The machines have risen; now let’s put them to work
In November of 2022, the buzz surrounding ChatGPT and its potential to revolutionize the workforce made headlines. While the predictions of a complete transformation have yet to fully materialize, it’s clear that AI programs like ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing AI and Google Bard are here to stay.
It’s easy to see why people are increasingly incorporating AI into work and life. With a few carefully worded prompts, you can create some truly amazing things using these programs. For agents seeking to leverage the potential of AI, one promising area lies in marketing. Let’s discuss some ways you can start harnessing AI’s potential today. As we’ll see, the secret to getting the most out of AI platforms lies in asking the right questions.
Begin at the beginning
One of the best ways to use AI in your marketing is to incorporate it right at the beginning – that is, during the initial planning before you launch a campaign. You can start by asking your preferred AI chat platform to act as a marketing expert that will generate your plan.
Building this prompt requires a bit more than flipping a switch or pressing a button. You need the following information on hand so you can include it in your prompt:
- Business overview – Describe your industry and your company’s position within it, including the products or services you offer.
- Goals and objectives – Next, describe your marketing goals, which could include anything from building brand awareness, to generating leads, to boosting sales.
- Target audience – Include your target audience or customer personas. Don’t limit this to only demographic information like age, gender and location. Add psychological details like interests, behaviors, habits, values and pain points.
- Unique selling proposition (USP) – Ask yourself what sets your business apart from competitors. This is your unique selling proposition. Your USP is an important anchor for your plan and should not be overlooked.
- Marketing channels – Ensure that your prompt includes the marketing channels you currently have available to you. Separate these by owned, earned and paid media. Some examples of each include social media platforms, email marketing, content marketing and SEO (owned); public relations coverage or press release placement (earned); and advertising (paid).
- Budget – All of your marketing initiatives should be tied to a budget.Include an estimate of the resources you have available to allocate to your marketing plan.
- Timeline – Remember, a marketing plan should not be on an indefinite timeline. Include all relevant time-sensitive dates.
The most obvious way an AI chatbot can improve or streamline your marketing is through content development. Whether you need social media posts, a blog or even a full white paper or multi-page guide, today’s leading programs can help. Here are a few things to keep in mind when prompting your chatbot to create a new content asset:
- Length – Be as specific as possible about length requirements for your collateral. When it comes to the ideal length of content assets, opinions vary. There’s no guarantee that the AI program you use will automatically create content to an appropriate length for your needs.
- Tone and voice – Unless you specify what you’re looking for, chances are an AI program may not deliver your content in the right tone. Be sure to use plenty of adjectives. Provide examples of writing you’d like to emulate. You can also offer additional context. Describe what the content will be used for, and the language model will tailor accordingly.
- Trust but verify – One thing to remember is thatAI models, while helpful, are still not an exact science.These programs can and will deliver faulty information. Always verify your outputs against outside sources, and double check any data or calculations.
SEO and Digital Advertising
AI programs can also help with the high-level strategy for search engine optimization (SEO) and digital advertising. Here are best practices for creating effective prompts in this area:
- Clear, concise goals – Specify for the program exactly what you want to accomplish: improving organic search rankings, driving conversions or increasing awareness are all perfect examples.
- Relevant business information – As with your marketing plan, a bot like ChatGPT needs to understand some basic information about your business to create a relevant and impactful SEO plan. Be sure to include information related to your industry, target audience, products and services and competitors.
- Provide some keyword parameters – The success of both your SEO and digital advertising efforts depends on the strength of your keywords. Chatbots can assist you in developing a knockout keyword list when given the right parameters, including:
- Specific products and services
As you can see, there are numerous ways to leverage AI in your marketing efforts. Whether you are seeking a fully fleshed out marketing plan or specific deliverables, AI chatbots are certainly worth a try.
However, caution is warranted when using AI chat programs like ChatGPT. They should not be considered “secure,” and prompts should never include nonpublic, private, confidential, or sensitive consumer, business, or other information. As mentioned earlier, AI chatbots can also produce inaccurate, misleading, or even offensive responses. It’s always advisable to carefully review and consider the output generated by these programs.
AI chat tools certainly aren’t perfect, but one advantage of these platforms is the ability for human users to provide feedback on the responses generated. Working with an AI chatbot then becomes something of a collaboration, and that’s when great ideas start to emerge. By using AI tools responsibly and in conjunction with human expertise, you can help ensure the best possible outcomes for your marketing efforts.
As we approach July 4th, we reflect on the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of our nation. At this time of remembrance, our team at Alliant National also honors the remarkable contributions of independent agents like you, whose unwavering commitment to the American Dream empowers countless individuals to pursue homeownership and economic prosperity.
In 1776, as the principles of freedom and self-determination were woven into a new experiment in government, the challenges were as profound as the ideals at stake. From the trials of its infancy, our nation emerged as an economic power, giving rise to the American Dream.
Today, the mortgage and title industries stand as the cornerstone of this dream, and at the heart of every mortgage transaction, independent title agents work tirelessly to ensure the smooth transfer of property. Title insurance – and your integral role in the title transfer process – allows individuals to make informed decisions and gives them the confidence to pursue their dreams. Your expertise and dedication also contribute to the stability and growth of the communities you serve. You create employment and economic opportunities, support local businesses, and foster a sense of trust and security.
Well over two centuries after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, our nation continues to face challenges that resonate within our industry. Economic and housing market uncertainty, political polarization, and the potential impact of AI are among the macro forces pressuring title agents, along with industry-specific issues such as the emergence of unregulated title products. At Alliant National, we are honored to partner with you in your noble work and stand as your ally in facing the challenges of the moment.
Your work and dedication inspire us every day, but especially now. As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, we honor your commitment to upholding the American Dream and our nation’s ideals. To you, we extend our heartfelt gratitude.
Here’s wishing you and yours a happy 4th of July.
Foreclosure rescue scams were rampant during the Great Recession as homeowners found themselves underwater with their mortgages facing foreclosure. As economic conditions slow and home prices decline in some regions, now is the time to watch for properties being sold under the guise of a foreclosure rescue. Here is a quick overview of different types of foreclosure rescue scams and a few tips on what to do if you suspect your transaction may involve a foreclosure rescue.
Foreclosure rescue scams
Foreclosure rescue scams can be as simple as taking money from a distressed homeowner promising to negotiate an agreement with the servicer or lender and then failing to provide any meaningful assistance. Some schemes require the homeowner to make mortgage payments to the scammer, who promises to manage the payments on their behalf, but instead, takes the money and disappears.
The scams that title agents must watch out for are those that result in a transfer of title to a foreclosure rescue company or investor. Insuring the title in a foreclosure rescue scam transaction may result in a claim when the new owner attempts to evict the tenant – the original owner of the property – and gets sued by the tenant. Becoming a party to a lawsuit could lead to reputational damage for your agency and other potential harm.
Here are a few such scenarios.
Bait and switch: The homeowner is asked to sign documents purportedly to bring the mortgage current, but the owner unknowingly signs a deed transferring the ownership to the fraudster. The homeowner is told they can remain in the property while the details are being worked out with the mortgage company. When the ownership transfers, the property is sold to someone else by the fraudster, and the unsuspecting former owner is evicted by the new owner.
Rent-to-own: The homeowner signs a deed transferring ownership to the scammer under a rent-to-own agreement believing they will be able to buy the home back. The scammer promises the homeowner they will not record the deed, but the deed is recorded. As with the scenario above, the home is then sold to someone else without the knowledge of the original owner.
Equity skimming: The owner signs a deed to the scammer who promises to share a portion of the profit from the home sale. Instead, the scammer rents out the home, pockets the proceeds, fails to make mortgage payments, and may record a deed back to the original owner. When the home foreclosure is finalized, the owner is on the hook for the debt and has lost ownership of the home.
Some rescue services are legitimate, but even in those cases, the owner may not understand that they have lost ownership of their home.
Foreclosure scam Red Flags
Transactions involving foreclosure rescue scams often have similar details. Here are some Red Flags to keep in mind:
- A recently recorded deed from the owner to the investor
- An investor who brings an already executed deed to the title agent and asks the agent to record the deed
- An existing mortgage by the prior owner is in foreclosure
- The prior owner is still living in a property being sold by an investor or foreclosure rescue company (Scammers may call them “tenants” and ask that you do not disturb them as a condition of the sale).
Thankfully, if you spot one of more of these Red Flags, there are steps you can take to help determine whether the transaction is legitimate.
Trust but verify
A title search will show if there is a notice of foreclosure against the property. If this is the case, and the prior owner still resides at the property, a good first step may be to call or write that person to determine:
- Why they are still residing at the property
- If they understand they have transferred ownership of their home to the investor
- Whether they are aware that their home is now being sold to someone else.
Be wary of an investor attempting to steer you away from contacting the previous owner of the property or the lending company. It is best that you communicate directly with all parties, the prior owner and the lenders, letting them know about the impending transaction.
Open communication is also critical in the case of a simultaneous flip. The original owner may not be aware of the second sale for an increased amount. The new lender may include a requirement in the closing instructions that property flips be disclosed or that they are prohibited. Disclosures should be in writing. It is also best to communicate directly with the lender, and not just a mortgage broker.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind in the fight against foreclosure rescue fraudsters:
- Trust your instincts if you are feeling uneasy over a pending transaction or uncover unusual circumstances.
- Watch out for odd or unusual requests from the buyer, seller, or investor.
- As the neutral third party, it’s best to communicate openly with all parties to the transaction. Do not shy away from asking questions.
- Be wary of any party to the transaction requesting secrecy.
At Alliant National, we invite agents to share their stories and thoughts on how we can all help prevent fraudulent transactions. Please email us at: email@example.com.
In addition, agents who prevent a fraudulent transaction from being insured by Alliant National may qualify for a reward through Alliant National’s Crime Watch Program. Learn more at: https://alliantnational.com/title-claims/crime-watch-program/
Harnessing the Power of AI for Better Antivirus Protection
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a next generation cyber security solution that provides more advanced and comprehensive protection for your devices compared with traditional, static antivirus applications that only address simple signature-based malware threats. While traditional antivirus programs detect and remove known malware, EDR is designed to detect and respond to more complex and sophisticated threats that often bypass or get through traditional antivirus protection. A good EDR solution can identify existing threats already hiding on a network, which is important as current threats are often undetected for several months. Since most malware intrusions originate at the end-user, it is critically important to have the very best antivirus protection on individual computers and laptops.
Here are some reasons to consider EDR as a preferred antivirus solution:
Smarter Detection: Traditional antivirus programs rely on pre-defined signatures to identify known threats. However, EDR takes a different approach. It uses behavioral analytics to detect suspicious activity in real-time, even if there are no known signatures. By monitoring file changes, registry modifications, and network traffic, EDR can detect and respond to the latest, advanced threats faster than traditional antivirus programs.
Complete Visibility: EDR provides security teams with a centralized management console to monitor and investigate activity across all devices in an organization. This makes it easier to deploy and manage security policies. Some vendors offer a fully managed model for businesses who cannot or do not want to deal with the administration or management of the EDR tool. With EDR, you don’t need to worry about manually updating antivirus software on individual devices. The central console ensures that the latest EDR protection is deployed, saving time and effort. In case of a security breach, EDR allows for a coordinated and rapid response to investigate and minimize the damage.
Real-time monitoring and continuous threat-hunting: EDR keeps a constant watch over servers, laptops, and mobile devices in real-time. It allows security teams to proactively identify and address threats before they can breach the system. By analyzing suspicious behavior, EDR can act before a breach occurs, reducing the risk of data loss or compromise.
Monitoring of servers, laptops, and mobile devices by EDR is critical to allow fast and effective solutions to threats before they breach, and in the event of a breach, to contain and solution the threat before there is contagion throughout the network. EDR has a proactive threat hunting feature that allows security teams to identify threats before they become an incident. Suspicious behavior is analyzed and reacted to before a breach occurs.
Forensic Capabilities: In the event of a security breach, EDR provides forensic capabilities that assist security teams to investigate and understand system events and scope of the attack. Detailed logs are available showing system events and user behavior. The logs may be used to identify the source of the attack, measure the extent of damage or intrusion, then develop a plan to prevent a future, similar attack. This is very useful to provide evidence of rapid response and the scope, extent, and timing of an event that is required with many state breach notification requirements.
Integration with other security solutions: EDR seamlessly integrates with other security solutions, enabling automated incident response workflows, event logging, and monitoring across multiple platforms. This integration enhances the overall effectiveness of your cybersecurity infrastructure.
With the rapid evolution of advanced threats and sophisticated malware, relying solely on traditional antivirus programs isn’t enough. Having a robust EDR solution provides the best available antivirus resource, deploying a tool that uses artificial intelligence to reiterate and continually evolve an endpoint defense. The combination of advanced detection, rapid response, real-time central monitoring, and enhanced forensic features provides a powerful tool to protect and secure your organization’s critical and sensitive data. Antivirus protection is a vital cyber-security shield on the frontline of defense, and it is imperative that defense is effective, today more than ever.
Interested in learning more about EDR? Notable companies that offer EDR solutions include SentinelOne, CrowdStrike, and Cisco. If you have questions about EDR and other tools and strategies to protect your networks and your business, feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Longmont, Colo. – (May 31, 2023) – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, the title insurer that is uniquely responsive to the needs of independent agents, is proud to announce the completion of two International Organization of Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission required annual surveillance audits – revealing no non-conformities. Successful completion of these audits enables Alliant National to maintain its coveted 27001 and 27701 certification status, which demonstrates the company’s commitment to its stakeholders by adhering to internationally-recognized standards for information security and data privacy.
The 2023 surveillance audits were conducted concurrently and involved 138 control point tests revolving around validation, reperformance and observation. By passing these assessments, Alliant National will be able to maintain its 27001 and 27701 certifications until 2024.
“We are very pleased and proud to have completed these surveillance certifications,” said Tom Weyant, Alliant National Vice President of Risk Management. “They signal to our stakeholders how Alliant National is a responsible steward of personally identifiable and confidential information, and on a broader level, how we seek to conduct our operations with the highest possible standards.”
The ISO is the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards. By successfully completing its audits, Alliant National demonstrated that it meets rigorous international standards in ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, availability, and protection of non-public or personally identifiable information. Alliant National first completed the ISO 27701 audit in 2022 and remains the only title insurance underwriter to obtain and hold this new data privacy certification.
To successfully pass both ISO annual surveillance audits, Alliant National had to undergo testing of more than 130 technical and process controls within the Information Security and Privacy Management System frameworks. To obtain the two certifications there were over 170 controls tested through validation, observation, and reperformance. The audits were conducted by an ISO-licensed and accredited firm, A-lign CPAs of Tampa, Florida.
Alliant National supports its independent agents by combining expert residential and commercial underwriting with a passionate heart for service. The company delivers uncommon help that promotes the wellbeing of agents and the communities they serve.
Visit alliantnational.com for additional information.
ABOUT ALLIANT NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY
Alliant National is on a mission to empower independent agents while protecting property owners with secure title insurance. The company partners with its agents and never competes against them with direct or affiliate operations. Alliant National serves thousands of title professionals as a licensed underwriter in 32 states and the District of Columbia.