- AMS: 12/15/07 rates are available to quote.
- Anthem BCBS VA: 1/1/08 rates are available to quote.
- Anthem CO: Lumenos HAS plans available to quote with a 2/1 effective date.
- BC CA: Lumenos plans are available to quote with and without Maternity.
- BC CA: Smart Sense plans are available to quote.
- BCBS LA: Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Option is available to add through Broker Office.
- Coventry LA: 2/1/08 rates are available to quote.
- Health America: 1/1/08 rates are available to quote.
- Nationwide CA: Now listed as Health Net Farm Bureau.
- United Security Life & Health: 1/1/08 rates are available to quote.
Ask The Expert
How Do I Create a Privacy Statement?
Q: I want to improve the open and click-through rates for my LeadMiner autoresponder emails and monthly newsletter. Is there a best time to send them out?
A: Statistically, there are days and times that appear to offer better open and click-through rates. These days and times also differ, depending on whether you’re targeting consumers or businesses.
According to a 2006 study by eROI Email Statistics, the majority of consumers preferred to receive marketing emails on Wednesday and Fridays. The same study showed that business-to-business (B2B) recipients “overwhelmingly prefer” to receive emails at the beginning of the work week.
That study surveyed their preferences. But how did they really behave?
- •Best day for consumer opens.
The same study showed that emails targeting consumers had the highest open rates on Saturdays and Sundays, with more 1 out of every 3 emails getting opened. Monday was the best weekday with an average open rate of 35.7%.
- •Best day for Business-to-Consumer (B2B) opens.
In a 2007 eROI study, Wednesday tended to be the slight leader with an open rate of 27%. That was followed closely by Monday and Thursday at 26% apiece.
- •Best day for click-throughs.
The best click-through rates occurred on Thursday and Saturday, for B2B and B2C respectively, with more than 5% of the emails experiencing click-throughs.
- •Best time for click-throughs.
During the workday, the peak click rate of 6.2% occurred during the noon lunch hour. For consumers, however, the peak click-through rate peaked at 7% during the overnight hours.
The click-through rates are important, but you have to take into account that readers may not click through the first time they open the email.
To put these stats together, if your email is targeting consumers, I recommend that you schedule them to go out Friday night or Saturday morning. That will take advantage of the high weekend open rates.
If you’re sending to businesses, try to get your message into their email inbox sometime during the first three days of the week, with Wednesday being the best combination of high open and click-through rates.
But you shouldn’t expect tremendous changes. Any improvements will only be incremental. Still, if your LeadMiner email autoresponder is sending out more than a thousand emails at a time, even small improvements can produce profitable results.
Expanding Your Operations The Easy Way – With BrokerOffice
Looking to seriously expand your sales volume in 2008 and beyond? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, more sales usually demand more admin support, agents and costs-unless you have BrokerOffice.
BrokerOffice isn’t just a fancy lead management gizmo. It’s specifically designed to help you increase your sales quickly and efficiently-and pays for itself.
The power of BrokerOffice is the way it uses technology to break the old sales and admin mold. The payoff for you is lower expenses and higher ROIs.
Old Way vs. The BrokerOffice Way
The traditional way most producers would expand sales is to increase their advertising budget to get more leads.
They would then hire more sales people to handle the lead volume. Then, they’d have to hire more admin people to support the sales staff and help market to the leads and prospects.
All these sales and admin hires mean greater expenses. They also require training, which also comes with a cost.
BrokerOffice does away with much of that. This powerful tool helps you manage leads, track prospects and increase your sales-without having to hire all those agents and admin help.
How BrokerOffice Does It
BrokerOffice slashes the typical producer expenses by automating the tedious and mundane tasks that used to take hours of your day:
- •Quote in seconds.
Running quotes by hand takes most agents up to half an hour. With the BrokerOffice quote engine, you can compare multiple quotes in seconds. If you quote 10 leads a day, that’s nearly an extra 5 hours of time you can devote to more sales. You can even imbed the quote engine in your website to let prospects sign up and get your quotes 24/7!
- •Deliver proposals immediately.
After running your quotes, BrokerOffice can prepare and email the full proposal to your prospect immediately. No need to print it out (unless you want to), no postage costs and no need for an admin.
- •Automatic lead entry and easy management.
With BrokerOffice, there’s no need to hire someone to type in your leads. BrokerOffice works with the major lead providers to quickly import your leads. Once in the system, BrokerOffice lets you stay on top of leads and prospects – as well as distribute leads to your agents.
- •Long-term marketing with Autoresponder feature.
You no longer have to abandon leads that don’t close right away. The BrokerOffice email autoresponder (LeadMiner) will automatically send regular emails to your “long term” prospects – along with updated quotes.
On top of all these features, BrokerOffice eliminates the usual “ramp up” time needed to train new hires. Norvax can walk you through the installation and train you to quickly exploit BrokerOffice’s features.
The Bottom Line
With BrokerOffice, expanding your sales volume doesn’t require a massive investment in hiring, training and paying new hires.
You can start taking in, tracking and closing more leads right away just as you are. The built-in LeadMiner email autoresponder can also start marketing to your existing database of “long term” prospects immediately-to resurrect dormant leads and push prospects along.
You can still hire additional agents and administrative help if you want. But with BrokerOffice, you won’t have to hire as many; and those hires will be more productive and pay even greater dividends.
There’s one more reason to unleash the power of BrokerOffice. The majority of other agents and brokers are still stuck with the traditional, costly and burdensome way of increasing sales.
Wouldn’t you rather be among the savvy few who tap into the increased volume, productivity and ROIs that BrokerOffice provides?
Broker Office Overview
BrokerOffice Quote Engine feature
BrokerOffice LeadMiner email autoresponder
27 Free and Cheap Ways To Get Valuable Links To Your Site (Part 2)
Practically everyone with a website knows how important it is to have other sites linking to yours. And now there are easy, cheap and often free ways to build valuable links to your website.
If you missed it, make sure to catch the first part of this feature story. Here are 14 more ways you can establish dozens of links immediately.
14. Create link bait.
I recently stumbled on a technology blog posting that listed 25 websites offering free online tutorials: they ranged from how to speak Mandarin to how to play the harmonica. That had nothing to do with technology, but I ended up sending the URL for that blog to my friends.
“Link bait” is tech jargon for content that will get other people to create links to your site. For example, you could create a list of the top dentists, doctors, health insurance providers or hospitals in your area.
With luck, some of the people on that list may be appreciative enough to link to your list. You may even get links from other bloggers and writers who find your article entertaining or interesting.
15. Create a free event.
Many websites and online calendars exist to highlight local events. For example, Chicago’s major publications all maintain community calendars with links to upcoming events. Social networking sites, such as www.Yelp.com, www.Upcoming.Yahoo.com and even www.CraigsList.org, allow you to publicize your events.
Consider scheduling a free seminar for the public and use it to generate links for your website. Make sure to create a description and sign-up page in your website for the event. Some seminar ideas include “Explaining the Difference between PPOs and HMOs” or “Getting Coverage When You Have a Pre-Existing Condition.”
16. Record a presentation and put it on www.YouTube.com.
Are you (or someone in your office) a good public speaker? Why not record an insurance-related presentation and post it on YouTube or similar video sharing sites?
Your video can contain a link back to your home page. YouTube’s strong page ranking will give a lot of weight to that link. And if you’re looking for presentation ideas, don’t forget to record the free event mentioned in the previous tip.
17. Give away free stuff.
Type “free stuff” into Google and you’ll get dozens of websites that let consumers know about free products they can get on the web. When these “freebie” directories list your give-away, they’ll create links to your site.
So what can you give away? How about an online insurance rate calculator? You can buy one for cheap on the web; then let people download it for free from your site. You can also give away insurance ebooks, white paper reports or a bunch of toys you picked up at a flea market. But make sure to inform these freebie directories to create a link to your site.
18. Distribute an online press release.
Online press releases do more than publicize; they can include links to your website while saving you on the cost of stamps. Although most press release distribution services do charge a fee of $100 to $1,000 for distributing your press release (i.e. www.prleap.com), a few (such as www.free-press-release.com ) provide a stripped-down service for free. Also, don’t forget to check the websites of local media outlets -most of whom now let people submit press releases online.
Try to send at least one press release a month, and you shouldn’t have much trouble finding something to publicize. Press releases announce all sorts of news about your company, from a hiring, promotion or award, to a new product, expansion or campaign.
19. Get an article placement.
Websites are always looking for more content. This has given rise to other sites that specialize in collecting and distributing free content. When you submit an article to these sites, they’ll post it with a link to your home page. You also give permission for other people to use your article in their websites-as long they have a link to your site.
Again, make sure to post the article in your site before you submit it elsewhere. To find one of these sites, just type “Free Articles” in your Google search engine.
20. Create a free website.
Many hosting services now offer free websites to everyone. Microsoft’s www.OfficeLive.com, as well as www.FreeWebs.com and www.BraveNet.com, are just three popular providers that offer free websites to the public.
These free sites have only basic features, and you should look at them as feeder or linking sites. Use them to promote a particular program or focus on a target market, then create links that drive insurance shoppers to your own website.
21. Create an offsite blog.
Blogs are more than a sensation. They’re now a powerful tool for internet marketers. The regular updates give blogs a high ranking on search engines, which means that links from those blogs to your site are given more weight.
Hundreds of websites now offer free blogging services. The following are just a few of the most popular:
And for tips on what and how to blog, check out the “How To Create An Effective Insurance Blog” article from last month’s newsletter.
22. Post on an existing blog.
If you don’t have time to create and maintain your own blog, an easier alternative is to frequent someone else’s insurance-related blog. When you see an interesting article, post a comment. Your signature line can then include a link to your website. But make sure that you post an intelligent comment that will add to the dialogue-otherwise you would be spamming someone’s blog just to get a link.
23. Propose or write a mini-article on www.eHow.com.
This website is an online community that collects and dispenses simplified advice on how to do a variety of things, from how to change your car’s oil to how to shop for a mutual fund. The articles are proposed and often written by contributors.
Try proposing or submitting a how-to article, using their step-by-step format. If they publish it, they’ll include a link to your site.
24. Share your opinions.
Have an opinion? Websites such as www.Yelp.com and www.Epinions.com allow you to post your review-and include a link to your own site in your profile. The next time a new insurance program, feature or government initiative comes out, write and submit a review. Make sure to first post a copy of your review on your site, to get the best SEO benefits.
25. Join a Forum.
There are online forums for practically every subject – including insurance agents and the health insurance industry. Most do not charge a fee, but require proof that you really are an agent or involved in the industry. In addition to joining a community that can keep you informed and involved, it’s another opportunity to establish a link to your website.
26. Donate to charity.
Many charities and non-profit groups will highlight their donors and sponsors on their websites – with a link. If you’re already donating to a charity, ask them to add a link on their site. If you don’t regularly contribute to charity, consider setting aside a portion of your budget or income each year. The real benefits go beyond the links you get.
27. Sponsor Websites.
Finally, consider sponsoring a website. Many non-profit and for-fun sites need donations to maintain a web presence.
If you can spare $100 per year and really want to make an impact, consider getting a multi-domain hosting package from providers like www.GoDaddy.com or www.IXWebHosting.com. These accounts let you host a nearly unlimited number of domains and websites for one low price. Then donate the “free” space to non-profit groups and start-ups, with links to your site of course.
Along with the 13 tips from part 1, these 27 tips should easily create at least 100 links to improve your site ranking – with little or no cost.
7 Subject Line Tips That Get Your Emails Opened
Your newsletters and marketing emails are worthless if your prospect never opens them. That’s a challenge that every internet marketer faces everyday.
According to a 2007 study by Jupiter Research, 1 out of 3 Americans open emails solely based on the subject line. And the E-Mail Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC) report that nearly 70% of American internet users click the “This is Spam” button based on what they read in the subject line.
The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to quickly increase your emails’ open ratios. Here are 7 of them.
Keep It Short
The rule of thumb is that you should keep your subject lines to less than 50 total characters. Anything more risks getting cut off by the screen or your email reader.
EmailLabs.com ran tests last year showing that emails with subject lines of fewer than 50 characters had open rates that were 12.5% higher than longer emails.
More importantly, the shorter subject lines delivered click-through rates that were 75% higher than emails with longer subject lines.
Although 50 characters is the maximum length for effective subject lines, other studies have shown that keeping it under 35 is even more effective.
Make It Relevant
People get tired of the “same old, same old.” Make sure that your emails are current and relevant to what your target market is seeking.
For example, in this year of the presidential campaign, the effect of politics on health insurance is a timely and relevant concern. The best way to excite your readers is by giving them relevant information that they can actually use.
As you write the subject line, consider the practical needs of the intended reader. If you’re writing to a new lead looking for more information, consider offering links to educational material on your websites.
Although your information may already be in the “From” line, it often pays to identify yourself again in the subject line-but in a slightly different way.
For example, if you’re emailing a newsletter, consider branding the email with the newsletter’s name in the subject line [inside brackets]. According to Jupiter Research, “including the company name in the subject line can increase open rates by up to 32 percent over a subject line without branding.”
A true sign of spam and untrustworthy marketers is the “bait and switch” email. You probably see examples of these everyday. These emails promise something but never deliver.
Your subject line needs to clearly state what’s inside the email. And your email must quickly get to the point advertised by the subject line. Yes, you may lose a few people because they’re simply not interested in the topic. But you build and maintain your reputation-as well as your subscription list.
As eROI.com found in a 2006 study, 1 out of 3 email recipients delete the email if they can’t quickly see or understand the email’s topic.
Interrupt and Engage the Reader
Although your email may have a big, bold headline of its own, the subject line is actually your email’s primary headline. The subject line is like the circus barker enticing people to come inside and check out the show.
Your words need to interrupt and engage the reader. One of the best ways to do this is by asking a relevant question. For example, if you’re sending an email to health insurance prospects with families, you may want to ask them if they have enough coverage if their children are injured in an accident.
A question such as “Are You Protecting Your Kids?” is short but still manages to hit a hot-button issue. The challenge is to keep it honest, to the point and respectful.
Consider the Magic Words
The two most powerful words for marketers are “free” and “you.” You may want to avoid using “free,” as many spam filters consider that a big red flag-but “you” is still golden.
In addition to spam filters, many consumers also react suspiciously whenever they see the word “free” or “no cost.” Instead, consider using “percent off,” “reminder” or “help”, which MailChimp.com claims won’t trigger spam filters or lower your open rates.
In their zeal to get attention, many email senders can end up annoying their prospects and lowering their open rates. Three practices in particular regularly annoy readers:
- All CAPS.
Don’t capitalize your subject line. Most readers find this very annoying; and spam filters will slam you for it. You also risk an automatic delete. It’s a weak substitute for good writing.
- Beware of humor.
Being funny in your subject line doesn’t always work. In fact, a 2006 ReturnPath.com study found that only 14.1% of respondents found humor in subject lines to be attractive. Humor may not always hurt your email; but if it doesn’t help, look for a better option.
- Avoid hard sells.
MailChimp.com recently quipped “The best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.” Although you can still use subject lines to “sell” what’s inside the email, avoid any hard sell. For example, avoid giving readers a deadline on your special offer. Instead, just highlight your offer and invite your reader to read more.
According to ReturnPath.com’s study, the most attractive marketing subject lines “clearly state the offer.” They were closely followed by subject lines that identified the brand name or sender.
Finally, these 7 tips have one more advantage: most marketers don’t use them. Check out the other commercial emails you’ve received during the past week. How many marketers follow these guidelines? The next time you send out a newsletter or mass email – and start applying these tips – you’ll already be ahead of the crowd.