CRM 2 and the Rise of Content Marketing

I’ll start this post with a response from a financial advisor customer of ours (the name is hidden though for privacy reasons) in one of the surveys we performed.

Question: How can having a website with Digital Agent help you achieve your long term business goals?

Response:  “There will be a thinning of the herd for advisors in the coming years as the regulators will require everyone to disclose their fees.  I’ll need to prove to clients even more that I am worth their money. ”

The “thinning of the herd” is what this advisor is referring to as the CRM 2 bill. The  CRM 2 bill, recently passed, is generating a fair bit of uncertainty and fear within the advisor community. This is for a variety of reasons but one of those reasons is centred around how this will change and affect an advisor’s relationship with their customers.

By no stretch am I an expert on this subject but from I’ve read, the bill is essentially legislation, providing the requirement that advisors provide complete transparency into the amount of money they make through their clients. The question is, why does this matter? Why do advisors care that they need to do this?

In the end, in any business, the only time I can think of where this would be an issue really comes down to a question of value. Advisors worry that their clients will focus more on price than value. If I became fully transparent as to the amount of profit I made from a customer, I would only ever have a problem releasing this information, if I believed there to be a mismatch between the perceived value of my product vs the actual price I charge for that product or if I had difficulty articulating the price and value discussion (or proving it for that matter).

CRM II raises the question of perceived value over price. In theory, Advisors who have strong and trusted relationships and who are undoubtedly confident about the value they provide to their clients should have nothing to fear. Advisors who have been reaping the benefits otherwise, should be, and rightfully wondering how to close the value and price gap and in my opinion, this is where Content Marketing should become such a critical part to any advisors’ business looking to overcome the ensuing difficult conversations they are about to have with their customers. Content marketing provides an opportunity for advisors to show how much value they can provide and take the conversation beyond the price level.

If you don’t have a website yet, I implore you, please, get one. It’s no longer an option and you’re one of very few who are still holding out. If you’re not convinced that you need one, read this article and then come back to this one to solidify the business case.

Content marketing is a relatively new term and previously associated with things like Email Marketing. In actual fact, there’s a growing movement around content marketing attempting to redefine and transform the entire Digital Marketing space. Content marketing is a method that individuals, groups, companies and/or organizations use to build trust with possibly buyers of their product or service. It is most associated with blogging and should be core to any small to large business’ marketing strategy.

Here’s a key fact for anyone in marketing: 70% of all shoppers, do their research online before making a purchase decision. What does this mean? This means that before this group of 70% pick up the phone, they’re already doing all of their research online. This means that before picking up the phone and calling you, they’ve already decided what they want to do with you and your business. If I picked up the phone today and attempted to cold call a random sample of 10 possible buyers, the only scenario that ends up with a purchase is the one where they’ve already decided to buy my product or service. The question for you the advisor is, have they made a decision on buy a product or service through you? And if not, why?

Ultimately, and especially in today’s digital age, purchase decisions undoubtedly and ultimately come down to one thing: TRUST. That shouldn’t surprise you. But then, how do you build trust, when 70% of shoppers do all of their research online before making a buying decision. This is the  question that still baffles many business owners today. Traditional marketing tells you that advertising eventually leads to a conversation that you can have with a prospect or buyer. The problem with traditional marketing is that the buyer is already having the conversation with anything they can find online about the product or service they are planning to purchase. Content marketing attempts to address this exact “problem”.

Content marketing is fundamentally about building trust with potential or existing customers and doing it on a platform that can be viewable by everyone. It’s about answering questions that are typically asked by customers in the financial services industry. While so simple, building trust starts with just that fundamental principle: answering customer questions.

Have a question about content marketing and how it can improve and enhance your business? Get in touch with me using our contact form or simply email me directly!



What Every Advisor Ought to Know about Web Analytics

Monitoring the traffic to your website is a critical component to digital marketing success. Understanding the data can help you make adjustments and also help you determine whether the adjustments and changes you are making to your website are working. Even if you are not the one managing your website, you should still understand the basics of web analytics. This article will cover off 4 of the most basic metrics to help get you started.

Visits (also known as Sessions)

This is a rather straightforward metric. It is exactly as it reads and measures the number of times an individual visits your website. If the same individual visits your website, that also counts (note: there is another metric called Unique Visitors). While “visits” is a rather basic measurement it’s a quick and easy litmus test to gauge your website’s performance. If  you’ve added new content your website, written a blog post, updated your LinkedIN profile with your website address or perhaps even just simply put it on your new business cards, “Visits” can give you some initial signs that those activities paid off.

Pages / Visit

Pages / Visit are one of many measurements of website engagement. When a visitor comes to your website, a visit is logged. However, once they are physically sitting on a page and they click to another page, one page is record as having been visited. A key success factor that any advisor should be aware of is the fact that the primary goal of any page on your site, is to encourage and incentivize the visitor to click again. That’s it. Pretty simple? Well, it makes total sense. If the content on your site is relevant and engaging enough to a visitor, of course they’re going want to read more and when they do that, so does their relationship with your website. What are the primary types of activities that will help increase this measurement? Simple, add more pages or write more blog posts!

Average Visit Duration

Akin to Pages / Visit, Average Visit Duration, is also a measurement of engagement. It helps you to better understand your visitor behaviour and should be viewed in the context of Pages / Visit. Why? Well, if a visitor comes to your website and clicks through 3 pages and spends a total of 1 minute per page reading your articles, that’s amazing! It means that time and time again, they were able to find what they were looking for. However, if a visitor comes to your website and clicks through 3 pages and stays on each page for only 5 seconds, that’s not good. It means they didn’t find what they were looking for and simply took off. Activities that can help boost this metric really revolves around content and volume of content (content being defined as text or copy, images, links or documents) or adding widgets like financial calculators beside relevant content (e.g. Savings calculator placed beside an articles about Savings and Retirement). The more content you have, the more keywords you’ll probably have, and the more chances visitors will find you through Google or Bing when they search for something. Little to no content on your website will lead to very low Average Visit Duration times since there’s literally nothing to read!

Bounce Rate

The last of the metrics for this article and likely one of the most important ones is Bounce Rate. A Bounce rate is yet another measurement of engagement. It indicates the percentage of people who enter your website and immediately leave after looking at only one page. Generally, a bounce rate lower than 40% is arguably better than a bounce rate higher than 40%. A great goal to strive for is to keep your website’s bounce rate lower than 50%. This means that 1 in 2 visitors don’t immediately leave and it also tells you whether you’ve achieved that one fundamental goal of encouraging and incentivizing the visitor to click to another page on your website. Some key activities that can help improve your bounce rates are adding more content (can you see a theme here?), putting content that catches your visitors attention on all of your pages or even adding more pages.

Understanding your website analytics is a critical aspect to owning a website and there are many tools out there that can help you acquire this type of important information. If you have a question about what you’ve read today or just simply have a question about anything Digital Marketing related, please get in touch with us!



“Where do I start if I want an effective web presence?”

Where advisors can start building your web presenceMany financial and insurance advisors today are asking themselves whether they need to be online. Some are convinced that their customers don’t go online and some just aren’t sure whether being online is the right thing for them. The reality of the time period we live in is that if you can’t be found online, you don’t exist. Think of the last time when you were the buyer and the seller handed you a business card. If you’ve never heard of them, your first instinct would likely be to look for them online. So, having a web presence isn’t a matter of “should I”, it’s really a matter of “when and how”.

When we talk about having a web presence it does mean more than just a website, however, any solid web presence starts with the creation of a website. When advisors first embark on this digital journey, we recommend that advisors focus on asking themselves a number of key questions that can help accelerate the creation process and ultimately get the website to a “ready-to-launch” state:

  • What colours best reflect my practice’s brand?
  • What is the general process or philosophy I follow when it comes to doing business with my clients?
  • What imagery best represents my local area or brand?
  • Do I have a biography outlining my credentials?
  • Do I have a personal photo or image?
  • Do I have photos of my team members?
  • Do my team members have a biography outlining their credentials?
  • Do I have a logo? Do I need a logo? Will I use my dealer’s logo?
  • What services or products am I licensed to sell?
  • Do I have any testimonials from my current clients?

These are just a handful of the questions to ask at the beginning of the website creation process. The key thing to remember is that having a web presence is an iterative process. The most important part of getting started is just that, getting started and getting your website launched. Remember, there’s no such thing as perfect when it comes to the creation of a website and with a website, you’ll have a foundation that you can build on to grow and solidify your web presence.

If you have more questions or would like an honest conversation about how to get started and where you can go, get in touch with us using the contact form below.

“Our review process for advisor websites takes too much time and effort.”


Our review process for advisor websites takes too much time and effortThe creation and use of online content is becoming an increasing trend both within the advisor industry as well as the general digital marketing world today. When this happens in a regulated industry you begin to see increasing work loads for your compliance officers who need to review content to ensure content is inline with regulatory requirements before it gets publish (or goes live). Insurance and wealth management marketing departments also need to ensure that the changes advisors make do not fragment or negatively impact their brand.

Many wealth and insurance dealers have challenges keeping up with volume of content reviews coming at them from their advisors. Slower than average review cycles not only directly affects advisor satisfaction but also impacts an advisor’s ability to do business. It’s quite the dilemma when you consider the fact that the primary goal of the dealers is, in fact, to support advisor businesses. While there is no silver bullet to this solution, it’s important that your enterprise compliance team have the best possible review tools and business processes to keep review times at a minimum.

If online content review times are a concern to you, there are some key questions to think about as you assess your situation to determine how best to approach and improve the review process:

  • Is your compliance team approving content through email or through an automated tool?
  • Is your audit trail automatically captured or do you need to record information in a separate tool or possibly even in an Excel or other electronic spreadsheet?
  • Is the process used to review content a manual process? Are you receiving website links through an email from your advisors?
  • How are you notified that your content has been submitted? Is this information being transmitted to you from a third party tool or directly from the advisor in an email/telephone?
  • Are you constantly struggling with identifying changes between versions of the same content?
  • Does your organization have a service level agreement for content review times?
  • Do the tools you are using have the ability to track your average review times? Does your technology provider help you monitor and improve these times?

Content review times are typically drawn out due to manual business processes, a lack of awareness or inability to communicate the status of the content review process or just a shortfall in terms of the technologies compliance officers are using to perform content reviews. As such, your compliance officers have countless hours of reviews to perform beyond what they are currently resourced to do.

We understand these issues and have experience speaking with compliance teams. Moreover, we’re always interested to learn more about the complexity of a compliance officer’s workflow. As mentioned earlier, there’s no silver bullet but there are a number of key changes that can be made to improve your content review times. If you’re in the process of re-thinking your current review processes or looking for a second opinion, get in touch with us.

“I need to show auditors that all published content on our websites has been vetted and approved.”


Show auditors that all published content on our websites have been vetted and approvedIDC predicts that financial services IT spending pertaining to risk functions will reach more than $80 billion by 2017. In the world of a regulated industry, this should not come as a big surprise. This effectively indicates that due to significant investments in business processes and tools, that compliance departments will need to be very diligent of tracking and storing all data and information pertaining to everything from trades, to email communication to web and social media content. It also indicates an increase in the complexity of these organizations derived from more people, more processes and more complex workflows and access rules.

With every compliance group or individual we speak to, it’s clear that audits are a very time consuming aspect of their work. Making it easy for auditors to find information and effectively do their job, in turn makes it easier for compliance to focus on the more important day to day tasks. When it comes to website content, the reality is that it should not be hard to work with the auditors on this aspect of their review. If you’re having challenges in this space, here are a few key elements to consider especially if you’re looking for a way to reduce the amount of time your compliance departments spend with auditors:

  • Does your current platform automate and monitor the auditing and archiving of all web content being submitted by advisors and subsequently reviewed, approved or rejected by compliance?
  • Can you assign granular workflow permissions to specific individuals or groups of advisors?
  • Can you comment on specific workflows and content versions?
  • How do your marketing and compliance teams communicate with your advisors during the review process? Is that communication logged and tracked?
  • Are your pre-approved content libraries access controlled? Can you set permissions on specific pages or digital assets like documents, images and video?

In the world of compliance, you can never have enough governance around your content and the questions above are just a snapshot of what you need to consider if you’re looking to improve your audit times. If you’ve answered no to any of the above questions, we can help steer you in a direction that makes sense for your organization. Start a conversation with us and we can help you some of the initial thinking around your current processes by filling out the form below.

“I need better web analytics reporting for my advisor websites.”

I need better web analytics across my advisor websitesYou’re a marketer and as a marketer you love analyzing data. Traditional enterprise marketing strategies involves repetitive and cyclical testing which leads to minor or major changes in marketing tactics. As you already know, the same rules apply with digital marketing. Your results are not just revenue based but also advisor support based. This means that while you are looking for information that can help your advisors generate more leads and revenue, you are also looking for data that can help you take steps to improve your advisor businesses.

The requirement for a more global view of advisor web performance becomes increasingly more important as you consider adding more technologies to the advisors toolkit. There are a number of common questions that are fundamental to help you make better decisions around changing and adjusting the way you support your advisors businesses:

  • How active are my advisors on our tool?
  • What is the average visitor time on site across all of my advisor sites?
  • What is the most popular or least popular piece of pre-approved content being used by advisors?
  • What is the most clicked on piece of pre-approved content by visitors?
  • What is the most downloaded document?
  • Are clients logging into their accounts through my advisor websites or through our corporate site?
  • Are we seeing any correlation between what advisors are doing on their sites and their individual practice results?
  • What are the most commonly used features of the platform we’ve provided to our advisors?

If you have some of the same questions or a different set of questions, or if you’d like some additional thinking around your web analytics strategy we’d love to connect with you. Successfully supporting advisor business is a critical component of the client value chain and it’s important to ensure you have all the right information to achieve that goal. To start a conversation with us just fill out the form below.

“My advisors don’t use the website management tools I’ve provided to them.”

My advisors don't use my technologyYou’ve experienced this challenge before. The challenge of adoption. After investing a significant portion of your budget, time and effort, your advisors don’t end up using the tools you’ve provided to them. In a research study we performed in which we surveyed 25 financial institutions and broker-dealers, the unfortunate result of the lack of adoption came complacency and the simple acceptance that advisors simply would not take the time to use these tools. As a result, important questions weren’t being asked to evaluate why. Well, we did and our advisor population distilled it down into three key areas of improvement:

  1. “It’s hard to be productive with the current tool.” Many advisors gave up on the tools they were provided and cited reasons due to usability and the fact that the tools weren’t intuitive enough or sufficient enough for them to customize their websites. Moreover, content review times took too long if they used the tool.
  2. “The website designs provided by marketing are not modern and do not accurately reflect my practice.” Advisors felt that they wanted more choice with respect to the website templates. Additionally, many of them demanded mobile website functionality.
  3. “I don’t have enough time to maintain my website.” Advisors want to spend time in front of their customers, not in front of a phone or computer screen managing and maintaining their website. Many of them found it to be a time consuming task and many were looking to their enterprise marketing departments to manage their individual web properties for them. A challenge that would prove to be difficult to scale when we asked marketing departments if they take on that task.

Adoption of a technology relies on two key factors: risk and payoff. For example, advisors feel that spending time on their website will take away from time spent with clients and hence less revenue. This is their perceived risk measured against an unknown payoff. So their decision to give up on the tool is actually quite logical. You as a marketer believe that an investment in more modern tools can benefit advisors but as you implement those new technologies, you need to ensure you are solving these issues while balancing your corporate objectives:

  • Can I provide better design choices for advisors without fragmenting my brand?
  • What is the investment profile to provide mobile websites for my advisors?
  • How do I implement a content distribution strategy that adds value for my advisors in a scalable and cost effective way?
  • Am I stress testing the usability of the tools before I deploy them? Do I have the right advisor engagement strategy?

These are just some of the key questions that you should be asking yourself to help set you on a path to increased and improved advisor technology adoption. Ideally, this not only leads to better business results overall but also positively impacts advisor practices. If you’d like a more in-depth view of your advisor technology adoption strategy or would like to speak with us about improving technology adoption, simply fill out the form below.

“I need to upgrade my advisor marketing program and I need a business case.”

I need to upgrade my advisor marketing program and I need a business caseMany wealth and insurance believe that their current advisor digital marketing program needs an upgrade starting with the website management tool they either built in-house or purchased within the last 5-8 years. Trends in digital marketing such as the increase in adoption of social media, email marketing and a better understanding of web analytics from advisors are demanding the need to modernize and integrate the digital marketing tools that advisors are using.

The need to upgrade older platforms are generally obvious to the marketing professional seeing as they are immersed into the world of the latest and greatest digital marketing technologies. The biggest challenge implementing an upgraded program initially begins with selling it to management, where knowledge of such trends are not as common and rightfully so. As such, justifying the increased investment profile requires a much more diligent business case process. After all, that’s the language of executives and to sell it effectively, you need to speak their language.

A typical framework that we use in collaboration with potential financial services organizations looks like the following (note: most of this should theoretically apply to you even if you are not in the financial services space but in a regulated industry like law):

  • Can upgrading our current platform increase revenue?
  • Will implementing this upgraded platform reduce my expenses?
  • Does the new platform increase customer satisfaction with our advisors and overall organization?
  • Does the new platform increase advisor satisfaction with our organization?
  • Will implementing this platform reduce our regulatory risk?

The key to solid business case framework is formulating a business case that is holistic. Yes, the almighty dollar is 100% the most weighted aspect of the business but other areas like customer and advisor satisfaction also play a role. More importantly, implementing a platform that increases regulatory risk will also never past the initial litmus test.

If you’re considering a project of this nature in your visible future, we’d love to help you develop a solid business case across all of the digital marketing tools you are considering. To start a conversation with us, simply fill out the form below!

“I have challenges maintaining my website with my current provider or tool”

Challenges with my current provider or website management toolWebsite management technologies have come a long way since the commercialization of the web and has been a growing industry. Back in the early to mid 90s, it was virtually impossible to create a website unless you knew how to write computer code. Since then however, many technology companies have developed applications both offline and online, to help the non-technical user create their own personalized websites. Companies like WordPressSquarespace, Format, Wix, Digital Agent and Cloversites, to name a few, have created amazing tools for anyone with a little bit of technical knowledge.

As advisors begin to develop a maturity for website development and digital marketing in general, there are a number of key challenges that we’ve seen within this community. These challenges are primarily related to either the tool they use to maintain their website (which they could have individually purchased or could be a tool provided by their dealer) or with a web development company. If you feel like you’re spending too much time or money maintaining your website, here’s a few key questions to ask yourself before considering a switch:

  • Do I need to call my web development company to make minor changes?
  • If I need to make changes to customize my website, do I need to pay hundreds of dollars to my current web development company?
  • Is it easy to make changes to my website without contacting my web development partner?
  • Does my website partner (the tool manufacturer or web development company) have experience supporting firms in regulated industries such as financial services?
  • Does the tool I’m using have an integrated compliance component to it or am I responsible for communicating directly to my compliance department?
  • Is the tool intuitive? Is it obvious what I need to do to make simple changes to content on my website?
  • Can I easily customize my website using the tool provided?
  • Have I done everything I can using the tool and am I happy with how my website looks?
  • Am I investing more than $1000 per year to host and maintain my website?

These are just a handful of questions you should be asking yourself if you’re not entirely sure if you’re making the best investment on your website and subsequently your web presence. It’s always a good practice in business to re-evaluate such investments given how frequently web technologies change.

If you’d like a second opinion on your current website investment we’re happy to have the conversation. We can’t promise that the outcome will always be a “Yes, You should switch“, and we’d love to be the ones to give you the validation you’re seeking. Simply fill out the contact form to get in touch!

“How can I generate more leads with my website?”

How can my website generate more leads?“When does this thing (website) start making me money?” is one of the most commonly asked questions we hear from advisors and a really good one and one many of us struggle to answer. One of the greatest challenges in business has always been to ensure that your marketing activities somehow relate back to revenue. After all, you’re truly in business for one very key reason, money.

So, how can your website make you, the advisor, money? Quite simplistically, it comes down to one thing and one thing only, Content. Content is the lifeblood of the web. It’s effectively what makes the web literally exist. Without content, we would have nothing to find when we search for things we need. Having a website is important and is a critical step in legitimizing your business and telling the world you exist, but a website with little to no active content can stifle its ability to help you generate leads.

Why? Well, it’s pretty straightforward. Content that exists on your website needs to address questions that people are asking through search. Practically speaking, it’s how prospects find you. The most common way to produce content and subsequently generate traffic to your website is through. “Blogging”. This is likely a term you’ve heard at some point but what does it really mean. What is “blogging”? Well, to be frank, blogging is really just website content. Nothing about “blogging” makes your web content any more special, than if you were to write an article and publish it to your website. It’s really more of a practice than it is an actual tangible thing that magically generates more traffic.

Ultimately what it comes down to are the practices you follow when writing your blog. The one key to remember about blogging is that you’re always better off with any blog content than none. Avoid getting into a trap that many businesses fall into by over analyzing what you’re going to write about. But, before you go off and start a blog, there are a number of things to keep in mind:

  • Who, within our advisor practice, can write?
  • What are some key topics we often talk about with our customers?
  • How often should we post our blogs?
  • How will we notify our clients and prospects that we’ve updated our blog?
  • Does our current website management tool have an integrated blog?
  • What do our clients want to read about?
  • How will we measure the success of our blog?

This is just a snapshot of some key questions you can ask yourself prior to starting a blog and, shortly after you’ve started your blog, you’ll start to see an increase in the amount of traffic to your website. Once you’ve accomplished this very important goal the next critical step is to “convert” that traffic into a lead and then subsequently into a client and revenue.

Looking for more advice on blogging and how you can turn your website into a revenue generating business asset? Start a conversation with us and fill out the form below.