Tuesday Tips – March 7th, 2017

Alerts

Allianz Raising Rates

Effective March 7th rates are increasing on Allianz’s Life Pro + IUL.  In addition to raising rates Allianz is also eliminating the 1% interest bonus cap and applying the change retroactively to policies dated May 24, 2016 forward.  Call today for additional details.

Equitrust Updated Forms

Effective March 15th Equitrust will require a new source of funds form for all life insurance sales.  The form has been posted to the website and is available currently.

Sales Concept

Post Mortem 1035

PLR 201330016 addresses contract options for inherited IRA’s.  Specifically it found that the beneficiary of a nonqualified annuity became the new owner thus allowing the new owner to 1035 the annuity into a new contract.  For clients looking for an income stream and concerned about taxation can now 1035 the funds into a spia with an exclusion ratio thus spreading their tax liability over a longer time frame.  Call today to request a guide on this concept.

Industry News

DOL Delay

The DOL has recommended a 60 day delay for the implementation of the Fiduciary Rule.  There is a 15 day comment period that started March 2nd in regard to the delay as well the scope of what should be delayed.  At the end of the comment period all comments will be reviewed prior to the official delay.

Hot Rates

Protective Advantage Choice UL

Protective’s Advantage Choice UL is a very competitively priced GUL that offers a variety of customization options.  The product offers an IPO rider that allows the death benefit to be paid out over various time periods thus reducing the cost.  In addition to this the product allows for multiple death benefit guarantee periods and also offers the ExtendCare rider to cover a LTC situation.  Call today for additional details.

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Marketing Corner – 3 Key Ways to Dial In Your Target Market

3 Key Ways to Dial In Your Target Market

Having worked with many advisors and agents, we find that most financial professionals identify their target market through simple constraints, such as age and income. This is certainly understandable because these are two key pieces of information used when generating an illustration and determining possible solutions for a prospect. However, there are many other factors you should consider when targeting clients. Considering these other factors and broadening your approach will help you target better and generate more consistent results in your marketing. Here are three key points to consider when dialing-in your target market.

Multiple Ideal Client Types

There are multiple ideal client types in different kinds of product lines and consumer profiles. Make sure that you have a good grasp of who are looking for in these different categories. Also, think about the common denominator shared by all of these client types that you are looking for.

The Persona Profile

Many companies will develop and target their ideal client by giving a hypothetical prospect an identity, complete with name, age, needs, occupation, hobbies and sometimes a backstory. Developing a “persona profile” can be a good strategy to think of when trying to delve into the psychological identity of a prospect or client type, but you don’t necessarily have to go so far as to develop a whole fictional person. Rather think about your target market beyond “age” and “income” to access a better understanding of who your clients are and what they need. This will help to tailor your specific messages and identify potential client touchpoints.

For instance, let’s say you wish to target retirees, or soon to be retirees. You want to target someone with investable income, a hobby or interest that reflects not only their assets but also quality of life concerns, and a need to protect the sum of their life.

So we have:

Retiree – Concerned about financial planning or is open to a financial planning conversation
Hobbies/Interests – Likes cars and sports

Your message can be placed in specific targeted media, like a car magazine or website, and connect the idea of “running on empty” to their financial plan. This is a simplistic example, but it demonstrates how much further you can reach just by thinking about your client’s hobbies or interests.

Another example:

Let’s say we have someone who his greatly involved in their community and local charities. This person is likely concerned with wealth transfer issues, be it to the groups he or she supports or to their own family.

Mind you, this isn’t radical thinking, but that’s why it matters and why it works. Not only do you expand your idea of a target client beyond age and income, but also you already have a direction in developing and placing your message.

Another reason why thinking about the hobbies and interests of potential clients is helpful is that a person with a passion will likely understand the value of a good financial plan because money will mean more to them than money; it will be the means to access and maintain what is important to them. Individuals generally don’t see money as cold numbers and figures—they see what they can do with it. So getting away from a numbers and figures approach in targeting will make your messages hit harder.

Life Events

In the previous section, we are really discussing using what people do as a means of targeting. You can also use what people experience as a way to access them. This includes the whole arc of a prospect’s life and the financial concerns that someone experiences at each milestone.

A new parent not only has a shift in financial expenses but also a shift in priorities, which makes them a likely candidate for a cash value life insurance policy. A person approaching retirement will have a whole host of concerns and complicated financial needs—from coordinating employer-sponsored benefits and shoring up other retirement assets. This person may also have interest Social Security and estate solutions. A new job, the loss of a job, marriage, the death of a spouse, all of these are major events that have a need for financial services, whether the person experiencing them realizes it.

If you want to increase the ROI on your marketing and produce better results, you need a firm grasp of the market you are going for. The better you understand the variety of your prospects, beyond simple input values such as age and income, the more focused and powerful your marketing will become.

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Tuesday Tips – February 28th, 2017

Alerts

Prudential Reprice

Prudential is repricing their UL Protector. New rates take effect March 6th, in addition to this rates on the Term Essential product line were adjusted 2/27/17. Call today for additional details.

Sagicor Sales Incentive

Sagicor has announced a 3 day sales incentive for March 1st-March 3rd on Sage Choice SPDA applications. Writing agents will receive an additional .50bps commission on applications submitted during this window. Call today for additional details.

Sales Concept

Trust Review

An important question to ask any client you meet with is whether they currently have a will or any trusts. Not only do they give you insight into what the clients goals are but, they also factor into the overall plan that you are putting in place for the client. Available for download is a straightforward guide that discusses the most common types of trusts.

Industry News

AG 49 Guidelines

Beginning March 31st maximum illustrated rates on inforce indexed universal life will be adjusted to comply with actuarial guideline 49. Prior to AG 49 inforce illustrations could be illustrated at current rates but going forward the maximum illustrated rate will be the AG 49 rate.

Hot Rates

Minnesota Life Orion IUL

Minnesota recently introduced the Orion IUL to their product portfolio. The product offers a variety of indexing options including capped and participation rate strategies in multiple index options. In addition to this the product offers numerous riders including chronic illness, high early cash values, and the income protection flex agreement. Call for additional details and state availability.

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Marketing Corner – Writing an Effective Blog Post (Revisited)

Marketing Corner – Friday February 24th, 2017

Writing an Effective Blog Post (Revisited)

Social media and content marketing have dramatically shaped online interactions and consumer relationships. As an advisor and small business owner, you may feel like this type of marketing and branding isn’t relevant to the success of your company. But in truth, it is. Content marketing allows you to reach out to prospects and clients in a unique way, compared to other forms of marketing like direct mail. It is cheap, efficient, and when employed properly, doesn’t require too much of a time commitment.

Here are ten best practices for creating an effective content marketing channel.

Write About Topics That Matter To You
Blogging presents an opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise and present information that reflects your experience and specialty. Writing on topics that you are passionate about will help keep you engaged with this form of content marketing.

Write About Topics That Matter To Your Audience
Knowing what will resonate with your audience is crucial with blogging—really with any kind of marketing. So write about concerns that affect individuals within your target market. What specific retirement or financial planning issues do they think about or should they think about? Discuss these issues and offer basic strategies to solve them.

Be Consistent
Many advisors will start a blog and then get swept up in the duties of running their practice. However, it is very important that you keep a regular schedule, as this will help to build a following and maintain momentum. Make sure to appropriate a portion of your time for blogging and content marketing. Even if you only do so for a few hours every couple of weeks, you should start to see traction as long as you maintain consistency.

Be Professional
Blogs can be used as informal messages from your company to your prospects and clients. Because of this, many people approach blogging very casually. While you do want to present your information in a humorous, perhaps loose tone, you should still create professional content that reflects well on you and your practice.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use “Voice”
One reason blogs can be so great at reaching out to your consumers is that you can present yourself as an actual human being. Establish a voice, speak informally, and break down complicated concepts in easy-to-understand terms. While this may seem to contradict the “Be Professional” point above, the important thing is balance. Don’t shy away from personality, but don’t be sloppy.

Balance Posts with Images and Related Videos
Content with images and short videos generally get more traction than those without. Seek out images and videos that enhance the points you are discussing. Make sure that you give proper attribution to sourced elements or use stock image services. If possible, create your own 1-2 minute short videos to illustrate core concepts within your blog post.

Adhere to Writing Basics
Just because it’s a blog, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t demonstrate quality writing. Use proper grammar, diction, and appropriate tone when publishing your pieces. Break up large chunks of text into easy to read paragraphs. Make sure your piece has an overall purpose. Give your reader a reason to finish the post.

Share/Syndicate Through Other Platforms
Not only should you host your latest post on your website, you should syndicate it through other platforms. Sharing your post on LinkedIn or Facebook can be great at reaching a targeted audience through your connections or specific groups. In addition to these social media platforms, syndicate your content through niche websites or forums.

Respond to Current Events or Other Articles
Draw on current events that may be of importance to your audience. Is there a policy change that may affect your prospects? Are there seasonal topics that may resonate with your audience (e.g. tax-time, life insurance awareness month)? Did you come across an article that illustrates an aspect of financial planning you feel strongly about? Use it as a discussion point. The more you can tie your pieces to current events and other sources, the more they will have immediate relevance and credibility.

Use SEO Tools To Make Your Pieces SEO-Friendly
Creating content on a regular schedule helps to optimize your website’s placement in search engine results. But you should also use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest to find keywords that will boost your SEO ranking.
With SEO keywords a good balance is key. You certainly do not want to ignore keywords that may raise your ranking, but you also do not want to stuff your articles with unnecessary iterations of keywords. The latter may, in fact, hurt your web ranking.

**This post is part of Legacy Financial Partners’ ongoing Marketing Corner, a space that offers advisors short sales ideas, yellow-pad concepts, and alerts to aid advisors in lead conversion, marketing, and client relationship building.

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Tuesday Tips – February 21st, 2017

Alerts

National Western Bonus Incentive

National Western is currently offering a 1% commission bonus on all applications received until March 15th. SPIA’s and the Prevail Seven are excluded from the promotion. Call today for rates and state availability.

Allianz Life Sunsetting Products

Allianz has announced that they will be discontinuing sales of the Masterdex X and Endurance Plus annuities. The discontinuation goes into effect March 31st.

Sales Concept

Tax Offset

Qualified assets are taxable to a beneficiary. One way to ease the burden is to implement a tax offset strategy through the use of life insurance. By solving for the projected IRA balance at transfer a life insurance policy can be purchased equal to that amount in order to pay the income tax on the transfer. Now the tax bill can be paid for pennies on the dollar instead of dollar for dollar. Available for download is a guide on this strategy.

Industry News

Humana Aetna Merger No More

After a federal judge blocked the proposed merger of Humana and Aetna they have announced that they will not proceed with trying to complete the merger.

Hot rates

LSW Flexlife II

LSW’s Flexlife II is a competitive IUL designed for accumulation. The product has S&P annual point to point caps as high as 12.50% along with several other index options. In addition to this the product offers simplified underwriting as well as free chronic illness riders. Call today for additional details.

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Marketing Corner – Four Key Components of a Strong Digital Marketing Campaign

Marketing Corner – Wednesday February 15th, 2017

Four Key Components of a Strong Digital Marketing Campaign

As digital solutions become more and more relevant to financial advisors and agents, you may be interested in your own digital campaigns. This is especially true when you consider how many potential consumers (yes, even Baby Boomers) are engaged in a variety of digital media. From building an email pipeline, to marketing an upcoming event like a seminar, to drawing eyes to your base website, digital marketing campaigns can become a vital part of your business. Here are four components of a strong digital marketing campaign.

Eye-Catching Display Ads

Display ads are available on many digital platforms, such as Google (AdWords), Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. While the actual implementation of ads can be less than intuitive, these platforms generally offer inexpensive entry points for their display PPC campaigns. (We’ll discuss budget below). Your display ads should be eye-catching, relevant, and smooth-looking. There is certainly some difficulty in crafting effective display ads, given how little space you generally have to work with, which is why you may want to run two or three ad variations.

Other tips:

  • Facebook’s display ads will limit you to roughly 20% text in the image, with the idea that supporting text should be placed with the post for the ad.
  • When using AdWords, use three-four common ad sizes (i.e. full width, skyscraper)

A Good Marketing Budget

Many digital marketing solutions are low-cost or even free. You may incur some cost for subscription to a good email service manager or CRM. PPC campaigns will obviously involve some marketing spend. Usually, you’ll be able to set your budget as low or as high as you wish. But given that you bidding against other marketers, you should consider a healthy budget. Just like any budget, you are dealing with both money and time. A $100 spent over ten days will likely get you different results than $100 spent over one or two days. What will be the best budget for your campaign? That will all depend on your objectives and methods. Search campaigns, versus display ads, will often involve higher costs per clicks, since there may be more competition on specific intent keywords. You may wish to passively market, (what we often refer to as ambient marketing) with a low budget spread over a long period of time. You may wish to more aggressively market, with a higher spend in a shorter time (as is common for marketing events or seminars). Use the first few days of your campaign to evaluate and adjust.

A Great Landing Page

Last week we discussed five elements of a strong landing page. The point of a landing page is to provide consumers with a quick snapshot of your services, often built around a give or single topic. So make sure that the landing page incorporates appropriate web design best practices, has strong calls to action, and includes a form-submittal (since, in most cases, you are likely trying to capture consumer information to begin with).

Strong Digital Presence

While many digital campaigns will be built around the display ad to landing page to contact form model, your base website and social media profiles are still very important—especially if you link your base website or build the landing page within your company page. If a consumer is interested in your give—they did click on an ad to get your landing page after all—they will likely research other aspects of your digital presence. This means that your base website is clear, modern, and informative. This means that your social media profiles are claimed, with recent relevant posts and engagement. If your base website is outdated, you may want to overhaul it before committing yourself to a digital campaign. Likewise, if your social media is lacking (or non-existent) you may want to consider ramping up before a campaign.

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Tuesday Tips – February 14th, 2017

Alerts

North American California Products

North American has added several products to be available for sale in the state of California effective Tuesday February 14th. The rereleased products include RetireChoice 10, 14, IncomeChoice 10, Charter Plus 10, Guarantee Choice 3-5. Call today for additional details.

Allianz E Apps

Allianz’s E App, ApplyNow is now available for life insurance applications. E Apps must be completed on Allianz’s website. Call for additional details.

Sales Concept

1040 Overlay

Tax time is right around the corner and presents a great opportunity to help clients reduce taxation of income. While most accountants focus on how to reduce taxes in the current year there are a variety of products and strategies provided by advisors that can help with long term tax planning. LFP is making available 1040 overlays as well as a tax strategy guide that can be used to highlight areas of opportunity and strategies that can help a client reduce taxation on their income.

Industry News

DOL Moves to Delay Fiduciary Rule

The Department of Labor on Friday filed a notice with the OMB to delay implementation of the fiduciary rule. The move came in response to President Trump’s request that the rule be reevaluated. While the length of the delay hasn’t been announced it’s expected to be 180 days.

Hot Rates

Ascent Accumulator 5

Looking for a short term product with high upside potential? The Athene Ascent Accumulator 5 is a 5 year product with annual point to point caps in the S&P as high as 5.25%. In addition to this the product offers several index options including a participation rate strategy as high as 125%. The product also offers a fixed rate of 2.25% and writes to age 85. Call today for additional details.

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Marketing Corner – Five Key Components of A Strong Landing Page

Marketing Corner – Wednesday February 8th, 2017

Five Key Components of A Strong Landing Page

Landing pages are an effective digital marketing tool for capturing information and enticing consumers with a give. But often when advisors try to employ a landing page strategy, they misunderstand the purpose of these mini-sites. To help, here are five components of a killer landing page.

Focused Around A Single Topic, Message, or Give

One of the biggest mistakes advisors use when employing landing pages is trying to make them do too much. Ideally, a landing page website is a one or two-page website built around a single topic. It can have links or resources, so long as they relate to the main topic—but otherwise, everything about the site should inspire a consumer to submit contact information. So if you are marketing around a complimentary annuity rate report, the content on the webpage should focus on annuities, even if you have aptitude and abilities in other areas of financial planning.

Clear Layout With Easy To Read Text

The point of a landing page is to offer information or gives in a clear and uncluttered way. This means that the layout of your page should be as simple as possible. The copy text will likely be bigger than you would have on a base website since you have more space to fill and you want your key points to stand out. Use strong headlines to reinforce the purpose or value proposition of the landing page.

Strong Calls To Action

If your objective is to capture consumer information, make sure the calls to action are strong. This means that buttons and button text stand out, submission forms are clear and welcoming, and the give is actually something a consumer in your target market will want.

Succinct and Relevant Copy

The art of good copy on a landing page can be a tricky one to master. On the one hand, you want to offer educational information that gives consumers helpful details to make informed decisions. On the other hand, you want them to call, email, or submit a form. So a balance needs to be struck between non-sales education information and sales-like calls to action/value proposition. And this is something you have to do with a very low word count, often in the 150-300 word count range. But it is possible if you keep coming back to the main purpose of your landing page

Branding

While there may be some situations where you’ll want to keep the landing page separate from your base brand identity, having links, logos, and contact information for your main digital properties can inspire confidence in your consumers. This may also serve to attract individuals that may not be interested in the landing page topic but are responsive to other services you highlight on your main page.

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Tuesday Tips – February 7th, 2017

Alerts

F&G MYGA Special

Effective February 6th F&G is offering a 3.10% rate on their Guarantee-Platinum 5 year MYGA.  All applications must be E apps.  Call today for additional details and state availability.

Allianz Increase

Effective February 7th Allianz is increasing guarantees on features of several products.  The increases impact bonuses as well as income rider options.  For applications signed February 7th or later new statements of understanding will need to be used.  Call today for additional details.

Sales Concept

Policy Stacking With Chronic Illness Riders

Policy stacking utilizing permanent life insurance with a return of premium option can be an effective way to help a client obtain a higher amount of life insurance coverage during their working years and then reduce the amount of coverage they have as their needs change in retirement.  This strategy can be enhanced even further through the use of a policy that has a chronic or LTC rider attached to it.  Call today for additional details.

Industry News

DOL Rule in Limbo

On Friday February 3rd President Trump signed an executive order reviewing the implementation of the DOL Rule.  President Trump has requested that a complete review be done of the rule and that if it was found to increase costs to consumers then it would need to be modified or thrown out.

Hot Rates

Allianz Life Pro +

Allianz offers a very competitive FIUL.  The product offers multiple index options and has annual point to point caps as high as 12.25%.  In addition to this the product also offers a chronic illness rider as well as an optional term rider.  Call today for additional details and state availability.

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Marketing Corner – 5 Reasons Your Website Is Turning Away Consumers

Marketing Corner – Wednesday February 1st, 2017

5 Reasons Your Website Is Turning Away Consumers

You already know just how important a website is to your business. But most advisors, if they have a website, use it as a digital business card, and not a central hub to engage consumers. A good website works as both a passive and active marketing tool—consumers can stumble across your digital properties and get a sense of your value (passive) and they can be driven to the site by direct means such as content syndication, display advertising, and email marketing (active).

Think about websites that you visit—what inspires confidence in the services and expertise promised? What takes you, the advisor, from casual visitor to client? While you likely want to focus more on the activities that you are great at—engaging consumers face-to-face, belly-to-belly, in the field—you should appreciate how a good website is utterly critical for the success of your business.

Here are five reasons your website is turning away consumers.

You Don’t Have Fresh, Relevant Content

Every good website will have some element of a content marketing strategy. Consumers need to have a clear understanding of the services you provide and why you, off all firms, are right for them. But content should go beyond static product/services pages—there should be a pipeline of new, current content that gets placed on your site. This helps for a number of reasons. One, since fresh content is a ranking signal for many search engines, a regular stream of content can help with SEO, often with minimal effort. Two, it demonstrates your competency and expertise across many areas of financial planning. Three, related to the second point, relevant content across multiple topics opens you to a variety of consumers.

Your Website Is Poorly Designed

There are some areas of design that are subjective and tied to taste. However, your website should have some basics covered, such as:

• Logical root/page structure
• Pleasing (not distracting) color scheme
• Modern and professional fonts (no Papyrus, no Comic Sans, etc.)
• Clear and easy to read text (remember that many of your consumers are Boomers/Seniors)
• Responsiveness, meaning the site looks good on desktops as well as tablets and mobile devices
• Appropriately sized pictures, logos, and banners (not pixelated)
• Easy to find contact information

Your Website Is Too Salesy

A pinch of sales language isn’t a terrible thing to have on your website, but if your home page looks like a penny-saver ad for a used-car lot, you are going to turn off a lot of people seeking an experienced financial professional. Don’t be afraid to clearly and confidently state your value proposition, but be sure to back it up with friendly, professional, and educational content.

Your Website Lacks A Personal Touch

A personal touch can go a long way in separating you from your competitors and conveying a human approach to financial planning. Without going overboard (no one needs to see a thousand photos of your grandchild or dog) include photos/headshots of you and your family. Show your office. Incorporate visuals specific to your area.

Your Website is Outdated

Here “outdated” applies to a couple areas of your website.

Content
Your bio/about us should reflect up to date information, meaning that if you have been in the business since 2002, and you state that your firm has nearly a decade’s worth of experience, you are missing some years that can lend greater credibility. If your content references policies and procedures that have been since updated, you will not be seen as a valuable resource.

Web Design
Outdated web design includes elements or styles that are no longer current (clip art, 90s era graphics, 90s era layout) and platforms and hosting that don’t match with modern web standards (responsiveness, back-end elements, etc.).

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