This week we are going to talk about your insurance agency website and whether or not to have audio and video on your insurance website. My general rule of thumb is audio and video is okay as long as you are not forcing the user to listen to it.
Why forcing the user to listen to audio is a negative thing.
With the advent of internet radio such as Pandora, last.fm and iTunes many users are constantly listening to music while they are surfing the web. These users are choosing to listen to music. Imagine a customer or prospect surfing the web while listening to their favorite song and they come across your insurance website. All the sudden they are inundated with sounds coming from your website. Do you think the users is more likely to turn off their favorite song or to just close your website? I think it is obvious that your website will come second to someone’s music. However, if your insurance website didn’t have any forced audio the user would probably still be surfing your website.
One of the things I’m constantly talking to my customers about is selling your website every chance you can. If you have a customer on the phone make sure you point out the FAQ section of your website or some other selling point to get the customer or prospect to use your website. However, your website has audio and now your CSR is forced to listen to an audio or video track while on the phone talking to a customer. Times that by 6 CSR and you have quite an orchestra of music in your office.
Types of audio you may find on a website:
Navigation Links – Typically a feature with sites using Flash. You mouse over a link and some type of noise or sound bite happens.
Pros – None.
Cons – Users are forced to hear a sound bite every time they click on a link in your website.
Characters – In an attempt to bring a more personal or “human presence” to a website, many website have purchased audio and visual characters to talk to their users.
Pros – Can add a personal touch to your website.
Cons – As good as the character may sound it is still a computer talking and not a person.
Animations – A flashy way to add pizzazz to your website.
Pros – Can add some flavor to your website.
Cons – Users may be required to see/hear it every time they visit your website. In general, users are going to insurance websites for research or to accomplish something like a quote or change request, not to watch an animation over and over again.
Videos – Anything from forced Flash videos to downloadable videos.
Pros – Can greatly benefit your website as long as it doesn’t automatically play.
Cons – If the video auto plays users will be forced to listen to it every time a page loads. Listening to the same message over and over again is extremely annoying. It can also be very costly to add custom video to your site.
Background Music – The Elevator music of websites. Not as common as today as it was back in the early 90’s but it is still an option.
Pros – Allows you to force old Billy Idol records into the minds of your website viewers.
Cons – No way to turn music off; continuous looping music on your website may cause users to have nightmares.
At the end of the day, I would say that spending $500 on pay-per-click advertising on a local news site is more beneficial than spending $500 on a video. This of course is only my opinion, I encourage users to comment below if you agree or disagree.