Stuck on what to write? These Topics Will Turn Advisors into a Content Writing Pro

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4 Reasons Why Advisors Need Their Own Online Presence

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Do the financial advisors of your organization have their own website? When a prospect or client comes to your organization’s website and wants to find an advisor, is it an easy painless process to search for an advisor and then view their website? If you answered no to these questions, it might be worth thinking about how this is holding back the success of your advisors and ultimately your enterprise brand. These four reasons go through why advisors need their own online presence and how stopping them from having one is hurting their business.

1.  Traditional Marketing Just Doesn’t Cut It Anymore

Years ago before we had as many digital marketing channels as we do now, financial advisors would use the traditional methods of marketing such as networking, advertising in magazines, newspapers or on bus shelters and on the radio. In today’s digital world those methods are alone are not going to allow advisors to be competitive among the thousands of other advisors out there competing for new business. It’s very easy to have a website today so when a business owner doesn’t have one it can hurt them.

2.  A Strong Way to Build Trust and Credibility

Having an online presence through social media, a website, email, etc. or proven ways that help advisors show empathy and expertise. An empathetic financial advisor is one who truly listens to clients, ensuring they feel understood and who demonstrate that they care. By having an online presence on social media and a website, prospects and clients gain insight into your expertise, which helps build credibility.

3.  Limiting in Their Ability to Reach More People

By building that trust and credibility online, financial advisors can reach more people and build a bigger audience. They can more easily develop relationships with existing clients and create new ones with prospects. Only by using traditional methods,  the number of people you can reach is far less. Also, leveraging online methods, advisors can track and monitor their efforts so they know exactly which tasks are worth spending time.

4.  It Gives Them the Ability to Deliver a Personalized Experience

It’s no secret that people like receiving communication from people rather than brands. When you think of your inbox, do you pay more attention to the emails that come from people or the emails that come from brands? It’s likely that you pay closer attention and read the emails from people, and even more from people that you trust and like. By having a website, advisors can deliver a personalized experience to the community they serve. If there is a specific audience that the advisor is targeting, creating content that will resonate with that audience will be beneficial and helpful. Additionally, through email marketing, advisors can segment lists and sent different content to different lists. For example, the new parents are probably more interested about RESPs and leveraging RRSPs than say an older couple who is thinking about retiring soon and making sure their kids are taken care of. The ability to personalize online has drastically improved the ability to generate leads and ultimately new business.

In conclusion, if the advisors of your organization do not have their own website, think about why. Is it because as an organization you want to maintain a certain level of control? If yes, there are tools and platforms available today that make that possible, while still allowing advisors to have an online presence. Ultimately, as enterprise marketers we want to support advisors so they can grow their business. By having an online presence such as a website, financial advisors are able to turn prospects into clients.

SEO Basics

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Wood letters of SEO and definition on wood background

What is SEO?

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. It is the process of organically optimizing the content on your website to position your website higher in the rankings when searched by a customer. Search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo) use a list of factors to rank each webpage in the results. These factors and their weight is always evolving. They include: Keywords, Reviews, Social Media, Citations, Visitor Behavior, and more.

What is a Keyword?

One of the most important SEO factors is Keywords. When someone does a search, for example, “Retirement Financial Advisors in Toronto”, the search engine will scour every page of every website to find matches for that sentence and for each individual word. The search engine will present the results in order of best matching. “Retirement” “Financial” “Advisor” and “Toronto” are all keywords and search engines are crawling through your webpage for these words. Using commonly search terms in your content will help match your page to what your customers are searching for. Remember Keywords are not the only SEO factor and there are more criteria that rank your page.

How does Google work?

Google’s search engine is a powerful tool. Without it, it would be impossible to find the information you need. Google uses various algorithms to generate search results. (Adapting a website for these algorithms is SEO.) Like most search engines, Google uses automated programs called spiders or crawlers to search its index of keywords and the matching webpages.

Code syntax on a computer screen

On-Page SEO vs. Off-Page SEO

On-Page SEO refers to the quality of your website’s content. On-page optimization is structuring a webpage to ensure it gets found by a search engine. This also increases overall readability for your website. On-Page also includes what is in the back end of your website too. Such as: Meta descriptions, Alt text, HTML code, etc. Think of On-Page SEO as Owned SEO; elements you can tweak and control immediately.
Off-Page SEO refers to your website’s overall authority and reputation on the internet. This is a result of other websites linking back to your content. Off-page optimization is a long-term process and takes the time to improve.

5 Basic Principles of On-page SEO

  1. Page Copy

As mentioned above, the content of your website is very important. Producing original and high-quality content that is relevant on a consistent basis will rank high. In your content, this is where you infuse the keywords that your customers are searching for.

  1. Title Tags

Title tag is the attention-grabbing clickable titles in blue when you search on Google. Google typically displays the first 50–60 characters of a title tag. If you keep your titles under 60 characters, you can expect about 90% of your titles to display properly. Make sure your title tags are keyword-relevant and concise.  

  1. Meta Data

Meta data is a description that accompanies the Title Tag in a search result. Google crawlers look at the Meta keywords to get an idea about the topic of the page. Meta descriptions are limited to 300 characters.

  1. Heading Tags

Headings are not only a practical way to organize the page’s content to be easier to read. It also serves as additional keywords that are considered in Google’s ranking algorithm. Best Practice with Headers is to keep them between <h1> to <h3> sizing, as these are considered the most important.

  1. Interlinking

Interlinking is the process of strategically linking one of your web pages to another within your website. This provides context to the search engine and the reader. A best practice is to link back to the home pages using certain keywords on other pages, this associates that keyword to your website in a search result. Linking one of your website pages to other similar pages on your website provides context to the search engine and to the readers as well.

Time to Elevate Your Websites Search Ranking

We hope this has been helpful to educate you on what SEO Marketing is and how it works. Now you are ready to get started. Keep in mind that SEO is a long-term game, so you may not be at the top of Google right away. You are competing with other similar websites/content. Finally, SEO is never finished. Google is always changing their algorithms so continued optimization is required to stay on top.

Your Competitors are Neglecting These Content Marketing Tactics

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Content marketing may be the most important trend in digital marketing today. Industry surveys indicate that B2C businesses will spend on average 39% of their total marketing budgets on content marketing1. Its power as a lead generator is unmatched, and if you’re not doing it—and doing it right—you’re missing a critical piece of your marketing puzzle. Worse, you could be losing business.

Ok, ok, you’ve heard this before, right? The benefits are well documented. Experts will tell you that content marketing:

1) Builds awareness

2) Helps customers find you

3) Establishes you as a thought leader

All those are true, but there’s one major benefit that even experts often overlook, and that is: content is key to creating an irresistible brand.

What is a brand and how is it connected to content marketing?

A brand isn’t just a logo, typeface, and slogan. Your brand is the entire personality of your company. Think of it as the feelings and emotions that are evoked within a customer when they hear your name.

Brands are built slowly, piece by piece with each point of contact between you and your customers. Every ad, email, tweet, and blog post adds to your brand. Over time, good branding creates trust, establishes value, and fosters a sense familiarity.

In 2016, content marketing could be the most important tool for building your brand.

Why is content marketing so critical to creating a brand?

When you view your competitors’ websites, display ads, or marketing emails, do you ever feel they all look very similar? That’s no accident.

Today’s smart web developers and digital marketers know what makes people tick (and click!), and websites are finely tuned to be efficient and effective. The best digital practices are always emulated, borrowed, and replicated. This improves user experience, but as everyone copies the same successful strategies, variety and uniqueness decrease. This leaves many sites looking like they’re cut from the same template, because they are.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need a new technique to differentiate. So what’s the best way to differentiate online today? Yep, you guessed it: content marketing.

Content marketing establishes your unique value proposition

More than any other aspect of your online presence, content marketing allows you to communicate your unique value proposition; the aspect of your business that tells customers “this is why you should choose me instead of my competitors”.

Content marketing gives you the time, space, and freedom to engage deeply with customers—something that’s impossible to do in a 728 x 90-pixel banner ad.

Best of all, content marketing brims with real personality because it captures your own voice. Content takes your business beyond a robotic marketing slogan. Sure, the tone of your content should be professional, but when that tone echoes your individuality, you stand out from a noisy field of competitors.

3 simple tips to creating content that makes your brand shine

  1. Produce content that reinforces your points of difference

Before you write, ask yourself: how do my skills, my experience, my expertise, solve customers’ problems better than my competitors? The answers are your points of difference and combined they form your unique value proposition. Write them on a sticky note and place it next to your monitor.

If your content clearly demonstrates your points of difference, customers will understand exactly why they need to choose your business.

  1. Think of content as the evidence that supports your marketing claims

Say your company’s slogan is “Manitoba’s Master of Tax Minimization”. That’s a bold statement, but why should customers believe you? In the past, businesses relied on word of mouth and testimonials to substantiate these claims. Today, content marketing is the tool that proves your expertise to millions of skeptical customers before they ever do business with you.

  1. Be consistent and find your own voice

Decide on a style and vocabulary that reflects you and your business. A casual and accessible tone is effective for some audiences while others expect you to be formal and authoritative. Whichever style you choose, be sure that it carries your personal voice. This will build stronger connections, and ensures that your content feels fresh.

Summing up

Good brands are not created by telling customers why your business is great, they’re created by demonstrating it. And in today’s competitive digital landscape, content marketing is the most powerful tool for proving your value and building a business that gets noticed in a crowded marketplace.

 

1 https://expresswriters.com/the-big-2017-content-marketing-spend-infographic/

Content Marketing: The Most Powerful Tool for Financial Agents?

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In today’s day and age, selling financial products and advice is as difficult as ever before. Banks, financial advisors, wealth managers and brokers of financial products face stiff competition, both from traditional competitors and technology-enabled challengers. What is the best Tactic for Financial Agents to separate themselves from the pack?

Why is the competition so stiff in this era of financial services?

A few factors are influencing the increased competition, including automated technology solutions such as robo-advisors and online brokers, as well as increasing global competition, made possible by communicating information through digital channels. These new possibilities may be confusing customers, making it difficult for them to make a decision or even fully understand what options they have.

So, how can financial brands win customers in this environment?

The answer that many financial institutions are turning to, whether they focus on serving businesses or individuals, is content marketing. In a world where 60% of the sales cycle is over before a prospect talks to a salesperson, it’s important for brands to get as much information to their prospective customers as possible. By offering information and provocative insights into potential customer problems and how they can be solved, content marketing can be a major part of a solution selling strategy.

A Powerful Tactic for Financial Agents

60% of Buyer's Cycle

What is “solution selling”?

Solution selling is based on the premise of working with the customer to define their problem. Define their problems based on the symptoms they are experiencing. This is followed up with a solution that helps them solve their problem.

The process involves asking questions about your customer’s needs, problems, and issues and look for the “hook” for your solution. Instead of solely pushing your product, service, or solution, solution selling positions a salesperson to be the ultimate problem solver. Allowing them to earn trust and ultimately putting your business in place to gain a new customer.

This process is how a salesperson can add value on a one-to-one basis through content marketing and solution selling.

Will this strategy actually work for my business?

While there are no guarantees of success through content marketing and solution selling, plenty of brands are adopting these practices and finding great success. 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing, but it is not being used to its full potential. Just 42% of B2B marketers say they use content marketing effectively. Those numbers are even lower in financial services. This can be an opportunity for your brand to jump ahead of your competitors. Take your chance to implement a successful strategy and make your brand more discoverable to your target market.

In fact, content can motivate action, regardless of how ready-to-buy your target customers are. The image below shows what forms of content are effective at nurturing your prospect at every stage of the journey. By providing relevant, useful, original content, your content marketing strategy will nurture customers. When they are ready to contact a salesperson, your brand will be at the top of their mind. Original content should be a cornerstone of your sales and marketing strategy, while fueling your content marketing efforts.

What is the best Tactic for Financial Agents to separate themselves from the pack?

Create Exceptional Cultures Through Education and Awareness

Our Content Marketing Mission is to become the online destination for Advisors looking for useful information, advice, insights, and resources for growing their online presence. If you want to get your content marketing strategy off the ground, or are looking to reinvent how your network of financial agents uses content marketing and solution selling, get in touch with me! We can discuss how your brand can use Digital Agent to maintain a compliant, centrally-controlled content marketing platform for your network of agents.