4 Keys to Building A Solid Advisor Transformation Program

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Customer expectations are evolving as rapidly as technology. Because of this constant evolution, brands need to adapt how they interact with their customers. Financial organizations are turning to their advisors as an additional marketing channel. However, to adopt this sort of marketing strategy requires implementation of new technologies and processes. This is why it is important for any organizations to be agile in order to get behind these evolving strategies and to implement transformational programs.

If you have decided to take the next step and implement an advisor marketing program, we want to provide you with 4 keys to building a solid advisor transformation program. The 4 keys are: connecting strategy to transformation, get adoption in check, positioning for growth, and check your vendor surroundings. Let’s dive in…

Connecting Strategy to Transformation

If you are looking to improve your advisor marketing because you want to use a platform with name recognition or to try a different platform, you may be setting yourself up for failure. To properly implement a transformational program, it needs to be closely linked to the organizational strategy. To ensure the transformation and strategy are connected, these are some questions you will want to ask:

  •      What does the end look like?

○    Can you visualize what your programs will look like after achieving full transformation? If you cannot visualize it, you probably haven’t connected the transformation to the strategy.

  •      Is there a clear link between the transformation and a tangible business objective?

○    Regardless of what the objective may be, if the transformation is not tied to that objective, it will be difficult to apply tactics to reach that goal.

  •      Do you have a decision-making framework?

○    Having a proper framework will help you stay agile and determine when to take on new initiatives.

For example, these are some of the key questions we use at Veriday when working with our clients to help establish a decision-making framework.

Get Adoption in Check

After you have implemented your transformational strategy that will accommodate new initiatives, it is important to understand adoption. Look to document the most important user actions that equate to a business value. Whether it’s a single action or a process, the purpose it to equate “Action A” to “Business Value Y”.

After creating this adoption checklist of the important user actions, ensuring that these actions can be measures is crucial as it enables the program success to be quantified and keep the checklist simple. Furthermore, the list of user actions should be kept small. Don’t go overboard – only keep a list of 3 to 5 actions. In keeping the list small, it will result in a greater ability to measure the actions. In keeping this checklist to monitor adoption overtime, it is important to measure at an established frequency and consistency. If the list becomes too large, the frequency will suffer.

In the simplest terms, here is how we may measure adoption and their impact on the business.

  •      Advisor wrote a blog post = 70% traffic increase in organic traffic
  •      Reviewed a piece of content = 10% increase in review times
  •      Create a new lead form = 60% forms are lead-based
  •      Size of their email list = 50-60% open rates

Positioning for Growth

The goal of implementing any new program regardless of industry or department is business growth. To ensure your organization is lined up to grow after the transformational program, these of some key question to ask.

  •      How many different departments or groups are aware of your advisor marketing program?
  •      How many different departments or groups participate in your advisor marketing program?
  •      Are the conversations meaningful?

Check Your Vendor Surroundings

The fourth and final key to building a solid advisor transformation program is examining your vendor options. Take the time to critically examine your vendor ecosystem and what their strategic fit is within various marketing areas. Some questions you will want to ask about your current, as well as future vendors are:

  •      Do your technology vendors have a roadmap?

○      Have they seen your organization’s roadmap?

  •      Have they shown you their roadmap?
  •      Have they aligned their roadmap to yours?
  •      Are your vendors adaptable to changes?

As you start to implement a transformational program, the adoption and success of the program remain unknown. Only until it’s in the wild, will you know how it will be received by customers. For this reason, it is important that your vendors are agile to these changes.

 

3 Most Important Features of a “Digital Handshake”

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Business is all about relationships. Professionals working in sales and marketing spend their entire careers developing relationships with prospects. Commercial relationships, like any relationship, needs to be built on a foundation of trust. Once upon a time, a handshake was the ultimate symbol of trust in business; however, that time may be slowly coming to an end. More and more commercial relationships are built solely online with a salesperson and their customers never meeting in person. This distance has put a wrench in things. Trust is now harder to develop, simply due to the distance brought upon by digital channels.

So what can marketers and salespeople do to continue to build relationships and develop trust through digital channels? At Veriday, we believe the answer lies into mastering your “digital handshake.”

What is a “digital handshake?” Well, it’s the process in which brands and professionals can develop trust through digital channels, usually social media. A digital handshake and a physical handshake have many similarities. Similarities include the fact that other parties will judge you on the “quality” of the handshake.

A good physical handshake will be firm, dry (no sweaty hands), and includes eye contact. What factors play a role in the quality of a digital handshake?

1. Authentic Digital Handshake

Your digital handshake needs to be authentic. Consumers are digitally savvy and will be able to tell if you are peddling half-truths or trying to hide your true self. Your messaging on social media, the design and overall “feel” of your website, and your communication tone should reflect your true self. Authenticity is a fundamental component of a digital handshake.

2. Omnichannel Digital Handshake

There is a difference in the handshake between people who are meeting for the first time and established, long-time colleagues. The stronger a relationship is, the more personal the handshake will feel.

The same thinking should apply to your digital handshake. You need a true omnichannel strategy to ensure that no matter how well an audience member knows you, no matter how close your relationship is, you can provide the correct response. Your digital handshake will be less trustworthy if you send the same cookie cutter, automated response to everyone, regardless of how many interactions you have had, what their request is, or the medium, you will turn off prospects because you will feel “too robotic.”

Your digital handshake needs to be able to follow people across various mediums to be truly effective.

3. Warm Digital Handshake

The final quality your digital handshake needs to have is lots of warmth. The tone of your messaging, the imagery you use, and the intimacy of your interactions will determine the warmth of your digital handshake. We’ve discussed it many times before, but warmth is one of the two most important factors in how your brand is perceived by your customers and prospects alike.

A high-quality digital handshake takes strategic thinking but will help you build relationships with potential customers through digital channels. At Veriday, we help brands undergo digital transformation and can help you develop websites, portals and other digital properties that will help develop relationships between your brand and your ideal customers. Contact us, if you need guidance in digitally transforming your business.

If you want some more fantastic information about digital transformation and improving your digital handshake, follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ and LinkedIn

Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit: Europe – Recap

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Last week, Veriday CEO, Marc Lamoureux (@mlamveriday), attended the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit: Europe in London, England. In addition to having our CEO speak, Veriday was a Gold Sponsor of the event. The event took place at the Tower Hotel, located along the River Thames, next to the world famous World Heritage Site, The Tower of London from September 21st to September 22nd.

The setting was phenomenal. In the shadows of a medieval tower, financial marketers from across the world shared ideas about how the financial services industry can prepare for the future. In a location that for centuries has been used to isolate people and valuables from the rest of society, digital marketers discussed how the financial services industry can create more connections.

Our CEO, Marc Lamoureux, took the stage on Day 1 of the event to discuss how banks and other financial institutions can humanize digital channels, making them more inviting to consumers. His presentation at the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit touched on several of the topics he discussed in one of our previous blog posts: Brand Personification: Why Should You Care?

The Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit: Europe featured many informative keynote presentations:

Thomas Barta (@ThomasBarta on Twitter), discussed how marketers need to become (and in many cases, are already becoming) leaders of change to open the conference. It was a motivational presentation that raised the energy in the room. After he left the stage, the energy in the room suggested that nearly everyone there was ready to become a more motivated agent of change.

Another excellent presentation, this one by Kirsten Burt of UBS, discussed how distributing content through client advisors benefits financial enterprises, customers and advisors alike. That keynote hit home for those in attendance from Veriday because we work every day to create better connections between financial agents and their customers.

At Veriday, we believe that “the human touch” is an important factor for financial brands. To help enable humanized digital experiences, we developed a platform, Digital Agent, that helps financial enterprises create compliant, on-brand digital experiences for their network of agents.

While those two presentations jumped out to us, there were so many excellent presentations about the use of data in financial services marketing, creating connections through digital channels and how financial services brands can prepare for the future.

If you missed the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit: Europe, don’t stress. There is another Summit coming up in just a few months. The Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit: New York, is less than two months away, you do not want to miss it!
To stay up to date on all our upcoming events, follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ. We hope to see you at our next events!

The 4 Building Blocks of Content Marketing Strategy

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The 4 Building Blocks of Content Marketing Strategy

30% of B2B and 38% of B2C marketers say they’re effective at content marketing. Those numbers jump 14% and 20% respectively among marketers with a documented content strategy.

To succeed at content marketing, you need to define a strategy. You’ll need to understand what your goals are, what resources you will need to achieve those goals and how you will measure success. Writing down your strategy has proven to increase the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts.

Companies with documented content strategies spend more (on average) on content marketing than those without. Marketers in these enterprises also feel less concerned by the day-to-day challenges associated with content marketing.

Your content marketing strategy will dictate how you will create content to meet the needs of your audience. From the size of the budget to media type, to frequency of content, your strategy will impact how content marketing adds value to your organization.

So what are the four building blocks of content marketing strategy?

  1. Create Your Business Case

What motivated your company to begin content marketing? What do you need your content to accomplish? How do you plan to meet those requirements and your broader business goals using content?  How much will it cost and how much time will it take to achieve those goals? What will you do if your plan is not as successful as you hoped?

These are questions you need to ask yourself and develop an answer. If you cannot respond to these questions, you are not prepared to begin creating content. Having these answers is important because, without them, your efforts will seem disjointed and lack direction. Just like any other activity in your business, content marketing needs to be strategically planned to achieve best results.

There is another question that marketers need to answer before they begin creating content: Who is this for? Marketing personas ensure that content creators have an understanding of their ideal audience.

  1. Define Your Personas

Marketing personas are representations of your ideal customers. These personas should be crafted using data, not stereotypes. That means research is needed to be completed to truly define your personas. You will need to research your audience’s interests and needs, buying habits and how they consume content. Once you have this information, you can build your personas. It’s likely that your audience includes more than one type of individual, so you will need to prepare multiple personas.

Why are marketing personas so important?

They are important because, without them, it becomes difficult to create content that speaks to the unique needs and interests of your audience. The most successful content is targeted at a specific type of person at a specific stage of the buying cycle. Your buyer personas help you ensure your message is on point and you create content that engages your audience and enhances your brand.

  1. Develop Your Brand Story

Every brand has a story. Every brand story should explain why the business exists, but every story has unique details. The main challenge for marketers lies in figuring out how to tell that story in an authentic, engaging way.

Another major challenge in developing your brand story is finding the right tone and voice for your brand. It is easy to come off as flippant or disinterested based solely on the tone of your writing. You need to manage your brand’s voice to project warmth and good intentions to your audience.

Developing a brand story is important because it gives the audience the required information to empathize with you. If your story is engaging, told in a warm, inviting tone and accurately describes why the business exists it can engender a stronger connection between you and your customers.

For more information on the power of storytelling in business check out our article: The Power of Storytelling in the Business World.

  1. Create Your Channel Plan

The final thing you need to know before creating content is where to place your content. There are many options for hosting content. Your website’s blog is an excellent property to host content. If you have a mobile app, perhaps your content would be most at home there. Depending on your target audience and overall business goals, you may want to use a mixture of channels to host your content.

Other factors that need to be considered when creating a channel plan include:

  • How will you share the content with relevant members of the audience?
  • Will you use social media to share your content? If so, which platforms will you use?
  • How can you earn more impressions?
    • Can your content be used in industry publications?
    • Can you earn any media impressions?
  • What channel will our content perform best on?

These are just some of the questions you need to consider when creating your channel plan. Every plan is unique and is dependent on your overall business goals, your target audience and how you want to tell your story. Once you have these four building blocks of content marketing strategy in place, you can dive right in.

Are you ready to start your content marketing journey? Are there any other “building blocks” that we missed? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or follow us on LinkedIn.

More Than Price: How Service Contributes to Experience

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Consumers make purchase decisions based on many factors. Price, convenience, the value provided by purchase and service quality are four criteria that customers consider when making a purchase decision. Traditionally, the price is the differentiating factor that pushes consumers in one way or another. Distinguishing your service based on price is fine if all else is equal, but the other characteristics can be used to differentiate your service from those of your competitors.

  • Value Provided by Purchase

In financial services, it can be difficult to convey the exact value that your services will bring customers. Customers in financial services usually have a good understanding of what they are shopping for and have a basic understanding of what the “value” is. If they are seeking to buy a home, they will find mortgage specialists. If they want a new credit card, they will only be shopping for credit cards. Since the customers already know what they want, it can be difficult to explain why your service is more valuable than the competitors offer.

When attempting to explain why your services can provide more value, the conversation devolves into explaining how you can offer better prices, lower fees or better interest rates.

To demonstrate the fact that you offer better value to the customer, you should try to focus your efforts on explaining why you, as a person, can provide value that a competitor cannot match. Are you more competent than your competition? Give examples of your competence, explaining how you can do a good job for your customer. Do you come across as more trustworthy? Then demonstrate why your trustworthiness is valuable to your client. Whatever you do, try to prove your value in ways that do not revolve around pricing. To learn more about providing value through trustworthiness, check out our article: How Warmth and Competence Affect Customer Perceptions.

If the prospect does not see the difference in value provided by two professionals, their decision will revolve around other characteristics. Often, that characteristic is the price. To avoid a race to the bottom, financial services professionals should avoid positioning their business based solely on price. So, what other ways can financial services professionals demonstrate the differences between themselves and their competition?

  • Convenience

Customers want convenience when dealing with financial services organizations. There was a time when banks held hours that were inconvenient for their clients. People want to manage their financial services at times that work for them. Businesses need to make their services accessible to the average consumer.

How can you make your services more convenient?

Be available wherever and whenever your customers need you. Consider offering to schedule client meetings outside of regular office hours. Offer to meet people in their home after dinner. Maybe they would like to meet at a diner for lunch? Maybe they can only make time in their schedule early Sunday morning.

To thrill your customers, do what it takes to be available to them, when they want and where they want. Convenient service will reduce friction in your relationship, allowing the quality of your service and the value you provide to shine through. What is at risk if financial services do not begin to prioritize convenience? Check out our article: Financial Services: A Case for Industry Disruption.

  • Service Quality

Service quality is the factor that matters most to consumers. Regardless of price, convenience, or other factors, nearly every customer is looking for high-quality service.

How can you improve the quality of your service?

The first thing you can do to improve the quality of your service is by perfecting your service offering. Your offering should meet the needs and desires of your niche. Figure out which characteristics your niche values and ensure that those components are built into the service offering. Design your services with your niche in mind, so every step of the journey is based on their wants and needs.

The second thing you can do to improve your service quality is carefully managing the customer journey. Design the customer journey with the end user in mind. What does that mean? Well, you should provide opportunities for customer education that adds value.

Customers are engaged when they feel as if their voice is heard by their financial services professional. What stages of the buyer journey involve customer input? Provide educational opportunities to help the customer move through the journey with more knowledge and agency. If you can make customers feel involved in your service process, they will be more engaged and less at risk of leaving your practice.

A lot more than just price goes into any purchase decision. It does not have to be a race to the bottom; there are many other criteria that you can compete on.

What criteria do you think are most important to your customers? Is it price? Is it service? Why do you think that is? We would love to hear your thoughts on Twitter @VeridayHQ. If you’re interested, follow us on Linkedin here.

Write Powerful Content: Blogs, Ebooks and More

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Writing content for the web has its challenges, but if done correctly can bring positive results to your business. You may feel that you’re ready to write your first articles, but without these fundamentals in place, your writing may not return the expected results.

These fundamentals of writing engaging content should help you create high-performing, web-friendly content:

  • Write with an Objective in Mind

Successful content isn’t written willy-nilly, it’s written with a particular purpose in mind. Writers should be asking themselves: “What is the point of this article?” You need to know what action (if any) you want to motivate and write the article with that goal in mind.

Do you want to sell something? Are you trying to educate the audience on your value proposition? Trying to highlight a pain point that you can alleviate? Do you just want to provide your audience with information that may have value for them?

When writing for the web, you should know what your objective is and how your writing can help you meet that goal.

Writing with an objective in mind allows the author to focus on grabbing the reader’s attention and conveying the essential information. Focusing on one goal when writing brings a level of focus to your articles and will draw the attention of those with interest in the subject.

  • Write with the Audience in Mind

Every business has an ideal customer. You should direct your writing towards that person.

What type of content will peak their interest? What level of knowledge does the audience have? How will your writing influence their perception of your brand? Is the subject you want to write about related to the rest of your blog? What messages do you want to address? What topics generate interest from your audience?

By having an answer to all these questions, you can create content that will draw higher audience engagement and keep them coming back to your blog. To get the best results, you should aim to prominently feature the most relevant, valuable information throughout your article or blog post.

  • Share the Content

Good writing gets shared across the web. Why waste time writing compelling, engaging content with an objective and an audience in mind if there is no chance anyone can find it? Share your content via every channel you employ, including social media, search engines, and email newsletters. You can even distribute high-quality content through traditional media publishers through sponsored articles (or earned media).

Regardless of which channels used, the goal of writing for the web is to communicate relevant information to as many members of your intended audience as possible. For that to happen, you will want to adopt a strategy of communication, building a relationship with your audience and encouraging them to share the content with their network.

To ensure your content gets in front of those interested in your subject matter, you also need to optimize your content for search.

  • Feature Important Information Prominently

One of the most important aspects of writing for the web involves prominently featuring essential information in your article. Most people do not read blog posts on the internet the same way they would read a novel. Readers often skim blog posts for keywords and other important information. In fact, studies have found that only 20% of the text on a web page is read. The rest is either ignored or skimmed.

Another reason you should prominently feature relevant information in a blog post is to increase your visibility in search engines. Web crawlers (robots created to index the web) look for the most relevant information as well. We have written several articles about SEO such as:

Beginner’s Guide to Improving Your Website’s Local SEO, and

Advisors: Why The New SEO Is Actually All About Content Marketing.

Those articles explain how SEO works, and what you can do to create high performing content.

So, how can you ensure that your articles are informative and provide value to the audience, knowing that the content will not be fully read?

Feature keywords and other essential information in:

  • Headers
  • Tags (title, meta description, alt tags, image tags)
  • First paragraph of text (to ensure those reading it understand the article)

These tips can help your writing achieve more widespread success on the web. What else needs to be considered when writing for the web? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or follow us on LinkedIn.

6 KPIs of Customer Experience in Financial Services

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Every business, regardless of industry, wants engaged and happy customers. In fact, in the financial services sector, customers who are fully engaged bring 37% more annual revenue to their primary bank than those who are actively disengaged. There are direct benefits for financial service institutions with fully engaged customers.

It is important to understand the quality of your customer engagement efforts so your business can improve the customer experience, and drive revenue. These six key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential for understanding the quality of your customer experience.

  1. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

    Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a number that represents the general sentiment surrounding your brand. Consumers are broken into three categories depending on how they view your brand: promoters, passives, and detractors.

    Promoters are evangelists of your products or services. They use several of your products or services and share how great your services are with their network.

    Detractors are not fans of your brand or what you offer. They are not likely to do business with you again, and at worst, they might damage your reputation through negative reviews.

    Passives fall somewhere in the middle, they are somewhat satisfied but are willing to switch to a competitor if given an opportunity.

    To determine sentiment, you will need to ask your customers how they feel. Do this either through surveys, or a “Voice of the Customer” program. Understanding the concerns of your customers, whether they be promoters or detractors, can help you bridge the gap between your services and customer expectations. Bridging that gap will help you improve the quality of your customer experience.

    NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of brand detractors from the percentage of brand promoters.  The higher your NPS is, the better you are doing.

  2. Conversion Rate

    Conversion Rate is a percentage of converted leads. It’s a relatively straightforward metric that demonstrates the effectiveness of your sales funnel. The conversion rate is measured by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of leads for the same period. A buyer’s journey with high friction will lead to a low conversion rate. Conversion rate can be used to measure the quality of the pre-sales portion of the customer journey.

    Conversion Rate should be monitored and recorded through every reporting period as it can highlight areas of high-friction in the buyer’s journey. Your goal should be to find and eliminate those points of friction.

    A short sales funnel that gets a customer from lead to sale quickly and smoothly will yield a high conversion rate. A low conversion rate could mean your sales funnel has points of friction that prevent a conversion. Find those friction points, eliminate them, and you make the customer experience an easier one while improving your conversion rate.

    Conversion rates vary between industries. Use a benchmark that is relevant for your business. In financial services, conversion rates can be quite low, with many visitors never making contact. In other situations, such as an app on the Google Play store, conversion rates are as high as 30%. A general rule to follow is: the more expensive the purchase is, the lower the conversion rate will be.

  3. Time on Site

    The time somebody spends on your digital property (website, portal, app, etc.) is an excellent indication of the quality of customer experience. A well-designed digital property will provide the audience with content to interact with, which keeps them on the site longer. This is important because the more time a prospect spends interacting with your website, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

    An extended amount of time spent on your digital properties, coupled with a high number of page views is an indication that you have engaging, informative content and you’re doing a good job managing your digital properties.

    Time on the website should not be examined on its own, but always viewed in the context of your overall engagement strategy. Time on site needs to be analyzed alongside page views and click-through rate to avoid scenarios where the tab was left open, but the customer is not interacting with it. As with all KPI’s of customer engagement, it needs to be viewed in a broader context.

  4. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

    Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a metric that assesses the total financial value of each customer. CLV is an important metric in financial services because of how wealth grows. Instead of making one-off purchases, customers in financial services entrust professionals to manage and grow their wealth over the course of years. That means a customer’s lifetime value is highly correlated to how long they remain loyal customers. In other industries, such as aviation, one big purchase can yield the entirety of a customer’s CLV. In financial services, CLV is often grown through recurring management fees and successful growth of the customer’s assets. For that reason, it is an excellent long-term indicator of customer experience.

    CLV is an even better indicator of your customer experience quality if it’s viewed as a progression over time. If the average CLV is growing over time, it is a good indication that you provide a high-quality experience and clients want to keep doing business with you. If your CLV is shrinking, something might be amiss.

    Engaged customers spend more money and are loyal to a business over time. For those reasons, Customer Lifetime Value might be the purest indicator of the long-term quality of your customer experience.

  5. Customer Effort Score (CES)

    Customer Effort Score (CES) is a metric that represents how much effort your customers have to expend to proceed through the buyer’s journey. A low effort score means it’s easy for your customers to accomplish tasks and get information. Frictionless service generates a low CES, which in turn creates loyal customers.

    To determine CES, organizations are looking at data across multiple channels, from in-branch interactions to social postings, to determine just how difficult it is for customers to interact with your brand. Of course, various points of the journey will have varying scores. Therefore, it is possible to have very low scores in some parts of your journey and very high scores in other parts. In any case, it’s important to determine the level of friction in various sales and marketing channels.

    CES should be used to determine how much friction there is over the course of the buyer’s journey. A high CES can explain low customer acquisition rates and high amounts of customer churn. Your goal should be to have the lowest CES possible, meaning prospects moving through your buyer’s journey face an easy and painless process.

6. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your website who navigate away without clicking on anything. A high bounce rate means that more people are not interested in the content on the page. Bounce rate is an important metric to analyze because it shows the percentage of visitors who show a lack of interest in your website. There are a few factors that may contribute to a higher bounce rate, but regardless of the cause, you do not want visitors bouncing from your site.

One explanation for a high bounce rate would be a lack of content on the website. If nothing is interesting to click (or nothing at all), many visitors will try to find their information elsewhere. That likely means they will go to a competitors website.

Another explanation for a high bounce rate could be a poorly designed website. If the visitor cannot determine how to navigate through your site, and as a result, they will leave. A high bounce rate means you are not engaging visitors, and changes need to be made to your digital properties.

Takeaways

Many metrics can be used as performance indicators that speak to the quality of your customer experience. You should use a combination of metrics to gauge the success of your customer experience initiatives. No one metric is “bulletproof,” they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, metrics need to be tailored to a specific business activity. For example, some metrics are purely for digital channels; others are designed specifically for one platform. Other KPIs can be applied across an entire omnichannel experience. It’s up to you to decide which ones are most relevant for your business and track those metrics accordingly.

Monitoring KPIs should be done to gain an understanding of how your customers perceive their experience. Above all, you should use the information to determine how you can improve your customer experience.

What do you think the most useful KPIs of customer experience are? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ and follow us on LinkedIn! As always, thank you for reading, have a great day! In a previous post: Metrics to Measure Online Success we looked at performance indicators that measure online engagement.

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.

 

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter Ads: What’s the Best ROI?

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This post was authored by Claire Akin and originally appeared here on GuideVine.

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Facebook is the third most visited website in the world, with U.S. Facebook users spending 40 minutes per day on the platform — almost as much time as they spending eating and drinking. LinkedIn and Twitter are not far behind, with more than half of U.S. professionals actively using LinkedIn. With so much time spent on the “big three” social media platforms, it makes sense for advisors to advertise to prospects using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter ads. But which is the most cost-effective? That all depends on who you are trying to reach with your social media strategy.

Facebook Ads

Of the big three social media platforms, Facebook has the most robust and complex advertising capabilities. While the targeting criteria are incredibly powerful, the platform may be overwhelming to beginner users. You can target based on age, gender, location, income, interests, keywords, activity, “liked pages,” and more.

A popular way to use Facebook to target is with their “lookalike audience” function. You can upload a list of an advisor’s current clients’ email addresses and Facebook will run an algorithm to “match” the group and advertise to users who are demographically similar.

Facebook ads can be relatively inexpensive, but they can also have lower conversions than the other two platforms. There’s a lot of competition and noise on Facebook, so you’ll want to make sure that your ads are accurately targeting your prospects and that your clicks are converting into actual leads.

One way to accurately target prospects on Facebook is by advertising to users who have liked a specific page. For example, an advisor that has a large anesthesiologist client base targeted the state association of anesthesiologists Facebook page, which is highly representative of his target market. Other advisors use interest based groups like the local country club page to target prospects.

If you can’t find a page where prospects have effectively self-selected, it may be tough to accurately target prospects on Facebook using the other filters. The “interests” and “income” filters to be inaccurate at times, especially when micro-targeting specific zip codes. You’ll also want to consider whether your target demographic is using Facebook actively, which tends to have a younger and more female user base.

Prices on Facebook ads can vary widely, so it’s important to test your ads with small budgets and make adjustments until your cost per click is profitable for you. A good rule of thumb is to get close to or below about $1 per click. For a recent $100 campaign, we achieved an ad exposure of 4,800 and 110 clicks for a cost per click of $0.91.

LinkedIn Ads

The major upside to LinkedIn ads is the accuracy with which you can target based on industry, job title, employer, or seniority level. From there, you can filter by location, gender, and interests. For financial advisors, the targeting is more powerful than both Facebook and Twitter. However, if the employer you are targeting is small, you may not be able to place an ad directly to their employees due to minimum audience restrictions.

If your ads are setup correctly, you can be sure that the people who see them are highly qualified prospects. However, you will pay significantly more per click on LinkedIn than you will on Facebook or Twitter. It’s important to understand that while the cost per click is higher, your conversion rate may be much higher too, since the ad viewers are highly qualified.

In one case, an advisor with a $100 campaign budget targeted women executives in her affluent suburb. Her ad received 30,000 impressions and 30 clicks, for a cost per click of $3.29. One of the people who clicked through to the advisor’s website sent a message about a recent inheritance and her desire to find an advisor to help manage this new wealth.

For LinkedIn ads, you can create “sponsored content” ads, which give more exposure to a selected LinkedIn update within a user’s timeline or you can create text ads, which reside in the advertising section at the top of your newsfeed. While the prices are similar for both ad sets, I tend to prefer text ads since they seem to stand out more. If your message is more complex, you’ll want to use a sponsored update to take advantage of the graphic and greater space offered.

Twitter Ads

Ads on Twitter are basically sponsored tweets, so they show up in a user’s newsfeed like a normal tweet. You only pay for actions, such as clicks through to your website, and you can set a max cost per click to make sure your ad is profitable. Targeting is a challenge though, because Twitter lacks the detailed demographic information that Facebook and LinkedIn have.

The easiest way to target on Twitter is with keywords. You could target your ad towards those with the keyword “engineer” in their profile and narrow by gender and location. You can also target users who have followed a specific user, so to reach financial advisors, I could target followers of @GuidevineFA.

Because there is less advertising demand on Twitter, prices tend to be lower than LinkedIn and competitive with Facebook. If you’re able to accurately target your prospects, Twitter ads could be a great option.

The Verdict

The trick to running social media ads is to consider the results of the campaign in its entirety, not just the cost per click. Be sure that you give users an easy action to take, such as downloading a report or scheduling an online meeting. Then, make sure your website is tracking “conversions” and where they came from.

Overall, Facebook tends to have lower costs per click, but less qualified traffic. LinkedIn has higher costs per click, but much more qualified audiences. Twitter can be a low cost and highly targeted option, if you are able to select appropriate filters for your demographic.

When running social media ads, start by testing campaigns of $50, then adjusting to get a cost per click of less than $1 on Facebook and Twitter, and less than $4 on LinkedIn. Be sure to track website traffic and conversions using Google analytics so you can determine what the resulting traffic is doing on your site. Once you’ve created a campaign that performs and converts well, increase your budget to drive more traffic to your site.