This article is part 2 of a two-part series explaining what the insurance industry can learn from the automotive industry and improve insurance renewals. The first article described the road map for creating a best-in-class customer experience. This article describes landing page tactics used to increase insurance renewals.

Experts estimate that consumers’ attention span is somewhere between 8-seconds and the blink of an eye. Best-in-class automotive companies have learned how to stretch those precious few seconds into minutes. How they did it is apropos to the insurance industry. There are numerous commonalities between the two industries, which we covered in the first part of this series. You may think selling vehicles is very different from selling insurance. And there are differences, but not when it comes to marketing automation.

When marketing automation is used to deliver a personal appeal in a relevant way at the right time, the campaign will realize a better ROI. In fact, 91 percent of marketers say they are either already providing personalized content or plan to within the next year. In study after study, marketing experts from all sorts of industries say that personalization increases conversion rates, which increases sales. And while many insurance providers are providing personal content, according to industry experts Temkin and Capgemini, they have not done it in a strategic manner, which greatly lowers their success. (Read The Road Map for Improving the Insurance Customer Experience to learn about successful strategies.)

Last year we sent over 3 million targeted emails on behalf of automotive companies. The emails directed current customers to a personal URL, which was either a self-service finance account or a landing page. The average visit was 2.5 minutes, with mobile visits being slightly shorter. That is far better than 8 seconds.

A critical element of online revenue generation is having a high-converting landing page. Below are three business objectives and the automotive industry’s approaches for getting results from landing pages. We translated the situations into insurance terms.

1.     Onboarding a new customer

Customers are 5 times more likely to engage during the first 90 to 100 days than at any other time. Regardless of what else an insurer wants to sell a customer (combine a policy with additional personal lines, property, life or supplemental health insurance), the relationship needs to start on the right foot. A friendly “thank you for your business” or sending a freebie (free consumer education on home safety or car maintenance) makes for a friendlier brand experience.

A common solution used by the automotive (and banking) industry is the personal microsite. (A personal microsite, or PURL, is a Web destination that incorporates a recipient’s name: A welcome email invites customers to visit their personal microsite for a unique experience.

The bonus of the personal microsite is that it allows a brand to provide an end-to-end buying experience and a self-service option. The microsite can include such options as the ability to make a premium payment, view policy status, see discounts, report claims or check claim status. Most importantly, microsites set the stage for cross-selling and renewals.

2.    Check-in with and cross-sell the customer

Most customers expect to be able to use their online accounts to confirm that their payments were received. Turning this routine chore into an exceptional experience increased one automotive lender’s J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores by leaps and bounds year over year.

How did they do it? They gave customers access to agent, brand, finance and consumer education information within their personal microsite. They offered price comparisons and provided extras. Depending on the region and season, an insurer could include safety information such as how to secure a home during a hurricane or what to do during a tornado. Insurers could also share payment estimates for additional policies as part of renewal offers.

Good communication is huge in any relationship, and it must be two-way and transparent. Best-in-class brands map the customer life cycle from the first contact through consideration, purchase, use and repurchase. They use well-timed, proactive, targeted communications to provide relevant information based on the customer’s life cycle, which makes a customer feel special. Offers combined with service reminders and other pertinent information make for happy customers.

3.   Increase Policy Renewals

Time-bound policies provide a unique opportunity. Insurers know when the customer’s insurance policy is up. When it is time to renew, the customer has a decision point: stay or walk away. Proactively leveraging this type of opportunity to upsell or cross-sell is critical to continuing a customer relationship. One automotive finance company reported that 40 percent of their customers with expiring contracts preferred using the personal microsites over traditional marketing materials. And a significantly higher rate of those customers repurchased cars.

When a campaign deploys a personal landing page (microsite) through a relevant email at the right time, the campaign beats marketing industry averages, typically by 11 points. Unique open rates average between 50 and 55 percent. The total open rates increase by 120 to 130 percent as visitors return to their personal website multiple times.

The data is in. Brands that choose to use personal microsites (PURLs) over traditional marketing communications for their online communications reap higher loyalty, which translates into increased insurance renewals.