The one sentence that might be killing your insurance broker marketing efforts

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When I open the newspaper or flip through the phone book, there’s one phrase used by a lot of insurance brokers. Unfortunately, this phrase is not an effective use of the limited space in your marketing and advertising.

The sentence I see repeated over and over in a lot of insurance broker marketing is: “Helping you with all of your insurance needs” (or something those lines).

It seems like a good marketing phrase to use because you want to talk about your ability to serve the different kinds of insurance needs that people have — including auto insurance, home insurance, life insurance, and so on.

But that phrase isn’t effective for the following reason:

PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE ADEQUATELY INSURED…
BUT THEY ARE UNDER-INSURED

You say that you help people with all of their insurance needs, but they’re thinking: “Great. But my insurance needs are fully covered already”… as a result, you lose the ability to communicate with them further.

You disqualify them from continuing on in your sales funnel.

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD

Forget telling them that you can help them with all of their insurance needs. Chances are, some of your marketing already lists the different kinds of insurance you offer anyway. And, the first step is to build a relationship with them, NOT to try to get them to switch their entire portfolio of insurance over to you today.

Rather than highlighting something that they don’t perceive is a problem, change your marketing to communicate something that is of greater value to them. For example, consider including some of these opportunities where appropriate:

  • Call us to find out how you can save $1000 per year on your auto insurance
  • Are you making the 3 biggest blunders in your home insurance?
  • Did you know there are tax advantages to certain types of insurance?

The 3 example sentences above are very specific to one type of insurance, they have an immediate benefit, and they either ask a question or prompt a call-to-action. They are designed to cut through the mindset of the client who mistakenly believes they are underinsured and to reveal that there are more opportunities to benefit from insurance.

Of course, once you meet these clients, that’s when you help them, build a relationship with them, sell them one kind of insurance, and THEN reveal that there are similar benefits with all the other types of insurance you offer.

[Image credit: drcorneilus]

How to hire the best ghostwriter for your content (and what you should REALLY look for)

Businesses need content to sell their products or services: They need marketing material, web content, sales scripts, instruction manuals… and sometimes they need content written which will actually be the product sold (as in the case of ebooks).

Not everyone can write or wants to write, and that’s where a ghostwriter comes in. Ghostwriters are hired by the business to create content that is attributed to the business rather than the writer. It’s a very common practice in writing.

HERE’S THE PROBLEM
When businesses look for ghostwriters, they don’t always know what to look for. Sure, they look for someone with experience as a writer — preferably with experience in a specific industry or with a specific content type — but beyond that, there are just question marks.

Over the years I’ve worked as a ghostwriter for hundreds of clients and I can tell you that each client comes to the table with a different set of ideas and expectations.

If you need to hire a ghostwriter, here’s what you need to know:

THE FIVE ROLES OF CONTENT CREATION
All written work (regardless of what kind of content you want) is put together by five different roles. These roles can be performed by one person or by more than one person. The roles (in order) are:

  1. The thinker — The thinker comes up with the clever ideas and catchy elements; they perform content strategy; they consider the audience and the value the audience is seeking; and they solidify the concepts into a workable shape.
  2. The researcher — The researcher looks at what the market is looking for and how it’s communicating its needs; they look at the competition and what is already on offer; and they look for opportunities (including SEO, marketing messages, etc.).
  3. The scribe — The scribe takes the ideas from the thinker and the research from the researcher and they write it out; they massage the ideas, if necessary, to create a powerful and focused piece of content.
  4. The editor — The editor reviews what the scribe has created and makes sure it is aligned with the thinker’s vision and the researcher’s findings; they ensure coherence within the document and between the working document and other content produced by the business.
  5. The publisher — The publisher makes the content available to the target audience. It could be as simple as copying the text and pasting it into a blog publishing platform, or it could be more complex like printing and binding a book and setting up distribution.

Businesses who hire ghostwriters often bring need one or more of the roles mentioned above, but they don’t always effectively communicate that need.

If you’re a business looking to hire a ghostwriter, look at the five roles above and figure out what you already have and what you need. Then look for a ghostwriter who can perform the roles that you need. You might look for them in a single person or you might assemble a team, depending on the size of your budget and the scope of your project and the skills of your team.

EXAMPLES FROM MY EXPERIENCE
I’ve worked with several clients who have simply said, “I’m starting a business and I want to position myself as an expert. Can you create for me an ebook, sales letter, marketing material, and other sales funnel supporting content?”. These clients hired me to think, research, write, edit, and sometimes even publish their work.

I’ve worked with several clients who have said, “I’ve made a name for myself as an expert in my niche. Here is my content, research, and experience. I’ve got the system in place to take the content you write and sell it.” These clients hired me to be the scribe and editor, and they’ve taken care of the thinking, research, and publishing.

WHY THIS MATTERS
For business owners, knowing exactly what kind of roles you’re looking for in a ghostwriter will help you in the following ways:

  • You’ll be able to better manage the project and your budget
  • You’ll be able to find a ghostwriter faster and more easily
  • You’ll be able to find a ghostwriter who fits your needs
  • You’ll be able to communicate more effectively with your ghostwriter
  • You’ll end up with a project that is closest to your vision and will help you to achieve your business goals

So the next time you’re looking for a ghostwriter, remember: You’re not JUST looking for a ghostwriter. Be specific about the roles you want your ghostwriter to take on.

What is the difference between copywriting and technical writing?

I call myself a “business writer” because it encompasses both copywriting and technical writing. But I have bumped into a lot of people recently who don’t really know what I do: This month, while working with some clients for whom I’m doing copywriting, I was asked what a technical writer was; and, while working with a client for whom I’m doing technical writing, I was asked what a copywriter was. I confess that I’ve spent so long doing both that I was a little taken aback that people hadn’t heard of the other.

So here’s a definition — my definition, maybe not an “official, definitive, industry-approved” definition of what I do every day:

As a copywriter, I develop external content — content for clients that sells their products or services to their customers. I write web copy, press releases, articles, blogs, etc. Copy that sells.

As a technical writer, I develop internal content — content for clients that sells their strategic initiatives to an internal audience. I write instruction and training manuals, knowledge center content, policy and procedure best practices guidelines, etc.

In both cases, it’s content that sells… it just happens to sell to different audiences and possesses different characteristics: Copywriting often relies on sales language to create an emotional connection with the reader and get them to spend money. Technical writing relies on “how-to” (and a little bit of spin) to explain why the reader should do something and then get them to do it.

In spite of the differences, though, there are similarities: Both sell. Both emphasize benefits of “buying into” whatever the document is selling. Both have an audience who is (hopefully) going to act because of what they’ve read.

If you think of it in terms of the sales funnel, copywriting helps to move the customer along the sales funnel to the point of (and beyond) the sale. Meanwhile, technical writing helps staff, vendors, and other partners (“internal stakeholders”) to operate in a way that helps the organization achieve its aim (which is usually related to the sales funnel!).

What does this mean for prospective clients? If you need me to do some writing, you don’t have to differentiate. That’s why I call myself a “business writer”. I write for your business, regardless of whether you know what you need or not. But I do differentiate the copywriting and technical writing for those who know what they are looking for and want to know if I can deliver it.