Poor Customer ServiceLast night around 8pm, I called Netflix because an error message was displaying on my TV. I got a recording, which said my wait time would be less than two minutes. I’d estimate a customer service agent answered within a minute, completely fluent in English (likely US based), and not from an offshore call center. They solved my issue quickly and cheerfully. It was the second time I called Netflix over the past year. The prior instance provided the same result, fast, friendly, even cheerful service. I spend about $100 bucks a year for Netflix, so at that price, one would think almost any company could offer great service like this.

Two days ago, I was buying TVG train tickets to go from Paris to Avignon. I went online to the SNCF website (French National Railway Corporation website). I was having an issue processing my credit card, so I called them. They answered immediately, the customer service agent spoke English (quite well), and was very polite and helpful. However, he informed me that since I was from the US, I had to pay through their partner, Rail Europe.

When I went to the Rail Europe site, I found the ticket prices were significantly higher, so I called their support line. The estimated wait time was, 45 minutes! They did offer a call back service, but I would still have to wait 45 minutes. The tickets would run about $600. After reviewing online comments, complaining that Rail Europe charges extra fees, and there is nothing that can be done about that (sounds like Ticketmaster doesn’t it), I purchased the tickets.

Then we come to United Airlines customer service specifically, and the airlines in general. Another day, and another video surfaces. This one was about a United customer getting charged $300 to check a bag, and then having their reservation cancelled because they were video recording the discussion. The customer service agent seemed really cranky, the baggage fee seemed excessively high, and United seems to have a massive customer service issue. But for that matter, so does American, Spirit and many other airlines. Last winter, we pulled a delay due to an engine issue on an American flight, and missed our connecting flight. The next flight we could take was 6 hours later. American did nothing for us, and the customer service agent we conversed with seemed to care little about our delay or predicament. That said, I recently flew Alaska Air and Jet Blue, and thought their customer service was fairly good. I try to fly these two airlines whenever possible, as I’ve have mainly good experiences with them.

It seems that customer service has little to do with the price tag, and much to do with the company culture. There are plenty of companies that provide great customer service, and too many that don’t. It starts from the top down, and as consumers, we should do everything possible to reward those companies with great service, and avoid those who with a poor service record. Unfortunately, with companies like Rail Europe, and the airlines, sometimes there is no choice but to voice our frustration.

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Top Tips to Improve Your Email Deliverability

  • Posted on May 11, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Agency Email MarketingBusiness of all types can benefit from a well run email marketing initiative. Today however, they must take extra precautions to ensure they maintain a high quality sender reputation to optimize delivery, and improve conversions. Review these top tips and make sure your organization is following all of them:

Ping Test Emails

Always ping test your emails prior to your initial campaign, especially if it is an older list, a trade show list, or a prospect list. And once ping tested, never use failed ping tested emails.

No Longer At

Monitor your autoreplies and remove no longer at and retired immediately after every campaign. These email responses must be closely reviewed, as the autoreply can come for a source that is different from the actual email that should be removed.

Consistency & Frequency

The consistency and frequency of your email campaigns is important in maintaining a positive sender reputation. ISPs attempt to create and evaluate the email marketing history for your domain. The more consistent you are, and the more reasonable you are with your frequency, the more likely you are to create a solid reputation as a sender. That assumes you are following the other tips listed herein.

Avoid/Diminish Complaints

Lots of complaints will spell lots of trouble for your sender reputation and domain. The best way to avoid complaints is to limit campaign frequency (every two weeks for most general campaigns is a good rule of thumb), honor opt-outs immediately, focus on quality content and collateral, and restrict “sales” pitches.

Avoid Spam Traps (Honeypots)

Spam traps, sometimes referred to as honeypots, are email addresses specifically created to catch email from marketers who don’t follow email best practices. The traps target marketers who are scraping email addresses from the web or are simply blasting emails using poor quality lists. Sufficient “catches” by spam traps can result in low deliverability or even domain blacklisting.

Use Relevant, Educational Content

“Buy my stuff and save money now”! If your content is salesy, spammy and irrelevant, your sender reputation will be adversely impacted, and it will happen quickly. Try to make your content relevant and educational. Changing regulations, industry innovation, important news of the day, and educational webinars are going to be better received than an invitation to buy your products or services.

Email marketing is both an art and a science, and is increasing in complexity and deliverability nuance. It can be a great lead generator when properly used, or a waste of time and money when used with an email “blast” mentality. Agencies and businesses seeking guidance on their email marketing and lead generation can contact StartUpSelling for a complimentary email marketing and lead gen review.

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Posted in: B2B Sales & Marketing, insurance agency email marketing, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Content Marketing, insurance email marketing, insurance web marketing
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Insurance Agency Drip Campaigns & Email Workflow

  • Posted on May 3, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Agency Email MarketingLet’s begin with a simple definition of insurance email drip campaigns. A drip campaign is a direct marketing method used to engage prospects and retain clients leveraging ongoing, dynamic content generated email marketing programs. The campaigns send targeted, and conditional content based upon existing and changing preferences. The content is sent to prospects and clients over varying periods of time to nurture leads and improve retention.

An email workflow is a series of automated emails which are sent (or not sent), based on the targeted subscribers, to help facilitate how they interact with your agency. The email workflows are triggered based on information you know, or learn, about your subscribers (using branching for Yes, No, If, Then). The workflows allow agency marketers to send precise emails, at predetermined times to specific prospects or clients. Well-designed email workflows can help insurance agencies improve conversion rates, and customer retention. Let’s discuss one of the many types of workflows insurance agencies can use, we’ll follow up with additional blog posts on other types of workflows in this ongoing series.

Insurance Webinar Workflow

Let’s say that your insurance agency is planning a webinar on a topic such as: ACA Compliance in an Uncertain Era, or Changes with CSA Regulations & the Impact on Truckers. Email workflows allow agency marketers to communicate the information your attendees need to know, and when they need to know it. Your agency webinar workflow can be triggered as soon as a date is set, though it is recommended a webinar registration landing page is ready at that time.

Once triggered, the webinar email workflow starts sending out automated emails, providing timely and useful information about the webinar, up to the webinar, and after completion of the webinar. This can include dates and times, if the webinar will be recorded, where to get the presentation slide or companion materials, and certification information for credits with HRCI, SHRM, etc. It’s beneficial, to begin a few weeks before the webinar, and to remind those who have not registered, and retain those who have registered.

Insurance agency email workflow branching allows for robust personalization and very specific content fulfilment. For example, if a registrant responds that they want to receive the slides, a Call To Action (CTA) can be created to drive them to a download page. Or for registrants who would like to share the recorded webinar at a later date, and email can be automatically generated, the day after the webinar, providing the recording link, and perhaps a CTA to set up an appointment to discuss coverages with your agency.

Needless to say, every agency should be using simple email campaigns. However, for many agencies, the time has come to invest in insurance agency email workflow drip marketing. Those agencies lacking the staff or tools to accomplish this can reach out to the insurance agency marketing experts at StartUpSelling.

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Posted in: insurance agency email marketing, Insurance Agency eMarketing, Insurance Agency Leads, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Content Marketing, insurance email marketing
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Top Tips To Improve Insurance Agency Video Marketing

  • Posted on April 20, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Agency Video InfographicInsurance agency owners, producers and marketers looking to jump start their video content marketing, or improve their existing insurance marketing video campaigns can review these top tips to augment their current marketing initiatives. Here are your top tips to improve Insurance Agency Video Marketing:

  1. Use Educational Content, Not Sales Brochures

Case studies, client success stories, educational content pertinent to the industry. Here is a simple example.

  • Good: Impact of Trump Executive Orders on ACA Compliance
  • Bad: We Can Save You Money on Your Group Health Plan
  1. Create a Compelling Thumbnail

Your agency has a short time to convince prospects to watch your video. It begins with an attractive and attention getting thumbnail. Invest time to ensure your thumb nails look great, and make sure you add these images when publishing or sharing over social media.

  1. Share on Social Media – Then Share Again

You’ve invested time and money to produce a great video, now your agency needs to leverage it across all relevant social media platforms. The big four are obvious, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. But you should also include Google+ and some of the bookmarking platforms such as Tumblr. And remember that you can share content more than once, and in many nuanced ways. Create a blog, Tweet the blog, add as a LinkedIn post, Tweet the LinkedIn post and so on.

  1. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Background Music

How many movies or commercials do you watch without background music? Background music will help convey your message and mood. Will you use edgy, modern instrumentation to convey you are an up to date digital agency, or more traditional music, inferring sound guidance and sage advice?

  1. Share Using Your Email Marketing Drip Campaigns

Agencies can and typically should invest in ongoing email drip campaigns, focused on providing high value content of interest to clients and prospects. High quality video content is often the preferred digital collateral to provide to clients and prospects, to improve renewal rates by providing added value and to increase insurance lead generation.

  1. Don’t Forget the Call To Action (CTA)

Leave sufficient time at the end of your video (assuming it’s a short two minute type video) for a Call To Action. What behavior are you trying to elicit from the person watching? Do you want them to submit a Contact Us Form, Schedule Appointment, Get A Quote, Call An 800#? Leave plenty of time for your CTA and contact information to show, and when possible, have CTA buttons continuously displaying below the video.

  1. Optimize for Insurance Agency Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Make sure, you use your targeted keywords in your title, and description, tags, etc. What’s a good example of this? On this tip, the title includes the keyword phrase, “Insurance Agency Search Engine Optimization”, instead of just Search Engine Optimization or SEO. An example for your agency might include Risk Management for Manufacturers, or Surety Bond Strategies for Contractors, or Colorado Trucking Insurance.

  1. Add Video to Your Insurance Agency Website & YouTube Channel

Your videos can appear all over your website, on a relevant page, in a video library and in a blog (vlog). You should also take the time to create a branded YouTube channel for your agency, especially if you intend to do a video series. There are many types of video you can use, and don’t underestimate the value of a relevant recorded webinar or voice over PowerPoint.

As is evident by YouTube’s compelling statistics, people gravitate toward video. With over a billion users, watching videos over 40 minutes a day, and 400 hours of video uploaded each minute, it’s easy to see why insurance agency videos should not be ignored. Need help creating compelling videos for your insurance agency marketing initiatives? Contact the insurance agency marketing experts at StartUpSelling.

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Posted in: insurance agency email marketing, Insurance Agency SEO, Insurance Agency Websites, Insurance Content Marketing, insurance social media marketing, Insurance Video, insurance web marketing
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UnitedHealth Group (UNH) had a banner quarter, as their 4th quarter earnings jumped to $1.7 Billion. Is this good news for UNH but bad news for healthcare consumers? With their stock currently trading at $165 a share, and total annual revenue approaching $200 billion, things are looking good for UNH executives and shareholders. But what does this mean for healthcare consumers?

For the past 12 years, as a business owner, I’ve paid for 100% of all my healthcare costs. This allows for a pragmatic view of the industry, regardless of political party rhetoric or politician promises. From my perspective the only constant has been increased premiums and reduced benefits. This was true under the Bush years and has not changed since. All the parties involved in our healthcare system, including hospitals, insurance carriers, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers, are first and foremost seeking to increase profits. This includes many non-profit hospitals, which are actually extremely profitable, the difference being that their profits are reinvested in facilities, technology, research and of course compensation. Little has been done to provide patient visibility into the rising costs. Then again, why should these parties work to lower costs or increase patient visibility? Lower costs result in reduced revenue and profits, and these healthcare entities are motivated to earn compelling returns for their shareholders and executives. The same motivation as any business.

How Much Does an X-ray Cost?

Let’s look at a real life example of the problem. I had a sore ankle and was referred by my primary care physician assistant ($50 Tufts copay) to an ankle specialist. The ankle specialist ($75 Tufts copay) directed me to get an X-ray. So I asked the front desk staff at the ankle specialist a simple question, how much would the X-ray cost? They said, “Your insurance will cover it.” Of course this is no longer true, as deductibles and copayments often apply, and even if my insurance did cover it, shouldn’t I know what they get charged? The physician’s staff then told me to ask the radiology department.

About 10 minutes later, I was in radiology, and asked their scheduler the same question about the cost. She had no idea and seemed surprised by the question, but said she would call the radiology billing department. The billing department told me (indirectly since she was on the phone speaking with the scheduler) that it depended upon my insurance company. I provided my Tufts insurance card and asked again, how much the X-Ray would cost. I was then told to speak directly with their billing specialist, who would help me determine the cost of the X-ray. After a 10 minute discussion, and twice being placed on hold, I was finally told what my carrier allowed and the likely range of costs, which she estimated to be about $100 to $150. It was an arduous journey to get what should be easily and immediately accessible from the hospital and insurance carrier, on a PC or on a smart phone app.

Many millions of X-rays are done in the U.S. every year and the costs should not take on a mystical property. If we can quickly learn the cost to add the most insignificant item to a new car (readily available online), or quickly determine the average cost paid for any model car, new or used, in any given area of the country, why should medical procedures be different? The simple answer lies with the providers, as hospitals, clinics, labs, etc. don’t want us to know. Keeping rates hidden, helps mitigate competition and limits patient insight into their costs. If “Hospital A” charged $200 for an ankle X-ray, and “Hospital B” which was 5 miles away charged $100, patients might choose the latter (assuming they were in your network which must also be checked). Look at this a different way, if you wanted to purchase some groceries and they would cost $200 at the convenience store around the corner, but only $100 five minutes away, would you drive the five minutes for the savings?

Fortunately, this is changing, albeit much too slowly. There are progressively more online sources and services to help determine the best quality of resources available at the best price. This includes pharmacy sites and apps (GoodRX) which compare drug costs by pharmacy within a specific area, physician (PriceDoc) and hospital quality and costs (LeapFrogGroup or even medicare.gov/hospitalcompare), surgical costs, and there are numerous sites to now compare dental fees. This is potentially good news for consumers, and the faster and more pervasive the better.

It’s all about the Profits

Now let’s get back to UnitedHealth specifically, and healthcare carriers in general. What happens when healthcare insurance companies are focused mainly on profits? Our capitalistic system is in many regards the most enviable model for the entire world. It’s typically efficient, often transparent, and open to most everyone (anyone can start a business in America). It fosters innovation in part because of the inherent competition. That’s pretty impressive. But when it comes to healthcare, the system seems to break down.

You may recall that in 2016 UNH was pulling out of certain markets relating to Obamacare. Forbes reported that, “UnitedHealth entered 2017 selling individual coverage under the ACA in just a handful of states after scaling back its Obamacare footprint significantly.” That said, UNH did see promise in offering coverage under Medicaid, which was expanded to 31 states under ACA. Why did they do this? Remember, their top priority is not about providing health insurance and caring for patients, it’s about making profits. And if $7 billion dollars in profits is insufficient for their shareholders, then UNH needs to go (or leave) and find a place they can make even greater returns. Granted, healthcare companies do need to make a profit in the current climate, the question is, how much profit and how do they make these profits.

Are profits derived from selling cars different than profits derived from saving (or not saving) lives? Before Obamacare, insurance companies could turn down people they deemed an unacceptable risk. For example, let’s say there was a 60 year old male we’ll call “Mike the mechanic”, who was changing jobs and moving to a new health plan. Mike was healthy for his entire adult life (almost 40 years from age 18 to 58), but then had a heart attack on his 59th birthday. Prior to Obamacare (ACA), this would be a preexisting condition, and even though Mike the mechanic really needed health insurance, and had been a net contributor for almost four decades, insurance companies could simply say no, or charge him dramatically higher rates.  That doesn’t sound like a fair or equitable deal, and it leaves the insurance carriers holding all the cards.

Mike’s Premiums Versus Steve’s $110 Million Paycheck

But wait a minute, what happened to Mike’s 40 years of barely used premiums? During that time, Mike’s premiums went to pay for less healthy people, and to pay for health insurance company profits. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say that UNH charged $10,000 a year when Mike was 50 and healthy, and earned 10% on an average policy. Mike contributed $1,000 toward their profits, while the remaining $9,000 would pay for his healthcare costs (which were nominal for 40 years) and others who needed more care than their premiums would cover. Of course profits can be a deceptive metric, as they are determined after executive compensation, perks and other costs. And just in case you’re wondering how much that might be, UnitedHealth Group’s CEO, Stephen Hemsley, received total compensation of about $110 Million in 2010 and $66 Million in 2014. Total compensation can include salary, stock option rewards which are often a great factor in compensation, deferred compensation benefits, expense account perks, health benefits, life insurance policies and more. Whether or not you think some of these CEOs are paid too much, it seems like it should be different when it comes to healthcare and health insurance. When a health insurance company turns down someone with a preexisting condition, they are enriching themselves by refusing to pay for those most desperately in need. That makes sense from a profit standpoint, but not from a healthcare perspective.

Say No and Hope That the Claim Goes Unpaid

About six years ago, my daughter travelled to Moscow for her “mod abroad” program at the university she attended. She was a government major, and had been studying international politics and learning Russian. At the time, our insurance carrier was Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. We contacted them to ask about her coverage wile in Russia, and what our daughter should do if she became ill. They were very specific, offering three choices of physician offices and clinics in Moscow that she could visit in the event of illness.

Several months after her arrival, she came down with conjunctivitis, visited one of the clinics suggested, got a written receipt for the visit, and sent the receipt to me. I filled out the proper BCBS form with a detailed explanation and submitted the form and receipt to BCBS of Massachusetts. What happened to that claim? It was rejected! So I called the claims department, and was referred to a supervisor, who told me that the claim was reviewed, and it was determined that it wasn’t part of our coverage. I said, “They didn’t review it.” The supervisor again said that they did. We volleyed back and forth a couple of times, when I said, “So how many of your claim processors are fluent in Russian?” The receipt was in Russian (Cyrillic characters), which is essentially unreadable for your average English speaker. I also told her that we followed the BCBS protocol exactly, and that we documented everything to ensure we had an audit trail. The supervisor put me on hold, twice, and returned about five minutes later to say they would pay the claim. That was a lot of work for a claim that was around $150, but that seems to be the idea. Consumers tire out, fail to understand the nuances, or simply throw in the towel when it comes to dealing with these types of issues.

It’s been extremely difficult to get cost estimates from insurance companies. Here is another real life example. I had turned 50 which means the time had come for a routine colonoscopy. I called Tufts Health to ask about the procedure cost, and after a series of transfers and holds, was finally on the line with a representative who told me that the procedure would be covered 100%, as it was a preventative care procedure. A couple of months after the procedure, my EOB (Explanation of Benefits) arrived with the patient responsible portion costing me thousands of dollars. After another series of calls, Tufts agreed that there was an error, and said it would be 100% covered. Another month passed, and I received a new EOB, this one for hundreds dollars. Once again, I made the requisite call to Tufts, and they said that the new error would be fixed, and I would not owe anything. And after many months, and many calls, Tufts Health Plan finally did what they should have done in the first place, and paid for the procedure. But what happens to people who don’t have the time, the knowledge or the patience to make all these calls? Many give up, contributing to the profits of the insurance company. Does our compelling capitalistic system work well with most types of businesses, but fail to do so when it comes to providing healthcare?

ACA Protections versus the Pursuit of Profits

There are other protections which were created under Obamacare. Prior to ACA, many twenty something children were not covered under their parent’s policies after they graduated college. There were restrictions on yearly and lifetime maximums that were devastating to families which encountered a severe illness. And as mentioned prior, the ability to turn down people with preexisting conditions was a major problem for many healthcare consumers. These issues were exacerbated by the exorbitant “retail rates” charged by hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies. For example, an ankle X-ray which might be billed at $150 for an insurance patient, could be $500 or more for a private pay patient without an insurance coverage.

One reason for all of the restrictions above gets back to the profit motive of healthcare related companies including the insurance carriers. Though profit opportunities typically yield positive results in our highly competitive capitalistic system, as companies work hard to cut costs and improve efficiency, healthcare creates some unusual barriers to this paradigm. For example, when Mike the mechanic was having a heart attack, he had no concern with price, he wanted the best care possible regardless of costs. And therein lies a big part of the problem. When it comes to the healthcare of our loved ones, we often don’t care what it costs. But not all problems are urgent care related, and in many instances patients can take the time to weigh the costs, quality and venue of procedures, if providers would just let us know.

Would UNH post lower profits if they provided better coverages, or less costly plans? The simple answer seems to be, yes. From what I’ve seen, there doesn’t seem to be much competition, as all the major healthcare carriers charge similar (and confusing) rates. When I’ve compared carrier rates and coverage each year, including the dizzying array of seemingly similar plans, they all look comparable. But that’s not the case when I compare auto and home insurance coverage – there is often a wide disparity – likely due to competition and transparency. Is there really any true competition between healthcare insurance carriers?

With all of these healthcare players (insurers, hospitals, pharma companies, medical device companies, etc.) striving to increase profits, and lobby our politicians to allow them to do so, how will costs be reined in, and how can coverages be fairly administered? Just imagine how many more billions UnitedHealth (or any healthcare insurance carrier) could earn if they could refuse anyone they deemed to have an expensive potential condition. Or perhaps they could earn even more if they refused to cover those who were genetically predisposed toward a health condition. And actually, some of the carriers and large employers tried to do so, resulting in government legislation to prevent carriers and employers from refusing to insure people based on genetic profiling. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), prohibited discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to both health insurance and employment.

What if health insurance companies could successfully lobby congress to cut back on those pesky annual or lifetime limits? Perhaps they could really make those profits soar, with shareholders recording windfall profits. Or perhaps insurance companies could lobby to cover only healthy young people up to the age of 50, or charge 10 times the rates for older people. These statements strike at the heart of the paradox, the fair distribution of health insurance versus the profit driven model of our current healthcare system.

Health insurers now operate under a law referred to as the 80/20 rule, which is designed to help consumers by guaranteeing that at least 80% of insurance premiums will be used to pay for health care related costs. The other 20% goes to general administrative, overhead, and marketing costs. In some cases, like group benefits, or certain state requirements, the spending level required is 85% to 88%. This regulation may be helping, but it is not be helping enough. The incentive to cut costs is mitigated because a bigger top line revenue number will often result in greater profits. Simply said, an insurer with a billion dollars in revue could earn $200 million while an insurer with half that revenue might only earn $100 million in profit, even though they are doing a better job controlling premiums and costs.

Imperfect but a Step in the Right Direction?

Obamacare is an imperfect solution, let’s examine why this happened. Obama needed to build consensus with existing players, to try to refine the existing system. His attempt to create a government option failed, and as a result of this and the special interests lobbying Congress, ACA didn’t do enough to reduce costs. It also added complexities and compliance issues for many businesses, and created a Cadillac tax to help defray the costs of the program. That said, it added many important protections and helped provide subsidized insurance for millions of uninsured US healthcare consumers. Though imperfect, it seemed like a step in the right direction, insuring tens of millions of people, and curbing potential abuses by insurance carriers.

Repeal And Replace

However, our new president and our Republican controlled Congress are trying to repeal ACA. Trump has promised to resolve all these issues, reduce costs, and retain the key benefits of Obamacare. To me, that seemed difficult to believe. And recently the POTUS seems to have realized that changes to our health system are difficult, “It’s an unbelievably complex subject, nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” I’m not sure where he’s been, but it’s been complicated for as long as I can remember. Perhaps the POTUS should spend less time Tweeting and more time reading books like America’s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System, which details the highly nuanced politics and complexities involved in our healthcare system.

Will ACA be repealed and replaced with a “less expensive and much better… insurance for everybody,” as Trump has stated?  The American Healthcare Act, appeared to contradict Trump’s lofty and seemingly unrealistic promises. And though Trump said everyone will be insured, The U.S. Congressional Budget Office said that over 14 million people will lose their health insurance coverage if the American Healthcare Act is ever approved. As more details finally emerge about the Republican replacement plan for ACA, one of the early proposed changes is said to allow insurance companies the ability to charge older customers up to five times more than younger customers. Sounds like bad news for Mike the mechanic if this is allowed to happen.

It’s Still About Visibility

Regardless of the proposed changes, costs will never be curtailed if consumers don’t gain visibility into the prices we are all charged. Not that visibility is the sole answer to this complex issue. But it is a good beginning. We should all be concerned with the cost of an ankle X-ray, including the physician’s office referring the patient for the procedure. Does it cost $200 at the medical office building, but $100 around the corner? Is the radiology practice around the corner in “the network”? What are the patient ratings for each of those two providers? Sound complicated? If Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Edmunds can readily share a plethora of information, including specifics on restaurants (which meal to order), hotels (best rooms to ask for) and cars (average price paid in your zip code), isn’t it feasible to offer access to the billions we’re spending on healthcare?

Of course it would be great if we could all get what Trump promised, namely “less expensive and much better” health insurance. But since all these promises sound like empty promises, I’m not going to hold my breath, because that could cause a lung rupture, and that is likely to be a preexisting condition.

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Digital Insurance MarketingStartUpSelling continuously publishes insurance marketing and technology articles of interest to help insurance agencies optimize their marketing initiatives. These articles are available on Ezine, and agencies, brokers and wholesalers can view and download these without charge. These insurance marketing articles will help agencies and brokers improve their sales, marketing and lead generation initiatives. Many of these articles provide access to additional insurance marketing resources such as blogs, on-demand webinars, YouTube videos, and social media feeds. The articles and ancillary resources have been viewed by tens of thousands of insurance agents, brokers and wholesalers across North America.

StartUpSelling is a Platinum Level Expert Author on Ezine, publishing since March, 2010. Some of the recent articles published on Ezine include:

  • Mobile Friendly Insurance Agency Website Checklist
  • Social Media Tips For B2B Insurance Agencies
  • 10 Insurance Agency Online Marketing Ideas For Agents & Brokers
  • Malware Trends Insurance Agencies Should Watch Out For In 2017
  • 6 Cyber Security Tips to Help You Protect Your Insurance Website From Hacking

Join thousands of other agents and brokers who are benefiting from StartUpSelling’s insurance web marketing and lead generation resources. For more information visit http://startupselling.com.

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Insurance Agency MarketingThis StartUpSelling recorded Insurance Marketing Webinar has been viewed by over 10,000 insurance agents and brokers. The free webinar entitled, Insurance Agency Marketing Plans – How to Insure the Success of Your Producers, has been made popular by insurance agencies and brokers across North America, seeking to improve their marketing and lead generation initiatives to help optimize Producer performance. This 26 minute webinar offers agency executives the opportunity to learn about effective insurance marketing and lead gen strategies in use by many highly successful agencies and brokers. Topics include:

  • Prospect List Generation
  • Creating Effective Email Marketing Campaigns
  • Webinars and Other Digital Fulfillment
  • Effective Appointment Setting Campaign Strategy
  • Vertical vs. Horizontal Cold Calling
  • Social Media Marketing

This complimentary on  demand webinar is available 24/7 – click here to watch.

To learn more about customized Insurance Agency Marketing and Lead Generation Solutions contact us at startupselling.com.

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Insurance Agency VideosA free Insurance Marketing & Lead Gen Video Library is available to all insurance agencies, brokers and wholesalers interested in improving their marketing and generating more leads. This library offers over a hundred comprehensive insurance agency marketing videos including:

  • How to Find More Insurance Prospects, Close More Business and Increase the Top Line
  • Effective Insurance Marketing To Drive Leads & Growth
  • How & Why Insurance Agents Miss 80% of Target Prospects
  • Integrated Email Marketing & Appointment Setting for Robust Insurance Agency Lead Generation

The library is available on the StartUpSelling Website or YouTube, and covers important insurance marketing topics such as:

  • Leveraging webinars to improve email marketing results
  • Integrating video into your insurance web marketing strategy
  • Driving leads with list creation and appointment setting strategies
  • Engaging prospects and clients using educational, engaging and compelling content

There are no fees to download or access this information.

If your insurance website, lead generation or web marketing initiatives are in need of refinement, contact the insurance marketing experts to learn more.

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Social Media Tips For B2B Insurance Agencies

  • Posted on March 1, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

Insurance Agency Social Media Marketing

A strong social media presence can be challenging to accomplish for B2B (business to business) insurance agencies. Many B2B companies struggle to showcase their professionalism, and build an audience through social media marketing. Consider the following tips to help make sure your agency is maximizing your social media marketing efforts.

Create Your Online Persona

Your social media presence should have a well-defined personality. Informative, helpful, engaging, timely and relevant are all characteristics top B2B social media accounts consider when creating their online persona. Decide what your online voice will sound like. Will you be formal or informal, speaking to individuals or businesses, sounding like a reporter or an op-ed contributor? Will you be sharing company employee events, creating contests, reporting on industry changes or regulations, or all of the above? Your agency goal is to build rapport and a sense of community with both clients and prospects. But first you need to determine your social media persona.

Create a Written Strategy Including Prospect Scorecard & Buyer Persona

When creating your social media marketing strategy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is your target online audience – and how diverse is this group? Start by creating a Prospect Scorecard and Buyer Persona.
  • Which social platforms will best target that audience? You may have to search the different platforms to see which social media platforms are most applicable to your clients and prospects.
  • What type of content will that target audience find most useful? Would it be infographics, long-form articles, tech support information, breaking news commentary, regulatory updates, or some combination of all of these?
  • What are your short term and long term social media goals? Perhaps your short term goal is simply consistent content sharing. And your long term goal includes an ad budget for growth and prospect engagement.
  • How are your competitors using social media? You can learn a lot about what to do and what not to do by studying your competitors.

Comment on News & Regulations Relevant To Your Target Industries

Offering commentary on breaking news and changing industry regulations is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge in your industry and to provide your clients with insights on how to understand these updates. This can lead to higher engagement levels and increased exposure to your social media pages. You can use Google Alerts and social media alerts to monitor industry keywords and stay on top of dynamically changing events.

Organic Vs. Paid Posts

Once your agency is consistently posting quality content, you can consider posts boosts and ads. You may want guidance with this, as the budget can get spent quickly, and multivariate split testing with compelling images and custom graphics can dramatically improve your reach and ROI.

Achieve A Respectable Follower Base

Looking professional and demonstrating a respectable number of followers and engagement level is half the battle when starting on your insurance social media marketing initiative. The top platforms your agency should leverage are: LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, likely in that order, though your target markets could impact this. LinkedIn and YouTube can be very valuable to B2B businesses. LinkedIn is a good place to start, it’s very much a business centric platform. Then leverage YouTube using videos, recorded webinars or even simple voice over PowerPoint updates (StartUpSelling has uploaded hundreds of videos to YouTube, some of which have over 10,000 views). Try to build up your follower base, as quickly as possible, to a respectable number. For example, this might be 500 followers on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Though 5,000 or more would be great, initially your agency is striving to attain a baseline of professionalism and credibility.

Looking for assistance with your insurance agency social media marketing plans? Contact the insurance agency marketing experts at StartUpSelling for a personalized review.

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Posted in: B2B Sales & Marketing, Insurance Agency Marketing, insurance social media marketing, insurance web marketing
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