Since 1997, Steve Tarbard has worked in the insurance marketing industry. From an entry-level position to a director level, he’s experienced the marketing sphere switch from traditional methods to experiencing phenomenal digital transformation.
After launching his own agency, Beyond Clicks, Steve headed up the firm’s move to become a trusted Google Premier Partner in just 12 months along with developing their own PPC technology.
From insights into the insurance marketing world, key metrics to prioritise, and how to stand out as an agency, our interview is jam-packed full of invaluable takeaways.
Let’s get started.
Your agency’s homepage emphasises your strong relationship with Google. What has been a highlight of this, and why does it matter?
Of course, Google needs no explanation as to why it’s so important. But, the highlight for us was being chosen for their elevator program. We were one of twelve agencies picked, and, after a successful onboarding, we were given unprecedented access to business coaches, sessions with Robert Craven, Program Director of Business Coaching Program, and one-to-one mentorship with Janusz Stabik an expert in digital agency growth.
It’s been incredible for the growth of the agency, in just six months we have doubled in size. This isn’t solely down to the Google partnership, but it has definitely contributed.
Our relationship with Google was crucial to our agency because it was almost a recognition of the work we had achieved so far. We have a five-year retention rate of 95% (this is unheard of in the industry) and have completely eliminated customer churn from our strategy.
Tell us more about that. What makes Beyond Clicks stand out as a specialist PPC agency?
I’m sure every agency would say this, but it’s really to do with how we manage our clients. Once we obtain a client, we not only hold onto them, but we grow them. We grow together and work very hard to make sure we’re not wasting their time/budget.
Not only this, but it’s the fact that we harvest a very niche-specific amount of data that is extremely relevant to the insurance clients we attract. You can’t get this sort of data from just anywhere. It’s been built up through years of experience. Just like the custom technology we’ve built for our clients. It’s insurance industry-specific, and not available to any other agencies.
In terms of insurance, what’s the main challenge the industry is having right now?
The main thing we’re seeing on a daily basis is an over-reliance on aggregators and third-party lead generation providers. Insurance brokers buy a lot of their leads/sales from third parties and the majority don’t generate their own. This reliance on others diminishes their control, and limits their ability to say “We want x amount of sales in this area”, and then having the ability to target it.
Perhaps some insurance brokers find PPC lead generation a headache, so it’s natural that they outsource it to a third party. But, the industry has to remember that if you buy from a lead-generation company then you’re not the only one receiving that lead. You’re already in competition from the word go. That’s a tough place to be in.
And, what is a key metric that insurance clients are always looking to measure?
Cost per sale. 100%. Not only are people asking for this, but it’s so important to measure. It requires having the tracking capabilities to do this and the know-how on how to obtain cost-effective business. That’s huge right now.
So, moving forward, what will the insurance industry focus on in 2020?
We see it as being a laser focus on retention rates, margins, and cross-sale opportunities. If you can get these right, you’re sailing.
What advice would you give to potential clients who are thinking of beginning their PPC journey?
Before you do anything, look at your website and analyse the data. Look at the journey your customers take and see how efficient it is before you spend any money. Look inward and see what you can improve before you even contact an agency or spend anything with Google. Once you’ve done that, you can clarify what it is you’re trying to achieve.
Is it X enquiries per day, sales per month, or just general business growth?
Having a clear vision of what the business needs to achieve will save you so much time when it comes to beginning a relationship with a PPC agency.
And finally, as a trusted Infinity partner, why do phone calls matter to the insurance industry? Where do they fit into the digital matrix?
An incoming phone call for a quote is one of the most valuable lead types. It’s the best type of enquiry. It’s giving you a prospective client who has clicked on an advert, called the telephone number, and is now in your market plus ready to talk. They’re engaged with your brand, bought into your advertisement offer, and have the highest level of engagement throughout their entire journey.
By partnering with Infinity we’re now able to optimise our campaigns to work smarter and we’re no longer in the dark about our clients’ user journey.
If you’d like to see how Infinity works with the insurance industry, and agencies, to deliver 100% accountability for their marketing efforts, start a conversation with us by clicking this link or by using the live chatbox on the right.