Postponement of Product Changes
Several carriers had announced changes to their product portfolios leading up to the expected implementation of the Fiduciary rule on April 10th. A formal delay was announced last week and in response to that several carriers have delayed already announced changes. Call today to get a full breakdown from the carriers.
North American Rate Decrease
North American reduced rates on the Guarantee Choice series and Charter Plus 14 effective 4/10/17. Call today for an updated rate sheet.
Legacy RMD Customizer
Legacy has recently introduced a new calculator that illustrates the impact of RMD’s on qualified funds in order to help clients understand the income they will receive in retirement and the legacy they can pass on. Call today to get a quote.
In a recent poll 70% of investors stated that while they like the convenience of technology for investing they still wanted to be able to speak with an adviser.
Ascent Accumulator 10
Athene’s Ascent Accumulatro 10 is a 10 year FIA designed for max accumulation. The product offers annual point to point caps on the S&P as high as 6.25% and offers a participation rate strategy with a 155% par rate on the BNP Paribas Multi Asset index. The product also offers a fixed interest rate of 2.95% and an optional income rider that rolls up at 8% simple interest. Call today for additional details.
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Marketing Corner – Thursday April 6th, 2017
5 Reasons Your Digital Content Marketing Strategy Isn’t Working
Content marketing is a broad term describing a range of marketing activity, from blog posts, articles, videos, emails, and status updates. While there are many ways to implement a content marketing strategy, the main goal is to leverage your expertise and engage your consumer base with relevant information. Here are five reasons your digital content marketing strategy isn’t working.
You Don’t Post Content Regularly
Regularity is key to staying in front of consumers. Many advisors will attempt a content strategy and then quickly burn out on articles and posts. Or, they may find that they aren’t able to maintain a steady time commitment to draft content. It’s generally going to be more advantageous (and manageable) to have one or two good posts each week than a short burst that stops. Figure out what you can fit into your schedule and keep a consistent flow that can be sustained over a long period of time. You’ll be surprised how much you can actually craft if you devote 1-2 hours each week for content marketing.
You Don’t Post Relevant Content
Given that your consumer base likely includes many types of individuals, you may have some difficulty in delivering relevant content. Your pieces don’t have to be relevant to everyone in your target market, nor do they have to address every age/situation of your prospects. What you should do, however, is ensure that the content is relevant to a specific segment of your audience. Vary your approach—address the many different consumers types within your overall target market. Maybe this week your piece on the top issues facing baby boomers isn’t relevant to the business owners you also pursue. Next week, have something that discusses key-person insurance.
Your Social Media Profiles Aren’t Developed
Social media is useful for distributing your content, especially since these digital spaces are where many of your consumers already are. Because your potential clients may develop an impression of you based on your digital hubs, you should take extra effort to ensure that your profiles are complete, with high-quality branding. Add personal touches by incorporating a portrait of you or a photo of your offices. Too often advisors will simply use a low-res copy of their logo for both profile pictures and banners. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, all give you many opportunities to present yourself visually, so take advantage of this. Why does this matter? If a consumer bounces to your Facebook page or Twitter page and sees that it is undeveloped, they may not have a lot of confidence in you.
You Don’t Share Across Multiple Platforms
Some consumers may be more active on Facebook, while others on LinkedIn. Some may exclusively use Twitter, and some may poke around many platforms. This is why you should spread your content across multiple relevant platforms. You may find that one platform becomes more relevant to you and your audience, but this does not mean you should ignore the other platforms. Keeping all your profiles active with recent posts can help you reach new prospects, help with SEO ranking (as this activity can be a ranking signal), and give you a trail of digital pieces that help to establish your credibility.
You Don’t Employ Different Types of Posts
A good digital content marketing strategy employs many different types of posts—articles, photo, video, infographics, macros, and more. Explore your options and get creative. Vary long posts with shorts posts. Use photos with your articles. Craft a short-video series. The more you have in your bag of tricks, the more you can engage your audience.
Complimentary CD Replacement Kit for 2017
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North American Delivery Requirements
North American has announced changes to its life insurance delivery requirement process. Effective immediately anytime a new application or additional form is being obtained on delivery a new policy must be issued. North American will no longer issue an amendment. In addition to this anytime a policy is delivered and the check or eft form comes back with a name different than the listed payor a new policy will need to be potentially issued. For example if a client owns a business and submits a business check instead of a personal. Call today for additional clarification.
Reminder Equitrust Annuity Update
Effective April 10th Equitrust will require a new product disclosure on all annuity sales. The reason for the updated disclosure is that Equitrust has added a terminal illness rider to all products. Call today for additional details.
Retirement Safety Net
Everyone wants to have a comfortable retirement and unfortunately on the path to retirement there are a number of factors that can derail an individuals retirement plan. Things such as death, disability, and LTC needs can be devastating to a family as well as to a retirement plan. Cash value life insurance with LTC/chronic illness and WOP riders can be an effective mitigation tool for these risks. In the event of an LTC scenario the death benefit can be advanced to help with costs, in the event of disability the policy will continue to fund ensuring that there is a retirement nest egg when disability benefits stop, and in the event of death instead of the beneficiaries just receiving their account dollar for dollar they receive an inflated tax free death benefit. Call today for additional details.
Annuity Premium Down In 2016
A recent report indicates that the top 25 largest annuity providers took in $253 billion in 2016. That number is down 4.1% from the 2015 total.
Settlers Life Final Expense
Settlers Life offers a competitive suite of final expense products and beginning April 3rd will offer a new ExpressApp process. Instead of doing an E app or paper application you simply determine what product is a fit for the client, call settlers life, and they will complete the application over the phone and approve the client within 20 minutes. This updated process means the application is always in good order and policies are issued more quickly meaning the client has coverage sooner and you get paid quicker. Call today for additional details.
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Marketing Corner – Wednesday March 29th, 2017
April Is CD Replacement Month—Don’t Miss Out
You might know that April and October are CD replacement months. But do you know why? The history that led to these sales opportunities is actually rather interesting and shows how economic events can ripple far ahead in time.
Nearly thirty years ago, on October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped a whopping negative 22.61%–the index’s largest percentage drop. This event would become known as Black Monday and many thought this was the precursor to another Great Crash. While markets rebounded, there remained a great amount of volatility, with after-shocks and mini-crashes like the drop that happened on October 13, 1989.
Even though the economy has been beaten and torn since 1987 (hello Great Recession of 2008!) the effects of Black Monday are still felt today. As markets tanked in 1987, consumers pulled out of exposed investments and transferred their money into Certificates of Deposits.
Hence October and April are now CD replacement months, with six-month and twelve-month CDs up for renewal. For some consumers, CDs can seem like a great option for their money—certainly, they did in 1987. With guaranteed interest rates and FDIC backing, CDs seem like a relatively sturdy ship to navigate the sometimes choppy waters of the market.
However, because of their low-interest rates, CDs do not hedge against inflation well, when compared to other products, like certain annuities. This is especially true with long-range CDs that many consumers automatically renew out of habit. This means that some consumers may be losing real-world value that could be parlayed into another solution that works better against inflation and could provide lifetime income.
Obviously, every consumer presents a different situation. For some, CDs may track well with their needs. Others may not even be aware that there are other options. However, what this means is that April and October are good opportunities for review, discussion, and product sales.
To help agents and advisors take advantage of these CD replacement opportunities, Legacy Financial Partners is offering a complimentary CD replacement kit. Fill out the form to claim your free CD replacement kit.
Complimentary 2017 CD Replacement Kit
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Commission Bonus Extended
Global Atlantic has extended their 1% commission bonus to 4/30/17. Products eligible for the bonus are: Choice Income FIA, Income 150+ FIA, Income 125+ FIA, Index Bonus 115 FIA, ForeSpending Select FIA. Call today for additional details.
North American Rate Increase
North American has announced a rate increase that will take effect March 28th. Call today to get an updated rate report.
Sequence Of Returns
Most advisors are aware of the impact that the sequence of market returns can have on a retirement income stream. There are a variety of ways to help mitigate this risk and one options that many advisors might not be aware of is life insurance. Cash value inside of a life insurance policy can be used tapped during down years to avoid selling into losses. Call today to request a complimentary guide on how this strategy works.
In a recent survey by Lincoln Financial Group 48% of millennials stated debt as their top financial concern. Specifically student loan debt was the biggest concern.
Guggenheim Highlander FIA
Guggenheim has added a new FIA to their portfolio. The Highlander FIA is a 10 year product with a 4% premium bonus. In addition to this the product offers competitive caps with the annual pt to pt S&P cap at 5% with a 2.5% fixed rate. The product also offers an optional income rider as well as a nursing home rider. Call today for details.
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Marketing Corner – Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
6 Unusual Marketing Ideas For Advisors
As you try to grow your practice and attract new clients, you likely explore many different marketing activities. What tends to happen, however, is that you find one or two prospecting methods that work for you and stick with that. While you should have a few core marketing methods, you should enhance them with other types of marketing. Here are six unusual marketing ideas that go beyond direct mail, seminars, and other traditional methods.
Whether to promote an upcoming event or to simply put your name and face out there, fliers are a cheap and effective way to market yourself, which is why we’ve mentioned them multiple times before as a marketing tool. A visually appealing one-sheeter can reinforce your name or event to consumers in physical areas they already traffic (coffee shop, grocery store, etc.). In any given community, you will have plenty of opportunities to post fliers—which, when you consider how cheap a run of fliers can be—makes them a no-brainer. What makes this idea unusual is how few advisors take advantage of this affordable strategy.
What is a shred party? A shred party is an event that takes place at your office or other location where you offer free document shredding. This is particularly relevant to consumers around tax-time, as they deal with sensitive personal documents and do some spring cleaning. Make it a fun event, with refreshments and something for kids. This will allow you to offer an unusual (but needed) service to consumers and mingle with prospects.
Parking Lot Carnival
One of the best ways to organize a community event is to make it something the whole family can enjoy. If you’ve got space (or can rent space), set up a parking lot carnival. This doesn’t have to involve Ferris wheels, carousels, or bumper cars, but rather fun yard games like cornhole, ladder ball, horseshoes, and watermelon seed spitting contests. Buddy up with a local food truck to offer food and refreshments.
In the same vein as the parking lot carnival idea, if you live in a college/sports town, you could look into getting tailgating space. With good weather, grilling, and sports, you can create a memorable event for potential clients.
There are numerous ways advisors can leverage participating in charitable causes while raising their own profile. However, many advisors stick with passive approaches—donating money or resources, without getting directly involved. Any help is good help, for sure, but consider more direct ways you can participate with a charitable cause. For instance, organizing a charity event yourself or finding existing ones that are physical (food drive, fun run, pancake dinner, etc.)
Branded Prepaid Debit Cards
Advisors often use gift cards/prepaid cards as promotions, rewards for appointments, or prizes for seminar raffles. While preloaded debit cards can be great for bringing prospects to you, you can enhance this strategy by branding the cards with your logo and contact information. There are several companies that offer this service, such as OmniCard, Giftcards.com, and InterCash.
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Legacy Financial Partners has added Lafayette Life and Mutual Trust Life to its portfolio of products. Both carriers offer competitive participating whole life products designed for accumulation. Call today for additional details.
One America Product Changes
Effective April 10th One America will be discontinuing their ImmediateCare Plus product. In addition to this depending on when/if the DOL Fiduciary Rule goes into effect One America will no longer accept qualified funds for sales of the Annuity Care, indexed Annuity Care, and Legacy Care products.
Most small business owners are aware that there are a number of retirement options for themselves and their employees. Most, however aren’t aware of what specific plans are available and more importantly what plans fit with their company. Available for download is a plan comparison chart that discusses the most common types of retirement plans for companies.
Fed Raises Rates
The Federal Reserve raised rates .25% increasing the federal reserve rate to 1%. It is projected the Fed will raise rates two more times this year depending on how the economy performs.
Equitrust WealthHorizon Life
Equitrust’s newest addition to their life offerings is a competitive, single premium, simplified issue IUL. The product offers a variety of index options including an annual S&P pt to pt cap of 12% and a fixed interest account of 5%. The product also offers a free chronic illness rider and competitive commissions. Call today for additional details.
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7 Video Marketing Best Practices
Incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy can reap great rewards. Rather than simply posting a block of text, you are able to present your value proposition in an easily digestible manner that already matches how many consumers seek out information. Here are a few stats that show just how relevant video is:
Over 8 billion videos or 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook every day (TechCrunch, 2016; TechCrunch, 2016 via Buffer)
55% of people consume videos thoroughly — the highest amount all types of content (HubSpot, 2016 via Buffer)
4X as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than reading about it (Animoto, 2015 via Buffer)
Given how relevant video content has become, you might be wondering how financial advisors or agents like you can utilize video as part of your marketing strategy. With cheap equipment, social media platforms, and a little time commitment, it’s possible for advisors of all experience levels to create visually appealing and engaging video content. We’ve even had advisors use their smartphones to record clips.
Here are 7 best practices when developing a video marketing strategy.
Keep Your Videos Concise
With videos, shorter is generally going to be better. Instead of giving a 10-minute explainer video on how annuities work, break your videos into 2-3 minute chunks (or even shorter). While you do want to provide detailed information and may think that 1,2, or 3 minutes is not long enough to cover a topic, you’ll likely be surprised how much information can be presented in a short time if you practice before hand (and even use a little script).
Maintain A Consistent Schedule
As with other forms of content marketing, one of the crucial aspects of video marketing is consistency. Some advisors will burn through video topics quickly, struggling to come up with ideas for further videos. Schedule video creation within your other marketing activities, so that you have something coming out on a regular basis—whether it’s a video, a blog post, a guide, or promotion. Find the intervals that work for you.
Balance Timely Topics With Enduring Information
Current events can become a great jumping off point for a video piece. If, for example, the SSA has rolled out changes for the new year, your consumers might appreciate a short explanation video. However, you should balance timely topics with more enduring videos—the kinds that can be repurposed or stay relevant over alonger period of time. For example, a video discussion on the phases of retirement planning will have a longer lifespan than one that discusses an expiring tax credit.
Consider Basic Lighting and Framing
Nobody expects you to be Spielberg when creating your videos. But just because the clips are made cheap and quick, doesn’t mean they have to look it. Pay attention to basic lighting and framing issues.
• Make sure you are well lit
• Avoid distracting backgrounds and background elements
• Avoid unusual perspectives and angles
• A tripod or stable surface can really make a difference in the quality of your clip
Syndicate Through Multiple Channels
Currently, Facebook has become a key platform for the dissemination of video content. With an intuitive layout, it’s relatively easy to upload and share video, either from your personal or business page. Twitter and LinkedIn are likewise venues where video can be uploaded and shared easily. But also consider email as well. A Syndacast Infographic from a few years ago claims that just “using the word ‘Video’ in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%”
Enhance The Quality Of Your Video With Graphics and Music
Amplify your message and the quality of your video with supporting graphics, music, and other little flourishes. Most editing software is straightforward enough that a lay person, with some playing around, can figure out how to include phone numbers, web addresses, and other supporting text as an overlay graphic (sometimes referred to as chyrons). Music is likewise relatively easy to incorporate, with a wealth of royalty-free music available online (for instance, Purple Planet, which has options for free and licensed music clips.) Make sure you follow the terms of usage carefully. Most royalty free music sites will simply request credit and/or a linkback.
Take Advantage Of Video Descriptions And Tags
Video hosted on a platform like YouTube will provide you an opportunity to describe what the video is about. While this helps consumers identify the content of your clip, it also can be useful in your overall SEO strategy. Lace your short descriptions and tags with targeted keywords, the same way you would with page content.
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Equitrust’s March Madness promotion runs through the end of March and qualifying agents can earn an additional $500.00 for each annuity sale of $50,000.00. Call today for additional details.
Allianz Accelerated Underwriting
Allianz has launched their life insurance E App and in addition to this have also introduced accelerated underwriting. Individuals ages 25-60 purchasing 1mm or less of death benefit are eligible to just complete a phone history interview and based on the results can qualify for up to preferred best rates or move to full underwriting. Call today for additional details.
Identifying whether or not a prospect has an income gap in retirement is a critical part of the planning process. Available for download is a straightforward guide that discusses what an income gap is and whether the prospect has one. This informative guide can act as a roadmap for the planning process.
Future of ACA
A republican version of the Affordable Care Act has been submitted and currently being reviewed. While it remains to be seen what will happen the updated version was met with mixed reviews.
Sagicor Fixed Index Whole Life
Sagicor offers a competitive single premium life product. The product is simplified issue and offers an initial 10% premium bonus with a return of premium. In addition to this it offers multiple crediting strategies with annual point to point caps as high as 7%. Call today for additional details.
Marketing Corner – Wednesday March 9th, 2017
6 Digital Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips
If you use digital marketing to bring in new prospects and communicate with your clients (and why shouldn’t you) you likely focus on generating new business. However, as you focus on marketing and prospecting, you may accumulate unnecessary files, leave outdated information online, and have a general level of disorganization. Since many advisors function as owner, salesperson, marketer, and receptionist, all in one, it can be easy to let your digital tools fall into disarray. To combat this, here are six simple digital marketing spring-cleaning tips.
Recalibrate Your Marketing Circuit
We’ve discussed before how digital marketing activities, and plans that incorporate digital elements, are more of circuits than funnels. As you tidy up your digital structures, now is a good time to look for redundancies and error points in your circuit. Perhaps some clients receive the same email over and over from your drip email campaign. Perhaps it has become difficult to identify where in your circuit a prospect is. Re-chart your circuit to make it as efficient as possible.
Update Your Information
Too often advisors, and other small businesses, obtain a website for their firm and let it sit. This can cause headaches down the line when you gain additional experiences, move locations, change phone numbers, or focus on a different area of planning. Make sure that information available—whether it’s a company/founder bio, email signature, or physical address—reflects the most up-to-date details about you and your business. In the same vein, check that your current information is accurate on online directories such as Google, Yelp, and YellowPages, and make sure that your social media platforms also reflect up-to-date information.
Manage Email Lists
Email can become a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy, which is why you should spend some time culling and filtering your lists. Whether you use a CRM platform, an email service provider like Campaign Monitor or MailChimp, or keep your capture emails in a Word document (not an especially good idea), segment contacts into categories that make sense to you. Perhaps you have a graded system for clients—A graded prospects get a certain type of emails, B graded get a different type of emails, etc.
Update Digital Design Elements
While it can be a good idea for your website to undergo a redesign every few years or so, you can spiff up your digital presence on shorter timeframes with some key updates to your digital design elements. Consider updating banner photos, profile pictures, color schemes, and other elements for a new look.
Over time links can change for one reason or another. Comb through your website, your social media platforms, and your emails, and confirm that links route to where they are supposed to. Broken links or links to bad pages can erode confidence in your digital visitors.
Look, nobody likes to change passwords constantly. Once you find a good password, you want to hang on to it—you don’t want to have to go through the forgot password loop of a platform. However, it is a good idea to change your passwords regularly—for your social media platforms and similar digital tools—as well as any systems relevant to your business. Consider how a simple security breach, whether it’s somebody guessing your LinkedIn password or accessing protected client information, can damage your company.
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