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.

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.

 

4 Steps That Will Minimize Your Website’s Bounce Rate

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The definition of bounce rate is:

“the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.”

Ideally, your website’s bounce rate should be somewhere between 20% and 35%. However, some businesses can reduce that number below 20% with great difficulty. If your website bounce rate approaches 50%, you are in serious trouble and need to update your site immediately to lower that number.

Does your website have a high bounce rate? You may be attracting plenty of traffic, but does your website convert those visitors into customers? Having high traffic doesn’t mean anything if it is not generating business. What can you do to minimize your bounce rate and win more business from your digital properties?

Step 1: Understand Your Visitors

Why are people visiting your website? To reduce your bounce rate, you will need a solid understanding of what is drawing visitors to your site. Not every visitor will be part of your ideal audience, but uncovering the patterns and details of their journey to your website will provide insights to minimize bounce rate.

So what do you need to understand about your visitors?

Organic Search

Which organic search terms are bringing visitors to your website? You can use Google Analytics to discover your most active keywords. Consider whether you actively try to leverage those keywords, what someone searching for that keyword would be looking for, and whether your website can solve those problems.

Once you understand how (and why) a web searcher might end up on your website, you can optimize your pages and content to increase conversions to minimize bounce rate.

Popular Content

What pages and content drive the most traffic to your website? Once you identify those pages, you can see what pages and topics are drawing people towards your site. Do those pages solve the problems that visitors may be experiencing? Are your most popular pages also your highest converting pages? These questions are important to ask so you can understand which pages of our website are most useful for their intended purpose.

Best Pages

Which pages on your website have the highest conversion rates? Do those pages have a low bounce rate? Are these pages your most popular? Often, your most popular pages will not necessarily be among the highest converting. What type of pages do your customers visit before making a purchase?

Understanding the audience, their interests and how your website caters to those interests, you will know what prospective customers are looking for and how your business can meet their needs. The next step involves using that knowledge to build a relationship with visitors, eventually turning them into customers.

Step 2: Build Email Relationship

The second thing you should do to minimize your bounce rate is getting visitors to sign-up for email newsletters. Most visitors will only come to your website one time, never visiting again. In fact, it takes six to eight touchpoints to convert someone from a passive visitor to a lead. Email newsletters allow brands to remain in contact with visitors to their website, providing more touchpoints in which you can thrill those visitors.

So how can you build an email list to stay in touch with visitors to your site? By placing an eye-popping call-to-action that will motivate a sign-up.To learn more about creating killer CTA’s, check out our article: 6 Tips for Creating Better Calls-to-Action.

Once you have built your email list, you can re-engage with visitors through email, sharing content and information with them, nurturing the relationship until they are ready to convert. By nurturing the customer relationship, you can keep in contact with prospects until they are ready to make a purchase.

Step 3: Re-engage

If people don’t want to sign-up for your email list, and they do not provide any contact information, what can you do?  Well, at this point, you only have two options, both of which involve attempting to re-engage after their visit.

Use Social Media

One way to re-engage with your customers is through social media. Use targeted ads placed on social media to promote your list building efforts. Instead of sending people who click your ad to content, send them to a landing page where they can sign-up for your email. Remarketing using social media ads is an effective tactic because the platforms allow for extensive targeting, based on a number of factors. For more information on remarketing using social media, check out HootSuite’s Social Media Advertising Guide.

Website pop-ups

Website pop-ups can be used to discourage people from leaving your site. Onsite remarketing detects user behavior to determine if a visitor is about to “bounce.” If it seems they will bounce, a popup will appear, either directing them to content they might find interesting or asking if they want to sign-up for your email list. Exit-intent pop-ups have varying ranges of effectiveness, depending on their purpose, but they have proven to lead to an increase in conversions.

Step 4: Convert Subscribers into Customers

The final step is to convert your subscribers into leads, eventually leading to a purchase decision. Conversion is by far the most difficult step in the entire sales process, but there are several activities that can lead to an increased conversion rate.

Segment Leads

Segmentation of leads is an essential activity for any business, but there are many ways you can do it. One can segment their leads based on:

  • Stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Source of the lead
  • Demographics
  • Conversion events
  • Website behavior

All of these methods of segmenting an audience are valid. However, the method you choose should correlate to your business goals. For more information on segmenting leads, check out this Hubspot published informational guide on segmenting leads.

Test and Refine

To boost conversions, you need to keep an eye on your email reports. By measuring the engagement on your email newsletters, you can determine whether changes lead to better conversion rates.

Once you begin measuring your email engagement, A/B testing can begin. A/B is an effective method of determining which strategies yield the greatest results. However, the best part about A/B testing is that even a marketing newbie can use it to determine the efficacy and effectiveness of various strategies.  

Create Effective Copy

Writing copy that converts leads into customers is a difficult undertaking, a blend of art and science that can take years to master. Your copy should be a mix of value adding content that educates the reader and promotional copy. These 7 Simple Tips for Writing Effective Content for Your Website should help you write compelling copy.

There you have it, by following these four steps, you can minimize your bounce rate and increase your customer engagement. Do these steps work for you? Do you have any other strategies for increasing engagement on your website? How does your business turn visitors into customers? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

How Financial Agents Can Thrive Using Social Media

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Social media has become one of the most popular tools at a marketers disposal. Nearly every business has at least one social media channel, usually one or two of the big 3: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and with good cause. 64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users are more likely to buy the products of brands they follow online. 91% of retail brands, who are marketing to many of the same people as financial advisors, use more than two social media platforms. There are many benefits for brands who use social media.

The problem with social media is that you can’t just jump in and start going. You need a plan. The plan, just like any other business plan, should be related to your organizational goals. The results will take a decent amount of time to come to fruition, so don’t be concerned if the results aren’t immediate. Having a solid, written plan that guides your decisions will make starting out on social media much more straightforward.

There are many, many, many different social media platforms, all with different use cases and demographics. Crafting a strategy for each platform you choose to use is essential. Planning the strategy will follow the same steps, regardless of the platform. Only the details will be different, to cater to the strengths and weaknesses of a particular platform and their demographics.

Today, we will examine the steps needed to implement a fantastic social media plan. Remember, the steps will be the same regardless of the platform. 

1. Establish Goals

Without clear goals and objectives, you cannot create a plan. Setting goals gives you a path to follow. Even if the program changes down the line, having goals is crucial. Goals let you monitor the plan’s success. 

You know what your business goals are better than I do. I’m not going to tell you how to gain clients; you know how to do that. Just let me give you a few general pieces of advice for marketing on social media:

  1. Your social media goals and benchmarks need to be correlated to your overall business goals.
  2. You should use a variety of metrics, both platform specific (likes, shares, comments engagement rate, followers, etc.) and general (ROI, conversion rate, unique visitors to your website, etc.) to measure social media success
  3. Be patient, results from social media take time, but when they do there is a snowball effect.

Use the various metrics holistically, don’t put too much weight on any one metric. Stats such as likes, comments, shares and follows don’t bring revenue, but they are handy to know. Likes, shares and follows are a good way to see your reach, and comments can be used to see how engaging your posts are.

How and where you set your goals are up to you. Depending on your target demographics, the platform you use, and the platform-specific metrics, your goals can be established in many ways. Regardless of what your goals are, they should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound). Goals of this type force a more focused social media plan, something that will make it much easier to isolate, tweak and test various tactics.

2. Social Media Audit

Step 2 of your social media plan should be to do a social media audit. A social media audit involves combing through all your profiles, analyzing the performance of those pages, and researching which platforms your target audience frequently uses. A thorough inspection will give you an excellent idea of exactly how potential customers can connect with your business. This stage is an excellent opportunity to implement consistent messaging, finding areas where your branding is not uniform and fixing those problems. Your goal should be to understand what aspects of your social presence needs to be improved.

3. Check Out the Competition

Step 3 is just an extension of step 2, but it is important enough that I believe it deserves its own section. To be successful marketing on social media, you need to have an understanding of what your competitors are doing in the digital space. You can learn from their mistakes, successes, and ideas to improve your profile. Even if your social media plan focuses on LinkedIn, you should study competitors Twitter, Facebook and other social accounts. As Sun Tzu once wrote:

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.”

You need to have an excellent understanding of exactly what your competition is doing, and why they are doing it. People only need one advisor, you need to win the war for their business. Look at how the competition promotes themselves, their services, and how they interact with people. Then you can learn from, adapt, and tweak these practices, so they fit who you want to be as an advisor. You want to be unique, but you have similar goals to the competition. It does not hurt to see what they are doing and how you can position yourself against it.

Another benefit of a competitive social audit is that you can use competitors as a benchmark for setting your own goals. Take a brief look at the number of followers, engagement, and other metrics you can get publicly and chart your success against them.

4. Create a Content Plan

The next step in the process is to create a content plan. A content plan should include the type of content you want to post, when you should post that content, and how you will promote that content. Posting the content on both your blog and social media platforms can be an excellent way to drive traffic to your website.

LinkedIn, with its professional demographics, is interested in educational materials. Its members are looking to become more productive, help them by providing high-quality information. If people realize you’re an excellent source of information, they may ask to join your network because they see you as a valuable member of their network. Becoming a trusted, accessible source of information can allow you to become a thought leader.

5. Re-evaluate

As with any plan, you should be regularly evaluating your social media and content plans. Regular evaluations will make it easier to monitor your goals to see if your desired results are being achieved. If you monitor the various metrics discussed above, you can identify aspects of your plan that may need adjustments. Always be experimenting with different tactics to achieve your goals, and let the plan evolve as new tactics work or fail. Remember, social media takes time to achieve success, some things will fail. Continue to test and constantly improve.

Conclusion

Once you have your social media plan in place, it’s time to get loud. By “get loud” I mean begin interacting, commenting, and otherwise engaging with members your network. On LinkedIn for example, you can join groups dedicated to specific subjects and interact with people who are interested in the subject.“Getting loud’ and using the platform’s unique features will help you grow your network and get better results from social media. You should also begin to branch out. Try out other platforms, see how they work for you.  

Having a strong social media presence is an excellent way rank higher in search results, will make you more approachable online, and improve your contact list. A social media plan will not guarantee positive results, but if you work hard at creating and executing the plan, you can experience excellent returns.

Social media is an essential aspect of a well-rounded content marketing plan. Your marketing efforts won’t go far without it. If “Content Is King,” then social media is the king’s messenger.

Do you use social media for your business? Do you have a social media plan in place? Let us know how you use LinkedIn over on Twitter @VeridayHQ or follow us on LinkedIn here. Which of the social media websites generates the biggest ROI? Find out by reading our article: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter Ads.

The 4 Building Blocks of Content Marketing Strategy

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The 4 Building Blocks of Content Marketing Strategy

30% of B2B and 38% of B2C marketers say they’re effective at content marketing. Those numbers jump 14% and 20% respectively among marketers with a documented content strategy.

To succeed at content marketing, you need to define a strategy. You’ll need to understand what your goals are, what resources you will need to achieve those goals and how you will measure success. Writing down your strategy has proven to increase the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts.

Companies with documented content strategies spend more (on average) on content marketing than those without. Marketers in these enterprises also feel less concerned by the day-to-day challenges associated with content marketing.

Your content marketing strategy will dictate how you will create content to meet the needs of your audience. From the size of the budget to media type, to frequency of content, your strategy will impact how content marketing adds value to your organization.

So what are the four building blocks of content marketing strategy?

  1. Create Your Business Case

What motivated your company to begin content marketing? What do you need your content to accomplish? How do you plan to meet those requirements and your broader business goals using content?  How much will it cost and how much time will it take to achieve those goals? What will you do if your plan is not as successful as you hoped?

These are questions you need to ask yourself and develop an answer. If you cannot respond to these questions, you are not prepared to begin creating content. Having these answers is important because, without them, your efforts will seem disjointed and lack direction. Just like any other activity in your business, content marketing needs to be strategically planned to achieve best results.

There is another question that marketers need to answer before they begin creating content: Who is this for? Marketing personas ensure that content creators have an understanding of their ideal audience.

  1. Define Your Personas

Marketing personas are representations of your ideal customers. These personas should be crafted using data, not stereotypes. That means research is needed to be completed to truly define your personas. You will need to research your audience’s interests and needs, buying habits and how they consume content. Once you have this information, you can build your personas. It’s likely that your audience includes more than one type of individual, so you will need to prepare multiple personas.

Why are marketing personas so important?

They are important because, without them, it becomes difficult to create content that speaks to the unique needs and interests of your audience. The most successful content is targeted at a specific type of person at a specific stage of the buying cycle. Your buyer personas help you ensure your message is on point and you create content that engages your audience and enhances your brand.

  1. Develop Your Brand Story

Every brand has a story. Every brand story should explain why the business exists, but every story has unique details. The main challenge for marketers lies in figuring out how to tell that story in an authentic, engaging way.

Another major challenge in developing your brand story is finding the right tone and voice for your brand. It is easy to come off as flippant or disinterested based solely on the tone of your writing. You need to manage your brand’s voice to project warmth and good intentions to your audience.

Developing a brand story is important because it gives the audience the required information to empathize with you. If your story is engaging, told in a warm, inviting tone and accurately describes why the business exists it can engender a stronger connection between you and your customers.

For more information on the power of storytelling in business check out our article: The Power of Storytelling in the Business World.

  1. Create Your Channel Plan

The final thing you need to know before creating content is where to place your content. There are many options for hosting content. Your website’s blog is an excellent property to host content. If you have a mobile app, perhaps your content would be most at home there. Depending on your target audience and overall business goals, you may want to use a mixture of channels to host your content.

Other factors that need to be considered when creating a channel plan include:

  • How will you share the content with relevant members of the audience?
  • Will you use social media to share your content? If so, which platforms will you use?
  • How can you earn more impressions?
    • Can your content be used in industry publications?
    • Can you earn any media impressions?
  • What channel will our content perform best on?

These are just some of the questions you need to consider when creating your channel plan. Every plan is unique and is dependent on your overall business goals, your target audience and how you want to tell your story. Once you have these four building blocks of content marketing strategy in place, you can dive right in.

Are you ready to start your content marketing journey? Are there any other “building blocks” that we missed? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or follow us on LinkedIn.

16 Digital Marketing Acronyms You Need to Know

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Digital marketing is full of acronyms, some of which are remarkably similar, leading to widespread confusion. Today, we’re going to examine the most common acronyms in digital marketing and explain their meaning.

CTA – Call to Action

A button, link, or image that encourages a website visitor to take action. That action can be anything, from visiting a landing page to downloading a piece of content. To learn more about CTA’s, check out our article: 6 Tips for Creating Better Calls-to-Action.

CTR – Clickthrough Rate

The percentage of your audience that responds to the CTA, taking the next step in your marketing campaign. One can calculate CTR by dividing the number of clicks that a page (or CTA) receives by the number of total opportunities for clicks.

CPC – Cost-Per-Click

The amount of money spent to get one click from digital advertising. CPC is a metric used to measure the cost effectiveness of your campaign. To calculate CPC, divide the total cost of your marketing campaign by the number of clicks you received.

CPM – Cost-Per-Thousand

CPM is a pricing model for digital advertisements where ad space is purchased 1000 impressions at a time. Publishers only need to show the ads to consumers to get paid. CPM is most effective when trying to increase brand awareness.

CPL – Cost-Per-Lead

CPL is a term used in digital advertising. It shows how much one lead costs from a digital ad. CPL is very similar to cost-Per-click (or cost-Per-action) but is more specific. For an action to qualify as a lead, they need to sign up for something on the advertiser’s website.

PPC – Pay-Per-Click

Pay-Per-Click is a model of digital marketing where advertisers pay a fee every time somebody clicks one of their ads. It’s a method of paying for visitors to your site, one that is very different from SEO and earning traffic through organic methods.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

A mixture of strategy, techniques, and tactics used to increase the number of visitors to your website. The goal of SEO is to rank higher on a search engine’s results page (SERP) for a particular keyword. The higher your website ranks, the more traffic is (typically) generated.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

The results page on a search engine (such as Google or Bing), generated after a keyword search. The goal of SEO is for your website to place as high as possible on the SERP.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing is a form of internet marketing that involves using search engines to increase the visibility of your website. SEM primarily involves paid advertisements, but can also include elements of organic SEO.

SMM – Social Media Marketing

SMM is a form of marketing that uses social networking platforms as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to create content that users will share with their networks. SMM helps brands increase exposure and broaden the reach of their marketing. Social media marketing is a core component of any inbound marketing strategy.

KPI – Key Performance Indicator

Metrics that demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. KPIs vary between organizations based on; objectives, marketing channels, and the overall level of marketing maturity. For more information on KPIs, check out our article: 6 KPIs of Customer Experience in Financial Services.

RT – Retweet

A retweet is a Twitter-specific method of sharing posts. If somebody RTs you, it means they are sharing your posts with their followers. Counting retweets is a simple (and not very accurate) method of measuring engagement on Twitter. Other simple social media specific metrics you can measure include likes, shares, and comments.

SaaS – Software as a Service

SaaS is a software licensing and delivery model where buyers pay on a subscription basis. Most enterprise software is sold using this model because buyers get lower up-front costs, ongoing support with the product, and do not have to manage physical copies of the product. Purveyors of software enjoy this model because it makes it easier for them to update software for their clients. The SaaS model gives them the ability to update their product continually. 

CMS – Content Management System

A CMS is a system used to manage an organization’s digital content. Using a CMS to power your website could be one of the best investments you make for your business. While a CMS can be a significant investment, it can be a great asset for your business in the long run. To learn more about CMS’s check out our article: 7 Reasons it Might be Time to Upgrade Your Content Management System.

UX – User Experience

UX refers to the overall experience a person has when using a product or service, especially when it concerns how fun and easy it is to use. A positive user experience will help you build trust, and increase the likelihood of a user returning to your website. This guide by Fast Company can help you turn a good UX into something great.

CX – Customer Experience

CX is the product of many interactions between an organization and a customer over the course of their relationship. Every touchpoint throughout the buyer’s journey impacts CX, including digital and more traditional touchpoints (such as a billboard). Customer experience is one of the most discussed concepts in organizations undergoing digital transformation.

For more information on CX, check out our articles:

Are Banks Failing at Customer Experience?

How do Customer Experience Improvements Impact Revenue?

Customer Experience Vs. Digital Experience

Sometimes, digital marketing acronyms are confusing. However, these 16 acronyms are important for anybody undergoing a digital transformation and need attention paid to them. If you understand the importance of each of these acronyms, it means you are well on your way to becoming a digital master. If you want to discuss any facet of digital transformation, let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ!

What is Inbound Marketing? [Infographic]

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In 2017, ads are everywhere. Billboards, TV commercials, print ads, sponsored social media posts and banner ads are constantly bombarding consumers everywhere they turn. As a result, they are losing their effectiveness. 84% of TV viewers who were surveyed admitted that they want to fast forward through TV ads. Newspapers are struggling to remain profitable, shedding employees while losing subscribers and ad revenue year-over-year. Billboards are very costly and do not provide data to prove their effectiveness, making them somewhat of a gamble. Digital advertising requires brands to put their trust in the hands of platforms, giving up control of what content their advertisement is running alongside. Digital advertising also suffers from somewhat murky attribution techniques, making the success of campaigns difficult to determine.

Advertisements are common in today’s society and well understood by the general public. But did you know there is another marketing tactic, less well-known than advertising but that may very well be more effective? Inbound marketing involves creating and sharing content to educate an audience about the topics surrounding your business. It is far more cost-effective than advertising and has seen widespread adoption over the last five years. In our article, Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing we discussed the differences between the two forms of marketing.

This infographic by The Whole Brain Group, does an excellent job explaining the basics of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is not difficult to get started and can return significant results. 

What is inbound marketing?

To learn more about inbound marketing, digital engagement and creating human connections through digital channels follow us on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

The Power of Storytelling in the Business World

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Storytelling is one of the most inherently human activities that exists. No other species has the documented ability to tell stories the way we do. Stories greatly affect how people view topics. Storytelling, as opposed to any other method of communication, has the capacity to plant thoughts, ideas, and emotions into the audience’s brain.

Science has shown that our brains react differently to stories than to information with no narrative elements. When we hear a story, many different areas of the brain are activated. When hearing a story, the entire brain lights up with activity but when information is presented in a non-story manner, only the brain’s language processing areas become engaged.

Information in a story stimulates the brain in a way that makes it feel as if it’s experiencing the story itself. If I was to describe someone with leathery hands or a velvet voice, the sensory cortex of your brain would react. If I described my movements in the thirty minutes after getting out of bed, the motor cortex of the brain would be stimulated. These are the same parts of the brain that would be activated if you touched leather, a velvet curtain or when you experience motion.

People are moved by stories in ways that other forms of communication simply cannot match. Stories create emotional and psychological connections that help information gain traction in the audience’s brain.

Businesses across all industries work to take advantage of people’s natural attraction to storytelling. By communicating relevant information in the form of the story, it will engage the audience in a way that simply detailing the relevant information never would.

There are 4 main areas to consider in order to tell the most effective stories about your brand:

1. Humanize your message

Conveying information in the form of a story has the effect of humanizing your message. Storytelling can convey feelings of trust, authenticity, and sincerity; traits often associated with other humans.

Authenticity enables feelings and emotions to be conveyed. Authenticity is a leading reason why content associated with individuals within an organization has become so important to how brands interact with their audiences. It is best practice in content marketing to attach a name to company emails, blog posts and other forms of content. Content created by a brand’s CEO, the users of a product, or a customer-facing employee is more successful than content labeled with just the brand name.

People relate to other people, and storytelling evokes that connection. The most successful brands create emotional attachments with their customers. Consumers want to trust brands, and it is far easier for consumers to trust another human than a faceless entity. Storytelling can create that human connection and increase the trust consumers have in your brand.

2. Be emotional

Stories are a fantastic way to convey emotions to an audience. If someone becomes emotionally attached to an idea, it will stay in their mind. By creating an emotional connection with an audience, you can draw their continued attention.

One way you can use emotions to create more effective content is by drawing on empathy to forge connections with the reader (or viewer). You can easily create more effective content by putting the audience at the heart of the story and explaining how the information affects them.

In the competitive market for people’s attention, a story without an emotional connection will be ignored and quickly forgotten. Perhaps the most important feature of a story is connecting the information within to a human lens. In some situations, emotion can be more important to a decision-maker than facts.

3. Framing context

Humans think in terms of cause and effect. Regardless of the activity, people think in narratives. People create short stories about every little thing that happens to them. They enjoy sharing personal conversations and anecdotes. People naturally communicate first and foremost through stories, and brands can take advantage of that fact.

Storytelling affords brands the chance to talk in terms of cause and effect, and explain how their message directly affects individuals. People want to relate information to their own experiences whenever possible. Storytelling gives brands an opportunity to explain why the information they are providing is relevant to their target audience. Framing your content in this fashion will allow you to retain the interest of your audience.

4. Retaining interest

Listing facts and figures is not an engaging way of communicating information. Powerpoints, academic papers, and lectures are jam-packed with information but are not as effective a medium for communicating information as storytelling. They do not engage audiences as much as stories because they can come across as “dry” to most of the intended audience.

Storytelling, unlike other methods of communicating information, can maintain audience interest in a world of information overload. By creating peaks and valleys in the “flow” of the story, brands can create suspense and stakes within their story. Consider your favorite novel, movie or play. It is very likely there are suspenseful moments sprinkled throughout the content to create suspense.

Stories allow brands to retain their audience’s interest by motivating “action centers” within their brain. You can use various narrative techniques to engage audiences, peaking their interest and keeping their eyes on your content. No other form of communication has this benefit.

These facts about human psychology boil down to one lesson: People may forget facts, but they never forget great stories.

How to convey warmth through storytelling in financial services?

The financial services industry is no exception to the rule. Storytelling is still the most effective way to communicate relevant information to an audience. You can incorporate stories into all aspects of your marketing campaigns, client loyalty, and sales efforts.

Most people will say that they understand the importance of saving for retirement, but many do not invest enough in their 401(k) or other retirement plans. If you tell them “save more”, they might not listen to you. Provide that information in a narrative and the psychology of storytelling can help them understand the importance of the information you are providing.

Tell them a story of a family who did not save enough for retirement, and as a result suffered consequences, putting immense pressure on their loved ones. This story can help illustrate the importance of saving for retirement in a way that your audience can relate to.

You could explain how you would help a potential client plan for retirement, but that might not motivate people to make smarter decisions. Tell a story about a young couple who you met with the exact same mindset the audience has. Use the story to show how your advice made their life better. That story will resonate better and will influence their emotions to motivate action.

You can tell millennial audiences a story about one of their peers in a dire financial situation. Explain how with your services, you can help them save for their dream vacation. When you tell a story, your goal should be to have the audience empathize with the characters in the story. 

Any financial services professional can use storytelling to help their clients understand the importance of various financial situations. When pure information doesn’t motivate client action, a story can evoke emotions that may cause your client base to take action.

Does your business tell stories to better relate to your audience? We would love to hear the story of your brand. Let us know your story on Twitter @VeridayHQ or contact us on LinkedIn here.