Last month, I shared the secrets of a great Internet marketer. I hope that you took some time to visit the various websites that I referred to in that column. It is easy to dismiss this topic since it is unlikely that you will ever sell group benefits online.

That said, there is much about Internet marketing that can be applied to the business of the group benefit professional.

Virtually all of you have either a personal or agency website. In previous columns I have addressed the qualities of a great website and the reasons to get rid of the "brochure" type of website. Assuming that you have built one or more websites that are either idea- or product-specific, the goal now is to create a reason for prospects and clients to not only visit today, but more importantly, to return at a later date.

Another goal should be to drive traffic to your website. How cool would it be if a local business owner or HR professional Googled "group benefits in Any City, USA" and your agency popped up? By spending a little time and energy creating content for your website, you can accomplish these two objectives.

What is content?

When I talk about content I am not referring to the text on the landing page of your website, although that is critically important. If the landing page is not compelling, your visitors will not spend any time there and they certainly will not return. When I talk about content I am referring to white papers and/or video content. Despite what most people think, your prospect is not going to visit your website to learn about you or your agency.

The only thing that anyone wants in the 21st century is access to information that can help them achieve a goal or solve a problem. They want white papers, links to other information and video content. We live in the information age - the more content you provide, the more valuable your website is. Content is king. So how do you create killer content?

Killer content formula

Before reading any further, I want you to take a few minutes to write down the most common questions that you get from prospects. More than likely, one of the most common questions that you get is, "Why are these rates going up so fast?" Another one might be, "What should I look for in a health insurance policy?" It will probably be pretty easy to think of three or four questions that you get asked on a regular basis. If you can't think of five to 10 questions, you can simply Google "top 10 questions about X."

Your objective is to write a short paper (that is, between three and five pages) that you can post on your website in PDF format for your prospects to download.

Next, think of the kind of questions that your prospect should be asking but does not know enough to ask. In the world of group health insurance, a great question that a prospect should ask might be: "Is there a strategy that we can use that will help me get control of my costs?"

Another great question that a prospect might ask is, "Is there any way that we can use an inexpensive benefit to offset the negative impact of cost shifting?"

And here is a one more: "Should I shop each benefit independently or should I work within a benefit budget?"

If you sell a lot of group dental insurance, a question that a prospect should ask is, "Is there any other option on cleaning and exams other than once every six months?"

Once you have identified five to 10 questions that a prospect should ask, you are ready to write a second short paper that will be posted on your website.

There is a second strategy for creating killer content: to write a paper on a specific product or service that you want to sell. The formula here is to begin your paper by identifying the challenges that your prospects face and that you can resolve with your specific product or service. Ideally you want to identify two or more challenges that you can help with.

Immediately following the specific challenges you should write a few sentences about why these challenges generally are not resolved by your competitors. Of even more value is a brief discussion of the failed strategies that your competitors typically offer.

After you have identified the challenges that your prospects face, share your solution using an application of your product or service. Include some background information such as statistics and/or history of the product of service.

One of my core offerings is a group critical illness product. To support my sales efforts I built a website for employers (criticalillness4employers.com).

This is a simple one-page website designed specifically as a place to host a white paper, "The Critical Illness Advantage." When speaking with a potential prospect, I simply ask if I can send them a link to a website where the prospect can download a short white paper. Of course they cannot download the white paper without providing contact information. That way I know who has actually clicked the link so that I can follow up - and secure a sales appointment.

Driving traffic using content

If you want potential prospects to find your website you need to become visible on the Web. The easiest way to accomplish this is to write a series of very short articles that can be posted online at article hosting websites such as ezinearticles.com. These are short, 400 to 700 word articles that contain your contact information as well as a link to your website.

Take the content that you have written in your longer white papers and break it down into several subsets. Start with your list of questions that a prospect should ask. Then take each question and create a short article for posting online. The more articles that you have online, the more likely it is that prospects will find you by accident.

If you choose to use video instead of writing articles, the same formula will apply. You can create your videos relatively inexpensively using a Flip camera and some simple software. Then upload it to YouTube. YouTube makes posting video to your website incredibly easy. One of the best aspects of YouTube is that you can create a channel where you can upload all of your videos for the world to see. Instead of posting articles to ezinearticles.com, you post your shorter videos to YouTube and a link to your website as well as to your Facebook and LinkedIn pages. EBA

Schlesinger has more than 26 years of insurance sales experience and provides sales and marketing coaching to both life and health insurance agents. To learn more about creating killer content, visit getmoregroupclients.com or call Mel at (336) 777-3938.

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