The Most Common Social Media Mistakes Financial and Insurance Advisors Should Avoid: Part 1

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Social media can be a very powerful marketing tool and I often speak with financial advisors about how social media can help grow and support their business objectives. Here are some common mistakes I often talk about as the ones to avoid when using and engaging on social media:

1. Failing to have a plan or strategy

Social Media should be treated with the same level of thought as every other part of your business strategy. Many businesses on Twitter fail to have a clear strategy around why they are using social media and what they want to accomplish with it. Without a strategy, it can be difficult to deliver an effective message to your target audience. You need a well-planned social media strategy in order to succeed. Some key questions to answer for your social media strategy include:

  • What are the goals of the your selected social media platforms? Are you educating your audience on LinkedIN? Perhaps you are interacting in a group to provide thought leadership?
  • What are the themes of the content you will stick with when sharing content through social posts?
  • How often will you post to social media? Once a day? Once a week?

2. Inconsistency in content themes

If you are an Advisor, it’s unlikely your audience is going to be interested on a restaurant review. While a bit of variety is great, your social networks should have a clear theme that is related to your business. If you specialize in families, produce or share content that would be useful to that audience. Topics on talking to your children about money or how to plan ahead to transfer wealth to your children would be relevant to that specialty. Your prospects and clients should be able to look at your content and have a notion of what your business is all about.

3. Using too many social media platforms

One key theme I’ve consistently heard from business owners is that being on more social media platforms implies you have increased reach. If someone visits your Twitter page and only sees a couple posts from last year, it can send the wrong message to your visitor and impact your credibility.Ask yourself whether your audience exists on the social media platforms that you are considering. Commit to the platform or platforms you choose and execute against a plan. Being good at one thing is much better than being average at many.

Additionally, it’s also important to ask yourself whether social media is right for your business based on your current time availability and the stage of your business. Social media is a great way to connect to other people but the networking aspect of social media is as important as the sharing of content.

4. Expecting instant results

The promise that social media delivers ROI is not false. Much like how going to the gym and eating right promises weight loss and other health benefits. The results, however, in both of these examples are not instantaneous. Approaching social media as a habitual part of your day, understanding that followers and social media engagement take time, and putting trust in the fact that it can deliver a return on investment are the keys to getting results. It is important to remember that social media is all about relationship building, and relationships don’t build over night. It takes time to build up a following on your social networks. Embrace social media as part of your business every day.

5. Pushing Product or Services

There is room for self-promotion on social media but doing it without permission can often send your prospects away. Your audience needs you to deliver content that provides real value to them and helps to solve their problems. Sharing useful and insightful information will help build a level of trust with your audience. Building trust will lead to higher levels of engagement and a captive audience. Having a captive audience is marketing gold.

 

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Social Media has the ability to be a very effective method of connecting to the right prospects, engaging with current clients and helping to grow your business.  But just like any other business strategy, social media activity should be continuously monitored and adjusted to optimize for impact.

In Part 2 of this series, I will discuss 5 more common social media mistakes made by Advisors.

Do you have stories to share about your social media experiences or mistakes? We’d love to hear about them.

 

4 Reasons Why Financial and Insurance Advisor Websites Struggle

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There’s nothing more frustrating than investing in an amazing looking advisor website only to suffer from a lack of website traffic and visitor engagement. Here are 4 reasons and actionable tips you can use to help solve this very common yet solvable problem.

Reason 1: Not enough content and pages

The old saying of quality over quantity does still matter in the world of digital marketing but many advisor websites I’ve reviewed lack a volume of web pages and content, and by content I mean words, images and video. Not enough content implies not enough keywords and not enough pages leads to low page views and low engagement. Search engines require “food” and need to be given the chance to figure out whether your content is useful and relevant. Simply adding more content is an effective way to increase your site’s traffic.

ACTION: Add more content. I know, seems obvious. Avoid adding content for the sake of adding content. Really think through what you are missing on your website. Have you told the complete story of your practice? Your philosophy? How you engage with your clients? How you solve you client’s most mind boggling problems? If after your assessment you feel as though you have told the complete story, consider starting a blog. Blogging is the web’s most effective way to generate organic traffic to websites.

Reason 2: Poor Site Flow

One of the things that make a dancer a good dancer is that their movements follow a logical and progressive pattern and flow. The same logical and progressive pattern is required of any good website. Many advisor websites that I’ve seen have “dead ends” — a place where visitors are not given a choice to continue their journey within the website. It’s also important to remember that your visitors may not always start their visit from the home page. An easy way to determine whether your website has poor site flow would be to take a look at your bounce rates and your time on site. Websites with poor site flow tend to have really poor bounce rates (a bounce rate greater than 50% would be classified as poor) and have visitors who spend seconds instead of minutes on a website.

ACTION: Add more calls to action on your website. Thinking about your website from the perspective of calls to action will force you to think logically about your website’s flow. A call to action provides your visitor with direction and it provides you with a number of different progression points for the visitor. It must be logical and it must be related to the content on your web page. For example, let’s say you think of a call to action that asks your visitor to “Schedule an assessment of their RRSP investment mix”. What’s a logical path to that call to action? It could be, 1) Visitor enters by searching for some tips on effectively saving for retirement, 2) Visitor likes the article and decides to look at what your practice does with respect to Retirement Savings advice and 3) Visitor sees your call to action to schedule an assessment and clicks on it and submits their contact information (first name, last name, email, etc.). Think about what your calls to action will be and plan out the path to get there!

Reason 3: Your Value Proposition is all about You

Writing a solid value proposition can be a challenging and time consuming task. I’ve read a significant number of different value propositions and the most common mistake I run into is the fact that value propositions are always about the advisor or the practice. Very seldom does it ever speak to the visitor. Remember, the first goal of your website is to provide enough incentive for the visitor to click again. That’s it. When someone visits you for the first time or is trying to learn more about you they are trying to figure out how you can help them and not so much about how great you are (that comes later).

ACTION: Re-evaluate your value proposition. Does it speak to your visitors? Does it clearly indicate the problems you help them solve? Or does it talk about what you do and how many awards you’ve received? If you need more tips on writing an effective value proposition, take a look at this blog post.

Reason 4: Where did all the Keywords go?

SEO is critical. With the sheer volume of content that exists on the web, advisors can no longer afford to launch their online brand without knowledge or consideration of Search Engine Optimization. Advisors don’t need to be experts in SEO, but they should understand a the key fundamental aspects of SEO that will help their website rank in a Google or Bing search. Many advisor websites I’ve reviewed have volumes of content, however, there aren’t enough long tail keywords on the page. Before defining a long tail keyword, let’s define “keyword”. A keyword is defined as a word or concept of great significance. For example, “apple”. In search, keywords are used to match search queries, for example, “what is an apple?”. Search engines, attempt to match queries with keywords as a part of their ranking algorithm. Content containing common keywords puts you in a more competitive search rank scenario. For example, doing a search on “Andrew Chung” brings up a ton of other “Andrew Chung” in the world and puts me in a very competitive search competition. Taking the same example, doing a search on “Andrew Chung Veriday”, puts me right at the top. This is an example of a long tail keyword. Even though it still contains “Andrew Chung” (a very common keyword), appending “Veriday” to the end of it makes it unique and enables you to rank high for that particular search. Best practices in keyword optimization state that using your audience’s common language is critical to your keyword strategy.

ACTION: As a start, look at the headings in your content; these are typically titles that have a larger size than your regular text. Are these keywords relevant to your practice? Are they written in your target audience’s language? Are the headings too common (for example “Our Practice” is too common)? Take the 5-10 weakest headings and simply re-write them or enhance them with long-tail keywords relevant to the financial advice industry and your business.

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What kind of techniques have you used to help combat low traffic and low engagement websites? Or, if you’ve tried any of these techniques, what were you results?

Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing

Marketing is an inevitable part of any business and is necessary in order to publicize and promote your products or services. Modern marketing is most often split between two main camps: inbound and outbound marketing.  So, what exactly is Inbound and Outbound Marketing?

Meet Inbound Marketing. This is marketing that is focused on customers finding you, often referred to as uninterrupted marketing. It is a method of attracting prospects to your business through creating and sharing fresh, relevant and targeted content. The content attracts a targeted audience through the sharing of information that they consider valuable and choose to engage with.

Inbound marketing strategies include:

  • Websites
  • Content Marketing
  • Blogging
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Ebooks
  • Infographics
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • White Papers

Hubspot reports that Inbound Marketing costs 64% less then Outbound Marketing, generates 56% more leads, and saves on average $20k per year by investing more in Inbound.

Meet Outbound Marketing. This is marketing that focuses on pushing your message out to find consumers who will listen to you. It is often referred to as interruption marketing. Outbound marketing generally casts a wide net with the hope of catching a few customers from a loosely targeted group.

Outbound Strategies include:

  • TV Ads
  • Print Ads
  • Banner Ads
  • Cold Calling
  • Press Releases
  • Direct Mail
  • Trade Shows

Check out this fantastic Infographic, by Volter Digital, which explains the benefits of Inbound and Outbound, and why Inbound Marketing continues to rise in popularity.

Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing

 

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Are you practising inbound and outbound marketing?  What technique has been most effective for your business?  Share your comments below. 

Embrace the Enterprise Portal, or Get Left Behind

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Over the past 8 years, Veriday has been engaged for the implementation of a number of Enterprise Portals using Liferay. The size and scale of the projects have varied but a common thread amongst the implementations has been the objective of organizations to move beyond the restraints of their current technology in order to better engage their employees.

Let’s say, you’d like to submit an IT ticket, track the status of a project, collaborate in real-time or simply update the content on your website.  Typically, you’d have to gather a number of departments together, agree on how to move forward and delegate resources to complete each task.  Let’s take Mindy the Marketing professional, for example.   Each time she would like to make a quick update on her organization’s website, she has to engage Ian the IT Manager, or outsource to a 3rd party vendor, wasting time and money.  Ian the IT Manager has to stop what he’s doing in order to facilitate the quick content update.  In comes the Enterprise Portal…

The convergence of information, process and technology

An Enterprise Portal isn’t just a fancy term for intranet.  For a business, an enterprise portal brings together its various applications, information, business units and services on one common platform.   The portal becomes an interactive platform for employees, which is customizable to each of their jobs and responsibilities. It is a system for information delivery and organization, collaboration, content and data management, workflows and operations management through an application that gives users a single point of access.

The portal framework exists to solve aggregation and personalization so that developers do not have to reinvent the wheel every time an organization scales or adds an application.  Customizing the employees’ portal space provides them with all of the information they need to do their jobs more quickly and efficiently than if they had to search out the data themselves.  The portal space becomes a unique online experience built around your brand.

More competitive, collaborative and improved ROI

The fundamental key is making your organization more competitive, isn’t it?  Organizations are turning to Enterprise Portals to offer a competitive advantage.  The availability of ‘’anytime-anywhere’’ managed information, on one-platform, makes for an agile business, leveraging new ideas and decisions faster through the streamlining of operations and business-wide knowledge sharing.

At Veriday, we are working with enterprises to implement portal solutions that enable their business to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies in order to gain a competitive advantage. Engaged employees will deliver more to your organization when they are equipped with the tools to do their job effectively.  In today’s digital landscape, employee engagement expectations continue to rise making portals, collaboration and content management solutions more critical then ever.

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Question:  Does your enterprise portal effectively support the technology demands placed on it in today’s digital economy?

Let Your Backbone Slide – Extending RESTful web services

Backbone.js provides a very flexible framework for building JavaScript applications that interact with web services. Models and Collections serve to represent easily represent data entities, with operations to create, read, update, and delete. This set of operations – summarized as ‘CRUD’ – is very common to see in web applications.

How, though, do you interact with web services that provide more than just CRUD functionality? RESTful web services can certainly offer more than just CRUD operations, and application requirements may dictate such operations, so the Backbone.js Models and Collections will have to be modified or extended accordingly.

In this article, I’ll go over an example of how to use Backbone.js to communicate with some simple web services that provide CRUD functionality, or ‘endpoints’ along with some non-CRUD endpoints. Additionally, I’ll share some ideas on how to keep these endpoints organized in the Backbone.js Models and Collections, which helps keep the code and application self-documenting.

A blog post is a great example of an entity that could have CRUD endpoints, as well as additional ‘verbs’; you create new blog posts, read from the server to provide them to a reader or editor, update them with edits, corrections, or progress, and perhaps delete them. All blog posts should start as drafts, so there’s a need to publish (and unpublish) them, which is where we start to deviate from the standard web services and need some additional functionality from Backbone.js.

Let’s go ahead and define our blog post:

var BlogPost = Backbone.Model.extend({...});

Voila! Now, our CRUD operations are provided by Backbone.js:

Create (HTTP POST)

var blogPost = new BlogPost();
blogPost.set("title", "My First Post");
blogPost.save();

Read (HTTP GET)

blogPost.fetch();

Update (HTTP PUT)

blogPost.set("content", "Lorem ipsum something something");
blogPost.save();

Delete (HTTP DELETE)

blogPost.destroy();

As an aside, most Backbone.js operations assume that a Model is part of a Collection, which is how it provides the URL of the corresponding RESTful web service. For the sake of brevity, I’ve omitted the Collection operations. If you’d like more detail, the Backbone.js documentation is absolutely outstanding, and even includes annotated source code for a deeper dive.

Now, let’s define the web service that will satisfy these requests. We’ll use ‘services’ as our root path parameter and ‘blogposts’ to represent our Collection of blog posts.

Create (HTTP POST)

/services/blogposts

Read (HTTP GET)

/services/blogposts/{id}

Update (HTTP PUT)

/services/blogposts/{id}

Delete (HTTP DELETE)

/services/blogposts/{id}

Referencing the Collection again, a GET request to /services/blogposts would return all of the blog posts. This Collection would give us access to the individual blog post Models and provide the URL for the model to interact with the web services.

As you can see, the requests have an almost identical URL, with the Create operation being the exception. With the blog post’s unique ID provided in the URL, the indication is that we’re operating on a unique entity now, a single Model – our blog post. It’s logical that any operation performed on a single blog post must have an ID in the URL, followed by the action to be performed.

Let’s use ‘publish’ and ‘unpublish’ as our verbs that describe the additional operations that we’re going to perform on our blog post.

Since we’re modifying (Updating) the model, the request should be defined as:

Update (HTTP PUT)

/services/blogposts/{id}/publish

Now, the issue becomes clear; Backbone.js doesn’t know about our custom endpoints. A Model’s ‘url’ property is provided by its Collection, but can be overridden to allow for the functionality we must provide. Let’s define a function that will allow us to access our publish and unpublish web services:

publish: function() {
 this.url = this.collection.url + "/" + this.id + '/publish';
 this.save();
}

In the above function, we reference the collection’s URL – ‘services/blogposts’ along with the model’s id. Our custom endpoint, ‘/publish’, is then appended to the URL.

This isn’t the cleanest way to achieve this functionality – we’re keeping text literals in functional code, and this pattern would have to be replicated for each custom endpoint. In a large application, that may be dozens or hundreds of times. Also, since we’ve overridden the model’s url field, any future requests would go to our custom endpoint.

Now is when the flexibility of Backbone.js really shines – we can customize the ‘url()’ function to work with our custom endpoints, which we’ll declare in a member object:

endpoints: {
 PUBLISH: '/publish',
 UNPUBLISH: '/unpublish'
}

We’ll now modify the url() function of the model to append an endpoint (if set), and add a getter and setter for the current endpoint variable, and reset the endpoint when the sync is finished:

var BlogPost = Backbone.Model.extend({
url: function() {
 var base =
 _.result(this, 'urlRoot') ||
 _.result(this.collection, 'url') ||
 urlError();
 if (this.isNew()) return base;
 // Add the current endpoint to the url provided
  return base.replace(/([^\/])$/, '$1/') + encodeURIComponent(this.id) + this.getCurrentEndpoint();
},
setCurrentEndpoint: function(endpoint) {
 this.currentEndpoint = endpoint;
},
getCurrentEndpoint: function() {>
 if (this.currentEndpoint) {
  return this.currentEndpoint;
 }
 return "";
},
sync: function(method, model, options) {
 // sync stuff here
 ...
 this.setCurrentEndpoint("");
}
...
});

Now our Model has a much simpler time accessing a custom endpoint:

publish: function() {
 this.currentEndpoint = this.endpoints.PUBLISH;
 this.save();
}

This pattern makes our Models and Collections much easier to contain, and since we’ve integrated our custom endpoint functionality in Backbone.js’ base Model (rather than our own), it’s available to every Model and Collection we create.

A comprehensive organization of web services can offer great ‘readability’ of an application; the API should tell a story. It may not always be efficient or effective to give every action required a CRUD endpoint; following a sensible progression in URL endpoints or path parameters will give those using the API a better idea of what to expect in return. Similarly, when the Backbone.js Models and Collections are implemented to match, their interactions with the web services are clear, both to a new developer and one that hasn’t seen the code in 6 months.

There are many ways to organize RESTful web services depending on the needs of the client, the server, and the application. It may not always be convenient or useful to create unique CRUD web services for every operation required for an application, so some ‘overloading’ of the models/entities to provide access to non-CRUD endpoints may be an elegant solution. With the flexibility provided by Backbone.js, it is entirely possible to modify the Models and Collections to interact with a set of RESTful web services, regardless of the architecture.

CRM 2 will empower clients, but will it empower Advisors?

The Client Relationship Model Stage 2 (CRM2) model will change the way clients view the service their financial advisors provide. It will empower the clients to asses the relationship with their advisor and how they are progressing towards reaching their investment goals.

The CRM 2 bill is generating a fair bit of uncertainty and fear within the advisor community. Some feel the transparency is good for everyone, while others would disagree. Some see it as an opportunity, while others will see it as a major challenge.

We’d like to know what you think. What will CRM2 mean to you? Will the CRM2 empower Advisors, and if so, how? Share your comments and insights below.

3 Easy Steps to Start Your Advisor Blog

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Many of the insurance and financial advisors that I speak to on a regular basis find the task of blogging to be a very daunting and time consuming task. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic and is also a critical sales and marketing tactic to connect with your audience. One of my favourite questions that I like to answer tends to be “How do I get started?”. It’s a great reflection of an advisor who’s ready to incorporate digital and content marketing into their practice and of someone who’s ready to do something different in an industry where blogging is not yet pervasive.

Here are 3 steps I commonly talk about to get started.

Step 1: Coming up with topics

If I sat you down in front of a typewriter and asked you to write a book and I didn’t give you a topic that would be pretty hard and you could potentially sit for a few hours and come up with nothing (maybe a title and an introduction). If I did the same thing and asked you to write a book about financial planning you might also come up with nothing after a few hours.

This analogy is often how I think advisors look at content writing. One critical success factor of content writing is the plan. Ok, the plan, what do I mean? Well, much like how you might put together a financial plan for your client, you would put together a plan for content writing. A plan helps to regulate the frequency at which you write and produce a tempo. It also helps take a lot of the guess work out of what to write about next. If I planned on saving up $1200 a contribution of $100 a month for the next 12 months, would arguably be easier than me thinking about the amount to save each month to reach my goal.

So, just how do you come up with the topics? Simple. Here are three questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you meet with clients and prospects?
  2. Do your clients and prospects ask you questions?
  3. Do your clients and prospects ask you the same questions?

You probably answered ‘Yes’ to all three of those questions. Now, take the next 5-10 minutes and write down as many questions as you possibly can on a piece of paper and then move onto step 2. Write down the questions that come to mind first.

Step 2: Mine for Blogging Gold

Now that you have a list of questions we’re going to do a quick scan of each of your questions. The reason for this is that blogging effectively, involves writing about single topics as opposed to writing an essay. There will be a subset of the questions that you wrote down that might simply result in too large of a blog post. This is where we can dig for blogging gold because the questions you’ve already thought of, might themselves, break into other blog posts. So what do I mean by single topics? Well, it’s kind of analogous to how you might look at a book. An effective blog post would be equivalent to a single chapter while a not-so-effective blog post would be an entire book. Writing too many concepts into a single blog post can cause you to lose reader interest and also make it more difficult for you to complete a post. Here are some good and bad examples of titles that might lead you to write about more than one topic:

Good

  • What is a TFSA?
  • 3 keys to saving effectively for retirement
  • How to save for your next big vacation

Bad

  • Financial Planning 101
  • The INs and OUTs of an RRSP
  • How to choose a financial advisor

Now, take 10 minutes and look at your list of questions and for each topic, determine whether you can break the topic down into more than 1 mutually exclusive topic. For example, “What is a TFSA?” cannot instinctively be broken down into more than 1 mutually exclusive topic as everything points to the topic of a TFSA. “Financial Planning 101”, however, can be broken down into Tax, Retirement, Investments, etc., all of which are mutually exclusive topics. No need to think too long on each question as it should be instinctive and easy to identify the questions that can be broken out. Then move onto Step 3.

Step 3: Plan your Tempo and Topics

By now, you should have a pretty healthy list of questions to answer. The next step is to set up your tempo. How often will you decide to blog. There are definitely rules of thumb when it comes to blogging and in general, the more often you blog, the better your results. That being said, if you’re just getting started, setting up the frequency of your blogging is more important than setting up how much you will blog. Blogging once a week is arguably better than blogging once a month which would arguably be better than blogging once a quarter and so on. Choose the frequency that you feel you can handle. If the frequency you set becomes very manageable, increase that frequency. Remember to start small and then move up from there. Choose the easiest questions to answer first.

Take the next 5 minutes, look across your questions, and line your topics up to your frequency. For example, if you have 12 topics and have chosen to write monthly, that’s one blog post per month. Also, decide whether you will release your blog at the beginning or at the end of the month.

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At this stage you’ve completed a very critical step and are well on your way to becoming perceived as an expert in your area of expertise! With all of your single topics and questions set up, it should be a relatively straight forward exercise to answer the questions you’ve documented! A few key things to remember when you write is that blogging is not about perfection. You’re not designing a rocket to the moon. Obviously spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are unacceptable but outside of that, the world’s your oyster. Write in the way that you would have a conversation with a client or a prospect. Make your readers feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

Remember, your voice is unique. No other person in the world communicates like you. No other person has been exposed to the same experiences that you have.

What’s your greatest barrier to getting started with blogging?

 

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6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design Part 6): Not implementing responsive design

Not implementing responsive design is mistake #5 in the 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design.

A responsive design refers to a website that has been designed in a way that all of the content, images and structure of the site remain the same no matter what device you are on. So, when a visitor accesses your site from their desktop, they will see a full view of your site. If they were to switch to their iPhone, the site will adapt to fit on the smaller screen. Responsive design ensures that your website runs properly and looks great on any device.

With the increasing amount of Internet traffic coming from mobile devices, it has become clear that responsive design is no longer a trend, but a must for any website. Now, more then ever, consumers expect their online experience to be consistent no matter what device they are on.

Here are 3 good reasons why every website should be responsive:

Mobile Use Is Only Growing…

The world is going mobile and so are our websites. Worldwide, mobile traffic has doubled between 2012 and 2013.  Not only are people using their mobile for social networking, checking and sending email, and surfing the website, they are also making purchases from their devices.  By 2016, revenue from mobile content is predicted to reach $65 billion.

Your website is likely receiving a high portion of mobile users and given it isn’t responsive, nor has a mobile version, that’s a lot of visitors who are receiving sub-optimal experiences.  According to Hubspot, if a user lands on your website on their mobile and is frustrated or doesn’t see what they are looking for, there is a 61% change they will leave immediately and go to another website (most likely a competitor).

Google Loves Responsive Design

Google has recommended responsive design as the primary mobile configuration and has referred to it as the industries best practice. This configuration makes it easier for Google to crawl your pages, retrieve your content, and ultimately, rank your page.

Provides Great User Experience

Responsive design provides users with a better and faster user experience, and does a better job of converting visitors into customers. When a user has to wait for a page to load, there’s a high change they will leave your site before it opens on their mobile phones. Responsive design eliminates the need for site redirects, improving the overall speed of the site allowing users to get their information quickly.

Responsive design is one of the most effective ways to ensure every visitor has the best possible user experience. Responsive design is still an emerging practice so chances are your competitors have not yet jumped on the bandwagon leaving you a chance to gain a competitive edge. What are you waiting for?

We are almost at the end of the 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design.  Stay tuned for the last pitfall coming soon.

Question: Is your website responsive? When on your mobile device, would you stay on a site and try to decipher and zoom in on small text, or would you move on to a site that adapted to your screen size?

 

Liferay Vs. SharePoint: Who is using these technologies?

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Portals continue to evolve as platforms gain new features that increasingly blur the boundaries between portals and areas such as content management. Customer experience, customer engagement, digital experience and marketing integration have been a large focus of portal platforms for the past couple of years as more and more enterprises have embarked on portal implementations. Today we will examine Liferay Vs. Sharepoint

Earlier this year, Gartner released its latest Magic Quadrant for horizontal portals. Microsoft SharePoint and Liferay were both named in the top 5 for leaders in horizontal portals.   But, who exactly is using Liferay and SharePoint and who are some of their top global customers? Below is a brief summary on the customers and industries using the Liferay and SharePoint platforms.

Liferay – who is using it?

Liferay is the leading Open Source portal server.  Many enterprises are using Liferay to build robust business solutions that deliver long-term value and results.  The company has seen a recent rapid growth in the past few years.  Liferay is an all-in-one enterprise portal with broad product capabilities that provide a user-friendly interface where you can centralize, share and collaborate.

Liferay has proven its real world performance globally with many clients across many diverse industries and business functions. It has been used in just about every industry around the world including automotive, education, government, healthcare, financial services, IT and Hi-Tech, media and entertainment and more.  It is primarily used for corporate websites, intranets and extranets but is highly scalable and easy to launch with many out of the box features.  Major organizations around the world choose Liferay for a wide variety of business functions beyond the traditional portal:

  • Intranet portals
  • Extranet portals
  • Content and Document Management
  • Web publishing and shared workspaces
  • Enterprise collaboration
  • Social networking
  • Enterprise portals and identify management

Liferay is growing year over year, and has over 150,000 community members, 5 million downloads, over 500 apps in Liferay Marketplace, and 650 employees.

Some of Liferay’s key customers include:

 

Liferay Clients
Learn more about their case studies and the enterprises using Liferay across industries and around the world.

SharePoint – who is using it?

SharePoint’s usage is widespread because of its complex collaboration structure. The platform allows you to develop your business collaboration solutions fast and effectively.  Similar to Liferay, SharePoint’s customers are spread globally across just about every industry including retail, education, transportation and more.

According to Microsoft, SharePoint is adding approximately 20,000 SharePoint users every day.  That is approximately 7.3 million new SharePoint users every year. Similar to Liferay, the majority of customers use SharePoint as an internal tool; intranet/extranets and enterprise content and document management.

Here are the 5 most common uses of SharePoint:

  • Intranet portals
  • Extranet portals
  • Enterprise content and document management
  • Public facing websites
  • Forms & workflow

Some of Sharepoint’s key customers include:

Sharepoint Clients

Check out some of SharePoint’s case studies here.

Which portal you choose depends entirely on your industry, and what tasks and objectives you are looking to accomplish.  In a previous article, we took a look at some Alternatives to SharePoint.

Question:  What portal technology are you using for your business?  Are you satisfied with it? If not, what frustrates you about your portal technology?  Share your experiences below. 

What is content marketing and how does it benefit your brand?

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Content Marketing has proven to be essential in today’s marketing world, and a very important element of Search Engine Optimization. In today’s world, people do not choose to do business with you just because you offer the right services at the right price. People will often choose to do business with you because of your specialized knowledge about best practices or services in your industry. To be successful in today’s digital economy, many people are relying on their specialized knowledge to sell their business. In other words, people are turning to content marketing. So, what is content marketing and how does it benefit Advisors?

Content marketing is the process of producing, distributing and sharing relevant, valuable and unique content in order to attract, engage and convert a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of creating loyalty and increasing opportunities for future business. It is the technique of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling, often referred to as uninterrupted marketing. Content acts as a beacon to capture your prospects’ attention and answer their questions (even your existing clients) so your potential customers come to you.

An effective content marketing strategy is about being a part of the conversation. A good strategy will help you engage with prospects, leaving them informed with the means to make their own choices and interested to find out more.

Content marketing can take many forms including:

  • Blog articles
  • E-Books
  • Webinars
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • Thought leadership articles
  • Curated content
  • +more

 Why should Content Marketing matter to Advisors?

Every Advisor should care about Content Marketing because the customer journey has changed. In fact, 70%-90% of consumers’ buying decision is made before picking up the phone or seeing a sales person. Your prospects are turning to social and digital technologies for information to solve their challenges.   If you do not have the information on your website or social media accounts, your prospect is likely going to your competitors to find it.

If you are still unsure about content marketing, here is a collection of benefits (in no particular order) on how it can help your business:

  • Increased traffic to your website
  • Improved Search Engine rankings
  • Better targeted traffic to your website
  • Demonstrates your expertise and establishes yourself as a thought leader
  • Develops trust and rapport with your target audience and positions you as a helpful resource
  • Builds your personal brand
  • Turns shoppers into buyers without a direct sell
  • Facilitates meaningful conversations and boosts engagement
  • Pulls in unexpected customers
  • Generates more leads
  • Increases sales
  • Much cheaper compared to alternative forms of marketing
  • Creates brand awareness
  • Puts you ahead of your competition
  • ……I could go on and on. Are you convinced yet?

Content Marketing has emerged as one of the most important and critical elements in digital marketing. It is quickly becoming one of the most powerful and cost effective tools for connecting with targeted customers online.

It helps builds trust, trust helps builds relationships and relationships drive revenue.

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What questions are your prospects and clients asking? How can you turn their questions into content online to help inform and solve their problems?

 

Guide to Content Marketing