Advisors: Writing for the web creates 4 marketing benefits



How can writing for the web enrich your Financial Advisory business? A Financial Advisor who publishes a newsletter gets
a call: “Your friend just sent me a link from your newsletter. My wife is planning to retire, and we want to make the best use of those assets, consistent with our family goals. Can we all get together?”

This story shows several marketing dynamics specific to the web: Easy broadened distribution that can create unexpected business leads; web analytics that enable the advisor to see which newsletter stories were clicked and any that were clicked multiple times; and an additional information source when preparing for meetings. Because newsletter links drove traffic to the advisor’s site, the prospect had easy access to further information that confirmed his positive impression and led to his call.

Writing for the web may require adaptation of traditional marketing channels like brochures, but the rewards are well worth your effort.  Here are the challenges and how to meet them successfully.

Special challenges of writing for the web

Challenge #1: Grab readers immediately

What drives readers most is timely information that’s communicated clearly in the title of your post. The advisor in the opening anecdote had written about a new regulation related to taxes. Quick publishing via the web speeded timely communication to clients.

Make your content easy to look at, with short paragraphs, headings and sub-heads that state your content clearly, and layout that makes information flow and location of specific topics easy to grasp.

Challenge #2: Use images

Research has shown that the web is essentially a visual medium. Images attract viewers more than plain text.

If, like me, you’re a “word person,” thinking visually can seem daunting. I always envied people who could draw clear diagrams of complex processes, while I required what seemed like too many words. The good news is that, as investment professionals, you’re familiar with potentially the most compelling pictures for your audience: data visualization in charts.

Effective charts use interpretive titles that state the main idea, or story, of each one clearly and are accurate and faithful to your data.

If you enjoy taking pictures, include your own, either to personalize your site (e.g. show the photos in your office) or to illustrate your content. Your own photos are much more effective than stock photos of, say, the generic “meeting.”

Another effective way to use images is to provide a visual metaphor for what you’re talking about.










I’m not a good photographer, but I love art history and enjoy using paintings and photographs in my posts, especially as metaphors. Painters suspended on Brooklyn Bridge cables in 1914 means “risk” to me.













Because finding inexpensive, easy-to-use image sources with a good selection is a perpetual quest of everyone writing for the web, social media experts frequently recommend their favorites. I’ve used and Trustworthy sources will explain copyright and other legal restrictions on images. Be sure to respect copyright. Providing attribution of images you use is a nice touch, whether or not it’s required. This post supplies details as a hyperlink (“Image Source”).

Challenge #3: Distinctive brand “voice”

Write conversationally, referring to your own interests—family, leisure activities—to the extent that you’re comfortable, using plain English to discuss financial concepts.

A sure way to make your voice distinctive is to follow up insights from your web analytics. Are you compiling bookmarks on a social media site? Include these ongoing updates in your newsletter. If newsletter analytics show an unexpected increase in the number of clicks on a bookmark or section of your newsletter, explore the subject in a blog post or future newsletter item, mentioning that this is your response to client feedback.

The opportunity to develop and distinguish your own voice is a good lead-in to the significant benefits of writing for the web, which are interrelated results of information accessibility and communication speed.

Four Benefits of Writing for the Web

Benefit #1: Enduring presence and broader potential audience

The opening anecdote shows that easy distribution of information on the web broadened the advisor’s potential prospects by building service awareness and providing easy access to further information that confirmed the prospect’s favorable impression and motivated his call.

Have you ever lost a potential sale because the prospect lost the information you sent? Marketing on the web means that your posts remain available through search and referred links to existing clients, targeted prospects, and browsers. Your goal is to drive traffic to your site. The more you post to the web using multiple channels like your newsletter, blog, or social media sites like Twitter, the more people will find you.

Benefit #2: Extended marketing scope through easy sharing of posts

We saw sharing from friend to friend. Another way of sharing content is through social bookmarking sites like, which I’ve used for years to compile annotated lists of content recommended to clients. Here’s an example:

Advisors: Writing for the web creates 4 marketing benefits


Although all you need to post on Delicious is the URL, stating what benefits in the content led you to share it, as is done in the example above, is a greater service. also enables you to sort content by topic using tags, which can be bundled into groups, for example “Retirement.” Clients and prospects given access to your public account (I have a private account for my use and a public account with a different user name) can find what they need easily and become aware of new issues related to them and additional services you offer.

Benefit #3: Enhanced lead capture through offers of free content

What’s best for you about writing for the web? You can “repurpose” your content, turning it into a free offer available to readers who provide contact information requested.

Are you thinking of posting content that focuses on various stages of investors’ life cycles and includes the questions they should ask at each stage? Post it as a series, making readers aware of the series and future installments on your site, newsletter, and blog. When the series is complete, collect the installments and make them available as a free offer to visitors to your site and readers of your newsletter and blog.

Include a Call to Action with each free offer: e.g., “Are you making a transition to a new phase of your financial life? Click here to get a free copy of ‘Be financially prepared for all stages of your life.’”

Benefit #4: Varied content that shows what working with you is like

Services, unlike products, are experiential. Although clients can look at investment performance, they can’t take you home for a free trial. How to deal with this? The best answer I’ve found is to use your writing to simulate the experience of working with you as an advisor. Establish your distinctive voice through conversational analyses of market or regulatory events, explaining in plain language who they matter to and why.

Bring the words of your investment philosophy and practice values to life with stories showing how you helped clients fulfill their goals while staying within their comfort zone for risk: Parents funding children’s education; adults with financial resources to start a business, buy a home, or fund dreams of travel during retirement.

As you develop your sites and newsletters or blogs, you’ll want to try new marketing strategies and forms of content. To help you move ahead, here’s an excellent glossary of social media terms, with clear definitions and just the right amount of irreverence.


Susan K BeckerSusan K. Becker, founder of Manhattan-based Becker Consulting Services, is a marketing communication consultant, writer/editor, and presentation coach for organizations in financial services, professional services, and health care. She’s passionate about making communication more effective by maximizing the interplay of text, images, and design. Follow her on Twitter.

Using a Content Pyramid to Engage Prospects and Clients Online

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


Much has been said about the importance of creating a strong online presence if you are a financial advisor (or otherwise). It is now a cliché to even ask, “What’s the first thing people do before or after meeting you?” The answer, of course, is “Google you.” What that Googling individual finds, sees and senses about you and your firm is extremely important. Business can be won or lost depending on a financial advisor’s digital footprint.

We also know that “content is king” when it comes to ranking high on keyword searches. The search engine “spiders” crawl the Internet and catalog sites with keywords such as “financial planning” and “independent advisor.” When someone enters these keywords into their search engine such as Google or Bing, the service looks for sites that are deemed most relevant for that search. Even images and audio/visual files that are tagged with keywords – and are thus part of the search engine cataloging process – can play a part in being more discoverable online.

Of course keywords are just one aspect of coming up high in a search engine page ranking. The services also look at inbound/outbound links, number of pages (amount of keyword rich content) and longevity of the site. We also know that social media accounts are additive. LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter accounts – if they are done right – will show up in a keyword search.

Once people find you, it is important that they see a well thought out digital presence. Study the Content Pyramid and you will see a good way to think about creating content for your blog and social media accounts.

Content Pyramid

1. Provide relevant content.

Your content creation and sharing strategy should be built on the foundation of providing relevant content. For example, if you want your firm to be known for serving dentists in their pre-retirement years (or teachers in mid-career, or small business owners in a particular city, or members of a particular church or faith-based community, etc.), make sure you post content that speaks directly to them. It should also use words that the search engine spiders will catalog and pull from during keyword searches. When these individuals find you online, they will quickly see that you serve and understand people just like them, with needs and goals similar to theirs. And, if you are posting original content, you will also be demonstrating your expertise.

2. Teach how to.

One way to provide relevant content is to teach people how to do something. In addition to demonstrating your expertise, you will be providing actionable information and advice that can “go viral” in the form of social sharing or emails to friends and family members. Not everyone who visits your site or finds your content online will be ready to call or inquire about services. But if you create a good bank of how-to articles and videos (such as the ones GuideVine has on its consumer blogand YouTube channel) and invite visitors to sign up for periodic email updates, you will be able to nurture those leads over time and determine when a more personal touch might be well received.

3. Interact.

Social media, done right, is not just a one-way megaphone. You want people to sense that you are as interested in building a relationship as you are about promoting your own agenda. So, if you want people to engage with you, you also need to engage with them and their causes/interests. For example, if a key focus for you is helping people create predictable retirement income streams and you see a related question on a LinkedIn group to which you belong, post a short comment and link to an article or video created by you or a trusted third-party. Congratulate people when their LinkedIn profile shows a job anniversary or a job change. Pay a compliment to a journalist if you particularly enjoyed a recent article.

4. Inspire.

The NY Times Insight Group study shows that people share content if they find it useful, funny or inspiring. Look for inspirational quotes and mix them in to your stream of tweets (this is a great strategy to keep the flow of content going — especially when there might be a short drought of other content in the content pyramid). Post on your Facebook page motivational memes (graphic images with words and images). Link out from your website or blog to an article that profiles an unsung hero. Share on LinkedIn a TED talk that moved you. The tone and themed consistency of this inspirational content will give people a sense of your values and personal character. If tenacity is a core value, post a link to a book written by someone who overcame adversity. If kindness is important to you, include an image of, for instance, Mother Teresa and one of her famous quotes.

5. Entertain.

This is perhaps the hardest element of the content pyramid. One person’s comedy is another person’s low-level slapstick. What tickles your funny bone may not stimulate audience laughter or delight. This does not mean you should throw your hands up and walk away from trying to entertain people. Instead, generate a list of ideas and types of content that you would find entertaining. Include your team and trusted others in the brainstorming process. Would a stick person “explainer video” do the trick? Would a skit or “behind the scenes” video be better? Can you incorporate some casual language or wit-and-wisdom in your next blog piece? Once you have decided on the type of content and purpose of the piece, good execution is essential. Since “entertainment” is at the top of the content pyramid, you won’t need to do more than pepper it in every now and then – but do embrace it in the overarching scheme of things.

Using the content pyramid can help you create a more engaging presence for both current and prospective clients online.

21 Inbound Marketing Strategies to Accelerate Business Growth

Inbound Marketing Strategies? What is inbound marketing? The Internet has given us a new way to reach our customers. It is called Inbound Marketing, and if your business isn’t doing it, you need to get on the Inbound Marketing bandwagon. Inbound Marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your business in today’s digital centric world.

Inbound Marketing is the intersection of SEO, valuable content, and social media. The Inbound Marketing concept stipulates that you can attract your target audience and prospects by creating and providing interesting and quality content on your website or social networks.

But, how does Inbound work? And what do Advisors need to do to create a successful Inbound Marketing strategy?

Check out the data driven Infographic below, courtesy of Eliv8, for 21 essential strategies to help grow your business with Inbound Marketing.

21 Inbound Marketing Strategies to Accelerate Business Growth

Inbound marketing

A Daily 10 Minute LinkedIn Checklist for Advisors


LinkedIn is a community of business professionals with over 330 million active users; making it the world’s largest professional network. Of LinkedIn’s users, 40% check it daily.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, of course it is not too late to establish a presence but I would consider doing it sooner rather than later. Most likely your competitors have already done so and have begun establishing themselves as thought leaders as well as generating leads in the process. If you haven’t read our post on 5 Quick Ways to Optimize Advisor’s LinkedIn Profiles, check it out first before moving on to this one.

Like other social networks, success on LinkedIn requires that you be present regularly. The Digital FA has provided a quick 10 minutes a day LinkedIn Checklist below for Financial Advisors:

Respond to Messages: Check your LinkedIn inbox just as you do email. Be professional and timely in your responses and make sure your replies are meaningful.   

Share Content: Share links to articles or videos to educate, inform, and empower your connections.

Invite Others to Connect: Invite people you have met to connect with you. Personalize your invitation with a brief message mentioning how you met or reflect on a discussion you had. Avoid using the canned default message for invitations.

Engage: Scan posts made by your connections. If you see something you like, let them know. You don’t need to make a comment every time; give a “like” to their update. Doing so will show you are interested in what others have to say.

See Who Your Connections Are Connecting With: This is a great opportunity to search for potential clients, centers of influence, or other people you want to connect with. Ask your connection to introduce you.

Take Action: LinkedIn provides a great feature that allows you to see when your connections are promoted, leave a company, or were mentioned in the news. Congratulate them on their success and take it a step further by sending a handwritten note. Human interaction still remains valuable.

This is a great checklist to keep your profile up to date and engaging. If you follow this daily checklist, you are sure to increase engagement with your audience and make more connections over time.


How are you engaging followers on LinkedIn? Share your comments below.

How to Succeed Online: The Ultimate Digital Marketing Checklist for Advisors

1) Be optimized for mobile

Digital traffic on smartphones and tablets has now exceeded desktops. Give your clients a consistent experience no matter what device they are using.

2) Create a great value proposition

Make yourself stand out from the competition by creating a unique value proposition that resonates with your target audience and highlights your key client benefits.

3) Market through Social Media

Get active on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Ensure your social newsfeed is visible on your website so your prospects and clients can stay up-to-date. Social media is a perfect way to keep your clients and prospects engaged.

4) Present engaging imagery

The images on your website should resonate with your target audience while representing your brand.  Ensure your photography relates to your audience and reflects who you are.

5) Be dynamic with your website

Websites that are continually updated not only keep visitors coming back, they help make sure your website appears at the top of search results.  Updating your site with newsworthy topics, blogs, and articles show that you are on top of your game.

6) Create polls, events & community outreach

Polls are quick questions on your website designed to get feedback engage your audiences. Posting polls, inviting prospects to events or demonstrating participation in your community not only keeps you in touch but helps you to gain additional insight into their needs.

7) Capture Leads

Every website should have the ability to capture prospect contact information. The goal of your website is to create sales and generate more business. Effective Calls-to-Actions direct visitors to a contact form, a newsletter subscription, webinars or a consultation.

8) Create content

Small businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors, and 126% higher lead growth than non-blogging businesses*. . Blogging helps you to connect and engage with prospects and establish yourself as an expert in the industry

*”12 Mind-Blowing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know,”MartaKagan

9) Optimize for Google

Ensuring Google and other search engines can find you is critical to helping prospects find your website. Step one is understanding the target keywords that your audience searches for. Then create content that includes these keywords including Meta tags that tell the search engines what your website is all about.

10) Promote yourself with email and e-newsletters

Email marketing is not only a very inexpensive method of communicating it is also a perfect way to stay “top of mind” with your prospects and clients.

The Key to Creating Highly Sharable Content

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


There has been an abundance of research on social media but until recently we’ve not had a comprehensive way of understanding why people share content online and how to use that knowledge to create highly sharable content.

Now we do. The New York Times‘ Insights Group worked with Latitude Research to conduct a three-phase study to fill this knowledge gap. In their The Psychology of Sharing, they reveal groundbreaking research that will help marketers understand the motivational factors and get their content shared.

Unsurprisingly, the researchers discovered that sharing is all about relationships. Key motivations hinge on:

  • Bringing valuable and entertaining content to others
  • Defining ourselves to others
  • Growing and nourishing relationships
  • Getting the word out about causes and brands we care about

Sharing is not new; it’s human nature. We still share things when it’s relevant – now we just share online.

Use Content to Define Yourself to Your Audience

Just look at what’s been happening across the globe with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Why has this social media campaign worked so well? It may be in some cases that the people participating actually care about the cause or that they embrace charitable endeavors in general; but many may surmise that business professionals are participating to define themselves and their brands to others. Even the choice of who is challenged to participate is telling and can be a part of the participant’s strategy.

Check out these clips – the “social capital” strategy should be evident:

Going Viral: Lessons Learned from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

For a sense of how online sharing can accelerate the dissemination of a self-defining message, consider this: Livestrong launched its yellow bracelet cancer-awareness campaign in 2004 and it took them one year to raise $50 million. On August 29, 2014, the ALS Association announced that donations topped $100 million in the past month.

“The Ice Bucket Challenge has been a fundraising phenomenon,” said Robert M. Wyrick, Managing Member of Houston-based MFA Capital Partners, a boutique advisory firm specializing in hedged-risk investment management, tax strategies and distribution planning for corporate employees.

“Those who elect to dump a bucket of ice water on their heads, show that they have a fun and gutsy side. They may or may not be all that into the charitable side of things—but they define themselves by stepping into the challenge from a business buddy, who is actually defining himself or herself by the people they nominate, and by everybody doing this in a very public way.”

Tailor Your Content for Optimal Sharing

When creating content it’s important to be mindful of what the motivation of your audience is likely to be. Questions to ask during the planning process include:

  • How does this add value for our audience?
  • How will this help or entertain them?
  • Why will they share it?

Studies show that people share things that have an emotional pull. So, when you create content, try to appeal to the desire to connect as humans. Try to inspire, illuminate or amuse. Telling stories and using video seems to work well in the digital world. Keep the message simple and embed a sense of urgency to spark sharing.

“We can’t just sit in a room and brainstorm creative ideas to try and hook people,” said Jacob H. Gold, a third-generation wealth manager and a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. “The best emotive, sharable content is derived when a firm continually examines its core values and mission, then figure out if there’s an interesting or catchy campaign around it.

Social Media Compliance Guidelines for Financial Advisors

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


Do you know how to think through and manage endorsements and comments on websites and pages under your control?

One piece of SEC guidance that got a big cheer from Financial Advisors and industry social media advocates is that “community” or “fan” pages — if established by an independent third-party to gather community or public sentiment — do not violate the testimonial rule. That just makes sense: if the Advisor has no control over the commentary and posts on the discussion forum, how could he or she be held liable for any comments about services and/or products provided?

For an in-depth look at what Financial Advisors can and can’t do on third-party review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Wallet Hub and GuideVine, click here: Making Sense of the SEC’s Third-Party Review Site Rules

What is important to remember is this: where the Advisor can control the comments, he or she should take great pains not to allow any type of forbidden endorsement or testimonial to occur.

So when thinking about LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs and other website pages you can control, here are some areas to consider.


LinkedIn’s “endorsements” feature on an Advisor’s profile page IS in control of the Advisor. In addition, the endorsement feature provides only positive feedback. With these factors in mind, and because LinkedIn members have the discretion to accept or deny any endorsement, many compliance experts recommend that Advisors turn off this feature. If you and your compliance officer determine that turning off the endorsements feature is a good idea, log in to LinkedIn and click “edit Profile” then “edit Skills and Expertise”. If you already have endorsements on your LinkedIn profile, rather than deleting them, it might be best to simply “Hide” them (who knows – you might not be with the same firm in the future and could potentially show them at some point).

One financial services digital media expert provides some interesting food for thought on her Wired Advisor blog:

“It is my opinion that the social proof gained from showcasing LinkedIn endorsements from your connections on your profile is important, especially since you generally can’t publish recommendations or testimonials,” says Stephanie Sammons, founder of “Also, specific clients and prospects are not identified here. It also should be noted that in the SEC policy update, they no longer view non-investment related commentary to be deemed as a testimonial. Therefore it sounds like you can potentially showcase recommendations that relate to community service or religious affiliation (these were the two examples given by the SEC in the update).”

“Given that the term ‘endorsement’ doesn’t actually indicate within the context of the LinkedIn profile a specific testimonial or recommendation, I believe they are very similar to a collection of Facebook fan page ‘likes’. There are no clients or prospects being singled out through these LinkedIn endorsements. This is mentioned in the SEC update as something that would be a violation of the testimonial rule,” Sammons continues.

“These are aggregate endorsements of your skills from any and all of your LinkedIn connections. With this in mind, I would advise that your list of skills remain very general in nature as they relate to your services such as ‘financial planning’, ‘retirement planning’.  None of your skills listed should indicate or point toward performance results,” she concludes.


Similar to endorsements, LinkedIn’s “recommendations” feature is something a LinkedIn member can control. An Advisor has the ability to accept or deny those types of testimonial comments, most of which are usually independently volunteered.

On LinkedIn (as well as blogs and community forums where the Advisor can turn off the comments feature), most compliance officers typically encourage the Advisor to stay on the safe side and decline to publish (or hide) any comments that could be deemed a testimonial. Many say is it not worth risking any debate as to whether or not the Advisor allowed all comments — both positive and negative – to be seen on the site. Although Sammons observations above do seem to make sense: there may be some gray area if (1) specific clients and prospects are not identified (2) the comments are not investment related. So check with your compliance office or outside legal counsel to get their advice.

On Facebook pages that an Advisory firm controls, many compliance officers are asking Advisors to turn off the Star Ratings feature. To do that, go to the “About” page and find “Page Info” then “Address / Edit”. Deselect “Show map, check-ins and star ratings.”

Some additional pointers:

  • Non-investment related commentary, such as comments on religious affiliation, personal character, or community involvement, are not a violation of the rule, so it is up to you and your compliance officer to determine where to draw the line.
  • On an Advisor’s social media page or profile, there should not be distinctions between who is a client and who are friends or other connections — so be careful not to have a Twitter list or a Facebook photo album called “clients”. There should be no implication that the contacts/friends have experienced favorable results from the Advisor’s services.
  • While the SEC guidance does say that interactive posts made on social sites do not need to be pre-approved, some more conservative firms hold to the requirement that all content on social media needs to be pre-approved before it is published.
  • Map out your social media strategy — both from a compliance aspect, as well as a “voice” and “editorial” standpoint before stepping in to the social media waters. Social media and online forums are a great way to “be discoverable” and advance worthwhile causes and educational information. Having a written strategy in place is the best way to go. It will keep you on track if you are doing your own social media and becomes especially important if you ever hand the reins to a marketing manager or social media director.


Its not just a compliance issue though. Commenting on blogs or photos or Facebook articles is an opportunity for anyone with a good or bad opinion to express those thoughts freely. Many who post do not even consider the reputational consequences of their posts, but smart Financial Advisors and service professional know that every word they post on social media sites can either tear down or build up reputational capital.

Smart Advisors will think twice before posting content on any site, especially when they have had a drink, are tired, stressed or experiencing a sense of exhilaration (any of these situations could skew one’s otherwise judgment). It is important to show some personality from time to time, but doing it in a thoughtful “brand essence” way will pay dividends down the road. For more on “voice”, “authenticity” and “brand essence,” read Finding Your Voice Online and Building Your Brand as a Financial Advisor Today.

What if you feel you’ve been slandered online? While not every site will remove upsetting comments, Facebook may be open to removing egregious content. Facebook page owners can report violations to Facebook’s administrative team using Facebook’s “Report a Violation” page. Read more on eHow

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

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?


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:


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.


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.


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.


 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

Inspirational Marketing Takeaways from #SethGodin at #INBOUND15


“This is not a conference. It’s a movement. It’s the INBOUND MOVEMENT.”

Inbound 2015

4 days, 5 inspiring keynotes, 14,000 marketers, 170+ educational sessions later…and we are back from Inbound 2015, and more inspired then ever. For 4 days, the Veriday team attended Hubspot’s Inbound 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.   Inbound has become one of the biggest marketing conferences in the industry, gathering thousands of marketing and sales professionals from around the globe.

Inbound 2015

The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center was packed with 14,000 marketing hungry professionals anxious to learn and discuss everything there is marketing from industry trends, to new technologies, to predictions for the future, to tips, hacks and tricks.

By the end of the week, I found myself more inspired by the Inbound movement then ever; my head filled with more marketing ideas and information then I thought possible. It would be difficult to recap my entire week; navigating through sessions, keynotes, bold talks, and trying to absorb all of the information that I could. So, here I am trying to bring you home some of my favourite talks, sessions, and miscellaneous good bits from Inbound 2015. I hope these takeaways inspire you, as they did me.

Seth Godin (Best selling Author, Entrepreneur, Marketing Guru and Public Speaker)

Seth Godin - Inbound 2015

It seemed only appropriate that Seth Godin, marketing legend and best selling author, kicked off Inbound 2015 on Tuesday evening. I have to say, I was particularly moved and inspired by Seth’s talk; his messaging about aiming higher and doing great work. What spoke to me was Seth’s discussion about the best gift you can give yourself, “saying yes”. Yes, to helping someone. Yes, to the adventure that is your life. Perhaps the best way to recap Seth’s talk is by sharing with you some of my favourite quotes from his keynote:

“The way we make change happen is by being human, by being connected, and by doing things that might not work.  We spend so much time “getting our ducks in a row.” Once you get them, what are you going to do with the ducks?”

“It’s not about the product, it’s about turning outsiders to insiders for your brand.”

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”

“Our job is to change from, “it’s always been that way” to “sure, let’s try that!”

“I’m not sure what the question is but the answer is yes.”

“You have to make something that some people won’t wait in line for in order to make something that some people will wait in line for.”

“What have you done lately that “might not work”? It might work it might not work.”

“Why did it make it into the museum? It made it into the museum because some people didn’t like it.”

“We like to get off the hook – the hook that says we are responsible.”

“Writer’s block” isn’t real! This term wasn’t introduced until the 1940s when writing became a profession. The reason for writer’s block is because of the lizard brain.  The lizard brain doesn’t want you to be responsible.”

 “The stories you’re telling yourself about why you can’t do it, or why you’re not good enough are all invented.”

 “Scratching is your choice – taking your eye off the ball – taking yourself away from what you could’ve been doing all along.”

Godin so elegantly discussed how people need to stop seeking approval and adhering to authority, and need to start taking responsibility. He explains that many of us have the false assumption that if we were to have more authority, we could do more, and we could do something that actually matters. In reality, Godin explains, if we want to start doing work that matters, we need to start taking action and responsibility, and stop using excuses.

Godin challenges attendees to ask themselves: How do you choose to matter? It’s not about getting bigger or winning some race. It’s about figuring out how you matter. When we are doing work that matters, we are changing other people. Stand for something. Take responsibility.  Give credit.  Embrace risks.

Godin tells the crowd that the story you are telling yourself, what you think you can’t do, and what you think your weaknesses are, are all invented.  According to Seth, “You already have what you need to get to the next level.”


Stayed tuned for the rest of my inspirational takeaways from Inbound 2015. Hopefully they will inspire your marketing (and life), as they did me.