In last month's column I introduced you to the concept of expert positioning. This is when you utilize tools such as article writing, public speaking and video marketing to establish your credentials as the expert in your industry.

One such technique is to utilize videos in your marketing. You simply create a number of videos on a variety of topics and post these to YouTube and your various websites. Creating a video presence is not difficult and it does not require that you hire an outside videographer to create you videos. In fact, I recommend that you absolutely do not invest in hiring a professional for your videos. The slicker your videos look the more it looks staged.

The idea is to create a series of short videos on a wide variety of topics. Some of your videos may have you as the star, but if you are camera shy you can create great videos utilizing PowerPoint slides or by using one of the many inexpensive, online animation tools.

To get started you will want to purchase the following tools:

* Movie-making software such as Sony Vegas Studio

* An inexpensive video camera such as a Flip video camera

* A decent microphone that can plug into your computer

There is no need to purchase a green screen since most of your videos should be shot in your office or home.

In addition you will want to establish a YouTube account and create a channel so that people can find you and subscribe. After you post a video to YouTube you will be able to create a link that you can place on your website or on your Facebook page. If you prefer to embed your video, YouTube will automatically provide you the HTML code that you will need.

Create a list of topics for your initial series of videos. As you create your list it is important to remember that your goal is not just to educate but to create leads as well. As a benefit professional your list of topics might include:

* Reducing employee pressure for increased wages

* The biggest problem that employers face but do not know about

* The three benefits of a voluntary disability income plan

You can even create a variety of videos around the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act such as:

* Grandfathering and why it matters

* The Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credit and how to use it

* A PPACA timeline

Your goal is to create two or three videos every month. If you can create one new video every week that will be even more effective. The more often that you post your videos the more frequently your prospects will revisit your channel.

Before we get to the mechanics of video creation, I should address the No. 1 question that you have: How do people find my channel? If you optimize your videos for the search engines, prospects may find you through a Google search. As I write this I am launching an online marketing program for my dental insurance products. By the time you read this I will likely have several articles on ezinearticles.com and at least two videos on YouTube. My goal is to optimize these for search engines. But most visitors will find your videos because you will direct them to the videos.

In my case I will direct prospects to my YouTube channel as soon as I have at least three videos on it. Hopefully these people will also recommend my channel to others and soon my list of subscribers will grow. In addition, you will post a link on your Facebook page as well as in your Twitter account.

 

Creating your video

Regardless of whether you will be the star of the video or choose to use PowerPoint or an online animation program like Xtranormal.com, you must write your script. You have to know what you want to say so that you do not ramble. This is particularly important when converting a PowerPoint into a video. The other reason for the script is so that you time yourself. It is critical that your videos are relatively short. My videos will have a runtime of between three and 10 minutes.

In the event that you are camera shy, do not worry. Using a PowerPoint presentation is incredibly easy. Simply create your presentation as you would for any event with one difference: time. Keep in mind that you want to keep your videos less than 10 minutes long. Next, using your script, deliver the presentation out loud in the privacy of your office without recording it. It is important that you time yourself to ensure that you are not running too long. If you find yourself running long either eliminate some slides or rewrite the script.

Once you are satisfied with everything, convert your PowerPoint into pictures using a png file rather than a jpeg file. Next, you simply import those slides into your movie making software and you are ready to record the narration. Trust me when I tell you that it is easier than sounds. Finally, upload your video to either YouTube or your website. To see an example of a PowerPoint turned into a video visit my dental website at dentalinsurancespecialists.com. This is a video that I created recently as part of my new dental marketing initiative.

Xtranormal is another wonderful tool. There is a minimal cost to this, but most video creations will cost less than $5. With Xtranormal you create animated characters, choose your background setting such as a boardroom and then type in your script for each character. The system converts your typed script into an actual spoken conversation between the characters. The animation keeps the viewer's attention and allows you to make your point easily. I have received some great feedback from viewers of these cute animations.

 

Prospecting and your videos

I use my videos in what I call my "Call - Email - Call" prospecting system. Rather than make cold calls with the intent of asking for an appointment, I ask for permission to send the prospect a link to a brief video about my approach to custom designing a dental plan to the client's needs. My goal is to get 10 prospects to agree to receive my email. Twenty-four hours later I will follow-up with a telephone call. Truthfully, only one or two prospects will actually view the video and that is perfectly acceptable. If six people every week actually watch the video I will secure two to three appointments, but they will be with very good prospects.

Of course there is one more very important reason to get videos out on the Internet and that is to build a Google presence. Remember that one of the best ways to create credibility and the impression that you are the expert is tell a prospect to Google you before an appointment; if you have videos on YouTube it is likely that they will come up on the Google search. Since the prospect has scheduled an appointment with you they will likely watch at least one of your videos, if not all of them, before the appointment. If you have created reasonably good videos you will be miles farther down the road to a new client before you even utter the first word during an appointment.

You will be amazed at the dividends that a few well done videos can pay.

Reach Schlesinger, RHU, REBC, president of the National Association of Health Underwriters and a sales coach, at (336) 777-3938.


Focused approach = more business Segmenting the market and focusing on primarily one or two customer groups has historically been a winning strategy in a number of other industry sectors. Market segmentation also can be applied to insurance, benefits, and voluntary benefits. While there are a number of ways to segment the characteristics of a potential client base, many firms successfully choose to focus on a particular employer industry sector. Such a focused approach can result in a much deeper understanding of the business issues facing employers in that particular market sector. It can also lead to the creation of unique product or service offerings, or meaningful value-added services. Ultimately it can translate to lower customer acquisition expenses and higher profit margins as the addition of each new client relationship becomes accretive.

Why develop this approach?

* Every vertical market has its own language and terminology

* Each industry views itself as having unique challenges they face

* Decision makers tend to stay within the same industry when they change jobs

* Since companies compete for the same labor, they want to understand what the "other company has that they do not"

* Proven strategy in other industries - property casualty, life insurance, and non-insurance vertical markets as well

* Potential for unique product and service offerings

The bottom line is that market segmentation can be a very powerful marketing strategy. It requires focus and dedication. And it will require an investment of time and energy to overcome the initial sales inertia that seems to be ever-present when launching new marketing initiatives. So it's not for everyone.

- Beverly Beattie, Selden Beattie Benefits Advisors and EBA advisory board member

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