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

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

What is customer experience (CX)?

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

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

customer experience chart

 

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

Self-service help is a must

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

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

Different forms of self-service include:

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

Is mobile in the picture?

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

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

 

Mobile experience issues graph

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

Content Targeting

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

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

he Business Case for the Liferay Digital Experience Platform

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

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

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

  1. Not optimizing for local search

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

Things you can do to get started:

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

Google-my-business

  1. Not optimizing for the right keywords

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Keyword stuffing

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

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

  1. Focusing on link quantity over quality

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

Some things to note:

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

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

  1. Broken links

Does this look familiar?

SEO Common Mistakes Advisors Make 404 error notice

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Content that is not useful

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

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

  1. Not using ALT-Tags for images

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

  1. Not using analytics to see what converts

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

 

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

How an Intranet Can Elevate Employee Engagement

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

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

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

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

Centralize information

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

Accessibility

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

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

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

Productivity

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

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

Personalization leads to higher productivity

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

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

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

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

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

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