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
Celebrity gossip columnists have been working overtime since early January when Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced via Twitter that their marriage was ending. It’s somehow fitting that one of the most publicized divorces in recent memory, involving the world’s wealthiest man, ended with the most expensive divorce settlement ever. When the dust settled, the now ex-wife of the Amazon founder and CEO revealed that she was leaving the marriage with roughly $35 billion in her pocket.
As an advisor or agent, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with retirement planning, life insurance, or anything else related to your profession. It’s safe to assume that billionaires don’t sit up at night, worried about a steady stream of retirement income. However, this is a concern that has probably resulted in sleepless nights for many of your clients. After all, that’s why they came to you, isn’t it? That’s why you worked so diligently to outline a plan that would alleviate those concerns, right? But what happens to that plan after a divorce?
When Clients Divorce
It’s been said that there are only two ways to end a marriage – death or divorce. The reality of being an advisor is that, eventually, you’ll have to help clients get through one or the other. Unless, of course, that client is worth billions of dollars. They might not need much from you in either case. For the rest of us, divorce can turn into a nightmare. Aside from the emotional impact, there are legal fees, moving expenses, and countless other loose ends to tie up. As their advisor, some of those loose ends will involve you.
Divorce laws differ from state to state. This is why it’s important that advisors are familiar with those laws before getting involved. It’s also important to decide if you even want to get involved, especially if you don’t have any specialized training financial divorce planning. There’s also the personal relationship you’ve established with both parties to consider. Beyond that, there could be conflicts of interest or other legal issues that might arise.
That said, it’s possible that a divorced client will come to seeking advice on how to move forward. Especially if they weren’t as involved in the family’s finances as the other. This situation might call for you to provide some education and guidance.
Following the divorce, the client will likely want to remove the ex-spouse as the beneficiary to any life insurance policies or retirement accounts in their name. However, this might be the furthest thing from their mind in the weeks and months after the dust settles. This would be an appropriate occasion to offer a policy review to revise how the beneficiaries are restructured.
Social Security Options
Your client might not be aware of their Social Security options. Under certain conditions, they may be able to collect benefits based on the ex-spouse’s work record. Doing so will not reduce the benefits the client’s ex-spouse is entitled to receive and could possibly be more advantageous than claiming based on their own work record. Check SSA.gov for updated rules pertaining to divorce.
If one spouse has a 401(k) or similar employer-provided pension plan, the divorce agreement may include a qualified domestic relations order. The QDRO determines how the account is split between the two parties. While the lawyers need to fight that battle, advisors should help make sure the recipient can make an informed decision on how to handle those assets. The QDRO might state that funds are transferred from the 401(k) into an IRA. Depending on the situation, this might be the better long-term option. If the divorce is causing financial hardships, the recipient needs to know that they can collect the money directly without incurring any early withdrawal penalties.
Picking Up the Pieces
Even the most amicable of divorces can leave one party with more pieces to pick up than the other. Jeff Bezos agreed to the $35 billion settlement, but still has around $110 billion more in the bank and his company. In short, MacKenzie was left with the short end of a very, very big stick.
When a recently divorced person starts to put those pieces back together, their short- and long-term financial outlook should be part of that puzzle. This is where an advisor can step in to help. A recently divorced person may need guidance with setting up a new monthly budgeting and savings plan. Or advice on how to best manage any assets or property they got in the divorce. This could also be the right time for a complete reassessment of their goals and how to achieve them.
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.
April and October are traditionally known as CD replacement months, a designation that traces back to the October 19, 1987 “Black Monday” stock market crash. Scrambling to protect their assets from the collapsing market, investors found safe harbor in Certificates of Deposit. The story behind CD replacement month (covered in the presentation above) highlights how major economic events can leave an impact still felt nearly 32 years later.
As a financial professional, you’re probably already familiar with this history lesson. The question is, are you putting it to use? CD replacement month is a good occasion to sit down with clients to discuss how CD alternatives might be a better way to achieve their retirement goals. Or maybe you have a client whose situation is more conducive to using CDs as a savings vehicle. Or, an even more likely scenario, you have clients who aren’t fully aware of their options.
The history behind CD replacement month is an opportunity to dig deeper into the client’s needs, goals, and unique situation. Rather than limit the conversation to CDs and CD alternatives, use your probing skills to gain a sense of the client’s financial know-how and educate accordingly.
If the client owns or is interested in a low-interest rate product like CDs, they:
A) are gun shy about putting their money into anything tied to the market; or
B) don’t know that other, more valuable, options out there.
Either way, they’re in your office and ready to talk.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely that they’re going to look at the calendar and think, “Hey, it’s April! I should call my advisor about these CDs.” That would almost be too easy. If you need help planting the seed, we have a wealth of marketing materials designed specifically for that reason.
Our 2019 CD Replacement Kit includes:
- Taxable Equivalent Yield Chart
- CD vs. Annuity Comparison Chart
- Split Annuity CD Beater Strategy
- CD vs. FIA Sales Strategy
- CD Prospecting Letter
- Customizable Fact Finder
- Retirement Pitfalls Presentation
- Going Broke Safely Presentation
Did we mention the kit is free? Fill out the form to request yours today.
There was a time when we thought that robots replacing human workers was little more than fodder for sci-fi. Today, that has become a reality. Over the last few years, an increasing number of jobs – ranging from cashier to data analysis – are being taken over by automation and AI-driven machines. And we all remember when Californians voted a Terminator into the Governor’s office. Well, advisors, the robots are gunning for your jobs too.
Robo-advisors are a rapidly growing trend in the financial industry. These automated portfolio management systems have been touted as a more efficient and cost-effective alternative to flesh-and-blood professionals. Many companies are using robo-advisors for clients willing to take a more “hands-off” role in their personal assets. According to one estimate, robo-advisors, which use computer algorithms to automate investments and offer financial advice, will handle more than $450 billion in assets by 2021. This might seem exaggerated but the number of carriers incorporating digital asset management systems into their structure suggests otherwise. Vanguard has been using them since 2015 and others – Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and JP Chase to name a few – are following suit.
Will Robo-Advisors Replace Real Advisors?
The answer is no; despite their popularity, it’s highly doubtful that robo-advisors will send their human counterparts scrambling for a new career. But that doesn’t mean they won’t have at least some impact on your business.
A study published in February by MDRT found that 88% of the American adults surveyed said “technology should complement, not replace,” human financial advisors. Around 88% would rather work with a human. Only 5% would be OK with their entire portfolios being managed by tech-based tools. Compare that to the 36% of those who “strongly disagree” with robo-advisors completely overtaking the role of human advisors.
If stats like this reflect the consumer base as a whole, your job is safe. However, the rise of the robo-advisor does stress a few important points. The MDRT survey also found that about 95% think that advisors should be tech-savvy and make updated tech-based tools a part of their practice.
The Human Factor
This all goes back to one thing – trust. While a robo-advisor can accurately crunch numbers in a millisecond, they can’t replace the value of face-to-face interaction. A trusted relationship with their advisor, human interaction, and ease of communication, far outweighed concerns about accuracy and cost.
This is why it’s critical that advisors keep one foot in the real world and the other in the digital landscape. As consumers, we’ve come to expect, and in many cases rely upon, tech-based tools, software, and other digital assets. Millennials (who gave split opinions on robo-advisors) have been “digital” their entire lives. For them, an advisor who still hasn’t changed with the times would likely be seen as a relic. Generally speaking, advisors who are tapped into the newest tools are more likely to convert prospects.
While you should expect some competition as robo-advisors become more commonplace, try not to lose any sleep over it. After all, even “old-schoolers” out there can learn to navigate the digital world, make use of new tools, and utilize emerging tech in order to enhance the way you do business. And even if a robo-advisor can do all that (and more) in a faster and more cost-friendly manner, they’ll never be able to reach out with a handshake and a smile. If that day comes, then we can start to worry.
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!
Most financial advisors are probably already aware that seminars are like any other marketing tactic. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. If your efforts have been more “bust” than “boom” lately, it might be time to consider a different approach.
A low-to-no-cost financial Q&A session can be a more practical and casual alternative to costly seminars and workshops. The concept is simple and, in many ways, works like any other seminar would. The difference here is in the content and attendee experience. Rather than deliver the traditional presentation on one specific topic, personalize the event by covering subjects that are relevant to those in the room.
Structure for Success
A Q&A doesn’t mean attendees are welcome to bombard you with a series of random questions. That would be impossible to prepare for and could easily get out of hand. You want to keep things on topic and running smoothly. To do so, set up an online registration page that requires your guests to submit 1-3 questions when signing up for the event. This will make sure your final presentation covers a variety of topics but doesn’t go in too many directions at once. Use these questions to build a presentation customized specifically for your audience.
Obviously, you will want to leave certain details out of your final presentation and only include questions that are both relevant and appropriate for a public seminar. Use your own judgment here, but as a general rule, avoid the following:
- Personal information
- Stock / Investment Advice
- Specific scenarios (someone’s complicated situation that would require a 1-on-1 appointment to properly address)
To address the third point listed above, you should expect the majority of questions submitted to pertain to the prospect’s specific situation. That said, because the goal here is to bring people from the seminar to your office, those questions will open the door for a follow-up conversation. A good approach would be to reframe the question in a way that still addresses the prospect’s concern but is also broad enough to apply to the audience as a whole. This creates an opportunity for you to approach them afterward about setting up an appointment. And by collecting everyone’s contact information, you have a new batch of prospects to place into a drip campaign.
Preperation is the Key
As anyone who has given a seminar already knows, preparation is just one of the ingredients for success. But for a custom-tailored presentation such as this, the time and effort you spend preparing your material is probably the most important factor. Ideally, the inquiries you receive will be wide-ranging enough to deliver an hour’s worth of information on a variety of topics. However, it never hurts to have some additional content and/or topics of discussion ready to roll out just in case. And be prepared to tackle at least a handful of follow-up questions from the audience as you’re wrapping things up.
Beyond that, you can set up a Q&A session much like you would any other seminar. Take advantage of spaces that invite conversation (library room, upscale bar with a meeting room, gallery space). Just remember to keep things casual, low-pressure, and informative. Well, maybe not too informative. After all, any good performer knows that you have to leave the audience wanting more. Good luck!
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.