First - At the forefront of the responses and apparent confusion were:
The future of Employer based benefits?
The timelines for implementation of the Health Care Reform, PPACA?
The role of Private Exchanges vs Federal and State Exchanges?
The future of the commission based compensation model for Brokers/Agents?
The differentiation of workable Strategies and Solutions depending on the Employer's size?
The availability of Individual Health and Voluntary Plans?
How a Defined Contribution Plan Designs Work?
Second - Our 5 Integrated Strategies and Solutions for assisting Brokers/Agents in dealing with PPACA/Obamacare for Employers, Employees, and Individuals:
1) Private Exchanges (http://www.benefitplace.biz/
2) Defined Contribution (DC) Plans (http://www.benefitplace.biz/
3) Integrated Employee Benefits (http://www.benefitplace.biz/
4) Integrated Technology Solutions are essential to delivering the intended results of the 5 Strategies. These are updated and new software systems that permit the Insurance and Benefits Decision-Makers to facilitate the 5 Integrated Strategies. Our at BenefitPlace.biz is to provide the Brokers and Employers choices in technologies to meet specific needs on a case-by-case basis.
5) Inbound Marketing Strategies (http://www.benefitplace.biz/
Third - The importance of a shift to Inbound Marketing to accomplish three challenges:
Shortening Selling Cycles!
Retaining and Attracting Clients!
What is Inbound Marketing? Quite simply, Inbound Marketing leverages the Power of the Internet, Search Engines, Social/Business Media, and SEO to have qualified Clients and potential Clients knocking at the Broker's door for the Plans, Programs and Services they offer. Inbound marketing is the the opposite of expensive and often ineffective Outbound Marketing that has included: Cold Calling, Advertising, Buying Lists, Mailers, Traditional 3 Day Trade Shows, Entertaining, etc. See our comparison of Inbound vs Outbound Marketing.
Employers, Employees, and Individuals are increasingly searching the internet for Insurance and Benefits related Plans, Products, Services.They search for information first.Then they search for Brokers and Carriers to meet their needs and price-points. It is at this point that the search engines - based on SEO - would direct them to the Brokers Landing Pages for more information and the Broker's Call-To-Action (CTA). This starts the process of converting a qualified prospect into a Buyer/Client.
HubSpot, a leader in providing marketing software tells us, "With 'old marketing' techniques, you are trying to reach a broad audience and hope for some small percentage (usually 1-3%) to respond. Looking at this another way, 97% of your marketing is wasted!"
Why should you use Inbound Marketing? I'll defer to Guy Kawasaki - a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and original employee of Apple - for the answer, “If you have more Money than brains, you should focus on Outbound Marketing. If you have more Brains than money, you should focus on Inbound Marketing.”
How do you start making a shift to Inbound Marketing? I want to emphasize first that we are not suggesting abandoning traditional Outbound strategies. We are suggesting a balanced shift of budgets and time to Inbound Marketing. When planning a shift to an Inbound Marketing strategy, there are some simple guidelines:
A) Clean-up your website to clearly explain what differentiates your organization from your competition.
B) Visitors to your website should arrive at Landing Pages (http://www.benefitplace.biz/
C) Utilize Social/Business Media including but not limited to: Linkedin Groups, Insurance Campus, ProducersWeb, NOLHA, SIMA, Twitter, and Facebook.
D) Participate with comments and discussions in Groups on Linkedin and other Social/Business Media outlets. Join Groups that are not only related to the Insurance and Benefits Industries but also in Groups focused on your potential Clients, ie. HR, CFOs, Manufacturing, Hospitals, Educators, Trucking, etc.
E) Sponsor and Manage Groups.
F) Start a Blog for the distribution of content related regarding your area of expertise.
G) Utilize outsourced affordable services like Astonish, Hubspot, BenefitPlace.biz, and BPTradeShow .com to assist in implementing your Inbound Marketiog Strategies.
H) Focus on building trust and adding value - not on making a quick sale!
I) Be patient and Consistent in your efforts.
Our sister websites, Benefitplace.biz - a research and information center focused on Insurance and Benefits - and BPTradeShow.com - a virtual tradeshow for the industries, assist Brokers and Agents in creating an Inbound marketing platform for attracting Employers, Employees and Individuals seeking advice on Plans, Programs, and Services.
In our next post we will be discussing how Brokers Service Providers can retain and build Employer Groups by offering access to a branded Private Exchange - combined with a Defined Contribution Plan Design. This strategy will strengthen the Broker's position as a Trusted Advisor and create the perfect platform for offering Health, Voluntary/Worksite, and Ancillary Plans.
For more information about the above, Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Call 216.577.5579 and ask for Phil.