Cody Askins and Landon McCarter have built a vast audience, but their product is hardly known in Springfield.
The duo is behind one of YouTube’s largest insurance training channels and a leading wealth conference called 8% Nation.
On top of that, McCarter and Askins run Secure Agent Marketing LLC, an advertising and marketing agency that focuses solely on insurance marketing. Askins also runs Secure Agent Leads and Cody Askins LLC.
They have a lot on their plate.
The four companies operate from 3506 S. Culpepper Circle off Springfield’s Medical Mile, and they’re collectively run by 27 employees.
McCarter said it didn’t take long for Secure Agent Marketing, which launched in May, to get off the ground. He credits Askins’ following on YouTube and the 8% Nation wealth conference he started.
“We’re the largest insurance training YouTube channel in the world for the independent insurance perspective,” McCarter said. “And there isn’t really any other digital marketing agency specializing in insurance. We’ve created a niche that’s becoming known nationwide.”
Clients include North Star Insurance Advisors, Family First Life, Senior Life Services, AmeriLife Direct LLC and Heartland Financial Group. Askins said the group has worked with clients in Canada, Puerto Rico and Africa.
Secure Agent Marketing has about 175 active clients, McCarter said, that are anywhere from $5 million to $25 million operations. The contracts range between about $1,500 a month and $1.5 million a year, he said. A client in Springfield is a rarity.
McCarter said about 300 people reach out to the group for help with leads, marketing, training or conference tickets every week. The companies have a database of over 20,000 insurance agents he said they’ve done some sort of business with since the start of 8% Nation, a wealth-building conference for current and prospective insurance agents.
Collectively, Askins said the businesses are on pace to reach $10 million in 2019 revenue. This includes revenues since Secure Agent Marketing’s launch in May. He expects the companies to grow in 2020, with a goal of around $20 million in collective revenue.
First on YouTube
It started on YouTube. In December 2015, Askins started producing YouTube videos and creating training products for insurance agents.
“For the first year, it didn’t get anywhere,” Askins recalled. “But I wasn’t doing it for vanity metrics. I was doing it because it was something I enjoyed doing.”
Now 29, Askins said he’s been selling insurance since he was 19 as a student at Baptist Bible College. He caught the bug from his father, who started Secure Insurance Group LLC in 2014.
Now, the YouTube channel simply named Cody Askins produces about 15 videos a week, and as of Oct. 31, it had over 10,600 subscribers and 1,339 videos.
“My mission is to help every insurance agent in the world. That’s why we do so much content,” Askins said.
In the videos, Askins teaches insurance agents how to get leads and make cold calls, as well as common mistakes in the insurance game.
YouTube and Google searches show a few results for insurance training videos, most commonly targeted toward consumers. Another YouTube channel called trisTOM also offers advice to insurance agents on selling life insurance. That channel has 17,000 subscribers and 17 videos, the last of which was added a year ago.
Askins produces the videos in an in-house studio that cost over $75,000 to build, he said.
McCarter said 80% of the clients for the various companies come from YouTube.
“Agents started reaching out off of YouTube asking to join the team, buy leads, hold events,” Askins said. “These other companies have formed because of the demand of agents around the country and some in different countries, reaching out and wanting help.”
Askins said the idea for Secure Agent Marketing came together rather organically after seeing a need in the market.
“Secure Agent Marketing was such a good fit from a company standpoint because most of the bigger companies typically don’t like to pay retail price for something, or they want to bring it in-house,” Askins said. “With Secure Agent Marketing, they get leads at cost. We have some companies that spend $80,000 a month with us, and we get a percentage of that budget as a management fee.”
Askins said this allows Secure Agent Marketing to act as an extension of the company’s team typically for less than the cost of an employee, which he said is an incentive for larger companies.
“Not only do we feel like we’re the best at doing insurance marketing for an insurance business, but we can produce that at a cheaper rate and pass it on to clients and win almost every time,” McCarter said. “We really always win the business because we know insurance, but we also know digital marketing. We have the tools and we know the market.”
McCarter has the entrepreneurial bug. Over the last 10 years, he has started and exited at least three companies – Door Deal LLC, Spin Streak LLC and JumpSix Marketing LLC.
McCarter said the timing was right to get into insurance services through Secure Agent Marketing.
“The insurance industry has been very outdated. It’s what our dads did or it’s boring, but with 10,000 seniors turning 65 every day in this country, there’s a gold rush for insurance sales,” he said.
8% Nation conference
Askins is also the mastermind behind the 8% Nation wealth conference, which will have its third event in July 2020.
At the conference, insurance agents and those interested in the industry can learn, develop strategies and network with those in the industry in order to be part of the 8%, Askins said.
“8% Nation comes from the fact that 92% of insurance agents fail. Eight percent are those that end up being successful,” Askins said.
The first conference was held in October 2018 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. About 400 people attended the new conference, which Askins said cost about $400,000 to put on. This year, the event brought in about 600 attendees in July in Dallas, Texas.
2020 will be bigger, Askins said. The conference is scheduled next summer at the Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, where the group expects over 2,000 attendees and plans to spend about $1 million to put it on.
“We’re going bigger, getting bigger name speakers, we’re spending more on marketing and advertising, and we are scaling up the sales team in order to keep up,” Askins said.
McCarter said Jordan Belfort, aka The Wolf of Wall Street, will be one of the event’s guest speakers, along with Inky Johnson, Tim Storey and Eric Taylor. Past speakers have included NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis and wide receiver Michael Irvin, as well as international sales trainer Grant Cardone, according to the 8% Nation website.
Askins said ticket sales and sponsorships help cover the cost of the two-day conference, which he added takes a small loss. The company makes up for it in the new clients and followers gained.
Tickets range from $300 to $3,000, according to the website. As of Oct. 30, 850 tickets were still available.
Sponsorship agreements range from $5,000 to $75,000, according to the website.
McCarter’s goal is to become a $100 million company. One of Askins’ short-term goals is to buy a company airplane.
“My goal is that when they think about insurance marketing, training or a conference, they think of us,” Askins said.
Builders predict costs will remain elevated well into 2021.
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