08/21/13 -- Marketing through Trusted Choice

IIABNY Insider

August 21, 2013

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Financial Support from Trusted Choice® Paying Off for CNY Agents
Here’s one example how IIABNY members are using support from Trusted Choice® to market themselves on local radio and social media. IIA of Central New York is using grant money from Trusted Choice to produce and air the 1-minute “Buy Local, My Local” commercial, which features IIACNY President Tim Toomey. During the ad, Toomey expresses the association’s support for the Trusted Choice Pledge of Performance and the value local independent agents bring to consumers. Listen to the commercial, which is also posted on Facebook.

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Trusted Choice grant money is still available. IIABNY can provide guidance with most aspects of an ad campaign like the one conducted by IIACNY, including the creative side and what stations to air the ads. E-mail Julie MacConnell, IIABNY director of marketing and communications, or call her at (800) 851-8853, ext. 226.

Help for You, Too
Individual member agencies and their branch locations can promote their businesses with help from the Trusted Choice Marketing Reimbursement Program. The revised program will reimburse 50 percent of the invoice amount, up to $500, incurred in 2013 by Trusted Choice agencies in co-branding agency marketing materials, such as business cards, letterhead, envelopes, agency signage, logo-wear and advertising; and in creating or updating a digital presence to include the Trusted Choice logo, link to the Trusted Choice website and Pledge of Performance. Remember, branch locations can also apply separately for MRP reimbursement.

In addition, many Trusted Choice company partners offer co-op advertising dollars to their agents. Some companies have programs that are open to all of their appointed agencies, while others have more comprehensive programs available for agencies that meet certain sales volume and retention goals.

To see which programs are available, contact your company marketing representatives or visit the agents section on the carrier website. A list of Trusted Choice company partners is posted on the Trusted Choice website.

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Claim Your Space Now on Consumer Portal
The new is up and ready for business.

Although the new and Consumer Portal are not quite seven weeks old, more than 750 agencies across the country have already signed up and are now searchable by insurance shoppers who visit More importantly, consumers are finding and visiting in ever-increasing numbers: since rollout, Internet traffic is up more than 20 percent.

With studies reporting that 69 percent of insurance shoppers begin by performing an online search for information and quotes, it is imperative that independent agents build not only a recognizable brand identity, but also a strong digital presence. That’s what Trusted Choice® is all about: offering the best choices, professionalism and service during the insurance shopping experience, to show consumers the value independent agents bring to the table.

On Aug. 27, Project CAP will host a webinar from [Ed. Note: Corrected Time] 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. to address the following:

  • Features of the new
  • How the new website affects agencies
  • Results for the new website to date
  • Upcoming marketing initiatives to promote
  • What your agency can do to participate

Register today for the Project CAP webinar. The time is now to claim your space. If your agency hasn’t signed up yet, get started by visiting the Project CAP website and clicking “Sign-Up Now.” You can also watch this video for assistance with the sign-up process.

For more information, call the Project CAP staff at (855) 372-0070.

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No Referral Fee Until Oct. 1
We reported in the July 31 issue of IIABNY Insider that the new website can help customers find your agency online and provided the benefits for completing an enhanced profile for each agency that does so. We also indicated a $15 charge for each “qualified lead” generated from Now, we’re pleased to report the referral fee will not be assessed until Oct. 1 for any Trusted Choice agency completing the enhanced profile. Take advantage by completing the profile today. And while you’re at it, be sure to watch the video detailing how consumers use the new website.

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Jersey Shore Pizza Man Recovered from Sandy with Help from Trusted Choice® Agent
Now airing on The Weather Channel, a new Trusted Choice® commercial highlights a New Jersey man whose pizza restaurants were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. In the ad, small business owner Joe Rulli praises his Trusted Choice independent insurance agent for the excellent customer service that allowed him to reopen in time for the summer tourist season.

“Consumers like Joe Rulli count on their Trusted Choice agents to be there at the most difficult times,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Trusted Choice president and IIABA president & CEO. “The Weather Channel is the perfect outlet to demonstrate how dangerous and temperamental Mother Nature can be and the importance of making sure your family, business and home have the proper protection and plans in place.”

The new ad is part of a series of real-life customer testimonials produced by Trusted Choice over the last two years. A longer web ad is also being distributed across social media and other digital outlets.

“This ad spotlights just one of the countless cases where Trusted Choice agents show their commitment to their clients and living by the Trusted Choice ‘Pledge of Performance,’” Rusbuldt adds.

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Room for Mobile in Digital Marketing
Mobile marketing, in addition to social media and so-called content marketing, which focuses on creating content and publishing content that users want to receive, is considered one of the top trends in digital marketing. Mobile marketing is any marketing conducted through a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet computer. As one expert said, successful mobile marketing could be defined as marketing that engages the audience in a relevant and interactive manner through their mobile device. To achieve results, a company’s website should be mobile-friendly, with special offers or alerts distributed through opt-in text messaging. Even e-mail messages should be mobile-friendly, i.e., easily read on a mobile device.

For websites to be optimized for smartphones and tablets, they should be able to function on a screen or display much smaller than that 27-inch behemoth monitor sitting on your desk. If your agency website does not use a platform like WordPress, which has its own built-in mobile optimization tools, here are a few mobile-friendly tips from the good folks at Small Business Trends LLC.

  • Keep the overall design simple and clean, and avoid Flash animations—they don’t play well with mobile platforms.
  • If possible, avoid drop-down menus—they’re difficult to near impossible to work on a small screen.
  • Increase your font size to 14 and your line spacing to 1.5 for small-screen readability.
  • Place information that’s important for mobile users, like your address and a click-to-call phone number, near the top of the page.

Easy to Get Mobile App for Your Agency
Members might also consider marketing through the Trusted Choice® Mobile App. Designed to work on iOS and Android platforms, this amazing resource allows consumers to find a local Trusted Choice agent, create their home inventory, document an accident, ask a question and read relevant headlines – all from their smartphone, tablet or other mobile device. The app is available in a customized format with your agency's color scheme and logo. It's also integrated with both Project CAP and IIABA online systems to provide single sign-on and easy account administration. The Trusted Choice Mobile App is included in many Project CAP agency marketing packages (for a limited time) or available separately for a nominal fee to IIABNY and IIABA member agencies.

Creating a mobile friendly website and mobile apps were among the conclusion reached during discussions hosted by the Agents Council for Technology. In the ACT article “Agency Strategies to Manage Change Successfully,” author Jeff Yates recounted the insights gleaned from those discussions to assist agencies in managing change successfully within their firms. The article cites a recent published report that found 74 percent of Google searches are performed via a mobile device, making it “good sense” for agencies to enhance their mobile tools.

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Featured Web Page: Word on the Street
Jamie Deapo, IIABNY assistant vice president of membership and member programs, recently responded to a new report from McKinsey & Co. that questions the future role of independent agents. In the latest posting on his blog, “Word on the Street,” Deapo, who also serves as IIABNY’s Member Advocate, offers the answer for independent agents who have been “outspent and outhustled.” Look for “Word on the Street” on IIABNY’s new website.

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Trusted Choice® 'Share' Campaign Needs Your Help to Grant More Wishes
It takes only a few minutes to “share” daily posts from Trusted Choice®. As a strong supporter of the brand’s involvement with the Make-a-Wish Campaign, IIABNY is asking its members to consider encouraging others to do the same by using their Facebook status to direct friends and family to the Trusted Choice Facebook page, and by following Trusted Choice on Twitter. Remember that this campaign will not only benefit deserving kids, but also increase the number of consumers the Trusted Choice brand reaches.

In past campaigns, Trusted Choice raised enough money to grant 21 wishes, including sending 2-year-old Kiwi to Hawaii and 17-year-old Laura on a shopping spree. This year, Trusted Choice would like to increase that number to 30 wishes.

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Business Associates BEWARE
Sept. 23 will soon be here, and you better take note because it is a date that affects all individuals and entities deemed to be a Business Associate. According to the new HIPAA Omnibus Rule, Business Associates (the definition of these is far-reaching) now have the same obligations and will suffer the same monetary consequences as any other entity that intentionally divulges Protected Health Information or PHI.

IIABNY will continue to provide more details about who specifically is affected and what needs to done in the weeks leading up to the day the new rule goes into effect. A one-hour webinar on this topic is tentatively planned for Sept. 20.

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Dodge to Lead Fall Health Insurance Exchange Webinar
Roughly two weeks after New York’s health insurance exchange begins accepting enrollments, IIABNY will present the webinar “12 Things You Need to Know about the New York Health Benefit Exchange.” Tim Dodge, IIABNY assistant vice president of research, will serve as instructor, providing insight into a range of issues related to the exchange, which was renamed this week “NY State of Health.” During the webinar, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Oct. 15, Dodge will define the health benefit exchange, discuss tax implications and how the exchange will work and review the roles of navigators, agents and brokers. This course qualifies for two continuing education credits for BR, PC, LB, LA and C1 licenses. Online registration is available.

In addition to “12 Things You Need to Know…,” IIABNY features a full schedule of onsite classes for the exchange’s Small Business Health Options Program producer certification course. The series began Tuesday with a sold-out session in Syracuse. Thirteen additional SHOP classes are scheduled, resuming Aug. 27 in Albany and continuing through Oct. 23 in Plainview. This course qualifies for eight continuing education credits for BR, C1, LB, LA and PC license. Register online. See the course brochure for additional information.

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