Wednesday

Insurance brokers: Need a reason to hire a blogger?

Let's face it, insurance is not a sexy topic and chances are that your blog is in desperate need of new content. The insurance market is ever-changing and you have two choices: You can get out there and drum up new business or you can spend your time blogging insurance information. 

There's a better way: Hire a blogger. Some bloggers have lots of experience writing insurance blogs just like this one:

Is your insurance plan failing your employees?

Most companies set up employee benefits plans and then stick with them religiously throughout the life of their business. The fact is that you should review your plan at least every couple of years to determine if your plan is still meeting the needs of your employees. As an employer, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your employees but more importantly, a great benefits plan can help you save money by not having to train new employees to replace the ones you have lost.

Employee demographics matter

If your employees are all in their 20's then the chances are that they either are covered under their parent's insurance plans or they can purchase insurance inexpensively through your group plan. This age group tends to go for coverage that has higher deductibles for one simple reason: They are generally healthier than older employees.

As employees move from their 20s to their 30s, many of them marry and have families of their own. This often means their medical insurance and life insurance needs will have to be adjusted. Anyone with children knows that the chances of a child not seeing a doctor at least once a year is practically nil. Therefore, this age group, with younger children will probably be looking for a plan that offers lower deductible and co-payment amounts. Additionally, they will want to be able to cover their spouses and partners under the policy you are offering.

Friday

How social media has changed advertising

Advertisements are an important part of company strategy to share information, generate new sales and inform customers and potential customers about products and services. Today, social media has changed how many companies think about their advertising. For many, social media has changed advertising for the better, while others fail to see the value in using a social media strategy. These companies that overlook social media as an effective method of promotion may be on the verge of discovering that no social media plan means slower than ever growth.

Consumer trust building

During 2009, Neilsen conducted a study that revealed "..... that nine in every ten Internet consumers worldwide (90 percent) trust recommendations from people they know, while seven in every ten (70 percent) trust consumer opinions posted online." This alone provides a strong indication that more consumers are turning to peer driven recommendations from those they trust than depending on typical media advertising methods.

Cost effectiveness examined

During difficult economic times, many companies are faced with the necessity of cutting expenses. While a sizable company may be able to carve some funds from their current advertising budget, smaller companies are often not in a position to reduce their exposure.  Social media has leveled the playing field, making marketing for a small business far more cost effective. According to The Epoch Times Marketing Corner, "...Online advertising offers small business owners a lower cost of entry to get marketing messages across to consumers." This means that there are more avenues for small

Thursday

How small businesses are using social media

Small business owners have learned to capture new business by tapping into the power of social media. Studies have shown that small and new business owners are turning to social media rather than more traditional advertising venues to promote products, services and to help address their clients customer service needs.  As more consumers turn to social media, it is highly likely that new and innovative methods of targeting consumers will be launched.  Today however, social media is already having an impact on how business owners are reaching their audience.

Special deals

Social media marketing often involves the launch of new products.  Small business owners are taking advantage of sites like Facebook and Foursquare to offer special deals to customers. Typically, these are quick, one-time offers that may have short deadlines associated with them, some as little as twenty-four hours. However, when used effectively, they can stimulate new interest in a company from markets that were previously untapped.

Customer service options

Companies who have limited budgets may find that social media is an ideal way of communicating with customers. In some cases these social media savvy owners have set up special keywords to inform customers of service outages or product shortages. In addition, some have set up special

Tuesday

How not having a social media strategy can harm business


Today, marketing strategy can make the difference between successfully launching a company or a product and failure of a company or product. Companies without an active social media strategy may be wondering how not having a social media strategy can harm business. Many feel that they can use a more traditional strategy and that not having a social media plan is not that critical to their success. Here are a few reasons why a social media strategy is critical for business in 2011 and going forward.

Social media and portability

Users who depend on social media oftentimes access that media from their telephones. In fact, more are using applications designed for phones versus waiting until they have access to a computer. Of this group, users are becoming more likely to use their telephones for making purchases online. A recent survey conducted by The Real Time Report indicates that 63% of users between the ages of 18 and 34 are willing to use their phones for these purchases. While these numbers are significantly lower for users under aged 34, this group represents the consumer of tomorrow.

Those business owners who fail to have a social media strategy can easily lose out on this market. Failure to have a social media strategy can mean lower sales over the long run as more young people turn to their social accounts for recommendations on products and services.

Social media wins over small business

Studies indicate that more small business owners are turning to social media versus more traditional advertising venues. New business owners are more likely to turn to Twitter and Facebook as a means of developing their marketing plan than they are to turn to more traditional outlets like the Yellow Pages. Because more small business owners are turning to social media as a significant part of their advertising, those who fail to have a strategy in place may find their competition is winning new customers while they are merely maintaining their existing client base.

There is little doubt, current evidence supports the fact that more people depend on their own networks for referrals to business ventures. Because people are likely to trust their friends, family members and business connections, social media is becoming a more valuable marketing tool. 

Business owners who ignore this viable business tool may be doing so at their own risk. While in the short term not having a social media strategy may not have immediate implications, over the long term not having a social media strategy can harm business by not providing access to those who are most likely to purchase their products or services. This may become more evident as time goes along since the evidence that is currently being reviewed shows that more people are doing their shopping online than ever before.

Monday

How businesses can use the power of social media

While social media is a valuable communication tool for individuals and for groups, it can be an extremely powerful tool for business use as well. Social media marketing is becoming one of the must have tools for business owners for a number of functions. Over time, a business may exand their use of social media for numerous purposes such as customer service, sales assistance and sharing information. Here are some of the ways that businesses can use the power of social media to help develop and grow their business.

Using social media for customer management

Customer management presents unique challenges to most business owners. This often involves hiring additional staff members and having them man one or more telephone lines to deal with complaints, questions or concerns about a product or service. Effective use of social media can help alleviate some of the expenses associated with additional staff members and equipment for handling these types of inquiries. Businesses can set up a specific Twitter account or Facebook page to help address these concerns. Not only are these tools free, they are often easily managed and can provide information to multiple customers at one time.

Using social media for market forecasting

When companies are interested in expanding their product or service lines, they can use social media to determine what interest there is among current and potential clients. This can be done in numerous ways including setting up surveys, asking targeted questions or reaching out to specific customers for