Converting a Long Term Care Lead to an Application, How Times Have Changed.

lead-conversion-oct 2015It used to be true that when an agent received a Long-Term Care insurance lead, it could be converted into an application in a fairly short period of time.  I recall that we had a career agent, a very high producer, who believed that a lead had a life cycle of about ten days.  If he could not get a hold of the prospect within ten days, he considered the lead to be of no value and ready to discard.

Like many other aspects of long term care insurance marketing and sales, times have changed.  We know now that the life cycle of a lead is far longer than it used to be.  But we had no idea of how much longer, so we attempted to measure the time of the lead cycle.

We obtained a group of 159 California Long Term Care career applications taken during a part of 2015 and were able to ascertain the date that the lead was either mailed or received over the internet.  There were still a few unknowns in the sample.  For instance, we could assume that it took about two weeks for us to receive the direct mail lead response, give or take a few days.  But we could not measure when the agent was allocated the lead after we received it.  That period was usually just a few days, but it could have been longer in some cases.

In addition, we assumed that with our speedy system, an internet lead was allocated to an agent the minute it was received by us, but we are human, and there could have been times where there was a delay of a few hours or days.  So the results of our measurements are subject to at least some error factor.  Nevertheless, we were very surprised by the results.

We found that our direct mail leads took an average of 142 days from the date of mailing to convert to an application, or 4.7 months.  This meant that the prospects must have had multiple contacts…phone calls, emails, drip marketing, and so forth, before they were persuaded to apply.   What a long process, even without the carrier underwriting!  And what a long time it takes in these instances for an agent or us to get paid.

But what about our internet leads?  These leads only took an average of 46 days from the date of receipt of the lead to it resulting in an application.  What a difference!  Not only was the internet lead converted three times faster, but it often resulted in an E-application, saving even more time in converting the lead into a policy.

As we expected, a higher percentage of internet leads converted into applications than direct mail leads.  Part of the reason is that these internet leads are mostly our leads, created from our Google marketing and from our websites.  This decreases the probability of competition from other lead sources.  Furthermore, the internet leads are currently costing us less than direct mail leads.

Do you think that we like our internet leads?  You bet.  We will allocate more of our lead budget to internet leads in 2016, and this alone should give us an increase in sales.  These facts should encourage you to create your own viable website and to market with internet leads.  We can help you get started if you have not yet adapted to this type of marketing.

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Louis H. Brownstone is the Chairman of Northstar Network Insurance Agency, Inc. and is a certified Long Term Care specialist. Louis is recognized as an industry leader, with articles appearing frequently in California Broker Magazine and other industry publications and events.