Advisors: Ramp up your Lead Generation with an eBook

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

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

It’s a great lead generation strategy

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

It boosts your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)             

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

Effectively repurposes your content

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

Promotes thought-leadership

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

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

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

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

 

The 3 Key Areas You Must Improve If You’re A Bank

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This post was written by Martin Yan and appeared here first on Liferay.com.

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The banking industry is trending up. With greater accountability and transparency in our institutions, customers are finally coming around to their banks. Confidence is being restored and their trust is growing. For once, the future of banking looks quite bright.

But competition is also on the rise. Customer loyalty can’t be taken for granted. Things like security and convenience, once tokens of a great and stable bank, are now merely assumed. New expectations include fewer fees, more personal insight and better online banking features. People want more, and they are putting a greater burden on financial service providers to step up their game.

How can financial institutions earn complete trust from their customers? According to Ernst & Young (chart below), it means providing stability as well as an excellent customer experience. (Though, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the transparency in fees/costs).

The 3 Key Areas You Must Improve If You’re A Bank

With this in mind, how can banks look to improve in these areas as they plan ahead? Three key strategies appear to be of the most immediate concern.

1. Focusing on the omnichannel experience

Let’s start by thinking about some of your major channels—mobile, online, in-person/branch—and how you can improve customer satisfaction in each one.

Traditionally, branches were where people performed most financial transactions. The staff, branch locations and resource management all played a big part in why a customer might open an account. But times have changed. With costly overhead, human resources, and the shift to mobile self-service, it makes sense to invest in the virtual space.

Think about how you can deliver some of these branch services via online or mobile channels. Find a way to create easy-to-use digital channels for day-to-day transactions. Streamline ways to sell products through the web. When you’ve developed a seamless omnichannel experience, you’ll be able to gain deeper product penetration and expand your portfolio.

2. Providing personal insight and wisdom for financial needs

Use all the data you have available about your customers to their advantage. Help them customize financial plans and long-term goals. Mint.com is a good example of a digital finance manager. It keeps track of a person’s spending history and recommends certain products or services based on that information. It can also track when bills are due and when a credit limit or budget is reached. This functionality will not only help your customers draft clearer financial plans, but it will also show your personal investment in their future.

Keep in mind, this point is applicable even if your technology is not quite in place. When it comes to financial advice, many people still enjoy speaking to someone at a branch or call center. So it’s important to equip your advisors with the right skills and a customer-first attitude; look to demonstrate your expertise and concern while building customer trust in the process.

3. Finding ways to improve margins and productivity

This idea might not sound revolutionary, but the principle remains. How do you trim the fat from current operations or processes? Given the lack of loan and revenue growth, are there any back office costs you can eliminate in order to improve margins and productivity? As McKinsey & Company notes in their report, Global Corporate and Investment Banking: An Agenda for Change, “Corporate banks should consider ways to make their models ‘capital-lite’. Banks can often switch to products that offer similiar economics, but require less capital.” Think of it as pruning: reducing capital waste and tightening your operations will prepare you for growth of new branches (no pun intended).

If your institution is able to execute on these action items, you’ll be on the right track to earning genuine loyalty. Your customers will be happier and more confident in your ability to solve their problems. And you’ll have less to worry about the competition.

Financial Advisors: Using Niche Marketing to Grow your Business

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

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

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

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

Niche Marketing

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

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

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

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

Build your online presence around your niche market.

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

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

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

Winning the “Micro-Moments” in Financial Services Marketing

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

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

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

Micro-Moments (1)

 Image by Google:  Img source

What does this mean for Financial Service Marketers?

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

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

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

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

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

Advisors: How to Engage Early Stage Prospects

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It is safe to say that the buyer’s journey has changed. Customers now conduct most of their own research, and engage with more online content to support their decisions. However, in today’s self-educated world, we know that the online information pool is vast and buyers are picking and choosing content to support their decisions and requirements.

Most people who visit your website for the first time, no matter how well-optimized it is, won’t buy or engage with you. In fact, 96% of first time website visitors are not ready to buy in their journey.   So, what are they doing and what does this mean for you? Ask yourself, do you have enough valuable content that can benefit your visitor even if they never become a client?

According to Google…

‘’Our research has shown that, on average, business buyers do not contact suppliers directly until 57 percent of the purchase process is complete. That means for nearly two thirds of the buying process, you customers are out in the ether: forming opinions, learning technical specifications, building requirement lists, and narrowing down their options, all on their own, with minimal influence from you.”

Sales material is not what early stage buyers are looking for when they come across your website.   Most of your website visitors come to learn, not to be “salesmanned”. Early stage buyers are not looking for why they should work with you over your competitors. They are trying to give a name to their problem, consider what options exist, and be as educated as possible before moving forward.

What does this mean for Advisors?

As a result of the new buyer’s journey, Advisors need to become teachers and thought leaders that educate their audience and earn their trust.  Some of the most successful Advisors are using content marketing to engage with prospects by delivering information that makes the buyer more intelligent. The Financial Advisors who have achieved success through digital marketing are using content marketing to provide their visitor with valuable content, without selling anything, that will benefit the visitor even if they never become a client.  Below, is a fantastic chart, courtesy of Hubspot, that outlines the different buyer stages, and characteristics of each stage of the journey.

The Buyer Journey

 

Advisor’s content should speak to their target audience in the midst of the learning journey outlined in the chart above. From awareness, to consideration to decision, position your website around content that addresses the problems, questions, challenges and information gaps at each stage; the goal being to seamlessly educate across the entire customer journey. Buyers are ultimately going to do business with people who have educated them and earned their trust. However, in a world where consumers are bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages a day, it is not enough to just teach; you have to teach well.

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Quick tip: A quick and easy way to come up with helpful topics to write about is to write down all of the questions that you get asked on a regular basis from clients. Each question can be put in to a blog post to help provide solutions and answers to questions that prospects are searching for online.

 

Guide to Content Marketing

Build an Advisor Brand That Makes you Stand Out

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What comes to mind when you think about Coca-Cola?

You may be thinking “a popular beverage”. But, when it comes to their brand, it’s more than just a beverage company. Coca-Cola sells happiness, togetherness, and positive emotions.

So, when it comes to deciding between buying a Coca-Cola product or a Pepsi product, both are popular beverages and in the same realm. What pushes people to decide is often the emotional connection an individual has to that brand.

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 more.  A brand lives and evolves in the minds and hearts of potential clients.  It is a fostered set of emotions and ideas consumers associate with your company.

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; from customer testimonials to your value proposition.  Seeing that 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.

Just as a brand can drive its prospects to pick them over a similar competitor, your personal brand can drive your prospects to pick you over other Financial Advisors.

So, ask yourself:

  1. What does my personal brand say about me?

Your personal bio is the most powerful branding tool you have. In Mitch Joel’s book Ctrl Alt Delete, he talks about “digital first”. This concept emphasizes that the first place we learn about things (and people) is online. This means that, often times, an individual’s first impression of you will be based around how you carry yourself online. Your personal bio is one way to communicate who you are without having to be face to face with prospects and clients.

On a broader scale, what you communicate on your website and social media defines how you (and your brand) will be perceived by an audience. When you promote yourself as a Financial Advisor, you’re promoting what’s on the surface of your brand. But, what makes you unique and sets you apart from other Advisors? Do you promote yourself with the idea that you are a unique brand, such as “Coca-Cola”; a brand that sells happiness, togetherness, and other positive emotions, or just “a popular beverage”? If you’re selling your services by sharing your valuable knowledge with your audience, people will start to build trust with your brand.

  1. What do I WANT my personal brand to say about me?

Are you family-oriented? Do you specialize in a niche area of Financial services like retirement planning? Are you a fan of a specific sports team? Do you use your interests to better connect with clients? If being family-oriented is something that you want to be portrayed to your audience, use images that focus on that throughout your website. Use images and create content that further demonstrate your understanding of your niche market. You can use also social media to humanize your brand further by celebrating your favourite sports team’s success. There are so many ways to create a well-rounded personal brand that is true to who you are and what your advisory firm is all about.

Take a minute and think about what you want people to think (and say) about you and your business. Do you want them to see you as someone that is strictly business or someone that wants to get to know their clients on a more personal level? Even with a digital shift, human interactions are still very important to sales and business processes. A prospect or clients experience with you online (and off) should feel personalized and human. You want prospects and clients to connect and relate to your brand on an emotional level. Giving your audience a solid sense of who you are may make them more willing to trust you as an Advisor, which is particularly important in this industry and when competing with other Advisors.

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What does your brand say about you? Can you identify your values, goals, or uniqueness from what you’ve put online? Remember that a brand is not what you say it is, but rather what your consumers say it is. At the end of the day, do you want to promote yourself as a unique brand, such as Coca-Cola, or just a popular beverage? In other words, do you want your brand to connect with your audience on an emotional level, or be seen as just another Financial Advisor?

Marketing Financial Advisory Services in a Noisy Digital World

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This post was authored by Marie Swift and originally appeared here on GuideVine.

Khalid Usmani, who is the Director of Advisors Success at GuideVine, and Marie Swift, who heads up PR and marketing consulting firm Impact Communications, recently spoke about marketing Financial Advisory services in a noisy digital world.

The audio interview can be accessed here:

http://www.audioacrobat.com/email/E1dDNhLwv

Here is a summary of key points.

When it comes to your digital footprint, a couple of things are very important:

  1. It’s about widening your reach
  2. It’s about deepening your appeal

Drilling down on point number one, widening your reach:

Using the Internet has become increasingly important as a medium for people to make important decisions and forge relationships.

A recent study done by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that 83% of people do research online before they make a purchase or major decision. They know what they are likely going to buy before they even set foot inside a store or call a service provider.

Another study, from Pew Research shows that since 2013 the number of people using online dating sites has gone up 3x. The interesting thing here is that it’s just not people age 18-29. The biggest increase in use came from people between ages 35 and 65.

For Financial Advisors, the big take-away is that people will find you in all kinds of places online. They may find you on your website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook, or different web portals so it is important to make sure that you are visible where your ideal clients are. Make it easy for people to find you.

To learn more about being discoverable online, read The Digital Reality for Financial Advisors.

 

Drilling down on point number two, deepening your appeal:

Deepening your appeal is perhaps the most critical part. You can certainly be on lots of different platforms and be on social media. But just being there doesn’t really make you different. What matters is making sure you have a deep connection on those platforms.

There are three things to think about if you want to stand out:

  • Messaging
  • Thought leadership
  • Call-to-action

Messaging – It is important to have consistent messaging. You’d be surprised the number of Advisors that have a dramatically different message on their website than they have on their LinkedIn profile. Make sure you have a consistent message and a consistent brand across the various digital platforms that you use so that the prospective client is seeing a similar brand across the board.

Thought Leadership – You must also have great content and be able to show how you’re different from the crowd. Too many Advisors rely 100% boilerplate content that they have purchased to distribute via their websites and/or social media. While using some purchased content is fine, relying it 100% means that you are not being truly authentic. The best strategy is to break away from the pack and show value to the potential prospects by highlighting your thought leadership. Share what you think is going on in the market or your ideas on a particular issue that a lot of your current clients face and make that conversation real online.

Call-to-Action – It is important to have a compelling call-to-action. If there isn’t a clear path that is obvious to visitor when they come to your website, they will just bounce off. So have a button and some language that specifically calls out and invite the visitor to connect with you, to download one of your latest market perspectives, to watch one of your videos, or interact with a piece of software on your site. This also translates into how you set up your LinkedIn profile or even GuideVine profile – what’s the purpose? What do I want the prospect to do when they are on each page?

Advisors who focus on widening their reach and deepening their appeal can add millions of dollars in net new assets directly through their online channels. In order to be more discoverable online, you’ll need a marketing hub (typically your website) and a number of satellite pages that connect in to and out from your hub. Imagine a big spider web on the World Wide Web. Your website or blog is the primary place where you want everybody to eventually migrate. Having satellite entities, such as a GuideVine profile page, social media profiles, and articles published on other credible is essential due to cross-linking (boosts your search engine page rankings). When people Google you by name (or by specific terms or even generic terms), your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and GuideVine profiles will show up. So think about building a multi-page footprint online.

Of course Advisors are busy people, so when it comes to building your digital footprint think about:

  • What are your goals?
  • Who’s your target?

Not every Advisor should be on every single platform out there. That is just not a good use of time. You as an Advisor have to identify what are the key platforms that you want to be on and then prioritize from there. GuideVine actually has a process for this – a trained professional helps the Advisor create a step-by-step game plan. It is important to focus on the basics:

  • Getting the profile set up
  • Making sure the cover photos and profile pictures are consistent and professional
  • Ensuring that the descriptions are the same and support the overall brand identity you’re trying to promote

Content – Once you’ve got the basics down, think about your content. Make sure you have great content – that it’s frequent, and that it’s consistent and appropriate for the target audience that you are going after. A lot of Advisors think that “creating content” means they have to write something from scratch – and that seems overwhelming to time-crunched Advisors, especially those for whom writing is not a natural strength. But studies have shown that video and infographics and other forms of visuals get shared more often than just text alone. So adding in the visuals can help you broaden your reach and deepen appeal.

One of things GuideVine has learned in having thousands of videos and tens of thousands of views is what things consumers really like when it comes to liking an Advisors video. Bottom line: having a profile page with some text doesn’t really get the Advisor’s message across. Most Advisors will agree that the wealth management business is a very heavy relationship-based business. Part of the thought process that any prospect goes through before they select their Advisor is, “Is this Advisor an appropriate fit for me from a personality perspective?” So don’t just include a list of services you offer and a narrative about the types of experience you’ve had. Try to show some personality – that’s part of what the consumer is hoping to get a sense of when they view your website, social media and profile pages online. Clients want to feel comfortable sharing details about their personal lives, not just their financial lives – and they don’t want to share those more personal details with just anybody.

Video is a fantastic way to quickly showcase your personality to someone; it saves them having to take all the time to come in person and meet with you and can speed up the get acquainted process. Videos are a quick way for you to showcase how you’d work with someone and make someone feel comfortable before they actually connect with you. GuideVine stats show that advisors that have videos have significantly greater levels of engagement.

Advisors who use their videos across various platforms including their website, LinkedIn, and any other place they have a presence, are seeing 2-3 times in terms of number of plays – and that translates into greater engagement with them.

Engagement – The third level of this is when you get to engagement. You’ve got the basics and the mechanics down; you have the great content there. Now how do you drive engagement? Part of it is building a larger followership. One of the best ways to build a larger followership is to make sure that you are actually talking to people online and creating a community around your content and ideas. Just having a big megaphone out there and saying, “Hey this is my brand and this is what I do,” but not listening to people and reacting to people’s real concerns online makes is a shallow strategy. To make it a much deeper, richer, experience, engage with people online. That is the final element that will drive dividends for your Financial Advisor firm.

 

Financial Advisors: Build a Better Digital You

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As a student looking for work, I was repeatedly asked, “Do you have a LinkedIn account?”, “What do your social media accounts say about you?”, and “What kind of an impression are you making on the digital front?” It has become very common for employers to look for potential candidates through social media and use it to vet applicants. So, ask yourself, “What do my social media accounts say about me and how can that affect my Advisory firm?”

Just as employers use the internet to find the right candidates for their organization, your prospects look to the internet to decide who the right Financial Advisor is for them. So, take a step back and assess the online presence of your business:

Where can I be found online?

  • A personal website
  • Your company’s website
  • Your social media accounts – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc
  • You were featured in a news article
  • A guest blog you’ve written

There are many ways to get your name (and your Advisory Firm) out there.

  1. Create a website

We are in the digital age of “Googling”. People will Google anything and everything, including which Financial Advisor would be best suited for them. Having a well designed, user-friendly, and dynamic website can help you gain credibility as a Financial Advisor by continuously establishing a great first impression with website visitors. Adding non-financial information such as community involvement, charitable endeavours and local events on your website can also help build strong relationships between you and your audience. A website can act as an extension of your business. It has the capacity to be a 24/7 online business that is working and available to clients and prospects, even when you aren’t. If you put the work in, your website can be a hub of answers for your clients and prospects.

  1. Create and build your social media accounts

Gone are the days where a first impression occurs when you first meet and shake someone’s hand, especially in the Financial Services industry. Considering that 70% of the buyer journey is completed before reaching out to a company, chances are your prospects have researched you prior to your first phone call or meeting. Having a strong social media presence that effectively articulates your services, brand and you as an Advisor, can be the difference between a gaining another prospect or a client.

  1. Blog!

It is said that the millennial generation, also known as your future clients, have an approximate purchasing power of $200 billion. 88% of millennials used Facebook as their main source of news in 2015. When it comes to news, answering questions, a means for entertainment (the list goes on) – we, the millennial generation, will turn to answers or information we find online and share it with our peers.

81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs (BlogHer). Blogging is one of the best ways to have a conversation with your audience by answering their questions in a non-intrusive manner. Blogging is also a great way to boost your websites search engine optimization (SEO) and ranking. Improving your search engine ranking can also help improve traffic to your website, all while building your digital brand.

So, to get you started on building a better digital you, do a quick audit of your existing online presence:

  • Do I have a website? Is it mobile friendly?
  • Do I have a profile on my company’s website?
  • Do I have an account on at least 1 social media platform?
  • Am I active on my account(s)?
  • Have I blogged?
  • When will I start (or continue) to build a better digital presence?

Learn How to Put Customers First at Liferay Symposium NA

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This post was written by Angela Wu and appeared here first on Liferay.com.

A Conversation with Customers: Liferay Digital Experience Platform

As digital transformation continues to inform the way we live, work, and play, we expect companies and brands to understand what we’re looking for. Businesses have a great opportunity to hear their customers, understand the problems they face, and give them the right solution to make their lives easier. But, do most companies have an idea of how to listen to their customers?

In a recent interview with CMS Connected, Bryan Cheung, CEO, shared how listening to customers sparked Liferay’s progression into the digital experience market with the launch ofLiferay Digital Experience Platform (DXP). In Liferay’s case, transformation was not so much disruptive as it was natural, given its portal heritage, which already had laid out integrations with backend systems and the framework to drive personalized customer experience.

A Better Direction for Customer Experience

The unique infrastructure of Liferay DXP can help build a range of customer experience solutions including web, mobile, and hybrid online/offline experiences across the entire customer lifecycle. In addition, having a single view of the customer lets companies create better, more relevant interactions down the line and gets all departments working together to care for customers.

In this retail banking example, a teller displays a singular customer view. In one page, the teller can see relevant, current information, i.e., the latest conversation between the customer and the bank (wherever it might have been), gathered from multiple systems across the organization. Based on this customer view, the teller can then make intelligent suggestions to the customer and give the bank an opportunity to offer related or complementary services.
Single Customer View on Liferay Digital Experience Platform
Cheung also shared that Liferay DXP isn’t just about connecting surface level interactions. The whole point of Liferay DXP is to let businesses work smarter at what they do—without having to start all over. In this way, businesses gain another opportunity to engage, provide self-service, engender loyalty, and repeat purchases through all customer interactions.

A Natural Fit for Digital Experience Management

Over the past 15 years, Cheung notes that Liferay has set out to make technology work better for people:

“We see Liferay Digital Experience Platform as the next logical step in our evolution as a company, and I hope that we’ve done a good job listening to your needs as we’ve designed our product.”

As customers drive how they interact with brands, companies need to stay ahead of the curve with tools that deliver personalized digital experiences wherever, whenever they engage with your business.

Introduction to Content Marketing for Financial Advisors

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Marketing has evolved tremendously in the past decade – and more importantly the way we market to people has changed. Today’s consumers make purchasing decisions based on research they do on their own, reading online reviews, and through trust that is built overtime with an organization.

We are now in the age of “Googling”. This means that people are turning to search engines, like Google, to find the answers to their questions. Considering that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine (imFORZA), having the ability to answer a prospects question online could help you seal the deal when the time comes. After all, 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to a sales associate (Pardot).

With content so readily available to consumers, one of the best ways to build trust and credibility is through content marketing. So, what is content marketing and how can you start your content marketing journey?

Well, first off…

What is content marketing?

By dictionary definition, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. 

Content marketing aims to educate and inform your audience without selling your product or service – a form of uninterrupted marketing. Consistently creating content that is relevant, informative and provides value to your audience will help attract new clients to your business as it positions you as a thought leader and builds a sense of trust between you and a prospect. Content marketing is one of the most important marketing strategies you can implement for your business. It helps you to build trust with your audience, connect and engage with prospects, and strengthens your Search Engine Optimization, all while further establishing yourself as an expert in the Financial Services industry.

Content creation

There are a variety of different formats of content that you can create to attract a wider audience of prospects. By creating content in different formats and promoting through different channels, the chance of others finding, reading and referring back to your content increases.

To make things easy, start with one idea and decide which medium would be the most appropriate way to share it. Would the information be better interpreted as a blog post, an infographic, a video?

Why content marketing?

Content marketing is a means to help solve, educate and inform your audience on problems they may be facing. By providing prospects and clients with readily available information online, you’re able to build a more trusting and valuable relationship with them. This is one of the most inexpensive and effective forms of inbound marketing. According to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.

If you think back to a problem you may have encountered, or a question that came up such as, “How do I stain my porch?” or “What are the best restaurants in Toronto?”, Did you search for an answer online? Just as you turned to the Internet to find answers, many people do the same for topics related to the Financial Services industry. Search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300% (imFORZA). By including content marketing in your digital marketing strategy, your business has the potential to be a 24/7 online hub for individuals looking for financial advice.

Getting started
To get started on your content marketing journey, here are some things you can do:

  • Find an area that you can be an expert in and use content marketing as a means to answer your target audience’s questions, and solve their challenges.
  • Make a list of blog post ideas – kind of like an extensive FAQ, or relevant topics that would be of interest to your audience
  • Create a content calendar – this will help keep you organized throughout the process
  • Decide on the types of content you want to create
  • Make your current content more socially shareable
  • Learn to optimize your content and boost your SEO to amplify your organic reach
  • Use eNewsletters to push out and repurpose your content

 

For a more in-depth guide to content marketing, try downloading our eBook: The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing