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 at Iowa State University. She loves the outdoors, the Cyclones and her Aussie puppy.

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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.

“comScore Releases March 2014 U.S. Online Video Rankings.” comScore. 18 April 2014. Web. 6 January 2015

“Why A Video Elevator Pitch Will Improve Your Market Share.” Forbes. 10 October 2013. Web. 6 January 2015

“50 Must Know Stats About Video & Animation Marketing.” Insivia. Web. 6 January 2015

“25 Amazing Video Marketing Statistics.” Digital Sherpa. 9 January 2014. Web. 15 December 2014

6 “Content Marketing: Videos Attract 300% More Traffic and Nurture Leads.” Marketing Sherpa. 14 December 2011. Web. 6 January 2015

“GetResponse Study Shows Video Emails Increase Click-through Rates by 96 Percent.” PR Newswire. Web. 6 January 2015

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.

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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

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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

Learn the importance of a call-to-action

May 15, 2014 by

Here’s one way to lose a potential client: Write a 7-paragraph email without asking the reader to engage with you. (I tried to avoid that here just by doing it in the headline.)

By leaving out a call-to-action you’re taking the chance of losing a client conversation.

If you’ve read the past Brokers International blog about creating drip marketing campaigns, you’ve already spent time segmenting your database. Don’t forgo that hard work by skipping the call-to-action.  If you don’t provide a call-to-action, your reader will not know what they should do next. So what do you need to do?

Get creative.

A call-to-action is the mechanism that you use to get a client to engage. Once you’ve set the goal (example, call to set up an appointment) it’s time to create the call to action. Here are some tips:

  • Use the active voice
  • Try synonyms of everyday words
  • Focus on benefits (not features)
  • Give a deadline
  • Guide their actions
  • Create value

A call-to-action not only motivates a reader to engage, but it also changes your advertising piece—which is meant to build brand awareness—into a direct marketing piece that can help drive traffic.

Do you need some call-to-action examples? Click here to download a list that we developed to help you go from advertising to selling.

In the next installment of our blog series on drip marketing campaigns, we’ll look at creating content that’s relevant, easy to read and encourages your audience to stay engaged.


Choosing a segment

April 18, 2014 by

Choosing the correct segment—target audience—for a marketing message can dictate its success.
Segmenting allows you to use the information you know about someone—such as gender, age, income or interests—to create a persona/client profile.

According to Eloqua,1 a leading provider of marketing automation and revenue management software, “Personas are fictional characters created to represent your ideal buyer.” Click here for a sample client profile.

When creating a persona, recognize that there are different types of clients. Look at your client list and prioritize what type of client is most important to your business. For example, you may work with clients in different life stages such as pre-retirement or retirement. Which one of these segments is the most beneficial to your business? Create that persona first.

Click here to download a client profile template to help you complete your persona.

Here is an example of a segment you might look for in your database to market life insurance.

  • Workshop attendees: Keep track of workshop attendees in your database. And, record what workshop they attended. Creating a follow up campaign will help keep you top-of-mind after the workshop—and hopefully, when they are ready to buy.

When you are ready to create your next marketing communication, choose your segment or persona first so your message resonates. Remember, you can use multiple segments to narrow your marketing message such as: women who attended a workshop on estate planning.

The next step in creating a relevant message is to decide on your desired outcome. The next bog will go into detail about how to create a call to action.

1Pacheco, Claire. “EloquaU Power Hour: Creating Buyer Personas.” Topliners. Eloqua, 7 Feb 2014. Web. 28 Feb 2014. <>.

Kristine Garrett

Kristine Garrett joined Brokers International in 2012 as a Marketing Project Manager. She brought with her a strong background in sales and marketing that she uses to write helpful blog tips and marketing ideas to grow your business. Kristine shares a hobby farm near Panora with her husband, farm critters and beautiful bulldogs. 11854-1/30/13

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Putting pen to paper for your brand

January 16, 2014 by

Let’s address writing; my favorite part of developing a brand.

I’m a bit of a word bully around the office (and at home).  I’ll always edit out the use of ellipses for emphasis. I can’t stand a split infinitive. Jargon makes me verklempt.

I wholeheartedly believe that good writing is an integral part of good advertising, marketing and promotion.

David Ogilvy, legendary advertising executive (called the original “Mad Man”), believed that good writing was key to selling products. He penned a memo to the Ogilvy & Mather staff in 1982 titled “How-To-Write.” Click here to read the 10 tips from his memo.

Ogilvy was no advertising dummy. He helped Dove become a best-selling soap in the United States by promoting that it contained one-quarter moisturizing cream. He also helped companies like Rolls Royce, American Express and Sears.

What does this all mean for you developing your brand?

You may have the best logo, coolest colors and great pitchman for your product. But if your ad, website or brochures are poorly written, you can’t communicate effectively. If you can’t communicate effectively; you can’t sell.

So how do you work on your writing?

  • Hire a professional copywriter.
  • Read, and follow, Ogilvy’s 10 tips from his memo.
  • Read books about writing. (I recommend On Writing Well by William Zinsser.)
  • Have someone else read your writing before you publish.
  • Read. But don’t just read novels. Read other advertising.
  • Write for your audience; not yourself.

It’s one thing to have a tagline that is a grammar bender (Got Milk?). It’s another to have a brochure full of typos, run-ons or completely confusing copy.

Don’t ruin a first impression with bad writing.


5 steps to fix a leaky sales funnel

January 10, 2014 by

Drip…drip…drip…our kitchen sink had a leak. At first I tried to ignore it—then the water bill arrived. So, I booted up the computer and searched for “how to fix a leaky faucet”. According to the search results, I could fix it in 6 easy steps.

Two trips to the hardware store, 3 acetaminophen tablets and 15 steps later, I fixed the leak.

Fixing a leaky sales funnel won’t require a trip to the hardware store. But to alleviate headaches and push your prospects through the sales funnel, you should create a drip campaign.

A drip marketing campaign is when you periodically engage with a prospect or customer through channels such as direct mail, social media, phone calls or email. Drip campaigns typically consist of a sequence of messages sent according to your prospects needs, interests and their stage in the sales funnel.

Here’s how to create a drip campaign.

Step one: Choose a segment. Look at your existing database and determine where your clients fall in the sales funnel. Pick one segment you’d like to start “dripping on” and map out a campaign. For example, if you’d like to start with new workshop attendees, you should map out a welcome campaign.

Step two: Decide on your desired outcome. What do you want the person receiving your communication to do? Do you want them to call you, sign up for a webinar or attend an event? Identify the desired outcome in the initial campaign development phase. It will guide your entire process and allow you to measure your effectiveness.

Step three: Create content. For each stage of the sales funnel, you need to construct communications that are simple, relevant and engaging. For example, if you are putting together a welcome campaign for workshop attendees, send them additional educational materials based on your workshop topic.

Step four: Mix it up. There are many ways to reach out to your clients (email, direct mail, social media, phone calls, etc). Use a variety. Each person responds to information differently and has communication preferences. By mixing up your delivery methods, you have a better chance to reach your target.

Step five: Repeat. Replicate this process until you have relevant content to speak to buyers in each stage of the sales funnel. Soon, you will have enough material that you can drip on clients through the entire process.

This blog is an overview of how drip marketing campaigns can help fix a leaky funnel. Watch for upcoming blogs that will go into each of these steps in detail.


Kristine Garrett

Kristine Garrett joined Brokers International in 2012 as a Marketing Project Manager. She brought with her a strong background in sales and marketing that she uses to write helpful blog tips and marketing ideas to grow your business. Kristine shares a hobby farm near Panora with her husband, farm critters and beautiful bulldogs. 11854-1/30/13

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