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Update News for April 2011
Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:
These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this bulletin.
The bulk of this month's bulletin is a review of our current development status in the United States and the completion of some important projects. While that may appear distracting for Canadian subscribers, we are copying that information in order to underline the fact that over the next 2 to 3 months we will be focussing our attention on transferring/translating that work to the Canadian Market.
In that regard there are three essential areas that we will focus on:
1. Term4Sale.ca geographic postal code search system and email contact
The current system of looking up agents by postal code at www.term4sale.ca is based upon an alpha/numeric closest value lookup. The new system will actually compare the geographic location of one postal code with others in order to find nearest listed agents. Of course this mechanism only comes into play if there are not 3 agents listed in that postal code.
The first step in the project will be the creation of a Postal Code Analyzer much like the Zip Code Analyzer we have created for U.S. subscribers; which they love. The tool will help you get a sense of the value of different postal codes, and see which are spoken for and which are open.
We will also be adding an email contact system to term4sale.ca which will give consumers the option of emailing you in additional to calling you by phone (the only option currently). The new mechanism will work exactly as described in the U.S. bulletin which follows.
2. Mobile Quote System
Currently Compulife's Canadian subscribers can run quotes on their mobile devices such as the Blackberry or Iphone. You can do that by going to either:
For those using other smartphones, use which ever of the above two links looks better. We are not aware of ANY smartphone that won't run quotes with this system. It also works fine on the Ipad and it's competition.
Once the new mobile system is completed (now working in the U.S.) you will be able to get a custom version of the quote system which will give you the ability to personalize things like which companies appear in your quotes. Other features will be added as we more forward. This option will be FREE to all subscribers to Compulife.
3. Lead Referral System
If you are using Compulife's Web Quoting Software on your web sites, and also participating in listings at term4sale.ca, there will be a new automated referral program that will let you exchange your site's visitors from provinces you don't sell in, for additional postal code listings at www.term4sale.ca. The program is discussed in more detail in this bulletin:
The balance of this bulletin is a copy of the U.S. bulletin for this month.
If you are listed at www.term4sale.com - TEST PAGE, and most subscribers are, then you need to test the new email system which is now running on that test version of our term4sale website.
NOTE: ALL Compulife subscribers are entitled to at least one FREE zip code listing at www.term4sale.com - TEST PAGE. Personal use subscribers get two, and agency subsribers get 3. If you are not using those listings, you might want to read some of these testimonials:
On March 29th we sent an email to subscribers alerting them to the need to do the test. You can see a copy of the email here:
If you have already performed that test, you do not need to do another.
If you have not yet done the test, please read the email at the link above, and do the test.
IMPORTANT: We intend to go live with the new system on April 5th. The testing that has been completed to date has demonstrated that the system is working fine and the only problems have been of a specific nature where customers have changed emails and not advised us of their new email addresses.
WARNING: If a consumer uses the email contact system, and if your email is WRONG, or if your email system is sending the email to a spam folder, you could lose the opportunity to do business with a consumer trying to buy life insurance.
Once again, the new system goes live on April 5th.
As we have just said, the new zip code lookup is now up and running and needs to be tested at:
This test version of the system employs the new geographic lookup function which is now completed and working very nicely. When a consumer asks for a list of three agents, and if 3 agents are not listed in the particular zip code requested, the system will pull in agent listings from other zip codes which are geographically closest (within the same state). The old system had looked up zip codes that were numerically closest. The problem with that is it could mean that some agents, who were actually physically closer by distance, were being omitted.
The thing which you need to test is the email contact form. Make certain that you are receiving emails from the system. You do this by entering in a zip code in which you are listed and running a comparison. From the comparison results use the "Find An Agent" button. The list of three agents will now have a new email column, with a contact button next to each agent. Click on the "contact" button next to your name. This will display a new "Contact Request" form. Complete the form and then click the "Submit Contact Form" button at the bottom of the page. The system will confirm the email has been sent.
IMPORTANT: Check your email to confirm that you have received the email that was sent. This could take up to 5 minutes. If the email is not in your inbox, make sure it has not gone to your spam folder. If you did not get the email contact Compulife immediately.
NOTE: The new system goes live on April 5th. If you have failed to check the system, and you are not getting emails, you could lose a consumer's attempt to contact you. And we think this may be critical as we believe that most consumers, given the option, will use the email contact rather than the phone. If there is a problem, the consumer may think that they have contacted you and not attempt to do so again. If you don't get the first email, you may lose out.
Also IMPORTANT: We realize that that email address that you use for your Compulife subscription may end up being different than the one that you want these consumer requests to go to. If you need to use a different email for www.term4sale.com - TEST PAGE, please advise us by email. You can send your request to email@example.com.
Next to each individual product in the display you will now see the new "More Info" button. "More Info" takes the consumer to a new web page which is a modified version of the agent listing page. That page also has a Contact Request Form which follows the list of three agents. When that form is completed, and the "Submit Contact Request" is clicked, an email will be sent to ALL 3 agents listed.
IMPORTANT: "More Info" sends an email to all three agents listed. Each will be encouraged to contact the consumer.
You will know the difference between a contact form that was sent to you alone, and one that was sent to two other agents, as the email which is sent to all three agents will contain information about the specific company, product and premiums which the consumer wanted more information about. If you see that company information in the email form, you will be one of three to get the contact email and you are clearly in competition with two other Compulife subscribers.
The objective of these changes is to make it easier for consumers who use www.term4sale.com to connect with subscribers to Compulife. From time to time we hear from subscribers who are very pleased with the business that they have done as a result of www.term4sale.com. We also hear from time to time from subscribers who are unhappy because they believe that they are not doing enough business from their listing(s).
We believe that the new email/contact functions will result in more contacts for agents. Unlike phone calls, we think that there will be less consumer resistance to making a contact by email. Some people find it stressful to pick up the phone and call a stranger. If the stranger is a life insurance agent, that adds to that stress. It will be much easier for the consumer to send their name and phone number and have the agent call them. This way the agent breaks the ice.
Further, you will know that it was your listing at term4sale that produced the contact because the consumer's contact will come by an email generated by www.term4sale.com, whereas a consumer may call you about life insurance and never mention that they got your name from the web site.
Compulife will also be tracking these email requests and using the information to determine what volume of calls are being produced by each zip code listing. The future value of a zip code (for pricing purposes) will be based upon actual email contacts that are generated by a particular zip code listing.
Further, by tracking the "contact" hits on zip codes, we will be able to provide you with that information later in 2011 - as part of the agent Zip Code Analyzer that lets subscribers review zip code listings. Zip codes producing more hits than average will cost more to renew for 2012.
Compulife's "Zip Code Analyzer" can help you determine which zip codes you should be listed in. The zip code analyzer can be found by clicking on this link:
Subscribers who have used this new tool have had nice things to say about it. The Zip Code Analyzer provides you with important information about the relative value of one zip code over another. We think that with this new information a lot of subscribers are going to want to grab available zip codes that have more obvious value than others. In fact we think this will create a sort of land rush.
With that in mind: You snooze; you lose.
The Analyzer gives you the opportunity to enter 3 values:
There is a TUTORIAL/EXAMPLE to teach you how to use the zip code analyzer and you can check it out by clicking on the following link:
We have also published the rules for being listed on the Zip Code Analyzer. For a complete review of the rules you can click here:
A week does not go by without a call from a subscriber wondering what to do about setting up a website. The first question I ask is if the subscriber has a domain name. Most do not. The discussion usually rolls around to what makes a good domain name.
Good domain names are short and sweet, easy to spell and remember.
You should avoid domain names with suffixes other than .com. When you say "something something DOT com", people know that that is a web address. By contrast, when you say "something something DOT info" many people will think or ask "DOT info DOT com?" DOT com is much less confusing.
Avoid short forms for words. If you do use a short form, as we do for "Term4Sale" (registered trademark), also register the domain name that is the long form of the short form. For example, if you enter in www.termforsale.com it goes to www.term4sale.com.
Avoid dashes like the plague. In most cases people who have registered domain names with dashes are doing so because the domain name that they really want is being used by someone else. If you use dashes to distinguish your domain name from the name that you really would have liked to have had, then all that will happen is most of your customers will end up at the other web site; not good.
Your domain name is important. Once you build up traffic and recognition for a domain name it is a bad idea to change it, even if you suddenly realize the old one was not a good one.
With those basic principles in mind, Compulife has spent time searching for available short domain names and we have been buying up recently abandoned domain names that we think are good. A number of the domain names that we have registered are for sale.
To get a list of current domain names for sale click this link:
The prices listed are a one time fee to Compulife which currently owns the domain names (except for those otherwise listed, which are for sale by third parties; compare prices!). The price includes the balance of the current one year registration of the domain name. Typical renewal costs are $12 per year for .com domain names.
Once you have a domain name then we can set a quoting site up for you. You can get your hosting at GoDaddy or other low cost IP's for about $60 per year. Once you setup your web site account, we can put your quoting page on your site at no charge.
The annual cost of the Compulife quote service for your web site is only $99 per year. The good news is that you can get the first 4 months for free by applying here:
To date we have about 400 of these out there and the numbers are growing. Remember, the first 4 months are FREE.
Call us and we will be happy to discuss it further.
Once our work on the web engines and Mobile Quotation software is complete, we will be turning our attention to some important maintenance work that is needed to the data entry systems. Those programs have not been updated for quite some time, and some need to be converted to take advantage of the newer programming compilers that we have been using for the Windows software that we already distribute to you. Our goal is to make it easier to program future software, which will ensure that we can roll out changes and improvements more efficiently.
Further, having reviewed where we are heading over the next few years, and the changes that we would like to be able to make in the future, we have decided to stop and do a much more extensive overhaul than simply changing our data entry software. We have determine that we would also like to implement a better data storage structure that will make maintenance easier on both a data entry basis, as well as a programming basis.
To achieve our goals in this regard, we will be spending a fair bit of time reviewing our new data storage needs, and then building conversion software that will convert our existing data files into our new data file structure. Once we have done that, we will then introducing new comparison software that does exactly what it does now, but which derives its results from the new data structure. In other words, you will end up with a new program that does exactly what the old program did/does.
Once this first stage is completed, we will have both old program and old data, with new program and new data. Moving forward we will use the old data entry systems to maintain the old version, then converting old data to the new data forms for general distribution.
The next stage is to create the new data entry systems that talk to the new data format. Once we are satisfied that the new data entry system give us everything that we have now, we will then switch to the new data structure alone. We will only do this once we have thoroughly tested the new software to ensure it gives us no problems in maintaining the date. This may take several months. As far as the part you use, by the time we make that transition, you will have been using the new software for several months.
To summarize, the current Compulife program is called "GOWIN.EXE". The new program, when it is ready for you to use, will be called "CQS.EXE". The objective is to have CQS.EXE do exactly what GOWIN.EXE does, and only after that has been thoroughly test, and we are certain we can maintain the new data structure directly, without the need for data conversion, will we move over to the new system. Until that happens, you will have both programs in your system. This is no different a transition strategy than when we took our DOS software to Windows. Those who have been subscribers for years, will remember that transition and how relatively smooth it was.
The point of sharing this with you is that the process will be quite lengthy and so from this spring throughout most of 2011, you will not be seeing many changes and improvements to the software that you use, even though the underlying foundation will be going through a massive change. Once the foundation has been reconstructed, and all the tools to work on the foundation have been built, the program will be in a position to make some substantial moves forward.
Think of it as transplant surgery, where you need to keep the patient alive and well, at the same time as you are swapping out the organs.