Thursday, June 14, 2012

ARE YOU INVISIBLE TO YOUR POTENTIAL CLIENTS?

When Employers, Employees, Individuals, and Brokers are looking for the Plans, Programs and/or Services you provide, can they find you?  In Real Estate and Retail it was always Location-Location-Location.  In Insurance and Benefits it has always been Visibility-Visibility-Visibility.  The best of quality may fail without Location and/or Visibility. Nothing has changed except the methods for being seen!

What worked in the past - Until recently the Insurance and Benefits Industry's marketing and advertising efforts to become visible to potential clients were focused on various forms of "Outbound" Marketing.  These strategies included: Cold Calling, Call Centers, Mailers, Media Ads, Yellow Pages, Seminars, Trade Shows, Outings, Meals, etc.  In total they were expensive with a questionable ROI!  As John Wanamaker pointed out years ago, "I know 50% of my advertising dollars are wasted, I'm just not sure which half".  

A new opportunity with very limited results - More recently Websites, and then Blogs,  appeared to be an affordable solution for reaching a broader audience at a substantially reduced cost!  Unfortunately, as HubSpot - a marketing firm specializing in "Inbound" Marketing software - points out, most websites are a "Billboard in the Desert".  Most in the Insurance and Benefits Industries designed Website and provided the Graphics, Content, Links, Contact Information, etc.  Much to their dismay only a limited number of people came to visit,  fewer "converted" into a qualified prospect, and a handful may have actually become a client!  It seemed to be a great concept gone wrong!  What was and is the problem?  Quite simply - No Visibility!

"Inbound" Marketing is the Solution! - The Insurance and Benefits Industries need to grasp the Power of the Internet, Social Mediain a number of forms, Search Engines, and SEO to become visible.  We're talking about BIG Savings and GREATER VISABILITY!  A Recent Study by HubSpot shows a 62% savings with Inbound Marketing over traditional Outbound!  The Industries must focus on becoming visible in this new marketplace!  It is essential to reach potential Consumer/Buyers who are using the Internet and Search Engines - like Google - to find the Plans, Programs, and Services to meet their needs and "Price Points".


Gaining an ROI - measured by Analytics - New Clients, Revenues and Profits requires that you understand and utilize additional "New Tools" that are readily available and at no cost or very affordable While an "Inbound" Marketing Strategy saves an incredible amount of money compared to traditional "Outbound" methods, it requires time, consistent effort, and patience. 


Having a Website and Blog is only the beginning!  Without question you must optimize your Website and Blog to gain the attention of the "Spiders" that "Rank" your sites and drive those searching directly to you.  Their are a number of outsourced services that are affordable and can assist you with "Key Words" and SEO.  When potential Clients arrive at your Website it is important to have a "Landing Page".  This is the first page they see when arriving to your site.  Your landing page should be specific to the reason for the potential client's search and have an uncluttered and articulated Call To Action (CTA). This again is only a beginning step toward Visibility, Success, and Profit!  You need more tools to gain Visibility.


What comes next?  What are these additional tools?  The following are critical for establishing Visibility and Credibility:  


1)  Utilize various forms of Social Media to drive Qualified Prospects to your Website's Landing Page and Your Plans, Programs, and/or Services.  While Twitter, Facebook, and now Pininterest provide opportunities, Linkedin focuses on Business to Business and has groups focused on Industry and Consumer Groups.  To gain visibility and marketing success it is essential to actively utilize Linkedin features:: 
  • Join Groups - As an example Linkedin Permits ypu to join 50 groups
  • Participate in Discussions
  • Start Discussions
  • Create a Group (s)
  • Add Value - accomplished through "Content"
  • Build Trust - addressing your potential clients needs
  • Don't - Try to Sell
2)  Take advantage of Insurance and Benefits related Professional Groups to learn, participate and gain Visibility!  In the past Agents and Brokers would join Service Groups like Lions Clubs to participate and be seen.  At some point discussions, promotions, etc. turned to their Professio, Plans, Programs, and/or Services.  These groups were local and influential. The new internet based Professional Groups are National and International in scope, well connected, Influential, and provide nearly endless opportunities to build Credibility and Visibility.  The Groups include:
As with Social Media, it is essential to participate in these groups to gain Visibility.  Take advantage of the Group's free and upgraded premium features that place you front-and-center to other members who value your input and need your Plans, Programs, and/or Services.  Search engine spiders rank the content of these Group's websites and provide you Visability.   The Groups become the highways to your "Location" providing linkage to your website, Landing Pages, and Plans, Programs, and/or Services.

To maximize the effectiveness of your overall marketing and advertising budget and time, we suggest shifting a portion of your resources to the above "Inbound" Strategies.  The results may not be immediate but they will come.  Your alternative is to continue with a traditional strategy that is expensive and becoming less and less effective.  As Einstein stated, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results!  For more information email Phil - max@benefitplace.biz   


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