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Are you getting the most out of digital?

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Are you getting the most out of digital?

We talked to brokers to find out how they’re keeping pace with what customers expect from an online experience

Danielle Kubes on July 18, 2018

GETTY IMAGES / ANDREW BAKER

Jennifer Pugsley used to bang down doors to get business when she was brokering deals in commercial oil, gas and trucking.

Literally.

She would get into her car, turn the key and drive the long expanse of highway and rural roads out to the dusty industrial areas of Alberta, where she would then show up unannounced at potential clients’ buildings.

That worked well for a few decades. Until it didn’t.

She says her bosses finally asked themselves, “How can we leverage digital? Because people are just slamming the door in our face or not picking up the phone.”

That conversation happened more than a decade ago, but it’s a question brokers are still asking themselves today.

Traditional brokerages are facing these challenges because sourcing and converting online leads is still largely a new frontier—the rules change every year and everyone is figuring it out as they go along.

“A lot of brokers don’t even have the infrastructure to handle the leads that they want.”

So Canadian Insurance Top Broker decided we wanted to help. We spoke with experts and brokers who have successfully gone digital to uncover advice and tips to help other brokers upgrade their online presence, improve their SEO and stay relevant in 2018.

Pugsley figured it out by accident—her genius-ofa- nerd brother had founded an e-commerce site in Toronto that was doing well, and she was intrigued.

Long story short, she went back to school for digital marketing and joined him. Their company evolved into Goose Digital, a marketing automation agency that brings on bricks-and-mortar insurance brokerages and holds their hands while helping them build an omni-channel framework.

‘Omni-channel’ simply means that a business services clients the way the client wants—whether that’s a faceto- face meeting, on Facebook, or through a website, to name a few options. And any broker in it for the long term is going to have to evolve to provide those services.

The average storefront brokerage can finish a quote in 40 minutes. But Matt Alston’s online brokerage, for example, can complete a quote in as little as a quarter of that time.

Alston knew he wanted to stay in the small town where he grew up in Alberta, near the Montana border. But with a population of only 2,500 people, and being a two-and-a-half hour drive to Calgary, there wasn’t exactly a bustling local economy. Still, he was determined to provide the same warm, wholesome and community-minded environment that he grew up with for his four children.

An online business was the answer. He teamed up with a partner who owned a traditional insurance brokerage, and in 2012 they opened Surex Direct, an entirely virtual brokerage.

“Online insurance didn’t put a ceiling on how big we could get, and we could compete with all the brokers in Toronto and Calgary and Vancouver, but do it on our terms,” Alston says.

Since 2012, they’ve managed to grow the business by 8,000%, without ever seeing a client face-to-face.

79%
of desktop search traffic came from Google in 2017.

Source: NetMarketShare

46%
of small businesses in the United States did not have a website in 2016.

Source: Clutch

That incredible growth proves there’s leads to be had and money to made in the still-fresh world of digital brokerages.

But there’s a major caveat—unless you’re able to commit wholeheartedly, don’t do it.

That’s because a physical brokerage is a completely different business than digital—you can’t simply pop a database up online, create a website, hire an intern to do your Twitter and expect to capture clients.

If only.

If you do plan to take your business entirely online, you must be prepared to spend a mint, along with all your time, on strategies, staff and preparation. Anything less is a waste of resources.

“It’s a viable business, but so is making parts for nuclear manufacturing. You can do it if you understand what you’re doing, and you could also lose your shirt if you don’t,” says Adam Mitchell, who’s grown his brokerage, Mitchell and Whale, from two brokers to 45 in just eight years. The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario awarded them the Innovator of the Year in 2017, and made them finalists for Brokerage of the Year the same year.

Mitchel has put considerable effort into growing digitally and focusing on long-term growth—as opposed to shortcuts that get him through to the next quarter— and understands that going online won’t matter unless you ensure your processes are running smoothly first.

Handling online leads

“A lot of brokers don’t even have the infrastructure to handle the leads that they want,” Pugsley says. “They’re not even servicing their existing book the way that they could be. Have you considered opening your hours until 8:00 p.m., like Sonnet does?”

A $20,000 website, Pugsley says, is not going to solve a broker’s problems—not if they don’t know their business inside, out and under.

“Do you know your cost per acquisition? Do you know your cost per lead? Your cost per quote? Do you know how many leads are coming in? Do you know how many leads are getting closed? And why not? Do you have a good handle of your retention rate?”

Even if she dropped 100 qualified leads into a brokerage’s lap, Pugsley says, most would not be able to keep up. The brokerages that are able to handle the number of leads generated online have a thoughtout funnel system. Some offices, for example, have a whole sales team that is watching screens scattered all over the office. As soon as a lead comes in, it goes onscreen and hits the marketing automation platform, and the team has immediate response-time goals.

“It’s a viable business, but so is making parts for nuclear manufacturing. You can do it if you understand what you’re doing, and you could also lose your shirt if you don’t.”

There’s no sense spending money on trying to attract online leads unless your office and team is 100% primed to handle them in the swift—yet personal— way that everyone, from millennials to boomers, now expects.

If all this sounds too overwhelming, it should. Capturing online leads is not for the timorous.

Going digital

Here are some basic strategies for the brokerage that wants to present a polished online presence to encourage and assure new clients, but isn’t prepared to create a cyber infrastructure.

First, get rid of your GeoCities website (remember those?). At the very least, says Pugsley, your website needs to look clean and be optimized for mobile. Alston recommends hiring a recent grad as a developer.

Secondly, do some digital housekeeping. That means bringing your Yellow Pages marketing up to date and setting up a Google business account with local keywords.

Third, if you do plan on creating a blog or social media content, hire a marketing coordinator.

“[Some brokers are] like, ‘Sally in the corner can do it,’” Pugsley says about how most businesses react when she tells them she needs a single point of contact when rolling out a website. “Sally has a full-time job, actually, and Sally doesn’t know how to write—she’s not a copywriter. If you’re asking Sally to do the Twitter just to keep the lights on, and you don’t really care about the ROI of Twitter, then don’t ask Sally in six months where our tweets are getting us.”

Sadly, digital has a reputation for being easy, and that any young person naturally knows how to do it. That’s incorrect.

The truth is, social media rarely has a direct ROI. Instead, it has rather the same effect as when auto dealerships wash their cars. Does it help actually sell the vehicles? Sometimes, maybe, not really—but it definitely adds to the whole transaction.

So don’t take social media too seriously or post too many facts about the insurance industry. Instead, use it to showcase your brokerage’s personality, and maybe try what Mitchell does. Social media strategy for him is the equivalent of “cats chasing lasers,” he says. “It’s informative, yet irreverent and fun. We almost avoid the insurance side of it.”

“Online insurance didn’t put a ceiling on how big we could get, and we could compete with all the brokers in Toronto and Calgary and Vancouver, but do it on our terms.”

The biggest benefit of social media is its instant communication possibilities. If customers are confident in a fast reply (we’re talking minutes) and are impressed by your content, they’re likely to DM (that’s direct message) you on Twitter and Facebook to ask for a quote.

Fourth, stop treating Google like a game. The days of stuffing keywords for SEO are over. We don’t want to get too deep into the SEO specifics, like meta tags, headlines or link-backs because they really don’t matter unless you’re planning to go wholly virtual, and Google will probably change its algorithm as soon as you’ve mastered it anyway. Suffice it to say that SEO will come naturally—and be there to stay—when you’re writing high-quality content that people want to read and share.

Look at the articles that you read on a daily basis. Are they just jargon? Or do they actually provide service? Do they make you think? If yes, strive to produce that kind of content.

And finally, don’t spend a cent or do anything unless you have a strategy. Don’t just start creating Facebook Ads, for example, unless you’ve figure out what you’re aiming for and how you’re going to measure results. (And let your brand-new marketing coordinator, the one with extensive experience in creating ad campaigns, handle it.)

“When you principally lead with strategy,” Pugsley says, “the tactic becomes much more successful.”

__________________________________________________________________________
Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in the June/July edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine

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NY Online Sports Betting Bill Calls For Up To 14 Sportsbook Apps

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s proposed New York sports betting model lacks support from two lawmakers who have pushed for online gambling in the state.

Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow released their 2021 NY online sports betting bill Thursday evening, though it looks a lot like their previous attempt.

The biggest difference is the bill calls for two skins per licensee instead of one each. There are four commercial casinos and three tribes that run casinos in New York that could offer online sports betting.

That would likely create a much more robust market in terms of handle but tax revenue could fall well short of what Cuomo expects from a lottery-style monopoly.

New York sports betting bill details

Many of the details in the jointly-filed S 1183 and A 1257 are similar to the 2019-20 version of Addabbo and Pretlow’s bill:

  • A one-time, $12 million fee is required for anyone operating a mobile sportsbook in the state.
  • Mobile sports betting revenue will be taxed at 12%. The state will set aside 5% of that tax revenue for problem gambling.
  • Official league data is still required for all in-play bets. The bill also calls for a royalty fee of 0.2% of handle to be paid to sports leagues. Assuming sportsbooks hold about 5% of bets, that means about 4% of sports betting revenue to the leagues.
  • Professional sports stadiums and arenas as well as off-track betting facilities can partner with a casino to have betting kiosks on-site.

The bill summary suggests $79 million in annual revenue to the state based on “conservative market estimates.” That might not be good enough for Cuomo, though.

Cuomo expects how much?

Gov. Cuomo has much higher expectations for what the state should make from sports betting.

The US sports betting industry was surprised to wake up Wednesday to find Cuomo had changed his stance on mobile sports betting. The excitement felt throughout the industry quickly turned to jokes, though, when the governor described his plan during the Q&A portion of his coronavirus press conference:

“We want to do sports betting the way the state runs the lottery where the state gets the revenues. Many states have done sports betting but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations. That makes a lot of money for casinos but it makes minimal money for the state, and I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money. I’m here to raise funds for the state.”

Budget Director Robert Mujica explained that the standard sports betting model would net New York about $50 million a year in tax revenue. But a single-operator monopoly could bring in $500 million annually, Mujica said. We won’t know any other details of the proposal until Cuomo releases his budget.

Assuming a 50-50 revenue split and a 5% hold, New York’s sports betting market would have to take $20 billion in bets annually to make the state $500 million. That’s not impossible for any of the “crown jewel” states like California, Florida, New York and Texas.

It won’t happen in year one, though, and could take significantly longer to reach those heights under a monopoly.

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Global Online Gambling Market (2020 to 2027) – Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report

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Dublin, April 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The “Online Gambling Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report by Type (Sports Betting, Casinos, Poker, Bingo), by Device (Desktop, Mobile), by Region (North America, Europe, APAC, Latin America, MEA), and Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The global online gambling market size is expected to reach USD 127.3 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 11.5% from 2020 to 2027. The market is expected to gain traction over the forecast period. The growing popularity of betting across the globe and freemium model in online gambling are among the potential opportunities likely to unfold in the next few years.

Increasing adoption of smartphones and easy access to casino gaming platforms is currently driving the market. Factors such as increasing internet penetration and the availability of cost-effective mobile applications for betting are also expected to contribute to market growth over the forecast period. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), as of 2018, approximately 2,800 sites are active online and offer activities including bingo, poker, and lottery.

Electronic Gambling Devices (EGDs) are inexpensive to run and easily available. These devices have an in-built software that mimics the experience of a local casino. For instance, a Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) uses advancing technology and can also be customized to electronic slot machines, spinning reel slot machines, video slot machines, and electronic poker games.

The spread of COVID19 has accelerated the demand for online gambling. Moreover, increasing digitalization coupled with secure digital payment options are also some factors contributing to online gambling market growth. The market is further expected to gain momentum over the forecast period attributed to the rising use of digital currency and websites provided by companies for betting and gambling.

Further key findings from the report suggest:

  • Ease of sports betting using a computer or smartphone coupled with the proliferation of sports betting ads across the globe is expected to propel segment growth over the forecast period
  • Online gambling service providers/operators are allowed to enter into agreements with individual players or customers to provide betting services for real money, in turn attracting more gamers
  • A large number of customers are using desktops for betting as downloading and installing casino software proves to be easier on desktops. This, in turn, is expected to propel the growth of the desktop segment
  • Online agencies, networks and exchanges, and third-party ad servers are used for advertising gambling websites of various companies
  • Europe is expected to continue its dominance over the forecast period. In the U.K., online gambling is legalized owing to safe practices and stringent regulations laid down by the government
  • Asia Pacific is anticipated to register the highest growth rate owing to the increased adoption of smartphones, a larger proportion of younger population, and legalization of online gambling in the region. The market size is largely influenced by the size of betting and pertinent outcome
  • Key companies in the online gambling market include William Hill PLC and Paddy Power Betfair PLC.

Key Topics Covered:

1. Methodology and Scope

2. Executive Summary
2.1 Online Gambling Market – Industry Snapshot & Key Buying Criteria, 2016 – 2027
2.2 Global Online Gambling Market, 2016 – 2027
2.2.1 Global online gambling market, by region, 2016 – 2027
2.2.2 Global online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
2.2.3 Global online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027

3. Online Gambling Industry Outlook
3.1 Market Segmentation & Scope
3.2 Market Size and Growth Prospects
3.3 Online Gambling – Value Chain Analysis
3.3.1 Vendor landscape
3.4 Online Gambling Market Dynamics
3.4.1 Market driver analysis
3.4.1.1 Increasing investment in online gambling
3.4.1.2 Growing number of live casinos across the globe
3.4.2 Market restraint analysis
3.4.2.1 Increasing rate of cybercrimes
3.5 Penetration and Growth Prospect Mapping
3.6 Online Gambling Market – Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
3.7 Online Gambling Market – Key Company Market Share Analysis, 2019
3.8 Online Gambling Market – PESTEL Analysis
3.9 Impact of COVID 19 on the Online Gambling Market

4. Online Gambling Type Outlook
4.1 Online Gambling Market Share By Type, 2019
4.2 Sports Betting
4.2.1 Sports betting online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.3 Casinos
4.3.1 Casinos online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.4 Poker
4.4.1 Poker online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.5 Bingo
4.5.1 Bingo online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.6 Others
4.6.1 Other online gambling market, 2016 – 2027

5. Online Gambling Device Outlook
5.1 Online Gambling Market Share By Device, 2019
5.2 Desktop
5.2.1 Desktop online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
5.3 Mobile
5.3.1 Online mobile gambling market, 2016 – 2027
5.4 Others
5.4.1 Other device for online gambling market, 2016 – 2027

6. Online Gambling Regional Outlook
6.1 Online Gambling Market Share by Region, 2019
6.2 North America
6.2.1 North America online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.2 North America online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.3 North America online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4 U.S.
6.2.4.1 U.S. online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4.2 U.S. online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4.3 U.S. online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5 Canada
6.2.5.1 Canada online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5.2 Canada online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5.3 Canada online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3 Europe
6.3.1 Europe online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.2 Europe online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.3 Europe online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4 U.K.
6.3.4.1 U.K. online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4.2 U.K. online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4.3 U.K. online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5 Germany
6.3.5.1 Germany online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5.2 Germany online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5.3 Germany online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4 Asia Pacific
6.4.1 Asia Pacific online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.2 Asia Pacific online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.3 Asia Pacific online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4 China
6.4.4.1 China online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4.2 China online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4.3 China online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5 India
6.4.5.1 India online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5.2 India online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5.3 India online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6 Japan
6.4.6.1 Japan online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6.2 Japan online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6.3 Japan online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.5 Latin America
6.5.1 Latin America online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.5.2 Latin America online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.5.3 Latin America online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4 Brazil
6.5.4.1 Brazil online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4.2 Brazil online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4.3 Brazil online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.6 MEA
6.6.1 MEA online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.6.2 MEA online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.6.3 MEA online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027

7. Competitive Landscape

7.1 William Hill PLC
7.1.1 Company overview
7.1.2 Financial performance
7.1.3 Product benchmarking
7.1.4 Strategic initiatives
7.2 Bet365 Group Ltd.
7.3 Paddy Power Betfair PLC
7.4 Betsson AB
7.5 Ladbrokes Coral Group PLC
7.6 The Stars Group Inc.
7.7 888 Holdings PLC
7.8 Sky Betting & Gaming
7.9 Kindred Group PLC
7.10 GVC Holdings PLC

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CT Governor throws support behind legal betting and igaming

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Giving his State of the State address yesterday (6 January), Lamont said 2020 had been one of the “most challenging and humbling” years of his life, due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. 

This, he said, had prompted the state to work closely with neighbours such as Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York to coordinate their response to the crisis. 

Lamont pledged to continue to leverage these relationships as part of Connecticut’s recovery from the pandemic.

He said Connecticut would work with its neighboring states and tribal partners on a path forward to “modernize gaming”, as well as working in the legislature to legalize marijuana. 

“Sports betting, internet gaming, and legalized marijuana are happening all around us,” Lamont added. “Let’s not surrender these opportunities to out-of-state markets or even worse, underground markets.”

His pledge to expand the state’s gambling market comes amid reports that Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing to relax his stance against mobile wagering in neighbouring New York. 

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