Triple Bottom Line: What You Need To Know About Millennials

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“Kids these days…..” It’s a sentiment that is often passed around. Youth of today are often stereotyped as “lazy, entitled, and self-centered”. It is often stereotyped that some don’t have the drive of previous generations. Some think they are too idealistic, that their goals are impossible.

Well, I’m here today to tell you that maybe the problems aren’t with them. Maybe, as a group, millennials are just misunderstood. Millennials aren’t the same as previous generations. They were raised to think very holistically. With that upbringing came the awareness that every decision has an impact on the world in some way. Everything is an experience. Every decision makes an impact. Especially, when it comes to investing and consuming.

What do the members of the millennial generation really care about?

The truth is, they care about a lot of things. They want wealth, just like their parents and grandparents before them. Millennials also want to be stewards of the environment; protecting it, and bringing ecosystems back to full-strength. They want society to be fair and equal. The generation wants balance in what is known as the:

Triple Bottom Line

So, what is the “Triple Bottom Line” anyways? Triple Bottom Line (TBL) refers to an accounting framework that takes into account social, environmental, and economic performances instead of simply focusing on financial performance.

Previous generations were largely unaware of the severe impacts their activities were having on the environment. As a result, the environment was paid very little concern. Decisions were short-sighted and investments often were made in environmentally harmful industries. While investing in these industries is likely to pay off financially, the non-financial impacts of these investments have been extremely harmful. Thanks to environmental awareness, younger generations know that some industries (like oil and gas) have hugely harmful impacts on the world. With this knowledge, some are less likely to invest in something that, while making them a profit, will severely harm the environment.

Millennials also care about the social implications of investments and business decisions. They grew up in a turbulent time, seeing people lose their homes, jobs and savings in the 2008 recession. They saw the social impact that decisions by big bankers had on the average person. Millennials care about the social impact of decisions as well.

The youth of today have learned from their parents and grandparents missteps, with many thinking in a more holistic sense. Do you want to sell a millennial an investment portfolio (or convince them to use your business)? You will have to show them that your environmental and social performance is just as important to your company as your financial performance.

Environmental Performance

To have a chance at really attracting young clients to your advisory practice, you will need to demonstrate that you understand and are able to empathize with them. Many young people today believe sustainability is a core business concern. If you want to attract millennials to your business, you could make sustainability a part of your brand.

Millennials would pay slightly more for eco-friendly products (Pew Research), and that logic should carry over to investments. If you can show millennials that you wish to make a positive difference in the environment, you can align yourself with their interests, wants, and needs. This method of alignment is much easier (and more effective) than simply by promoting pure wealth. “Green” investment packages, with no oil, gas, automotive, or tobacco investments, should be quite attractive to some millennials.

A major issue that has to do with branding your environmental efforts has to do with “greenwashing”. If you claim to offer environmentally friendly products, or investment packages, but simply repurpose another product and claim it to be green, millennials will notice. The group has grown up in a time of unprecedented environmental awareness, and it will damage your brand’s reputation if you are perceived as greenwashing.

One way to use causes to help attract millennials to your business is through content and branding. It may help to share your views on being inclusive, open-minded and environmentally conscious. If you genuinely believe in doing right by your clients, this branding should come easily, positioning their core concerns as a part of your business.

Social Performance

A major critique of millennials is the sentiment that “they are all special snowflakes”. The generation cares about others. They want people to be treated the way they want to be treated and called what they want to be called. They want people to not be discriminated against based on who they are.

Millennials really care about cause-related initiatives. They will respond positively when a company takes interest in a social or environmental cause, with 75% of millennials saying it’s important that a company gives back to society. Millennials have surpassed simply wanting help in supporting causes and are starting to demand that others, especially companies, do their part. If you do your part, you will be rewarded.

Millennials will appreciate your commitment to environmental and social responsibility. After learning that a company is socially or environmentally responsible:

  • 83% are likely to trust the company more
  • 79% are likely to purchase that company’s products
  • 74% are more likely to pay attention to that company’s message because it has deep commitment to a cause

An excellent example of a company using positive social influence to sell their product is Toms (a shoe company). Toms does their part in giving back to society, giving a child in need a free pair of shoes for every shoe sold. This is a core aspect of the company and a contributor to its rapid growth. Millennials want  the world to be a better place. By offering investment opportunities that focus on socially responsible industries, companies and bonds, you may be able to sway a millennial to invest with you. Maybe for every dollar you make in fees (from a certain package) a portion gets donated to a village in need. Maybe you have your own idea to make social responsibility a core part of your investment options. As long as you are genuine about the cause, social responsibility should come easy.

Economic Performance

There is a reason why economic performance is the last (and very much least) of the three categories. Every business tries to have a competitively priced offering with a well developed business case. This will not help differentiate you from your competitors. You still need strong financial arguments, because very few people will willingly take a very bad deal simply because of the quality of environmental and social benefits.

At the end of the day, these millennials want a financially successful future. They want to own homes. Millennials want to be able to take long vacations and travel the world. They will need a strong financial portfolio with fair prices to achieve these goals. In this category, millennials are not much different from previous generations.

So, in order to cater to the youth of today (and tomorrow) you will have to think about aspects of your business that are non-financial. One way to connect with a millennial is through content marketing. Discuss your own passion for a cause on your blog, or create another form of content that speaks to their needs or interests. This may intrigue a young investor, motivating them to start a conversation with you about that topic.  Offer environmentally friendly investment options, and show that you and your business care about making the world a cleaner place. Then, write, speak, dance and sing about those topics, posting the resulting content to your blog.

By making business decisions that have minimal adverse social impacts, and being conscious to social issues, will help open a discussion with youth. Simply offering better prices or rates has been the end-all be-all tactic of attracting new clients. That time is coming to the end. Modern youth don’t simply make decisions based on the 4Ps (price, product, promotion, place). There is a social decision-making model in place that is revolutionizing business.

Attracting Millennials

To attract millennials, you will need to demonstrate a strong commitment to social, environmental and, economic success. Your content strategy should involve creating content about subjects that millennials value, are interested in, and that relate to their financial challenges. For example, you could create content on getting out out student debt, or educate them on financially literacy. 

Speak in the currency they value; learn about their goals and passions, where they are in life and what they want to do with their life. They value experiences over all else, so develop alternative strategies to attract their business. As a financial advisor, your topic is wealth and management. However, you can place it in the context of what Millennials value — experiences, or the experiences that they will miss out on should they fail to manage their money. Instead of writing about retirement planning or to buying a house, you could write about saving for a vacation or starting a non-profit.

Tie experiences back to social and environmental responsibility and you will be in a great position to build trusting relationships with millennials.

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What do you think about our reasons to consider the triple bottom line in your advisory firm? Do you agree with the sentiment that youth of today are fundamentally different from previous generations? Will the kids in school today be fundamentally different from the millennials? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @VeridayHQ. Remember, soon the youth will inherit the world’s wealth. It’s time to cater to them.

What Does Your Branding Communicate About Your Firm?

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

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How important is branding in your buying decisions? The last time you purchased a car, did you select your choice based on fuel economy, insurance costs, and price? Or did you buy your car based on how it made you feel? Our personal brand is no different; it’s based on the emotional response we elicit in our clients and prospects.

For all products, including smartphones and automobiles, people buy personality, not the product or service. But in financial services, that is doubly true. People hire you because they like and trust you, so they believe you’ll do a good job taking care of their money.

Your Branding: Who You Are, Not What You Do

One of the most common mistakes advisors make in their personal branding is to emphasize that they’re the best at what they do. Unfortunately, people don’t care if you think you’re the best money manager in the country. People care about who you are, so your branding needs to evoke your values and personality.

The idea is to embody a core value that people think of when they think of you. In personal branding expert Tim O’Brien’s book, “The Power of Personal Branding,” he explains that your brand should be the singular and unambiguous word that comes to mind when people think of you. If your photo was in the dictionary, which word would it be next to?

Reliable?

Trustworthy?

Caring?

A good listener?

I work with an advisor who exclusively serves anesthesiologists and helps them with not only personal financial planning, but also running their practices. He’s known throughout the anesthesiology industry as the advisor to see. Is it because he knows the industry better than anyone else? Or because he creates the best financial strategies for anesthesiologists? Perhaps. But I suspect the real reason anesthesiologists flock to him is because his wife is also an anesthesiologist. When they describe him to others, they lead with “He understands us.”

Ask Your Clients

When I conduct Client Satisfaction Surveys on behalf of advisors, I ask their clients “Why did you choose to work with this advisor, instead of another advisor?” This usually lends some very insightful information. Then, we ask, “What one word or phrase describes your advisor.” This becomes their personal brand. The feedback is always interesting.

One advisor who focuses on helping women who are going through a divorce has always led with his wealth management services through his marketing. After reviewing his client feedback, we realized the word that came up over and over was “advocate.” Women hired him because they wanted an advocate on their side during the difficult decisions they were making during the divorce and while investing their settlement assets. We adjusted his marketing to reflect this important attribute.

What’s Your Personal Brand?

What is the one thing that you do better than anyone else? It may be financial planning, creating portfolios, or choosing investments. But what is the one thing you do better than anyone else that really matters to your clients? It may be educating them about the options available to them, explaining complex concepts in a way they understand, or providing an understanding ear when they’re going through a difficult time.

Combine that quality with who you serve best and you have your personal brand. Think about not only the type of clients you work with most often today, but who you most enjoy working with. These are your ideal clients. Consider the folks who you are best suited to help and personally like serving.

One advisor I was speaking with was surprised when he answered this question. He revealed, “To tell you the truth, the clients I really like working with just happen to fall into two groups. The first are LGBT couples and the second are Jewish.” He was surprised because he isn’t LGBT or Jewish. But his clients cited that they work with him because he’s “approachable,” “friendly,” and “warm.” In his area of the country, there can be hostility towards both communities and they value his caring and friendly approach. He has become known as the go-to personal for both groups within his community.

Help Others Refer You

By embracing a concrete personal brand, you help your clients, your network, and even those who don’t buy to refer you business. Financial advisors are a dime a dozen, so you’ve got to give people a memorable way to explain who you are.

If you think your clients refer you to their friends and coworkers by explaining, “He’s an independent, fee-based, fiduciary wealth manager,” you’re wrong. You need to give people a tangible, emotionally-driven way to introduce yourself to others. Here are some examples:

  • Doug helps business owners pursue true wealth
  • Tom does faith-based financial planning for families
  • Linda helps widows make their money last for the rest of their lives
  • Rick helps university faculty make the most of their benefits package
  • Larry helps dentists catch up for retirement in a hurry

What’s your hook? Who do you serve and how do you help them? That’s your personal brand. Once you identify your personal brand, your work isn’t done — it has just begun. Embrace your brand and begin working to be the go-to person for that need.

Consider which skills and resources you need to add to be even more exceptional within this niche. Develop your service and offerings around your target group of clients. Join groups and write content for your specific area of specialization. But most importantly, introduce yourself consistently to everyone using your personal brand.

Take The Pressure Off Networking

One added bonus to having a distinct personal brand is that it takes the pressure off networking and asking for referrals. Who hasn’t felt uncomfortable when they meet someone socially who is obviously trying to network new business? Whether it’s a financial advisor or a mortgage broker or a real estate agent, we have all clammed up when someone we meet is sizing us up as a prospect.

Having a distinct personal brand relieves the pressure of networking because people understand exactly what you do and who you serve. When you meet someone socially and explain, “I help high-capacity donors make tax-efficient investments,” they no longer feel like a target. They are free to ask questions and naturally think of their friends who belong to the group that you serve as people you may be able to help.

Embrace your personal brand and try it out to see how it feels. I guarantee it will make networking, finding referrals, and bringing on new ideal clients much more natural.

You don’t know your customer……because you haven’t asked

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It is likely that your business already has a lot of data; about your customers, prospects and processes. In 2017, data is everywhere. We have so much of it that sometimes we don’t know what to do with it. The problem is that most of the data we collect just isn’t very good (or we don’t know if it’s any good), or we just aren’t sure how to use it effectively. Most customer data that we collect can’t be analyzed, not because we don’t want to, but because it is trapped in a silo or is otherwise inaccessible.

So, what should you know about your customer?

  • Location data
  • Demographic data
  • Interests
  • Pain points
  • Conversion rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Purchase history
  • Content analytics
  • Customer wealth
  • Path-to-conversion
  • Customer revenue
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Churn rate
  • and more

These metrics are a given. Everyone should have them (but, many do not). There are dozens (if not hundreds) of metrics you could follow to help better understand your customer. Knowing your customers and having a good grasp of data related to your customers will inevitably help you to attract new customers. Therefore, it is important to pick which data points are the most important for your business, customers and prospects.

The data above can come from many different sources and systems. Some of them are easy to access, track and analyze. Others, such as customer loyalty, are not so easy. How do you know what your customer is doing if you aren’t looking at their purchase history, browsing habits and what information they are consuming? How do you know if they are loyal to you if you aren’t aware of their social activity? If they visit your website or if people from their networks are entering your sales channel, you won’t know it. These are all important facets of customer loyalty that you should keep track of. But, many businesses either don’t have this data, or can’t track it easily.

Bottom line: your customers are your biggest assets and it’s imperative to know if they are happy.  After all, it costs 5 times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.

Are Your Customers Happy?

Just because a customer has given you money, does not mean they are loyal. Just because a customer hasn’t churned does not mean that they are completely satisfied, or trust you. They very well be searching for a better option. It is very likely that if a customer is unhappy, they’re just going to leave without any signals. Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain; the rest will just leave your business and never come back. Without proper data, you won’t know what motivated that particular customer to leave. If you don’t know why they left, how can you improve your processes so it doesn’t happen again?

Collect The Data

It would be so much easier, if all the data you needed to make decisions could be curated into one system. That way, the analytics you need are right at your fingertips in a single screen. Wouldn’t it be easier if your platform collected everything from content analytics to customer profiles?  

A content management system (CMS) is a software application or set of related programs that are used to create and manage digital content. Many businesses use these systems to collect data (related to content) from various sources and organize it in a single, centralized source. If you have a content management system (CMS), then you don’t need to collect and verify the accuracy of the data, only to be forced to re-enter that data in another system manually. You can see all the information in one place, and know that it is accurate. 

Ask Questions

There are a million questions that you can easily get the answer to (or at least a rough idea of), simply by asking. You can get any information about the reader, simply by enticing them to provide you with that information. You can offer them exclusive content, a chance to win a prize, or some other incentive if they fill out a form on your website.  

The more you know about your customers, the better you can target your message to their wants, needs, interests and challenges. To get the data you need, you must ask. The business case for having all this data is quite obvious: the more you know about your customer, about their pain points, their desires, and interests, the more effective your marketing plan will be. People respond to messaging that hits them on a personal level. If you know who that customer is (on a personal level), you can craft specific messages that will speak to them. Personalized marketing is and has always been effective.  It works because everyone looks for that personal attention. 

Thanks to technology, such as a Content Management System (CMS), personalization and data is more accessible than ever.  CMSs come in all shapes and sizes, can be as simple as a single WordPress page (with the appropriate plugins), or as complex as the application requires (and that a developer can manage).

Content Management System

Investing in a CMS will help ensure you have the data available in order to determine your customers’ buyer journey, how your customers are feeling, what their pain points are and how people are finding you.

If you don’t have a CMS in place, it’s not too late. While you may be behind the pack, you aren’t out of the race. Data science has advanced leaps and bounds over the last few years. Tools have been developed to better sort through data and there are baseline metrics for every industry. By using a CMS to collect data from your customers, you will be able to begin to make up for lost time. 

Once you have the relevant data you can really get started, using data to shape your thinking and drive results. You can use that data for any purpose you wish, shaping and tweaking campaigns to better fit your customer and prospects.

Not Alone

Even marketers at larger companies struggle with analyzing data. Over 60% of CMOs admit that they aren’t utilizing available data to its full potential. Only 0.5% of total data collected is being analyzed at all. You’re not alone. Everyone needs to work on using technology to its full potential, especially when it comes to using the data that is right in front of you.

How to Use Data

An example of a larger company struggling to collect, analyze, and fully utilize their data is Bridgepoint Health, before they implemented a Liferay solution. Their solution involved the creation of an internal data portal. The hospital needed a way to integrate disparate systems containing their own data. The seamless integration of key data sources and applications and the simplified, secured, and rapid access to that data, were key to engineering the right solution.

While their solution is a little different from yours, the core principal is the same. You just need a system that will both allow you to collect data AND analyze it in one easy to access, centralized place. Creating a solution to collect and analyze data is at the heart of Liferay’s value proposition. 

Bridgepoints solution led to improved productivity and optimized workflows through efficient access to data. Time spent switching between systems (a hallmark of homegrown CMS solutions) was drastically reduced, while productivity rose.

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Sometimes you just need to figure out a content and data management strategy. If this describes you then please contact us, reach out to us on Twitter @VeridayHQ or check out our blog posts about…

Benefits of Digital Experience Platforms , Digital Transformation and, Omni-Channel Marketing.

Digital Marketing (In Finance) Without Blowing Your Budget

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As a financial advisor, do you sometimes struggle to find potential clients? Are referrals not bringing you the same quality of business as they used to? Eventually, your practice may grow beyond your network, meaning you may need to attract clients from the outside.

It’s time to start marketing your practice online (if you aren’t already)! There are many ways to get your marketing efforts started. You may be thinking of putting a banner ad on the front page of the Financial Times, but after looking at the price, you realize that is a lot of money for one Ad…. It’s important to get a good ROI on your marketing efforts, especially if you don’t have the mountain of capital the big banks have.

So, how can you have a successful financial digital marketing plan while staying on a budget? Here are 6 ways you can use digital marketing to grow your brand and increase your leads, without breaking the bank.

1. Create High Quality Content

One way you can get the word out about your advisory business is by producing and distributing high-quality content. Use your expertise as a marketing tool. Giving out small snippets of advice about a variety of overarching topics that will interest your potential audience, for free. Education is a key marketing tool in 2017. Educate your followers, with the goal of establishing yourself as a thought leader among financial advisors.

Now, creating high-quality content can be time consuming; writing a blog post, webinar, ebook or some other form of content takes time. You can spend a lot of time writing or producing other forms of content (audio, video, interpretive dance (please don’t try this, it doesn’t work very well when selling financial advice)) but besides the time invested, it has low costs and can generate a high ROI. There is another benefit of creating high-quality, unique content. Search engines favor high-quality sources that add value to the reader. Blogging is an effective way to rank higher in search results because they are continuously updated with fresh, useful content. As we mentioned in a previous article:

“Search engines love websites that are constantly being updated with unique and fresh content.  When Google spiders come to audit your site, they report back whether your website is of high quality (or not) as a result of whether it is constantly updated with new, unique, and quality content.”

Well-written, unique content is seen as a high-quality source, and will help you rank higher in search results. This will lead to more traffic to your website, at no additional cost.

Remember, content marketing costs less than outbound marketing, but generates up to 3 times the number of leads. This is done by producing and distributing high-quality content on your website, blog or other digital properties.

2. Email Marketing

In today’s digital age, email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing in terms of ROI. A study by Campaign Monitor found that for every $1 spent, email gives back a whopping $38 in ROI, while also offering the broadest reach. Email marketing is subject to regulations, such as CASL in Canada, meaning that everyone has to sign up for your newsletter individually. This can mean that building a respectable email list can take some time. Even with the new laws and regulations, email marketing is extremely effective.

Some key aspects of email marketing are: having an eye-catching email template, on-topic subject lines, an interested audience (email list) and a personalized feel for the reader. Remember, people get hundreds (thousands? millions?) of emails per week. If value isn’t provided in your newsletters they will unsubscribe. Nobody wants their time wasted. A piece of advice: spend some time making your email look and feel perfect, and making sure it adds value to the reader. It will be worth it. The ROI of email marketing is astronomical, you will regret not putting the extra effort in.

One method you could use to create interesting emails, is to reuse content from other inbound marketing efforts. A newsletter is a great place to share your blog posts, articles, or podcasts for a second time.

3. Location Targeting

Most people want to do their shopping, errands, and business conveniently, near their location. As they say in real estate: location, location, location.  It matters, especially when it comes to digital marketing. According to Hubspot, 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. Local searches also lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day. These statistics are very telling and significant, and should be taken into account when crafting your digital marketing strategy.

Use location data to show the audience things such as: where you’re located in relation to them, your contact info, business reviews, and more. To be able to properly target locally, you should put your business on “Google My Business”. It is a service by Google that allows companies to appear in search results filtered by location. It allows people to see where you are located (on a map) when they Google you. To learn more about Google My Business, check out our article on it here.

People, especially those on mobile devices, are increasingly willing to share information about their location with you. They do this thinking that by providing more information they will be provided with a more personalized, relevant experience using the website. Location targeting is quite cheap and easy to implement but can be scaled up to deliver more expensive, complex solutions, such as sending content and promotional material to your audience, depending on their location.

4. Great Landing Pages

Landing pages are an extremely cheap, yet effective way to increase your number of leads and get the most out of your digital marketing efforts. Any solution you can use to host your website will have an option to create new pages. This means you can (and should) have a personalized landing page for every campaign you are running. Having dedicated landing pages will ensure your audience is only presented with information (and a call-to-action) that is relevant to the reason they are visiting your website in the first place.

When you send someone directly to your homepage, (or blog page, or any page with information) they may feel overwhelmed and unsure where to navigate to next. Create landing pages geared towards an audience coming from a specific source, stripping out all non-essential features and focusing your message on what is relevant to that audience. People can recognize a well-designed website and they WILL remember it, and hopefully, return.  Remember, a professional website is the difference between a client calling you, or a client calling your biggest competitor. Landing pages are easy to create, will improve your user’s experience will help improve your ROI (seeing as they don’t cost anything to create except time).

It will be many people’s first (and only) impression of you. According to Hubspot, 55% of people spend 15 seconds or less on your website.

5. Effective Calls-To-Action

Having an effective call-to-action (CTA) on your digital property is one of the most important (and inexpensive) ways to generate ROI using digital marketing. A CTA is a prompt to get the audience to complete a specific action, a goal at the heart of any digital marketing strategy.

If you don’t ask people to do something, they won’t do it. That’s a fact of life. Calls to action motivate people to complete actions that can help you meet their needs.

Take for example, the call-to-action from Netflix below. The CTA is very clear: “Join Free for a Month”. It is nearly impossible to miss that giant red button. It screams for attention. The messaging is also very clear: “Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime.” They present their full value proposition within the CTA (and within the first few seconds of arriving on their site).

Financial Digital Marketing on a Budget: CTA, Netflix

As an advisor, you should have at least one call-to-action on your website. You might not be able to entice people with an offer as tempting as Netflix, (who can pass up free movies for a month?), but there are other options for your industry. This could be a unique and valuable eBook, offering them insights and advice related to your expertise. You could also offer a “Free Consultation” and tempt them with a clear value proposition such as: “Discover the reality of your financial situation.” “Subscribe to my blog”, or “Contact Us” are other examples.  Any action you want your prospect to take can be encouraged with a well placed, persuasive CTA.

Whatever you choose, ensure your CTA is motivating and actionable. CTAs don’t inherently come with any additional costs. They can be as simple or as complex as needed. Whatever solution you use to host your website, it should have an easy way to add a call-to-action.

6. Paid Search

Another way to generate strong ROI in financial digital marketing is through Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEM involves using paid search ads to ensure that your offerings are the top results for a particular search topic. The issue with SEM is that some terms, especially financial service keywords, can be extremely expensive. In fact, the most expensive keywords, in general, are related to finance and legal services. For example, “insurance”, “attorney” and “mortgage” are the top 3 most expensive keywords.

To save money and generate a better ROI, you can use paid search to creatively target local customers. What’s the point in having someone located in Moscow find your website via search if you’re located in Moose Jaw? They won’t be interested in a financial service provider that they can’t meet in person. To avoid targeting too broad of a geographical range, use long-tail keywords such as “Financial Advisor in Moose Jaw”.

To gain the most value from SEM, use lesser known keywords and geographic targeting. Ensure people are directed to a page that has relevant information that is related to the search topic, with compelling calls-to-action.

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So, what did you think of these 6 methods to raise your financial digital marketing ROI (with little to no budget)? Do you find any of these methods effective? Which ones do you use? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

Join Veriday at the Temenos Innovation Jam!

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What: Innovation Jam Miami

Where: Private Key Club | Wynwood, Miami

When: March 16th, 2017

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Veriday is excited to be presenting its flagship product, Digital Agent, at the Temenos Innovation Jam on Thursday, March 16th 2017 in Miami, Florida.   The regional Innovation Jam showcases the latest demos by a variety of FinTech companies from across the region, demonstrating the value they could add to businesses.

The full day event will provide structured networking opportunities for attendees, offering each the chance to:

  • See the most advanced software available to financial institutions and get ahead of the competition
  • Watch fast paced, exciting 7 minute demos from 17 FinTech companies and startups, including Veriday
  • Vote to choose two winners who will advance to the final round of the competition in Lisbon, Portugal

For more information, on the Innovation Jam Miami, click here.

Hope to see you there!

What is Personalized Marketing?

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This post was authored by Corbin Murakami and originally appeared here on Liferay.com

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Personalization is and has always been effective. Dale Carnegie once said “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” In a sense, he was making a case for adding a personal touch on our products and services. Personalization works because on some base human level, everyone looks for that personal attention.

Thanks to technology, personalization is more accessible than ever before. Now, any organization can implement personalization from digital printing to variable data and direct mailers. There’s the ability to produce thousands of mailers addressed to unique individuals with their first names on each one of them. That type of experience is available on the web at any digital touchpoint, which means organizations have the ability to provide unique customer experiences that weren’t previously possible.

What is Personalized Marketing?

To apply a specific analogy, personalized marketing is like a shopping experience at Nordstrom. When a shopper is looking for a specific pair of shoes, she’s usually approached by a sales rep who will try to assist her in getting the exact pair. She can talk with the rep, tell him what she prefers in terms of style and color, and have a real interaction. Information is exchanged in the context of getting to know someone, and both parties would benefit: the shopper receives a product she wants while Nordstrom wins new business.

In the same manner, personalized marketing is the ability to create content that specifically caters to each individual consumer. It involves an understanding of who your audience is, having captured certain pieces of information about them and leveraging that data to provide each visitor a unique user experience. Often times, web personalization will necessitate using automation and integrated channels to help with the process.

What Does Personalization Promise?

The appeal of personalized marketing is three-fold:

  • Increase conversions – Websites that employ web personalization tend to see a bump in conversions (whether that’s a basic form submission or an actual closed deal / purchase). Higher conversion rates are often tied to the fact that offers take into consideration factors such as age, gender, job role and buyer stage.
  • Lift sales figures – Companies that excel in personalized marketing tend to spend less time focusing on the quantity of leads, and more time on targeting the right leads at the right times. This would invariably lead to an increase in sales.
  • Keep more customers (retention) – Arguably as important as winning new customers and conversions, personalized marketing allows brands to keep their current customers happy and loyal. Devoting attention to a customer’s preferences builds up familiarity and comfort, which in turn translates into customer satisfaction.

The State of Personalization

Even though many companies acknowledge the necessity of personalized marketing, not many of them are pulling it off successfully. Seventy-seven percent of marketers believe that real-time personalization is crucial to their success, but only 29% of marketers are actually delivering dynamic content on their websites.

The Personalization Gap

There seems to be a gap between what they’re doing and what they want to be doing. “It is quite clear that personalization is seen as mission critical to the success of online business, but too many organizations have yet to implement a well thought-out and tested approach,” said Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy.

There are various reasons for this disparity. One major reason is the roadblocks encountered when it comes to adopting new technology. According to a report by Monetate, almost half of all companies surveyed report IT roadblocks and legacy technology as major barriers to web personalization. Moreover, many organizations lack the proper resources to run tests and leverage data into personalized experiences. While many departments are making a push for advanced marketing, there is clear indication that some companies (in particular, big enterprises) rather settle than shift their entire marketing strategy.

A Web Personalization Maturity Model

Web Personalization Maturity Model

When it comes to creating content for customers, every company deals with personalization to a varying degree. Some companies might have advanced orchestration in place, while most tend to be implementing certain rules-based methods. In short, there are generally five types of personalized marketing:

  • One-to-all: Campaigns are static with no personalization. The content is created on a broad level and pushed out to everyone uniformly. There is no segmentation or optimization.
  • One-to-many: Rules-based campaigns in which rules are developed and then applied to personalization. Mostly batch campaigns with various levels of A/B testing. Rules determine the next interaction.
  • One-to-some: Models are developed for how to think about segments and audience, then used to personalize content to users. Some channels are starting to integrate personalized messaging. 
  • One-to-few: Multiple channels are integrated and moving towards a single view of customer. There is some level of continuity between online and offline messaging. Interactive marketing elements go hand-in-hand with automated segmentation.
  • One-to-one: No longer based on just models, but technology like machine learning and algorithms to make precise personalization. Communications are specifically defined by interest, interactions and auto-decisions which are delivered at the right time.

For most companies, the hardest challenge tends to be migrating from one-to-some to one-to-few. This involves moving from single offers and campaign flows to technical solutions that can handle true interactive marketing. It also means having to ensure alignment across the entire company, which could often mean a reformation of legacy systems, processes and/or staff.

As a whole, the market seems to be moving towards one-to-one personalization. This would include a knowledge of the visitor as defined by their preferences and interactions on the site. On a broader scale, it means adapting the overall customer experience to become more technologically enhanced and data-driven.

However, organizations shouldn’t feel pressured to implement one-to-one immediately. Teams may not always have the proper resources or channels in place to effectively carry out some of these advanced marketing tactics. In fact, a bad personalization experience is much worse than having no personalization. Instead, the goal should be trying to incrementally improve personalization deliverability and eventually moving up the maturity model. (In other words, progress.)

Final Thoughts

All enterprises should know that personalization is an imperative. It’s no longer good enough to send or blast messages to entire groups of people. Regardless of personalization stage, every organization should make it a point to move towards more interactive channels of marketing. The more people feel comfortable and familiar with a brand, the more they will give their loyalty and respect.

Liferay DXP Interview: How Developers Can Use the New Platform

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In this interview, Veriday COO, Chris Lamoureux, sits down with Delivery Lead, Sam Hyland, to discuss Liferay DXP compared to previous Liferay platforms, and how it affects developers working with the platform. This is Part 2 of our ongoing series of interviews about Liferay DXP. For an overview of the new platform, check out Part 1 of the series.
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Chris Lamoureux: How are you doing this morning, Sam?

Sam Hyland: Good, good! How are you, Chris?

Chris: Very good, very good. We’re here to talk about Liferay DXP, which has been on the  marketplace for about half a year now. At Veriday, we have been using it since it rolled out and more and more you have been out working with clients who are thinking about upgrading to DXP.  Who are thinking about how to actually develop on it. What are your first thoughts on the DXP platform?

Sam: Well, first I think the platform has certainly evolved. Liferay is referring to DXP as an “experience platform”. The experience for users (the front end and the interface) is certainly a lot more advanced than it was in Liferay 6.2. It’s bringing it into the modern era. A lot of the other changes are in the back-end, in the development frameworks available, which is what we’re here to talk about today.

The big, big change in the back-end is the move to  very modular development. So, you’re building small components that are discreet, easy to manage and upgrade. I’m hearing a lot of excitement about the modulation of DXP. Even though the previous portal architecture supported somewhat of a modular approach (you could deploy portlets individually) there were some challenges with that approach.

A lot of clients had developed large applications, with a lot of different portlets in them, to work through that. In the end, a single change involved re-deploying their entire application. It involved doing a full regression test against that application because they didn’t have the confidence that their change was isolated. That it would only affect one part of the application. This made the cost of a change quite high. Clients are excited about the new OSGI modular approach because it allows them to separate components while still allowing for all the flexibility needed for communication between the components. Deploying components with that modular framework means that developers can ensure their changes are isolated, enabling more rapid change.

Chris: Very interesting. Historically, Liferay was always thought of as the lightweight portal, does this imply that Liferay is getting even lighter relative to competitors in the marketplace?

Sam: In some ways it does, because each of these modules can be turned on and off individually. This means you can deploy your individual modules but you can also look to the Liferay components. If there are certain modules there that you don’t need, you can turn them off and disable features that aren’t relevant to you.

Chris: So I’ve heard a lot about OSGI, and I’m trying to get my head around it. Tell us a little bit about what the change to OSGI is all about. What’s the impact to the developers using the Liferay platform?

Sam: OSGI itself isn’t anything new. It’s been around for many years now. If your application developers or Java application developers use Eclipse, or any products built on top of Eclipse, they will have seen OSGI before.

Eclipse uses OSGI behind the scenes. It’s a proven platform that’s been around for a long time and it’s a specification that, at it’s simplest, is a Java jar. If you’re familiar with Java development you’re familiar with the concept of a jar, which people traditionally use for libraries. If you deploy a library, that’s a jar. It gets out there and it makes certain classes available. OSGI now adds some extra information to the manifest file inside the jar that declares capabilities this jar has to make available. So you deploy a jar to the OSGI container, the manifest file exposes certain requirements and capabilities, which are then available to other OSGIs that are there.

So, for example if you deploy an OSGI jar with your user service, for looking up users. It might say, “I have this capability that I know about all the users on the Liferay platform”. Then your application with the OSGI module says, “I need to know about the users.I have this requirement. I require this capability”. The OSGI container takes care of wiring everything together, looking up all the references and pulls everything together. It says “Liferay, you have this user service, you can provide this capability. Application, you need this capability, we are going to connect the two of you together.”

In some ways, it’s not that different from the EJBs. It’s the same sort of idea. It’s just a newer take on it that is working very well. It has been used by Eclipse for ages. Liferay is using their new foundation and it’s being adopted by other vendors throughout the marketplace.

Chris: So Liferay is keeping pace in that area?  

Sam: Oh Definitely!

Chris: What are the other areas of Liferay DXP, from an application development standpoint, that you would mention specifically to an existing developer thinking about how to do something differently in DXP?

Sam: So the first thing I’ll point out is that if you’re used to building and deploying portlets, you’ll still be doing that in Liferay DXP. There is actually a compatibility layer that allows you to continue to build and deploy portlets the old way if you have an existing portlet that would better suit your needs.

If you’re looking at this OSGI stuff and think “this modular deployment, this lifecycle works for me and our development team, we want to build portlets using OSGI” you can do that as well. The biggest difference that developers will notice when building portlets in OSGI is that you no longer define the portlets inside .xml files.

Traditionally, when you build a portlet there would be a series of .xml files with most of the configuration in them. There would be a “porlet.xml” which would have things like your portlet name in it. If you were using portlet communication you would have some of the settings for that. There would also be a “Liferay-portlet.xml” that would define any additional capabilities for your portlet. When you’re building an OSGI, all of those are using Java annotations. So, you’d create your portlet class, put an @ at the top of your class and you would put all your properties at the front.

I personally am a big fan of annotations. It’s easier to look at. You’re looking at your portlet class; all your properties are there in one place. Everything is ready for you to go.

Chris: So, if you’re a new developer and you’re not experienced with Liferay 6.2, what are you thinking about as you start to use DXP?

Sam: As you get in and start using Liferay DXP, like everything else, there’s going to be a learning curve. You’re going to start small and look at, “how are we going to build our applications on Liferay?”. If you have built web applications before, you’ve probably used an MVC framework, and so the model, the view, the controller. Liferay supports that approach.

You’re going to build your view as a portlet. You’ll have to do a little bit of reading on what the portlet specification is and what a Java portlet is. It’s going to take you an hour or so and you’re going to have a “hello world” portlet up and running that’s going to spit out a view for you.

Then you’re going to say, “well we can display some information. We can have a simple form. We’re interacting with that form.” You’re probably using a JSP (if you’re a Java developer you’re probably used to JSPs) for your view. Then you’ll want to interact with a service.  Now you have to interact with something.

This is where you’re really going to start building multiple OSGI modules. You’ll have one OSGI module that’s your view, then you can start building your service. The first thing you’re going to do when building a service is define an API for it. Your API itself is another module. It’s going to be one Java class, It’s going to be the interface into your service. You’re going to deploy that as a module and make it available to your view.

Then you’ll have to write the implementation for that service (another OSGI module). That’s going to start talking to your database. It’s going to start storing and retrieving data and making it available to you.

As you go deeper into Liferay, you may find that you’re using it for integration. It’s an excellent platform for integration. You might be calling out to third party services. You may also want to store your data within Liferay.

After you reach that level of expertise you might look at some of the tooling available in Liferay. It has a service builder, essentially a code generation tool. You would define your model. You would define all the data fields needed. You would define any descriptions or associations within an .xml file. Liferay has a code generation tool, so you would run a command and it would generate all the classes for your service using all the OSGI modules needed for your database.

Chris: So, Liferay has a “sweet spot” within the marketplace. Historically, they’ve had nice growth but with DXP where is that “sweet spot”? Is it the same as what it was in 6.2? For you, as an application developer, in what situations would you use this is a product to solve client problems?

Sam: I think it continues to solve all the problems it solved in Liferay 6.2. It works as an integration platform on the front end. It can serve as your system of engagement (system of record). I think in DXP it does a better job of that because of some of the front-end pieces, which we won’t discuss in detail today. It has a much richer interface. It’s more modern. It has all the Ajax pieces to wire everything together. It’s a single page application. So, instead of refreshing the entire page every time you click, it only refreshes the data that’s changing, making it a lot faster and smoother for your end user.

Liferay DXP also has some very strong mobile libraries and toolkits available, allowing you to turn the web application you built out into a mobile application. Everything in Liferay is responsive, condensing down nicely on your phone. Liferay has a “Liferay Screens” feature that turns your application into a mobile application. It makes spruces available on mobile, it has a mobile SDK. You can use that or you can use some of the Liferay built-in pieces to build a kiosk application. Maybe you’re in retail and you’ve got kiosks available for your customers to interact with. So, now you’re not just engaging on the web, you’re engaging on phones, kiosks, etc.

Chris: Which is where the marketplace is going… going, gone.  

Sam: Exactly!

Chris: So, Sam it sounds to me like Liferay has continued to raise the bar when it comes to its ability to increase YOUR productivity as an application development at a material level, which is ultimately what customers want. They want to get better, faster, cheaper. Give us your observations so far on your usage of DXP and your productivity?

Sam: I would say it has gone a long way in improving productivity. Liferay before – the preferred way to develop on it was using Liferay’s SDK. So, you had to learn their toolkit if you wanted to work with Liferay. You could stray beyond Liferay’s libraries but there was always a gentle nudge saying “this is the Liferay way to do it. Let’s do it the Liferay way”.

What DXP has done is become more platform agnostic. So, if you like using Grails for your build, that’s well supported. If you like using Maven or Ant, you can do that as well. You’re no longer pushed towards using Liferay’s toolkit. The same thing goes for the front-end and the middle tier. As you’re building out your application, if you have a Javascript framework that you love, it can be used with Liferay with a lot less of the conflicts that you would have seen historically working with Liferay. A lot of the challenges that were there in Liferay 6.2, when working with, and bringing in new toolkits, have been removed thanks to the added modularity in DXP.

Chris: So, it sounds like Liferay has come out with a great product!

Sam: I would fully agree!

Chris: Well, thank you very much for your time, Sam.

Sam: Thank you, Chris!

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That ends our interview with Sam Hyland, Service Delivery Lead at Veriday. We touched on many points related to the new Liferay DXP. We discussed OSGI technologies, the modularity of the new Liferay platform, various features of the new platform from a back-end perspective and how Liferay will affect developers working on the platform.

Stay tuned for more interviews about Liferay DXP, the new digital experience platform brought to you by Liferay.

If you have any questions or comments about this discussion, please let us know on twitter @VeridayHQ or #LiferayDXP

Advisors: Get to Know Evergreen Content

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You’re a Financial Advisor, looking to use content marketing to expand your client base. You’re a busy person, always in a meeting, or at least on your way to one. You are already working more hours per week than you’d like to. You aren’t able to spend hours a day writing or producing new content for your marketing efforts. There simply is not enough time.

Content marketing can be difficult at times. You spend hours creating the perfect piece of content. You’re hoping it will provide value to your target audience; entertaining and educating them using their favorite form of media. The downside of content marketing: you spend hours creating this content and it doesn’t get seen by as many people as you were hoping.

I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. I would spend hours (weeks) writing the perfect essay, crafting the perfect presentation. I would create great work but I always felt somewhat disappointed, knowing that only a few people would ever see my work (and care). The feeling is frustrating. Today, I’m here to tell you that you never need to feel that way as a content marketer. There are methods of creating content that allow you to use and reuse content in order to get the most mileage out of your content efforts.

I’m here to introduce you to the best type of content for reuse and social sharing. It is called “evergreen” content. It will save you time and energy creating content that becomes outdated once the market or trend shifts, or the regulatory landscape changes. Evergreen content has the longest lifespan of content, generating traffic and leads for a very long time after it is published.  This type of content is called “evergreen” because, like a coniferous tree, it is not beholden to the seasons. Evergreen content stays “green” all year round, having nothing to do with current events or current industry landscapes. It will be useful to a reader whenever they come across it, whether tomorrow or a couple of years from now.

Evergreen content can come from any asset you create for any purpose. Creativity is the only hindrance. Do you have a pitch book? Turn it into a series of blog posts. You are an expert. Use your experience and knowledge to benefit the people consuming your content (and in turn, help you become a thought leader). Some examples of evergreen content for financial advisors could be: 

  1. How to Start a Retirement Plan
  2. 10 Ways to Become Financially Independent
  3. Frequently Asked Questions About (Insert product/service/offering here)
  4. Interview with (member of your team, influencer, industry expert, really anyone)
  5. 10 Reasons Why You Need an Advisor to Manage your Retirement Fund

Really any “How-to”, List, FAQ, Interview, or case study that does not revolve around the current industry landscape can be considered evergreen content. It can either be repurposed material or brand new content.

Whether you realize it or not, you already have plenty of starting points for creating evergreen content. Your pitch book, training materials and other existing documents in your business (that does not contain confidential or proprietary information) can be easily transformed into a piece of content to share. You can explain why your mission statement is the way it is, an explanation of various types of investments, advice columns, what you have helped others accomplish, or any other subject in which you have expertise.

You don’t need to stay on top of industry news or events for those type of articles. Simply create a version of your material that visitors to your website can consume in an easy way. The material should help them learn more about you, your business, or a topic that might affect them. Any subject which could establish you as a thought leader and will still be relevant in a few years is fair game. It is commonly considered best practice to update your articles as regulations or industry landscapes change. This will ensure that the information you are providing is always up-to-date and accurate.

Evergreen content remains fresh over time. It can be reused, shared repeatedly on social media and repurposed into another format. It is an extremely valuable tool to grow your reach and influence without spending an unnatural amount of effort.

One important tip to consider when creating and sharing your evergreen content is:

Update the content when new information becomes available!

Keeping your content fresh will ensure that someone viewing the piece will know that your business is up to date. Without a modern website you will appear to be “behind the times”. This will lead to some consumers thinking you are an outdated relic of an older time and taking their business elsewhere.

If you don’t believe having a website is critically important please check out the following articles:

7 Things People Hate About Your Website
Advisors: Why just having a Website isn’t enough
How Financial Advisors can use Content Marketing to Boost Website Traffic

Do you create evergreen content for your marketing efforts? Do you find evergreen content generates a high-level of engagement? Is timely information more effective for your blog or website? Let us know over on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

The most important thing you NEED to include in your eNewsletters

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Are you a Financial Service provider trying to gain more traffic to your website? It’s a problem many businesses in the financial sector have. There are many different ways to cultivate engagement that can help lead to more traffic, and ultimately, conversions. Today, we will be discussing how a weekly (or monthly) newsletter can increase traffic to your website and what you need to do to nurture those readers into clients. The #1 most important thing that you have to consider when developing and sending out a eNewsletter is:

Value!

Why you might ask? Well, at the heart of a newsletter should lie value for the reader. Nobody wants to get sent an email chock full of promotional materials pressuring them to make a decision. If they get an email like that, chances are their decision will be to unsubscribe from future updates. There goes your future interactions with that prospect. They also don’t want an email full of information that they already know, or can find elsewhere with a simple google search.

Value in a newsletter can be provided in a number of ways:

  1. Exclusive Content

    Exclusive content is by far the most important aspect in driving value to your newsletter.

    Unique and exclusive content is a method of providing value to your subscribers. By writing a quality article or blog post, specifically for those subscribed to the newsletter, you can drive significant amounts of traffic to your website. People love unique and fresh content, and the feeling of exclusivity is the cherry-on-top of the content cake.

    The average buyer consumes 3-5 pieces of content before they even talk to a sales rep. By offering them a juicy, exclusive article (hosted on your website, of course), you will drive traffic to your website, build trust, and potentially become a thought leader in that consumer’s mind.

    Exclusivity is how top fashion brands, car companies, and luxury goods manufacturers help promote their businesses. What is stopping the Financial Services industry from using it as part of a content marketing and email strategy?

  2.  Special Offers, Discounts and Consultations

    Special offers, discounts and consultations can be offered either in the newsletter itself or as a selling point for signing up for the newsletter. Offering exclusive offers will make the reader more likely to engage with your business, perhaps even motivating them to spend more time on your website.

    70% of email readers open emails from a brand or company in search of a deal, discount, or special offer. As an Advisor, you could offer free consultations to motivate people to contact you. The reader will think “well it’s free, I might as well hear what they can do for me”. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to meet the prospect, humanize your brand and prove to that prospective client that you are the right person to manage their money.

    While many people are looking for special offers, it is important not to inundate your subscribers with promotions. If you do, the value will diminish with every offer. Discounts or freebies should be provided with valuable and unique educational material to help the reader better decide how to use that discount or to show them that your free consultation will be worth their time.

  3. Events and Giveaways

This one is somewhat related to “Discounts or Special Offers”. It goes back to the fact that people like a deal (or in this case, free stuff). Again, it should not be used in every newsletter, but more as a promotion to generate sign-ups or reward loyalty. You can give something small away to everyone who signs up, promote exclusive events (barbecues, picnics, etc,), that get people thinking about you and your business, and potentially gets you face time with these prospective clients (even if it happens to be over hot dogs).

You could give away an iPod, a drone, or another “big ticket” item in a draw that all members subscribed to your newsletter can win. This will encourage people to stay subscribed and check every newsletter to find out who the winner is.

Conclusion

In addition to these three methods, value in a newsletter should be provided by using the right mix of educational and promotional material. About 90% of the content in a newsletter should be educational to the readers. The other 10% can be promotional material. If the right balance isn’t struck, your newsletter will be nothing more than a glorified advertisement, which is not something that will attract clients in the Financial Services industry.

By educating your readers, and providing value in other ways, you will drive more traffic to your website. B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015).  Why not repurpose these blogs in your newsletter to extend their reach and get the most mileage out of your content? A newsletter can help you increase the reach of those posts to readers which will result in an increase in traffic. Remember, provide value above all else!

Best of luck with your content creation this week! If you want more information on starting a newsletter, check out our articles “Newsletters: The Forgotten Hero of Content Marketing” and “Do Advisors Really Need Email Marketing?”. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. @VeridayHQ.

The Three Biggest Marketing Mistakes Advisors Make

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

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Marketing financial advisory services can be complex and frustrating. Advisors today are confused because what worked in the past often doesn’t work anymore. Additionally, many have spent thousands on marketing mistakes that didn’t pay off and are wary of new approaches. But without spending on effective marketing campaigns, your business will certainly have a difficult time growing.

Yet, many advisors become paralyzed by their marketing efforts. They aim to get a market update or newsletter out, but after several rounds of edits, the project falls by the wayside. Their old website is an embarrassment but a website overhaul seems too overwhelming. They know they need to update their marketing but aren’t sure where to start. Sound familiar? Here are the three biggest marketing mistakes advisors should avoid.

1. Being a Perfectionist

Why is it that some advisors take weeks to create a new website and some take years? Does the quality of the website reflect the struggle and time spent? Rarely. Top advisors let go of perfectionism in favor of execution. This doesn’t mean their marketing results are sub par, in fact their marketing is much more effective because they deploy more engaging content and ideas on a regular basis.

Top advisors know that their marketing is always going to be a work in progress. They update their branding, website, and content every few years, so there is less pressure to reach perfection with each iteration. They’re able to get blog posts, videos, and advertisements out quickly to meet deadlines and keep their marketing on schedule.

As a result, their communications are nimble and they can afford to be timely with their marketing. When the stock market goes down or a big news story breaks, they can quickly release a marketing campaign to take advantage of the event. They stay top of mind with their network and centers of influence because they put out solid content on a regular basis.

On the other hand, perfectionist advisors conduct painful rounds of edits to each piece of content, including too many team members in the process. They decrease their posting frequency and kill the enjoyment of the process.

What perfectionists don’t realize is that most readers don’t care about a completely polished post. Your clients and prospects read your blog because they want to hear your thoughts and opinions on a topic. Blogs are a place to share ideas, a living breathing conversation, not a scientific journal. Advisors who are growing their business stick to a schedule and get their ideas out, no matter what.

2. Not Asking for Help

The most successful advisors run various marketing campaigns simultaneously and have someone else orchestrate their marketing calendar. They employ ghostwriters and outsource creation of their marketing content and ads. While each piece is based on their insights, opinions, and philosophies, they don’t create every blog post, whitepaper, or video script from scratch.

Marketing is typically based on a different skillset than financial planning. Top advisors understand that marketing consultants offer creative and technical skills that advisors rarely possess. By outsourcing to a qualified expert, you can save time, avoid costly mistakes, and take advantage of proven ideas with your marketing efforts.

Especially when it comes to the intersection of technology and marketing, like using your email marketing software or adding technical features to your website, it pays to outsource to an expert. Once you find a marketing pro you can rely on, you’ll be surprised at how much you can get done in a hurry.

3. Not Embracing Technology

Marketing today is one part technical and one part creative. Because many marketing campaigns take place in the digital world, technology is critical to creating and tracking your efforts. From your website to email marketing to social media, it’s important to use top technologies that can make your marketing more effective and save you time.

Technology investments result in more efficient and productive business models and make finding new clients easier. You would never attempt to run a marathon without food and water, yet trying to grow your business without fuelling your technology engines yields the same painful result. Plan to invest in your marketing technology and make updates as better solutions become available.

How to Move Forward

Unfortunately, there’s no step-by-step playbook for marketing your business in today’s digital world. Your most effective marketing plan will depend on your business, the specific demographic you’re trying to reach, as well as your personality and branding. But the confusion and complexity of marketing is no excuse for inaction.

Understand that your marketing will always be a work in progress. Make a commitment to create and stick to a marketing calendar, then track what efforts work best so you can do more of them in the future. Don’t take your marketing too seriously and remember that people want to hear from you, so enjoy the process and share your unique opinions and insights.