Life Insurance companies need to improve their websites, Forrester’s study finds

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The number of people who conduct research online before making a purchase decision continues to increase each year. Your company website is more important than ever to your bottom line as digital touch points are continuing to reshape the customer journey and the way that Canadians are researching and buying life insurance.

In a recent study, Toronto based Forrester Research used their Digital Sales Functionality Benchmark methodology to evaluate the digital functionality of leading Canadian life insurance companies, and how well they are using digital touch points to win new business. The evaluations were categorized into three stages of the client experience journey:

  • Discover: Make it easy for prospects to find relevant coverage details quickly
  • Explore: Help prospects research and find the right coverage
  • Buy: Simplify the application and sale
Results of the Study

Overall, the study found that most of Canada’s largest life insurance companies are doing a poor job of helping prospects find adequate information online about life insurance. The study also found that these life insurance firms are less effective in helping consumers pick the right coverage and Advisor.

The study evaluated the public websites of four Canadian life insurance companies:  Great-West Life Assurance based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Empire Life Insurance based in Kingston, Ontario, and Toronto based Sun Life, Kanetix, and Manufacturers Life Insurance (Manulife).

Sun Life earned the top score of 75 out of 100 in the study. The report outlines how Sun Life communicates its strong value proposition, its ability to help clients navigate information to suit their needs and inform their choices, and the support it offers to clients looking for an advisor with a strong advisor locator tool. On the contrary, the study found that all of the companies have a ways to go to improve their websites, as the average industry score was only 47 out of 100. Forrester found that most of the other companies’ websites were inadequate in terms of providing tools to connect clients with local Advisors.

Given Advisors represent the most popular channel among Canadians to purchase life insurance, it is surprising that most websites fall short in terms of providing prospects with tools to connect clients with Advisors. A strong Advisor locator tool could help translate into more sales. One of the goals of a website is to take away the work from your prospects, making it as easy as possible to do what they want to do. The easier it is to complete an action, the more likely that action is to be completed.

Additionally, the report found the other areas of improvement include:

  • Tools to help clients and prospects get a quote and fill out an insurance application.
  • Information and tools to help prospects determine what type of coverage suits them, and how much.
  • After getting prospects attention, converting that attention into a sale.

The Forrester report explains that Life Insurance companies must address the cross-touchpoint shopping behaviors that exists in the life insurance market. Consumers are moving outside of the traditional buyer journey by changing the way they research and buy products. They are using digital touch points to research their options and move themselves through the buyer journey. Life insurance companies must respond to this new customer journey with a well designed, easy to navigate website, with clear calls to action. This is one of the most important factors in attracting and converting the new digital life insurance customer.

Financial Advisors: Beginner’s Guide to Improving your Website’s Local SEO

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Local SEO is one of the most important (and free!) online activities that you can do when building an online presence for your business. As a Financial Advisor, it is critical that you are found by your local market. By searching just one phrase, “financial advisors”, Google will output a map with all the local Financial Advisors’ business that have taken the steps to set up their business using online Google tools.  Bonus: it shows up at the very top too!

The statistics for local search alone are a reason to put in the effort to improve your local SEO. In Hubspot’s Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics, the numbers reflect how local SEO optimization can give your business an edge:

  • 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016)
  • 30% of mobile searches are related to a location. (Google, 2016)
  • 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. (Google, 2016)
  • Local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day. (Google, 2014)
  • 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. (Search Engine Land, 2014)

To help you get started on local SEO, we’ve compiled a small beginners guide to help boost your Advisory business online.

Step 1: Get your business onto Google My Business.

What is Google My Business? Google My Business is a service offered by Google that helps connect businesses and organizations to individuals. It provides a consistent user experience across all of Google’s key search related applications and across all devices like smartphones, tablets and desktops.

The “Google My Business” service includes Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Pages. For more information on what each service is, click here.

As for how to get your business onto Google My Business, first verify your business within Google My Business. It may take 1-2 weeks but it will give you access to many more features to help get your business into the forefront.

guide-to-seo-1

Simply fill out your information through this service to get your business onto Google. The more information, the better! That way your business is better categorized and appears in more searches. Another important part of Google My Business is to get your business onto Google Maps. For a more in depth look at Google Maps, click here.

Google may be the king of search, but forgetting about other channels can reduce the amount of consumers that can find you. Remember Bing Places for Business!

guide-to-seo-2

Step 1.5: Create a Facebook and Yelp page

This is much easier to do and only takes a few minutes to get up and running! Don’t forget to take good photos that show off both the exterior and interior of your business.

Step 2: Include consistent information on Google, Bing, Yelp, and Facebook (and any other channels that I haven’t included)

Much like having your information on as many search engines as possible, having consistent information across the many channels that your business could be on allows all potential customers to reach you effectively. Having different information across these platforms leads to an inconsistent and unprofessional image.

Step 3: Get your customers to leave reviews!

Ask your happy customers to leave reviews – the more real reviews, the better ranking you will get locally. You can do this in many ways, for example, you can include a widget on your website to allow them to submit a review easily.

Getting genuine and consistent reviews helps your business stand out online since it indicates a high quality business. After all, 88% of consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a local business meaning reviews are regarded as highly influential in consumer’s buying decisions.


As a Financial Advisor, many of your previous clients may have come from word of mouth. However, for the digitally savvy generations, being findable online is crucial. These days, only 49% of Millennials trust recommendations from family and friends, but, instead, they trust multiple customer reviews found on the internet. The easier it is to find your local business and see local reviews, the more likely they will be to choose you as a Financial Advisor!

6 Lessons from Inbound Marketing in 2016 & What they Mean for 2017 [Part 1]

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Inbound marketing tactics change year-in-year-out. What are some lessons from inbound marketing to take into next year?

  1. In 2016, local search was big contributor to traffic to business websites. This will lead to a huge emphasis on improving local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in 2017.  This is evident in the statistics below:
    • 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016)
    • 30% of mobile searches are related to finding a location. (Google, 2016)
    • 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. (Google, 2016)

In 2016, we saw a trend of consumers wanting local, searching local, and buying local. There seems to be a lot of factors contributing to this – one is a result of the new mobile landscape; 48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine (Smart Insights, 2016). This is likely because people are searching for things on the go and, of course, going to a business that is close by.

What does this mean for 2017? An emphasis on local SEO. Making sure your business is easy to find locally can drive a lot of targeted traffic, just like the case in 2016. This type of local SEO will become a crucial part of setting up an effective online presence. This includes setting your business up on Google Maps, investing in local SEO, and local citations. Most notably, “Google My Business”. This suite includes Google Pages, Maps, and Search. For more information, click here to read more on what Google My Business is and click here to read more about how it can benefit financial advisors.

  1. Inbound marketing, specifically blogging, has gained a lot more traction in 2016 and will likely continue to be a very important part of the marketing mix.
    • 60% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2016)
    • 1 in 10 blog posts are compounding, meaning organic search increases their traffic over time. (HubSpot, 2016)
    • Compounding blog posts make up 10% of all blog posts and generate 38% of overall traffic. (HubSpot, 2016)
    • Over its lifetime, one compounding blog post creates as much traffic as six decaying posts. (HubSpot, 2016)

2016 saw the majority of marketers placing a high importance on blog creation, rightfully so. Blogging created a lot more opportunities and traffic in conjunction with SEO techniques.

This trend will remain in 2017; I would even go as far to say that the impact on website traffic as a result of blogs will increase. The increase is partly due to the trend of local SEO and search engines becoming more accurate and refined; a focus on providing visitors with the highest quality and most relevant search results. In addition, content marketers and sales will be much more interconnected in the future since creating content, or blogging, will directly assist the salesperson in acquiring new business.

  • 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
  • 96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)

The link between content and buyers is as strong as ever so it seems only natural for the progression of content to be more in line to assist sales in moving prospects through the buyer journey. Adapting content strategies to the shifting buyer journey can fill gaps in knowledge. During the awareness stage, content can attract relevant visitors and coverts them to leads. Afterwards, during the consideration phase, content builds trust. Finally, during the decision stage, the buyers will have all of the knowledge they need to compare products/services, and ultimately pick the winner. Having content specific for these phases of the journey lifts some responsibilities from the sales department allowing them to focus on converting the leads.

  1. Social media proved to not just be a fad, but a lifestyle.
    • Facebook has 1.13 billion daily active users. (Statista, 2016)
    • Twitter has 313 million monthly active users. (HubSpot, 2016)
    • LinkedIn has 450 million members, but only 25% actively visit the professional social network each month. (VentureBeat, 2016)
    • Nearly one-third of the world uses social networks regularly. (eMarketer, 2016)

Social media is also a large part of the professional networks and businesses as Facebook and LinkedIn increasingly add features for that demographic.

  • 73% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • In the past two years, content consumption on Facebook has increased 57%. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • In the past two years, content consumption on LinkedIn has increased 21%. (HubSpot, 2016)

2017 will see social media continuing to remain a consistent potion of an effective marketing mix. There are no signs that social media will fade, although, the platforms could become outdated – like Myspace. Social media is such a big part of the new generation that there will always be some sort of social media that will take the place of any dwindling service. As for content consumption of these platforms, the trend shows another increase from 2016 to 2017. Overall, it will keep rising year over year for the next few years and will eventually stabilize at a natural maximum.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series where we will cover off 3 more Inbound Marketing lessons from 2016.

3rd Annual Digital Marketing For Financial Services Summit

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Everything Digital for Financial Services Marketers

Veriday is a proud to be sponsoring, speaking and exhibiting at the 3rd Annual Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit (November 15-16, New York), one of the largest Digital Marketing gatherings specifically for Financial Services Marketers. Learn game changing strategies to increase omni-channel ROI, get ahead of disruptive technologies and use Big Data to increase ROI. This year, gain insights from 8 in-depth case studies, 22+ financial digital experts, including 4 CMO’s and 7 Power Panels. Capitalize on the perfect opportunity to network and grow your professional network; socialize, meet & interact with Financial Marketing Executives to grow your professional reach

Look forward to learning from these interactive discussions, case studies and networking opportunities. Marc Lamoureux, CEO of Veriday, will be part of the event as a speaker- here are the details of his session.

This exclusive summit is the only event designed specifically to give FIs the tools to evolve your marketing strategy for the digital age. Digital has raised the bar for brands, but complexity, compliance, and competition present major barriers to FIs today. Overcome the unique challenges marketers face in financial services and take away tactics from the best in the industry at the 30 dynamic sessions at DMFS NY.

Gain practical strategies, guidance and tactics to:

  • Ensure consistency across touchpoints to win and retain clients
  • Differentiate your brand through effective messaging
  • Adopt creative strategies from disruptors and innovators in finance
  • Reach new customers while respecting regulations and privacy
  • Break through the noise with expert analytics and attribution strategies

Click to download the brochure for details on all the speakers and sessions. Register now, with an exclusive discount, by using this VIP Code:  <VERIDAY20>

3 Reasons Financial Advisors Should Be Rethinking their Marketing Strategy for the Millennials

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As the boomer demographic ages, and ultimately moves towards retirement, there should be an added focus on a new marketing strategy that targets the Millennial demographic – defined as the population of people born between 1982 and the mid 2000s. Millennials are the next generation of investors; they’re well educated, were born and raised into technology, and are instantly connected with one another through services like Facebook and Snapchat. Even with all of these perks, the Millennial generation has less money to spend and is in more debt than their older counterparts (Goldman Sachs). This generation will definitely need help planning their financial stability and success in terms of managing their goals, debt, and saving.

So, why do Financial Advisors need to rethink their marketing strategies if there will be a natural demand from Millennials?

Reason 1: Millennials are the demographic that grew up in the age of rapid technological development…

Most have experienced the pain of dial-up internet, been scolded for not rewinding the videocassette, all the way to having almost any movie available at any time through streaming services. They are no strangers to waking up to a new technological marvel – they’re also the ones camping out in front of a store to get it. Millennials are also no strangers to revered technology falling off the face of the Earth. This demographic will control the future of businesses since they’re the ones that will hold the most spending power in the coming years. In the US alone, Millennials have spent 2.45 trillion in 2015, and their income will exceed boomers and converge to Generation X’s income by 2018.

According to a recent global survey, 19 out of 20 Millennials have smart phones and check them an average of 43 times a day. According to Pew Research Centre, Social Media is used by 65% of American Adults and 76% of all Internet users. Breaking it down by age, 90% of young adults (ages 18 – 29) use Social Media, with Facebook dominating the market share.

The rapid evolution and advancement of technology has also changed those who influence the Millennials. Previously, 66% of boomers trusted recommendations from their friends and family. These days, only 49% of Millennials trust recommendations according to a recent report. This could mean that there is no guarantee that the new Millennial investors will use the same Financial Advisors as their parents. They trust online customer content (reviews) over any other information. This means that having a website with feedback, Facebook page with comments, or even Google Map reviews can go a long way to attract the sceptical Millennial to your business.

3 Reasons Financial Advisors Should Be Rethinking their Marketing Strategy for the Millennials

Brand loyalty also extends to Social Media; Millennials like to follow their favourite brands and entertainers on one or more Social Media platforms. Due to the sharing algorithm, in many Social media Platforms, when consumers “like” or “favourite” a piece of content on a Social Media platform it will show that to some, or all, of their connections – leading to more exposure. If they really like the content, they will then “share” it to further increase the exposure. This is the way a piece of content goes viral. If these content sharers are an influencer of a Millennial, they will definitely be more inclined to trust that product or service.

Reason 2:  Traditional forms of marketing won’t work with this new generation.

Millennials are not influenced by traditional advertising. Only 1% of Millennials surveyed said that a compelling advertisement would influence their decision. 62% said they would become loyal customers if a business engaged with them through Social Media. In terms of interaction with companies online, 30% of the interactions still occur on the businesses’ website, followed by 18% through email newsletters, 16% follow the business on Facebook, and 8% comment on Facebook posts. The chart below further demonstrates the way Canadians are interacting with companies online.

3 Reasons Financial Advisors Should Be Rethinking their Marketing Strategy for the Millennials

(Data from Canadian’s Internet Business)

Focusing on just one of these online channels leaves a gap that could leave room for your competitors to attract your prospects and clients.

Reason 3:  It is imperative for any business to have a full-fledged Omni-channel online experience. (For a more in depth look at what Omni-channel is, click here.)

Since Millennials grew up with technology, they’re accustomed to many different forms of communication – as demonstrated in the graph above. They will not only check out a businesses’ website, but they will also look at their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profile, as well as Google reviews. On top of rethinking and revamping marketing strategies, offering consistent and quality messaging, information, branding, and experience on each one of these channels is imperative. Disconnects between these channels leads to questioning credibility and professionalism, and possibly even moving to a competitor.

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Millennials are a tricky demographic to market to since there is more variance within the generation than any other prior. They hold all of the world’s information in their hands due to smartphones and the ability to search from anywhere, anytime. They are more connected to eachother and businesses than any other time in history. The lack of an online presence and valuable content, from a business nowadays, ultimately makes them sceptical.

The best place to start, to attract the Millennial generation, would be to go where they do their research: online (websites), and Social Media. Millennials are more likely to Google first and ask questions later. Having an effective online presence with all the information readily available leads to more success when trying to attract the Millennials. Rethinking your marketing strategy to remain active online will significantly help in attracting new clients and prospects, and ultimately, increasing your AUM.

 

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.

Question:

“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?” 

Answer:

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.

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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

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.

The Importance of Consistent Branding for Financial Advisors

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Every company, individual, and Advisory Firm has a brand, even if they don’t pay much attention to it. Simply put, a brand is everything to do with you and your company: who you are, what you stand for, what services you offer, your goals, values, personality, and so much more. It is the feeling that is evoked by your customers and prospects when they think of your company. A good brand is built over time and requires thought, strategy, and consistent implementation. Consistent branding for financial advisors is just as important (if not more important) as branding for any other business.

Keeping a consistent brand can be pretty straightforward, but first, let’s discuss the benefits that come with consistency.

Consistency helps you manage perceptions

With a well thought, well built, and consistent brand, you’re better able to shape how people perceive your practice with every interaction they have with you. A consistent brand exudes professionalism, stability, organization, which in turn will help build trust.

Consistency sends a stronger message

A focused effort to maintain consistent branding and messaging across all of your business activities can help to deliver a positive impression to your audiences. But first, you’ll need to think about how you want your brand to be perceived. What do you want people to know about you? Are you reliable and focused? Do you follow through? Do you provide your clients with amazing results? Having consistency with your brand will amplify your message and build loyalty with your prospects and clients.

Consistency protects your investment

Logos don’t come cheap – and neither does all of the marketing material you may have containing your logo. It is important to build equity in your brand by implementing it consistently whether that is online, in print, or at events. Sloppy application of logos and messaging can be very detrimental to your brand. Value what your brand represents for your organization.

Keeping a consistent brand

This can be fairly straightforward, so long as you put in the effort to ensure that your branding is consistent throughout all of your business and marketing activities. That means that you are implementing your brand consistently for:

  • Merchandise
  • Letterheads
  • Your website
  • Business cards
  • Social media accounts
  • Tone and language
  • And so much more

In the digital age, branding your company so it stands out from others couldn’t be more important. When done right, your brand has the ability to attract and retain new clients. Keeping a consistent brand can help you manage your audiences’ perceptions of you, send a stronger message to clients and prospects, and save you money in the long run.

 Are you paying attention to your brand? If not, maybe it’s time to start.

Financial Advisors: How do I add my business to Google Maps?

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With so much information readily available to us on the Internet, it has become a natural reaction for individuals to go to search engines first to find the information that they are looking for.  Have you ever found yourself doing any of the following? Using Google Maps to find a store, or get directions to it.  […]

3 Reasons every Financial Advisor needs a Logo

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Logos…almost every company has one.  A company’s logo is a recognition tool for the public to link their services or products to the company.  If designed effectively, a logo can represent the unique selling proposition of a company.  As a Financial Advisor, with many competitors offering similar services, it is important to have a memorable logo that represents your Advisory Firm, and makes you stand out from the crowd. Great logos are recognizable in a blink and should also make a lasting impression.

We previously spoke about the importance of building a strong brand as a Financial Advisor.   This article will take a look at 3 ways a creative and unique logo can help your Advisor Firm succeed. 

  1. Builds trust and recognition

Some companies have been branded so effectively that individuals only need to see elements of their logo to recognize the brand. Think about McDonald’s. The golden arches are so familiar that they no longer need the text “McDonald’s” for you to recognize that the symbol represents this monstrous fast food chain.

Having a well-designed logo can help you build trust. Think about the way you would perceive a business if you were to compare the following logos:

 Digital Agent

 Digital Agent by Veriday Logo

When you have a well-designed logo, people are more likely to perceive your business as legitimate and want to do business with you. A logo that looks like it was designed in Microsoft Word or Paint may result in people questioning your professionalism and how well you’re able to deliver your core services as an Advisor.

2. Attracts new clients

On a day-to-day basis, we encounter hundreds of logos. The best logos are the ones that stand out from the rest. Continuously exposing people to your logo can help build familiarity with your business. You can do this by using your logo consistently through:

  • Letterheads
  • Your website
  • Business cards
  • Your social accounts
  • Marketing materials
  • And so much more

The more recognizable your brand is to prospects, the easier it will become for you to attract new clients.

3. To build a brand identity

Cultivating a strong brand is crucial to your businesses’ success, both online and off. There is a lot that goes into building a brand and shaping how others perceive you and your business, including your logo. We are now in a day and age where people will make purchase decisions based off of emotional connections. Building a strong brand identity can help build value for your business.

Your logo should be clear and easy to read. Sometimes, organizations have more than one version of a logo depending on what it is being used for.

A few things to keep in mind when designing your logo…

Don’t cut corners

A lot of brands try to play it fast and loose with logos and aren’t willing to pay a sufficient amount for a properly designed logo. A logo is a great one-time investment because it’s with your business throughout its entire lifespan (unless you decide to rebrand).

Be detail-oriented

Sometimes, brands will make the mistake of not paying close attention to the use of their logo and how it is used. Is your logo properly sized and positioned to each piece of marketing material you use? Does the specific image you’re using look pixelated once it’s expanded?

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A great logo should:  identify a brand, make it stand out and, ideally, drive customer interest and sales. If you’re interested in a consultation to see if a professionally designed logo is the right move for you, feel free to contact us.

8 Common SEO Mistakes that Advisors are Making (and how to avoid them)

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As a Financial Advisor, you want your website to be optimized for search engines so that you can be easily found by prospects. The last thing you want to do is spend hours on end creating website content only for it to go unnoticed. However, it’s not all about what you should do to optimize your website, but also what you shouldn’t do to avoid getting penalized by search engines.

Below are 8 common Search Engine Optimization (SEO) mistakes and how you can avoid (or fix) them:

  1. Not optimizing for local search

In such a digitally connected world, businesses try to market to anyone and everyone. Although, in the process of doing so, some lose sight of their local audience. According to Search Engine Land, 67% of smartphone users want ads customized by city and 61% want ads customized to their immediate surroundings. As a Financial Advisor, you likely work with clients within your region (and they’re probably searching for local Advisors). It’s especially important for you to optimize your website for local search to reach your target audience.

Things you can do to get started:

  • Include region-specific keywords in your page titles and meta descriptions
  • Include an address and local number on your pages, and in the header or footer
  • List yourself on Google My Business

Google-my-business

  1. Not optimizing for the right keywords

What are your prospects searching for online? What key terms are they typing into Google when looking for the services that you offer? Keyword research is vital to your search engine ranking success. If you aren’t focusing on specific and relevant keywords throughout your website, it will make it very difficult for your prospects to find you.

Some things to think about to get you started on picking the right keywords:

  • Do you specialize in a specific area (life insurance, health insurance, retirement)?
  • Are your services focused on a specific region or city?
  • Do you target a specific demographic (women, doctors, millennials)?

When answering these questions, you may end up with answers similar to the following:

  • Toronto Financial Advisor specializing in women’s life insurance
  • Victoria and Vancouver Health Insurance Advisor for women
  • Retirement planning services for new graduates in New York City

When focusing on keywords, it’s best to be as specific as possible. Focusing on generic keywords might bring you more traffic, but it may not necessarily be the right traffic for your Advisory firm. The more specific you are, the higher the quality of your traffic will be.

  1. Keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing refers to when websites cram as many keywords as possible into a webpage’s text without intent to provide useful information to the reader. Practicing this can lead to your website being penalized or even banned in search rankings on major search engines like Google.

Google’s ranking algorithm has become very complex and intricate. If you want your website to rank higher on search engine rankings, you’ll need to ensure that you are not keyword stuffing on your website. By proving your readers with content that is valuable, natural, and unique, your target keywords should naturally appear in your content.

  1. Focusing on link quantity over quality

Links are another important aspect of SEO. The higher number of quality links leading back to your website, the higher your web pages will rank. To a search engine, the more trustworthy, non-spammy, and relevant websites linking back to you, the more authority you must have on the topic.

Some things to note:

  • Links within content are more effective than links in a sidebar or footer
  • Links from related websites are better than links from non relevant websites (ex. Another Advisor website linking back to you versus a pet store website linking back to you)
  • Buying links can get you banned from a search engine

A great way to build more links is through social media. Make sure that your blog is socially shareable so that it is more likely to get shared on different social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and Pinterest. In turn, this will help to increase traffic to your website and help you build a better reputation with search engines.

  1. Broken links

Does this look familiar?

SEO Common Mistakes Advisors Make 404 error notice

Broken links are the ones that bring you to a “404 error” page. According to Siteimprove, the most common, self-inflicted, causes of broken links are:

  • Renaming or moving a webpage and forgetting to change your internal links
  • Linking to content (PDFs, videos, etc.) that have been moved or deleted
  • Linking to a third party page, and not knowing when they change the URL or move the page

There are many causes for broken links and although Google has stated that having a broken link or two on your website won’t hurt your rankings, it can still negatively impact your website in other ways.

  • It can stop search engine crawlers from crawling the rest of that page. Crawlers would move on to the next resulting in some content not get indexed
  • Users favour sites that work (that includes your links)
  • Broken links diminishes trust with your visitors and leads to lower return traffic (which could mean a lower search engine ranking)

It may be time consuming, but it’s good to QA (quality assurance) your website once every quarter. This way you can ensure that you don’t have broken links and that your website is up to date with SEO requirements.

  1. Content that is not useful

Google’s (and other search engines) ultimate goal is to help the user answer their question or satisfy their information needs by providing the best and most trusted answer on its first page of results. This is why there is such a heavy focus on creating useful and valuable content on your Advisor website. Although, it is important that the content you are providing on your website is relevant to what your target audience is looking for.

Unlike before, the new SEO puts focus on value, quality and engagement. High quality content offers Advisor’s clients and prospects unique and applicable information that they can engage with. To get started, write out a list of common questions your clients ask you. Answer them. Once you’ve written out your answers, go over them again and include more detail. Before you know it, you’ll have a unique and valuable blog post to share with your online audiences.

  1. Not using ALT-Tags for images

Researchers found that coloured visuals increase a person’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80& (Xerox). Using images will enhance a viewer’s experience on your website while making your pages look more visually appealing. With this in mind, it’s critical that you not only include images around your website, but use alternative text tags, also known as ALT tags. These tags are used on images without links to provide information about the image to a viewer and to search engine crawlers. ALT tags can help increase your SEO, overall search ranking, and makes your website more accessible.

  1. Not using analytics to see what converts

It’s easy to get caught up watching which phrases and keywords are sending you the most traffic. But it’s important to note that traffic isn’t all that matters. A lot of the time, lower traffic phrases will actually convert better because they are more specific and are able to better hone in on your target audience. Knowing more about what makes your visitors convert will help you increase your ROI. Whether it’s KPI metrics, analytics about your blog, or your email marketing efforts, it’s important to be aware of what metrics will help you measure your online marketing and how to apply that knowledge for further success.

 

Take the time to go through your website and see if you’ve made any of these common SEO mistakes. Research what keywords you want to focus on and start to incorporate them naturally into your website’s content. There is a lot you can do to optimize your website for search engines. It’s important to keep in mind that increasing your search engine ranking will take time, but if you implement these SEO techniques, you’re sure to rank higher in the long run.