Insurance Agent Contracting – Direct Or Not Direct?

I have been asked this question many times over the years by new insurance agents. I have also been on many online Insurance Forums were I’ve seen some very bias opinions on the subject. So, I’d like to offer my opinion as it relates to the suggestion that it is better to contract directly with the insurance carrier rather than an MGA (Managing General Agent) or IMO (Insurance Marketing Organization).

There are a lot of very good MGA’s and IMO’s around the country that offer some very good (vested) contracts, services, incentives and support. You would not have these additional services, incentives and support being directly contracted with the carriers. Some examples would include weekly webinar sales and product training. Most insurance carriers do offer some product training but it’s nice to have access to much more and from a variety of experienced professionals in the insurance business.

Another would be incentive trips. Let’s use Assurant as the example. They do not offer sales incentive trips to agents. But many of our contracted agents have enjoyed very nice All-inclusive trips for years for their Assurant sales business they sold under our MGA channel. That’s in addition to getting 20% and 25% fully vested commission contracts with optional advancing. For carriers like Golden Rule, World or American Community that have offered agent sales incentive trips, many agents have qualified for two trips (the carriers’ and ours) with the same sales premium!

Other great value added benefits most quality MGA’s or IMO’s may offer (I know we do) is underwriting, product and quoting support, lead credits and marketing allowances. They enjoy as good or better commission levels than what they can get if they were direct to the carriers. On 98% of the products they are paid directly from the carriers just like they would be if they were contracted directly with them. Our contracted agents know at any time they could ask for a release to contract direct to the carriers of their choice. They choose not to do so because of all the reasons mentioned above. You do need to be sure you’re vested on your block of business under the MGA or IMO. This way if you choose to change your contracts later your renewals follow you.

Let me use Golden Rule as another example why we have many agents prefer to due their GR business through us then direct to the carrier. They get paid twice per month through us. Direct to the carrier is only once per month. They can qualify for 24% commission at five sales per month (60 per year) instead of 100 per year direct. They can have a 9 month advance commission contract. Direct they only get offered an “as earned contract”. Their GR premium qualifies for our annual sales incentive trips in addition to qualifies them for any cash bonuses or incentives trips GR may be running at the same time. Finally, they still own (are vested on) their business and can move at any time.

So don’t just believe the notion that it’s always better to contract direct with the carrier. Instead, do your homework, know what the contract your signing says, weight all the pro’s and con’s and make the best decision that is right for you. It wouldn’t hurt to ask for an unconditional release letter from the MGA or IMO before signing on with them in case things did not work the way you expected. If the MGA’s and IMO’s are worth their salt, they will not have a problem giving you one. Hope it helps you in whatever decision you make moving forward.

Be Your Own Marketing Content Copywriter With These 10 Easy Tips

Now that you have done the hard work of bringing visitors to your website, you want to be sure they stay. Good marketing copy – your site’s content – is key in convincing prospective customers to take the action you suggest, for example calling, clicking, or placing an order.

Professional content marketing copywriters have expert knowledge in creating quality copy for your site. You can count on attracting and retaining patrons with the specialized skills in search engine optimization (SEO). When you hire a professional, you have assurance that your site will deliver effective content for successful marketing.

If hiring a consultant is not in your budget right now, you can get started on your own with these simple tips:

Set Marketing Goals

Differentiation from your competitors brings in business – and keeps them coming back for more. Set marketing goals that showcase the unique features and benefits that only you can offer. Direct your specific marketing goals towards this purpose, by making a commitment to build an informative and interactive website with quality content to show your expertise in the industry.

Know Your Customer

What are your prospective clients looking for when they come to your site? Do they need special help and guidance? Do they have concerns? The answers to these questions will direct your focus on creating web content that meets their individual needs. Not sure what information would be valuable to your site’s visitors? Consider a survey to gather data. These can be offered online to make it quick and convenient for web users to offer their feedback. If this seems overwhelming to you, don’t despair – a professional content marketing copywriter has the experience necessary to understand your customers’ needs.

Create a Call to Action

You know your customers and you have created accurate and informative content – now what? Your next step is to clearly state what your site visitors should do in order to move the relationship forward. Do you want them to opt in to your email newsletter or visit and recommend your blog to others? Make it clear, with a direct call to action.

Choose Your Online Marketing Tools Wisely

There are many options available to promote your business online, including email updates, e-books, and social media. Let your customers direct your methods of interacting by selecting the alternatives they prefer. If content tool choices seem confusing, have no fear – your professional content marketing copywriter can assist you.

Beware of Industry Jargon

Every business has its share of technical terms and acronyms that are unfamiliar to laymen.

Remember the 8 Second Rule

Average internet users spend 8 seconds on a page before moving on, often because the site they are viewing loses their attention. Studies show that skimming is more common than in-depth review of web content, meaning complex sentences will generally be ignored. Don’t let this happen to you. Shorter sentences that are easily read offer plenty of detail in a quick glance, which will keep visitors’ focus on you. Try to limit each sentence to one thought or one fact for best results.

KISS (Keep it Short and Simple)

Not only should your sentences be short – so should your paragraphs. This gives your readers an opportunity to absorb information in bite-size chunks. You have probably noticed this technique in your favorite newspaper, as it is proven to attract attention with more visual appeal.

Stay on Point

Your readers will thank you with their business when you don’t waste their time, so keep your online marketing content on-topic and concise. Before you write, be prepared with a bullet point list of key details that you want to share, and then follow it carefully as you develop your text. If writing is not your strong suit, you don’t have to worry – your professional content marketing copywriter can complete this step for you.

You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Measure

There are excellent resources available to track the success of your online marketing tools. Knowing what works – and what doesn’t – is critical in continuously refining your techniques and strategies for better results. Try Google Analytics or a similar product to effectively monitor page views, the number of times your site is shared, “retweets”, “likes”, subscriptions, and unique visitors.

Revise, Revise, then Revise Again

Even the most skilled writers know that their first draft needs work, so don’t be shy about tweaking, editing, and rewriting altogether. If it is overly lengthy, break it up or trim it down. If it’s not clear, reword. If it is not relevant to the topic or to your customers’ needs, take it out altogether. Don’t risk turning off your visitors with extraneous information they don’t want and can’t use. A professional content marketing copywriter is knowledgeable in providing quality pieces that are direct, succinct, and informative.

Many business owners start off by creating their own web content, and these tips will help you to ensure it is effective. Take your business to the next level with a professional content marking copywriter, who can put all the moving parts into a valuable whole.

What is Internet Or Online Marketing?

Most of us probably consider ourselves rather well informed on the subject of internet marketing, which is also known as online marketing, web marketing, i-marketing, or e-Marketing. After all, we browse the internet, do some blogging, communicate in social media sites, and also see how online advertisers are trying to persuade us to buy. While most people probably do understand what internet marketing is, the word itself has often been misunderstood and used loosely even by those in the internet marketing field.When a blogger speaks of internet marketing, he is actually talking about blogging. When an affiliate marketer speaks of internet marketing, he is actually talking about selling. When an online network marketer speaks of internet marketing, he is actually talking about recruiting and prospecting. Each of these people is talking about one part of the total internet marketing structure.So what really is internet marketing?Internet Marketing is a total system of interacting web business activities designed to plan the product, price, promotion, and how to distribute the want-satisfying products and services to present and potential customers.
Product (Is your product: innovative – truly unique, adaptive – replacement of existing product, or imitative – new to your company but not new to the internet marketplace. Branding and packaging do influence products),
Price (How much do you think I can get for this item? If the price of the product is too high or too low, it may have positive or negative effect on the company’s internet marketing campaigns),
Promoting your business online is to persuade internet users to accept, resell, recommend, or use the product, service, or act favorably upon the idea being promoted, and
Distribute or Place (Since your product is now ready for its market, you need to establish distribution strategies, including selecting channels of distribution).Most internet marketers define internet marketing as the advertising of products and services on the internet. This narrow definition reflects the sales and selling orientation which has permeated so much of online business. Advertising on the internet is one part of online promotion (others include online personal selling, online sales promotion, and online publicity), and online promotion is one part of the total internet marketing program. It should be noted particularly that “online promotion” and “online sales promotion” are different. Online marketing is not any one activity, nor is it exactly the sum of several; rather, it is the result of the interaction of many activities such design, development, online advertising, and online sales.However, we need to also recognize that i-marketing has other dimensions far broader than our definition. In the design aspect of internet marketing, your web site is very important. It is where the traffic will be directed to and also where most of the sales will come from. So you need to have a uniquely designed web site that is well structured, search engine optimized with the right keywords and description, contents and graphic rich, and has the marketing elements to improve your visitors’ conversion ratio.In the development aspect, the product planning is very important. You need to plan on developing or getting the right product or service to the internet marketplace, and at the right price. Will your product be sold through affiliate marketing, network marketing, directly to consumers, or directly to other businesses (B2B)? There is many other online business models you can develop based on the specific needs of each person or business when launching your web marketing campaign.Your online advertising aspect is also one part of the total online marketing program. There are several online media you can use to create brand awareness about your product, service, idea, or company.In the online sales aspect of your online marketing campaign, you will need to plan how your goods or services will be distributed to your customers, how payments will be processed (is it through PayPal, liberty reserve, or other merchant accounts?), and how sales can be increased.