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How White Papers Can Change the Game

How White Papers Can Change the Game

business info

White papers have become more and more valuable since the rise of quality content being king in marketing campaigns. Not only are these useful educational resources, but now equally as important as a business marketing tool. The next time you come across a white paper relative to your industry, don’t discard it. Turn it into something valuable and use it to grow your business.  Allow AIMS to explain how…

First of all, let’s talk about where to find white papers. A simple Google search for “white paper” combined with your industry terminology will produce a plethora of results. Most companies producing these are happy to allow other companies to share (while giving full credit to source) via their own website because then everybody wins – You get great marketing tool, and the publisher gets recognition for the white paper they created.

Now, here’s what you can DO with a white paper. So you’ve come across some informative white papers that are relevant to your business. Great! Time to open it, read it, and lastly, put it to USE!

  • It may seem obvious, but whitepapers are valuable educational resources for your business – Only however, if it’s read and not put aside to ultimately get forgotten about. Read thoroughly and make note of relevant facts and findings. Share with your business’ staff and employees to further knowledge collectively.
  • Use the information to refine your own marketing strategy. Narrow your Google search to the most recent listings to find the newest research and learn what’s working in today’s business landscape. Things change fast in business, use these whitepapers to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Resonate even more with your target customer by basing content efforts off whitepaper valuable facts and findings. Consumers are increasingly looking to content that offers value information. Write up a blog post summarizing the findings or even a press release (be sure to give full credit to the publisher).
  • Offer a white paper as a download on your own site. Based on the publisher’s copyright, you may be able to share directly. Publishers typically specify how the information can be used by other entities, but if in doubt, ask the publisher directly for permission to offer the white paper. Remember content is king! Appeal to your audience as being a resource.
  • White papers are also useful for prospecting and cold calling new clients. Use white papers as an ice-breaker when reaching out to potential new business. Because the information is coming from a reputable third-party, it is a non-bias way to introduce your business while offering value from the start.
  • White papers provide valuable material to make your social posts more interesting. Social users tend to follow businesses that share insightful, engaging and relevant content. Use this tactic to provide value to your network and generate more connections for your business. Share by pulling out stats and findings in a single post or tweet, or share the whitepaper as a direct download from your website or from the publisher’s (depending on copyright).

AIMS is here as your resource for marketing solutions. Call us today to discuss your marketing needs and how we can help!

Agency Revolution Conference: PDX

Agency Revolution Conference: PDX


Hello there followers! I just wanted to get the word out that I will be attending the Agency Revolution Conference in Portland, OR this upcoming week.


As some of you may already know, I was born and raised in the insurance industry. My parents own an agency in La Pine, OR and I was practically brought up in the office. What I am getting at here is that insurance runs in my blood, and I have a very strong appreciation for the people over at Agency Revolution. Not only have they helped my family market their business in a way that is both efficient and affordable, but, through my experiences managing the application of their software, they also gave me a platform to jumpstart my own business. Who knew playing around on the computer would lead me to AIMS?


Some of you I have met before, some of you I have not. Either way, if you are also attending the AR conference in PDX I would love to hear from you!


In the words of Ray Kroc:  If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.

Here at AIMS, I am always looking to improve upon our services. So if you see me, tell me: What is working at your agency? What isn’t? Where are you seeing growth, and what can/should be cut back? A healthy exchange of information is the best way for me to better structure my business so that I can better serve you.


Want to connect before the conference? Just click on the “Contact Us” portion of the AIMS website and shoot me an email! I can’t wait to see you all this Wednesday!

Insurance Marketing: Why do scare tactics work?

Insurance Marketing:

Why do scare tactics work?

fear word in wood type

Fear appeal is an attempt by the marketer to induce feelings of anxiety or fear in the consumer so that they are more inclined to purchase their product. Sometimes the campaigns are nuanced and feature more innuendo than an overt message of doom and gloom. Others, yeah, they really are just doom and gloom. Sound familiar?

It should, because scare tactics work. That is why we see so much of it in insurance marketing. Actually, with just one look around the insurance industry, you could say that we’ve cornered the market on fear appeal. That’s what happens when your business is built around preparing for loss.

But we aren’t the only ones using fear appeal as a basis for marketing. Just ask the CDC about its efficacy. Their anti-smoking campaign has been incredibly effective. Rolled out in 2012, it has been estimated that 1.6 million Americans have since attempted to quit smoking with 100,000 succeeding as a direct result of the campaign.

What they found is that people don’t so much care about the images they see, so long as they don’t have to experience them first hand. Once they get it in their heads that the ramifications of smoking are real and applicable to their everyday life, only then do they make an attempt to change their ways.

As insurance marketers we can take that theme and incorporate it into our campaigns. Instead of telling people “Your house is going to burn down, you need homeowners insurance” we can say “Hey, this is what happens when a home is lost due to fire; this is how difficult the recovery process is, and it can happen to anyone.” The difference between the two statements is subtle, but it is important for effectively communicating your message.



Photo – © Marek – Fotolia.com

5 Ways to Step Up your #Hashtag Game

5 Ways to Step Up your #Hashtag Game

3D Hashtag


Hashtags are a big deal these days, you see them everywhere – Twitter, Instagram, football fields and heck, people are even naming their babies Hashtag! Who knew the ‘#’ sign would blow up the way it has?

While it might seem sometimes that hashtags have jumped the shark, they still serve a vital purpose in social media. Did you know that once you hashtag one of your tweets, Google + or Facebook posts, it is available for absolutely anyone to see? We’re not just talking your followers, we’re talking everyone! The moral here? Think before you hashtag.

So without further ado, check out our list of 5 ways to step up your hashtag game!

#Hashtag Tips

  1. Use only 1-3 hashtags per tweet, each of which has a maximum length of 1-2 words.
  2. Only use relevant hashtags. One trick we see people using is to hashtag their tweets with whatever the latest trend is, only for that hashtag to have no relevance to the topic at hand. Really, it is the equivalent of spam. Don’t be a spammer.
  3. Don’t limit your hashtag use to just Twitter! Using hashtags on Instagram, Facebook, and Google+ will help you reach a wider audience.
  4. Do use hashtags to strengthen your brand. At AIMS, we like to hashtag our tweets with #implementnow. It is quick, it is simple and it is easy. Have a question for us – or a comment? Hashtag it #implementnow and we are sure to see it. Something as simple as that is great for branding, as it becomes associated with your business.
  5. Don’t hashtag every word. It really won’t help you establish a brand, and to be honest, it is really quite annoying. Your goal should be to engage your followers, not turn them away.





Photo – © kuklos – Fotolia.com


They’re baaaack! The Importance of Long Tail Keywords

They’re baaaack!

The Importance of Long Tail Keywords

search engine optimization

SEO is ever changing, ever evolving, but sometimes what goes around comes back around. Which is why we are now seeing the reemergence of the long tail keyword as a common SEO practice.

How are long tail keywords different from a normal keyword? For starters, they are longer and more specific, which makes them perfect for those of you looking to optimize your website to generate more local traffic. Think about it: There are MILLIONS of ‘Insurance’ websites out there, but not nearly as many ‘Auto Insurance Oregon’ and even fewer ‘Teen Auto Insurance Portland’.

Of course, you don’t want to get too specific with your long tail keywords or else nobody is going to find their way to your site. For the insurance agents out there that make up the majority of our clientele here at AIMS, we recommend that when updating your business insurance pages you optimize at the state level. That means if you are located in Pennsylvania all of your commercial auto insurance page is headed with ‘Pennsylvania Commercial Auto Insurance’ and the content itself should be populated with 3-5 of the same long tail keyword.

Personal insurance pages however should be more location specific, so ‘Philadelphia Life Insurance’ instead of ‘Pennsylvania Life Insurance’. The best way to look at it is that there are more individuals than businesses, so you need to be even more specific when trying to draw in one of the many individuals out there. Businesses on the other hand are more likely to shop around, so even if you are located in Philadelphia, a Pittsburgh business may be just as willing to insure with you so long as your rates are competitive.

Remember, SEO is just one part of your search engine ranking. To get higher up on Google search results list you must also produce quality, fresh content on a regular basis and have a user-friendly design.

Good luck!


Photo – © Artco – Fotolia.com

Thumbs-Down to Too Many Thumbs-Up Stock Photos

Thumbs-Down to too many Thumbs-Up Stock Photos

We all know that a thumbs-up is the international symbol of approval (hello, Facebook!), and it is showing up in more and more stock photos. It doesn’t seem to matter what we search for, we ALWAYS find at least one. Really, any topic, any time.

The problem with these photos is that they don’t always inspire confidence. And to be honest, they can be pretty cheesy. So we thought this week it would be fun to share with you some of the thumbs-up photos we come across each week. Check them out below, as well as our first thoughts when we saw them!

Searched for: Health Insurance

Portrait female doctor giving thumbs up, hospital background
© pathdoc – Fotolia.com

Our thoughts: Nothing says, “I got this” quite like a doctor giving you the double thumbs up.

Searched for: RV Insurance

© Lisa F. Young - Fotolia.com
© Lisa F. Young – Fotolia.com

At first glance: Oh look, thumbs up in front of an RV! Of course I can trust them! Their RV must be the best!

Searched for: Motorcycle Insurance

© Monika Wisniewska - Fotolia.com
© Monika Wisniewska – Fotolia.com

At first glance: Oh man, this is just not good. First of all, I searched for “motorcycle insurance” and she’s not even wearing a helmet? Sorry girl, we just can’t return the thumbs-up to you.

Searched for: Life Insurance

© bsilvia - Fotolia.com
© bsilvia – Fotolia.com

At first glance: So, thumbs-up for an empty life insurance folder, huh? Even she doesn’t look too sure about this.

Searched for: Teen Driver Safety

© Kurhan - Fotolia.com
© Kurhan – Fotolia.com


At first glance: Sorry sir, you are most certainly not a teen driver, and not even a thumbs-up can assure that you are. Actually, I may trust your safe driving skills less because of this. Nice try though.

So there you have it. A small sampling of the thumbs-up we deal with every day.


Is working from home right for you?

Is working from home right for you?

Working from home vector with desk and office equipment

Working from home isn’t right for everyone. There are a lot of people who need the structure that office life provides – having somewhere to go and be held accountable on a daily basis. But if you’re like me, then working from home is the dream.


Now, I run my own business, and if something doesn’t get done, I’m the one who has to answer for it. Which is fine, I understand my position and what I’ve gotten myself into. For some though, that is too much pressure, not to mention all the distractions (Oh, I’ll just do a quick load of laundry…no wait, the cat needs to be fed first…but now we’re out of food and I need to make a grocery run..).


When I talk to others out there about working from home, one of the biggest concerns I hear is that people are afraid that it will be too hard to separate work from home life. But do you know what? That is the least of my concerns, and do you know why? Because I’ve set boundaries.


Here are a few rules I follow when working from home:


  1. Set working hours and abide by them.
  2. No work is allowed outside of the office – and especially not in the bedroom.
  3. Get dressed every day. That might seem kind of like, duh, but really, it is important to get up, take a shower and get dressed as though you are going to the office.
  4. Take a lunch break. This is also a duh, but I like keeping to a schedule. Not only that, but it is important to take that time to decompress.
  5. TAKE WEEKENDS! I will admit, sometimes I do work on the weekends, but only when it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, I make sure that I take a few days to myself.


So what do you think, could you follow these rules? Do you already work from home and have a few tips to add?



Photo – © vectorfusionart – Fotolia.com


The Great Email Signature Debate

The Great Email Signature Debate

Modern communicationsAdding your signature to an email is a great way to help establish branding. The problem however is that a lot of people out there take it too far. They want to make themselves seem accessible, so much so that that they become too accessible.


We here at AIMS value our quality of life, and often times that means disconnecting for a bit, be it a few hours or even, heaven forbid, an entire weekend (holidays included). But if you are listing every possible way to contact you on your email signature then you just might run the risk of losing that little bit of personal freedom you do have.


Not only that, but it can really come off a little bit desperate. It’s like you’re back in middle school PE lined up waiting to be picked for a kickball team and you’re that kid bouncing around in the front row begging to be chosen.


So how do you balance accessibility without seeming overly eager in your email signature? Here are a few tips.


What to Include:

As a general rule, your email signature should never be longer than the email itself. So keep it short.

  • Your name
  • Your business name and position within the company
  • The best way to contact you (work phone, email)

You may also include a SMALL logo and your business address if it something you are comfortable sharing (i.e. work from home).


DON’T do this:

  • Include personal handles for social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.), your business social media handles are okay if kept small
  • Personal phone number – Unless you like having your clients waking you up at 4 a.m. (Don’t have a business phone number, get one for free from Google.)
  • Quotes, inspiring or otherwise – Remember, keep it concise
  • Make your entire signature an image – Yes, it will look exactly how you would like it too, but if it won’t load on certain browsers or devices it is useless



Photo – © Ronald Hudson – Fotolia.com

Get Noticed On LinkedIn

Get Noticed On LinkedIn

Job seekers and professional organizations alike are putting in more time on their LinkedIn profiles. In the professional market it may as well be the new Google. What is the first thing you do when you are thinking about partnering with another company or hiring someone? You look them up.

Now, Facebook stalking might give you a better idea about an individual’s personal life, but it won’t tell you much about the business side of things. The same can be said for a company’s business page. If you really want the nitty-gritty, you need to check out their LinkedIn profile.

Why LinkedIn WorksSocial Media printed labels on a yellow background

Don’t have a LinkedIn profile set up for your business? Better get on it. LinkedIn is one of the best ways to get your brand noticed. Like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you create the exposure for yourself. The difference is that this is the page where you really get into the meat of what you do.

I mean really, how many people out there are actually reading your mission statement on Facebook – or even on your website? Chances are very few. But LinkedIn is where those same people go to get that sort of information. They want to know who you are, what you do and why.

How to Get Noticed on LinkedIn

So how do you go about getting noticed on LinkedIn? Here are a few tips:

Use an engaging photograph.

If you’re a company, use the logo that best reflects your character (we know some of you have multiple logos). As an individual, the photo should give some idea of who you are. Into climbing mountains? There is nothing wrong with a mountaineering pic. Wanting to look professional? Suit up in your headshot.

Write a better summary.

You summary is the first thing that pops up when someone opens your profile. Give them something they want to read. I can’t stress enough just how boring it is to read all about your experience, but nothing that clues me in on the culture of your company or you as an individual.

Reel them in with your first sentence. Instead of “I graduated with a degree in…”, talk about an experience that has shaped you or a person you admire that has made you into who you are today.

Follow others.

The more companies you follow and the more individuals you connect with the more likely you are to spread your content or message. This is after all the primary premise of social media: engage with one another.

Publish and/or share good content.

You don’t have to pump out new content everyday, but you do need to share periodically. It isn’t enough to just exist. You can provide updates on current events within you company or even just re-share that great article you read on the importance of influencing others…or whatever it is that interests you and is relevant to your business.




Photo – © thinglass – Fotolia.com

Add some Mystery to your Subject Line

Add some Mystery to your Subject Line


You know how sometimes you get an email and all it says in the subject line is “Newsletter” or “Monthly Newsletter”? Yeah, it’s pretty boring. And if you’re looking for more clicks, it’s not one of your better attempts at doing so.


How then, do you write a better subject line?


Maybe it’s surprising, but I actually like to look for inspiration for this in the promotions tab of my Gmail account. After all, about 50 different companies are blasting me daily, so it doesn’t hurt to see how the big boys are doing it.


When I’m doing this evaluation I’m looking for one thing and one thing only: Did I click on it, or did it meet an imminent demise?


Scrolling through, I immediately notice a pattern – DISCOUNT! FREE! WIN A TRIP! But guess what? I didn’t click on any of those. In fact, they were trashed pretty darn quick. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t in the mood for them, maybe it’s because I know there are better things to be spending my money on or time doing right now. Either way, it does tend to go against the traditional marketing-grain that these were the emails I ignored.


Instead, I opened one from a tour agency with the subject line “Past, present and future – all at once.” And guess what it was? Their monthly newsletter. The word “newsletter” was nowhere to be found and here I opened it anyway.


Why did I open it? I’m not entirely sure to be honest, but I think that it has a little something to do with intrigue. In a world where quite literally EVERYONE is throwing a deal at you or touting the best this, that and the other thing, it was refreshing to actually have to guess what was on the other side of the subject line.


Am I advocating that you abandon tried and true marketing methods? No, but I do suggest mixing it up sometimes.




Photo – © Sergey Nivens – Fotolia.com