Infographic: 5 Reasons Financial Advisors Should Use Video Calls for Client Meetings

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This post was authored by Kristin Harad and originally appeared here on GuideVine.

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Do you use video calls for client meetings?

Almost every Financial Advisor will agree that in-person meetings with clients and prospects are the most powerful way of connecting with them. However as lives grow hectic, demands on everyone’s time increase, people move and practices expand across geographies, many Financial Advisors are turning to video chats. Here are five reasons why.

Infographic: 5 Reasons Financial Advisors Should Use Video Calls for Client Meetings

Advisors: Writing for the web creates 4 marketing benefits

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How can writing for the web enrich your Financial Advisory business? A Financial Advisor who publishes a newsletter gets
a call: “Your friend just sent me a link from your newsletter. My wife is planning to retire, and we want to make the best use of those assets, consistent with our family goals. Can we all get together?”

This story shows several marketing dynamics specific to the web: Easy broadened distribution that can create unexpected business leads; web analytics that enable the advisor to see which newsletter stories were clicked and any that were clicked multiple times; and an additional information source when preparing for meetings. Because newsletter links drove traffic to the advisor’s site, the prospect had easy access to further information that confirmed his positive impression and led to his call.

Writing for the web may require adaptation of traditional marketing channels like brochures, but the rewards are well worth your effort.  Here are the challenges and how to meet them successfully.

Special challenges of writing for the web

Challenge #1: Grab readers immediately

What drives readers most is timely information that’s communicated clearly in the title of your post. The advisor in the opening anecdote had written about a new regulation related to taxes. Quick publishing via the web speeded timely communication to clients.

Make your content easy to look at, with short paragraphs, headings and sub-heads that state your content clearly, and layout that makes information flow and location of specific topics easy to grasp.

Challenge #2: Use images

Research has shown that the web is essentially a visual medium. Images attract viewers more than plain text.

If, like me, you’re a “word person,” thinking visually can seem daunting. I always envied people who could draw clear diagrams of complex processes, while I required what seemed like too many words. The good news is that, as investment professionals, you’re familiar with potentially the most compelling pictures for your audience: data visualization in charts.

Effective charts use interpretive titles that state the main idea, or story, of each one clearly and are accurate and faithful to your data.

If you enjoy taking pictures, include your own, either to personalize your site (e.g. show the photos in your office) or to illustrate your content. Your own photos are much more effective than stock photos of, say, the generic “meeting.”

Another effective way to use images is to provide a visual metaphor for what you’re talking about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not a good photographer, but I love art history and enjoy using paintings and photographs in my posts, especially as metaphors. Painters suspended on Brooklyn Bridge cables in 1914 means “risk” to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because finding inexpensive, easy-to-use image sources with a good selection is a perpetual quest of everyone writing for the web, social media experts frequently recommend their favorites. I’ve used Dreamstime.com and 123rf.com. Trustworthy sources will explain copyright and other legal restrictions on images. Be sure to respect copyright. Providing attribution of images you use is a nice touch, whether or not it’s required. This post supplies details as a hyperlink (“Image Source”).

Challenge #3: Distinctive brand “voice”

Write conversationally, referring to your own interests—family, leisure activities—to the extent that you’re comfortable, using plain English to discuss financial concepts.

A sure way to make your voice distinctive is to follow up insights from your web analytics. Are you compiling bookmarks on a social media site? Include these ongoing updates in your newsletter. If newsletter analytics show an unexpected increase in the number of clicks on a bookmark or section of your newsletter, explore the subject in a blog post or future newsletter item, mentioning that this is your response to client feedback.

The opportunity to develop and distinguish your own voice is a good lead-in to the significant benefits of writing for the web, which are interrelated results of information accessibility and communication speed.

Four Benefits of Writing for the Web

Benefit #1: Enduring presence and broader potential audience

The opening anecdote shows that easy distribution of information on the web broadened the advisor’s potential prospects by building service awareness and providing easy access to further information that confirmed the prospect’s favorable impression and motivated his call.

Have you ever lost a potential sale because the prospect lost the information you sent? Marketing on the web means that your posts remain available through search and referred links to existing clients, targeted prospects, and browsers. Your goal is to drive traffic to your site. The more you post to the web using multiple channels like your newsletter, blog, or social media sites like Twitter, the more people will find you.

Benefit #2: Extended marketing scope through easy sharing of posts

We saw sharing from friend to friend. Another way of sharing content is through social bookmarking sites like Delicious.com, which I’ve used for years to compile annotated lists of content recommended to clients. Here’s an example:

Advisors: Writing for the web creates 4 marketing benefits

 

Although all you need to post on Delicious is the URL, stating what benefits in the content led you to share it, as is done in the example above, is a greater service. Delicious.com also enables you to sort content by topic using tags, which can be bundled into groups, for example “Retirement.” Clients and prospects given access to your public account (I have a private account for my use and a public account with a different user name) can find what they need easily and become aware of new issues related to them and additional services you offer.

Benefit #3: Enhanced lead capture through offers of free content

What’s best for you about writing for the web? You can “repurpose” your content, turning it into a free offer available to readers who provide contact information requested.

Are you thinking of posting content that focuses on various stages of investors’ life cycles and includes the questions they should ask at each stage? Post it as a series, making readers aware of the series and future installments on your site, newsletter, and blog. When the series is complete, collect the installments and make them available as a free offer to visitors to your site and readers of your newsletter and blog.

Include a Call to Action with each free offer: e.g., “Are you making a transition to a new phase of your financial life? Click here to get a free copy of ‘Be financially prepared for all stages of your life.’”

Benefit #4: Varied content that shows what working with you is like

Services, unlike products, are experiential. Although clients can look at investment performance, they can’t take you home for a free trial. How to deal with this? The best answer I’ve found is to use your writing to simulate the experience of working with you as an advisor. Establish your distinctive voice through conversational analyses of market or regulatory events, explaining in plain language who they matter to and why.

Bring the words of your investment philosophy and practice values to life with stories showing how you helped clients fulfill their goals while staying within their comfort zone for risk: Parents funding children’s education; adults with financial resources to start a business, buy a home, or fund dreams of travel during retirement.

As you develop your sites and newsletters or blogs, you’ll want to try new marketing strategies and forms of content. To help you move ahead, here’s an excellent glossary of social media terms, with clear definitions and just the right amount of irreverence.

 


Susan K BeckerSusan K. Becker, founder of Manhattan-based Becker Consulting Services, is a marketing communication consultant, writer/editor, and presentation coach for organizations in financial services, professional services, and health care. She’s passionate about making communication more effective by maximizing the interplay of text, images, and design. Follow her on Twitter.

Liferay Enterprise vs. Liferay Community: What are the differences?

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Liferay is the most innovative, fully functional open source portal product available in the market. Leading companies and organizations worldwide are using Liferay’s portal software for their business solutions. For a look into Liferay’s customer base, check out this article on who is using this technology.

Liferay offers two different editions: Liferay Portal Community Edition (CE) and Liferay Portal Enterprise Edition (EE).  So, what is the main difference? Below we will discuss the main differences and use cases for both editions.

Liferay Enterprise Edition (EE)

Liferay Portal Enterprise Edition is the commercial version of Liferay’s portal technologies. The Enterprise Edition is a paid portal, which provides an enterprise license from Liferay with ongoing feature updates and full service support. Liferay EE is the ideal choice for small and large enterprises, performance, or security critical applications.

Liferay EE is all about innovative technologies. Created for the Enterprise, Liferay EE provides a virtual space where you can centralize, share, and collaborate. Liferay EE has a wide range of functionalities which covers your business needs, and can also be customized where needed. Hardened for security and designed to be rock solid stable, Liferay Enterprise is offered with a subscription and support package, allowing organizations to build their portals on a stable version of the product that is offered over an extended period of time.

A Liferay Portal Enterprise Subscription provides customers with access to professionally supported software, online services and additional access to features and services within the Liferay ecosystem. With an Enterprise subscription, you receive direct access to engineering-grade technical support, security and bug fixes, training and support tools, as well as additional features within Liferay.

To check out more information on the Liferay Enterprise Edition, or learn about its features, click here.

Liferay Community Edition (CE)

Liferay Community Edition is the standard, free community version of Liferay. Liferay CE is mostly used for smaller, less critical deployments. The main difference between the two is that the Community Edition is free and is distributed “as is”. Liferay Community is available to the public and all users have access to source code in order to add to or customize the application as needed. The Liferay CE Edition provides you the flexibility to link Liferay with your own code in your portlet, theme, hook, layout, and Extension or web plugins, no matter what license you use for your code.

The Liferay Community Edition is for those who don’t need or want to commit to a Liferay subscription but still want access to the latest features and updates at no additional cost.

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It can be difficult to determine which edition is best for your business’ particular needs. The edition that is best fit for your organization depends entirely on what tasks and goals you are looking to accomplish with your portal technology. Drop us a line and we’d be happy to discuss which edition would help you meet your needs. 

Using a Content Pyramid to Engage Prospects and Clients Online

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This post was authored by Marie Swift and originally appeared here on GuideVine.

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Much has been said about the importance of creating a strong online presence if you are a financial advisor (or otherwise). It is now a cliché to even ask, “What’s the first thing people do before or after meeting you?” The answer, of course, is “Google you.” What that Googling individual finds, sees and senses about you and your firm is extremely important. Business can be won or lost depending on a financial advisor’s digital footprint.

We also know that “content is king” when it comes to ranking high on keyword searches. The search engine “spiders” crawl the Internet and catalog sites with keywords such as “financial planning” and “independent advisor.” When someone enters these keywords into their search engine such as Google or Bing, the service looks for sites that are deemed most relevant for that search. Even images and audio/visual files that are tagged with keywords – and are thus part of the search engine cataloging process – can play a part in being more discoverable online.

Of course keywords are just one aspect of coming up high in a search engine page ranking. The services also look at inbound/outbound links, number of pages (amount of keyword rich content) and longevity of the site. We also know that social media accounts are additive. LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter accounts – if they are done right – will show up in a keyword search.

Once people find you, it is important that they see a well thought out digital presence. Study the Content Pyramid and you will see a good way to think about creating content for your blog and social media accounts.

Content Pyramid

1. Provide relevant content.

Your content creation and sharing strategy should be built on the foundation of providing relevant content. For example, if you want your firm to be known for serving dentists in their pre-retirement years (or teachers in mid-career, or small business owners in a particular city, or members of a particular church or faith-based community, etc.), make sure you post content that speaks directly to them. It should also use words that the search engine spiders will catalog and pull from during keyword searches. When these individuals find you online, they will quickly see that you serve and understand people just like them, with needs and goals similar to theirs. And, if you are posting original content, you will also be demonstrating your expertise.

2. Teach how to.

One way to provide relevant content is to teach people how to do something. In addition to demonstrating your expertise, you will be providing actionable information and advice that can “go viral” in the form of social sharing or emails to friends and family members. Not everyone who visits your site or finds your content online will be ready to call or inquire about services. But if you create a good bank of how-to articles and videos (such as the ones GuideVine has on its consumer blogand YouTube channel) and invite visitors to sign up for periodic email updates, you will be able to nurture those leads over time and determine when a more personal touch might be well received.

3. Interact.

Social media, done right, is not just a one-way megaphone. You want people to sense that you are as interested in building a relationship as you are about promoting your own agenda. So, if you want people to engage with you, you also need to engage with them and their causes/interests. For example, if a key focus for you is helping people create predictable retirement income streams and you see a related question on a LinkedIn group to which you belong, post a short comment and link to an article or video created by you or a trusted third-party. Congratulate people when their LinkedIn profile shows a job anniversary or a job change. Pay a compliment to a journalist if you particularly enjoyed a recent article.

4. Inspire.

The NY Times Insight Group study shows that people share content if they find it useful, funny or inspiring. Look for inspirational quotes and mix them in to your stream of tweets (this is a great strategy to keep the flow of content going — especially when there might be a short drought of other content in the content pyramid). Post on your Facebook page motivational memes (graphic images with words and images). Link out from your website or blog to an article that profiles an unsung hero. Share on LinkedIn a TED talk that moved you. The tone and themed consistency of this inspirational content will give people a sense of your values and personal character. If tenacity is a core value, post a link to a book written by someone who overcame adversity. If kindness is important to you, include an image of, for instance, Mother Teresa and one of her famous quotes.

5. Entertain.

This is perhaps the hardest element of the content pyramid. One person’s comedy is another person’s low-level slapstick. What tickles your funny bone may not stimulate audience laughter or delight. This does not mean you should throw your hands up and walk away from trying to entertain people. Instead, generate a list of ideas and types of content that you would find entertaining. Include your team and trusted others in the brainstorming process. Would a stick person “explainer video” do the trick? Would a skit or “behind the scenes” video be better? Can you incorporate some casual language or wit-and-wisdom in your next blog piece? Once you have decided on the type of content and purpose of the piece, good execution is essential. Since “entertainment” is at the top of the content pyramid, you won’t need to do more than pepper it in every now and then – but do embrace it in the overarching scheme of things.

Using the content pyramid can help you create a more engaging presence for both current and prospective clients online.

21 Inbound Marketing Strategies to Accelerate Business Growth

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Inbound Marketing Strategies? What is inbound marketing? The Internet has given us a new way to reach our customers. It is called Inbound Marketing, and if your business isn’t doing it, you need to get on the Inbound Marketing bandwagon. Inbound Marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your business in today’s digital centric world.

Inbound Marketing is the intersection of SEO, valuable content, and social media. The Inbound Marketing concept stipulates that you can attract your target audience and prospects by creating and providing interesting and quality content on your website or social networks.

But, how does Inbound work? And what do Advisors need to do to create a successful Inbound Marketing strategy?

Check out the data driven Infographic below, courtesy of Eliv8, for 21 essential strategies to help grow your business with Inbound Marketing.

21 Inbound Marketing Strategies to Accelerate Business Growth

Inbound marketing

A Daily 10 Minute LinkedIn Checklist for Advisors

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LinkedIn is a community of business professionals with over 330 million active users; making it the world’s largest professional network. Of LinkedIn’s users, 40% check it daily.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, of course it is not too late to establish a presence but I would consider doing it sooner rather than later. Most likely your competitors have already done so and have begun establishing themselves as thought leaders as well as generating leads in the process. If you haven’t read our post on 5 Quick Ways to Optimize Advisor’s LinkedIn Profiles, check it out first before moving on to this one.

Like other social networks, success on LinkedIn requires that you be present regularly. The Digital FA has provided a quick 10 minutes a day LinkedIn Checklist below for Financial Advisors:

Respond to Messages: Check your LinkedIn inbox just as you do email. Be professional and timely in your responses and make sure your replies are meaningful.   

Share Content: Share links to articles or videos to educate, inform, and empower your connections.

Invite Others to Connect: Invite people you have met to connect with you. Personalize your invitation with a brief message mentioning how you met or reflect on a discussion you had. Avoid using the canned default message for invitations.

Engage: Scan posts made by your connections. If you see something you like, let them know. You don’t need to make a comment every time; give a “like” to their update. Doing so will show you are interested in what others have to say.

See Who Your Connections Are Connecting With: This is a great opportunity to search for potential clients, centers of influence, or other people you want to connect with. Ask your connection to introduce you.

Take Action: LinkedIn provides a great feature that allows you to see when your connections are promoted, leave a company, or were mentioned in the news. Congratulate them on their success and take it a step further by sending a handwritten note. Human interaction still remains valuable.

This is a great checklist to keep your profile up to date and engaging. If you follow this daily checklist, you are sure to increase engagement with your audience and make more connections over time.

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How are you engaging followers on LinkedIn? Share your comments below.