I was amazed when I realized that back in 1990, when I started specializing in long term care insurance, I didn’t have email. Now, I can’t imagine how much more time-consuming my business would be without it.

We are in the throes of a rapidly evolving and changing “digital revolution.” We all want to figure out how to harness relatively inexpensive tools such as websites, blogs, social networking, and newsletters to make money.

My instinct has always been to be aware of new trends and embrace them, hopefully putting myself ahead of the curve. This is how you get and keep an “edge.” You don’t have to be perfect at this to be successful.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have been more meticulous about inputting into my database every attendee at a talk I gave and every person I ever had a meaningful conversation with — even a social conversation. I have not done this as faithfully as I could have, and now I see that in the “digital revolution,” this has cost me money.

When you’re “huffing and puffing” to get your business rolling in the beginning, time is an extremely scarce resource. When I was in the earlier stages of my career, I had to decide between entering a few more names into my database and making another prospecting call. In hindsight, I should have entered the names into my database instead of making the extra call.

Don’t try to do it all yourself
I don’t think it’s possible to learn how to effectively use all the digital marketing tools out there and also be great in the other areas of running a successful LTCI practice. You certainly can’t master these things all at once. I don’t even believe it’s necessary to fully understand how each one works, as long as you envision what you ultimately want to accomplish with each tool, and what you will do toward that end, one day at a time. To help me better manage my time but still learn what I can about the technological side of things, I consult with, and often outsource these tasks to, a competent, trustworthy colleague who advises and guides me in my digital endeavors.

Whether your goal is to improve your website, start blogging, master Facebook or LinkedIn, or conduct email campaigns, break these goals down into baby steps. For me, this approach has led to more and more online-generated revenue.

One tool that’s worked: e-newsletter campaigns
Last year, I started using e-newsletter campaigns to stay in touch with existing clients and prospects. Although I have sent out only a half dozen newsletters so far, I currently have four pending LTCI applications as a result of the program I’m using. One application is from an existing client who is buying LTCI for her son. Two others came from someone I had lunch with 10 years ago. I am also in the process of showing LTCI plans to a few others who have responded to my Constant Contact communications.

Some email campaign tips:

  • Make your newsletters original and genuine
  • Avoid “canned” content.
  • Make them short and snappy.
  • Try to give them a little “eye appeal.”
  • Make them personal — mine usually start with a quote from an actual policyholder. I also “bullet” about three other topics and give links.
  • Remember that, regardless of your digital endeavor, you will not get the knack of it overnight.

Honey Leveen has been an LTCI specialist for 19 years and blogs regularly on industry trends at www.honeyleveen.com. She can be reached at honey@honeyleveen.com.