16 Digital Marketing Acronyms You Need to Know

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Digital marketing is full of acronyms, some of which are remarkably similar, leading to widespread confusion. Today, we’re going to examine the most common acronyms in digital marketing and explain their meaning.

CTA – Call to Action

A button, link, or image that encourages a website visitor to take action. That action can be anything, from visiting a landing page to downloading a piece of content. To learn more about CTA’s, check out our article: 6 Tips for Creating Better Calls-to-Action.

CTR – Clickthrough Rate

The percentage of your audience that responds to the CTA, taking the next step in your marketing campaign. One can calculate CTR by dividing the number of clicks that a page (or CTA) receives by the number of total opportunities for clicks.

CPC – Cost-Per-Click

The amount of money spent to get one click from digital advertising. CPC is a metric used to measure the cost effectiveness of your campaign. To calculate CPC, divide the total cost of your marketing campaign by the number of clicks you received.

CPM – Cost-Per-Thousand

CPM is a pricing model for digital advertisements where ad space is purchased 1000 impressions at a time. Publishers only need to show the ads to consumers to get paid. CPM is most effective when trying to increase brand awareness.

CPL – Cost-Per-Lead

CPL is a term used in digital advertising. It shows how much one lead costs from a digital ad. CPL is very similar to cost-Per-click (or cost-Per-action) but is more specific. For an action to qualify as a lead, they need to sign up for something on the advertiser’s website.

PPC – Pay-Per-Click

Pay-Per-Click is a model of digital marketing where advertisers pay a fee every time somebody clicks one of their ads. It’s a method of paying for visitors to your site, one that is very different from SEO and earning traffic through organic methods.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

A mixture of strategy, techniques, and tactics used to increase the number of visitors to your website. The goal of SEO is to rank higher on a search engine’s results page (SERP) for a particular keyword. The higher your website ranks, the more traffic is (typically) generated.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

The results page on a search engine (such as Google or Bing), generated after a keyword search. The goal of SEO is for your website to place as high as possible on the SERP.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing is a form of internet marketing that involves using search engines to increase the visibility of your website. SEM primarily involves paid advertisements, but can also include elements of organic SEO.

SMM – Social Media Marketing

SMM is a form of marketing that uses social networking platforms as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to create content that users will share with their networks. SMM helps brands increase exposure and broaden the reach of their marketing. Social media marketing is a core component of any inbound marketing strategy.

KPI – Key Performance Indicator

Metrics that demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. KPIs vary between organizations based on; objectives, marketing channels, and the overall level of marketing maturity. For more information on KPIs, check out our article: 6 KPIs of Customer Experience in Financial Services.

RT – Retweet

A retweet is a Twitter-specific method of sharing posts. If somebody RTs you, it means they are sharing your posts with their followers. Counting retweets is a simple (and not very accurate) method of measuring engagement on Twitter. Other simple social media specific metrics you can measure include likes, shares, and comments.

SaaS – Software as a Service

SaaS is a software licensing and delivery model where buyers pay on a subscription basis. Most enterprise software is sold using this model because buyers get lower up-front costs, ongoing support with the product, and do not have to manage physical copies of the product. Purveyors of software enjoy this model because it makes it easier for them to update software for their clients. The SaaS model gives them the ability to update their product continually. 

CMS – Content Management System

A CMS is a system used to manage an organization’s digital content. Using a CMS to power your website could be one of the best investments you make for your business. While a CMS can be a significant investment, it can be a great asset for your business in the long run. To learn more about CMS’s check out our article: 7 Reasons it Might be Time to Upgrade Your Content Management System.

UX – User Experience

UX refers to the overall experience a person has when using a product or service, especially when it concerns how fun and easy it is to use. A positive user experience will help you build trust, and increase the likelihood of a user returning to your website. This guide by Fast Company can help you turn a good UX into something great.

CX – Customer Experience

CX is the product of many interactions between an organization and a customer over the course of their relationship. Every touchpoint throughout the buyer’s journey impacts CX, including digital and more traditional touchpoints (such as a billboard). Customer experience is one of the most discussed concepts in organizations undergoing digital transformation.

For more information on CX, check out our articles:

Are Banks Failing at Customer Experience?

How do Customer Experience Improvements Impact Revenue?

Customer Experience Vs. Digital Experience

Sometimes, digital marketing acronyms are confusing. However, these 16 acronyms are important for anybody undergoing a digital transformation and need attention paid to them. If you understand the importance of each of these acronyms, it means you are well on your way to becoming a digital master. If you want to discuss any facet of digital transformation, let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ!

Don’t Eliminate Human Interaction in Your Business

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80% of people said they prefer to chat with a human being when doing business with a financial services brand. Brands in financial services should focus on providing best-in-class human interaction to go along with their digital marketing efforts. The best results occur when traditional and digital channels are mixed. 83% of consumers said they prefer dealing with human beings through digital channels to solve customer service issues. That is why chatbots, video conferencing, mobile apps, and online forums have gained popularity over the last five years.

Combining the personality of a human with the efficiency of digital channels will benefit your business by fostering stronger relationships with your customers, increasing brand loyalty.

In addition to the planned human touchpoints, you should always provide clients and prospects with contact information so they can get in touch with a real person. You should provide several channels through which a customer can contact you. Examples include:

  • An email address, attached to a known person at your company.
  • A phone number, with information as to who will answer the phone.
  • An invitation to come down to your office, with office hours provided.
  • An instant chat option to get in touch with an employee right now.

When is human interaction required?

When you are planning your digital strategies, you should plan to include what touchpoints will involve human interactions. Not every situation calls for an in-person conversation. In many cases, an automated email, a push notification or an automated phone call can do the trick.

So how do you know when to include planned human interaction in a touchpoint? One way you can make that decision is by looking at consumer data to find points of significant friction. Use data collected from your content management system (CMS), email campaigns and other sources to find parts of the customer’s journey that could use the human touch.

Is there a point where customers are tentative to continue on their buyer’s journey? That might be a point where a phone call will motivate action. Human interaction might help improve the efficiency of your buyer’s journey at points where people need that little extra push.

Can big data help my business?

Using data analytics to make smarter decisions has already benefitted companies across multiple industries.

According to McKinsey, retailers using big data can increase their operating margins by more than 60%. These are huge improvements to any bottom line, and these improvements are only going to get more significant over time. According to Walker Info, 60% of companies in 2013 placed a lot of emphasis on what customers have done in the past; by 2020, 83% will put their emphasis on what customers intend to do in the future. This shift in how brands are looking to put data to use means that they will have a more accurate picture of what will occur in the future.

In addition to the shift in how companies are using data, they are also looking to increase their capacity to analyze the data. Research shows 80% of data is “dark and untouched,” meaning it’s never actually used to make improvements or changes deemed necessary by the customer. As more data is analyzed, more insights can be found to improve your customer experience.

How can these improvements affect my business?

Adding more meaningful human interactions throughout your customer’s journey will increase the effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts. Every business has unique clients with individual needs, but some sentiments are common across industries. 67% of consumers feel that service online and via mobile devices should be “faster, more intuitive and better able” to serve their needs.

The difficulty lies in choosing exactly how to weave human interactions throughout your customer journey. What touchpoints should be leveraged? How often should an employee make personal contact with their clients? How can you make people within your business more accessible to your customers? Those are the questions that need to be asked and answered by every business.

Remember, whatever you do, don’t eliminate human interaction in your business. A sprinkling of human touchpoints throughout your digital journey will lead to a better overall experience for your customer. Do you use big data to plan human touchpoints? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

 

The 3 Things Financial Organizations Need to Know About Cybersecurity

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Nearly every organization has adapted to life in the digital world. With plenty of connected devices, and the number of access points into organizations is growing every year, it’s no coincidence that there is an increasing number of high-profile cyberattacks on governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations. From the alleged hacking of the 2016 U.S. election, the WannaCry ransomware, the Ukraine Petya attack (that shut down their power grid) to other lower-profile attacks, hundreds of millions of dollars of damage has already impacted organizations around the world. As a result, cybersecurity is at the front of mind for many organizations. 

Survey existing technology to find exploitable weaknesses.

Keeping software up-to-date is an essential activity to maintain your organization’s cybersecurity. The WannaCry ransomware attack, for example, exploited vulnerabilities in software that had not recently received an update.

There is a major reason why a software company might issue an update. It’s done to fix bugs and patch security risks for the end user. Organizations should ensure that all software is running on the newest version. If your RIA (or organization in general) does not maintain updated software, they run the risk of being targeted for ransomware, exposing your client’s data, or losing control of your digital platforms (website, CMS, portal, etc.).

The costs associated with a data breach (or other forms of cyberattacks) are very high and are not only monetary. A successful cyberattack on your business will cost much more than it would to implement the proper solutions and mitigate the effects of a cyberattack ahead of time. Your reputation will be hurt if you allow hackers access to sensitive data; people will lose confidence in you. Avoid these repercussions by keeping your software up to date.

Create policies to minimize human exploitation points.

Every business needs policies concerning the use of technology. Without adequate rules in place, your business is at risk of exploitation through human mistakes. Humans are often the weakest point of defence in any system. as they have traits that can be taken advantage of by malicious actors.

The definition of social engineering is:

“an attack vector that relies heavily on human interaction and often involves tricking people into breaking normal security procedures.”

There are several common methods of social engineering, from phishing (or spear-phishing) to leaving infected USBs around for employees to find use. There are countless ways to exploit the human weaknesses of your cyber-defence. Employees need to be aware of the risks and how to mitigate them.

There needs to be multiple systems in place to protect the business from threats originating from social media.Social media is an emerging platform for phishing attacks, viruses that affect social media feeds, and malicious advertisements disguised as sponsored posts. Make your employees aware of the risks associated with social media and act accordingly to protect themselves and your organizational data.

To reduce your organization’s chance of falling victim to social engineering, you need to have policies for the use of technology in place. Those policies should be enforceable and include actionable steps. The rules need to be unambiguous. They need to explicitly outline what is and isn’t allowed regarding technology, to reduce confusion among your employees.

Empower and reward employees.

To ensure you are followings best-practices regarding cybersecurity, you will need to train your staff to identify and avoid situations that put the organization at risk. Rules and technology policies mean nothing if employees are not aware of them (and following them). By training your team to follow the rules and spot vulnerabilities, your systems will be more secure.

In addition to training all staff to find and avoid security vulnerabilities, you should empower and reward them for finding potential weaknesses in your organization’s defence. By rewarding your employees (either with a cash “bounty” program, or another method), they will feel like a critical part of the organization’s security efforts. Cybersecurity is not solely the concern of IT departments.

How can you ensure that the training and reward system works? By testing and drilling staff to ensure they are following the rules. Testing your team can involve test phishing emails to see whether employees can spot a malicious email. It can include leaving a USB at their desk to see if they use it. There are many ways IT professionals can check to see if non-tech employees are following the required procedures. Let them get creative in designing their tests, as real-life malicious actors almost always act in creative ways that are hard to predict.

Takeaways

The main vulnerability when it comes to a cyberattack is not a piece of technology. The main weakness of any system is people. People can fall victim to social engineering. Attackers can trick your employees into giving up confidential information that could put your business at risk, so be diligent online. Human actions can expose even the most secure digital properties to severe threats.

The three steps explored above will help any organization improve the strength of their cybersecurity. It’s important to be aware of potential threats because once they hit, it may be too late.

How does your business handle the threat of cyberattacks? Do you have a policy in place governing the use of technology in your business? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or follow us on LinkedIn. In conclusion, cybersecurity is extremely important to businesses. 

Emerging Technologies and The Future of Customer Engagement

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Over 4.75 billion people worldwide use at least one mobile device. This widespread acceptance has dramatically changed the way brands engage with their audience. People are always accessible. This accessibility allows brands to use mobile channels for marketing and communication, enabling real-time messaging to specific people.

The future will inevitably hold more technological breakthroughs that fundamentally change the way humans operate. Marketers need to ask themselves how they can make full use of new technology solutions, as they may end up growing to become a “force of nature.” At one point in time, brands struggled to see the potential in social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. That’s changed. Today, over 50 million businesses use Facebook in one way or another. In 2016, these companies spent a combined $26.885 Billion (USD) on Facebook advertisements. These technology platforms are here to stay.

But the mobile device and social platforms are not unique. Any technology with widespread adoption will change the way businesses connect with their audience. The ubiquity and versatility of the mobile device have allowed businesses to be creative with the mobile channel. Therefore, the big question is: How will emerging technologies affect the future of customer engagement?

1. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes computer-generated imagery on a user’s view of the real world. The technology takes your location and builds a virtual world where you can digitally interact with real-life things that are around you. That means that something in front of you in real life (such as a bench in the park), will also be in front of the “digital version” of you. AR allows a computer-generated image to be added to that park bench, enabling you to see both the bench and whatever is laid on top of it, whether it be an animated monster or information about how to purchase that bench.

In 2017, AR is still in its infancy, with very few commercially successful applications of the technology to date.

Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game created by Niantic and the Pokemon company, introduced the average consumer to the technology. As businesses and individuals continue to work with the technology, successful commercial applications will continue to be developed.

There are still some things need to be worked out for AR to enter the mainstream. Wearable devices that can overlay graphics into the user’s field of vision need to be developed. Using a smartphone to access AR features may still be too much work for the average person to adopt the technology fully. Once the required infrastructure for the wearable technology is in place, nothing can stop AR from taking off.

Augmented reality has a larger number of non-entertainment applications compared to virtual reality (VR). AR can be used to overlay graphics into real-world situations, melding physical and digital spaces into one.

So how will AR affect how businesses engage with customers and how will it influence the overall customer experience?

From graphics overlaid on real world images (and video) to immersive “worlds” that seemingly change the way buildings and other objects look, the possibilities are endless. The technology is already being used in games such as Pokemon Go. It’s only a matter of time before another non-entertainment industry begins to adopt it.

There are several potential applications for AR, including applications that can increase customer awareness and motivate sales.

A financial advisor could use future AR applications to place a picture of themselves and their contact information near their real world office. That would allow anyone using the technology (whether it be through their smartphone or another AR-centric wearable) to see information about the business while walking past.

A retailer could use AR to showcase their products around their brick-and-mortar location. Potentially peaking the interest of those passing by and lead to an increase in sales. With AR still in its relative infancy, it’s hard to imagine what the fully mature technology will look like.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another technology solution that will play a key role in the future of customer engagement. Major tech companies are working to create more intelligent algorithms that can make complex decisions, and evaluate human language.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is defined as:

“the branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave more like humans.”

There are many avenues for the future of AI, and no single method looks like the clear route right now. The end goal of AI researchers is to create machines or algorithms that can take real-world inputs such as “vision” or sound and make decisions based on those inputs.

The future of machines with human-level intelligence is still quite some time away, but it’s clear that the technology will eventually become a core component all nearly all commercial activities. Understanding what consumers want, and when they want it, will help businesses make more timely offers to customers, increasing satisfaction and revenue while decreasing friction in the buyer’s journey.

AI will lead to fewer interruptive ads, higher-quality content, smarter suggestions and smarter use of an organization’s resources. In combination, these effects can increase the cost-effectiveness of marketing and sales departments by reducing wasteful expenditures. 

Artificial intelligence can reduce friction in transactional relationships and streamline decision-making by using data to make offers that will be better received by customers. As the technology matures, AI will be able to target recommendations, content and offers to motivate action. AI solutions will eventually know more about your customers on a second-to-second basis than we ever thought possible. These recommendations will eventually allow real-time marketing to become a legitimate practice.  It will allow brands to engage their customers at critical moments in the buyer’s journey and recommend actions that will increase profitability and customer satisfaction.

3. Voice-Computer Interfacing

So far, 2017 has been the year of the digital assistant. Google has Google Home. Amazon has Alexa and the Amazon Echo. Microsoft has been working steadily to improve Cortana. And Apple has potentially the most famous of the bunch in Siri. Major tech companies are fighting to sell you an assistant that will recognize voice commands to help you interact with your computer (and other connected devices).

Continued improvements in AI will need to be made for voice-computer interfacing to reach maturity. Currently, most digital assistants have limited use-cases. The only applications and processes that are available are pre-programmed. For voice-computer interfaces to reach their full potential, improvements to their flexibility will need to be developed. Users need to be able to access anything they want through a voice request. Significant improvements need to be made to get to that point.

Consider the progress made by search engines over the last 20 years. With continued improvements, companies like Google have eliminated fraudulent and dangerous websites from their results. They have enabled users to search various parameters (images, videos, etc.), and are working to reduce inaccurate results from its rankings. 20 years from now, voice search could be just as ubiquitous and advanced as text searches are today. Marketers will need to prepare for voice-optimized digital properties.

Technology advances to new, unseen heights every day. It’s hard to imagine how these technologies will change the customer experience.

If you like thinking about the potential applications of emerging technologies, you might also like these articles:
10 Technology Trends & Predictions You Should Pay Attention to in 2017 (Part 1)
10 Technology Trends & Predictions You Should Pay Attention to in 2017 (Part 2)
6 Open Source Technologies That Changed The World
As always, thank you for reading. We would love it if you followed us on Twitter @VeridayHQ or LinkedIn here.

How to Project Warmth and Competence

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In a previous article, How Warmth and Competence Affect Customer Perceptions, we discussed how warmth and competence play a major role in how people perceive other people and businesses. Because of this, a brand (or person) must project warmth and competence to be seen as trustworthy.

In financial services, warmth and competence are especially important because a person’s financial situation is a sensitive subject. They need to be able to trust their financial advisor to manage their finances responsibly. 

Once people learn about the importance of these two characteristics they often ask “How can I project my warmth and competence to clients?” The question has no definitive answer due to a lack of focused research on how to project warmth and competence in a business setting. Luckily nonverbal behaviors (NVB), a more common research subject, may provide insights on the topic.

Nonverbal Behaviors Convey Warmth and Competence

Nonverbal behaviors include any actions other than the words used in verbal communication. It’s not just body posture and smiling. NVBs include the tone of your voice, whether you make eye contact and literally any other action you take to communicate.

This definition is very broad and includes every aspect of communication that cannot be conveyed in a transcript. The listed nonverbal behaviors all play a role in how you are perceived by others. Research shows, only 5% of communication is expressed through the spoken word, 45% by the tone, inflection, and other elements of voice, and the other 50% by body language, movements, eye contact, etc. Nonverbal behaviors constantly, subtly project your characteristics throughout a variety of social interactions, with the two most obvious being body language and overt behaviors.

It’s important to be aware of what exactly your nonverbal behaviors project to others.

Body Language

Body language conveys a lot of information about an individual. For example, slouching or leaning back in a chair during a meeting with clients can project a lack of confidence or laziness. That may undermine the message you are trying to sell. In order to be seen as competent, people must see you as confident.

Body language needs to be controlled in every social interaction to stay “on message.” To project warmth, one should be sitting up straight, making eye contact, nodding, smiling and using open gestures when interacting with others. These actions will project warmth to clients, indicating to them that they have your full attention.

Tone

How you speak with customers will also affect how warm you are perceived. Whether the conversation takes place in person, over the phone or via Skype, the customer will notice and (subconsciously) react to your tone of voice. To project warmth, your tone needs to be consistent. Dramatic shifts in your tone of voice can put off customers for a number of reasons. Your goal should be to sound upbeat, confident, under control and very clear in all your communications.

Using an inconsistent tone of voice can undo any gains in warmth made by other NVB’s.

Projecting competence is more difficult than projecting warmth, especially if you are trying to project competence in a specific skill, such as financial planning. Some level of competence can be inferred from NVB’s. However, to best project competence, you will need to utilize overt behaviors.

Overt Behaviors

The overt behavior of a person can be generalized to describe each and every action a person takes. For example, walking is an overt behavior. Making a phone call is an overt behavior. Determining these types of behaviors is very simple.

While non-verbal behaviors subtlety display warmth and competence, overt behaviors directly project your level of competence to your audience.

It doesn’t matter that you had good posture in your meeting if you completely mishandled someone’s finances afterward. Do what you say, say what you do.

Other overt behaviors you can employ to project competence include:

  • Taking notes to show your attention to detail
  • Speaking confidently
  • Showing respect for your clients time

Projecting warmth and competence is, without a doubt, a challenging task for even the most socially adept individuals. You need to be careful to monitor how you behave if you wish to project competence throughout your financial services organization.

Considerations

Even if you’ve done well to project your warmth and competence, one mistake could harm a person’s perception forever. If even one time you seemed disinterested in them, didn’t project warmth or did something wrong will affect the way people see you. It’s important to be vigilant and focused when dealing with clients. Treat every meeting like it’s the most important one of your career.

Something to consider when trying to project warmth and competence is that actions can only change your perception to a certain extent. People will judge you based on stereotypes about your ingroup, how you look, and a variety of subtle factors that you have no control over. While projecting warmth and competence is important, especially for financial professionals (people need to be able to trust you with their assets), there is only so much any one person can do.

Financial Services Takeaways

Financial services professionals need to project both warmth and competence when interacting with clients (or prospects). This is needed in order to reassure them that their wealth is in good hands. Finances are a very sensitive subject for many people. Those people need to be constantly reassured that they can trust their financial service professional. To nurture and grow that trust, you need to be both warm and competent.

Financial agents should consider being mindful of their body language and overt behavior, especially in front of clients. As we have learned from The Human Brand, a book about the personification of marketing, how others perceive you is a huge factor in determining the success of your business.

Do you believe projecting warmth and competence to clients is important for financial service professionals? Does the average wealth management professional or financial advisor project warmth that can generate trust? Is that what separates good financial agents from great financial agents? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ and follow us on Linkedin here.

Worthy Intentions: How Customers View Your Actions

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How can financial service brands improve the quality of their relationships with customers? It’s a question asked by many leaders in financial services and is the major theme of a book called The Human Brand. The Human Brand, by Chris Malone and Susan T. Fiske, examines how customers perceive the actions of brands and how those perceptions influence relationships.

The book examines several strategies that brands can employ to improve the quality of their customer relationships. One such strategy involves something called the principle of worthy intentions. Acting with worthy intentions involves putting your customers’ best interests ahead of your own. Some businesses today struggle because they are viewed as greedy and untrustworthy. But, when a brand acts with worthy intentions, consumers notice and appreciate the efforts.

In previous articles focusing on The Human Brand, we examined the importance of warmth and competence. We will now discuss a brand that acts with worthy intentions, and as a result has grown a community around their brand. We’ll also see what your brand can do to demonstrate your worthy intentions to clients.

Worthy Intentions: A Lululemon Case Study

Lululemon is a yoga lifestyle and clothing brand founded in 2000 in Vancouver, Canada. In just 17 years, the brand has grown dramatically. It boasts more than 200 stores across North America and Australia; generating almost $1 billion of profit in 2016. How does a clothing company, in a very competitive industry, do so well? By acting with worthy intentions.

How has Lululemon acted with worthy intentions?

Firstly, they act with competence. They sell high-quality products (with high-quality fabrics) that their customers like to wear. Even in 2013, when the company had to issue a recall on some of their yoga pants for being too see-through, they took immediate action to rectify the situation. That action ensured that customers still saw them as the same competent brand.

Another major factor that contributes to Lululemon’s perceived worthy intentions, is that customers perceive the brand to be very warm and welcoming. Their brick-and-mortar stores are designed to be intimate and slightly messy to project a relaxed, lived-in look. They will also hem yoga pants for their customers right in the store because they want to give the customer the best experience possible. They’re demonstrating their commitment to putting the customer first by taking that extra step to satisfy customers while making them feel at home.

Building a community around each store is another essential part of their brand strategy, and helps project that warmth. They build loyalty by ingratiating themselves within their customer base. In this case, it’s local yoga influencers (yoga studios, instructors, etc.). By getting in with the studios and instructors, it brings more eyes to the product. Potential and current clients know who they are, and what they are about. And, if they’ve been treated well by the company, they will recommend it to others. They’ve established a trusting relationship.

What do these actions bring Lululemon?

Fierce loyalty from their customer base. Here are just a few examples of the success Lululemon has had thanks to their loyal communities of customers:

  • 95% of all purchases are made at full price.
  • Ranked 4th among retailers in revenue-per-square-foot in 2014
  • Increase in gross income of 42.9% since 2014.
  • Brand valued at $3.05 billion

Lululemon has done an excellent job nurturing their relationships with clients, and as a result has grown into an iconic brand with loyal, fanatical customers.

So what can you do?

1) Become more self-aware

Self-awareness is arguably the most important aspect of projecting worthy intentions to your customers. What do my clients need the most? What actions can be taken that will benefit clients? Are you treating my clients the way they want to be treated? What can you do to offer a better client experience? These are questions that, if regularly pondered, will empower your business to offer better experiences to clients.

Constantly considering how your actions, words, and decisions affect your customer’s experience ensures that your intentions are seen as positive by others.

2) Embrace change

If you aren’t willing to embrace change, your customers will question your intentions. Someone who acts with worthy intentions is willing to change if it is in the best interest of their customers. Change is a constant facet in today’s rapidly moving world. People expect change. A company that refuses to change will be seen as a relic of the past. Brands need to become comfortable with their customers being in control of the relationship.

If you can convey a willingness to embrace change that benefits your customers, your brand will be seen as having worthy intentions.

3) Look out for your customers best interests

Always look out for your client’s best interests, and they will appreciate it. Here’s a personal example:

When replacing my internet provider, the job of setting up a new modem took far longer than expected. However, the installer stayed at my house and finished the job, despite the fact that his shift was over before he was done.

The installer made decisions based on what would be in my best interests. Even though he had every right to say “I couldn’t get it set up” and leave, he didn’t. He ate into his own Friday evening to help me and my family set up our internet, and it was greatly appreciated.

By looking out for our best interests, this internet installer showed my family his worthy intentions (and developed some loyalty for his brand).

4) Project warmth

To show that you have worthy intentions, you absolutely have to project warmth to the client. Without warmth, your intentions will most likely not be trusted. More information about projecting warmth (and competence) can be found in our article: Projecting Warmth & Competence.

Takeaways for Financial Service Professionals

In financial services, having worthy intentions might just be more important than in any other industry. Due to the sensitive nature of a person’s finances, they often require an additional level of trust in their financial agent. People need to trust their financial service provider more than they trust the person selling them pants.

Financial services professionals need to be very self-aware as to how they are perceived by clients. If you project anything except concern for their financial situation, acceptance of their decisions, and confidence in your ability, you may lose the trust your clients have placed in you. Be willing to change your plans to accommodate the needs of your clients. If you constantly survey how you can provide better services to your clients, they will see that your intentions are good. 

Operating with worthy intentions should be as important to financial services professionals as projecting warmth and competence to your clients. It plays a huge role in how you are perceived by your client base and in turn, how loyal your customers are.

Thank you for reading! Acting with worthy intentions is an exercise in treating people the way they want to be treated by brands. If you want to see more articles like this one, follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ!  

How to Write an “About Me” for Financial Agents

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An “About Me” page is one of the most important pages on your website. Behind the homepage, it’s usually the second most viewed page. People will go to that page expecting to find out the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your business. Your “About Me” page should answer those questions in a way that’s easy to understand.

You should keep these 7 things in mind when writing the perfect bio:

1) Know Your Audience

Whether you’re in finance or another industry, you most likely already have a niche that you service. Customers are too different to focus on attracting everybody, so you should have a specific type of person in mind for your services. The most important thing when writing an “About Me” page is knowing who your audience is. You will want to use language and imagery that will speak directly to your niche. Always have this group in mind when crafting any digital experience, especially your website.

You will need to understand the prospective customer before you even begin to describe yourself. How can you even begin to tell them who you are and how you can meet their needs if you don’t know who they are and what they need?

Once you understand who your audience is, it’s time to get started on the why and the what. Why would this customer choose me? What can I do for them? Give your audience an insight into why you are the right person for them.

2) Show the Real You

Your “About Me” page should show the reader the “real you”. Give them insight into your personality, how you got to where you are now, your likes and dislikes, and your motivation for doing what you do. By explaining to your audience what your motivations are, you stand a better chance of connecting with them on an emotional level.

Your goal should be to explain who you are as a person and as a professional as honestly as possible. People are far more likely to do business with someone that they trust and empathize with. The process of developing that connection begins with showing those potential customers exactly who you are.

While facts such as where you went to school, what qualifications you have, and how long you have been in the industry are important, they are not the most important thing to many people. Try to pepper these “essential facts” throughout the description of yourself, but don’t focus on them. It will take away from your ability to tell your story. Don’t focus on what you’ve done, focus on why you did it.

3) Tell Your Story

When writing your “About Me” page, you should attempt to tell your audience an engaging story about who you are. Tell the story of how and why you entered the industry, why you want to help people, and what your strengths are. Stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone according to a Stanford study. Not only should your bio be factually accurate, it should tell the audience an engaging story.

A secondary benefit of telling a story in your bio is that it shows off your personality. What you choose to highlight, what cultural touchstones are mentioned, the tone you choose to present yourself with, and how you describe your niche itself says a lot about you.

Framing your bio as a story will make you seem approachable, hopefully drawing similarities between you and your audience. You want to show the audience that you are a person, as well as an advisor. Telling your story is a fantastic way to do that.

4) Tell Your Audience How You Can Help Them

Another important part of your “About Me” page is showing what you can do to help your audience. You can describe yourself all you want, but if the reader cannot see the value you can provide them, they will simply move on to somebody who’s value they can see.

Tell your readers exactly what services you can provide them. Describe what it is you do for your clients, what value you provide, and the specific niche that your services can benefit. If you’re an advisor, whose niche is former CEO’s looking to maintain or grow their current wealth to pass on to the next generation you could say:

“I help retired CEO’s build a strong investment portfolio with the intention of preserving their wealth for their children and grandchildren. My goal is to help families be prepared financially for when a loved one passes on. I will do my best to assemble the perfect portfolio for you, so your children will keep as much of the nest egg that you built for them as possible.”

By explaining your value in your “About Me” page, people who fit within your niche will felt personally spoken to, increasing the likelihood that they will contact you, at least exploring your services.

5) Use of Images

A picture is worth a thousand words. With one image you can convey a lot of information about how you carry yourself, how confident you are, and how professional you are. Images are a very important part of any website, not only because of the information they can convey but also for the aesthetic enhancement they bring a page.

A high-quality photo can serve as a way to draw the reader’s eye across your page. Use images to guide the reader through your bio, down to your contact form. Without images, your page will look boring, potentially causing people to abandon their search.

Remember, the first time somebody meets you, they should be able to recognize you from the picture in your bio. Some things to ensure when choosing your main bio picture include:

  • You are dressed professionally
  • You are well lit in the photo
  • The picture is recent
  • The photo is a headshot

You may include multiple pictures on the “About Me” Page. If you do choose to include multiple pictures, ensure that they are diverse. For example, you could include your main bio picture, a group shot of your team, a picture of you with your family (to show you’re human) and one that highlights one of your passions. This will give the reader insight as to who you are (or at least who you perceive yourself to be).

6) Write the Way You Speak

When writing a bio, write from a first-person perspective. Use words like “I” and “We” to show your audience that you wrote it yourself. If you write from the third-person, it will sound awkward and forced, as if somebody from a marketing department wrote it for you.

Your bio should sound like you are introducing yourself to your client at an event. You want it to be professional, yet informal. Take a look at the example below:

“My name is Advisor Jones, I was born right here in Advisorville. For over twenty years I’ve helped retired farmers with over a million dollars net worth maintain their assets for the rest of their lives. I first developed an interest in helping farmers while attending the University of Guelph. I really enjoy…”

That description of Advisor Jones, a financial advisor from Advisorville, sounds a lot more approachable than this one:

“Advisor Jones has twenty years of experience in the financial services industry. Mr. Jones works with farmers with net worth’s of over one million dollars. Advisor Jones is a member of the ‘82 class from the University of Guelph.”

Writing in the first person will make you seem friendlier, more approachable and less “corporate.” It will help the audience see you as a real person, increasing the likelihood that they will contact you.

7)  Include Clear Contact Information

The final thing you need to include on your bio page is a clear call-to-action inviting the audience to contact you. This can be a form that records their contact information, a button that takes them to another page, or a direct link to your email address.

Regardless of which method you choose, including a way for the reader to contact you is essential to any “About Me” page. If you have followed the previous steps and wrote about who you are, what you do, and why people should trust you, readers looking for more information will be ready to contact you.

If they weren’t already thinking about contacting you; offering a clear, easy way for your audience to get in touch with you can motivate action. It’s possible at first they will just have a question or two that you can answer. As time moves on, and they move towards a purchase decision, they will remember who you are, remember your helpfulness, and potentially contact you ahead of others.

With no way for the audience to contact you, the effort you put into your bio may go to waste.

“About Me”: Conclusion

There you have it. Seven things you need to know to write an awesome “About Me” page. Your bio has several purposes, all of which are interconnected and related to gaining the audience’s trust. Tell an engaging story, explain who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Relate that to the needs and wants of your niche, and you will differentiate yourself from the competition.

What other tips do you use when writing bios? If you do, let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or on LinkedIn! Differentiate yourself from other advisors by telling an engaging story about yourself and your business on your “About Me” page.