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
Fill out the form to request your copy of our Annuity Awareness Month Kit.
In an ideal world, your agent website is enhanced for both passive and active marketing activities. If there is good, SEO-rich content, your target market will naturally engage with your web collateral. And if you’ve got great calls to action and active marketing processes, you can lead consumers to your web properties, which may inspire them to take further actions (such as submitting their information or calling you directly).
Below you will find ten simple steps to optimizing your website to generate good online leads.
Appeal to Your Target Market
A clean, well-designed website is the key to making a good first impression to online consumers. Generally speaking, your site should be user-friendly, responsive, easy to navigate, and support multiple devices. It’s also important that your contact information and social media links are easy to find. Now consider what your specific target market would find appealing and adjust the content and design of your site accordingly. You want prospects to visit your site and feel like they’ve found someone who understands—and can provide solutions for—their needs and concerns.
Identify & Use Pertinent Keywords
Make a list of keywords and search terms that relate to the products and services you provide. When a consumer in your target market is searching online for information, you want them to land on your site for the answer, right? Think about what those consumers might be searching for. Are they looking for ‘top annuity rates,’ ‘how does life insurance work’ or ‘financial advisors in my area?’ Identify those keywords and layer them into the content of your site. This will better index your site, making it more likely to appear near the top of the consumer’s search results.
Say NO to Templates
You’ve seen those ads that offer quick and easy business websites. Avoid these at all costs! You want your website to be unique and stand out from the competition. What you don’t want is for the consumer to see a generic website and leave with the impression that you aren’t invested enough in your own business (or clients) to sink any resources into a quality online presence. Furthermore, template sites offer limited functionality and do not allow for proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Contact us if you’re interested in a functional, custom-built website.
Create a Call to Action
The prospect is on your site, now what? Why should they pick up the phone or submit their information? Your Call to Action should give them that answer before they ask the question. An effective CTA is concise, visually-appealing, and tailored to your target market. You could offer anything from a white paper, video or complimentary appointment; just give the prospect as many reasons as possible to contact you. See our recent post on landing pages and calls to action.
Work to minimize jargon, acronyms and complex terminology from your content. Write to the consumers, not over their heads. Jargon-heavy content can be intimidating or confusing to many consumers. If they struggle to grasp the meaning of your message, you’ve lost them. Additionally, buzzwords like “turnkey” and “cutting-edge” will likely find the prospect rolling their eyes as they exit your site. What you say, and how you say it, plays a huge role in whether or not the prospect contacts you.
Create a Blog
Fresh content drives traffic. All things being equal, the website with the freshest, most relevant content will index better. Well-written and informative blog posts can also do wonders for your credibility. Sending e-newsletters with a link to your blog is another good way to drive additional traffic to your site.
Implement Email Marketing
It’s unlikely that prospects will make visits to your website a part of their daily routine. This is why we recommend sending regularly scheduled email blasts. Keeping your prospects updated with your latest blog posts and relevant news can be a good way to convert them into clients. If you have questions about how an e-newsletter campaign can benefit your business, or if you’d like us to design one for you, call us today.
Leverage Social Media
Spreading your message across all mediums is key to generating measurable results. The average prospect has to be touched 6-9 times before they buy. Many of those prospects spend roughly one-third of their time online actively engaged in one or more social media platforms. Use your social media channels to boost your online presence, interact with consumers and build a loyal following. Additionally, sharing links to your blog, website, landing pages, etc. will boost web traffic and search engine ranking, which ultimately leads to more conversions.
Test & Track
Your website has a call to action, but how effective is it? You can’t just put it up there, walk away and expect results. Keep track of how well (or poorly) your CTA is performing and make changes as needed. Switch out different gives and see what generates the highest conversion. If you’re curious about what offers and gives typically yield the highest response rates, call us for a complimentary report.
Partner with an FMO
Work with an FMO that understands how digital marketing works and can help implement your plan. This can be the difference between having an online business card and an online marketing engine. Contact us now if you want to take your business to the next level.
When it comes to life insurance, many agents and advisors focus most of their efforts on consumers. This can be a wide-open market that consists of young families, those nearing retirement, and everyone in between. However, it would be a mistake to overlook the equally-open territory of small businesses. Many business owners may not be aware of how life insurance can be used to enhance their operations. Marketing to these entrepreneurs often requires a different approach than you would take with the average consumer.
Use the following tips to enhance your B2B life insurance marketing efforts.
Credibility and trustworthiness are two crucial elements of any relationship. When targeting consumers, agents and advisors often rely on various content marketing tactics (educational materials, articles, etc.) to establish a sense of trust. However, converting a business owner might require extra effort on your part. Don’t be afraid to get out there, shake some hands, and do a little schmoozing. Face-to-face networking is one of the most effective B2B marketing tactics an agent or advisor can put to use.
Chamber of Commerce
Joining your local Chamber of Commerce can be a good way to get face time with a wide variety of business owners, non-profits, and economic development entities. Attend chamber meetings on a regular to build relationships with other members. Doing so will also show you have a vested interest in the local economy. This can go a long way with other entrepreneurs.
Additional Business Networks
Most communities have loosely-knit groups that exist for this exact purpose. These are usually established by other local business owners looking to establish B2B relationships of their own. In many cases, these groups consist of business owners who don’t belong to their local Chamber of Commerce but still seek networking opportunities. These casual get-togethers are great chances to exchange marketing ideas, meet local media personalities, and make new B2B connections.
Knock and Talk
There’s something to be said about the straight-forward approach. Keep an eye on new businesses opening up in your area. News outlets and your chamber of commerce can be a good resource for this. Attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies can be a great opportunity to show support and introduce yourself to the owner(s). If the business is located near your office, make it a point to stop by on occasion. Simply popping your head in the door to see how things are going can lead to a productive, professional relationship.
Small business owners know how important it is to make a first impression with customers. From physical location to digital presence, successful entrepreneurs will pore over even the smallest details to make sure they come across as professional as possible. Why would they expect any less from you?
Be Organized and Professional
It doesn’t matter who the prospect is, or what they do for a living, your overall presentation is a crucial part of the sales process. That said, you should expect a higher level of scrutiny from business owners than the average consumer. In other words, professionals expect professionalism from other professionals. Assume you will be under a microscope from the start. Even the slightest hint of disorganization or poor etiquette can hinder a potential B2B relationship. When approaching business owners, it’s crucial that you put your best foot forward and strive to make a flawless impression at every point of contact.
Bring the Right Materials
Consumer-facing materials are a necessity when presenting life insurance information. Giving the prospect a brochure, pamphlet, or one-sheet to take home will give them the chance to go over details without feeling pressured by your presence. When pitching to a business owner, make sure you have materials that pertain to their business needs. Don’t overload them with extra brochures that aren’t relevant to the business applications of life insurance. Keep things on topic until they decide they’re interested in additional products, such as a personal policy.
Request our Life Insurance Overview guide, which includes sections on:
- Types of Life Insurance
- Benefits Beyond a Death Benefit
- Business Application of Life Insurance
- Life Insurance at a Glance
Geo-targeting has become one of the most powerful digital marketing tools businesses have at their disposal. This game-changing tactic uses data from a consumer’s mobile device to deliver highly-targeted and relevant content. To make a broad analogy, think of geo-targeting like the tech-savvy grandson of direct mail marketing. But instead of spending good money to cover a broad area of mailboxes, geo-targeting allows you to build a customized audience of consumers based, not only on where they live but where they work, shop, eat and anywhere else they go.
Two or three years ago, geo-targeting was considered to be the “next big thing” in digital marketing. Today, it is the big thing. Businesses that have made geo-targeting a part of their digital marketing strategy are making better use of their ad budgets and enjoying a higher return on that investment. Are you geo-targeting?
Facebook, Google, and other platforms have for years allowed businesses to deliver ads to consumers within a specific geographic region. It’s effective but does little to account for relevancy. Your ad might reach a lot of people, but how many of them will actually care? Geo-targeting works to solve this problem by providing insight into the consumer’s interests and behaviors based on real-time, or historical location. For example, someone who makes daily trips to their local gym is probably going to be more interested in a health food store ad than someone who doesn’t frequent that location. While both people might live in the same zip code, the ad is only relevant to one of them. By geo-targeting the gym, the ad is more likely to hit the right target.
So how can agents and advisors put geo-targeting to use?
Consider Your Target
Think about who you’re trying to reach. Pre-retirees? High-net-worth professionals? Using generalized parameters like age or education to build your target audience is a good start, but that only tells part of the story. However, where these consumers spend their time can paint a much clearer picture. Where do these consumers work? Where do they spend their free time? That C-level executive you want to connect with can might spend their day in a nice office building downtown and Saturdays at the golf course.
Create a Geo-fence
Once you’ve determined who you want to reach and where you’re most likely to reach them, focus your ad on those locations. For more precise targeting, include any additional demographic information that might be relevant.
Use the Right Platform
The platform you use for your geo-targeted campaign can play a big role in the effectiveness of your geo-targeted campaign. Which social media channels are popular with your target? You probably won’t find too many baby boomers on Twitter, but there are plenty on Facebook. And that executive? Try LinkedIn.
Analyze and Experiment
Geo-targeted campaigns can be complicated and often call for a little tweaking as they run. Pay close attention to the analytics, measure your results, and act accordingly. If that geo-fence you drew around the downtown business district isn’t generating any new leads, try making a few changes. Maybe you need to expand your geo-fence or revise the content of your ad itself. Digital marketing is not a science, especially when it comes to a data-rich tactic like geo-fencing. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t strike gold right away. Keep experimenting until you find the strategy that works for you.
When it comes to online marketing, social media is one of the most powerful tools out there. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Nextdoor all present a wealth of opportunities. We use them to boost brand awareness, generate new leads, and stay connected with clients and prospects. One of the biggest benefits of social media is the ability for entrepreneurs to actively participate in conversations with their target market.
This level of engagement is your chance to showcase your expertise to social media users looking for advice from a knowledgeable professional. The time spent scanning these platforms for opportunities can pay off big in the end. That said, social media can be a crowded and competitive space. This is why advisors may want to include alternative avenues of engagement. There is one avenue in particular that has been gaining momentum as of late – Reddit.
What is Reddit?
Reddit is a forum-styled news aggregation board that launched in 2005. By 2018, it had become one of the most highly trafficked websites in the world, with more than 542 million users logging in each month to post about an endless number of topics. The site does have somewhat of a questionable reputation due to the amount of explicit content. But there are plenty of legitimate and productive conversations taking place within the hundreds of “safe-for-work” communities hosted by the site.
Reddit communities, known as “subreddits,” cover a wide range of topics. This includes several that fall under the wheelhouse of financial professionals. These subreddits are filled with posts from users with questions and concerns over personal finance, life insurance, investments, and other relevant topics. Advisors can build and foster relationships with users by responding to these posts with credible and qualified answers.
Keep in mind that it might take a little time and effort for new users to learn how to properly navigate the site. They also set strict rules outlining what you can and can’t post. But once you become familiar with things, you’ll have access to dozens of finance-related subreddits. Some worth exploring include:
Targeting Reddit Users
Reddit’s ad platform is set up to target specific communities and users. Reddit campaigns can be used to boost brand awareness, drive website traffic, lead generation, and other methods of engagement. Advertisers can target users based on location, interest, or the subreddits they frequent. The platform also features scheduling and budget options.
The value Reddit can provide for you as an advisor is largely based on how well you use the site. Some may find it worth the effort, while others might not. But due to the number of Millennials who actively participate in the site, it deserves some exploration.
Good luck and happy Redditing!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Over the last few weeks, most of you have probably come across the latest “Insure Your Love” life insurance awareness ads. This year’s LifeHappens.org Valentine’s Day campaign features a heartstring-pulling video of a young girl and her father reading a bedtime story titled “Life is for Living” (one of the central themes of the campaign). We won’t spoil the ending for those who haven’t seen it yet. But those who have already seen this example of emotional marketing know this one is a real tear-jerker.
Watch the video here:
There are two ways of looking at an ad like this. One is to question why anyone would want to put their audience through the emotional wringer with a video this sad? The other answers that question – because it works.
Marketing efforts that tap into real human emotions can be one of the most effective ways to capture consumer attention and leave a lasting impression. Do you remember the movie “Old Yeller?” Of course, you do. And you also know why you’ll never forget watching the film. A boy and his dog. Love and loss. Life and death. These are all very real themes that every one of us can relate to in some way. And when we, as viewers, see these experiences unfold in front of us, we can’t help but internalize them.
What Makes Emotional Marketing So Powerful?
Content aimed at eliciting an emotional reaction – be it sadness, happiness, fear, anger, nostalgia, etc. – can inspire people to take action. Often times, the more impactful the content, the more significant the action. We see this play out all the time on social media every time someone shares a meme, story, or video. Whether the content is funny, political, sad, or motivational in nature, it impacted that person enough that they wanted to share it with friends and family. If they hear a song or watch a show that hits close to home, they buy the album or binge watch the series. The point is, they take action.
Consumers favor content that connects with them on an emotional level. It gives them a reason to remember your brand. follow your social media channels, and take the time to look into your services. All of these are forms of engagement that can ultimately lead to you shaking hands with a new client.
Going back to the “Insure Your Love” ad, it’s easy to see why and how this type of content can be such an effective vehicle to promote the importance of life insurance. It puts us in front of a very real, and likely familiar, scenario. The endearing parent/child moment draws us in before the heartbreaking surprise at the end. The emotional reaction is genuine, the impression left is long-lasting, and the message is powerful enough to inspire action.
While the “Insure Your Love” campaign is exclusive to February, the concept is evergreen. So, next time you’re brainstorming for your next marketing effort, think about those things that would inspire action on your behalf. Chances are, your prospects feel the same way.
Whether or not you’re familiar with his name, as a financial professional, you owe a debt of gratitude to Jack Bogle. Born May 8, 1929, Bogle’s family was hit hard by the Great Depression. This experience would prove formative as he later went on to change the financial industry by creating the first index mutual fund available to consumers.
A Pioneer of the Financial Industry
Not long after founding the Vanguard Group in 1974, a company that now handles nearly $5 trillion in assets, Bogle established the First Index Investment Trust. This was the first to be built around the S & P500. Bogle’s creation introduced a low-cost, passive approach to investing. This leveled the playing field for the “small-time” investors of the world. Bogle frowned upon unreasonably high broker fees, non-transparency, and unethical practices. His common-sense philosophy and disdain for corporate excess sparked a revolution that allowed millions to save for retirement.
Bogle’s fierce advocacy for indexing was a dramatic break from industry tradition. While Bogle he faced criticism from Wall Street, he went on to become one of the most respected names in finance. Warren Buffet once called Jack Bogle a “hero.”
In his 1999 book, “Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor,” Jack Bogle laid out these eight basic rules for investors:
- Select low-cost funds
- Consider carefully the added costs of advice
- Do not overrate past fund performance
- Use past performance to determine consistency and risk
- Beware of stars (as in, star mutual fund managers)
- Beware of asset size
- Don’t own too many funds
- Buy your fund portfolio, and hold it
Bogle left Vanguard in 1999 and, a year later, founded the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center. He passed away on January 16, 2019, leaving behind a legacy built on philanthropy and standing up for the “little guy.”