Blog

Project a professional image online

April 23, 2015 by

Even if you don’t realize it, a lot of your clients and prospects are researching you online before meeting with you. Whether it is your company website or social media accounts, you should take the time to ensure you have consistent, professional representation online before you ever talk to prospects.

Follow these five simple tips to ensure you’re projecting a professional image on your social networks:

  1. Know what social media accounts you have in place. Delete accounts you don’t update. Provide a consistent brand message on your active accounts. It’s important to monitor your active accounts to ensure all information listed is current and accurate. You also need to respond to anyone trying to reach you through those channels.
  2. Do not share personal opinions or jokes about potentially controversial topics. Don’t offend clients or discourage prospects from using your services because you have conflicting views. Keep your content positive, unbiased and helpful.
  3. Use professional photos and graphics. Present yourself online in the same way you would present yourself to clients in person. Wear business attire in your profile photos. Use web-quality graphics and images.
  4. Write a clear, concise company description. Take the time to write a description that includes a list of services, relevant background information, and your contact information. Be sure to use the same description in your entire online marketing presence— website, social networks, brochures, etc.
  5. Triple check grammar and spelling. Spell-check is wonderful, but it doesn’t catch everything. If you’re unsure about your own writing abilities, entrust this task to someone who possess these skills. Grammar and spelling errors could cause your prospects to second-guess your attention to detail.

Projecting a professional image can help you provide your clients with a consistent, positive experience. For more tips on creating a consistent client experience, read our post, “Consumer Touchpoints.”

Kelly Madsen

Kelly Madsen joined Brokers International in August 2014 as a Marketing Project Manager. She is responsible for creating marketing materials and messages to support the strategic initiatives of Brokers International. Prior to joining Brokers, Kelly studied journalism at Iowa State University. She loves the outdoors, the Iowa State Cyclones and her Aussie puppy.

More Posts - Website

Seminar planning: A timeline for success

April 16, 2015 by

Holding a seminar in your area allows you to get in front of new prospects and engage attendees long after the event is over. To help you plan and market your next seminar, consider using the following timeline to be sure it runs smoothly.

Six weeks out:

  • Start your seminar planning by first selecting a date and time for your event. Tuesday and Thursday evenings are considered the best nights to hold a seminar. Avoid Sundays, dates around major holidays and any political, sporting and civic events in your community to experience higher attendance rates at your seminar.
  • Select a venue based on your budget limitations. If you’re running a seminar on a tight budget then some low‐cost venue options may include community centers, American Legion halls, your office and public libraries. Make sure the location is easily accessible with ample parking and lighting.
  • Check that your venue’s space is the appropriate size for your expected turnout and has your desired seating arrangement (e.g., theater, semicircle or classroom seating.) Also check if any audio-visual equipment you might need is furnished with the space. If you plan to provide refreshments, make sure there are no restrictions.

Five weeks out:

  • Choose your presentation topic and prepare corresponding seminar materials. These materials can include invitations, a seminar workbook, PowerPoint presentation slides, information request forms and follow-up emails.
  • You can find a host of ready-to-use seminar materials available on The Compass, Brokers International’s virtual storefront.

Three to four weeks out:

  • Send out your seminar mailers and email invites.
  • Complete your materials preparation and begin to review and practice your presentation.

Two weeks out:

  • Review your registrations and begin to prepare name tags and sign‐in sheets.

One week out:

  • Make reminder calls to your registrants to let them know you’re looking forward to seeing them.
  • Verify your venue reservation and confirm that the space will be set‐up and available presentation equipment is working.
  • Continue to practice your presentation.

One day before seminar:

  • Conduct a final review of your materials and pack up all name tags, workbooks, information request forms, business cards and other promotional materials.

Day of seminar:

  • Arrive early the day of your seminar to make sure your space is set up correctly, all equipment is working properly and that the room temperature is comfortable.
  • Bring an assistant to help you welcome guests, get registration sheets signed and pass out name tags.

One to five days after the seminar:

  • Call each attendee who completed an information request form.
  • Email attendees with a “thanks for attending” message. Send a “sorry we missed you” email to those who registered but did not attend. Include a call-to-action for recipients to contact you for any questions about their retirement strategy.

Seven to ten days after the seminar:

  • Launch a follow-up email campaign to attendees that includes additional information or handouts related to your seminar’s topic. In your email, invite your recipients to call and schedule an appointment at your office.

To select a seminar topic and create related materials to hold and promote your seminar, visit Brokers International’s seminar prospecting packages page. You’ll find ready-to-use seminar packages that include invitations, presentation slides, information request forms, workbooks and post-seminar emails.

Each seminar package available on The Compass also comes with automated registration service and invitation mailings to a purchased list of potential annuity and life insurance buyers in your area.

Kristine Garrett

Kristine Garrett joined Brokers International in 2012. She brought with her a strong background in sales and marketing that she uses to develop programs and create content to help grow your business. Kristine shares a hobby farm near Panora with her husband, farm critters and beautiful bulldogs.

More Posts

Follow Me:
LinkedIn

Earn media attention for no cost

April 9, 2015 by

Anybody can pay for a commercial or an advertisement in a magazine, but you can build your business’ brand in a creative, no-cost way with earned media exposure.

Earned media is a type of exposure that doesn’t cost anything and helps build your reputation because the audience knows you didn’t pay for it. In fact, 92 percent of consumers trust earned media above all other forms of advertising.1

Some examples of earned media include: providing a quote for a magazine article, giving your advice on financial topics during the nightly news, getting your clients to tell their friends about your services or being a guest on a morning radio show.

To help you stop paying for media exposure and start building your reputation for no cost, we’ve created an Earned Media Quick Tips guide. This guide spells out six no-cost ways you can earn media attention in your community. Download the guide here.

1“Global Consumers’ Trust in ‘Earned’ Advertising Grows in Importance.” Nielsen. 4 Oct. 2012. Web. 9 April 2015. <http://www.nielsen.com/content/corporate/us/en/press-room/2012/nielsen-global-consumers-trust-in-earned-advertising-grows.html>.

Travis Redfern

Travis Redfern is a Relationship Manager for Brokers International. He works closely with key producers to help identify products and services that they can use to grow their businesses. Travis has been with Brokers International since 2002. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, golfing, team roping, time with friends and family and escaping to his “man cave” to watch football. ADR-1263

More Posts

Follow Me:
LinkedIn

Leverage the Power of Online Video: Presentation

March 5, 2015 by

So far in our series on online video marketing we’ve looked at the effectiveness of online video in today’s marketplace and scripting tips for crafting an effective client message. In this part, we’ll examine some presentation types for delivering your message.

With video, there are countless ways to get creative and turn what may be considered a “dull” topic into an engaging or even entertaining one. Your scope will only be limited by your own imagination, so don’t shy away from trying something different to grab people’s attention. Consider using a compelling client story to bookend your message, take a camera around your office for an inside look at your business or create an interview format with you and another professional. Just remember that video is a visual medium and you should always strive to “show” your audience over just “telling” them.

Here are some common and feasible presentation types that may be most applicable to your financial service business:

Talking head – The most standard and economical way of delivering your message is straight to the camera. This format can be effective for personal introductions about you and your business. To add some energy, consider using props, a white board or graphics to better convey your message visually.

News style interview – Invite another professional to join your video and use an interview format to discuss trending topics, products or services. You could also utilize Skype and Google Hangouts to record a two-way interview.

Informative webinar video – You can build your credibility by creating an informative video through a recorded webinar. You only need a webcam and a web resource such as Camtasia or GoToWebinar to host and record your session. You can then use the recorded archive as a video for distribution.

PowerPoint video – A quick substitute for video that most already have available on their desktop can be achieved through PowerPoint. You can use PowerPoint and your computer’s mic to narrate a voiceover to go along with your presentation slides and then export the slideshow video for posting. This feature also creates the flexibility to quickly customize videos for individual clients.

Testimonials – Let your clients tell your story with a testimonial video. Testimonials from your clients build trust with your audience and can be used to promote a particular service or product that solved a problem for your client.  Remember, that to remain compliant, testimonials must also follow these standards: Testimonials must be genuine, relevant, current and clearly written. Testimonials cannot be edited and you must obtain the written permission of the individual in the testimonial.  Testimonials may not be paid for other benefits given for the use of the testimonial. The Investment Advisor’s Act of 1940 prohibits the use of testimonials for Investment Advisors and or Affiliates. Testimonials included in videos must also include the following disclaimer: “This testimonial may not represent the experience of other clients. This testimonial does not guarantee performance or future performance of any product. The Investment Advisor’s Act of 1940 prohibits the use of testimonials for Investment Advisors and or Affiliates.”

If your content is informative and lends itself to more than one video, you could choose to break out your topic and create a video content series (ex. Five commonly asked questions about retirement) that builds interest as you release them. If you plan to shoot a series, pick a presentation format that would allow you to easily shoot a number of them at once. This will save you time, create consistency and also keep fresh video content readily available as new marketing opportunities arise. As always, be conscious of all compliance expectations as you put your video together.

By choosing a simplified format, you won’t need an army of technicians to create your video. Check back soon for an at-a-glance look at some tools and resources you can use to commit your message to video.

Ryan Kennedy

Ryan Kennedy joined Brokers International in October 2014 as a Marketing Project Manager. He is responsible for creating marketing materials and messages to support the strategic initiatives of Brokers International. In addition to developing marketing strategies, he will serve as a frequent blog contributor. When not in the office, he enjoys writing, graphic design and biking.

More Posts

Stay active on social media with these post ideas

February 19, 2015 by

To get the most out of your company social media accounts you have to post regularly. By posting regularly, you can show clients and prospects who find your business on social media that you are committed to providing helpful information, starting conversations and building relationships.

It can be hard to take the time and creativity to post regularly, especially if you don’t have a staff member dedicated to social media marketing. That’s why we’ve come up with a few post ideas you can implement on your company social media accounts:

  1. Find an interesting statistic about how Americans are handling their finances and then share the information with your own audience. For example, a recent survey found only 39 percent of Americans have a budget and keep close track of their spending.1 You can share this statistic and then ask your audience why they do or don’t keep a budget.
  2. Feature one of your employees. You can share a photo, a few facts about them and a quote about why they enjoy working at your company.
  3. It’s tax season, so it’s a good time to share tips or reminders about filing returns. The IRS website has a lot of helpful information you can link to.
  4. If you host a workshop or seminar, take a photo during the event and post it on your accounts. With this photo you can give a quick overview of what attendees learned, and then suggest your audience register for an upcoming workshop or seminar.
  5. Link to an article that teaches your audience about the retirement strategies you offer. By sharing an unbiased article on how insurance products work in a retirement portfolio, you can help your audience become more financially literate.

Remember, these are just suggestions to help you get started and be more active on social media. You know your clients and personal style best, so tailor your schedule and topics to what works for you and your audience. As always, remember to be conscious of compliance expectations on social media use.

__________________

1“The 2014 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey.” The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), 6 Mar. 2014. Web. 2 Feb. 2015. <http://www.nfcc.org/NewsRoom/FinancialLiteracy/files2013/NFCC_2014FinancialLiteracySurvey_datasheet_and_key_findings_031314 FINAL.pdf>.

Kelly Madsen

Kelly Madsen joined Brokers International in August 2014 as a Marketing Project Manager. She is responsible for creating marketing materials and messages to support the strategic initiatives of Brokers International. Prior to joining Brokers, Kelly studied journalism at Iowa State University. She loves the outdoors, the Iowa State Cyclones and her Aussie puppy.

More Posts - Website

Leverage the power of online video: Content

February 5, 2015 by

As we outlined in an earlier blog post, the rise of online video has shifted the way consumers view and engage with marketing content. As a result, today’s consumer has come to expect more than text and static images in communications. In part two of this series, we’ll focus on content suggestions that can help you tell your story.

For the financial and insurance professional, online marketing videos can be effective in showcasing the benefits of products, providing client testimonials, personally introducing yourself or delivering news that is relevant to an existing or prospective client base.

Whatever the message, the duration of the average online long-form video is a little over four minutes and averages about 25 seconds for an online advertisement video.1  However, 20 percent of online audiences tune out after just 10 seconds with that number increasing to 44 percent by the one-minute mark. Almost 60 percent of your audience will stop watching before they reach two minutes.2

To reach a majority of your viewers, you need to be as direct with your message as possible. To start, determine the key message that you want your viewers to receive. Then deliver it and the benefits of your business or service in the first five to ten seconds of your video.

Use the remainder of your video to explain how your service or product will deliver the benefits you’ve highlighted. You can support your message with a realistic client situation, credible statistics, news items or client testimonials. When supporting your message, be sure to avoid jargon or industry buzzwords. Instead, focus on the relatable benefits that your service can fulfill and not specific features or details.

End your video with a call-to-action. Your call-to-action should include your phone number, email address and web address. You should also provide a reason for your audience to contact you. For a refresh on writing a call-to-action, you can download tips here.

Following these content tips can provide you with a solid guide for mapping out your message, but how you choose to visually present this message is where your video will ultimately fail or succeed in its power to engage. To get the most out of your message, look for the next installment of this series on presentation.

 


1  “comScore Releases March 2014 U.S. Online Video Rankings.” comScore. 18 April 2014. Web. 6 January 2015 http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press-Releases/2014/4/comScore-Releases-March-2014-US-Online-Video-Rankings

2 Leggatt, Helen. “Online Viewers Abandon Clips After Just 10 Secs.” Biz Report. 06 October 2010. Web. 20 January 2015. http://www.bizreport.com/2010/10/online-video-viewers-abandoning-clips-after-just-10-secs.html

Ryan Kennedy

Ryan Kennedy joined Brokers International in October 2014 as a Marketing Project Manager. He is responsible for creating marketing materials and messages to support the strategic initiatives of Brokers International. In addition to developing marketing strategies, he will serve as a frequent blog contributor. When not in the office, he enjoys writing, graphic design and biking.

More Posts

Kick start your 2015 social media efforts

January 22, 2015 by

This can be your year for social media. As you develop your company initiatives and marketing strategies for 2015, make sure a commitment to social media is one of your goals.

Whether you post helpful articles on retirement strategies, remind clients of special events at your office or share photos of your latest community service project, every interaction on social media can help you build relationships with clients and connect with prospects.

To help you start the new year off strong, we’ve come up with five post ideas you can add to your company blog, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages:

  1. Some of your clients might be helping with their children’s college loans. Share an article that helps your audience learn ways to ease that burden on their own financial picture.
  2. Remind your audience to schedule an annual review meeting. It is a great chance to update your clients’ financial strategies for the new year.
  3. It’s time to start thinking about filing taxes. Remind your audience that they can deduct expenses like out-of-pocket charitable donations, work-related moving expenses and child care costs.
  4. Ask your audience what they dream of doing in their retirement. It’s a fun question, and people enjoy sharing their hopes for the future.
  5. Cross promote your company LinkedIn account on your Facebook or Twitter pages. Simply share a link to let your audiences know they can find more helpful information on your LinkedIn page.

If you need more post ideas, you can find last month’s social media post ideas here.

Kelly Madsen

Kelly Madsen joined Brokers International in August 2014 as a Marketing Project Manager. She is responsible for creating marketing materials and messages to support the strategic initiatives of Brokers International. Prior to joining Brokers, Kelly studied journalism at Iowa State University. She loves the outdoors, the Iowa State Cyclones and her Aussie puppy.

More Posts - Website

Leverage the power of online video

January 8, 2015 by

Online video has become one of the most effective marketing tools for businesses. By 2017, online video content is expected to make up 69 percent of all consumer internet traffic.1 As financial professionals, planning for this shift now can give you a leg up in engaging your next generation of clients.

Video is cost-effective, simple to produce and can creatively highlight services and products about your business. Plus, video itself can be distributed and archived on multiple online and social media platforms. Living online, these videos can then act as a gateway to new clients and leads. Consider these video marketing statistics:

  • Over fifty-four percent of internet users view at least one video online over the course of a month.2
  • Videos increase understanding of products and services by 74 percent. 3
  • Ninety percent of users say that seeing a video about a product is helpful in the decision-making process.4
  • Seventy-five percent of users visit a marketer’s website after viewing a video.5
  • Video attracts two to three times as many monthly visitors to a website and doubles the time visitors spend on a site.6
  • Business emails that include video increase click-through traffic to websites by 96 percent.7

So what does this mean for your business? Even a quickly produced video made from a camera phone can have the potential to garner exposure when posted on your social media feeds, emails and website. But taking the time to craft an effective and polished video can build credibility amongst your online audience. For tips on creating your own video, check back here for future installments about content, tools and distribution techniques for engaging a new audience through video.

 

1  “Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013–2018.” Cisco Systems, June. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/ip-ngn-ip-next-generation-network/white_paper_c11-481360.html

“comScore Releases March 2014 U.S. Online Video Rankings.” comScore. 18 April 2014. Web. 6 January 2015 http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press-Releases/2014/4/comScore-Releases-March-2014-US-Online-Video-Rankings

“Why A Video Elevator Pitch Will Improve Your Market Share.” Forbes. 10 October 2013. Web. 6 January 2015 http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2013/10/10/why-a-video-elevator-pitch-will-improve-your-market-share/

“50 Must Know Stats About Video & Animation Marketing.” Insivia. Web. 6 January 2015 http://www.insivia.com/50-must-know-stats-about-video-animation-marketing-2013/

“25 Amazing Video Marketing Statistics.” Digital Sherpa. 9 January 2014. Web. 15 December 2014 http://www.digitalsherpa.com/blog/25-amazing-video-marketing-statistics/

6 “Content Marketing: Videos Attract 300% More Traffic and Nurture Leads.” Marketing Sherpa. 14 December 2011. Web. 6 January 2015
http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/how-to/videos-attract-300-more-traffic

“GetResponse Study Shows Video Emails Increase Click-through Rates by 96 Percent.” PR Newswire. Web. 6 January 2015
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/getresponse-study-shows-video-emails-increase-click-through-rates-by-96-percent-78406237.html

Ryan Kennedy

Ryan Kennedy joined Brokers International in October 2014 as a Marketing Project Manager. He is responsible for creating marketing materials and messages to support the strategic initiatives of Brokers International. In addition to developing marketing strategies, he will serve as a frequent blog contributor. When not in the office, he enjoys writing, graphic design and biking.

More Posts

Use television to build your reputation and credibility

August 12, 2014 by

Your personal brand, your reputation and your credibility are three very important things to continue building along with the size of your practice. One way to build on them is through your local television news.

When you work with Brokers International, you get access to our exclusive partnership with Media Minefield. Media Minefield is a Minneapolis, MN-based company that helps individual financial professionals gain access to valuable local television time without the cost.

Television news is an ideal medium for professionals to establish themselves as a committed financial professional to viewers in their area.  A recent study by data-collection company GMI found that television news is the most trusted medium, and that 73% of Americans prefer to get their news from television.1

Recently, Media Minefield drew the attention of InsuranceNewsNet Magazine, a top industry news source. InsuranceNewsNet Magazine featured a Q&A with Skip Johnson, a Minnesota-based agent who attributes his success to working with Media Minefield. 2

Skip Johnson and a colleague founded Great Waters Financial in New Hope, MN, in September 2012.  Appearances on local television news, facilitated by Media Minefield, has helped Skip get his name into the community and increase his influence.

It didn’t take Johnson long to start seeing the fruits of his labor. He received positive results “within a matter of months.”

“We were a brand new company and were getting feedback from our appearances,” Skip said. “Television provided us with name recognition that otherwise could have taken years to develop.”

Once you make an appearance on the local television news, you can use those clips on your website, social media pages, or other advertising pieces. By doing this, your credibility can still grow even if an individual didn’t see your segment on the news.

To learn more about how Skip Johnson benefited from working with Media Minefield, download the full InsuranceNewsNet Magazine article here.

 


1 Shearman, Sarah. “Social is the rage, but consumers still trust TV news: study.” PR Weekly. N.P. 27 March 2014. Web. 5 August 2014.

2 “Television News Helped This Independent Professional Increase His Public Profile.” InsuranceNewsNet July 2014: 27. Web.

Travis Redfern

Travis Redfern is a Relationship Manager for Brokers International. He works closely with key producers to help identify products and services that they can use to grow their businesses. Travis has been with Brokers International since 2002. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, golfing, team roping, time with friends and family and escaping to his “man cave” to watch football. ADR-1263

More Posts

Follow Me:
LinkedIn

Create content that engages your customers

June 18, 2014 by

Consumers crave content, which explains why the phrase “content marketing” has generated so much buzz in the past year.

A study by the Custom Content Council found that 78% of consumers believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.Deeper in the study, they find that customers don’t necessarily want content that’s selling them a product. They want something that provides benefits and value.

As a financial professional, you don’t need a Pulitzer Prize to create content that engages customers. You just need to transfer what you already know into a format that clients can consume.

Consider consolidating big ideas that have come up in client discussions into a series of tips. This allows you to break big concepts into bite-sized pieces that are easier for you to write and your clients to digest.

Here’s a list of “tip” topics to consider:

  • How to prepare for a child whose entering college.
  • Things to consider when a parent needs long-term care.
  • What to do with unplanned, extra income (tax returns, bonuses, etc.)
  • Preparing your estate so your beneficiaries are protected.
  • How to take an inventory of your retirement strategies.

Get writing. Before you know it, you’ll have enough content to keep your customers engaged. In the next installment of the blog, you’ll learn the different places to publish your content.

 


150 Stats You Need to Know About Content Marketing. (n.d.). 50 Stats You Need to Know About Content Marketing. Retrieved June 12, 2014, from http://blog.newscred.com/article/50-stats-you-need-to-know-about-content-marketing/4d5125444fcd2d72ebd17b282107d742