality online insurance will carry on to the future. Sure, there will still be affiliates who find ways to get past verification systems, but hopefully these technology companies can adapt and produce updates that will stave off as many as possible. As an agent who used to buy a great amount of internet leads each year, it is exciting thinking about once again getting quality leads. I will enjoy speaking with prospects who are actually wanting a quote or information. I expect this return to will be slow, but I think things are heading in the right direction. To my fellow agents, good luck and may good leads be with you.

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