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How user generated content and rave reviews benefit insurance agents

March 14, 2024

Traditionally, insurance shopping is influenced by word-of-mouth, with neighbors exchanging opinions over a meal or at the local barber shop. While personal recommendations still hold value, their reach is limited. The advent of the digital era has ushered in a new form of word-of-mouth influence through online reviews. Insurance agencies now proactively navigate this digital landscape and manage their online reputations.

Since the AI revolution began in November 2022, generative AI search technology has transformed the marketplace, enhancing consumer assistance during insurance shopping. From the simple beginnings of asking a neighbor for a referral, we now have keyword-based search queries like “Is my insurance agency open now?”, and the new generative AI engagement now invites nuanced and complex questions like “What should I consider when evaluating insurance agents, and which agents near me deliver excellent service for motorcycle and umbrella policies?”

As marketing strategy adjusts to the advancing technology, it’s crucial to consider your agency’s presence in both keyword and generative AI search results.

  • Insurance is a relationship business. Nine of ten consumers use reviews to guide most of their purchase decisions.1 Agencies that prioritize excellent customer service and proactively manage their online reputation with online reviews will be more discoverable during online insurance shopping discovery. UGC (user-generated content) is impacting your agency’s future relationships.
  • Rave customer reviews will benefit your agency in traditional and generative AI search ranking results. Consumers using ChatGPT, Bing Chat, or any other generative AI search technology are creating a different way to shop online. They receive hyper-personalized experiences by asking complex and sentiment-based questions in AI search tech to analyze your agency nearly instantaneously and relative to other options (aka, against your competitors).
  • User-generated content comes in many forms and customer reviews function as online brand ambassadors. Increasing your agency’s volume of 5-star reviews with precise positive sentiment on business review sites will strengthen customer loyalty, deliver social proof, and build favorability with your future customers.

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content encompasses any form of content—text, videos, images, social posts, business reviews—created by individuals rather than brands. Grassroots content can be as specific as a customer’s social media post praising their insurance agent or as in-depth as a blog detailing a positive claims process experience.

In October 2023, UGC with Nationwide’s iconic jingle went viral on TikTok. A social media video featuring the sound of a little girl singing Nationwide’s seven-note, iconic “On Your Side” jingle in a strong vibrato reminiscent of timeless gospel singers trended on TikTok and delivered over 500 million video views and counting from content generated by fans of Nationwide.

Nationwide's social media success infographic.

It is rare when UGC goes viral, so having a review generation strategy will improve your agency’s online reputation, awareness, and discoverability.

Benefits of business reviews and UGC

Positive UGC, through business reviews, offers insurance agencies a three-way win in terms of loyalty, trust, and favorability.

Confident customer loyalty:  When customers write down why they appreciate doing business with your agency, it reinforces their decision and strengthens their loyalty. This customer loyalty will contribute to retention.

Trust through social proof: People appreciate that third-party validation from a stranger – social proof – has no inherent bias. Through social proof, customer reviews are considered trustworthy, and that trust transfers to your agency. However, a thinner number of reviews is regarded as a light endorsement. Consumers expect 112 reviews to confirm the authenticity of a rating.2 Developing a robust set of rave reviews will transfer the trust of your agency to future customers.

Favorable consideration through comparison: Insurance is a competitive marketplace—some would say it’s the most competitive. 53% of consumers view product ratings and reviews as the most important factor in the online shopping experience.3 Online business reviews serve as a persistent testament to your agency’s credibility and deliver a favorable impression as shoppers evaluate their options and make decisions on new insurance solutions.

Digitally native customers are more likely to provide business reviews spontaneously. In addition to that, to get to a credible number of reviews for social proof will take a proactive marketing strategy. It’s worth the investment in time, as each online business review is persistent, and builds trust, confidence, and lasting relationship over time.

Generative AI search and business reviews

The development of generative AI search technology heralds a new age of voice engagement while searching, characterized by:

  • Longer, more detailed queries: The shift towards comprehensive questions and answers reflects a deeper level of customer inquiry, necessitating detailed online reputation resources from your insurance agency.
  • Migration to keyword plus topical queries: This adoption of generative AI signifies a move towards content that addresses broader topics and themes, aligning closely with customer interests and concerns.
  • Readiness for recommendation-seeking and sentiment-based queries: These more complex queries reflect a growing desire for personalized recommendations and an understanding of customer sentiment, underscoring the need for insurance agencies to have a well-curated online reputation.

As agencies adjust to maximize search ranking in both technologies, The good news is that online reviews are valuable factors that both types of search engines incorporate in generating search results.

Best practices for a review generation strategy

To build a healthy online business reputation, insurance agencies will win by including a review generation strategy as part of an integrated marketing program. Encourage clients to share their experiences by making it easy for them to leave reviews.

  • Ask your clients if you’ve delivered 5-star service and if they’d be willing to write a review for your agency.
  • Let your customer know to expect an email requesting a review and thanking them for their time to write the review.
  • Automate an email process to provide the link to one site, ask your satisfied customer to provide a 5-star rating, and post a favorable review detailing their satisfaction with your agency’s specific expertise and services.
  • Request reviews for a wide variety of policy types, like business insurance, pet insurance, condo insurance, and renter insurance, to make sure your online reputation has broad application for all types of insurance shoppers.
  • Incorporate a review generation program into your agency’s operational process, with every favorable client interaction as the trigger. Be sure to clearly define the procedure and engrain this best practice into your agency’s daily operations.

Your review generation goal is to deliver 5-star service and have a steady stream of reviews with 5-star ratings.

Insurance agencies have a compelling incentive to manage human interactions, enhance website user experience, and cultivate their online reputation. In this era of generative AI, insurance agencies should consider the impact of online reviews on the insurance shopping journey. Agencies prioritizing reputation management and adapting to enhanced search technologies will remain competitive, catering to their clientele’s and future customers’ discerning needs.

As you hone your online review strategy, recognize the value of positive reviews across your preferred platforms. Actively seek feedback from satisfied clients, as each review represents an opportunity to amplify trust, affirm confidence, and chronicle enduring relationship. Keep responding to the reviews, which demonstrates your business values and is a beacon of online appreciation for all to see.