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4 Keys to Building A Solid Advisor Transformation Program

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

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

Connecting Strategy to Transformation

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

  •      What does the end look like?

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

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

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

  •      Do you have a decision-making framework?

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

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

Get Adoption in Check

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

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

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

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

Positioning for Growth

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

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

Check Your Vendor Surroundings

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

  •      Do your technology vendors have a roadmap?

○      Have they seen your organization’s roadmap?

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

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

 

What is Holding Advisor Organizations Back from Implementing a Martech Strategy?

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The Business Case for Transforming Your Advisor Marketing. Part 2 Research Phase BannerInternet of Things
In a previous post, I wrote about how the high demand for individualization across investment advisors websites put many firms in a difficult situation to manage these expectations without fragmenting their visual brand. This was primarily due to the lack of available technology (at that time) and it caused firms to meet the demand by implementing one-off customization programs. For many firms this created a fragmentation of the visual aspects of their brand and was thus faced with the challenge of reigning it all back in but to their credit, they attempted to solve a digital experience problem for their advisors. Firms that did not move in this direction, resulted in a very templated (or what many of my clients call “cookie cutter”) representations of their advisors’ businesses. This is still the pervasive model used by the wealth management industry today and many firms are still trying to grapple with the best way to deliver a superior digital experience as cost is no longer the main decision factor.
So why is it, that many large firms are not leaping into the realm of modern marketing technology for their advisors’ websites? It seems obvious that any business considering a strong digital presence would first want to establish a strong online and differentiated brand right? Well, as it turns out, it’s not that obvious and there are a number of very legitimate concerns that we’ve not only experienced ourselves but also concerns that our clients have voiced directly to us.

 

Change Management

This is likely a word you are very familiar with and depending on your risk profile, you are either in love with this word or you quite simply hate it. For larger firms, however, it’s not as simple as hating or loving the word. There is a true cost to change and it’s a very large commitment because it implies a longer-term strategy to get to a particular destination. With the wealth management industry as competitive as it is and with all the disruptive technology in place, many firms not only consider the potential attrition that may occur as a result of a failed change but they equally feel the pressure (well, really banking as a whole) to make a change.
Technology change, particularly when it comes to the technology that can make you appear trustworthy or incompetent, requires users to adopt behavioural changes and develop new routines in order to maximize the use of the technology. Everyone from the advisors, to the support, to compliance officers all have to adapt to this change and ensure that they are all playing their part to support the new ecosystem brought forward by new technology.
The top change management concerns I’ve heard consistently generally fall into three categories:
  1. Compliance: Will our advisors publish something that will hurt our brand or themselves? Is our compliance department prepared to handle this new workload?
  2. Advisors: How will we train and empower our sales force to reap the benefits of these new marketing routines? How quickly will advisors adopt this technology?
  3. Software: Can we slowly introduce features into the field? Does your software stay stagnant or does it update and evolve over time?
  4. Team: Are our teams structured or capable of supporting this new digital marketing paradigm? What’s our long-term support strategy?
  5. Implementation: How are we going to move all of this content from one CMS to another without major disruption?

 

Return On Spend

 

In any good business, ROI is a key driver that helps decide the priorities for key initiatives and whether they should be done. Many CMOs face the ongoing question from their executive stakeholders about the ROI of a campaign or the investment of some marketing technology. The reality though is that marketing ROI from a new technology you’ve never deployed into the field before can be difficult to measure.

 

Traditionally, firms will treat marketing technology spend as more of a cost centre rather than a revenue or profit centre. That is to say, that purchase decisions are heavily weighted on the cost of the software and the implementation of the software rather than the potential revenue impact it will make once it is adopted and in use. While I haven’t performed any special research around this topic, I suspect this is happening because the technology that was previously deployed simply did not have a measurement framework wrapped around it so there was no way to determine the impact of the older technology – no matter how little or much it may have done.

 

Advisor Marketing Strategy and Vision

 

When firms eventually decide they need to replace old advisor website technology, it is usually performed at a time when the technology has reached end of life (end of life technology is typically defined as the point in time in which a software vendor will no longer support the old technology) or when the firm realizes that it cannot fulfill their corporate goals with the existing technology. Without a clear view of the future state of their advisor marketing portfolio, the projects surrounding these two scenarios are typically centered around technology replacement as opposed to a replace and grow.

 

Firms that have a grasp on their longer-term advisor marketing strategy tend to be better prepared for post-project growth of the program where they have an understanding of what questions to ask and prioritize increasing the adoption of the technology rather than supporting the technology – this is a new and interesting shift in behaviour. The teams built around these programs have traditionally been very focused on doing things for the advisor rather than empowering the advisor to perform some of the key tasks on their own. Why? Because they know that once they have active adoption, they have a platform to accelerate their strategy so it’s no surprise the firms in this category will also deploy the technology at a greater speed, meaning they will open it up to their users as quickly as possible and actively manage the change.

 

 

Deploying new marketing technology to a high demand population isn’t something for everyone to do but it is something everyone will eventually need to do to remain competitive. Ultimately, it comes down to more of the cultural and process aspects of the firm. How easy is it to introduce change and is your firm prepared to manage that change? Do you have a strong data-driven decision making process? Have you considered what your advisor marketing program will look like in 5 years between the teams that support it, to the content that’s generated from it, to how your advisors will participate and drive their own success?

 

These are just some of the key questions we’ve been helping our clients answer and perhaps are questions you might want to ask yourselves if you’re considering the next phase of your advisor marketing evolution.

Opposing Forces That Cause A Disjointed Brand

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The Business Case for Transforming your Advisor marketing. Identify Section BannerTwo opposing carton people with opposing marketing voices

Digital technology has enabled total personalization and individualization which contradicts the very idea of brand uniformity. The average digital experience is no longer enough and the driving force behind the desire to push the limits of brand uniformity is customer experience, i.e the idea of delivering an experience that is tailored to a specific client, segment or market.

I’ve had the privilege of helping many large financial institutions bring order and governance to their digital brand where they’ve offered financial advisors or insurance agents a certain degree of customization flexibility as it pertains to their personal brand more so from a digital standpoint than a print standpoint. In more specific terms, I’m referring to the advisor or agent website and an institution’s implementation of a website program in the context of allowing customization. The result of many of these customized programs has led the organization to a state where their digital brand assets are misused (or misunderstood) over a period of time and requires the organization to “reign in” these programs in an effort to strengthen their brand image and in turn provide their sales force with a much stronger and cohesive digital brand.

Now, I know you might be reading this with the thought, “Well Andrew, that’s exactly why we didn’t move in the direction of allowing our advisors (or agents) to customize and instead kept everyone in a single website template, to avoid this exact problem that we’re seeing from our competitors!” Well, to that I say “Kudos. You had the foresight to predict these outcomes.” However, in the end, you still did not solve the overall digital experience problem and while you may be better off operationally, you may still have a digital transformation curve that your competitors have already gotten used even in light of all these issues.

So, there’s learning to be had on both sides of the coin but hopefully some of my observations can help you determine whether you have such a problem or simply identify and familiarize yourself with the problems so you can avoid them if you’re thinking about going down this path.

Technology and the demand for individualization

Many of the website programs I’ve been working to transform started as far back as the early 2000s when web technology was, in my opinion, still in its infancy – think web 2.0. The idea of a technology that could assist a financial brand to roll out a website program for their advisors or agents to self-manage their digital brand quite simply, did not exist outside the walls of those financial brands. Many of the firms I work with have either taken an existing technology (for example, one brand I’ve worked with took a website builder tool and attempted to duplicate it 1000 times for 1000 different websites) and heavily customized it to the point where it became very difficult to maintain or have taken it upon themselves to build an in-house solution (which, by the way, was a very common trend in the early 2000s) only later to realize that it became both labour and cost intensive to maintain the program while also meeting the needs of a rapidly evolving marketing technology space.

Both of these scenarios drove the organizations to extend the programs with in application and manually regulated customization capabilities as the software itself could not handle the level of individualization that the user community demanded. The interesting result of this and ultimately the result of the lack of technology, is the enterprise frowning upon individualization while the market demands a better and more personalized client experience with their financial advisor or insurance agent. The tough task that each enterprise financial brand faces, is achieving both of these goals without “breaking” their brand (and by association, their backs).

The good news? It’s possible and I’ve seen it done before and not by chance but it does start with letting go of the past.

Digital brand governance

Early in my career, every time I heard the word “governance”, I heard the word “rules and regulations” and it was only later on that I truly realized the effects of proper governance and why it mattered as organizational capabilities and functions grew and were required to scale properly. Your digital brand works and operates the same way. Traditionally, brands would create print standards AKA “style guide” which would contain elements like logos, colour palettes, fonts, lines, spacing, effectively anything you could draw on a piece of paper. The paradigm shift I see a lot of financial brands having to go through. It’s trying to think through the digital style guide which scales and grows much differently than print.

Print is finite. It can only produce so many permutations of style and can be defined very easily especially once it is physically printed. But something digital can be created using hundreds if not thousands of components so its permutations can be near infinite if you do not define the boundaries. Many brands we start working with will assume they can apply the print style guide in a digital sense but digital design elements like Buttons and Form elements (like input fields) are not defined. Without these digital boundaries, improper expectations are set across the organization and you start moving down the path of those infinite permutations that lead to brand disjointedness. You may also experience a side effect of your websites looking almost exactly like your brochures.

 

Powering Up Your LinkedIn Presence For Success

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Your LinkedIn profile has so much potential to be your strongest marketing tool if leveraged correctly. By having a professional completed profile with unique content written, advisors can differentiate themselves.

1. Where does LinkedIn Fit In?

  1. Priority 1: Point A to B: Your LinkedIn profile is your website. It is functional and mandatory. Without it, your business does not exist, even with a LinkedIn profile.
  2. Priority 2: Your LinkedIn profile is your personal and owned platform for publishing original content. You can fill your profile with content
  3. Priority 3: Start to optimize your profile using keywords, meta description, and page titles. These will increase organic and paid keyword traffic improving marketing results
  4. Priority 4: Create a good first impression with your profile picture, achievements, content. Prospects and leads are checking you out in the decision-making process

2. Your LinkedIn Profile Needs a Makeover

Your LinkedIn Profile is not your resume. Resumes are a thing of the past. They are boring and flat and only useful when someone is looking for a new opportunity. LinkedIn is a multidimensional tool, it’s a marketing platform. Companies and brands are leveraging other social channels to grow a following and produce content. LinkedIn can be exactly that for an individual to grow their own personal brand.

Core Profile Components. The Peep Hole.

The Basics are name, location, industry, profile URL, summaryAndrew Chung LinkedIn

Profile Image – Your profile image should be current, clear, up close and eye-catching

Professional Headline – Consider if your audience would continue reading your profile if they only read your headline. What do you specialize in? What is your expertise? Do you have any designations, certifications or brand name associations? Have you been published anywhere online that is recognizable? These are all factors that would make your audience want to learn more about you. When writing your headline try to be bold, catchy and confident so people want to contact you.

Contact Information – Never stop branding yourself. It’s a good idea to use a work email and avoid emails from gmail, hotmail, msn, yahoo, etc. When you post on LinkedIn, it can also be sent to twitter to be published as a Tweet. It is more professional to change your LinkedIn URL to something personalized

Experience – This is where you tell your story. Visitors have scrolled down to learn more about you. Use this area to build your credibility and show. Consider including what results did you achieve in your time at this company or business? Why do these results matter? What impact did they have on your clients/customers? Do the results matter to your audience?

Published Content – LinkedIn allows individuals to write and publish content. There is a huge opportunity here to position yourself as an expert in your field. Instead of always posting and linking to industry reports why not write something yourself. Your digital footprint is very important for prospects.

3. Validating Your Profile

To validate that your profile will work for what you’re trying to accomplish it might be a good idea to consider LinkedIn Premium. Focus the quality of your profile instead of the quantity that you are writing. By leveraging the LinkedIn insights, you can ask yourself what is the right audience for your content? What are the key industries or companies you want to target? What does the distribution look like?

Is your profile coming up when people search on LinkedIn? How many of my viewers are finding me via keywords and search vs other mediums?

LinkedIn Marketing

 

4. Generating Leads

Remember Content Marketing. Start with a clearly defined audience and brainstorm and create content specifically for your defined audience. Next, distribute that content to your LinkedIn profile so that your audience and followers can read it. Drive profitable customer action by encouraging call to actions in your content. Lastly, measure it! Any marketing efforts should always be measured.Andrew Chung LinkedIn Profile

Share Curated Content to

  1. Drive engagement
  2. Drive your brand
  3. Share helpful content while being helpful
  4. Ask questions to encourage engagement

Best Practices

To summarize, focus the fundamentals first. Ask yourself, is this an accurate illustration of how you would greet and introduce yourself in person. Stage your company or personal brand in your summary. Tell a story with your experience. Use LinkedIn analytics to determine if the correct audience is connecting to you. Share content that is owned and curated but try to share more of your own content first. Create profitable action by providing conversion points. Lastly, apply networking techniques to grow your audience. Once you have your LinkedIn profile updated, leverage some of that content on your own website.

Blogging Like It’s Nobody’s Business

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What is Blogging?

Blogging is the act of adding new material to or the regular updating of a blog. A blog is a collection of articles that provide helpful valuable educational and remarkable content to your target audience.

You might be thinking, “it sounds like a lot of work” but there are many benefits to creating a blogging strategy that will benefit advisors and their business.

What’s the difference between a blog and a website?

As an advisor, if you’re thinking “I have a website, why do I need a blog?” They are often mistaken for the same thing when they are not. Blogs are updated more frequently whereas the rest of your website is static content that is not updated often. This could be basic content about you and your business’s products and services. 

Blogging Benefits

1. More traffic & New Visitors

Blogs that are consistently updated often see up to 55% more website traffic than those that don’t. Blogs that are updated often also help with Google rankings as the crawlings see a new blog post as fresh new content. 

Before/After Blogging

This advisor started blogging on October 1st, 2014. As you can see, after they began blogging, the traffic going to their website increased, both organically and in total. In addition, there were many new users that started visiting their website after they started blogging.

2. Delivering an Experience

Marketing is not what it used to be where it was constant one-way communication. Now, it’s about creating advocates for your product or service. It’s about creating an experience online that will make your audience want to come back. If your audience feels they are getting valuable, relevant content on topics that matter to them they’ll have a great experience with your content and want to read more of your content.

Social media changed that entire game. With social media, your audience can engage and interact with your content. Engaging in blogging is a strategy to extend your experience to a communication medium where your audience lives.

3. Develop Authority and Trust With Your Audience

Being an authority helps to establish trust, develop credibility as a thought leader in your industry. By writing blog content advisors can position themselves as experts in their particular specialty. Your target audience wants to read content that is relevant to them by someone that is reputable and knows what they are talking about.

Components of a Blog Post

1.Page title: Keyword focused page title

2.Page URL: A url that has the important keywords of your blog post will help with SEO

3.Blog titleCaptivating, eye-catching title to make your audience want to click and read your article. There are some free tools you can use to check the quality of your blog title.

Veriday Blog

4. Description: The description is what will be displayed in search results when your blog post comes up.

Veriday Blog

5.Content: Writing content that has keywords is important for getting your blog post to rank on Google. Keyword research can be done using the Keyword Planner tool.

6. Call to Action: Having a call to action at the end of each blog post is crucial in moving prospects through the buyer’s journey. This could be Contact, Download, Sign Up. By completing an action, the prospect is telling you they are interested and want to learn more. 

Common Mistakes and Pitfalls

Pitfall #1 – Expecting Overnight Success

Success in blogging takes time but people who commit to a consistent blogging strategy will see results over time.

Pitfall #2 – Forgetting to tell your audience about your writing

Just because a new blog has written, that doesn’t mean people will automatically read it. It’s up to you to tell your audience about your new blog post. This could be posting it on social media channels and including the blog post in an email newsletter. It’s a good idea to always look for new ways to promote new blog content to get it in front of new people.

Pitfall #3 – Missing Conversion Mechanisms

When it comes to blogging or any marketing activity, your ultimate goal would be to get new clients and new business right? Be sure to include a call to action to convert your blog readers into actual leads. You want to be always trying to move prospects through your sales funnel.

Pitfall#4 – Creating Content that is off topic

It’s important to know your target audience and write content that is relevant and important to them. The blog content should relate to the title of the blog post so people know what to expect when they’re reading.

Pitfall #5- Trying to Create the Perfect Post

If you’re new to blogging, it can be easy to get caught up in making the perfect blog post. There are thousands of blog posts on how to make the perfect blog post but having a completed live blog post is always a better approach.

Our eBook, The Financial & Insurance Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing, can help financial advisors get discovered online quickly and easily, check it out to take the next steps in your content marketing journey!

Blogging: Content Marketing

The Benefits Of “Google My Business” To The Financial Advisor

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Google My Business is a great way to connect your business to web users looking for your service. In a previous post, I explained just exactly what Google My Business is all about. Here are 3 key reasons why you shouldn’t wait any longer to get your practice on Google My Business.

Reason #1: Produce Better Search Result Information

When you list your business on Google My Business, it gives Google more awareness of who you are, what you do, and most importantly, where you are located. Here’s an example of what you can expect your search result to look like when not using this Google service. In this example, I did a search for “beaufort planning”.

Search results with no Google My Places listing

Ok, so what, right? It produced search results and if you’re “The Beaufort Group” you’re doing a happy dance since you’re listed at the top. But what about the information it provides to the user? There’s a link, some preview text describing the firm and the website address to their website. Is this useful?

Now, here’s another example search I did on “veriday”.

Enhanced search results using Veriday

With this example, there are 3 distinct visual enhancements between the first and second example provided by simply getting listed on Google My Business.

  1. The Address information (i.e. where it reads 5450 Explorer Dr., etc.) This is inserted below the description of the website on the left hand side. Google is pulling this information directly out of Veriday’s “My Business” listing.
  2. Interactive map. Google will automatically create this map on your behalf using the address information you’ve provided. This provides your potential audience with relevant location information about your business. Additionally, Google will also grab images from your profile and drop it into this search result which is a great way to present your brand to the user without requiring them to visit your website.
  3. Listing information about Veriday. This will vary from company to company depending on the amount of information provided. Everything from the address, to hours of operation, phone number and in some cases, the latest post in Google+ will display.  You can also have customer reviews show up. All of this is customizable.

Note: There is a 4th visual difference but that one isn’t directly influenced by having a Google My Business listing.  I’ll be sure to cover this in another post.

So, what makes the result in example 2 more useful than example 1? Simple, location information and contact information are the most common pieces of content that users are looking for when searching a business both on their desktop and mobile devices. By presenting this information instantly to the user, it saves them the time they would otherwise spend looking for that information on the website. In the “beaufort planning” example, I would need to hit Beaufort’s website to find more information.

Reason #2: Enhanced Mobile Search Experience

There’s plenty of data that points to the reasons why delivering a mobile experience is important for users. Luckily, Google has already taken this into account. Creating a Google My Business listing helps you deliver an integrated experience across smartphone, tablet and desktop. The best part is that you don’t need to know a single line of code to do that. Notice how the exact same example produces a very similar experience when I perform the search on my smartphone. The location and contact information is present first in the case of “veriday”, where a Google My Business listing exists.

Beaufort Planning mobile search Veriday Mobile search results

Note the 3 links that Google provides:

  1. A “Call” link. When users click on this link, it provides a single click to call function.
  2. A “Directions” link. Clicking on this link will bring up the mobile version of Google Maps and provide the driving directions to (in this example) Veriday from my current location.
  3. A direct link to Veriday’s website in case I’m not looking for telephone or address information. This is even more of a justification to have a mobile website since you want to maintain a consistent mobile experience for your visitors.

Reason #3: It’s Free

Yep. How about that. Google provides this service to advisor practices and businesses for free. What’s the catch? Well, it really is all about data, and the accuracy of data. In particular, location based data. The data that drives 1 in 3 searches performed online on Google (not including Google Maps). Google has always been about delivering simple and useful user experiences, hence why their search results don’t have a lot of bells and whistles. Here’s one last thought. If Google believes that the accuracy of location based data is an important part of search, is it safe to assume that if you have a business name similar to another business (who may or may not be a competitors) in the same geographic area and only one of you have a Google My Business listing, that Google will list you higher in search results? Looking back at Example 1 of my desktop search, where “Beaufort Group” appeared higher than “Beaufort Planning”, imagine the result if “Beaufort Planning” had a Google My Business listing. How do you think that would change?

Why Should Advisors Care About the New Buyer Journey?

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In 2012, the Corporate Executive Board performed a study to determine just how much buyer behaviour was affected by digital media. As it turns out, 60% of the sales cycle is completed before a buyer makes first contact with a sales person. What’s happening in that 60%?

Any good buying decision must first start with research. The proliferation of digital media has made content so readily accessible that it’s now possible to do most of your due diligence online without the need to speak to someone to make a buying decision. So, why should you care as an advisor? Well, have you ever walked into a meeting with a client and been put on the spot because your client read something online, pertinent to your business, and spent time trying to correct the conclusion they came to by reading that article? Buyers are becoming more knowledgeable and it’s re-shaping the role of sales and marketing professionals.  Understanding the buyer journey can help you adapt to these changes.

So, just what is the Buyer Journey? A buyer journey consists of the mental stages a buyer experiences before making the purchase of a product or a service. In the financial or insurance advice space, this could be a mutual fund, a specific investment strategy, life insurance premium amounts and so on. There are 3 key stages: Awareness, Consideration and Decision. Let’s take a look at each one:

Awareness

This stage isn’t about the awareness of your product or service. The title refers to the awareness of a problem that your buyer is experiencing. For example, let’s say you notice your child’s temperature is very high and experiencing severe stomach pain or, perhaps your client is noticing that their RRSPs aren’t growing at market rates. Buyers in this stage are identifying symptoms of a problem. They don’t know specifically what the problem might be but the symptoms are mentally or physically uncomfortable enough such that it compels them to “figure out” just what is happening.

Consideration

In the consideration phase, the buyer is taking the inputs (i.e. the symptoms) and attempting to identify the problem. In the example above, you might go to a doctor or perhaps read some information online (or offline) and come to the conclusion that your child has the stomach flu. Your client with poor RRSP performance, could take a look at their RRSP portfolio, and identify the fact that one of the funds they’ve invested in is performing poorly and negating the gains of the other investments. A buyer will not move onto the next stage until they’ve gathered enough information and identified the specific problem.

Decision

As you might guess, the decision stage is the point at which a buyer gathers information to make a decision to select the best possible strategy or solution to their problem. Basically, they’re comparing different solutions. Having identified that your child has stomach flu, you’re next likely behaviour would be to try to find solutions that help relieve the symptoms of the virus (or, if you haven’t seen a doctor yet, going to see a doctor could also be an option). The most likely scenario with your client would, for example, involve selling that fund and either re-investing their savings it into an existing fund or perhaps investing the savings into a brand new fund or perhaps GIC. Buyers in this stage are collecting alternatives and options that they can choose from to solve their problem and will move onto the final stage which involves the purchase decision.

A good understanding of your buyer’s journey can help you adapt to the changing buyer and help increase the trust you have with clients. Increasing the trust you have with clients creates leads, opportunities and incremental revenue.

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 What would your buyer’s journey look like?  How can you create content to follow that buyer’s journey?  Stay tuned for Part 2 which will focus on leveraging the buyer journey to increase your AUM.

How to Drive Sales Using the Customer Buyer Journey

4 Keys To Building A Value Proposition That Sells [Infographic]

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What is a value proposition? What are they used for? This Infographic should teach you how to build an effective value proposition

4 Keys to Building a Value Proposition That Sells

4 Keys to The Practice of Content Marketing

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In a recent webinar I delivered, I briefly touched on the 4 keys that we use at Digital Agent for content marketing that helps balance time and investments to ensure we create positive marketing results! Here they are again in case you missed our webinar:

Balance Content Creation and Curation

Did you know that original authored content statistically has a HIGHER ROI? According to the Custom Content Council, 2/3 of consumers say that information provided through custom media helps them make better decisions and more than half of consumers are willing to BUY from companies that PROVIDE custom media! Spending too much time curating content and sharing articles with your audience and not enough time generating your own content at a regular tempo is having adverse affects on your marketing. Simply being visible on social media by curating and sharing third party content can impact the results of your efforts. Why? Well, in short, you’re directing your audience’s traffic to other people’s thought leadership content. While you may be demonstrating awareness of your industry, the simple fact remains that you are losing traffic with an audience who may be very engaged with your content. Any content marketing strategy MUST first start with a content creation strategy no matter what the frequency, as long as it’s consistent. As you ramp up your content marketing efforts, consider placing a slightly higher focus on the creation of content. You might be surprised at the results of your own writing.

Created Content is Yours

Ok, I’ve made the case to balance content creation and curation but in case you’re still not convinced, here’s another point to consider. Always remember that created content is Yours and Your voice is unique. No one else has the unique life or work experience that you’ve encountered. No one has the exact same opinions, perspectives or advice as you do. Creating content will differentiate you from your peers (in addition to a good value proposition). And best of all, you can distribute it as many times as you want through as many mediums you desire with as much frequency as your audience will tolerate! Also, it’s completely FREE!

Curating Content with Prejudice and Care

Every content marketing strategy must eventually have a curation component to it. It is obviously impossible to create great content every single day of week especially if you have limited time and resources. Curating content will help support your thought leadership position and it will compliment a creation strategy. Think of it like the accessories you might add to your smartphone (like a case to protect it) or the ottoman that matches your couch. When you share content it helps to show your audience that you have awareness of your industry, as it relates to your practice and business. It also has a branding and positioning effect. Sharing content about retirement planning, savings and strategies would suggest that you have knowledge of this subject and could also suggest that your business specializes in this area. But (there’s always a ‘but’), avoid blindly sharing content. Avoid just pushing content that you haven’t read into your social media accounts and most of all, avoid just sharing a link with no opinion or commentary and be selective with the articles you curate. Sharing badly written content or content that doesn’t reflect the “tone” of your brand will have your audience disengage.

Create and Share H.U.G.G.E.R. Content!

Ok, you’re probably wondering what I mean by HUGGER. Yes, it’s an original acronym created by yours truly. It stands for:

  • H: Helpful
  • U: Useful
  • G: Genuine
  • G: Giving
  • E: Educational
  • R: Relevant

Creating and sharing HUGGER content that helps solve your audience’s greatest challenges and helps them achieve their life, career, health, financial (and the list goes on) goals has a positive effect on building credibility, trust and loyalty with clients and prospects. Credibility, trust and loyalty are the obvious essentials to building strong relationships and a growing business.

Are you using content marketing in your marketing strategy? How do you balance creation and curation?

 

Guide to Content Marketing

Liferay Recognizes Veriday as a New Platinum Partner

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Enterprise demand for better customer and employee engagement drives Veriday’s implementations of the leading portal provider

LOS ANGELES – (February 24, 2015) – Liferay, Inc., which makes enterprise, open source portals, announced today that Veriday has achieved Platinum Partner status. As a partner since 2011 and one of Liferay’s fastest growing technology partners, Veriday works with clients to design and implement customer- and employee-facing solutions using Liferay Portal. Major clients for whom Veriday has implemented Liferay Portal solutions include Canadian Tire, Saskatchewan Government Insurance, CIBC and FNF Canada.

“We count Veriday among our strongest partners,” said Brian Kim, Liferay’s Chief Operating Officer. “In combining a keen design point of view with technical engineering expertise, Veriday delivers high-performance user experiences to clients through Liferay Portal. They understand the unique approach Liferay offers in building web experiences that foster relationships with customers and employees. We look forward to furthering our partnership as Veriday’s client portfolio continues to expand in Canada.”

Veriday believes Liferay is essential to fulfilling the growing needs of the enterprise, especially those who are looking to move beyond the constraints of their current technology platforms. Liferay Portal provides key functionalities to meet the needs of modern users by enabling the delivery of mobile applications, both native and web, mobile responsive design and audience personalized content targeting.

“Veriday is very excited that our customers have enthusiastically embraced Liferay as a valuable technology investment. This is further evidence of Liferay’s effectiveness as a strategic investment for employee and customer engagement,” said Marc Lamoureux, CEO, Veriday. “We plan on continuing to invest in our Liferay partnership and expanding our impact across North America.”

For more information about Liferay, visit www.liferay.com.

For more information about Veriday, visit http://www.veriday.com.

About Liferay, Inc.

Liferay, Inc. is a leading provider of enterprise open source portal and collaboration software products, servicing Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Clients include Allianz, Carrefour, Cisco Systems, Danone, Lufthansa Flight Training, Siemens, Société Générale, Toyota and the United Nations. Liferay offers Enterprise Subscriptions, which provide access to emergency fixes, software updates, 24/7 support SLAs, and subscription-only features. Liferay also offers professional services and training to ensure successful deployments for its customers. Liferay, Liferay Portal, and the Liferay logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Liferay, Inc., in the United States and other countries.

About Veriday

Veriday is a Technology and Digital Marketing Firm whose sole purpose is to help you delight your target audience and turn them into your promoters. We achieve your goals by educating your teams with proven methodologies and practices coupled with the latest, leading edge portal technologies.  From conceptual planning to implementation to technical support, we have your back when it comes to making your next online project a milestone success.