Thanks to a calendar full of finance and retirement-related awareness campaigns, agents and advisors are rarely short on reasons to reach out to consumers. Most of you have probably taken advantage of the resources made available by Life Happens for September’s Life Insurance Awareness Month. April and October, both recognized as CD Renewal months, offer two chances to discuss products that might serve clients’ needs better than a Certificate of Deposit.
As May comes to a close, so too does Disability Insurance Awareness Month (covered in a recent edition of Marketing Corner). Fortunately, you don’t have to wait long for the next round. June is designated as Annuity Awareness Month, a campaign that serves to educate consumers on, you guessed it, annuities. Use this time to start the conversation with clients and prospects about how an annuity might help their retirement goals.
Two big features they might find appealing are 1) The ability to accumulate tax-deferred cash value (as with fixed and fixed indexed annuities); and 2) The ability to trigger a source of income that cannot be outlived (as with a lifetime income rider).
Of course, some consumers may not even be familiar with the fundamental structure of an annuity. So successfully selling a prospect on an annuity can depend on educating them on the basics and clearly illustrating how an annuity product can fit within their retirement goals. However, you need to make the connection before starting the conversation. Try these simple engagement tips to reach more consumers during Annuity Awareness Month.
Social Media marketing is an absolute necessity for agents and advisors. So, it makes sense that a good portion of your Annuity Awareness Month efforts take place on social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. One of the most effective ways to do so is by sharing articles that cover the ins and outs of how annuities work. Ideally, at least a few of these articles will be original content posted to your blog/website. But any well-written, consumer-facing pieces will work if they catch the consumer’s attention. When crafting your posts, use relevant hashtags to help boost engagement. A few trending this month include:
Take a quick look at your email distribution list. Do you have a segment of subscribers who have previously expressed interest in annuities? Or maybe you already have a drip campaign going for those prospects. Now is the time to crank up the volume on those campaigns just a bit. While you should avoid overdoing the email blasts, an extra message this month might be enough to get a few prospects to pick up the phone. Make sure to use personalization and a strong call-to-action to make the email a little more enticing. Additionally, those of you who blast out a monthly newsletter should definitely focus on annuity education this month.
Pick Up the Phone
Calling existing clients or even prospects who might be close to conversion is perhaps the most straight-forward and personal way to get them thinking about annuities. Start with clients who are due for a policy review or any you might need to catch up with. From there, work through your list and strike up a conversation. This is much more time consuming than other marketing efforts, but it never hurts to reach out and say hello to your valued clients anyway, right? Even if they aren’t interested in annuities, this is your opportunity to chat about other products that might match their current needs.
Whitepapers, fact sheets, presentations, and other consumer-facing materials can all be very powerful and effective marketing tools. These resources are a great visual aid and, oftentimes, help consumers better understand how an annuity can benefit their situation. Emails and social media posts that offer free downloadable resources are not only more engaging, they drive traffic to your website and can be a great way to get their contact information. Customizing these materials to your brand and business is a subtle, yet effective way to boost your credibility and professionalism in the eyes of a potential client.
If you need access to updated and comprehensive annuity marketing resources, we can help. Our complimentary 2019 Annuity Awareness Month Sales Kit includes:
Annuity Basics Guide
Annuity Slide Presentation
2019 Quick Tax Guide
2019 Annual Tax Equivalent Tax Yields
CD Alternative V. Split Annuity Concept Sheet
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The Value of Lead Magnets
Every business needs a stream of qualified leads. For financial advisors this is a unique challenge. While a neighborhood bakery, autoshop, or boutique clothing store provides tangible goods and services, the benefits of working with a financial advisor may not be as instantly gratifying. Many consumers only seek out financial advisors when there’s a pressing need, meaning it’s often too late to properly address the issue. One way to address this is to incorporate lead magnets into your marketing plan.
What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is anything that drives a consumer to a specific action. You can think of it similar to a call-to-action or a give. What a lead magnet does is attract consumers with a tangible offer or unique experience. This is often thought of in terms of digital marketing. For example, a consumer responds to a digital ad, routing them to a landing page which has a form submittal to receive a complimentary kit, rate report, or retirement analysis. There are many different versions of this structure and advisors can implement a digital lead magnet system to reach many types of consumers.
While it’s good to focus on the digital, lead magnets can be very effective in traditional formats. For instance, we’ve seen success with agents offering a free round of golf or a free tennis lesson. Instead of (or in addition to) using digital ads to promote this offer, the agent places a high-quality, eye-catching ad at the target venue. This can, to an extent, pre-qualify the audience, based on the venue where the ad is placed . The consumer gets a unique experience of value and is able to learn more about you in a casual, low-pressure manner. Another benefit is that you can build a relationship with the venue, which can open you to business owners and advocates.
What Makes a Good Lead Magnet?
A good lead magnet:
Offers an experience or product of real value
A rate report or retirement analysis represents a real value for your time and expertise. For some consumers, this may be enough. But to really attract high-value consumers, offer something that is immediately gratifying.
Is pitched toward a specific target market
You can use a lead magnet any number of ways, which is why you should have a clear idea of the type of consumer you wish to attract.
Gives you an opportunity to interact with the consumer
Dangling out an Outback gift-card for an introductory phone call at best gives you an impersonal interaction with a consumer and at worse attracts plate-lickers. If your lead magnet involves an experience like a lesson with a golf pro, this is an event that you and the consumer can share together. This gives you opportunities to interact with the consumer and for them to get a sense of you.
Aligns you with businesses that support you and your efforts
Since you are likely to use another business’ products or services as a carrot to attract consumers, it’s important to develop a good relationship with the business. As mentioned above, this can gain you advocates and access to business planning opportunities. On a smaller level, however, having a good relationship ensures that you are able to continue to use the business for your lead magnet. Make sure that the relationship is mutually beneficial.
Newest Competitive SPIUL
Marketing Corner – Wednesday June 29th, 2016
6 Key Challenges Advisors Face Today
Advisors and Agents face many challenges throughout their career. From establishing a practice, building a client base, marketing, and dealing with downturns, the zigs and zags of an agent’s career can be erratic. Here are six key challenges advisors face today.
Shifting Demographics and Client Bases
America is on the cusp of the largest transfer of generational wealth, ever. Over the next 30 years, some $30 trillion will be transferred from Boomers to Gen-Xers and Millennials. That’s a pretty good opportunity for advisors, except for two things:
Nearly 66% of children release their parent’s advisor
Most advisors only focus on a particular age segment
Retaining clients across familial generations requires skill. Although there is no such thing as “easy money,” focusing only on Boomers does simplify your practice. You are able to understand the key needs of this population segment and positions to continually enhance your expertise. But doing this cuts you off from the next wave, which is going to arrive sooner than you think. Some demarcations put the outer edge of Gen-Xers around 1960, which means that in five-ten years, these will be the new Boomers. Plus many Gen-Xers and Millennials (yes, Millennials) represent planning opportunities now. Take some time understand the key issues facing each generation and expand your target market.
Marketing and Prospecting
Marketing and prospecting will always be a challenge in any business. Financial advisors are in especially prone position, however, when it comes to generating leads and converting new clients, since the service they provide is not a tangible object and often involves long time-frames. As generations shift, so too does the effective means to reach new clients. This is where having an array of marketing solutions is helpful. While you may have one core marketing activity (seminars, social media, referrals, etc.) having many different marketing tools will help you adapt to changing target markets. It’s not digital versus traditional or push versus pull marketing. It’s digital and traditional, push and pull marketing.
One immediate challenge facing the financial service industry at large is the DOL fiduciary rule. While advisors can expound endlessly on the potential impact of this rule, it does raise some concerns about regulation in general and the changing perceptions of what it is financial professionals actually do. We’ll see how this change plays out before full implementation (already there are many lawsuits set to argue against the rule) but it points to the importance of staying abreast of industry-wide changes and being diversified in your offerings.
Balancing Being A Good Advisor and A Good Businessperson
A good advisor provides custom-tailored service and excellent care. A good businessperson understands the true cost of profit and has a vision for the company on several different time scales. The challenge many advisors have is that they have to be both a good advisor and a good businessperson. Independent advisors may pull enough in production to hire a support staff, but the responsibilities of dealing with consumers and protecting the business’s growth fall squarely on their shoulders. Time spent as an advisor can take away time needed to ensure business needs are met. Time focused on the numbers takes away from time that could be spent with consumers, which at the end of the day, helps support the vision of the business.
How do you balance this? It may help to establish a distinct marketing and business plan periodically. You may also wish to align with another producer or agency. Or you might seek out a FMO to handle marketing and back office tasks, as well as help shape the scope of your business. However you do it, never forget that you are a business owner and need time to focus on business needs as much as client needs.
The market is unpredictable. While there are best practices, solutions, and strategies that work within and outside the market, the market still casts a large shadow over financial services. Market volatility presents a challenge to advisors in a few interesting ways. Advisors need to have some idea of how products and solutions will perform in the ecosystem of the stock market. Consumers, watching key stock figures and measurements, come armed with their own perceptions, fears, and concerns. This can lead to behavioral finance biases. While you can’t control the market, you can help people address their specific needs. Having a good understanding of consumers’ biases and issues can go a long way to selling your market-tough solutions.
Generalization v. Specialization
The problem many professionals face is to generalize or specialize. This is true of doctors, lawyers, and certainly financial advisors. If you are too generalized, you may miss opportunities to land advance-market, high net-worth clients. If you are too specialized, you may be vulnerable to changes with your specialty and target market. One possible approach for success is similar to the point we made about marketing: have one core offering, with an array of other offerings. This will allow you to go after niche clients, with a sustaining set of services.
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Updated North American Allocation Forms
North American has updated their annuity allocation forms for several products. Call today to get updated forms for your application packets.
Annuity Awareness Month
June is Annuity Awareness Month and LFP has a wealth of resources available to help market to and educate prospects and clients about the benefits of annuities. Call today to learn how we can help.
Do you think about money the same way your parents did? Probably not, every generation has its different nuances whether it’s in regard to saving or in how they interact with various forms of marketing. Available for download is our Multi Generational Marketing Guide which discusses each generation and how to effectively market to them.
Life Insurance Sales
A recent survey found that 52% of advisors don’t feel like they’ve had success with life insurance advice. Identifying the right prospect, uncovering the need, and framing the solution are all key components to making your life insurance sales soar. LFP has resources and training available that address these 3 key areas and will make you a life insurance rock star. Call today for additional details.
Allianz Life Pro +
Allianz recently revamped their Life Pro + IUL and has rolled out several enhancements. Costs were lowered and the option for a convertible term rider was added. In addition to this a 15% interest rate bonus was added to the product starting in year 11. Currently the product offers some of the highest cash accumulation and income streams in the IUL space. Call us today for additional details.
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F&G MYGA Rate Special Begins
For a limited time F & G is offering a 3.15% rate on their 5 year MYGA. Applications must be done electronically. Call today for additional details and to make sure you are up to date on product training.
Great American Rate Decrease
Great American is reducing rates on the Safe Return and American Valor 10 effective today. Call today to request an updated rate guide.
Many advisors are wary of the summer. The summer can be a down period for an advisor that hasn’t planned properly. In response to this we have made our summer slump sales kit available for download on our website. The kit has over 20 low or no cost ideas to help improve your marketing during the summer months. Call for additional details.
A recent article by the Motley Fool revealed 5 interesting statistics about boomers facing retirement
1. 59% rely heavily on social security
2. 45% have no retirement savings
3. 30% have stopped contributing to retirement accounts
4. 44% of adults aged 65 and older have sizable levels of debt
5. 30% have postponed their retirement plans
Symetra offers an incredibly competitive GUL. The products has a free chronic illness rider that will advance up to 100% of the death benefit as well as an additional return of premium rider. In addition to this Symetra is extremely competitive on underwriting and will even underwrite HIV positive clients. Call today for additional details.
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Ten Best Practices to Boost Your Email Marketing Activity
Whether used for communication with current clients or to prospect for new leads, email is a still a powerful and efficient tool for advisors. As a piece of your overall marketing mix, email is essential; as important as direct mail, social media marketing, and digital adverting. However, many advisors miss opportunities to get the most out of their email. Here are ten best practices for email marketing.
Build An Email Pipeline
Let’s say you have a batch of email addresses in your CRM that you’ve collected from seminars, digital gives, and other marketing activities. What you really have is the beginning of an email pipeline. This collection of email addresses is an unused resource, a marketing opportunity that is already sitting within your practice. Take some time to sift through the email addresses and place them into your email service provider. You now have a large potential audience to send general marketing communications and drip messages.
The most basic way you can segment emails is between current clients and opt-in leads. Obviously the kind of bulk emails you send to a current valued client will be different than what you send to prospects, but it’s important that you have an easy way to distinguish and send relevant batch messages to these two basic types of lists. Also important: to easily drop new email addresses into their appropriate list. Most email service providers make this fairly simple–you will just need to make some initial time investment to comb through your email addresses.
As you build out further, you should be able to create segments within your main segments. These other segments should reflect where a lead is at within your marketing funnel (or marketing circuit), allowing you to match your message to their level of familiarity with you and your services.
We’ve mentioned automated drip marketing before, but we mention it here again because it’s an effective method to touch many prospects with a low time investment. The drip can be initiated manually after a prospect states they aren’t ready for your services or can be initiated automatically after a form submittal on your website.
It will almost always be in your advantage to personalize marketing whenever possible. Fortunately this is very easy in email. For one-on-one emails, it’s as simple as you addressing the lead or client. For batch emails—depending on how much corresponding information you have—it may be a function within your email service provider.
Images can enhance your marketing messages and break up chunks of text. The imagery you use in your email templates might be branding or items that support/correspond to your message. This will help your emails stand out from others and establish personality with your brand.
There is a potential trade-off however. Too many images may impact the deliverability of your emails and trigger spam filters, so be sure to use images carefully and test large batch messages.
Use CTAs (Calls to Action) Buttons
Call-To-Action buttons are very useful at engaging leads and directing them toward specific actions. This might be to read more about a subject that you tease in the email, to watch a video, or fill out a form.
Measure Results Closely
While you likely only care about one ultimate result—whether or not a lead converts—you should be aware of the important email stats related to your campaign. What was the deliverability rate of a batch message? How many people opened it? How many people clicked a CTA or visited your website as a result of the email. These stats are not only important to understanding the effectiveness of your campaign, but can be used to further segment your lists.
Make Your Messages Short and Sweet
Long blocks of texts, especially with marketing messages, strain on the eye. Plus if you can’t tell a lead in a few hundred words why they should click on your CTA or call in for more information, you don’t have your value proposition whittled to the essentials.
Use Good Subject Lines
Crafting good subject lines is an art. You can easily find lists of the most successful subject lines online. Some swear by using “FREE” or using numbers and lists. What works for you will depend on the content of your email and your target list. The best practice, however, is to be straightforward and clear, less spammy and sales-y. For instance, the subject line of this piece is “Here Are Ten Best Practices to Boost Your Email Marketing Activity.” Give a sense of what the recipient will see when they open the email and how the information can help them.
• Worried about Social Security Changes? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know
• Find Out If You Can Retire Safely
• Five Reasons Why A Life Insurance Policy Is Right For You
• Planning For Retirement Can Be Confusing—We Can Help
• Our Free Retirement Analyzer Report Helps You Know When You Can Retire
• Retirement Plan Take A Beating in the Markets? Fight Back With Our Tailored Solutions
With most email platforms you will have the option for A/B testing. This allows you to test two subject lines and gives you a better picture over time of your email marketing success.
Use Signature Line for Contact Info and Links
Your signature line should be clear and updated (no old phone numbers, outdated fax numbers etc.) Provide necessary information about how to contact you, your title and affiliations, and business website. Avoid clogging your signature line with unnecessary quotes and inspirational messages. You should use icon links to you or your company’s social media profiles, so that clients and prospects can find you in all the places you are located online.
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Athene Lowering Rates
Athene has announced that it is lowering rates on its Ascent Pro, Performance Elite, and TargetHorizon product lines. The rate drop takes effect June 4th and applications must be in house by 4 cst on Friday June 3rd to receive current rates. Call today for additional details.
F&G MYGA Special
F&G will begin running a MYGA special June 6th. For a limited time the Guarantee-Platinum 5 will offer a 3.15% rate. Applications must be an E application. Call today for more information.
Tax Mitigation Utilizing Life Insurance
Often times cash value life insurance is used to generate a tax free income stream in retirement for supplemental income. Typically a static income stream is illustrated during retirement. An alternative strategy can be to position life insurance as a tax advantaged safe money bucket instead of an income stream. This bucket is designed to mitigate risks in retirement such as increased taxes, chronic health issues, and death. In retirement by drawing on the bucket strategically the client can influence what tax bracket they’re in as well as shelter their social security income from taxation.
Boomers and Retirement
According to an Insured Retirement Institute study only 43% of boomers say they’re happy with their financial situation. This is down from 65% in 2014 and 77% in 2013.
North American Rapid Builder IUL
North American’s Rapid Builder IUL can be a great tool to house cash for a client that wants liquidity and the potential for higher yields compared to other safe money alternatives. The product can be funded by either a single premium or flexible premium, offers a free chronic illness rider, and has annual point to point caps as high as 12%. Call today for additional details.
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Lincoln National Term Accel
Lincoln National has just introduced a new term product with streamlined underwriting. It writes ages 30-50 up to 500k in death benefit. In addition the client can qualify for preferred plus rates without lab work. Call today for additional details.
Life Pro + Version 7
The new Life Pro + version 7 officially launches today. The new version offers a convertible term rider, lower policy charges, and an enhanced persistency bonus to generate higher cash values. Call today to request a quote and get additional product details.
Most business owners have an idea in mind of what their business is worth. The reality is that the true number is always different. Talking to a business owner about doing a business valuation is a great non invasive value add that allows you to uncover additional planning opportunities that the business owner wasn’t aware of. We have multiple resources to provide complimentary business evaluations for your business owner clients. Call today for additional details.
How Much To Save For Retirement
A recent study by New York Life found that 75% of people over age 40 don’t know how much of their retirement savings they can spend each year and not outlive their income. It also found that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.
Voya Quest Series
Voya has rolled out their Quest series of FIA’s. The Quest series offers 5, 7, and 10 year surrender period options with competitive caps and a 6% premium bonus on the 10 year product. The series also has a competitive optional income rider that rolls up at 6.5%. Call for additional details and state availability.
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F&G just issued a bulletin that some licensed agents may be receiving emails stating that they owe money to F&G and that they need to download an attachment and pay or they will be subject to legal action. These are fraudulent emails and if you receive one you should notify F&G.
Global Atlantic Training Reminder
Reminder that in order to sell FIA’s through Global Atlantic’s subsidiaries you must complete updated product training even if you completed it prior to the launch of the BlackRock Diversa Volatility Control Index.
Income Rider Maximization
Many clients elect to take a joint payout option when purchasing an income rider so that income is guaranteed over the lives of both spouses. A potentially better strategy to increase income and reduce taxes is incorporating life insurance within the income plan. By electing the single life payout and taking the difference between that and the joint payout you can fund a life insurance policy. At the death of the first spouse the tax free death benefit can be used to continue the income stream for the rest of the surviving spouses life. This strategy can be especially impactful on distributions of qualified funds as the benefit from the life insurance policy will only be partially taxable if dumped into a life only SPIA as opposed to 100% taxable over both clients lives. Call today to see this concept illustrated.
Metlife Pays Penalty
Metlife was served a penalty of $25mm in regard to compliance failures for clients who were switched from one variable annuity to another that weren’t in the clients best interest.
AIG Max Accumulator + IUL
AIG has introduced a new competitive IUL with some unique features. The policy offers a lifetime income rider that will guarantee an income for the rest of the clients life. In addition to this it has the option for annual adjustments to increase income over the clients life. It also offers a chronic illness rider that doesn’t require the condition to be permanent and has a max benefit pool of $3mm. Call today for additional details.
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5 More Behavioral Finance Biases You May
Face From Clients and Prospects
Why do your clients balk at logical solutions? Why do prospects shoot down options that accomplish what they need? Why do you sometimes get panicked calls in the middle of the night to undo a sturdy financial plan? The sub-field of economics called behavioral finance seeks to explain the underpinnings behind individuals’ irrational actions. These biases aren’t just cute pieces of trivia; they can have a dramatic impact on the client or prospect’s overall financial plan and prevent you from clearing business. At play within these biases—psychology, broader social science, and deeply held evolutionary tactics.
Many times these biases involve placing an illogical value on money and numbers, but they also point to how people view money beyond it’s numerical valence. After all, the value of money in retirement is not the amount, but what kind of life it buys you. With high stakes, it’s understandable that individuals might not make the most rational decisions.
We’ve previously discussed five common behavioral finance biases you may encounter. Here are five more.
Confirmation bias can be found in many different fields, like science, journalism, politics, and criminal justice. The central premise of this bias is that an individual ignores or reframes contradictory information to support their predetermined conclusion and exaggerates information that seems to support this conclusion. Confirmation bias can lead to overconfidence, which when applied in the financial world, can have dramatic consequences. A prospect or client exhibiting confirmation bias may discount your advice, even if you can back your recommendations with recent research and relevant news information.
Combating Confirmation Bias: One way to combat this particular bias is to reduce a scenario to its simplest hypothetical expression. Frame options with “just for the sake of argument…” or“ let’s play Devil’s Advocate…”. Use metaphors outside the world of finance to highlight distinctions between irrational and rational choices.
This bias describes the tendency of an individual to use recent performance as an indicator for the overall performance. For example, someone with money invested in a hot stock that has seen spectacular two-month gains may want to invest more into the stock. The investor may ignore the bigger picture and other relevant information. If the investor is lucky, the stock keeps rising. If not, the investor may experience a historical dip that its evident looking at the stocks’ performance on a larger timeframe.
Combating Recency Bias: Present a wide-array of data, recent and over longer timeframes.
Illusion of Control Bias
As the name suggests, the Illusion of Control bias describes an individual’s tendency to assume more control than actually is available, often in very irrational situations. This can lead to ascribing control and influence to a positive result that is logically uncontrollable and random. This then affects future decision-making, which can have drastically negative results.
Combating Illusion of Control bias: Provide examples of when individual’s actions did not lead to a positive result.
If you listen to daily market reports you may be familiar with the effects of the overreaction bias. When new information about a company, commodity, or market segment is released, some investors may overreact, causing a dramatic pull away from the item’s true value. This can be particularly impactful at the individual level, where a client ignores your recommendations and best practices as a result of new information.
Combating Overreaction Bias: Give contrasting information or research, identify alternatives and options, provide historical data or context.
Presenting products and interacting with consumers, you likely know how you say what you say is just as important as what you say. The framing bias describes individuals’ tendency to choose a positively framed option over a negatively framed one, even when the net result of the choices are the same. A slim negative overwhelms the positive probable. The mechanics behind this bias are similar to the loss aversion bias.
Overcoming the Framing Bias: Present the positives while acknowledging the negatives.
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