LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter Ads: What’s the Best ROI?

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This post was authored by Claire Akin and originally appeared here on GuideVine.


Facebook is the third most visited website in the world, with U.S. Facebook users spending 40 minutes per day on the platform — almost as much time as they spending eating and drinking. LinkedIn and Twitter are not far behind, with more than half of U.S. professionals actively using LinkedIn. With so much time spent on the “big three” social media platforms, it makes sense for advisors to advertise to prospects using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter ads. But which is the most cost-effective? That all depends on who you are trying to reach with your social media strategy.

Facebook Ads

Of the big three social media platforms, Facebook has the most robust and complex advertising capabilities. While the targeting criteria are incredibly powerful, the platform may be overwhelming to beginner users. You can target based on age, gender, location, income, interests, keywords, activity, “liked pages,” and more.

A popular way to use Facebook to target is with their “lookalike audience” function. You can upload a list of an advisor’s current clients’ email addresses and Facebook will run an algorithm to “match” the group and advertise to users who are demographically similar.

Facebook ads can be relatively inexpensive, but they can also have lower conversions than the other two platforms. There’s a lot of competition and noise on Facebook, so you’ll want to make sure that your ads are accurately targeting your prospects and that your clicks are converting into actual leads.

One way to accurately target prospects on Facebook is by advertising to users who have liked a specific page. For example, an advisor that has a large anesthesiologist client base targeted the state association of anesthesiologists Facebook page, which is highly representative of his target market. Other advisors use interest based groups like the local country club page to target prospects.

If you can’t find a page where prospects have effectively self-selected, it may be tough to accurately target prospects on Facebook using the other filters. The “interests” and “income” filters to be inaccurate at times, especially when micro-targeting specific zip codes. You’ll also want to consider whether your target demographic is using Facebook actively, which tends to have a younger and more female user base.

Prices on Facebook ads can vary widely, so it’s important to test your ads with small budgets and make adjustments until your cost per click is profitable for you. A good rule of thumb is to get close to or below about $1 per click. For a recent $100 campaign, we achieved an ad exposure of 4,800 and 110 clicks for a cost per click of $0.91.

LinkedIn Ads

The major upside to LinkedIn ads is the accuracy with which you can target based on industry, job title, employer, or seniority level. From there, you can filter by location, gender, and interests. For financial advisors, the targeting is more powerful than both Facebook and Twitter. However, if the employer you are targeting is small, you may not be able to place an ad directly to their employees due to minimum audience restrictions.

If your ads are setup correctly, you can be sure that the people who see them are highly qualified prospects. However, you will pay significantly more per click on LinkedIn than you will on Facebook or Twitter. It’s important to understand that while the cost per click is higher, your conversion rate may be much higher too, since the ad viewers are highly qualified.

In one case, an advisor with a $100 campaign budget targeted women executives in her affluent suburb. Her ad received 30,000 impressions and 30 clicks, for a cost per click of $3.29. One of the people who clicked through to the advisor’s website sent a message about a recent inheritance and her desire to find an advisor to help manage this new wealth.

For LinkedIn ads, you can create “sponsored content” ads, which give more exposure to a selected LinkedIn update within a user’s timeline or you can create text ads, which reside in the advertising section at the top of your newsfeed. While the prices are similar for both ad sets, I tend to prefer text ads since they seem to stand out more. If your message is more complex, you’ll want to use a sponsored update to take advantage of the graphic and greater space offered.

Twitter Ads

Ads on Twitter are basically sponsored tweets, so they show up in a user’s newsfeed like a normal tweet. You only pay for actions, such as clicks through to your website, and you can set a max cost per click to make sure your ad is profitable. Targeting is a challenge though, because Twitter lacks the detailed demographic information that Facebook and LinkedIn have.

The easiest way to target on Twitter is with keywords. You could target your ad towards those with the keyword “engineer” in their profile and narrow by gender and location. You can also target users who have followed a specific user, so to reach financial advisors, I could target followers of @GuidevineFA.

Because there is less advertising demand on Twitter, prices tend to be lower than LinkedIn and competitive with Facebook. If you’re able to accurately target your prospects, Twitter ads could be a great option.

The Verdict

The trick to running social media ads is to consider the results of the campaign in its entirety, not just the cost per click. Be sure that you give users an easy action to take, such as downloading a report or scheduling an online meeting. Then, make sure your website is tracking “conversions” and where they came from.

Overall, Facebook tends to have lower costs per click, but less qualified traffic. LinkedIn has higher costs per click, but much more qualified audiences. Twitter can be a low cost and highly targeted option, if you are able to select appropriate filters for your demographic.

When running social media ads, start by testing campaigns of $50, then adjusting to get a cost per click of less than $1 on Facebook and Twitter, and less than $4 on LinkedIn. Be sure to track website traffic and conversions using Google analytics so you can determine what the resulting traffic is doing on your site. Once you’ve created a campaign that performs and converts well, increase your budget to drive more traffic to your site.

Gartner announces Liferay as a leading portal solution for 7th year in a row

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For the 7th year in a row, Gartner has ranked Liferay at the top of their list for “Critical Capabilities of Horizontal Portals.” Gartner, one of the world’s pre-emptive technology research firms, regularly releases information technology insights for IT and other business leaders. Liferay DXP, the newest version of the open-sourced engagement platform, finished near the top of their list for “Critical Capabilities for Horizontal Portals” in nearly every category.

The report scored 16 vendors according to their strengths in four portal scenarios:

  1. Partner and Supplier Portals
  2. Portals for Marketing, E-Commerce, and Support
  3. Digital Workplace
  4. Portal as a Common Architectural Framework

Liferay finished as a top-three most valuable portal in regards to partner and supplier portals, digital workplace, and as a common architectural framework. Liferay also finished just outside the top 5 as a B2C marketing, e-commerce and support portal. The results highlight how Liferay can be successfully applied to a wide variety of scenarios.

As Gartner put it:

Liferay excels in the portal as common architecture use case, and it exceeds the requirements for leading-edge customers across our other three use cases.”

Gartner found that customers regard Liferay highly for its sturdy architecture and development, the ability to integrate Liferay into various systems and how supportive it is of mobile and multichannel use cases. The community that has grown around Liferay lauds it for its use of the open-source model. Liferay gives developers the ability to customize the platform to suit their unique needs.

You can download the full Gartner report here.


With such a flexible, open-source solution it’s no surprise that Liferay scored so highly in these rankings. While proprietary solutions may be able to solve garden-variety issues, they cannot be altered for any purpose. Proprietary solutions cannot be used to create unique solutions that can be tailored to address any problem you might have.

If you think a Liferay solution might be right for your business, feel free to contact us. Veriday is one of Liferay’s leading partners with years of experience creating customer Liferay solutions.

How to leverage human interaction to improve digital experiences

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In a survey about improving business processes, the improvement that customers requested most from businesses was better human service. Even in the digital age, consumers prefer human interaction and personal experiences.  

 How to leverage human interaction to improve your digital experiences

A key challenge for brands moving forward is finding ways to offer personalized human service in the broader context of an omnichannel engagement strategy. To learn more about this ongoing development, our Marketing Coordinator, Rob Glenn, sat down with Veriday CEO, Marc Lamoureux, to pick his brain about the importance of human interactions in business. Marc has years of experience helping financial services firms improve their customer engagement by implementing more humanized, personal digital marketing programs.

Rob Glenn: When should human interactions be incorporated as part of the overall digital experience?

Marc Lamoureux: I think an intrinsic part of the digital experience is trying to create human interaction. The world is completely digital now. Everyone has access to some sort of device that connects digitally. People still want human connections. Whenever you can integrate a personal connection, whether in the form of content or by associating an individual with that content, it’s a great way to engage. You should do that 100% of the time if you can manage that.

Rob Glenn: What does human interaction bring to a great digital experience?

Marc Lamoureux: It brings that personal touch, which develops trust and loyalty with the customer. Take Facebook as an example. It works so well because it’s a trusted area where you’re connecting only with your friends. You have let them into your world, and that functions as a protected, lively, social engagement system. For business, the process can work the same way. You should be trying to establish those personal relationships with your customers. And if you do it well, you’re going to develop a trusted ecosystem and have a long future with your customer.

Rob Glenn: How would you plan human touch points in a broader digital engagement strategy?

Marc Lamoureux: There are two main activities that need to be completed when planning human touch points.

1. Don’t limit your segments

Think about the maximum amount of engagement you can get with customers, which is one-to-one. You’re reducing your dependence on a broadcast connection model, giving you the ability accurately target your campaigns.

2. People mapping

The second thing you’ll want to ask is: “who can make the best connection with our customers?” Is it someone in sales? A product expert? Is it someone on the service team who the customers have an affinity with? Try to identify those mappings the same way you map content; you can map your people.

Rob Glenn: How can you use data and other by-products from digital marketing to improve human interactions in a meaningful way?

Marc Lamoureux: Marketing departments today spend a lot of time analyzing data and how content and campaigns perform with customers. You can take the same data, and once you associate people with that content and those customers, you can start to identify data trends with your human interactions. You can experiment with the matching of people with customers just the same as you can experiment with matching your content or campaigns with certain customer segments.

Rob Glenn: What are transactional relationships without a personal connection lacking from a customer’s perspective?

Marc Lamoureux: There are some transactions where personal interactions aren’t necessarily important. In banking, for example, making a payment is not a big, important transaction. But a larger transaction, such as getting a mortgage or making a remittance overseas, may require personal interactions. With high-value transactions, where the customer needs support or help, human interactions are very important. You will want to know who you can contact when help is needed.

Content is another situation where human relationships are important. When people are looking for advice or information, they like to know that there is a person behind the content. They want to know who the author is, and what their perspectives are. Associating content with individuals is a great opportunity for businesses to build trust and loyalty with their customers.

Rob Glenn: How can the financial services industry improve the quality of human interactions in the context of their overall omnichannel experience?

Marc Lamoureux: I think if you map out a traditional customer journey and identify how customers go through the process of engaging and buying with you, but also where your own people come in during journey, you will see where your people are engaged with customers in various parts of the journey. That’s going to help you create a better strategy for mapping and planning your human interactions.

The other thing you can do is an audit of your current engagement processes. For example, a lot of organizations have “find us” pages on their websites. When a client wants to engage and arrange a meeting, oftentimes it’s a black box. They don’t know who they will speak with or who will call them back. In our experience, if a financial services organization can associate people with the purchase process or engagement model, they will get better results with customers.

Rob Glenn: How can technology facilitate human interaction?

Marc Lamoureux: Technology, in some way, provides every person with a broadcast medium. Platforms such as Facebook and Youtube have created these one-to-one, or one-to-ten, or one-to-one-hundred type relationships. Technology has created these micro-broadcast relationships all over the internet through digital mediums. I think that same technology principle can be applied to financial services. Instead of a mass media broadcasted marketing campaign, you can start to think about creating more focused messaging, creating one-to-one-thousand, one-to-one-hundred and ultimately one-to-one marketing relationships.

When I think about how technology can be applied to creating better customer connections and more personal experiences, I think of the typical email process for a large financial services organization. If you send an email to a customer from only the brand, with no people attached to it, a lot of people won’t open it, even if there is high-value content in it. If you take the same content and associate it with somebody they know, they are way more likely to open the email. This will give you a second chance to get them to engage with your content. That’s a really good example of a successful strategy of applying technology to create more human connections in your business.


Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this conversation, please follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ for more top-notch content about digital marketing and making the most out of digital channels!

How Do Customer Experience Improvements Impact Revenue?

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This post was authored by Matthew Draper and originally appeared here on


Without seeing detailed statistics concerning the impact of online customer experience (CX) on their company’s bottom line, many executives ask why it matters for their revenue goals. However, the online customer experience-revenue relationship has become clearer and clearer in recent years. Crucially, those who are still in the dark about the revenue benefits of customer experience improvement may be missing out on optimizing their company’s performance.

While common sense may dictate that there is indeed such a thing as CX-revenue relationship, better understanding this idea can help you make informed, impactful decisions about your company’s online presence. Recently, Mercury Insurance used Liferay to overhaul and consolidate their insurance customer portal. As a result, Mercury Insurance found that customer experience greatly improved, leading to higher ratings, reduced costs and many more positive effects. It’s just one example of improved customer engagement leading to measurable company benefits.

How Does Customer Experience Affect Revenue?

According to Forrester Research, good CX can lead to client retention, enrichment and advocacy, which all have loyalty-driven revenue potential. While there are many reasons why a client may terminate his or her services with a company, all businesses should prevent poor digital customer experience from being a cause.

But how will improving CX improve a business’ revenue?

While hard numbers on customer experience-revenue relationships can be difficult to come by, research done by Harvard Business Review shows there is a direct link between CX and annual revenue increase. Their survey polled customers about their experiences with both transaction-based and subscription-based companies. For transaction companies, clients who had the best experiences were shown to spend 140% more than those who were shown to have the poorest experience. For companies based around subscription services, it was shown that members who rated their experience at the lowest score possible only had a 43% chance of still being a member one year later. In contrast, those who scored their experiences at the highest ratings had a 74% chance of still being a member in a year.

In either case, it is clear that positive customer engagement meant a greater likelihood of higher revenue and happier clients who could advocate your brand to other potential clients.

However, not every customer experience manager takes long-term relationships into account when determining profits. But the widespread effects of happy clients should be part of every CX decision. If you are a CX leader attempting to make improvements in your company’s customer engagement, it is crucial that you tailor your investments to your brand’s unique needs, consider non-revenue benefits like happy customers becoming advocates and think about both complete CX overhauls as well as targeting the worst experiences reported by your clients.

Three Types of CX-Revenue Improvement Strategies

As detailed by Forrester, there are generally three types of online customer experience-revenue relationships. These show how a company should focus its initial CX improvement initiatives in order to see the greatest effects on your company’s revenue.

Broad Improvements to Customer Experience – In this strategy, efforts to improve CX can be applied across the board and in all types of interactions that customers have with your organization. Any individual aspect of customer experience improvement should result in improved revenue, but broad improvements may have the most noticeable results, as they will impact the largest amount of customers. This strategy relates to a linear customer experience-revenue relationship, which often affects companies like internet service providers, big-box retailers and auto insurance providers.

Focused Improvements on the Worst Customer Experiences – You may find that the greatest gains can be found in primarily addressing the worst experiences. Focus your time and energy on improving the worst customer experiences, which can likely be distinguished through customer surveys, feedback and records of complaints that your customer service team has received. By doing so, you can prevent customers from dropping your service and are likely to find the largest return on investment in your customer experience improvement efforts. This strategy relates to a relationship of diminishing returns between customer experience improvement and revenue, which is often felt by credit card providers, wireless service providers and airlines.

Focused Improvements on the Most Positive Customer Experiences – Further improving the highest levels of CX could result in the most dramatic revenue increases, while improving the poorest experiences will do less for your bottom line. Keep your customer experience improvement efforts focused on the most positive experiences seen by your business, which can likely be determined through positive feedback received in surveys. In doing so, customers who have a positive experience with your business will be encouraged to return time and time again, as well as become an advocate who can bring in additional customers. This strategy relates to an exponential CX-revenue relationship that often affects credit card providers, wireless service providers and airlines.

While these three types of revenue-impacting digital customer experience strategies should be individually tailored by each company that adopts them, they can be a helpful guide to what your business should first address. By focusing your efforts while improving CX, you can create a successful plan for optimizing customer portals and other forms of engagement.

So what is keeping some businesses from improving customer experience?

Many see improving CX as not being worth the cost. However, improvements have been shown to actually reduce costs due to needing to handle fewer complaints, as shown by information provided by Medallia. That means less money spent on fielding upset clients, happier employees who don’t have to spend all day handling complaints and more time available for optimizing internal processes and other forms of customer engagement.

These factors are vital in determining the long-term goals of a company and weighing the true value of online customer experience and what can be done to improve it.

2017 State of Digital Marketing [Infographic]

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Between social media, SEO, email marketing, analytics and, creating content, digital marketers have a lot to do these days. Digital marketing moves and evolves very quickly. It can be hard to understand what is important and what needs to be improved.

The Search Engine Journal has an annual survey where they ask digital marketers what they plan to do in the coming year. The survey asks how digital marketers set timelines for various activities, where they allocate their budgets, and how they define success.

This infographic summarizes the results of their findings in a fantastic way. There are several noteworthy results from the survey,  but one, in particular, jumps out to me. It’s interesting how inexpensive content marketing can be; 44% of respondents spend less than $300 per month on marketing their content.

2017 State of Digital Marketing


If you liked this infographic, you should follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ. We share high-quality content like this infographic all the time. We’re always on the lookout for the latest trends in digital marketing, technology and increasing customer engagement and loyalty. Thanks for reading, have a great day!

Financial Marketers Not Ready for the Future?

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The financial services industry spends $8.37 billion (USD) per year on digital advertising. But with 615 million devices blocking ads worldwide, marketers need to adopt an inbound marketing strategy if they want to improve the success rate of their digital marketing efforts.

Every financial services organization is attempting to become more efficient and effective in their digital marketing efforts. From investing in new technologies to leveraging data to improve personalization, financial services organizations are working to drive more engagement in their marketing campaigns.

Trends in financial services marketing include increasing efforts in developing their brands, utilizing web-based selling, developing interactive content, and doing a better job of targeting individuals using mobile channels. The business goals associated with these marketing trends are to improve their capacity to up-sell and cross-sell while growing their overall client base.

These goals prove that the industry as a whole is embracing the digital age. There are a few difficulties financial marketers face, including difficulties in measuring ROI, an inability to get the most from their data, an inability to efficiently personalize their marketing efforts and overwhelming expectations from upper management. All of these difficulties come coupled with a systematic lack of funding for digital transformation efforts.

How are these difficulties hampering financial marketers? Let’s examine 6 of the challenges faced by financial marketers:

1. Measuring ROI

92% of organizations in financial services believe that measuring marketing performance and proving results are a challenge. As you can see in the graph below, more than half of financial executives believe their organization could do a better job of establishing marketing ROI. This number increases even more when focusing on marketing executives.

Financial Services Marketers Not Ready for the Future

Why do financial service providers struggle to quantify marketing ROI? The answer may lie in the fact that financial service organizations were slow to adopt digital marketing tactics. This late adoption meant that financial service providers are still playing catch up. Especially when it comes to digital marketing analytics.

Even though digital marketing produces an insane amount of data (click-through-rate, engagement, reach, etc.), they are of little interest to those outside of marketing. Non-marketing stakeholders are generally more concerned with ROI and sales. If an activity does not drive revenue, it is hard to justify the expense. Marketers in financial services (and other industries as well), must work to prove their value in dollars and cents.

2. Limited Skillsets and Insufficient Use of Data

These two challenges are very closely related to each other. Many marketing departments in financial services lack the skills required to effectively draw conclusions from data. By no means is this problem solely experienced in financial services. Every industry is facing a similar challenge. To offer personalized experiences to your audience, you need to be able to draw conclusions from data. Data silos need to be broken down, results need to be measured and insights need to be drawn. These activities can only be accomplished if marketing departments have the required data skills, this can be done by hiring personnel with adequate data skills.

Only 11% of organizations in financial services said that data analytics was not a problem. This shows the widespread need for data professionals with robust analytical skills in marketing. Without these skills, marketers cannot draw accurate conclusions about their audience. Without an accurate view of your audience, how can you produce content that speaks to their interests, pain points, challenges, and questions?

These missing skills also factor into why financial services companies struggle to calculate ROI from marketing. The department simply does not have the skills available to calculate these stats. In order for financial marketers to make better use of data, investments need to be made in human resources that can break down data silos and draw conclusions from available data.

3. Lack of Personalization

Personalized marketing is one of the goals of most, if not all, digital marketers. An increasing percentage of marketing budgets in financial services are going towards digital channels. This has made mass media buys a less popular option for marketers. One way to succeed in digital marketing is through producing content that is relevant to your target audience.

Offering personalized content and communications increase the rate of success for content marketing. 71% of respondents cited brand awareness and thought leadership as the most common objectives for content marketing in financial services. Customer retention/loyalty was a close third, cited by 69% of respondents.

The lack of personalization in financial services can be attributed to two main factors:

  1. The first factor preventing greater personalization in financial services is that thought leadership and brand awareness do not have a tangible, easily calculated impact on ROI. Since financial services executives are heavily focused on increasing profits and ROI, content marketing budgets can be difficult to justify.
  2. The second, more systematic reason that financial services marketers struggle to offer personalized content and communications can be attributed to the constraints surrounding regulations. All content and communications from financial service providers must be recorded and pass a compliance review. It does not matter if it is a blog post or direct email. If it is a marketing activity, it must be reviewed for compliance. The delay between drafting communications and gaining approval hamstrings the ability for marketers to personalize communications.

If financial services marketers could pass content and communications through compliance without massive delays, personalized content and communications could be produced and published more effectively.

4. Inability to Effectively Automate 

A major difficulty for marketers in financial services is the inability to effectively automate marketing functions. Marketing automation can be used in many ways and is a very valuable tool for any digital marketer. So why hasn’t automation been used to its full potential by financial services marketing teams?

In financial services, there are many rules regulating communications between organizations and individuals. Regulations are also in place to protect customer data, and to regulate branding and marketing All these regulations must be considered by financial marketers when creating and distributing content. Because of these regulations, marketers may be hesitant to employ automation. The penalties for non-compliance are so high that marketers may not trust automation with following the rules. The risk simply is too high to justify the reward. Another reason why financial marketers might be hesitant to adopt marketing automation technologies are the existing legacy systems. The legacy systems in place at financial institutions might not have the technological ability to automate their processes.

Without the ability to effectively automate certain processes, a limited number of initiatives can be undertaken at once. Automation can improve a company’s ability to:

  • respond to customer requests in real-time,
  • help the company alter details of a program in an agile manner,
  • make scheduling social media posts, emails, and content more efficient,
  • marketing in real time,
  • reactive marketing,
  • event marketing.

5. Overwhelming Expectations, Underwhelming Budgets

It appears that the final, and potentially most impactful challenge that financial marketers face is overwhelming expectations from leadership. Thanks to the increased popularity of digital marketing over the last few years, there are many areas that marketing departments need to quickly improve upon. Financial marketers need to develop skill sets for dealing with data, they need to find ways to quantify their impact on the bottom line, and they also need to revamp their marketing plans to make better use of digital channels.

Since marketing has changed so much, there are many changes that marketing departments need to undergo in order to overcome digital marketing challenges. These changes need to occur in short order, as there is still a “race” to capture digital marketing authority amongst financial service providers. The amount of change that needs to occur relatively quickly has lead to high expectations from leadership.

The graph by The Financial Brand (below), shows the biggest challenges for marketers in 2017.

Financial Services Marketers Not Ready for the Future

The main challenge for marketing departments in financial services is due to budget constraints. The quantity of change that needs to occur in a tight timeframe, along with tight budgets, has lead to some financial marketers feeling overwhelmed. They are simply being asked to do too much with too little.

Takeaways for Financial Services Marketers

To all the financial services marketers reading this, I feel your pain. Due to the increasing ubiquity of the internet, we have seen an unprecedented change in the way goods and services are marketed over the past decade. Because of the complex, far-reaching regulations that affect marketing financial services, this change has been especially difficult for financial marketers.

All the problems discussed in this article are interrelated. You cannot properly utilize your data unless you have the skill set to analyze it and break down silos. If you cannot analyze the data to draw conclusions, you cannot prove the ROI of marketing efforts. If you cannot prove ROI to executives, they will not increase your marketing budget. Without an increased budget, you cannot hire people with the skills to break down silos and analyze data.

It’s a vicious cycle that will be very difficult to break out of. To break the cycle, marketers will need to gain buy-in from non-marketing leaders. The key to everything is proving the value of digital marketing in terms executives can understand: dollars and cents.

Do you want to get more out of your digital marketing efforts? Do you want to expand your content marketing strategy through your affiliate marketing channels? We might have the product for you. Digital Agent is a marketing compliance platform, built specifically for financial service providers. It can help your agent network create personalized content that can be easily approved by compliance for publication. For more information, you can go to If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. Follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

The Irony of Social Selling in the Digital Area

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Social selling in the digital area occurs when salespeople use social media to interact directly with prospects. It involves developing relationships by interacting with prospects on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Social selling and digital marketing are different things, although they work well in tandem. Digital marketing focuses on sending out messages to many people, whereas social selling is focused on cultivating one-to-one relationships.

Social selling has been used long before the advent of digital platforms. Starting in the 1940’s and 1950’s, salespeople started building connections with their clients. They built these connections by taking prospects golfing, to the country club or to an exclusive event. By building a relationship, and highlighting common interests, you will increase the likelihood that a purchase will be made.

Social selling has made a comeback in recent years for two main reasons:

1)  Due to the connectivity brought about by advances in digital platforms, it is now easy to communicate with prospects using the internet.

2) Social selling is making a comeback because of changes in the way people buy products and services. Now, 60% of the buyer’s journey takes place before a salesperson is contacted. This means that before a prospect reaches out, they’ve already done most of their research which means a salesperson is less likely to be able to influence their knowledge.

How can digital channels create human connections?

One clear way that digital social selling parallels social selling of the past, is through the growth of digital connections. This mirrors the concept of growing your network, meeting people at the country club and industry events. This was the way social selling was originally completed.

A good salesperson needed to be part of the right social groups to get a meeting with a warm lead. To get your message across, you needed to know somebody in order to work your way into an organization. Simply getting your message in front of somebody who may be interested in purchasing your products or services was extremely difficult, expensive, and time-consuming.

Today, it is easier than ever before to make connections with people. There are many ways to find qualified leads, both digitally and in the physical world. Social media is leading the revival of social selling and is one of the most effective digital methods for generating leads.

Using social media to make connections

Social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, are a clear indicator that social selling is back like never before. These platforms allow businesses to build connections with potential leads by following and engaging with them on the platform. This parallels the way in which salespeople network in the physical world. In the original wave of social selling, salespeople connected with potential leads by taking them to lunch or some other form of social interaction.

Social networks are more effective at creating these connections for a few reasons.

1. Social media websites have no cost to sign up.

This is a clear cost-savings because you can interact with potential leads at no expense.

2. Social media is a quick way to make a connection

In the original wave of social selling, an invitation to dinner, golf or some event was practically required to get in front of a lead. The prospect might not humor you if the offer does not seem worth the time. That constraint is no more, which takes a burden off company expense accounts.

On social networks, people provide a description of themselves along with their likes. You can also see members of their network. Depending on the platform, different information will be provided. On LinkedIn, for example, people will provide information about their current position, previous jobs, and their professional skill set. That is one of the reasons why B2B sales use LinkedIn to prospect clients. Depending on your niche, who you are prospecting, and what their interests are, you can use different social networks to target leads.

Ratings and Reviews: Connecting the World

Another way that modern social selling mirrors social selling of the past is the growth in popularity of customer reviews. It has never been easier to see what other people think about a business or their product. Websites like Yelp and Google+ have hundreds of millions of users. Yelp users post 26,380 reviews per minute. So, it is likely that your business has already been reviewed many, many times. Reviews are significant because 92% of consumers read online reviews in 2016, up from 2015.  These reviews are important because they can be prospect’s’ first impression of you.

The online review ecosystem reflects another aspect of social selling from the past. Word-of-mouth reviews used to be the only way for leads to get an unfiltered opinion of your business. There are several limitations of word-of-mouth reviews, including the inability to verify the truthfulness of the review. Another limitation is the fact that you must already know (or work hard to seek out) somebody who has done business with the company in question.

Online reviews have given consumers access to more information than ever before. While the truthfulness of reviews is still open to question, brands now have an opportunity to respond. The size of your personal network is no longer a factor in accessing reviews. This means that a potential lead can get opinions on your business from all different customers, regardless of their locations. While these reviews are done online, they are still done by real people and should be considered. There is a good chance your prospective customer will have seen the review.

So how can you combat bad reviews? This article does a great job of examining what to do and what not to do about bad customer reviews.

Content has become less complicated to produce

Another reason that social selling is making a comeback is because reality-based content and entertainment can be easily produced. Digital channels crave content. It’s the fuel that keeps the cycle running smoothly. Without quality, engaging content, digital channels would slow down to a crawl, due to a void of information. For business purposes, content can come in many forms, but for most industries, the content must be based in reality.

Reality-based entertainment and reality-based content have become much easier to produce thanks to improved digital tools. Thanks to a variety of web applications, every picture can look beautiful. Stock photos are high quality and available in droves to ensure engaging images can be added to your content. Video and audio have never been easier to produce. People can create any form of content they want. They no longer need the level of expertise required before technological advances made content creation more accessible.

Today, creating content has never been easier. With improvements in technologies such as cameras, monitors, and editing software, video has become prolific. 78% of people watch online videos every week, 55% watch every day. This form of media has become extremely important in today’s digital environment, partially because it is very engaging, partially because it is easy to create.

It has never been easier to produce content and get it out to the masses. Content allows you to share, comment and otherwise interact with prospects in the digital space by presenting a talking point. This content revolution is changing the way social selling takes place.

How can brands use digital social selling?

There has been an undeniable culture shift over the last decade, with social selling becoming a key linchpin for salespeople. This shift has lead to several brands wondering: “What do we do now?”

There are several key activities for brands to manage when implementing social selling in the digital area.

  • Creating content for your team to disseminate.

Content is one of the most important aspects of social selling. As a form of inbound marketing, social selling should involve building confidence through education. By educating prospects, they will grow to trust you, and when the time is ripe they will seek your business out.

  • Keep Conversations Local

Social selling is most effective when used on a local level. If salespeople have tools that allow them to geo-target their prospects, keeping the conversation local is much easier. These tools are available as part of many larger suites and are immensely valuable to salespeople. Another way to help target local leads is to have location-specific campaigns that speak to common pain-points of the local demographics.

By targeting locally and creating educational material for salespeople to use when social selling, it allows them to limit their conversations to the most qualified prospects possible. This will increase the ROI of your sales efforts by limiting the number of interactions your sales team has with cold leads.


It’s almost ironic that the digital area was once thought to be the domain of isolationist hermits who didn’t want human interaction. Now, it is the place where billions of people go to share information, review products, converse with businesses and make purchase decisions. The landscape has changed, and just like in the 1950’s, social selling is a key tool for any business.

Before the transformation of the digital landscape, golf trips and exclusive events dominated social selling. If you didn’t have a membership at the best local country club or tickets to a hockey game, you would have a very difficult time getting in front of a warm lead. Today, those barriers have become less important. All you need is a digital platform, informational material and the willingness to start a conversation. Social selling today mirrors social selling of the past in many ways and is a tactic that should be considered by financial service professionals.

Do you use social selling to generate leads for your financial service business? Is it still golf trips and hockey tickets or do you use digital platforms? What is your favorite way to use social selling techniques? Do you use Twitter or LinkedIn? If you do follow us on those platforms to hear more news about selling in the digital space!

Financial Services: A Case for Industry Disruption

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The number of community banks (those with less than $10 billion in assets) shrank 14% between 2010 and late 2014. Why have community banks been disappearing? The same reason that traditional taxi drivers have been struggling over the last few years. Disruption from technology enabled challengers. Even larger financial institutions need to be concerned about the threat of disruption. They too are at risk of losing business to technology enabled challengers.

These competitors follow a standard archetype regardless of the industry. Technology enabled challengers look to provide a more convenient and frictionless experience to consumers by reimagining the industry-standard business model. Challengers can provide these improved experiences by leveraging consumer technology to provide convenient, low-cost solutions. Today we will examine how Uber disrupted the taxi industry, and why financial services are at risk of disruption.

Uber: A Case Study

What does Uber have in common with FinTech firms?  A willingness to disrupt an industry by utilizing innovative technology solutions.

Uber disrupted the taxi industry by using technology solutions to provide a more convenient, lower cost experience to consumers. The taxi industry carried high costs from ownership of vehicles, an inconvenient and inefficient system for hailing rides, and relied on regulation to protect the industry from competition. Uber managed to win a substantial portion of the market share from traditional taxi drivers. Their rides cost less, arrive faster, and are simply more convenient to use.

Consumers quickly saw the benefits of Uber’s business model. They were attracted to the convenience of ordering a ride from their smartphone, and the fact that ordering an Uber cost less than taking a taxi. Uber is both more convenient and cheaper than a ride in a traditional taxi. Many consumers quickly abandoned taxi rides and began Ubering instead. The marriage of technology and convenience was too much for the taxi industry to compete. Worldwide, Uber took $6.5 billion of revenue from the taxi industry in 2016 alone.

The financial services industry can learn lessons from what happened to the taxi industry. If banks and other financial service providers do not change their business models, their industry will be disrupted as well.

Similarities in Financial Services

The financial services sector has many things in common with the taxi industry. Some of the biggest similarities that financial services have with the taxi industry are:

  • legacy systems,
  • a lack of integration with consumer technology,
  • reliance on regulatory barriers to protect the industry from competition,
  • inconvenient service offerings.

These similarities mean that the banking industry is vulnerable to the same type of disruption that turned the taxi industry on its head.

Consumers want convenient and competitively priced solutions to their problems. Those same factors are important when selecting a financial service provider. Three main factors stop financial institutions from offering a solution with those attributes, and they happen to be the similarities that financial services share with the taxi industry.

1. Legacy Systems

Financial services institutions, especially large banks, are known to have outdated legacy systems that hinder the ability to alter or add to their technology suite. These legacy systems have been in place for years, and many legacy systems are outdated due to the pace of technological change over the last decade. Outdated and expensive legacy systems represent significant costs to financial institutions. They are one of the primary reasons that the financial services industry are at risk of disruption from FinTech firms.

Legacy systems are a reason that financial institutions cannot offer low-cost, convenient, technology-enabled features to consumers. While features that fully integrate financial services with their everyday devices would be greatly appreciated by consumers, they are difficult for financial services institutions to implement because of legacy technology. The existing technologies already in place simply do not have the capabilities that customers need.

2. Lack of Integration with Consumer Technology

Legacy systems might play a part in preventing FinServ firms from adopting technology solutions that integrate with consumer technology. Regardless, FinServ firms need to integrate their services with consumer technologies. People want to use their smartphone to transfer money or check on a payment. Mobile and online banking is no longer something that adds value; it is now a requirement. The next steps for integrating financial services with consumer technology will be to prepare for virtual assistants, artificial intelligence and a hyperconnected world where the smartphone is central to all the activities in a person’s life.  

People want convenience. The best way to provide that is by making your services accessible to those using popular consumer technologies.

3. Reliance on Regulatory Barriers

The financial services industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries on Earth. These regulations increase costs for financial institutions and add steps to a variety of financial services workflows. The additional steps created by compliance can dramatically slow down business processes. Regulations also represent a significant barrier to entry for FinTech firms due to the significant costs associated with maintaining compliance. Some regulatory requirements that limit competition in financial services include minimum capital requirements, multiple points of oversight and particular requirements regarding oversight of information assets. These barriers are difficult for any new challenger to overcome.

Existing financial institutions have relied on these barriers of entry to protect themselves from the competition. Without these regulations FinTech firms, challenger banks and other technology companies would be able to enter the financial services industry and compete with traditional financial service providers.

Regulations Won’t Protect Financial Services Forever

As Uber began taking market share from taxi drivers, the taxi drivers pushed back. They called on governments around the world to regulate ride-sharing services. In some jurisdictions, ride-sharing services were regulated by government bodies. In many others, they were not.

Relying on regulation to avoid competition did not work well for the taxi industry. Politicians tasked with regulating ride-sharing services realized the benefits companies, like Uber, bring to consumers, and therefore are unlikely to ban them completely. The same thinking goes for FinTech firms. If a service is a net positive to society, politicians will allow that service to continue. They will remove regulations, opening the industry to new competitors to better serve their constituents.

Financial service providers cannot rely on the same regulatory landscape forever. In 2017, the United States government made plans to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, a lynchpin of financial regulation for the past decade.

As FinTech becomes more refined and builds trust with consumers, regulations will inevitably be loosened. If traditional providers of financial services do not prepare to compete head-to-head with these innovative challengers, they may face the same fate that the taxi industry did in their battle with ride-sharing services.

Culture of Innovation

The biggest reason that banks and traditional financial services firms are at risk of disruption is that they lack a culture of innovation.

Financial technology firms were born out of innovation. Innovation is embedded in the fabric of these companies. Their whole purpose was to disrupt the financial services industry through innovation, and to date, they have done an excellent job of achieving that disruption.

To avoid losing market share, traditional financial institutions will need to change their culture. They will need to embrace change and be more willing to change their ways. Just because a process has worked for 50 years does not mean that it will work for 50 more.

The taxi industry did not embrace innovation. Ride-sharing services changed the way the industry worked, and it severely affected taxi drivers everywhere. A taxi license used to cost over $1,000,000 in New York City. Today, that price has dropped to around $600,000. The value of a license has dropped substantially because nearly anybody can become an Uber driver.

Financial Services needs to invest in modern technology solutions or risk disruption from FinTech firms. Be more like Uber and less like the taxi industry. Only adopting a culture of innovation can help financial institutions retain their market share.

Disruption: Unavoidable

Over the course of history, many industries have been disrupted because of technology. The introduction of paper money disrupted finance once already. There is no reason why the industry cannot be disrupted again. The internet and improved methods of communication have disrupted many industries over time, showing that change is inevitable.

Today, technology solutions make industries with seemingly insurmountable barriers to entry accessible to smaller competitors. Finance is no exception. Major banks and other financial institutions should begin to adopt FinTech solutions to get ahead of the competition. As consumers become more comfortable with digital payments, blockchain based ledgers and other innovative technology solutions (including some we have yet to imagine), firms that specialize in these technologies will gain a large competitive advantage. The financial services industry can reduce the threat of disruption by listening to their customers and evolve with their wants and needs.


Engage Your Clients With Top-Notch Customer Service

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In 2017, financial agents are competing, tooth and nail, to attract and retain their client base. How can you offer an experience that makes your clients want to continue doing business with you? If you’re thinking “create a killer social media strategy and offer the best combination of products, service, and advice on the market”, you’re not wrong. But, there is a critical aspect of fostering customer engagement, which leads to loyalty, that you may have forgotten in the increasingly digital world. That is offering top-notch customer service.

Even the most professional and engaging digital presence will be rendered ineffective if you can’t make your clients feel at home. If your clients meet you in person, they need to feel like they are the center of your world for the brief time they are with you. Remember, your customer’s experience transcends all channels. Offering amazing in-person service is a great way to ensure your clients have an excellent experience with your business.

Here are 4 factors you need to consider when planning an excellent customer experience:

1) Customer Insights

Creating an excellent customer experience is a very difficult task. You need a well-researched, comprehensive understanding of your target audience to create a customer engagement plan that will speak to that particular audience. Competitive analysis, market research, and customer insights are all required to craft your engagement strategy.

To offer an excellent experience, you must plan the “buyer’s journey” from discovery to purchase. To do this, you will have to identify the prospective customer’s pain points and plan the touchpoints in which you will interact with that customer.

If you have been struggling to collect the requisite data about your customers, you should check out our article: You don’t know your customer…. because you haven’t asked. In that article, we discuss the intricacies behind gathering the customer data needed to plan a comprehensive marketing strategy.

If you have all the information about your customers, you can plan experiences and content that will speak to their unique needs and interests. If you attempt to craft a plan without that information, your content and experiences might not be engaging to your customer. Your content needs to be targeted to the specific stage of their buyer journey.

2) Positive Environment

Part of crafting the ultimate customer experience involves ensuring your customers feel comfortable when they come visit you. As a financial agent, you are dealing with some of your client’s most sensitive issues and information. To offer an excellent customer experience, you should ensure that your clients feel comfortable talking to you about anything.

How can you set a positive environment in your business? It’s easy. First, focus on providing a clean, organized, welcoming space to meet clients. It’s human nature to want to be somewhere clean and organized, so ensure that your office is tidy. Every space, from the entrance to your desk, should be immaculate.

There are other factors to consider when creating a positive environment. Always make eye contact and use friendly words to promote a relationship with your clients. This level of respect should be used in all aspects of your business. Ensure that your web presence conveys the same friendliness and willingness to help. If you set a positive tone at every touchpoint, your customers will feel welcome when engaging with your business.

Creating a space where your clients feel comfortable reduces a significant amount of friction in your relationship. If your client feels respected, well looked after and maybe even pampered (a little bit), they will remember. The feeling of quality service will stick with them, giving them an increased sense of loyalty to your business.

3) Transparency

Transparency is a key facet of customer engagement, especially in financial services. If you are transparent with your customers, it will aid your efforts creating a positive environment and garnering trust. 56 percent of participants surveyed by Label Insights said that more product information inspires more trust in a brand. Additionally, 94 percent of participants said they would be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.

If you are open and honest with your clients, they will grow to trust you. This is very important if you want to develop long-term relationships with your clients.

Being totally transparent while staying compliant can be difficult. A lack of transparency is usually attributed to poor communication, rather than malice. That won’t matter to customers. To maintain healthy relationships with your client base you must prioritize transparency in all your communications. How can you do that?

Be upfront and honest when answering questions from clients. Be straightforward about your fees, and explain what benefits you will provide (and how you will provide those benefits). Nobody wants to be surprised with an unexpected fee. If you are forthcoming about how each party will profit from the relationship, you can gain your client’s trust.

If you can make transparency a goal, especially in financial services, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and become a trusted source of information for your clients. This will help engage your client base, leading to a more fruitful relationship for both parties.

4) Availability

To foster customer loyalty through engagement, you should be available for your clients (nearly) around the clock. Even if they cannot make direct contact with you, your business should offer channels in which customers can look for information any hour of the day. If you are not available when your client base needs you to be, there will be friction between you and your client base.

In order to be readily available for your clients, you should have a web presence with informational content available on demand. This content could be in the form of video, audio, blog posts, white papers, ebooks or any other type of content you can use to convey accurate information. We wrote an article about 5 Types of Content to Boost Your Advisor Website Traffic. If you’re looking for content ideas, I highly recommend taking a look!

If your website has informational content that speaks to the needs of your client base, you can keep your audience engaged. In fact, creating content for your website is beneficial to both your clients and prospective clients. After all, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.

By creating informational content, you offer your current clients information when they want it while demonstrating your knowledge to prospective clients. It’s a great method to engage your current customers while growing your client base.

For more information on creating excellent content check out our article: Introduction to Content Marketing for Financial Advisors

Or read our ebook:  How Financial Advisors can use Content Marketing to Boost Website Traffic

Are you using any of these tactics to engage your clients? If you are let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ. As always, thank you for reading. Have an excellent day!


Content Marketing Vs. Public Relations (PR) [Infographic]

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Communicating information to your audience is a very important element of gaining their attention for your brand. Marketers are always looking to new mediums to send their messaging out to the audience.  Advertising was very popular in the days before the internet, but today’s digital age has lead to two main strategies dominating marketing departments across multiple industries: content marketing and public relations (PR).

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:

“a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience. Ultimate goal is to drive profitable customer action.”

The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as:

“a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

As you can see, both of these definitions are quite similar. This infographic from CJG Digital Marketing examines the differences between the two practices.  

At Veriday, we believe content marketing is an effective strategy for regularly communicating relevant information to your audience. If done correctly, you will increase customer engagement and therefore increase the size of your client base. While public relations has its merits, we believe that content marketing is the more effective of the two marketing strategies. We believe it is more effective because PR is usually used during special events or crises, while content marketing is a regular occurrence.  
Content Marketing Vs. Public Relations