The Network of Giving Alliance Welcomes Veriday

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Using Everyday Digital Transactions to Drive Social Change

BOSTON–September 22nd, 2016–Veriday Inc., a digital marketing and technology company, joins the Network of Giving Alliance LLC (NOG), an organization which delivers technology solutions to support important causes and communities around the world.

Veriday will provide its expertise in leading edge technologies to support the market deployment of NOG’s pioneering innovations, which utilize existing technological and financial infrastructures to ignite charitable giving by linking consumers, local merchants, banks, payment networks and other financial services organizations in a dynamic ecosystem, seamlessly delivered through digital channels including mobile payment solutions. NOG creates an entirely new way of driving tremendous positive social change for local communities.

“Veriday has a strong track record of successfully delivering solutions in the financial services industry. We welcome the Veriday team to the NOG Alliance to help deploy our proven ‘Network of Giving’ technology into market,” said Terry Tietzen, Executive Director of the NOG Alliance.

“NOG will create an entirely new way of supporting digital charitable giving,” said Chris Lamoureux, Chief Operating Officer, Veriday Inc. “We are excited about the opportunity to work with the NOG Alliance to help generate everyday giving to local communities, and to redirect donations to local, national or global relief efforts when disaster or emergencies strike,” added Mr. Lamoureux.

About Network of Giving Alliance LLC
The Network of Giving Alliance believes in building meaningful and impactful philanthropic solutions for the next generation. In a world they now embrace as daily life, they learn how their decisions can make direct change in the communities where they live, work and shop. To learn more about the Network of Giving, visit http://www.thenetworkofgiving.org/.

About Veriday
Veriday is a Digital Marketing and Technology Company specializing in developing products, solutions, and methods to transform online user experience and engagement. Veriday’s professional services and development teams help organizations reach their employee, customer, and member’s digital needs by creating leading edge portals and websites. From conceptual planning, implementation, through to technical support, Veriday is involved throughout the entire project process, helping companies to make their next online project a milestone success. Veriday has significant experience in the financial services and digital media industries. To learn more about Veriday, visit http://www.veriday.com/.

Contacts

Media:
Network of Giving
Craig Bida, 617-901-4654
Chief Communications Officer
craig.b@theNetworkOfGiving.org

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.

Untitled

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.  […]

The Future of Customer Service is Online Self-Service Portals

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We’ve all been there. We have all been on the receiving end of the frustrating “hold music” when you’ve called an organization to resolve an issue. “One moment please. Your call is important to us. A representative will be with you shortly”…repeated… again….and again. Being put on hold when you call a customer-service department has become a fact of life. In fact, according to a survey by ResearchNow, the average person will spend 43 days on hold with automated customer service in one lifetime. Unfortunately, when people think about calling a customer service line, it is usually accompanied by negative and unenthusiastic feelings.

Consider these scenarios as well: Have you ever waited in line for an ATM machine even though there is nobody in line for the teller inside the bank? Have you ever arrived at an airport and chose to use a kiosk, rather then going to a person at the desk, despite being no line? Often, as consumers, we try to avoid situations where we can’t help ourselves in some shape or form. A recent study by Zendesk confirmed that 67% of respondents prefer self-service to speaking to a company representative.

Online self-service is becoming one of the most popular channels by which customers are looking to resolve problems and learn more about organizations. Today’s digital customers are happier when they can manage and complete their tasks at any time they want, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Is your brand delivering on what customers want?

Consider these facts:

  • 3 out of 4 consumers prefer to solve their customer service issue on their own (aspect)
  • 90% of consumers expect an organization to offer self-service customer support portal; 60% of consumers have a more favorable view of the brand if the self-service offering is mobile responsive (parature)
  • 73% of consumers want the ability to solve product/service issues on their own; one-third say they’d rather ‘clean a toilet’ than speak with customer service (parature)
  • 91% of survey respondents said they would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs (zendesk)
  • 75% of consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails, and Forrester estimates that unnecessary service costs to online retailers due to channel escalation are $22 million on average

Why self-service?

As consumers, we like to schedule appointments, troubleshoot problems, change a reservation, ask billing questions, get status updates, seek technical support, access FAQs, and ask our own questions, with minimal human interaction.

There are 3 underlying themes as to why consumers prefer online self-service:

  1. According to a survey done by zendesk, 75% of survey respondents said that self-service is a convenient way to address customer service issues. Customers can do it any time they want and take as long as they need.  Phone and email support can’t measure up to the timeliness of online self-service.
  2. Additionally, customers want online self-service for efficiency. Forrester found that 77% of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing companies can do to provide them with good customer service. Customers do not long for conversation and don’t want to be waiting in a queue to talk to a person, only to be transferred to a different department after already waiting. They want to get online, find what they are looking for, click around, and be done – as painlessly as possible, so that they can get back to what they were doing before they had the issue.
  3. Lastly, customers want control. Customers are increasingly being empowered to do almost anything themselves online. They do not want to have to rely on other people to do what they can do themselves. The customer does not want to give up control to the company but would prefer to take it into their own hands. Give your customers service on their own terms, not yours. 

Why self-service is also great news for companies

Online self-service is not only a good thing for customers. The shift towards online self-service is hugely beneficial for companies as well:

  1. Online self-service keeps your customers engaged with your brand and website.  A self service portal allows you to manage your customer relationships in a scalable way, as your company grows.
  2. Centralizes information and tools so that customers will always know where to find the information that they need.
  3. Online self-service provides companies with insight that simple website analytics can’t provide. Companies can track what their customers are doing on their self-service portals to get a clearer picture of their customers and experience with the brand.  This allows companies to continuously improve the experience based on observing what their customers are doing.
  4. Online self service portals are the most cost-efficient customer service channel.  A well built self service centre has the potential to be huge cost-savings for organizations.  By allowing your customers to track information online, in one place, you can lower the number of calls coming into your customer support centre

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Customers are making it clear that they are eager for effective self-service. But, they have also made it clear that the self-service experience that they want must perform seamlessly. Online self-service is only convenient, efficient, and control granting if you are giving your customers a great experience. On the flip side, a negative self-service experience provides your customers with an inconvenient and frustrating experience, forcing them to switch channels to get their issue resolved, which can be quite costly for the company.

So, how can your organization create an online self-service experience that lives up to customer expectations? Stay tuned for a new post, coming soon, where we will discuss the keys to creating a self-service experience that supports your customers and brand.

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.

Improving Customer Experience: Mobile, Online Self-Service, Content Targeting

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Did you know that 88% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience? In fact, it is predicted that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator (Walker). Take a moment to think, how does your customer experience (CX) stack up to your biggest competitors?

What is customer experience (CX)?

CX is the product and perception of an interaction between a customer and an organization. These perceptions affect how customers interact with a company, from their buying behaviours to what they say about you. A good CX can lead to higher customer loyalty. In other words, if their experience with you is positive, they’re more likely to continue doing business with you and recommend you to others.

In order to give your customers a positive experience, you’ll have to put in the work. You should know who they are, what they like, and how they interact with you, and use that knowledge to create and deliver personalized experiences that will enhance their experience. Gaining this in-depth knowledge isn’t something that happens overnight – it takes both time and effort. You’ll need to collect and sort through a lot of customer data and gain valuable insights from it. But, at the end of the day, a good CX will lead to an increase in sales and customer loyalty.

customer experience chart

 

So, what are some areas that you should focus on to improve your CX?

Self-service help is a must

Have you ever called a company and were immediately put on hold for 15 minutes to upwards 2 hours just to get your questions answered? Gone are the days where people are willing to wait on hold to have their questions answered. The data below demonstrates that 56% of customers either leave or go to a competitor because of website issues, this includes not having a self-service option on your website.self-service-matters statistics

Self-service is a way for customers to find answers to their questions using an assortment of options. This is important considering that 50% of customers think that it’s important to solve product or service issues themselves (zendesk), and 70% expect a company’s website to include a self-service application.

Different forms of self-service include:

  • E-Support: This is a web-based version of customer service. The customer can access information and perform routine tasks over the internet by searching a knowledge-base or reading a company FAQ.
  • Apps: A software program on mobile devices that is used for carrying out specific tasks. This could be like your mobile bank application to transfer funds or check your balance.
  • Interactive voice response: The customer can interact with an automated telephone system to perform specific tasks
  • Chatbots: This is a program that serves as an online customer service representative for a company. They have the ability to combine artificial intelligence (AI) with a graphical representation.

Is mobile in the picture?

When it comes to providing experience across different channels, ensuring that you have a good mobile customer experience should be at the top of your list. A bad mobile experience can do serious damage to your brand and could result in loss of business as 52% of customers are less likely to engage with a company because of poor mobile experience (Think with Google). If you want to improve your customer loyalty, retention, and overall CX, ensuring that you have a good mobile experience should be a focus for your organization.

Having a good mobile experience goes far beyond just being responsive. Companies have been a bit slow to adapt, with 90% of customers saying that they have had a poor experience seeking customer support on mobile (Software Advice).

 

Mobile experience issues graph

With a higher number of consumers looking for online self-service, it’s important that they are available to the consumer through several different channels, including mobile. Whether it’s a mobile-friendly FAQ, a phone application, or interactive voice response through calls, it’s important to ensure that you are keeping your target customers in mind, and how they would want to interact with your business.

Content Targeting

It is important for marketers to capture insights and information about their customers in order to provide effective customer experiences. With technologies such as Liferay, you’re able to create and track highly targeted marketing campaigns that present the right message to your visitors at the right time, based on social profile, behaviour and browsing history. Having a single-dashboard to view each customer’s behaviours, interests, and patterns can help you push out the right content to each customer. This can improve your customer experience and further build trust, loyalty, and engagement.

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By forming a better understanding of your customers, you’ll be able to build a customer experience that resonates with your audience. Tailor your website to the needs and preferences of each individual with targeted information and segment identification, giving your visitors exactly what they’re looking for. By creating user-friendly self-service options, having a consistent mobile experience and targeting your content – you will be able to improve your overall customer experience. If you ensure that your customer interactions with your organization are consistent, convenient, and evolving, you will continue to drive brand loyalty.

he Business Case for the Liferay Digital Experience Platform

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.

How an Intranet Can Elevate Employee Engagement

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Over the last few years, intranet technology has evolved tremendously. From a simple online notice board to a technological opportunity with endless capabilities. Intranets have the ability to elevate employee engagement, enhance customer experience, and so much more.

According to Dale Carnegie, 90% of leaders think an engagement strategy will have an impact on business success, but only about 25% of business leaders have an employee engagement strategy.  Some other interesting statistics include:

  • Only 40% of the workforce knows their company’s goals, strategies, and tactics (Dale Carnegie)
  • 49% of employees are “not engaged” and 16.5% are “actively disengaged” (Gallup)
  • Companies with engaged employees earn 2.5 times more revenue compared to their competitors with low engagement levels (Officevibe)
  • 90% of companies using social technologies report business benefit from them including an 18% higher revenue per employee (Jive Software)

So, how can an intranet elevate employee engagement across your organization? This article will discuss how embracing technology can lead the way to employee engagement and higher productivity.

Centralize information

Digital isn’t just about marketing. An intranet can work across all departments, from sales and marketing to support and operations. It brings everyone in your organization together as you work to exceed client needs. One aspect of an intranet is the centralization of company information. Centralizing your organization’s information can help to improve the accessibility of information, and thus the productivity of your employees.

Accessibility

Working in a large organization, it can be frustrating when you require different logins, passwords, or applications in order to gain access to pertinent information. The good news is that modern intranets can help to empower employees with accessibility to information and insight. Intranets can centralize all pertinent information within a single login and application. On top of that, it can be accessible to every individual in your organization – not just those in the C-suite. According to Jive Software, using an intranet can reduce email use by 25% by minimizing “locked up” information in inboxes and folders.

On another note, the Internet has eliminated the significance of geography, and it’s now easier than ever for employees to work remotely. Centralizing your organization’s information, using an intranet, can make information accessible 24/7 to everyone in your organization, regardless of geography and time zone. This can elevate your employee engagement as it helps employees do their jobs more efficiently by having all of the information in one place, rather than moving from program to program or hunting down individuals with that information.

Within every organization, there is sensitive or confidential information that is only accessible to certain individuals. With an intranet, you have the ability to implement a role-based information setting, meaning that sensitive information can be made accessible to certain individuals based on their role within the organization. Intranets also support organization hierarchy so that you can easily accommodate formal organizations and informal teams of any size.

Productivity

69% of employees surveyed agreed that intranets help reduce unnecessary email and improve efficiencies within their organization (Jive Software). An intranet can help your employees make decisions, author content, and share information and ideas.

With tools like blogs, forums, wikis, and knowledge base, employees are able to share and grow their knowledge. A well-built intranet that includes some, if not all of these tools, has the ability to streamline entire business processes. With the ability to add, edit, share and collaborate real-time on essential data and projects, your employees can resolve problems more quickly. As a result, this will increase your productivity levels and help elevate your employee engagement rate.

Personalization leads to higher productivity

Personalization involves building an intranet that allows each employee to have a dashboard that they can customize to their interests, preferences, and job. Allowing your employees to add a personal touch to their intranet view can create several benefits such as improved company culture, increased levels of employee engagement and productivity, and easier navigation. Personalization can lead to higher productivity because employees are more informed, motivated and engaged.

You can also reflect your organization’s culture throughout your intranet through its branding, colour scheme, content, processes and contributions from employees. The best kind of intranet is not only aligned with your current organizational culture, but also continues to shape and influence it. There are different ways to promote a positive company culture through your social intranet including:

  • Sharing company news
  • Highlighting internal job opportunities
  • Feature stories focused on employees
  • Focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives
  • Share your organizations history and heritage
  • Broadcast company and individual accomplishments
  • Contests/gamification
  • Ask employees for feedback
  • List community events
  • Q&A forums
  • Employee profiles

Modern intranets are easy to use and empower employees with information and insight. When effectively developed and utilized, an intranet can produce endless opportunities and benefits to your organization. Intranets have the ability to centralize your information, increase your employee engagement, collaboration, and productivity levels, promote a positive company culture, and help your organization gain a competitive edge.

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Has employee engagement become an issue within your organization? If the answer is yes, it may be time to search for a solution that can help to drive your employee engagement. As an organization, it can be difficult to choose a technology solution that best fits your business. Many organizations are turning to Liferay, a leading open source platform, to help them build a fully integrated intranet that connects their people and systems. For more information, feel free to reach out to us.