Lead generation is integral to the success of any business, including insurance agencies. After all, growing your business and succeeding relies — in part — on bringing in new customers.
While traditional and digital marketing can be effective for generating new leads, they’re not without their pitfalls. Newer agents may find it more challenging to compete with more established agencies. Even if you have a well-built website, larger companies may still stand out more.
Some insurance agents may not be able to devote a substantial amount of time to marketing efforts. Others may be doing okay, but they aren’t quite reaching their goals. One way to generate more leads is to buy them.
When shopping for leads, you’ll find that you have the option to buy aged or real-time. It can be very tempting to purchase aged leads because they’re more affordable. The question is, are they worth your time and money? Here’s what you need to know.
Generally speaking, aged leads are those that you find online that are one to three months old. In reality, they’re actually any lead that’s older than “real-time.” A company generated the leads in the past and continues to sell them, even if another agent or agency purchased them. In some cases, you may find aged leads as old as six months or more.
In reality, there’s no difference in how aged leads and real-time leads get generated. The difference is that the aged ones didn’t convert for other agents. The shopper may have lost interest in the product they inquired about initially. They may have had a bad experience with another agent. Or, perhaps they were only putting out feelers but weren’t serious about purchasing a policy. Regardless of the reason, they’re still there, and the company that generated them is offering them to other agents.
Another thing to note is that aged leads may have been exclusive when a company first generated them. Now, they’re available for multiple agents and agencies to purchase. As such, you may face more competition for a particular customer, and that’s assuming the customer hasn’t signed on with another agent or is still interested in obtaining a policy.
Along with being able to purchase aged leads, you can also buy real-time leads. These are leads that companies generate, as the name implies, in real-time. Where aged leads can be several weeks to several months old, real-time leads are only minutes to hours old.
With a real-time lead, a potential customer recently submitted their information to be contacted about a specific insurance product, and now you have the opportunity to be one of the first agents to nurture that lead and close the sale. In essence, real-time leads put you in the best possible position to build a relationship with the potential client and sell your products.
Aged leads, on the other hand, tend to be of lower quality. By the time you contact them to follow up with their initial inquiry, some time has passed. Again, that might be a few weeks, but it could also be as much as three to six months. That’s a lot of time for the prospect to lose interest or find a policy elsewhere.
Due to how and when you obtain them, real-time leads typically have a higher conversion rate than aged leads. They’re more likely to respond when you contact them. The types of products you sell are still at the top of their minds, so they’re more ready and open to discuss their options and make a purchase, especially if they like what you have to offer.
What makes aged leads so attractive is that they’re affordable. In many cases, you’ll find them for $1 to $15 per lead. You may find some as cheap as $0.20 per lead, but you should keep in mind that you get what you pay for here.
These leads are attractive cost-wise, especially if you’re on a limited budget, but they’re not nearly as likely to convert as a real-time lead. You could pay very little for these leads, but you may need to buy several before you see one convert. In the long run, it may not be as cost-effective as you originally thought.
Real-time leads, on the other hand, will run you a bit more. These leads typically range between $7 and $20, depending on the insurance line. The cost may come as a bit of shock at first, but there’s a reason why they’re more expensive.
One of the main reasons they cost more is because lead generation companies sell them in real time. That allows you, the insurance agent, to contact the lead while the product is still fresh in their mind. They’re still thinking about it and may not have had a chance to start looking at other options or change their mind just yet. There’s also a much higher chance of converting the lead into a customer.
Another thing to keep in mind with real-time leads is that although they cost more, their greater potential for conversion means you may not need to buy as many to reach your goal. As such, you could end up spending less and making more.
As an insurance agent reaching out to potential customers, you may be concerned about the time it takes to call leads. An auto-dialer can save you time, but there are restrictions about using these devices for sales and marketing. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 restricts telemarketing and the use of automated equipment such as automated dialing systems, pre-recorded messages, fax machines, and text messaging unless the consumer provides their express consent.
Changes to the TCPA occurred in 2013, which stated that companies could no longer use an automatic dialer to call cell phones. Under this rule, if you use a dialer to contact a cell phone, you’re subject to a fine of $500 per violation. You can also face a $500 per incident penalty for calling or texting the same cell phone number more than once (up to $1,500 maximum).
However, a Supreme Court ruling in 2021 clarified the definition of an auto-dialer more narrowly, restricting it to systems that generate numbers randomly or sequentially. If you use an automated system to dial numbers on a list of customers from whom you've received consent, you're in compliance with the TCPA.
Although the TCPA significantly slowed the outreach efforts of insurance companies, this ruling means that agents can still leverage auto-dialers for the best results with aged leads. You can save time by entering your lists of leads into the system and dialing with your automated caller.
Still, with the restrictions of the TCPA on calling cell phones, agents may understandably feel uncomfortable calling leads. These regulations, however, could offer a silver lining for independent agents and small agencies. It gives larger companies and call centers less of a competitive edge, meaning you can more easily swoop in and get the client.
While TCPA regulations might make it easier for you to compete with larger agencies, you still have to follow the laws. Here are a few general things to know before you start making calls:
As mentioned previously, real-time leads have a fairly high close rate. You’re contacting a shopper within a few minutes to a few hours of them submitting their information for quotes. That gives you a significant advantage in being able to nurture the lead and close the deal. It’s one of the things that makes these types of leads so attractive.
When it comes to aged leads, however, it’s more of a numbers game. It’s been a while since a lead submitted their contact information. Some may have made their inquiry as long as three to six months ago. As such, there’s been a significant passage of time. Within that timeframe, the lead could have purchased a policy elsewhere.
While aged leads are riskier, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. You may need to buy more, but you could come across people interested in your products.
You can have success buying aged leads, but you have to be strategic about it. Since these leads are older, you’ll likely need to buy a lot of them. You’ll also have to be willing to work with a larger number of people to find prospects who might still be interested in purchasing an insurance policy. Working with only a few isn’t practical, nor will it yield the results you're looking to achieve.
Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that the TCPA makes dialing numerous leads more time-consuming. You can’t use automatic dialing technology as freely as you once could, so you'll need to be mindful of using it properly. If you choose to dial all of your numbers manually, those seconds will add up. That means less time closing deals with leads still interested in getting an insurance policy.
When it comes to large quantities of aged leads, you may have better luck with direct mail. That doesn’t mean you can’t call them. Again, strategy is critical. If you do decide to call them, prepare beforehand with a unique sales script. There’s a good chance that other agents have already contacted them. You’ll want to word things just right to set yourself apart and get the attention of your prospects.
You’ll also need to have a plan to nurture the aged leads you pursue. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on motivation to get them re-engaged. Instead, a well-planned sales and marketing strategy is crucial.
You may need to create a multi-channel approach that includes phone calls, emails, social media, direct mail, and more. Consider starting a blog to offer helpful, educational insurance content — this can raise awareness and build trust with leads who may need a nudge.
Ultimately, it's important to engage your aged leads in a variety of channels and many different ways. When one method isn't working with a particular prospect, shift gears and try another. It takes a lot of work to do it successfully. If you do decide to go this route, using customer relationship management (CRM) software can help. That’ll allow you to keep track of your lead information, call notes, and follow-up reminders for all your leads.
The affordability of aged leads does make them rather attractive, especially if you’re working with a limited budget. The thing is, the insurance industry is becoming more fast-paced. And, to top it all off, the TCPA regulations have made them a less valuable purchase. While aged leads can work, depending on your experience, time, and nurturing process, they aren’t necessarily for everyone. After all, you have to buy a substantial number of leads and have the time to devote to calling them and hopefully converting one of them.
If you do decide to purchase aged leads, be prepared to buy a larger volume to overcome their lower quality. Additionally, you’ll want to keep your expectations in line with what you pay for those leads.
Ultimately, lead value is less about what it costs you than about the return on investment (ROI) you'll receive. And, despite the higher cost of real-time leads, they will always deliver a higher average ROI than aged leads. Because you're paying more for premium, exclusive leads, you can buy them in lower quantities and get better results by being the first one to make the call.
With aged leads, your return on investment is more of a numbers game. There’s a much greater chance that the ones you buy and call have already purchased an insurance policy elsewhere. You could get a small handful of leads that do convert, but your success depends on how many you buy.
On the other hand, when you buy real-time insurance leads, you gain access to potential customers who have submitted their information for insurance quotes that day. In some cases, they may only be seconds old. There’s a much lower chance other agents or agencies will contact them before you. You’re at the front of the line in terms of reaching out and converting them before anyone else. That’s where their real value comes in.
When deciding between aged and real-time leads, consider the pros and cons of each option in relation to your specific goals. You may also want to consider what it would take to leverage both to achieve the best possible results.
In the end, you’re the one who has the best ideas to achieve your goals. Consider all of the options available to you. That way, you can make the best decisions to reach the level of success you want to obtain.
No matter what sector of the insurance industry you represent, you can connect directly with shoppers looking for the exact services you offer through Nectar.
Nectar doesn’t purchase third-party leads and then resell them to you. Instead, we work to generate real-time leads using various platforms. When shoppers match your specific customer criteria, we send those leads to you. You can then contact those leads directly and close the sale.
Nectar believes that connecting high-intent shoppers with the right insurance agents makes a significant difference. When shoppers have an agent that offers everything they need and provides them with exceptional service, they have a better overall experience. And, when you have customers actively searching for what you have to offer, you’re more likely to close the deal. Your customers get what they need, and you become more successful.
Are you ready to work with high-intent real-time insurance leads? Sign up with Nectar to get started today!
This article reflects the features of Nectar as of the date of publication. Features are subject to change at any time. This article is meant for informational purposes only, it is not a guarantee that using Nectar will help you achieve specific business or financial results and is not intended to serve as the sole recommendation for any business financial decisions.