Website Launch / GAD Insurance


BY BLAKE WILLIAMS /
CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER

CHALLENGE

After receiving new branding, GAD's website required an update to give it that same modern look. With a large number of pages that didn't connect with clients, GAD really needed to streamline their online message and cater to their customer's needs. GAD knew that if they could talk with a potential client, they would be able to guide them to the exact insurance solutions they needed.

 

APPROACH

We devised a strategy to simplify the website and focus on their core objectives: building customer trust, encouraging personal contact with associates, and providing professional validation. We made easy to navigate pages to ensure that viewers could quickly access the information they needed. Custom interactions on the homepage and team directory made for a very slick user experience without overloading the user. On top of that, we were able to dramatically decrease their hosting and maintenance costs by using a the Squarespace platform.


Talk to any one of GAD Insurance's partners or employees and you will soon realize that these people genuinely care about their clients. More importantly, they have the experience and expertise to literally be "your guide to peace of mind."

GAD has been serving the insurance needs of Central Ohio since 1928. As one of the largest locally owned independent insurance agencies in the region they offer services ranging from personal and commercial insurance to bonds to employee benefits and health and life insurance. As business owners ourselves, we truly understand the feeling of peace that comes with having someone help you with choosing and securing the proper insurance. It was this human truth that Serif Creative discovered when creating their brand positioning, photography and video. When cheers was asked to create a new website that used GAD's updated branding and assets it was our job to build a digital space that was as calm and collected as they were. 

During our Discovery Phase we identified a key goal that we knew needed to be achieved in order to make this project successful: validate GAD Insurance as consumers' local, high-quality guide to insurance needs.

Our strategy to validation was two fold. 1) Design the homepage in a way that creates multiple layers of proof that GAD is local, capable, and trustworthy 2) Make sure the rest of the website reinforces these messages with clear but personal copy.

To view the GAD Insurance homepage in its full microinterative glory, click here.

So let's talk about how we applied our homepage strategy. First we divided the page into 5 key sections and made sure each section played to a different aspect of validation. Here's the rundown:

Video Mission Statement: Using the brand video created by Serif, we welcome all website visitors to a calm, slowly zooming in moment of GAD business customer going about their work. After a moment the brand tagline, "your guide to peace of mind" floats into view. This fluid combination of image and text should tap into the viewer's subconscious emotion and tell them that working with GAD is stress free and professional.

High Level Business Overview: Once you've scrolled past the video we display a very high level overview of what GAD does. Think of this as the business elevator speech. Since the homepage is where most first time users first enter the website it was important that we didn't get too specific with GAD details and offerings out of the gate. Throughout this page and the website as a whole, we use progressive disclosure to take the user on a journey through GAD in a way that isn't pushy or overwhelming.

Progressive disclosure is an interaction design technique often used in human computer interaction to help maintain the focus of a user's attention by reducing clutter, confusion, and cognitive workload. This improves usability by presenting only the minimum data required for the task at hand. / Wikipedia

The Numbers: When it comes to business websites (especially businesses that deal with insurance) you can fill your website with as many kind words and catchy aspirational phrases as you want, but at the end of the day the best way to create trust is through numbers. In GAD's case we used a count of the thousands of businesses and families that already trust them to show new clients that they aren't alone. And for experience, well they have been around for 89+ years. That's a great statistic that only gets better with age.

Impact/Awards: GAD is an independent insurance agency that has the ability to provide insurance in all 50 states. They also have strong Ohio roots and ties to the Columbus community. As a way to show their accolades in both settings we created a headline section that listed current national awards and local impacts they were making.

Call to Action: There are multiple points during this journey that a viewer may decide that they have gathered enough information and want to dive deeper by clicking to a new page. In order to help facilitate this journey, we end every page with a call to action to get started and connect with GAD. We choose to subtly funnel people to the contact page because in our Discovery Phase, GAD said that ultimately they want new people to come to their website to get a good idea of the services they provide and then reach out to them. So often insurance companies use the form as a replacement to conversation. They say "fill this out and your quote/answer will just magically appear." GAD knows better. Your situation and insurance needs are unique, and using a one-size-fits-all form does not work. Better yet, they want to have a conversation to make sure you are getting the coverage you need at the best price possible. So we built a website that encourages people to get in direct contact.

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In addition to having potential clients reach out to GAD, they also wanted to make sure that current clients could get ahold of who they needed.

The previous GAD site took more of a classic rolodex approach to showing its employees' contact details. We wanted to make GAD feel more personal and real, so we suggested creating an employee grid where every person was pictured with a slightly different relaxed pose. Then when viewers clicked the employee image/name all their specific contact details are shown.

By also altering the amount of info that is shown on mobile versus desktop we were able to create a personalized and easy to navigate employee directory. 

By also altering the amount of info that is shown on mobile versus desktop we were able to create a personalized and easy to navigate employee directory. 

With the launch of a new identity we wanted to make sure that the GAD website appealed to a new generation of clients without alienating their current clients. To do this we created an authentic and trustworthy experience that makes finding an insurance guide a little more peaceful and a lot less confusing.