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Products for Seniors in all Stages

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Oct 07, 2011 @ 08:15 AM

Medicare SupplementsAs a senior market agent, it’s important for you to understand the best products for your clients as they age and experience retirement, income changes, and death of loved-ones. Younger seniors, older seniors, high and low income seniors all have different needs and it is your responsibility to understand them and choose the products from your portfolio to fit their needs best. These strong relationships will result in more referrals and assure the longevity of your business.

Here are five main senior-types to consider:

  1. Young Seniors – These seniors are just reaching their Medicare eligibility and being bombarded with options to consider for their health and economic futures. The process is often confusing, so it is important to take time with these clients, find out their plans for the future, and choose the products right for them. For those ready to travel and do the things they couldn’t do when they were responsible for raising a family, a Medicare Supplement might be the best option. For those who are happy to stay at home and within a network, Medicare Advantage might be the right fit. It’s also important to review their retirement income and begin discussing annuity options, which will provide guaranteed income for as long as they live.

  2. Older Seniors – For those aged 90 and up qualifying for insurance plans will be significantly more difficult. For these seniors it is important to review their portfolio and make sure all of their beneficiaries are correct and their investments are risk free. Review their supplemental insurance plan to see if there may be a better fit, especially in states like New York and Connecticut where there is no medical underwriting on Med Supps.

  3. Low-Income Seniors – Start by reviewing their financial situation and confirm they are signed up for the best Medicare (and Medicaid, if necessary) plan. Also, many states have programs to help pay for their medications, so look to see if they qualify for that assistance. For a low income senior it is more about asset accumulation than asset protection.

  4. High-Net-Worth Senior – If your client has assets over $1 million often times you will find you need to partner with other financial professionals like tax attorneys and CPA’s in order to insure all of the client’s financial bases are covered. For these clients you are working to protect their assets and insuring their returns are consistent.

  5. Widowed Senior – For those who have recently lost a spouse it is important to make sure they have secured the benefits they are entitled to in their spouse’s death, and then work with them to develop a spending and asset protection plan. It is especially important to discuss long term care or short term care insurance with them, as they may not have any family nearby and should be protected in case they should need assisted care.

With all seniors it is important to be flexible and present the products that will work best for their individual needs. By customizing each client’s portfolio to fit their specific needs you are gaining clients who will be confident in your ability to adapt as their needs change.


Please give us your feedback!
Do you work with a variety of senior's in a variety of health and economic situations? What helps you customize each plan for them specifically? Or, do you prefer to prospect with one specific type?

Source: Agent's Sales Journal

Additional Updates:
  • UnitedHealthcare MA and Part D New Business Submission Form - Learn More
  • Woodmen of the World: Group Coverage Terminations Outline - Learn More
  • Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for WV - Learn More
  • Gerber Life: Group Coverage Terminations Outline - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for MD, MN, and VA - Learn More

Tags: Senior Market Advice, Medicare Supplement, Customer Retention, Medicare Sales, Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement, Forethought Medicare Supplement, Sentinel Life Medicare Supplement, Customer Service, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement, Baby Boomers

MedAmerica Transitions: A New Short Term Care Product

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 @ 09:07 AM

Medicare SupplementsMedAmerica Insurance Company is a subsidiary of a $5 billion not-for-profit health care company that finances and delivers health care to more than 2 million people. MedAmerica has been focused exclusively on providing financial solutions for chronic care situation since 1987. Known for their hassle-free service, strong financial performance, and commitment to improving aging adult’s quality of life, MedAmerica is now offering a new product called Transitions Short Term Recovery Care Insurance.

Short Term Care Insurance is made for when your client’s fall into a difficult time, whether in a nursing home, assisted living, or home care. It allows time for planning and making critical financial decisions between the incident and Long Term Care, if deemed necessary. This product was created specifically for your Baby Boomer clients; it is an innovative product that brings peace of mind to their families in times of crisis.

The Transitions product pays for daily charges up to a capped amount determined by the policy and also has a lifetime pool of money which can be restored after 180 days of not needing care. It offers an inflation option and has a waiver of premium, 21 day bed reservation, or 14 day respite care benefit if necessary. Plus, there is a 10% discount for clients with a spouse or domestic partner, regardless of whether one or both apply for coverage.

The policy also includes the MedAmerica MyCare Program, an optional program available at the time of claim that may not be necessary if the insured has a Long Term Care policy. MyCare provides expert advice, quality care assurance, and enhanced family connection. This benefit is paid out of the lifetime maximum pool, is up to 6 times the daily benefit maximum. The insured can access this when he or she is eligible for receiving payment of benefits.

Transitions has an easy design, process, and application. The application questions are Yes/No with quick underwriting leading to a much shorter decision period. Also, nine month advancing is available. Make sure your portfolio has this option available for when your clients request it.

PSM is excited to launch MedAmerica Transitions Short Term Care Insurance. Give your marketer a call today to get contracted.


Please give us your feedback!
Have you sold a Short Term Care product in the past? What tips do you have for those just looking to expand their business to include it?

Additional Updates:
  • Introducing an Exciting New Short Term Care Plan - Learn More
  • Forethought Launches a New Final Expense: Forethought Freedom - Learn More
  • Assured Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for OH - Learn More
  • Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for ID - Learn More

Tags: senior market news, Customer Retention, Assured Life Medicare Supplement, Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement, Forethought Medicare Supplement, insurance companies, MedAmerica, Short Term Care

Plan G More Cost Effective Option than Plan F?

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Mon, Jul 11, 2011 @ 11:33 AM

Medicare SupplementsWe all know that Plan "F" has been the most popular plan in the industry. It’s an easy to sell, all-inclusive plan that allows the Medicare beneficiary to fill in all of the gaps Medicare leaves behind. Yet, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2010 has now made Plan "G" more attractive than ever. In the past, Plan "G" did not cover the Part B Deductible (now $162) and only covered 80% of the Part B Excess charges; however, due to the Medicare Modernization Act, Plan "G" now covers 100% of the Part B Excess charges just like a Plan "F". This means that the only difference between a Plan "F" and a Plan "G" is the Part B Deductible.

In other words, if the premiums for a Plan "F" exceed $162 or more than the premiums for a Plan "G", the Plan "G" is a more cost effective option for your clients- especially your healthier clients!

Forethought Medicare Supplement makes Plan G an especially attractive product, with a couple hundred dollars in savings every year in some states.

Here are a few other facts to consider with Plan "G":

  • Plan "G" is not exposed to Guarantee Issue.This drastically reduces the potential risk associated with Plans A, C and F.
  • Plan "G" has statistically fewer rate increases. As a result of less bad business, the rate increases are more modest and happen less often than with a Plan "F".
  • Plan "G" is tougher to replace.Once a client has a Plan "G" and has seen the benefit of paying less over the year they are less likely to be swayed to a Plan "F". Thus, you will have an easier time retaining those clients and keeping their business on the books.

Plan "G" is a smart choice for your clients with a good health history, looking for immediate cost savings, and don’t mind satisfying their Part B deductible at doctor visits. With statistically less rate increases and an increase in persistency, Plan "G" has a lot of benefits to agents.

Please give us your feedback!
Do you sell Plan "G"? Do you find your clients are receptive to the product? Have you found an increase in persistency with those clients?

 

Additional Updates:
  • Forethought Medicare Supplement is Expanding to AZ, NJ, MO, and MI - Learn More
  • Do you have the right tools for Annual Enrollment? - Learn More
  • United Healthcare Medicare Supplement: Multiply your sales opportunities - Learn More

Tags: United Healthcare Medicare Supplement, Annual Enrollment Period, Sales Tips, Medicare, Customer Retention, Forethought Medicare Supplement, Customer Service, Building Client Relationships

Establishing Trust with your Clients

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jun 24, 2011 @ 09:08 AM

Medicare SupplementsTrust is the foundation for all successful health insurance sales; if a prospect doesn’t trust you the odds of closing the sale are low. They might have had a prior negative experience with an agent, finding them pushy, overbearing, self-serving, or aggressive. Instead, position yourself as an advocate rather than a salesperson, and establish trust that you will guide and advise them effectively. This is especially important during this era where health reform has left many seniors confused and uncertain about the policy that will best fit their health and financial needs.

Here are three important trust building techniques to learn:

  1. Asking the right questions. To begin the dialogue with your prospect, start by asking intelligent, respectful, and meaningful questions in a sensitive and nonthreatening manner. Decipher what they are looking for, not only for their current situation, but future needs as well. Establishing yourself as their trusted adviser will allow you to recommend the right product for them. Some questions suggested by the Agents Sales Journal are:

    “Why did you want to meet with me today?”
    “What does your ideal relationship with your health insurance agent look like?”
    “What type of coverage would your ideal health insurance plan provide?”
    “What’s the one thing that you want to make sure we accomplish today?”
    “Have you ever had a bad experience with an insurance agent? Can you tell me about it?”

    The prospect’s answer to these questions will reveal not only their needs, but expectations of your product offerings and expertise. Plus, if their answers do not align with your offerings, you will be able to acknowledge this and move on to another prospect.
  2. Listening to your clients. Listen as much as you speak, and gather the information provided to you in order to use your knowledge effectively for each prospect. It is well known that people enjoy talking about themselves and their needs; this is your chance to learn as much as you can about each client. Be sure to also monitor the prospect’s speech and level of interest in the process. If they come off as distracted, it might be a good idea to reschedule the meeting.
  3. Showing empathy toward their situation. Showing empathy is the process of relating to the person to whom you are speaking, not the sales process. Having an empathetic approach and acknowledging their feelings and difficult choices will allow you to have a successful interaction. Show you understand their needs and budget by suggesting the best products in your portfolio.

Asking the right questions, listening to your clients, and showing empathy toward their situation all work together in establishing trust with each prospect and therefore achieve consistent sales.

Please give us your feedback!
How do you show you are trustworthy while prospecting? Do you have any other tips that you've learned in the trust-building process?

Source: Agents Sales Journal

Additional Updates:
  • United Healthcare Medicare Supplement: Make your sales goals a reality - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for IN - Learn More

Tags: Sales Tips, Success Tips, Customer Retention, Leads, Medicare Sales, Customer Service

Strategies for Client Retention

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Apr 15, 2011 @ 09:15 AM

Medicare SupplementsClient retention is an ongoing process that starts with providing excellent service and continual client contact from the very first contact and continues throughout your relationship.

Here are a few strategies you can employ to retain more of your existing clients:

  1. Respond to your client’s needs by changing your sales pitch for those who need you to listen and communicating via email, phone calls, or face-to-face meeting to show you care. Also, follow-ups like a newsletter, cards, or surveys will also help you clients know you care about them as a person rather than a number.
  2. Put your client’s needs first, listen to what they have to say, and make note of what is important to them. When you show how your customer service will exceed their expectations they will willingly contact you again with their questions, concerns, policy changes, or need to change a product or service.
  3. Meet your deadlines, call when you say you will, and show that you are responsible and that your clients can trust you to do what you say you will do.
  4. Treat them like you would any other business associate. Look out for their best interest, take their concerns seriously, and ask questions to meet both their current and future needs.
  5. Use referrals, testimonials, and other endorsements to allow others to speak for you and show your expertise within your field. This will give you credibility in your business and confirm your client’s decision to choose you to guide them with their supplemental insurance needs.
  6. Give your clients your all and gain their loyalty. When you have a strong base it will also be easier to leverage those testimonials to new clients.
Retaining clients takes time, energy, and a strong focus on building those relationships.  However, it is worth the effort in the end.  While you are prospecting you will have the residuals of your happy clients as supplemental income to help drive your business. After all, it is 5-10 times more expensive to find new clients than it is to retain the ones you already have on the books.

 


What have you found most important in retaining clients? Do you have any techniques that you use that would help other agents be successful?

Source: Insure Me


Additional Updates:
  • United of Omaha Released in New Jersey - Learn More
  • Mutual of Omaha United of Omaha, and United World Plan N Discontinued in all states - Learn More

Tags: Sales Tips, Success Tips, Customer Retention, Quality Management, insurance news, Creating Value, Customer Service

Increase Your Sales Through Better Copywriting

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 @ 11:52 AM

“Nobody wants to read your copy.”

This is the cold, hard truth about advertising according to popular copywriter Steven Pressfield, and I believe him.

There is a phenomenon in the advertising industry called “Client’s Disease.” Essentially every client, whether that client is your own organization or an external customer, mistakenly believes that because it cares about the product it’s advertising everyone else will as well.

The harsh reality is that no one cares, and it’s not because they are mean or have a grudge against you or your organization, it’s just that they have better things to do, such as solving their own problems.

Knowing and accepting this fact is half the battle in advertising. The other half is capitalizing on it by communicating to your audience that you can solve those problems. This is the only way to get your audience to even give your ad or website a few seconds of consideration. Though there is no concrete evidence, most experts agree that most people spend about 10-15 seconds to glance over a communications piece before deciding to continue to look into it or reject it. So it’s critical that your copy and other elements are finely tuned for maximum effect.

Here are 10 tips to enhance your copywriting so that your audience gets the message and decides to stick around long enough to buy into what you are selling.

1. Know your audience. More specifically, know what problems they want to solve. Also, know their demographics, interests, political affiliations, and other relevant info that can help you craft your message and gain their attention.

2. Communicate how your product or service solves your audience’s problem. Whether it’s protecting assets through insurance, increasing retirement income through an annuity, or getting the highest commission percentage possible, your audience has a need and it’s your biggest priority to tell them how you can meet it.

3. Explain why you are better than their other options. As an insurance agent or broker, you obviously have to deal with a lot of competition. So right after you tell your audience how you will solve their problem, you need to tell them why you’re their best option. Be very specific with this.

4. Tailor your message to the medium. One piece of copy isn’t going to universally work for all mediums. In fact, you may need a whole new message depending if you are communicating your message through a Google Ad, direct mail, e-Direct, or website.

5. Call them to action. Once you’re done explaining, it’s time to get your audience to respond. Whether it's getting them to call you, landing them on a specific page, or getting them to sign up, you need to tell them what is the first step they can take in solving their problem.

6. Be honest. Though everyone expects some exaggeration or puffery during the sales process, you must be careful to not step over the line into illegal territory that may lead to an expensive suit that can wreck your business.

7. Keep it concise. Keep your message as brief as possible and only focus on the audience and the solution they seek. No one cares about your rags to riches story or how your business has been around since the horse and carriage days.

8. Stay on message. If you are promoting solution X, then don’t get side tracked by also trying to promote solution Y that isn’t relevant to the problem. If you can get them to buy solution X, you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to promote solution Y.

9. Avoid clichés. People can immediately see laziness, especially in writing. If you’re using over-used and tired phrases or wording, such as “Step up to the plate and sign up now!” then your audience will tune you out, and you'll see your credibility diminished.

10. Proofread… and then proofread again.

Tags: Sales Tips, Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, senior market blog, senior market news, Senior Market, senior insurance market news, Customer Retention

Creating the Perfect Webinar

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 @ 11:57 AM

As we mentioned before, one of the sales methods you’ll want to take advantage of this year is the webinar. And if you are already doing a webinar, then perhaps you’ll find some useful nuggets of knowledge that will help you refine your presentation.

1. What you need. In order to conduct the most effective webinars you will need the right tools. Here is a list:

• Presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint

• Web conferencing software such as http://www.megameeting.com or http://www.gotomeeting.com

• Stock media from sites such as http://www.gettyimages.com or http://www.shutterstock.com

• Video editing software (free) such as Windows Movie Maker or iMovie

• Video camera and tripod

2. Planning. Your webinar is a project that will require a few hours of planning to ensure a smooth execution, low cost, and as little rework as possible. First, you will want to think about your audience. Do you sell direct to seniors? Do you solely recruit agents? Are your clients more affluent? Are they mostly minorities?

Once you’ve identified your audience, you’ll want to identify the key issues that are important to them when considering the product or services you are trying to sell. Your webinar subject matter will vary greatly depending on if you are selling Medicare supplements, annuities, or even both. Regardless, you’ll want to remember to focus your subject matter on only 3-5 major points.

After identifying the 3-5 major points you want to convey to your audience, the next step is to create an outline of the information you will convey about those 3-5 major points. The key here is to get the right arrangement for your information so you can then start thinking about the detailed content you will present. The more visuals the better, so consider how you can visualize as much information as possible.

The last part of planning your webinar requires that you finalize all the content you want to put in your webinar and think about the logistics of creating that content. You’ll need to write the script for your oral presentation, and if you plan on showing a video clip of a customer explaining her financial devastation from not having a Medicare supplement, you will of course want to identify the customer, pick the time and place to interview, and so forth.

3. Creating the content. With your plan in place, now comes the execution. You will want to contain your entire Webinar within the presentation file. This is easy to do as you can easily drag and drop other types of files into the presentation file. If you are unfamiliar with how to use presentation software, I recommend buying a presentation software tutorial or book to enable you with maximum creative ability.

The first thing you will want to do is choose your theme. The color and structure of your theme are both important in addressing your audience and presentation style. If you are going for a more upbeat style, then brighter colors will compliment and enhance your presentation. If your subject matter requires respect and a more serious tone, then you’ll want to use darker shades of colors. Stay away from blacks as a primary color as it comes across as too serious and it can be hard to read text from. If you aren’t happy with the included templates, you can find many impressive templates for purchase with a simple search for “PowerPoint (or other software) templates.”

Next, comes adding your content. A good rule of thumb to follow is to use as little text as possible. This means keeping your bullet points to 3-5 on each slide and never writing paragraphs of text. Use charts, tables, photographs, videos, and so forth to convey your message when possible.

When it comes to charts and tables, make sure the data and source is correct and that you have permission to use them. Also, always use professional stock photos. Nothing loses respect more than low-quality, amateur material. Stock photo sites allow you to buy at different sizes so you shouldn’t have to worry about resizing photos. If you have to resize photos to conform to your design, know that you can safely scale down, but never up. When scaling down hold down the shift key when resizing the photo. This will prevent distortion and pixilation.

With the popularity of YouTube and reality TV, less than professional quality video is accepted if done right. If you are doing a client interview video or if it’s a video of yourself, make sure you record it with at least a tripod. You don’t want any shaking in your video. Also try to record in as well lit a room as possible. Dark video isn’t appealing. Once you recorded your video, you can then edit it with one of the free programs mentioned above. Music always helps, so buy some stock audio to make your video that much more attractive and effective. Again, cheap and short tutorials are readily available to show you how to use the video editing programs.

4. Edit and Test. Once you’ve created your presentation make sure to edit it for mistakes. You’ll also want to test your webinar to a sample audience to make sure it’s perfectly executed. The software should give you the ability to record your webinar, so make sure to watch yourself and see if there are any improvements to be made.

5. Marketing. With your webinar all ready to go, you’ll want to consider how to get the most eyeballs to watch it. Before you do though, consider the costs. Typically, each “seat” in a seminar costs money. The more “seats” you need the more it is going to cost you. So as you can see, it will pay off to ensure your audience is as targeted as possible for maximum effectiveness.

If you have a large budget and want as many eyeballs as possible, then you’ll want to communicate your webinar information through an E-blast, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also use more traditional methods like radio and print, but they cost a lot more.

Once you’ve executed your perfect webinar and have it recorded, you can then use it as a very effective promotional/educational piece. Set up a webpage to show the recorded webinar and drive traffic to it. You can also put it on a disc or thumb drive and send it out to those less Internet savvy. You spent the time, money, and effort to make the perfect webinar, so make sure you leverage it as much as possible.

Tags: Sales Tips, Senior Market Success, senior market blog, senior market news, Web Marketing Advice, Web Tips, technology, Customer Retention, Leads

5 Best Ways To Generate Leads

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 @ 12:30 PM

The most successful producers know that one of the keys to success is to make generating leads a strategic objective of the organization. Lead goals should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). It is a principle that we stress during our recruitment process. The reason we bring up this subject is because this month’s issue of Senior Market Advisor has a decent article titled 50 Best Ways to Generate Leads. The tips were selected from numerous submissions sent in by readers and industry leaders.

The tips are redundant and don’t really tell you anything revolutionary, but they serve as an excellent reminder and reinforcement of best practices we should continue to follow in order to generate quality leads. To save you time, we’ve condensed the 50 tips into five and added our own spin on them. Feel free to contribute your own tips in our comments section below.

Focus on Referrals – If you’ve done a great job with your clients, then never be afraid to directly ask for referrals. Your loyal customers are extremely valuable because of this so customer retention is important. Additionally, look to establish referral partners. If your clients have a good experience with the professionals you recommend to them, they will further trust your advice and see you as a solution provider for a range of services.

Leverage Technology Smartly – Not all technology is right for your business. If you know 90% of your market doesn’t use computers, then don’t waste your time creating a Facebook page, a Twitter page, or an E-blast campaign. For example if your goal is to keep your clients continuously updated on the latest news, it may be better to send out text messages to their cell phones rather than through twitter or through an e-blast. Also be aware of how much time you spend tinkering with technology – it may be better spent generating leads the old-fashion way.

Quantify Your Networking – You already know the importance of networking, but are you measuring the effectiveness of your networking? It’s good to set predetermined goals and continually try to improve your numbers. If you are going to a one or two hour event, keep reminding yourself that you need to make an X number of new contacts within that time. How many of these contacts turned into leads? How many of those led to real business? Look back each year and see if the events you attended were the right ones and are worthwhile to attend again.

Target and Customize – In all your marketing efforts take the time to plan and really make your efforts as lean as possible. By lean, I mean as targeted and customized as possible. Some of the ideas proposed in the article were to send out handwritten notes, personal pictures, using names in communications whenever possible, and meeting clients at special times such as their birthday months. Additionally, standing out from your competition is important too. Is anyone else using video testimonials? According to one industry leader, video boosts retention by 50% over live presentations.

The Don’ts – For every thing we should do, there are many actions that we need to avoid. Here is a list of don’ts that you should keep in mind:

* Don’t use mailing labels that lack personalization
* Don’t always copy your competitors – they may be on the wrong path
* Don’t “freestyle” your presentations
* Don’t promote products – promote solutions to problems
* Don’t just rely on one method to acquire leads
* Don’t sell yourself as an expert in more than one or two knowledge areas

Tags: Success Tips, Senior Market Success, senior market blog, Medicare Supplement, Customer Retention, Creating Value, Customer Service, Building Client Relationships, Professional Networking, Exciters

Inbound Web Marketing Strategies – Establishing The Ultimate Referral System

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Dec 11, 2009 @ 11:47 AM

Many of you are already familiar with referrals: getting existing customers to recommend you to others. The value of referral business is significant as these customers were obtained without expending time and money marketing directly to these customers. Now imagine getting an exponential amount of referrals from sources you never served from places you’ve never heard of. This is the power of Inbound Web Marketing.

Before I get into the strategies, let me give a brief review to those of you who may be unfamiliar with this concept. In the 21st century, marketing can be split into two categories: Outbound and Inbound. Outbound marketing consists of traditional marketing efforts such as telemarketing, tradeshows, direct mail, TV/Radio, print ads, and newer techniques such as E-blasts. These methods require that you interrupt whatever the customer is currently doing with or without their permission. With customers being bombarded by so many ads on TV, radio, Internet, roads, and practically everywhere else they go, they are getting better and better at ignoring such ads. This of course reduces the ROI on your marketing investment.

Inbound marketing consists of search engine optimization, link exchanges, blogging, video and audio podcasting, and social media. The significant difference here is that since customers are actively seeking out your products and services you automatically have their permission to inform them of how great your business, service, and products are. You also have their undivided attention. When a customer is searching for something that is their focus. They will continue to search and be focused until they find the solution they seek. This is something that is so elusive with traditional outbound marketing efforts. As an added bonus, your “broadcast” cost is minimal to nothing.

Here are some inbound web marketing strategies you will want to implement if you haven’t done so already:

1.) Location. Location. Location. The phrase made famous by realtors around the world is equally applicable to the land of the Internet. When I speak about location, I am referring to your ranking on the search engines. Non-paid search result positions 1-5 on any search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing are considered top “real-estate.” Now how to get there is a whole other blog post, but I will say that if your Web site is just starting out, you will want to focus on long-tail keywords that are very specific to your market and are easier to rank for. “Vermont Medicare Quotes” will be a whole lot easier and faster to rank for than “Medicare Supplement.” You may not generate as much traffic, but the leads you do get will be highly qualified.

2.) Get Social. Meet your new friends Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Now, your elderly clients may have no idea what these are, but their children do. Remember, many of the people searching for Medicare and other insurance information tend to be relatives of seniors who are more Web savvy. So make sure you setup accounts on these sites and include them in your traditional marketing materials. And once you’ve set them up make sure you maintain them by linking to different content on your site or getting out important information fast. For example with Twitter you can inform them “GA United of Omaha now Available. Call 1-800-555-5555 for more info” as soon as you find out. Best of all? These tools are free.

3.) Get Partner Links. Nothing is free, but many things don’t have to cost money. Is there an organization in your industry that doesn’t compete directly with you? Partner with them and exchange links. For example, if you only sell Medicare products, you may want to link to an organization you trust that focuses on long-term-care products. The partner of course will link to your site in exchange and you’ll generate referrals from that site.

4.) Speak Up. Who doesn’t like free advice? This is where blogging comes in. The most important thing about a blog is to keep it updated. The vast majority of blogs are abandoned after just a few weeks. So if you want your blog to be a referral tool, you have to maintain it and maintain it well. Anyone can just link to content already created or reword existing articles. Take the time to offer your unique expertise and professional opinion and your customers will keep coming back to learn more and refer your blog to others. Don’t have time to write extensive blogs? Then consider commenting on other blogs and through Internet forums frequented by seniors. Seniors love to talk and read about current events – leverage it.

5.) Broadcast Yourself. Don’t like writing? Make a Web video. Don’t like how you look on video? Make an audio podcast. Just like blogging, you can spread your wealth of knowledge and other information through these other effective mediums. Once you’ve created the content, you may be wondering how exactly to get it out there for everyone to see. Well there is the famous YouTube, but you’ll also want to post your content on these other great sites that can generate organic leads to your site:

Delicious
Digg
Facebook
Flickr
LinkedIn
StumbleUpon
Twitter
YouTube
PRweb

These are just a sample of the thousands of sites where you can post your content. The more places you post – the more potential customers will find you.

Tags: Senior Market Advice, senior market blog, senior market news, Medicare Supplement, senior insurance market news, Customer Retention, Creating Value, Building Client Relationships

5 Methods for Building a Better Brand

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Nov 13, 2009 @ 12:50 PM

Whether your business has existed for five months or fifty years, organizational brand management is vital to the ongoing growth and success of your organization. Despite its importance, you’d be surprised at the amount of neglect this aspect of business management receives. Great brand management has many benefits including:


• Appear “bigger” than you really are and/or better than the competition
• Increased customer loyalty and referrals
• Increased mind share among potential and existing customers
• Enhanced ability to attract customers of competing organizations
• Easier sales process

On the flip side, poor brand management can be very detrimental to your business:

• You appear incompetent and/or inferior to the competition
• Lose both existing and potential customers
• You are forgotten immediately
• Very difficult or nearly impossible sales process
• No future growth opportunities

Though at first it may not appear that you have much control over what other people think of your organization, there are many factors (conditions or acts) that you can control or at the very least influence to continuously improve your personal or organization brand. Here are five effective methods that we recommend for enhancing your brand.

1. Write a brand management plan: Before you can manage your brand, you need to know what you are managing. Take time to gather your leaders and determine what branding goals you want to accomplish. Some things to think about include “What is our identity?” “What do we want to specialize in?” “Do we want to be seen as an innovator?” Your plan doesn’t have to be an encyclopedia, just enough to get the point across throughout your organization. I like the old saying that says “If it’s not worth writing down, it’s not worth doing.”

2. Go beyond selling: In the process of marketing and selling to as many people as possible, many organizations forget the true value of the selling – improving the situation of the customer. Yes we all have numbers to hit, but that should not come at the expense of the long-term growth of your organization. Improving the situation of the customer not only means bringing them better products, but also providing excellent support of those products, educating your customers on how to further improve their situations, and getting to know their motivations (family, money, security).

3. Don’t brand based on price: O.K., so many of you may think this is ignoring marketplace realities, however hear me out for a second. Basing your brand on price alone is self-defeating primarily because in the race to the bottom, someone will always beat you there. Of course there are cases where you have to revert to the lowest price, just don’t make it a habit. Focus your marketing on your organization’s or product’s advantages, that way when everyone is offering the same “lowest” price, you’ll be the one making the sale and have the opportunity to cross sell on a higher margin product.

4. Under-promise and over-deliver: The fastest way of driving your brand into the dirt is to not follow through on your obligations. Although it is natural to want to actively make your organization appear to be the best by screaming it to the ends of the Earth, this strategy can backfire very quickly if you can’t meet the expectations you have created. Foster excitement among your clients and the market in general by being modest and truthful with what your organization can do and then exceed their expectations by giving them more value or world-class service (within constraints of course).

5.Turn brand problems into brand opportunities: Bad things happen – it’s just a fact of life and business. Rather than hide, minimize, or outright lie about mistakes or problems, the best method is to analyze the situation, determine a solution, and then market how your organization can be better because of it. One famous case is Tylenol. In 1982, seven people died after taking Tylenol pain-relief capsules that had been poisoned by a criminal who has yet to be identified to this day. This incident could have literally put Tylenol out of business; however they proactively addressed the problem leading to the creation of federal anti-tampering laws and reforms of over-the-counter packaging. Tylenol and parent company Johnson & Johnson were praised by the media for its handling of the incident. In seven years Tylenol became the most popular over-the-counter analgesic in the U.S.

Tags: Sales Tips, Success Tips, Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, senior market blog, senior market news, Senior Market, senior insurance market news, Customer Retention, Creating Value, Customer Service, Building Client Relationships, Exciters

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