Marketing Corner – August 5th, 2015

Your Insurance Marketing Plan

You may have a loose collection of goals, ideas, and initiatives for you and your agency. But do you actually have a marketing plan written down—a document that holds you and your employees accountable?

A marketing plan is a lot like a business plan. It organizes many aspects of your business and projects forward to specific, achievable goals. You can think of a marketing plan as part of your overall business plan or as something that dovetails with your business plan. However you think of it, having a written catalog of marketing goals is particularly helpful in charting the growth of your practice.

It may seem like unnecessary homework, especially when you have many operational, day-to-day duties. But dedicate some time to consider at length your marketing plan. Draw on input and feedback from all your employees and draft a document that can be shared among relevant parties.

Here is a simple five-step process for creating an insurance marketing plan.

Step 1: Assess Current State of Business

Using metrics and feedback, assess how your company is growing. Consider what’s working and what isn’t. Compare metrics to previous months and years. Get an overall sense of how the company is situated.  Is there a particular market that you are seeing more business from? Less?

Step 2: List/Brainstorm Goals

Consider your main goals for the next coming months and years. Identify them by timeframe, i.e. “in two months, I’d like to see this much growth,” “by next year I want small businesses as clients as well as individuals,” “in eighteen months, we need to see a 200 percent increase in revenue.” Obviously your goals will be unique to you and your practice, but don’t be afraid to list out everything you want and what you think is reasonably achievable.  Once you have your list of goals, prioritize them and plot them on their respective timeframes.

Step 3: Identify Specific and Non-Specific Goals

From list, separate your goals into specific and non-specific categories. When we ask agents what they want for their business, many initially offer non-specific goals like “I’d like to see growth,” or “I want to get more appointments,” or “I’d like to convert more leads.” Non-specific goals can be good for the broad trajectory of your business, but being more specific will help you figure out how to achieve short-term goals.

For instance, let’s say you did $500,000 in production last year. You might say, “I’d like to see if I can do a million even.” Depending on your area and specialty, this may or may not be a reasonable goal, but at least it is specific, with quantifiable and measurable metrics.

Here are some non-specific goals with their specific equivalents:


Non-Specific Specific
“I’d like to see more business by the end of the year.” “In the last half of 2014 we did $250,000 in production from twelve clients. For the last half of this year, let’s see if we can do $400,000 in production from 15-20 clients.”

“I want to do more digital branding and marketing.”

“We should have an interactive consumer-facing website in the next two months and implement an email drip campaign.”
“I want more big fish clients.” “Let’s target pre-retiree doctors and try to convert ten to clients by the end of the year.”


Non-specific goals are not always bad. They can provide you a sense of your company’s big picture and provide direction for your various specific goals.

Step 4: Identify Your Target Market(s)

Every business should have an idea of who is buying from them and who they want buying from them. A large retailer or restaurant wants anybody and everybody to shop from them, but they also know based on experience and purchase habits, who is coming to their stores. They are fine with a large number of small-to-medium sized purchases, but they obviously want as many big purchases as they can get.

Likewise, you as an insurance agent or financial advisor might want anybody (usually meeting an income threshold) who can benefit from your services. So if you think that your target market is anybody, you will get anybody—which could be a hodge-podge of leads and prospects that burn before you can convert them or might be a steady stream of small fish clients that keep your business afloat without significant growth. This type of business is good and well—it’s where the majority of business likely comes from and it’s important to not ignore it.

But if you can target specific market types while you conduct everyday business you will be positioned for growth. Going back to step 1, where you assessed the state of your business, think again about the client types you already work with. Where does the majority of your business come from? What are things you can do to enhance production from this segment of your business? What are potential client types to pursue harder? Profile your target clients. For example:


Client Type: Pre-Retiree Doctors

Income Threshold: 80,000 per year

How Many Current Clients: 5

How Many Brought On Last Year: 2

Goal For This Year: 4

Client Type: Mid-Level Professional

Income Threshold: 60,000 per year

How Many Current Clients: 18

How Many Brought on Last Year: 7

Goal For This Year: 12


Step 5: The How (Matching Marketing Solutions To Target Markets and Goals)

This step is where you begin to think about marketing solutions to go after your target markets and specific goals. Obviously with any new business initiative, cost will always be a deciding factor. The one thing we’ve found working with our agents is that not one single strategy will work; rather, it is a mix of targeted strategies that grow brand awareness and bring in more prospects.

When thinking about marketing solutions consider:

Appropriateness for target market

The senior market may be less receptive to digital marketing and a younger market may not be receptive to direct mail

Cost and ease of implementation

Digital solutions like social media, email, and web campaigns, may be relatively cost-effective for a broader audience. But more expensive solutions like workshops may be what pull in higher-end clients

Metrics and Logs

What kind of measurements will you use to track your marketing campaign? Digital marketing is great because platforms like social media and e-blasts provide easy ways to track response rates.


Once you have followed through on your marketing plan examine what worked and what didn’t. Then you go back to Step 1. While your overall, non-specific goals for the business may not change, your specific ones can and should. A good marketing plan is not only a document to chart the future of your company and keep you accountable, it is a living document that changes and grows as you do.

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Tuesday Tips – August 4th, 2015


Minnesota Life Product Change

In addition to the change in illustrate rates that will take affect for IUL’s September 1st of this year Minnesota Life is making an additional change to their IUL portfolio. They will now no longer allow participating loans in the first 5 years of the policy. This change will take affect August 22nd. Call for additional details.

Athene Target Horizon Series

Athene has announced changes to the Target Horizon 10 and 15 indexed annuity products. Changes include a reduction in bonus, increase in caps, and increase in lifetime income payouts. In addition the products will be sunset in a few states as well. Changes will take affect Augus 7th. Call for additional details and state availability.

Sales Opportunity

Sales Contest

Legacy Financial has launched a sales contest that will run from August 1st through September 30th. There will be prizes for qualifying as well as for most premium submitted and most applications submitted. The top prizes are 2 regular season tickets to any sporting event up to $1,000.00 or 2 roundtrip airline tickets up to $1,000.00 value. Call today for additional details.
Rules and Guidelines

Industry News

Fed Outlook

The Federal Reserve has slightly upgraded is economic outlook although no mention was made in regard to increasing interest rates.

Hot Rates

Forethought Launches New Products

Forethought has launched 2 new fixed index annuities. The ForeFreedom Savers is designed for accumulation and offers 5 different crediting strategies. The product is on a 10 year chassis and offers free withdrawals starting in year 2. The ForeSpending Select on the other hand is designed for income distribution and offers multiple options depending on a clients scenario. The client can elect to get a 7% premium bonus and guaranteed income or waive the premium bonus in favor of higher caps and increased income payout factors. Call today for additional details and state availability.

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Tuesday Tips – July 28th, 2015


Actuarial Guideline 49

If you sell indexed universal life insurance you’ve probably heard some rumblings about this. Effective September 1, 2015 there will be new guidelines in regard to illustrated rates on indexed universal life insurance quotes. This will affect all carriers, the good news is that this should have no impact on our advisors as we always run these illustrations at less than historical rates. We will be putting out a more detailed report on this in the near future once we have new rates from all of the carriers.

Athene Contracting Change

In an effort to consolidate their product offerings Athene is cancelling it’s Athene DE product line and also terminating all agent contracts. Moving forward all products will be offered through the Athene IA line. This takes affect August 7 if you have questions or would like additional information just let us know.

Sales Opportunity

College Saving

As summer begins to wind down and the new school year rapidly approaches it can be a good time to discuss college planning for children. The cost of college is increasing exponentially and having funds set aside for a child puts them in a position to have more options in selecting a school. Contact us today about our college savings program that includes marketing collateral, sales presentations, and prospecting materials.

Industry News

The Future Of Income Riders

In 2016 insurance carriers will be using new mortality tables for pricing out GMWB riders. Longer life expectancies mean longer payout periods, which means rates and payout factors will most likely remain flat or decrease next year. Now is a good time to start revisiting the accumulation story with FIA’s and the power of annual reset.

Hot Rates

F&G Retirement Pro

F&G has introduced a competitive ne FIA designed for income. The product has a 12 year surrender period and offers a 7% bonus in most states. The unique twist with this product is that it doesn’t have a set rollup rate instead interest credits based off the returns of the index are applied to the income account value. With annual point to point caps as high as 13% and monthly point to point caps of 4.5% the product has the potential to generate a significant amount of income. Call today for details and state availability.

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Tuesday Tips – July 21st, 2015


Equitrust Rate Increase

Equitrust has announced a rate increase effective today on their Certainty Select MYGA series. All applications dated 7/21 will receive the increased rates. Call today for product information and state availability.

American Equity Adjusting Rates

American Equity has announced that effective July 30th they will be making adjustments to the joint and single payout factors on their LIBR. With the exception of the LIBR attached to the choice series most single payout factors will decrease while most joint payouts will increase. Call today for additional details.

Sales Opportunity

Retirement Expectations

Many consumers have a general idea of when they want to retire and what they want retirement to look like. Unfortunately many times they vision they have in their head is completely different than what retirement will look like. Available for download is a great paper discussing life expectancy and the right retirement age.

Industry News


If you haven’t heard Aetna has purchased Humana for a sales price of $37 billion in cash and stock. It will be interesting to see how long it will take to merge the two firms and if it will ultimately help to lower health care costs.

Hot Rates

American Equity Choice 6

American Equity’s Choice 6 FIA is a great short term product that offers competitive accumulation. The product has a 6 year decreasing surrender charge and boasts caps as high as 4.5%. In addition to this the product offers 10% free withdrawals starting in year 2. Call today for details.

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Tuesday Tips – July 14th, 2015


Voya Increasing Rates

Voya has announced another rate increase that takes effect this week.  Rate increases have been applied to all products and annual point to point caps up to 7.75% are available.  Call today for rates and state availability.

F&G Increasing Rates

F&G has announced that it will be increasing the vesting bonus on the Prosperity Elite 10 and 14 by 1%.  In addition to this the rollup rate will be increased by .25bps.  Call today for details and state availability.

Sales Opportunity

Consistent Referrals

There is no question that a referral or introduction will produce the best prospect.  The challenge is generating referrals on a consistent basis.  We have put together a referral guide that discusses best practices for obtaining referrals as well as a referral script.  It is available for download or you can call and request it.

Industry News

LTC Periods

In a recent survey the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance found that just under half of all consumers who purchase LTC select a 3 year benefit period.  This is an increase from 31% in 2012.  The main determining factor was trying to reduce premium cost as rates continue to increase.

Hot Rates

National Western Single premium

National Western has a very competitive single premium simplified issue indexed life product called the Lifetime Returns Select.  The product is designed for both accumulation and liquidity.  It boasts annual point to point caps up to 6.25% and offers 10% free withdrawals starting in year 2.  In addition to this it also provides additional liquidity for terminal or chronic illness.  Call today for details.

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Tuesday Tips – July 7th, 2015


North American Rate Change

North American will be changing rates on several products effective July 21. Products affected include RetireChoice, IncomeChoice, Charter, Precision, and Performance Choice. There are several states that won’t have a change in rates. Call today for details.

AIG Conversion Option

For a limited time AIG is allowing existing term insurance policyholders to improve their rate class at the time of conversion. If a client has a policy that is table rated up to a table 3 they can convert to a permanent AIG product and get automatically upgraded to a standard rate class without any underwriting. Call today for details.

Sales Opportunity

Social Media Engagement

Linkedin can be a powerful tool to not only build your brand but, to also get consumers to engage and become clients. The challenge for most advisors is that they aren’t quite sure where to start. Available for download is our Linkedin guide with simple steps and templates that will get consumers to engage with you.

Industry News

Value of An Advisor

A recent Greenwald & Associates poll found that only 25% of investors are drawn to using an online or robo advisor. Most consumers value the face to face interaction with an advisor. With that being said 71% of consumers begin their research on annuities, investments, etc. online. Are they finding you?

Hot Rates

American Equity Choice 10

American Equity’s Choice 10 fixed index annuity is a great option for clients looking for accumulation. The product is on a 10 year chassis and offers caps as high as 5%. The product also offers multiple optional income riders. Call today for details and state availability.

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Marketing Corner – June 25th, 2015

5 Best Practices for Consumer Engagement on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform for many reasons. It has a reputation as serious hub for business professional and companies—less Internet fluff than you might find on other social networks. The design and functionality of LinkedIn makes it great for longer posts and consumer interaction. Participation in groups can expose others you your expertise and services. However, as great as LinkedIn can be, many professionals, especially advisors and agents, fail to take full advantage of the platform. Here are five simple, actionable things agents and advisors can do to maintain consumer engagement on LinkedIn.

Post Relevant Content Regularly

As a dynamic and fluid platform, LinkedIn has the potential to be more than your online resume or business card. With the “Post” feature, you have the opportunity to present relevant and targeted content that will showcase your expertise and educate potential clients. These posts will show up in the feeds of your connections and be collected on your profile under the “Posts” sub-section. It is it critical that your content resonates with your target market and that you post on a regular schedule.

Request Connections / Send Messages

It is important to continually build your connection network, but LinkedIn, unlike many other social networks, discourages blindly connecting with individuals. So if you come across what seems like a potential client and you want to connect, make sure you include a message that explains why you want this person in your network. Be sincere, honest, and direct. Avoid being spammy.

Send “Thank You” Messages When You Make A New Connection

If someone accepts your connection, or even better, connects with you first, make sure to issue a message thanking them. This will reinforce that you are indeed a trusted professional and not some marketing hack sweeping up connections. This is also an opportunity to ask leading questions and find out more about this person—to see if they may need your services. So if this is an individual that accepted your initial contact, offer further explanations of what you do and let them know that if they need help now or at some point in the future, to seek you out. If this is an individual that initiated contact with you, after thanking them, ask something along the lines of how do they think you can help them. Either way, be professional and get the conversation started.

Personalize All Communication

As with all web engagement with potential consumers, it is best to personalize your LinkedIn communications. This adds a touch of familiarity while still remaining professional. Use templates if you must, but make sure that subject lines, greetings, and closings are personalized to the recipient.

Respond in A Timely Manner

If you are looking to build your brand and gather leads through LinkedIn, then treat all of your connections and engagements as leads. It can be easy with your day-to-day tasks to put off responding to an inmail or a comment. But the value of your interaction dwindles the longer you wait to respond (think of the old marketing saying “the lead dies a bit every day”). Keep your notifications on, keep LinkedIn up on your browser, or do whatever will keep you positioned to respond quickly. You should also appropriate a portion of the day or week to exclusively prospect.

There are certainly other actions you can take to maximize your LinkedIn activity, but the most important thing is to see your LinkedIn profile as both necessary and active. Don’t let your web presence become static, especially if you are looking to drive consumers to your services.

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Tuesday Tips – June 24th, 2015


Equitrust Rate and Commision Increase

Effectively immediately Equitrust has increased rates on several products. In addition they are offering 1% increase in compensation for their market value FIA. Call today for details and state availability.

VOYA Comp Increase

Over the last few weeks VOYA has been increasing rates on their portfolio of indexed annuities. They’ve now taken it a step further and increased compensation on several of those products by up to .70bps. Call today for details.

Sales Opportunity

Sales Strategies

North American has just launched a new marketing microsite that has a host of information on sales concepts and prospecting. In addition to this it has a number of marketing pieces available for use with the sales concepts. It’s definitely worth spending some time on. I’ve included a link to the site.

Industry News

LSW Suspends Section 79 Sales

Effective as of today LSW is suspending all sales for section 79 plans. Over the last few months there have been several carriers that have dropped sales of these plans from their business model. One reason for this is that the IRS is currently auditing a number of these plans and there is quite a bit of uncertainty around what the IRS’s view will be on the use of cash building life insurance inside of a section 79 plan.

Hot Rates

Legacy AdvanceMark

The AdvanceMark by Legacy offers a 7% premium bonus on a 10 year chassis. The product also offers competitive caps and a compound roll up at 6.5%. It also writes to age 85 and has a competitive street level comp of 7.5%. Call today for details.

2015 Annuity Marketing Kit


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Tuesday Tips – June 17th, 2015


Voya Increasing Rates

Voya has announced rate increases on their FIA product line effective June 17. Call today for updated rates and state availability.

LSW Rate Changes

LSW has announced multiple rate changes on their life insurance portfolio. While some indices will have lower rates others will be increased. Call today for details.

Sales Opportunity

What Do You Want Retirement To Look Like?

The answer is different for everyone . Getting a prospect to open up about their goals and concerns can be a challenging task. Attached is a retirement guide full of probing questions, questionnaires, and compelling statistics and charts to help guide a client to take action.

Industry News

Cost of Life Insurance

One of the main objections to purchasing life insurance is the cost. Yet according to a 2015 Insurance Barometer Study 80% of Americans overestimate the cost of life insurance.

Hot Rates

Athene Performance Elite

Athene just launched it’s Performance Elite indexed annuity series. The products are on 10 and 15 year chassis’s with the 15 year product offering an immediate 12% bonus. In addition to this the product offers competitive caps, a return of premium feature, and competitive liquidity. Call today for details and state availability.

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Marketing Corner – June 11th, 2015

Reaching Across Generations

Advisors focus much effort on prospecting and marketing to new clients. While you should absolutely maintain a steady stream of new faces, there are several opportunities for you to grow based on the individuals you already work with. Referral sourcing is one way. Another way—and one greatly underexplored—is generational service, that is, retaining assets when a spouse of a client dies and taking on their children when both parents die.

At the death of a spouse, a financial advisor retains the living spouse about 50% of the time. Once the other spouse dies, the advisor retains the assets only 2% of the time. [SOURCE]. This may seem like a significant challenge to maintaining generational clients, especially with retention up the family tree dropping so severely. However this is still a good opportunity because there are a few very simple and actionable things you can do to increase the likelihood of generational retention.

Know Your Clients (And Their Families) Well

The easiest way to create a lasting relationship with multiple generations of a family is to be an important part of their lives. This is not to say you should invite yourself over to family reunions or holiday gatherings, but learn about your client’s family and demonstrate your interest in their lives, beyond finances. Keep attuned to life events and reach out appropriately.

Create Strong Relationships With Both Spouses

Even in dual income households, there will typically still be one spouse responsible for financial concerns. You will probably spend most of your time with this spouse, especially after you establish a financial plan and are in maintenance mode on that plan. Follow-ups and check-ins will likely route through this spouse. This creates a problem when this individual dies, as you now have a limited relationship with the surviving spouse.

Instead of dealing with one spouse, suggest participation from both spouses and issue communications (calls, emails, follow-up letters) to both parties. Make sure the secondary spouse feels included throughout the whole financial process, eliciting responses and opinions from them. Certainly couples do not always agree about money, but with your knowledge, care, and expertise, you can also act as mediator between disagreements. Remember that you are helping them to achieve their financial goals.

Likewise, if there are legacy planning concerns, include the adult children so that they know who you are and what their parent’s wishes are for the assets. This will not only clarify what the assets are, it will serve to mitigate any infighting between the children once the estate is divvied up. Plus the adult children have been introduced to someone their parents trusted with their financial planning and thus are more likely to entrust you with product solutions once the assets are transferred to them.

Retaining the Next Generation

The next generation down from your boomer clients will probably fit within the Gen Y/Millennial demographic. You might assume that this generation has different priorities regarding finance and quality of life. However, it might surprise you that, by and large, they want much of what the previous generation wanted. Millennials, saddled with student debt and faced with a volatile economy, are concerned with financial plans and retirement resources, which for you presents a great opportunity, especially if you already have a family relationship with them.

Although the next generation down values the core aspects of retirement planning (or at least worries about retirement), Millennials do have different communication styles and unique experiences that shape their behaviors and attitudes. This generation is very savvy digitally and appreciates more informal or semi-formal interactions.

So while succeeding with the adult children of your boomer clients may require an adjustment in presentation and communication style, their financial needs and wants are roughly the same as their parents.

Ultimately retaining several generations of a family comes down to you doing what you do best: having great interactions (with the whole family), providing excellent service and solutions, and attuning yourself the unique client you are dealing with.

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