How are Financial Services Delivery Channels Changing?


As Bob Dylan once sang: “the times, they are a changin”. This song-worthy statement certainly holds true in the financial services industry today. From online and mobile experiences to the internet of things, to robo-advisors and the use of artificial intelligence, things are very different today compared to a decade ago. Today, we are going to look at five graphs from the Financial Brand and see what they say about technology use in financial services.

1. Importance of Each Delivery Channel

importance of different channels

This graph examines the importance of various delivery channels to consumers.

The graph clearly shows that to consumers, the in-branch experience is the single most important delivery channel. Nearly half of consumers surveyed thought that the quality of the in-branch experience was the most important delivery channel for customer experience. In addition, nearly a quarter of respondents rank it as the second most important factor.

Notice how the smartphone app and smartphone browser experiences rank as far less important? This shows that mobile technology solutions are still far less important to the average consumer than the in-person experience, at least when it comes to banking.

Over the phone customer experience, a distinctly non-high-tech delivery channel rated very highly as second or third priority delivery channels. However, it ranked very low as a first option. This could be because if a consumer’s most used channel has a problem such as:

    • Local branch is closed for emergency
    • No internet connection is available
    • Long distance between consumer and branches
    • Laptop exploded
    • Etc.

Any of these problems could motivate a consumer to call the bank in order to solve their problem.

This means that even when you believe that digital experiences rate highly for your consumers, you will need to provide a solid in-person experience in order to satisfy their secondary and tertiary preferences.

2. Considering New Experiences

New experiences consumers are willing to try

The second graph we are looking at examines which new experiences consumers are willing to try. This graph shows that consumers are more willing to consider traditional financial service experiences. Any form of technology added to the equation will lower the adoption rate, especially among baby boomers.

Consumers are extremely willing to consider meeting in-person with a traditional financial advisor who provides personalized service for a traditional fee, across all generations. Again, this shows that consumers are very open to the idea of human interaction.

The second category, automated investment services, is less popular across all demographics. The results are the closest between this category and the previous one with millennials, who likely have the smallest amount to invest of all groups. Their relative lack of wealth, along with their digital upbringing makes them more comfortable with automated investment services.

Online financial coaching, the third option, is again dramatically less popular than meeting an advisor in person with every group except millennials. This point could tie to the one above. They do not have many assets and were raised in an environment where digital channels were emerging, making them more comfortable with those channels. Social media groups have a very little chance to be considered by any consumer, even millennials.

What I take away from this graph is the fact that consumers prefer in-person professional advice in financial services. The farther removed a service was from a professional, the less likely it would be considered.

3. Is Robo-Advice Trusted?

Is Robo-Advice Trusted?

The third graph compares whose advice is more trusted: humans or robots? While most respondents have no strong feelings one way or another, the consensus is that human advice is superior. Just over half of total respondents felt that human advisors could be trusted more than robo-advice.

Although humans are still seen as more reliable, this graph should be worrying to financial advisors who do not (or cannot) offer robo-advice. The first robo-advisor launched in 2008, so they have not even been around for a decade. By 2020, robo advisors are projected to manage over $8 trillion.

Financial advisors need to be concerned about this trend. $8 trillion is a significant amount of business to lose to automation. Financial service providers need to come together to develop a coherent strategy as to how to combat this threat. Perhaps all financial advisors will soon offer robo-advice at a rate lower than that of their standard services.

Regardless of how they combat it, a strategy must be defined soon. As the robo-advisory market matures, more and more people will be willing to adopt it. Automation is on the doorstep, how will the financial service industry respond?

4. Consumer Attitudes Towards New Technologies

Consumer attitudes towards new technology

This graph examines consumer attitudes towards new technologies, highlighting two highly sought-after groups in financial services. Now, before we get into the analysis, some factors must be accounted for. First, these are the consumers’ opinions of themselves. That might account for over half of millennials and the mass affluent claiming they are one of the first people to try out new technologies. Among these groups, being an early adopter of technology can be seen as “cool”. This wording might also contribute to the low number of respondents who claimed they are “hesitant” to try out new technology, thanks to the negative connotations often associated with that word.

Now, let’s examine what this graph tells us about attitudes towards technology adoption. It is clear, that both the mass affluent and millennials are interested in new technologies. Nearly a third of each category believe that they are the first person to try out a new technology. This points to an extreme eagerness to use new technologies. These are the consumers who will try out the latest, greatest app. They will wait in line to buy the new iPhone and they will appreciate (and use) the new features of a product.

Compared to the average person, millennials and the mass affluent will rapidly adopt new technology, they are your trendsetters. When you introduce new technology solutions, ensure that the message gets out to these groups of people.

If millennials and the mass affluent adopt a technology upon implementation and keep using the technology, it is a great sign that you have a winner on your hands. Keep this in mind when adopting a new technology for your business. Not everyone will immediately pick up new technology. Use these groups as a litmus test to gauge the success of a new technology solution

5. Adoption of New Digital Services

Adoption of new digital solutions

The final graph we will look at today examines what digital services consumers are aware of and which services are being adopted. There are two ways in which someone could view this graph:

The first way in which someone could view this is as a cynic. They would see how many people are aware of the technologies and then compare it to how many people have adopted it (or plan to). If a person looked at the graph this way, they would conclude that the financial service industry is failing at motivating the adoption of technology solutions.

The second way that someone could look at this graph would lead them to believe that the financial service industry does not consider consumer needs when introducing new technologies. Only two of the listed options have at least half of respondents planning to use the technology. These two options are arguably the most practical for financial services and could be a benefit to anybody. Digital protection against theft and fraud, as well as mobile transfer technologies, are useful to any consumer of financial services. They add convenience and safety to everybody, hence the high adoption rates. Other options listed either don’t benefit the average person, often come with significant fees, or seemingly put people’s data at risk.

Another thing that jumps off the page, is the fact that most of these options have an awareness rate below 80%, with some in the low-60% range. To me, this is the most concerning aspect of the entire graph. How can a financial institution expect to sell these solutions if people aren’t aware of them? Perhaps there is some nuance to the situation, but it appears that financial service marketers need to work on spreading awareness of new technology solutions.


These five graphs say a lot about the use of technology in the financial service industry. They show consumer banking habits through the perceived importance of various channels. The graphs show what experiences consumers would consider trying and how technology could take some percentage of business away from humans. The graphs also showed how consumers view technology, as well as to what degree consumers are aware of various financial services.

However you choose to read into these graphs, they must show to some extent how technology is moving in on traditional financial service offerings. If anything, the graphs should be a reminder to those in FinServ that the world is changing rapidly. In the future, your competition might not be a human, but a machine. Always be aware of your competitive landscape and consider what you can do to compete with automated services.

How did you read these graphs? Will robo-advisors ever truly become a threat to the traditional financial advisor? What can financial service providers do in order to retain more customers and fight back competition from financial technology? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @VeridayHQ or on LinkedIn here!

Digital Marketing (In Finance) Without Blowing Your Budget


As a financial advisor, do you sometimes struggle to find potential clients? Are referrals not bringing you the same quality of business as they used to? Eventually, your practice may grow beyond your network, meaning you may need to attract clients from the outside.

It’s time to start marketing your practice online (if you aren’t already)! There are many ways to get your marketing efforts started. You may be thinking of putting a banner ad on the front page of the Financial Times, but after looking at the price, you realize that is a lot of money for one Ad…. It’s important to get a good ROI on your marketing efforts, especially if you don’t have the mountain of capital the big banks have.

So, how can you have a successful financial digital marketing plan while staying on a budget? Here are 6 ways you can use digital marketing to grow your brand and increase your leads, without breaking the bank.

1. Create High Quality Content

One way you can get the word out about your advisory business is by producing and distributing high-quality content. Use your expertise as a marketing tool. Giving out small snippets of advice about a variety of overarching topics that will interest your potential audience, for free. Education is a key marketing tool in 2017. Educate your followers, with the goal of establishing yourself as a thought leader among financial advisors.

Now, creating high-quality content can be time consuming; writing a blog post, webinar, ebook or some other form of content takes time. You can spend a lot of time writing or producing other forms of content (audio, video, interpretive dance (please don’t try this, it doesn’t work very well when selling financial advice)) but besides the time invested, it has low costs and can generate a high ROI. There is another benefit of creating high-quality, unique content. Search engines favor high-quality sources that add value to the reader. Blogging is an effective way to rank higher in search results because they are continuously updated with fresh, useful content. As we mentioned in a previous article:

“Search engines love websites that are constantly being updated with unique and fresh content.  When Google spiders come to audit your site, they report back whether your website is of high quality (or not) as a result of whether it is constantly updated with new, unique, and quality content.”

Well-written, unique content is seen as a high-quality source, and will help you rank higher in search results. This will lead to more traffic to your website, at no additional cost.

Remember, content marketing costs less than outbound marketing, but generates up to 3 times the number of leads. This is done by producing and distributing high-quality content on your website, blog or other digital properties.

2. Email Marketing

In today’s digital age, email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing in terms of ROI. A study by Campaign Monitor found that for every $1 spent, email gives back a whopping $38 in ROI, while also offering the broadest reach. Email marketing is subject to regulations, such as CASL in Canada, meaning that everyone has to sign up for your newsletter individually. This can mean that building a respectable email list can take some time. Even with the new laws and regulations, email marketing is extremely effective.

Some key aspects of email marketing are: having an eye-catching email template, on-topic subject lines, an interested audience (email list) and a personalized feel for the reader. Remember, people get hundreds (thousands? millions?) of emails per week. If value isn’t provided in your newsletters they will unsubscribe. Nobody wants their time wasted. A piece of advice: spend some time making your email look and feel perfect, and making sure it adds value to the reader. It will be worth it. The ROI of email marketing is astronomical, you will regret not putting the extra effort in.

One method you could use to create interesting emails, is to reuse content from other inbound marketing efforts. A newsletter is a great place to share your blog posts, articles, or podcasts for a second time.

3. Location Targeting

Most people want to do their shopping, errands, and business conveniently, near their location. As they say in real estate: location, location, location.  It matters, especially when it comes to digital marketing. According to Hubspot, 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. Local searches also lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day. These statistics are very telling and significant, and should be taken into account when crafting your digital marketing strategy.

Use location data to show the audience things such as: where you’re located in relation to them, your contact info, business reviews, and more. To be able to properly target locally, you should put your business on “Google My Business”. It is a service by Google that allows companies to appear in search results filtered by location. It allows people to see where you are located (on a map) when they Google you. To learn more about Google My Business, check out our article on it here.

People, especially those on mobile devices, are increasingly willing to share information about their location with you. They do this thinking that by providing more information they will be provided with a more personalized, relevant experience using the website. Location targeting is quite cheap and easy to implement but can be scaled up to deliver more expensive, complex solutions, such as sending content and promotional material to your audience, depending on their location.

4. Great Landing Pages

Landing pages are an extremely cheap, yet effective way to increase your number of leads and get the most out of your digital marketing efforts. Any solution you can use to host your website will have an option to create new pages. This means you can (and should) have a personalized landing page for every campaign you are running. Having dedicated landing pages will ensure your audience is only presented with information (and a call-to-action) that is relevant to the reason they are visiting your website in the first place.

When you send someone directly to your homepage, (or blog page, or any page with information) they may feel overwhelmed and unsure where to navigate to next. Create landing pages geared towards an audience coming from a specific source, stripping out all non-essential features and focusing your message on what is relevant to that audience. People can recognize a well-designed website and they WILL remember it, and hopefully, return.  Remember, a professional website is the difference between a client calling you, or a client calling your biggest competitor. Landing pages are easy to create, will improve your user’s experience will help improve your ROI (seeing as they don’t cost anything to create except time).

It will be many people’s first (and only) impression of you. According to Hubspot, 55% of people spend 15 seconds or less on your website.

5. Effective Calls-To-Action

Having an effective call-to-action (CTA) on your digital property is one of the most important (and inexpensive) ways to generate ROI using digital marketing. A CTA is a prompt to get the audience to complete a specific action, a goal at the heart of any digital marketing strategy.

If you don’t ask people to do something, they won’t do it. That’s a fact of life. Calls to action motivate people to complete actions that can help you meet their needs.

Take for example, the call-to-action from Netflix below. The CTA is very clear: “Join Free for a Month”. It is nearly impossible to miss that giant red button. It screams for attention. The messaging is also very clear: “Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime.” They present their full value proposition within the CTA (and within the first few seconds of arriving on their site).

Financial Digital Marketing on a Budget: CTA, Netflix

As an advisor, you should have at least one call-to-action on your website. You might not be able to entice people with an offer as tempting as Netflix, (who can pass up free movies for a month?), but there are other options for your industry. This could be a unique and valuable eBook, offering them insights and advice related to your expertise. You could also offer a “Free Consultation” and tempt them with a clear value proposition such as: “Discover the reality of your financial situation.” “Subscribe to my blog”, or “Contact Us” are other examples.  Any action you want your prospect to take can be encouraged with a well placed, persuasive CTA.

Whatever you choose, ensure your CTA is motivating and actionable. CTAs don’t inherently come with any additional costs. They can be as simple or as complex as needed. Whatever solution you use to host your website, it should have an easy way to add a call-to-action.

6. Paid Search

Another way to generate strong ROI in financial digital marketing is through Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEM involves using paid search ads to ensure that your offerings are the top results for a particular search topic. The issue with SEM is that some terms, especially financial service keywords, can be extremely expensive. In fact, the most expensive keywords, in general, are related to finance and legal services. For example, “insurance”, “attorney” and “mortgage” are the top 3 most expensive keywords.

To save money and generate a better ROI, you can use paid search to creatively target local customers. What’s the point in having someone located in Moscow find your website via search if you’re located in Moose Jaw? They won’t be interested in a financial service provider that they can’t meet in person. To avoid targeting too broad of a geographical range, use long-tail keywords such as “Financial Advisor in Moose Jaw”.

To gain the most value from SEM, use lesser known keywords and geographic targeting. Ensure people are directed to a page that has relevant information that is related to the search topic, with compelling calls-to-action.


So, what did you think of these 6 methods to raise your financial digital marketing ROI (with little to no budget)? Do you find any of these methods effective? Which ones do you use? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

Advisors: Get to Know Evergreen Content

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You’re a Financial Advisor, looking to use content marketing to expand your client base. You’re a busy person, always in a meeting, or at least on your way to one. You are already working more hours per week than you’d like to. You aren’t able to spend hours a day writing or producing new content for your marketing efforts. There simply is not enough time.

Content marketing can be difficult at times. You spend hours creating the perfect piece of content. You’re hoping it will provide value to your target audience; entertaining and educating them using their favorite form of media. The downside of content marketing: you spend hours creating this content and it doesn’t get seen by as many people as you were hoping.

I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. I would spend hours (weeks) writing the perfect essay, crafting the perfect presentation. I would create great work but I always felt somewhat disappointed, knowing that only a few people would ever see my work (and care). The feeling is frustrating. Today, I’m here to tell you that you never need to feel that way as a content marketer. There are methods of creating content that allow you to use and reuse content in order to get the most mileage out of your content efforts.

I’m here to introduce you to the best type of content for reuse and social sharing. It is called “evergreen” content. It will save you time and energy creating content that becomes outdated once the market or trend shifts, or the regulatory landscape changes. Evergreen content has the longest lifespan of content, generating traffic and leads for a very long time after it is published.  This type of content is called “evergreen” because, like a coniferous tree, it is not beholden to the seasons. Evergreen content stays “green” all year round, having nothing to do with current events or current industry landscapes. It will be useful to a reader whenever they come across it, whether tomorrow or a couple of years from now.

Evergreen content can come from any asset you create for any purpose. Creativity is the only hindrance. Do you have a pitch book? Turn it into a series of blog posts. You are an expert. Use your experience and knowledge to benefit the people consuming your content (and in turn, help you become a thought leader). Some examples of evergreen content for financial advisors could be: 

  1. How to Start a Retirement Plan
  2. 10 Ways to Become Financially Independent
  3. Frequently Asked Questions About (Insert product/service/offering here)
  4. Interview with (member of your team, influencer, industry expert, really anyone)
  5. 10 Reasons Why You Need an Advisor to Manage your Retirement Fund

Really any “How-to”, List, FAQ, Interview, or case study that does not revolve around the current industry landscape can be considered evergreen content. It can either be repurposed material or brand new content.

Whether you realize it or not, you already have plenty of starting points for creating evergreen content. Your pitch book, training materials and other existing documents in your business (that does not contain confidential or proprietary information) can be easily transformed into a piece of content to share. You can explain why your mission statement is the way it is, an explanation of various types of investments, advice columns, what you have helped others accomplish, or any other subject in which you have expertise.

You don’t need to stay on top of industry news or events for those type of articles. Simply create a version of your material that visitors to your website can consume in an easy way. The material should help them learn more about you, your business, or a topic that might affect them. Any subject which could establish you as a thought leader and will still be relevant in a few years is fair game. It is commonly considered best practice to update your articles as regulations or industry landscapes change. This will ensure that the information you are providing is always up-to-date and accurate.

Evergreen content remains fresh over time. It can be reused, shared repeatedly on social media and repurposed into another format. It is an extremely valuable tool to grow your reach and influence without spending an unnatural amount of effort.

One important tip to consider when creating and sharing your evergreen content is:

Update the content when new information becomes available!

Keeping your content fresh will ensure that someone viewing the piece will know that your business is up to date. Without a modern website you will appear to be “behind the times”. This will lead to some consumers thinking you are an outdated relic of an older time and taking their business elsewhere.

If you don’t believe having a website is critically important please check out the following articles:

7 Things People Hate About Your Website
Advisors: Why just having a Website isn’t enough
How Financial Advisors can use Content Marketing to Boost Website Traffic

Do you create evergreen content for your marketing efforts? Do you find evergreen content generates a high-level of engagement? Is timely information more effective for your blog or website? Let us know over on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

The most important thing you NEED to include in your eNewsletters


Are you a Financial Service provider trying to gain more traffic to your website? It’s a problem many businesses in the financial sector have. There are many different ways to cultivate engagement that can help lead to more traffic, and ultimately, conversions. Today, we will be discussing how a weekly (or monthly) newsletter can increase traffic to your website and what you need to do to nurture those readers into clients. The #1 most important thing that you have to consider when developing and sending out a eNewsletter is:


Why you might ask? Well, at the heart of a newsletter should lie value for the reader. Nobody wants to get sent an email chock full of promotional materials pressuring them to make a decision. If they get an email like that, chances are their decision will be to unsubscribe from future updates. There goes your future interactions with that prospect. They also don’t want an email full of information that they already know, or can find elsewhere with a simple google search.

Value in a newsletter can be provided in a number of ways:

  1. Exclusive Content

    Exclusive content is by far the most important aspect in driving value to your newsletter.

    Unique and exclusive content is a method of providing value to your subscribers. By writing a quality article or blog post, specifically for those subscribed to the newsletter, you can drive significant amounts of traffic to your website. People love unique and fresh content, and the feeling of exclusivity is the cherry-on-top of the content cake.

    The average buyer consumes 3-5 pieces of content before they even talk to a sales rep. By offering them a juicy, exclusive article (hosted on your website, of course), you will drive traffic to your website, build trust, and potentially become a thought leader in that consumer’s mind.

    Exclusivity is how top fashion brands, car companies, and luxury goods manufacturers help promote their businesses. What is stopping the Financial Services industry from using it as part of a content marketing and email strategy?

  2.  Special Offers, Discounts and Consultations

    Special offers, discounts and consultations can be offered either in the newsletter itself or as a selling point for signing up for the newsletter. Offering exclusive offers will make the reader more likely to engage with your business, perhaps even motivating them to spend more time on your website.

    70% of email readers open emails from a brand or company in search of a deal, discount, or special offer. As an Advisor, you could offer free consultations to motivate people to contact you. The reader will think “well it’s free, I might as well hear what they can do for me”. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to meet the prospect, humanize your brand and prove to that prospective client that you are the right person to manage their money.

    While many people are looking for special offers, it is important not to inundate your subscribers with promotions. If you do, the value will diminish with every offer. Discounts or freebies should be provided with valuable and unique educational material to help the reader better decide how to use that discount or to show them that your free consultation will be worth their time.

  3. Events and Giveaways

This one is somewhat related to “Discounts or Special Offers”. It goes back to the fact that people like a deal (or in this case, free stuff). Again, it should not be used in every newsletter, but more as a promotion to generate sign-ups or reward loyalty. You can give something small away to everyone who signs up, promote exclusive events (barbecues, picnics, etc,), that get people thinking about you and your business, and potentially gets you face time with these prospective clients (even if it happens to be over hot dogs).

You could give away an iPod, a drone, or another “big ticket” item in a draw that all members subscribed to your newsletter can win. This will encourage people to stay subscribed and check every newsletter to find out who the winner is.


In addition to these three methods, value in a newsletter should be provided by using the right mix of educational and promotional material. About 90% of the content in a newsletter should be educational to the readers. The other 10% can be promotional material. If the right balance isn’t struck, your newsletter will be nothing more than a glorified advertisement, which is not something that will attract clients in the Financial Services industry.

By educating your readers, and providing value in other ways, you will drive more traffic to your website. B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015).  Why not repurpose these blogs in your newsletter to extend their reach and get the most mileage out of your content? A newsletter can help you increase the reach of those posts to readers which will result in an increase in traffic. Remember, provide value above all else!

Best of luck with your content creation this week! If you want more information on starting a newsletter, check out our articles “Newsletters: The Forgotten Hero of Content Marketing” and “Do Advisors Really Need Email Marketing?”. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. @VeridayHQ.

Outbound Vs. Inbound Marketing for Financial Advisors

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Marketing is a necessary task for any business.  However, there are seemingly infinite ways to go about it given the current digital landscape. You might find yourself wondering, “how should I go about marketing my Advisory business?

Referrals used to be the bread and butter marketing tool to spread the word about your financial service offerings. Do a good job for one client, they tell two friends or family members and boom, off to the races. Today that method, while still sometimes effective, can’t be leaned on as heavily as before due to the many factors and channels that consumers are using to make decisions in today’s digital world.

So, what should you do? Plaster your name all over local benches? Take out ads in the paper? Make a commercial? Use one of the many digital marketing channels available at your disposal? How should you go about getting the word out about your business?

In this article, I will discuss two contrasting methods of marketing that will get your name out there; who the audience for each is, how the message will get in front of the audience and how the audience will likely respond to each message, as well as how that affects your business.

Outbound VS. Inbound Marketing

It’s a simple question that can confuse and confound those outside the marketing department. In reality, it simply refers to traditional marketing methods, such as broadcasting, print, direct mail and telemarketing. Everyone has been exposed to these methods, either through an ad on TV, fliers stuffed in your mailbox, or annoying phone calls while you’re eating dinner.

Why do we call traditional marketing “Outbound”? The term was intended to mirror “Inbound Marketing”, which is the process of tailoring marketing efforts to attract qualified prospects to your business and giving them an experience that turns them into promoters of your brand. Major techniques in inbound marketing are content marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). The major difference between inbound and outbound marketing is that inbound marketing is generally targeted at consumers who are already interested or have an awareness, in some way or another. Outbound marketing is less targeted and casts its net on a wide group of people in an attempt to get them interested. “Outbound” marketing is sometimes referred to as “interruption” marketing because whatever people are doing (watching a TV show, reading the paper, watching the road while driving) is interrupted by the marketing message (commercial, a full-page ad in the paper, billboards).

Why Inbound Marketing Works

Inbound Marketing will continue to be effective in 2017 for a plethora of reasons; from the fact it can effectively target specific segments of the demographics, to the value it brings to potential customers pre-purchase, to the convenience and cost savings for the company.

Inbound marketing costs 62% less than a traditional marketing campaign and generates 3 times the traffic of a traditional (outbound) marketing campaign. It makes sense though, writing a blog post or a few Tweets is far less expensive than purchasing ad space. A domain name costs only a small amount per year and the long-term costs associated with maintaining social media feeds, a blog, website or other assets that are common in inbound marketing are quite low compared with various forms of advertising. Even advertisements online (Google Adwords for example) would cost far less than TV ad time.

The lower costs, and the agility of inbound marketing means that you may personalize the message to its target market to a near infinite extent. For example writing a blog post about how investing would work in the Harry Potter universe (to attract wizards and fans of wizardry), or what Batman’s portfolio would look like (to attract Gotham billionaire Bruce Wayne) at very little cost and in very little time compared to traditional forms of marketing. Inbound marketing allows hyper-targeting, tailoring your message to a specific audience in a way that will feel personal and convey that you can speak to and meet their specific needs and challenges.

Convincing people to trust you with their assets is hard. No matter what medium you use. Selling your financial service to people online, and showing them that you can meet their needs and benefit them is even harder. While inbound marketing generally costs less than outbound marketing, the challenge of appearing to be a legitimate solution to someone’s problem can be much more difficult online.

By sending a hyper-specific message to somebody who already recognizes that they have the need for a specific financial service, inbound marketing generally ensures that all marketing efforts are put in front of people who will actually consider your message, increasing your chances of attracting an MVP customer that can help grow your business.

So why is outbound marketing dying?

There are many reasons why outbound marketing is losing its lustre, from it’s interruptive nature to the slow, inflexible, and often costly process of creating an outbound campaign.

A commercial break in the middle of your favorite TV show, an unexpected cold-call (which always seem to be at the most inconvenient time), spam mail with offers you aren’t interested in coming into your home and bringing clutter with it. People are growing tired of the interruptions and will do what is needed to avoid the interruptions.

Over 200 million people worldwide use ad-blockers when browsing the internet, which renders banner, sidebar and pop-up ads ineffective for a large part of the target audience. The trend of blocking ads is not limited to browsing the internet. More and more people are using PVR’s or services like Netflix, Shomi or Hulu to avoid watching TV ads. Outbound marketing has annoyed people into avoiding as many ads as they can.

Another issue with outbound marketing is the fact that these measures are often slow and inflexible. TV commercials, print ads in major publications, and billboards all take significant time to develop and arrange for them to be released to the public. This means that it is very difficult (and expensive) to have an ad that is current and based off what prospective clients want. Inbound marketing efforts such as Social media, content marketing and SEO are much more agile, meaning campaigns and marketing efforts can be real-time and relevant, with more flexibility and timeliness, all at a much lower cost.

In addition to the difficulties mentioned above, there are issues in outbound marketing involving putting your message in front of the appropriate target at a reasonable price. There are still a few mediums with high viewership for a specific market segment (such as ESPN for sports fans) but many segments do not have such an outlet. This means that to market your product to your target market you must cast a wider net, perhaps by making a commercial and playing it during a show with massive viewership, hoping that some of your target market is watching. These efforts are very costly and generally return a very low ROI.

If we were trying to attract clients to our financial advisory firm we could put an ad on the back cover of our local newspaper, potentially paying tens of thousands of dollars for that ad space. The issue is that although some targets may see the ad, it still got in front of many people who wanted nothing to do with it and are not at all interested. This can be a wasteful process. We could spend far less money designing a top notch website, paying for a domain name and using SEO to ensure that every single person who Googles “Financial Advisors in (Where you live)” will see our website, and our thought leadership content. Simply put, inbound marketing is far more effective at matching your value proposition to a target customer.

Today, if people want something, they Google it, Bing it, or Yahoo search it. They understand there is a market for whatever they are looking for, from financial services to a new furnace. People today don’t want to be sold something. They want to buy it themselves.

Not today, but soon

How does this affect you? That depends entirely on how you want your business to grow into the future. Are you satisfied with an aging client base, who will soon begin to retire, divest and live the easy life? Would you rather have a client base full of millennials just getting into the workforce, still needing to buy a house, plan for a family and work for many years to come?

Generally speaking the older someone is the more likely they are to be influenced by outbound marketing. Younger generations want personalized, unobtrusive marketing efforts. For your practice to thrive and survive in the future you will need to meet the needs and expectations of those generations.

Why you need to recruit milleninials

For your business to thrive you need clients who are still in the Wealth Accumulation stage of the Financial Planning Life Cycle (as shown above). At this time most Baby-Boomers are moving through the “Children in College” phase and into the “Empty Nester” phase. Roughly 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day and that will continue for the next 15 years.

To maintain relevance in such a competitive industry, financial advisors must work twice as hard to cater to the future, even if that means moving away from word-of-mouth referrals that has been the gold standard for your entire career.  It may mean moving towards having a strong digital presence that draws in targets who have already identified a need that you might be able to help with.

Another reason to focus your marketing efforts on inbound tactics is that studies show 70% of internet users would prefer to learn about products via content instead of advertisements. Roughly half the world’s population uses the internet, with that figure even higher in developed nations. With the increase of internet users with adblock technology installed and the population steadily migrating away from traditional forms of media and towards digital media, nearly every industry is going to have to get serious about their content marketing, use of social media and their ability to personalize messages.

What does this mean?

For financial advisors and financial service providers, inbound marketing can be the next generations referral system. Instead of attracting one client and building through their network, establish your own network. Create engaging, informative content that can help solve consumer’s challenges and put it out into the world so those looking can find it, and more importantly find you.

This means you need to create your own social network, create engaging content, teach people things about finance through creative, engaging, educational content. Have them come to see you as a thought leader and when it’s time for their purchase decision, it’s likely they will choose the most experienced, capable financial advisor in their social network, which thanks to your efforts educating and engaging them is YOU.

Don’t be left behind in the new generation of digital marketing. Establish your name and build your social network. The only way to thrive in the future of of financial services is to show the world just how good you are – online!


What’s your most successful method of attracting people to your practice? Do you still rely on referrals? Are you a LinkedIn giant or is your website the go-to place to learn about finance? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ #OutboundIsOut

6 Lessons from Inbound Marketing in 2016 & What they Mean for 2017 [Part 2]


This is part 2 in the series “6 Lessons from Inbound Marketing in 2016 & What they mean for 2017”. In part 1, we discussed local SEO becoming more important, inbound marketing and blogging becoming a bigger part of the marketing mix, and social media becoming a lifestyle. In this article, I will focus on advertising, video content, and inbound marketing as a whole:

  1. Advertisements will have to adapt to the prevalent use of adblockers and a more critical consumer.
  • 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than two years ago. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • 73% of people dislike pop-up ads. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • 4 out of 5 of people have left a webpage because of a pop-up or autoplaying video ad. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • 72% of consumers say they would have a lower opinion of a brand if they subjected the consumer to a pop-up ad. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • 34% of consumers say they have mistakenly clicked on an online ad. (HubSpot, 2016)

Consumers are being more and more critical towards ads. If a webpage is hindered with advertisements that effect a positive customer experience, then consumers will respond with an adblocker or even worse, simply exit the page. In my experience, there have been many times where I have instantly exited a page the moment sounds from a video played without me having prompted the video myself. If I have to be on that website, the first thing I will do is stop the automatic video. If this is the type of response consumers have to a website, they will likely leave to go to a competitors How advertising will adapt is up to the creators, but what is true is that they will need to evolve in line with consumer preferences and keep customer experience a priority.

  1. Video content is now the most popular format.
  • 55% of people consume video content thoroughly. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers. (HubSpot, 2016)

The ongoing trend and popularity of online videos will take the next year by storm as more companies will invest in creating video content. 48% will create content for YouTube, the king of user-created video content, and 39% will create for Facebook, which has recently become increasingly popular. Below is the complete graph showing what distribution channels businesses will use.


  1. Marketers will put more emphasis on inbound marketing.
  • Inbound organizations are 4 times as likely to rate their marketing strategy as effective. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • Just 61% of marketers believe their marketing strategy is effective. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • One-third of marketers think outbound marketing tactics are overrated. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • 33% of inbound marketers and 31% of outbound marketers rank outbound marketing practices, such as paid advertising, as the top waste of time and resources. (HubSpot, 2016)

This is more of an internal trend. There’s a shift occurring in mainstream marketing to try and pull consumers towards you with engaging content. This could be in reaction to #4. Advertising is slowly being viewed more negatively, so more and more marketers have chosen an inbound strategy to combat it. For more information about the differences between inbound and outbound marketing, click here.



Overall, 2016 has kept a lot of marketing trends stable. There have been numerous improvements to local SEO, advertisements, and inbound marketing that will continue well into 2017. Companies have started investing more in creating content, specifically blogging and video. It is hard to predict the future, but these statistics can give us a good idea where the general direction is going.

Financial Advisors: Driving Website Traffic and Improving Search Engine Rankings

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The topics and questions from this series of articles are derived from our survey on blog topics. What topics would you like us to cover in future blogs, webinars, and eBooks? Fill out this quick survey and we will generate content to answer your questions. Thank you to all of those who have participated.


“Ideally when someone Googles for an Advisor in my area, I want my website at the top of the search.  What can I do to get my website to show/drive traffic to it?” 


You don’t have complete control over where and how your website shows up in search engines, but you do have a lot more power and control than you might think. Improving your Search Engine Ranking and website traffic is a process that occurs from consistent effort applied over a longer period of time.

So, let’s dissect this question into 2 parts:

  1. How can I make my website at the top of the search?
  2. How can I drive more traffic to my website?

There’s a lot that you can do to help improve your website’s chances of showing at the top of search. The higher your website is in search engine rankings, the more traffic you will get to your website.

Google My Business

A starting point is to increase your local ranking through Google My Business. Google My Business is a Google service that connects individuals, who are searching online, with businesses in their neighbourhood. It helps you get your business hours, phone number, and directions on Google Search and Maps.

You should also start by “Googling” your business. Do you see search results that look like the image below? Below is a search for “Veriday”. With this example, you can see 3 benefits of simply being listed on Google My Business – Veriday’s address, interactive map, listing information, and directions when you “send to my phone”.  Google/customer reviews are also front and centre.


It is very important to claim and optimize your Google My Business page.  As you know, 89 percent of consumers use search engines for purchase decisions. Google My Business is a critical component to ensuring your business shows up when people are searching for the products and services you offer. On top of helping your search engine rankings, your Google My Business Page show prospects your:

  • Location
  • Contact details
  • Business hours
  • Directions
  • Photos of your office
  • Other photos that you may want to upload to Google that show off your business or your people
  • Customer Reviews

For more information on Google My Business, check out our previous post here.

Click here to get started on setting up your Google My Business page.


Blogging is perhaps the most effective way to increase your organic website traffic. Search engines, such as Google, are ranking websites that are continuously updated with fresh, new, and useful content, higher on the list of results. Google’s goal is to provide the best search results for their customers and have determined that websites with more frequently updated, relevant content are more appealing and important to searchers. When Google “crawlers” come to audit your website to see if anything has changed, they report their findings back to Google. In addition, the crawlers are looking for relevant content. For example: A financial advisor website, with fresh and unique financial advice blogs, will have a better chance of ranking higher in search engines.

81% online consumers trust information and advice from blogs (BlogHer). Blogging is one of the most effective ways to provide value to prospects and clients by answering questions they may have in a helpful and targeted way.

Additionally, every positive experience that a user has with your website, or with an interesting ‘share-able’ blog, increases the likelihood of them returning and referring people, driving more traffic to your website.

Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines

There is plenty you can do to boost search engine traffic to your website at no cost except your time. Below are some techniques to get you started on increasing your search engine ranking and driving traffic to your website:

  1. Is your website mobile optimized?

40% of people will choose another result if the first one they land on is not mobile friendly (Sweor). With mobile users exceeding desktop users, having a responsive Advisor website has never been more important. On top of that, Google’s algorithm gives an additional search engine-ranking boost for mobile-friendly websites in the mobile search results.  The image below shows a website in search results that is deemed mobile-friendly.

Mobile Friendly in Search Engines

Digital Agent users – don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. All of your websites are 100% mobile friendly aka “responsive”.

     2. Back-links

A backlink is a hyperlink that links from someone else’s web page, back to your website. Back-links are important for Google to determine the popularity or importance of your website. Remember, Google tries its best to rank websites in accordance with its relevance and importance to the searcher. How many people visit and ‘recommend’ your site with a back-link is one way to determine how popular your website is.

An easy way to create back-links is to ask partners to link to your site in return for you linking to their website. For example, links from recommended lawyers, mortgage brokers, real-estate agents, are not only relevant to your business but they improve your importance in the search engine world.

    3. Use Meta Descriptions and Title Tags

Meta descriptions provide a concise preview of a website page’s content when it appears on search engine results page. Below is an example of a title with a Meta description under it.

Meta descriptions must be short, unique and relevant. It’s better to have a custom Meta description that instils curiosity in your audience and convinces them to click on your website in their search results. Try to include relevant keywords (the words you think your prospects are searching for) in both your Meta description and your title tag with each page of your website (including each blog you post).

  4. Research Relevant Keywords

What are people searching for when they are looking for your services? Use keywords on your website that are specific to your product or service. Over time, Google will identify your website or blog as a destination for that particular subject which will help boost your content and website in search engine rankings. However, ensure you are using your keywords appropriately and don’t overuse them as Google can penalize you for “keyword stuffing”.

Are you an Advisor in the Toronto region? If that’s the case, you should try to use relevant keywords (such as “Financial Advisor in Toronto Region”) in your titles, Meta descriptions, ALT tags and so on.

  5. Optimize your ALT tags for Images

Research shows that coloured visuals increase a person’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80% (Hubspot). It is also important to include alternative text tags, also known as ALT tags, so that Google can better understand the information on your site. “A picture tells a thousand words” is true, but Google cannot understand what the photos are about without ALT tags.

Social Media

Build a presence on social media networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ etc. All of these networks help to expand your reach, get your name, business and website address out there on the Internet. Sharing your website content and blog posts through social media accounts, like Twitter and LinkedIn, is a great way to push out your content, while driving traffic back to your website.

Advisors: Ramp up your Lead Generation with an eBook

Consumers no longer want to be sold to, but rather educated. Considering that 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to you, one of the best ways to build trust and credibility is through content marketing. As a Financial Advisor, there are many benefits to creating engaging content including building trust with prospects, getting noticed online, improving your search engine ranking, and many more.

Is an eBook part of your content marketing strategy? In this article we will discuss why eBooks are one of the most effective content marketing techniques. Try not to think of an eBook as a 100-page novel that you’re publishing online, but rather a digital resource that your audience will value while further establishing your expertise in the financial industry. So, why should you write an eBook?

It’s a great lead generation strategy

Followed by whitepapers, webinars and case studies, eBooks rank fourth in the list of types of content used to make B2B purchasing decisions (Curata). eBooks are considered to be high-value pieces of content since they are usually an in-depth look into a topic. With a higher perceived value, your audience will be more willing to provide you with their contact information in exchange for access to your eBook. This is a win-win situation for lead generation; your prospects will receive something valuable and in return, your contact list will grow.

It boosts your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)             

Search engines love websites that are constantly being updated with unique and fresh content. This means that Google will send crawlers to your website more frequently, helping you rank higher for keywords that you are targeting. As a result, this will help increase your website visibility and attract more prospects to your website. Another aspect that helps boost your search engine ranking and increase visibility is through new and return visitors to your website. If your audience feels that your website is a great source for valuable information, they are more likely to return for more. With a higher number of visits – your search engine ranking will improve.

Effectively repurposes your content

Content repurposing involves taking your existing content and adapting it to a new content angle or format. Incorporating this into your content marketing strategy is a great way to get more mileage out of your content. eBooks are a great way to repurpose your content because you can compile existing blogs that fall under the same topic. For example, we have repurposed some of our blogs to create the following eBook: How Financial Advisors can use Content Marketing to Boost Website Traffic. And, best of all is that eBooks can go anywhere. You can post them on social media, and other websites, as well as use them in your email marketing efforts. Your audience will appreciate having different ways to read your eBook.

Promotes thought-leadership

As Bill Gates once said, “Content is King.” Without unique and fresh content, your Advisor website will blend in with the crowd. A great way to differentiate your business and establish thought leadership is by writing an eBook. Creating a quality eBook helps to cement you as a thought-leader and establishes authority in your field. An eBook demonstrates to your target audience that you have a depth of knowledge to share on specific topics in your industry.

There are many different strategies you can implement to expand the reach of your eBook. Here are a few different ways to market your eBook, as well as a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Put it on the homepage of your website or blog
  • Build popularity and awareness through link building, social media and email marketing
  • Use CTAs throughout your website that lead to your eBook landing page. Try A/B testing to see which CTAs are more effective.
  • Make sure to collect the names and emails of people downloading your eBook

eBooks are a great way to boost your SEO, connect with prospects, generate leads, and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Writing an eBook can be very time consuming, but a great way to start is to organize your ideas and start writing smaller blog posts that you can eventually repurpose and compile into an eBook.


Financial Advisors: Using Niche Marketing to Grow your Business


As more people obtain their CFP certification, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Advisors to prove their value over competitors.

It used to be common for small businesses to market themselves as a “one-stop shop.”   This made sense when it was difficult to access a range of Financial Advisors. However, with the arrival of the Internet and powerful search engines, as well as the vast amounts of content available online, this has all changed. Now, trying to be a “one stop shop” offers much less competitive advantage in the overcrowded online market.

Many Advisors believe that by being a generalist, they are able to reach more people, which will lead to more potential clients. The reality is, it is difficult to sell everything to everyone, and even more difficult when you are trying to do it online. If you cast too wide of a net online, you won’t catch many fish at all. The challenge with a general audience is that your online messaging can become very generic and as a result, less persuasive and engaging.

So, you want to grow your business online, and build a more effective online presence? Why is defining your niche market one of the first things you need to do?

Niche Marketing

First off, what is niche marketing?  According to Business Dictionary, “niche marketing is concentrating marketing efforts on a small but specific and well defined segment of the population. Niches do not ‘exist’ but are ‘created’ by identifying needs, wants, and requirements that are being addressed poorly or not at all by other firms, and developing and delivering services to satisfy them. As a strategy, niche marketing is aimed at being a big fish in a small pond instead of being a small fish in a big pond.

The objective of niche marketing is to become the expert and go-to for that service and audience, and develop a reputation as the preferred Financial Advisor for that market. Niche Advisors become specialists with expertise in solving particular problems for a particular set of people with similar challenges. And because prospects see niche businesses as specialists, they are often more willing to pay a premium price for what they will perceive as being a higher level of expertise than generic Advisors.

In the digital age, is it no longer safe to be a generalist.

You only have a split second, if you’re lucky, to catch a prospects eye when they are rifling through their Google search results. In a world where you are competing with thousands (even millions) of websites, the last thing you want to do is get buried because your content is generic, and similar to all of the other Advisors marketing themselves online. Ask yourself, with so many Advisors and so much content online, why should a prospect do business with you over another Advisor that they have come across in Google searches?

Build your online presence around your niche market.

These days, the only way to grab someone’s attention is by providing them with something that is relevant and provides value. Instead of the risk of spreading yourself too thin by saying everybody is your potential client, niche marketing will help you to focus your online efforts, keywords and content on a specific group of people, and what their specific needs and challenges are. You’ll quickly develop a deep understanding of what’s important to them, the ins-and-outs of their financial affairs, their problems and opportunities. From there, you will know exactly what content to create and share with your digital network; crafting valuable content that is specifically targeted towards their buyer journey and the challenges they are facing.

The best way to ensure that your website content is valuable is to make sure it fits the criteria of informative, interesting and relevant. If your content is informative, it will either answer a question often asked by your niche market, or provide valuable insights related to your niche market. If your content is interesting, it is written in a way that makes your niche market want to read it. If your content is relevant, then it relates to the lives, challenges, work, or interests of your niche market. In order for your niche website to stand out and rank higher than the others, you’re going to need great niche centered content that is informative, interesting and valuable to readers and potential customers

Targeting keywords and content that align with your target audience’s search queries will also help in your Search Engine Optimization efforts; helping you to rank higher in your specialized niche market.

Winning the “Micro-Moments” in Financial Services Marketing

“The old days of predictable, periodic media sessions have been replaced by numerous short bursts of digital activity throughout the day.” Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior VP of ads and commerce at Google.

This, is what Google has recently called “micro-moments”, a term coined in 2015 that you can expect to become more fully realized across all digital media in 2016.

What exactly is a “micro-moment?” According to Google, Micro-moments are moments when consumers act on a need; to learn something, discover something, and do something. A micro-moment is a window of opportunity when your audiences want to know or do something; where decisions are being made and preferences shaped. In short, they are open windows of “in the moment” opportunities when someone searches for something top-of-mind using the closest device to them. Think about these scenarios as “I want” or “I need” moments, when the consumers want to know something right then and there.

Micro-Moments (1)

 Image by Google:  Img source

What does this mean for Financial Service Marketers?

Did you know that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less? 40% of consumers will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. This is just one way that a consumer’s micro moment can be won or lost.

Financial Institutions and Advisors battle for clients, and dollars are won (or lost) in these micro-moments. In fact, Google reports that consumers are often more loyal to their need in the moment than a particular brand or product. They are attracted to the brands that satisfy their needs in those “micro-moments”. The significance of these micro-moments to financial service marketers is that they will be able to leverage them to be there when their prospects or clients need them.

Every time a prospects needs or wants something, it is an opportunity for you to provide and be more then just an Advisor. How can Financial Services compete for those micro moments?

To start, identify your prospects and clients’ buyer journeys, and identify those “micro-moments” that matter most. Where do prospects want to find information about financial services? Where do they want to learn about saving and retirement? How can you help them save money or spend more effectively? How can you be more helpful online in the moment? What content can you deliver to engage them in a meaningful way?

It comes down to showing your prospects and clients that you can help in their daily lives, and not just when they are present in your office for a meeting. To win micro-moments, understand your prospects intent, and then provide them with the most relevant, useful and high quality information that addresses their need in the moment.  The strongest brands will capitalize on these micro moments and evolve to match these moments with valuable content.