101 of the very best insurance marketing and prospecting tips, Pt. 3
By Lew Nason
Insurance Pro Shop
Here’s the next 22 (out of 101) of the very best proven and cost-effective insurance marketing and prospecting tips, ideas and pieces of advice we've learned over the past 30 years by working with the very best in the insurance and financial services industry. This group is about using direct mail and technology after you have established a strong foundation in the marketing basics. (You can review part one here and part two here.)
Again, it's important to remember that your message has to be focused on helping people to identify and solve their financial problems. It’s not about you, your credentials, your great products or your great sales idea. It’s about how you can help them spend, save, invest, insure and plan wisely for the future in order to achieve financial independence.
68. Use direct mail. The most valuable single sheet of paper in all of direct marketing is still a strong sales letter. Sending a well-written, benefit-laden sales letter to a well-defined niche market can warm the coldest of customers, pave the way for an easy entrance to a tough-to-get-ahold-of prospect, and soften the hardest entrance barriers to allow you the opportunity to make a sale. The message you want to get across in your sales letter is that you know and understand their problems and that you can provide a solution. It’s not about you, your company or products. It’s all about them and how they will benefit by meeting with you. An effective sales letter will warm up lots of cool prospects for your phone call, while the best ad, or even the best brochure, will still leave most prospects cold.
The primary objective of a sales letter is to generate a direct response from prospects that have a problem, rather than selling a product or service. It is quite difficult for a single letter to sell directly without involving further contact or human interaction.
69. Return envelopes. If you'd really like a response from a personal letter, include a return envelope with a live stamp on it. It'll either increase your response or it'll drive them nuts.
70. Ask for action. In a direct mail solicitation, don't be afraid to ask them to take action several times. If the recipient doesn't take action (reply), the piece fails. For best results, be very explicit and tell the reader exactly what you want them to do twice in the body copy, and again in the P.S.
71. "People will buy when they're ready to buy, not when you need to make a sale." Marketing experts like Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, Ted Nicholas, Al Ries, Jack Trout and Jeff Paul all suggest a minimum of six follow-up mailings with a desired 12-step process, mixed with phone calls, faxes, letters and emails to maximize your marketing dollars spent.
72. Have a telephone script. There are two basic ways to use direct mail. You can send out 30 to 100 letters each week and follow up each letter with phone calls. Or, you can send out 5,000 to 10,000 sales letters or postcards per month and follow up each response you get with phone calls. Which of these two ways works best? It depends on the agent. However, with either of these two ways you need to have a well-rehearsed telephone script. You won’t get appointments by winging it. 73. Free information booklet. Always offer your free information booklet or report at the end of your sales letter. It gives them another reason to respond.
74. Criss-cross directories. If you want a list of people to send your sales letters to, all you need to do is find the streets they live on and then go to your local library. In the library, you’ll want to look for the "criss-cross" directories. Three common ones are the Hill Donnelly, Cole’s and Polk directories. They have every street listed, with everyone on the street and their telephone numbers. Plus, they provide lots of other good information. And they generally will tell you if they are on the “no call” list. Make a copy of those pages and you have a free list of your ideal prospects.
75. Learn to use the computer. I know it sounds trite, but using the technology available to you is important. Research and communication are the two primary areas to focus on, but being computer-savvy may just save you a case or two because of your ability to quickly get the information the client needs.
76. The magic of the Web. The future of your practice has to be one that places your electronic business card, photo, information and ideas in front of people who are searching for help.
77. Marketers can no longer push products on people. They have to think like journalists and create a dialogue with their audience to earn a prospect’s trust. Free or low-cost applications such as blogs and podcasts, in addition to social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, have changed the old rules. Also, free social networking applications can be used for managing your company’s reputation, conducting market research, monitoring your competitors’ efforts and collaborating with your colleagues. Twitter can also serve as a platform for your company’s customer service.
Ideal clients can now be reached with targeted messages that cost a fraction of the old expensive advertising campaigns. In addition, social media marketing and PR efforts often allow instant feedback and measurable results, so businesses can immediately see which marketing strategies are working for them and which ones are not. 78. Develop an integrated marketing strategy. Contact your prospects through a number of marketing channels, including direct marketing, website information, email, telemarketing and of course, personal meetings. For example, you can use direct mail to drive traffic to your website for product information, rate calculators and financial goals worksheets. Promote your online resources with direct mail and in other print media.
79. Your electronic database. It's very important to get email addresses from all your clients, with their permission to accept your information from time-to-time. Use this information to send them tips and solutions up to twice per month. The info can be directly related to a product or service you wish to offer, or totally unrelated. This serves both to keep your name in front of them and also to maintain a trusted advisor status.
80. Put the accent on visitor experience, not traffic. Traffic is useless if you can't convert it into paying customers. A visitor experience-optimized website with 500 visits per day can bring you twice as much income as an un-optimized one with 10,000 visits per day.
81. Collect email addresses. When people visit your site, you want to know the people who are interested in your services so you can drip on them. Prompt them to sign up for your free report or newsletter.
82. Use videos on your website. Recent surveys have shown that 5 out of 6 people prefer to watch videos, rather than read pages of text, listen to a sales pitch or click through PowerPoint slides. This makes sense. Video is a faster, easier way for our brains to process information. Videos are sales tools, not website content. If you don't use sales videos in your current selling process (including your website, Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and email correspondence), then you're not communicating the need for the products you sell as effectively or efficiently as you could be.
83. Suggest related websites in your own website's information area.Doing so will make your website more relevant to the search engines and bring some traffic.
84. Use sitemap services on Google, Yahoo and MSN. Not only will it provide you with invaluable server and website data, but it will get your pages in their index faster.
85. Social media is an important tool today. For today’s financial advisors, social media is becoming an important tool as they search for newer ways to generate leads, build personal relationships with clients and prospects and grow a reputation as a trusted advisor in their community. Don’t be overwhelmed by Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. There are plenty of social media platforms out there to choose from. However, don’t feel like you have to use them all. Take the time to step back and consider your social media goals, as yourr target audience. Do you want to connect with other advisors? Try LinkedIn. Or, do you want to reach out to customers and prospects? Then maybe Facebook is for you. Whatever you choose, remember three things: listen, engage and share. 86. Your Facebook profile. "People buy from people, not companies. Your Facebook profile allows you to connect with customers on a more personal level. If used properly, it can provide a unique channel to connect with clients in a new and exciting way." — Amy McIlwain, Financial Social Media Marketing
87. Facebook fan page. "You really need to set up a fan page or else you risk being left behind as more businesses shift to social networks. Facebook fan pages are different than profiles. You have a profile for you, John Smith, but your business can’t have a profile; it can have a page. A page is a place to house all the pertinent information about your company. They’re so useful because you can include everything that relates to your business in one place with a built-in potential audience, as well as include links to your website and blog in order to expand your network." — Amy McIlwain, Financial Social Media Marketing
88. Show up in Google search results. Claim your Google business listing. Fortunately, there is an easy way to increase your chances of showing up in Google search results. Even better, it is free. Google allows you to claim your business. Essentially, what you are doing is notifying Google that your business exists and where it is located. You will be asked to answer a few questions about your business like the name, address, telephone number, etc. After you submit this information, Google will then verify the information you provided to ensure you are who you say you are. The entire process shouldn’t take you more than five minutes.
89. Integrate fundraising and community service into your social media strategy. Create an annual community service event that the entire office/clients can contribute to, such as a community walk, bake sale or other event giving back to the community.
"You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win." — Zig Ziglar