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JW Surety Bonds is America’s top surety bond provider and one of a very few that can approve bonds instantly online, using proprietary software. The bond agency normally ships bonds with 24 hours of payment, and its large bond volume allows it to negotiate the lowest rates with the top carriers in the country.
The Challenge: Making a Dry Subject Engaging
The surety bond industry overall is lagging in the use of technology, but JW has embraced the Internet to grow over a 10 year span, from a two-person operation to an agency that writes bonds nationwide. Still, the surety bond business is not one that normally excites the organizations and businesses that are required by various entities such as government departments to take out bonds to protect the public. When JW revamped its website to create an easy-to-use, graphically interesting online presence, it sought a way to keep visitors to the site engaged with the company.
“Surety bonds are a dry subject and a burden to many people,” says JW webmaster Eric Weisbrot. “They don’t want to read a lot of text, so we thought it would be best to post videos explaining surety bonds and the process that is required.”
The Solution: Two Dozen Animated Videos
Initially, Weisbrot went online to investigate conventional video production services. “Most video creation services were surprisingly expensive,” he says, “and they didn’t seem to offer a good return on investment.”
Eventually, he came across GoAnimate. “We found by far that its prices were the most reasonable,” he asserts. “We felt that animated videos would engage people with our site more than other types, such as standing in front of a camera and talking. After looking at some examples, we thought GoAnimate videos looked professional enough for our site. Cost was our primary consideration, but we wanted professionalism, too.”
Weisbrot and his colleagues drafted a series of scripts and sent them to a freelance associate who created the GoAnimate videos for JW. By the time the new website was ready to launch, the team had prepared 22 different GoAnimate videos that would be easily accessible to prospective customers.
Each of these “explainer” videos, running about two minutes in length, described in everyday terms the purpose of the bond and the steps that customers would need to take to complete the bonding process. Among the nearly two dozen topics of the videos were these:
• What is a surety bond? • What does a surety bond cost? • The Surety Bond Process • How bid and performance bonds work? • How to get business licenses requiring bonding
The Results: Engagement and Repeat Viewing
Weisbrot reports very positive reactions to the videos—a result supported by his website analytics. In the first three months that the videos were posted, they gathered a total of 6,100 views. Encouragingly, viewers tended to watch most (>70%) or all of each video – in stark contrast to industry norms where most viewers drop out after about 30 seconds. There were also lots of repeat viewers, who watched multiple videos per site visit. “Some watch all 22,” he notes, “so overall, we’ve had a great response from the users. Initially we weren’t sure how users would engage, but the response has met or exceeded our expectations in that regard.”
JW continues to produce more GoAnimate videos, and Weisbrot anticipates the site eventually will incorporate a total of 40 to 50 of the animated videos. “We’re always trying to think of ways to provide value to the users, so those figures may be an underestimate. We will continue to explain our product in the video format using GoAnimate.”
Weisbrot recommends GoAnimate to any company that is looking to increase user engagement. “GoAnimate is a reasonably priced method, and it’s very worthwhile. Videos are becoming more significant in the search engine world, too, so it’s important to jump on the ship sooner than later.”
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