7 Things People Hate About Your Advisor Website Part 2

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From people talking or texting during a movie to lousy drivers – we all have pet peeves that drive us up the wall. Just as pet peeves exist in the “real world”, they are also evident in the digital world too.

As a Financial Advisor, you should be aware about some of the pet peeves your prospects and clients may have about your website. In part 1 of this series, we discussed page load times, poor navigation, cheesy photos and your contact information. In this 2-part series, we will go over 3 more things people hate about your Advisor website and how to stop yourself from doing them.

  1. It has an unintelligible value proposition

Who are you? What do you do? What makes you unique, different and better than other Financial Advisors? A solid value proposition is an essential tool to attract new clients, differentiate yourself from other Advisors, all while helping you to create a distinct and recognizable brand.

60% of investors found it hard to distinguish among Advisors because of their value proposition (Pershing).

As a Financial Advisor, you want to create a unique and effective value proposition to help differentiate yourself in the industry and accelerate your business. Your value proposition concisely explains why a prospect needs you as their Advisor, and not your competition. (Read this blog post to learn more about writing a great value proposition).

  1. It doesn’t have a blog

Inbound marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your business, and comes at a lower cost. In 2015, content marketing generated 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but cost 62% less (Smart Insights). Blogging is one of the best ways to attract your target audience by creating and providing interesting and quality content, all while uninterruptedly marketing to them.

Businesses that blog receive 77% more traffic and 97% more links to their website than those that do not. 

Blogging is a means of building credibility and thought leadership, and keeping your visitors coming back. Providing your prospects with useful information will build trust and add value to their experience on your Advisor website. When people search for information and answers – be a source they go to and trust. Your business will greatly benefit from this. As an added bonus, Google loves dynamic websites. Frequently writing blogs will help boost your overall search engine ranking, which in turn will increase your websites overall visibility and digital reach.

  1. It’s not responsive

Have you ever visited a website using your mobile device and had to zoom in with your fingers because the text was too small on your screen? That’s because the website you were checking wasn’t mobile-responsive. With a higher percentage of people using their smartphones instead of their desktop when looking at information online, responsive design has never been more important.

40% of people will choose another result if the first one they land on is not mobile friendly (Sweor).

Digital Agent users – don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  All of your websites are 100% responsive.

Case studies have revealed that a seamless customer journey provides a competitive advantage, in some cases doubling sales year over year (The Kapost Blog). As a Financial Advisor, you should continuously work to ensure that your clients are happy on all fronts, and that includes digital. To better hone a positive digital customer experience, check out part 1 of the series to help you avoid doing the 7 things people hate about Advisor’s website.

 

7 Things People Hate About Your Advisor Website Part 1

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Whether it’s being interrupted, talking during a movie, or wobbly tables – we all have pet peeves that drive us absolutely mad. Just as pet peeves exist in the “real world”, they are also evident in the digital world too.

As a Financial Advisor, you should be aware of some of the pet peeves your prospects and clients may have about your website. In this 2-part series, we will go over 7 things people hate about your Advisor website and how you can avoid them.

 

1. It takes forever to load

Everyone is always on the go, including your clients. Can you recall a time when you got frustrated with a website because it took forever to load? Well, if your website is anything like that, your audience will feel just as frustrated as you did.

47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40% abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load (KISSmetrics).

If you want people to stick around your website, make sure that you’re putting the time in to optimize it. For example, use images that are sized for the web rather than print. This will help decrease a page’s overall load time.

2. It offers poor navigation

When someone lands on your website, do they know what to do? Are you leading them through your website or letting them navigate through it all on their own?  Are you providing your visitor with direction and a number of different progression points? Easy to follow navigation is not only good for customer experience, but can help you convert those leads into clients.

70% of small business B2B websites lack a call-to-action (Small Business Trends). A Call to Action (CTA) is a button or link that you place on your website to drive prospective customers to become leads. If the goal of your website is to create sales and get more business, then it is important that your website has effective CTAs.

Some quick and easy tips to improve your Financial Advisor websites navigation include:

  • Clear headlines
  • Jargonless copy
  • Concise CTAs

3. It’s littered with cheesy stock photography

You may already know that using images is great for SEO and grabbing (and keeping) your audience’s attention. So when it comes to picking the right images, cheesy stock photography is not the way to go. Picture this: someone lands on your website and the first thing they see are images like these:

Cheesy stock photo

Cheesy stock photo

Are these pictures really believable or even realistic? Are these even your employees? Images are great for clarifying or enforcing an idea to your visitors. However, generic stock photography doesn’t accomplish either of those things.

Try to use real pictures of real people at your company. If not, try to pick the best free, not-so-cheesy stock pictures. Using relevant and believable pictures on your Financial Advisor website will take your business a long way.

4. It contains a contact form but no contact information

A “Contact Us” form may seem like a great way to generate an opt-in email list, but to a potential client, this provides very minimal or even no value because there is no incentive for them to give you their information.

44% of website visitors will leave a company’s website if there’s no contact information or phone number (KoMarketing).

If a client or prospect has a one-time problem or request, they likely want help immediately. Having your contact information somewhere clear on the website, such as the footer or the contact page, is more useful to a client because it gives them a way to directly contact you. Whether it’s your email, phone number, or office location (ideally, all three), let people know how to contact you and make that information easily available to your clients and prospects.

 

Whether it’s in the office or in a digital space, you want to keep your current and future clients happy and coming back. As a Financial Advisor, you should continuously work to avoid these digital pet peeves to hone a positive digital customer experience. To learn more, check out part 2 of this series.

8 Elements of the Perfect Advisor Website Homepage

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The homepage of your website is the most viewed and linked to page of the average website and as a result it is one of the most important pages on a site. If you’re a Financial Advisor looking to create a great website, here are the eight elements you need.

A Clear Value PropositionWeb address

These days, people do the majority of their research online. Therefore, it’s important that your website clearly and succinctly explain exactly what your business is about. What areas do you specialize in?
What types of services do you offer? What sets you apart from other Advisors? For many people, your website homepage will be their first contact with your business. If they have to click a bunch of links just to find out what you offer or what sets you apart, chances are they’ll simply move onto another website.

Clean, Correct Writing

The perfect Advisor website homepage requires the use of correct language. If your website is riddled with grammatical and spelling mistakes, or even just bad syntax or awkward wording, people will not take you seriously. If you’re not confident with your writing skills, make sure you hire someone who is to do your business writing for you. Quite simply, bad writing means bad business.

Clear Call to Action

A call to action (CTA) is a button or link that you place on your website to drive prospective customers to become leads by filling out a form.  CTAs also help to guide your visitors into or through your website.  CTAs help to direct focus and make your website more efficient by giving your visitors a path to accomplish their objectives.

A Professional Photo

Make sure you include a professional, high-resolution photo of yourself on your webpage. If you work as a team of Financial Advisors, include their photos, and perhaps a professional but collegial-looking group photo. By including a photo of yourself and your team, you’ll not only personalize your website, but you’ll help establish a sense of trust with your viewers.

An Informative Bio

Your bio is the place where you tell your viewers (and prospective clients) a little bit about yourself. This section is especially important as, like the photo, it helps you reach out to your clients in a personal yet professional way. Keep your bio short and to-the-point, but don’t be afraid to throw in a few fun facts about yourself.

Use Keywords

In order for you to have the perfect Advisor website homepage, you need people to visit it. Make sure people can find your website by using strategic keywords that will come up when someone is using a search engine to find out information about Financial Advisors. There’s no point in having a webpage that no one can find!

Design

The design of your website should be sleek and well-organized. It should express the unique personality of your business, and clearly outline your services.

Keep the Text to a Minimum

People’s time is valuable, and most people don’t want to read a whole bunch of text that is irrelevant to what they initially searched for. Keep the text on your homepage simple, direct and informative. Make sure all your links work as well; broken links give an impression of unprofessionalism.

Remember, your website is an expression of your business and its capabilities. Don’t just throw up any old thing on the Internet; spend a bit of time and money investing in the perfect Advisor webpage.

Financial Advisors: Making Sense of the SEC’s Third-Party Review Site Rules

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This post was authored by Marie Swift and originally appeared here on GuideVine.

Financial Advisors and the marketing consultants who specialize in working with them know that the SEC no-testimonials rule prohibits Registered Investment Advisers and Investment Adviser Representatives from using client endorsements in their advertising. But in April 2014, the SEC issued new guidelines on the use of social media and online communications, which opened the door to something new: the ability for Advisors share on their own websites and profile pages public comments about their services that are posted on independent websites (such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Wallet Hub, and GuideVine).

There are, of course, rules related to how the content from these third-party sites can be used on sites and profile pages the Advisory firm controls. Here’s how to think things through.

NO CHERRY PICKING

The Advisor must include both positive and negative reviews. This means there can be no cherry picking — the Advisor must publish all comments, unedited. Financial Advisors can’t just copy and paste the good ones and leave the bad ones behind on the third-party site.

The SEC guidance specifically says: “The investment Adviser may publish only the totality of the testimonials from an independent social-media site and may not highlight or give prominence to a subset of the testimonials.”

Advisors can also publish mathematical averages of the comments from third-party review sites.

The best way to benefit from the third-party review sites, according to many industry consultants, is to post the logo and a link to the page where the third-party reviews live.

In this writer’s opinion, it could be worth linking to the third-party review page and monitoring daily to ensure that one is comfortable with any new comments. If the comments on the third-party review site ever become a concern, Advisors have a couple choices — remove the logo and link to the third-party site or embrace the fact that studies show that companies that have a disproportionate number of marginal or negative reviews are seen as more credible and real.

CONSUMER TRUST BUILDING 

Stats from social commerce company Reevoo show that, while it may seem counterintuitive, the presence of a few bad reviews is actually a good thing.

“Reevoo found that people that seek out and read bad reviews convert better, as the very fact that they are paying such close attention means they are more likely to be in purchase mode,” says writer Vikki Chowney in an article on eConsultancy.com. “68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see any negative opinions on the page.”

The Edelman Trust Barometer shows that people now trust one another more than they do established institutions. People have always turned to their peers when making important decisions. Now, with social media’s impact on online search, it is easier than ever for those doing research online to find “a person like me” or “ a regular employee” — both of which are seen as more credible than a company executive or paid spokesperson.

For more insights on building trust online read this Marie Swift piece on Financial-Planning.com: Why Financial Advisors Can’t Ignore Social Media.

NO INFLUENCE ON THIRD-PARTY SITES

The SEC guidelines also state that Financial Advisors must not have the ability to influence comments from the general public on the third-party site. This means the Advisor must not try to influence how they’re portrayed on those third-party sites. The SEC is trying to ensure that potential clients get the full picture of an Advisory firm.

“Advisers would violate the SEC’s testimonial rule if they drafted or submitted comments to a third-party review site, paid others to submit favorable comments to the site or suppressed, edited or manipulated the order in which the commentary was presented,” said tenured industry writer Mark Schoeff, Jr. in this article published by Investment News, SEC Oks Use of Third Party Social Media Endorsements.

CONTENT NEUTRAL LINE-UP

Beyond just the “all or nothing” restriction covered in the “no cherry picking” section of this article, Registered Investment Advisers must keep in mind that they may only publish testimonials from an independent review website in a “content-neutral manner.” According to the SEC guidelines, this means chronological or alphabetical order. It is not okay to put the best rankings at the top and the worst rankings at the bottom.

This is one reason why this writer believes it is best to simply link to the third-party review site and then monitor the discussion threads on a daily basis.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU POST ON THIRD-PARTY SITES

What would you do if you saw this post on a third-party review site?

“Found Jake Advisor to be out of touch, unresponsive and arrogant.”

How about this one?

“I have known John Planner for many years. One of the nicest guys you will ever meet! He knows his business and will take GREAT care of you and your assets.”

 It is human nature to want to applaud the person posting the positive comment — but Financial Advisors should refrain from doing anything that might be construed as encouraging positive comments. So the best thing to do when a Financial Advisor sees a positive comment is to do nothing — at least not publically. It would be nice however to say, “thanks for your kind comments on xyz review site,” over a cup of coffee, while at the same time explaining why you can’t try to encourage positive endorsements online.

In the case of the negative comment above, it is human nature to want to defend oneself. As a marketing communications and reputation expert, this writer believes that it would be best if the Advisor in question posted something simple such as, “I’m sorry you feel that way. Please call me to discuss.”, if the third-party site allows responses. And leave it at that. Check with compliance first, of course, to make sure their interpretation of the SEC guidelines is in alignment with this reputational recommendation.

BOTTOM LINE

“This rule would appear to put Advisers in the clear regarding third-party review sites, such as Yelp, presuming that the Adviser really does not have any affiliation to the site, and cannot control the comments posted (e.g., by trying to delete negative comments while allowing positive ones to remain),” said Michael Kitces, director of research at Pinnacle Advisory Group, on his blog, Nerd’s Eye View.

Check with your company’s compliance department to learn more about internal policies and procedures and/or outside legal counsel to make sure all regulatory guidelines are being met at your firm. A recent report from McGladrey, LLC, a leading provider of assurance, tax and consulting services in the US, says that financial firms should be prepared for Heightened SEC Regulatory Focus. Smart Financial Advisors will be ready for questions and conducting themselves in close alignment to the SEC rules.

Financial and Insurance Advisors: Why your online reputation matters

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Your personal brand is made up of what your prospects can find about you when they search your name online. As a Financial and Insurance Advisor, your online reputation is key to your success. Today, potential clients rely on the Internet to research businesses and services before they make decisions. In fact, 60% of the sales cycle is completed before a buyer makes first contact with a sales person. A few bad reviews or a poor online presence could mean losing business to a competitor when potential prospects search for you online.

The Infographic below, developed by the Digital intelligence & E-Reputation consultancy firm KBSD, breaks down ways to protect and manage you online reputation, as well as what you can do to boost your online reputation and digital reach.

Managing your online reputation

Google Launches ‘’Mobile-Friendly’’ Label for Mobile Searchers

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Google is sending out a clear message to webmasters that they want you to build mobile-friendly websites. In an effort to help mobile searchers know which sites are mobile-friendly versus which are not, searchers will soon be able to see a new label in the search results snippets for pages that are mobile-friendly. The new label will look something like this:

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Whether a site is optimized for mobile could also become a search rank signal, Google said. The label will let searchers know that the website will be easy to read and understand on their mobile device. Google explained that non-mobile friendly websites ‘’can be a frustrating experience for our mobile searches’’ and labels will make it easier for people to find the information they are looking for. Mobile-friendly labels will also encourage webmasters to build a better mobile experience.

Since this is a new addition, there is no way of knowing how it will affect click-through rates, but I think it is safe to say that mobile searchers are going to visit a page labeled ‘’mobile-friendly’’ before visiting a page that is not labeled. Why would anyone visit a page that is not optimized for his or her phone? This will certainly allow the sites that have put in the effort in earning a mobile-friendly stamp to fly high above the sites that haven’t.

So, how do you qualify to show the ‘’mobile-friendly’’ label for your web pages? Google says a page will be eligible if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Is your site Mobile Friendly?

To ensure your pages meet the mobile-friendly criteria, run your pages through the Mobile-Friendly Test.   Google has also provided a guide for building and improving your mobile-friendly websites.

The worldwide roll out of mobile-friendly search is finally here. Is your website ready to take on the growing number of mobile searchers across the website?

6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website Re(Design) Final Part: Failing to think like a human

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We’ve reached the final pitfall in the 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website Re(Design).   Failing to think like a human. This may seem obvious but it is often overlooked during the development process.

Designing your website with only SEO in mind can be a mistake. It is important to remember throughout the process that you are ultimately developing your website to try to reach your target audience. Develop a website that delights both your audience and search engines. Make sure there is a balance between creating your website for SEO and creating your website with your ideal customer in mind. Focus on creating value for your audience and delivering the user experience they would like.

The end goal is designing and developing a website that is easy for your audience to search and understand and is simple for search engines to crawl and rank.

Here are some things to think about when designing your website for a human and not a search engine:

  • Clean Design – Cluttered, randomly scattered or unorganized websites are distracting for visitors. Today’s trend is clean and clear design.
  • Colour Palette – Ensure your colour palette reflects your brand’s purpose, message and positioning.
  • Use Obvious Navigation Terms – Label your navigation items in plain English using the most universally understood terms so that users know where to go to find what they are looking for.
  • Content Creation – Focus on creating content your visitors will get value from and enjoy reading. Make sure to speak the language of your target audience.
  • Including Testimonials – Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%.
  • Make it easy for your audience – It is great when you go through a website that has exactly what you want, relevant information everywhere and fits within whatever device you are on.

Keeping your target audience in mind when you are planning a website (re)design is a critical factor in whether your website is going to be effective.  Understand your target audiences’ goals and beliefs and use this knowledge to guide your SEO strategy.

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Recently (re)designed a new company website? Have any website redesign and SEO tips that worked well for you? We’d love to hear about them.

 

4 Reasons Why Financial and Insurance Advisor Websites Struggle

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There’s nothing more frustrating than investing in an amazing looking advisor website only to suffer from a lack of website traffic and visitor engagement. Here are 4 reasons and actionable tips you can use to help solve this very common yet solvable problem.

Reason 1: Not enough content and pages

The old saying of quality over quantity does still matter in the world of digital marketing but many advisor websites I’ve reviewed lack a volume of web pages and content, and by content I mean words, images and video. Not enough content implies not enough keywords and not enough pages leads to low page views and low engagement. Search engines require “food” and need to be given the chance to figure out whether your content is useful and relevant. Simply adding more content is an effective way to increase your site’s traffic.

ACTION: Add more content. I know, seems obvious. Avoid adding content for the sake of adding content. Really think through what you are missing on your website. Have you told the complete story of your practice? Your philosophy? How you engage with your clients? How you solve you client’s most mind boggling problems? If after your assessment you feel as though you have told the complete story, consider starting a blog. Blogging is the web’s most effective way to generate organic traffic to websites.

Reason 2: Poor Site Flow

One of the things that make a dancer a good dancer is that their movements follow a logical and progressive pattern and flow. The same logical and progressive pattern is required of any good website. Many advisor websites that I’ve seen have “dead ends” — a place where visitors are not given a choice to continue their journey within the website. It’s also important to remember that your visitors may not always start their visit from the home page. An easy way to determine whether your website has poor site flow would be to take a look at your bounce rates and your time on site. Websites with poor site flow tend to have really poor bounce rates (a bounce rate greater than 50% would be classified as poor) and have visitors who spend seconds instead of minutes on a website.

ACTION: Add more calls to action on your website. Thinking about your website from the perspective of calls to action will force you to think logically about your website’s flow. A call to action provides your visitor with direction and it provides you with a number of different progression points for the visitor. It must be logical and it must be related to the content on your web page. For example, let’s say you think of a call to action that asks your visitor to “Schedule an assessment of their RRSP investment mix”. What’s a logical path to that call to action? It could be, 1) Visitor enters by searching for some tips on effectively saving for retirement, 2) Visitor likes the article and decides to look at what your practice does with respect to Retirement Savings advice and 3) Visitor sees your call to action to schedule an assessment and clicks on it and submits their contact information (first name, last name, email, etc.). Think about what your calls to action will be and plan out the path to get there!

Reason 3: Your Value Proposition is all about You

Writing a solid value proposition can be a challenging and time consuming task. I’ve read a significant number of different value propositions and the most common mistake I run into is the fact that value propositions are always about the advisor or the practice. Very seldom does it ever speak to the visitor. Remember, the first goal of your website is to provide enough incentive for the visitor to click again. That’s it. When someone visits you for the first time or is trying to learn more about you they are trying to figure out how you can help them and not so much about how great you are (that comes later).

ACTION: Re-evaluate your value proposition. Does it speak to your visitors? Does it clearly indicate the problems you help them solve? Or does it talk about what you do and how many awards you’ve received? If you need more tips on writing an effective value proposition, take a look at this blog post.

Reason 4: Where did all the Keywords go?

SEO is critical. With the sheer volume of content that exists on the web, advisors can no longer afford to launch their online brand without knowledge or consideration of Search Engine Optimization. Advisors don’t need to be experts in SEO, but they should understand a the key fundamental aspects of SEO that will help their website rank in a Google or Bing search. Many advisor websites I’ve reviewed have volumes of content, however, there aren’t enough long tail keywords on the page. Before defining a long tail keyword, let’s define “keyword”. A keyword is defined as a word or concept of great significance. For example, “apple”. In search, keywords are used to match search queries, for example, “what is an apple?”. Search engines, attempt to match queries with keywords as a part of their ranking algorithm. Content containing common keywords puts you in a more competitive search rank scenario. For example, doing a search on “Andrew Chung” brings up a ton of other “Andrew Chung” in the world and puts me in a very competitive search competition. Taking the same example, doing a search on “Andrew Chung Veriday”, puts me right at the top. This is an example of a long tail keyword. Even though it still contains “Andrew Chung” (a very common keyword), appending “Veriday” to the end of it makes it unique and enables you to rank high for that particular search. Best practices in keyword optimization state that using your audience’s common language is critical to your keyword strategy.

ACTION: As a start, look at the headings in your content; these are typically titles that have a larger size than your regular text. Are these keywords relevant to your practice? Are they written in your target audience’s language? Are the headings too common (for example “Our Practice” is too common)? Take the 5-10 weakest headings and simply re-write them or enhance them with long-tail keywords relevant to the financial advice industry and your business.

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What kind of techniques have you used to help combat low traffic and low engagement websites? Or, if you’ve tried any of these techniques, what were you results?

3 Easy Steps to Start Your Advisor Blog

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Many of the insurance and financial advisors that I speak to on a regular basis find the task of blogging to be a very daunting and time consuming task. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic and is also a critical sales and marketing tactic to connect with your audience. One of my favourite questions that I like to answer tends to be “How do I get started?”. It’s a great reflection of an advisor who’s ready to incorporate digital and content marketing into their practice and of someone who’s ready to do something different in an industry where blogging is not yet pervasive.

Here are 3 steps I commonly talk about to get started.

Step 1: Coming up with topics

If I sat you down in front of a typewriter and asked you to write a book and I didn’t give you a topic that would be pretty hard and you could potentially sit for a few hours and come up with nothing (maybe a title and an introduction). If I did the same thing and asked you to write a book about financial planning you might also come up with nothing after a few hours.

This analogy is often how I think advisors look at content writing. One critical success factor of content writing is the plan. Ok, the plan, what do I mean? Well, much like how you might put together a financial plan for your client, you would put together a plan for content writing. A plan helps to regulate the frequency at which you write and produce a tempo. It also helps take a lot of the guess work out of what to write about next. If I planned on saving up $1200 a contribution of $100 a month for the next 12 months, would arguably be easier than me thinking about the amount to save each month to reach my goal.

So, just how do you come up with the topics? Simple. Here are three questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you meet with clients and prospects?
  2. Do your clients and prospects ask you questions?
  3. Do your clients and prospects ask you the same questions?

You probably answered ‘Yes’ to all three of those questions. Now, take the next 5-10 minutes and write down as many questions as you possibly can on a piece of paper and then move onto step 2. Write down the questions that come to mind first.

Step 2: Mine for Blogging Gold

Now that you have a list of questions we’re going to do a quick scan of each of your questions. The reason for this is that blogging effectively, involves writing about single topics as opposed to writing an essay. There will be a subset of the questions that you wrote down that might simply result in too large of a blog post. This is where we can dig for blogging gold because the questions you’ve already thought of, might themselves, break into other blog posts. So what do I mean by single topics? Well, it’s kind of analogous to how you might look at a book. An effective blog post would be equivalent to a single chapter while a not-so-effective blog post would be an entire book. Writing too many concepts into a single blog post can cause you to lose reader interest and also make it more difficult for you to complete a post. Here are some good and bad examples of titles that might lead you to write about more than one topic:

Good

  • What is a TFSA?
  • 3 keys to saving effectively for retirement
  • How to save for your next big vacation

Bad

  • Financial Planning 101
  • The INs and OUTs of an RRSP
  • How to choose a financial advisor

Now, take 10 minutes and look at your list of questions and for each topic, determine whether you can break the topic down into more than 1 mutually exclusive topic. For example, “What is a TFSA?” cannot instinctively be broken down into more than 1 mutually exclusive topic as everything points to the topic of a TFSA. “Financial Planning 101”, however, can be broken down into Tax, Retirement, Investments, etc., all of which are mutually exclusive topics. No need to think too long on each question as it should be instinctive and easy to identify the questions that can be broken out. Then move onto Step 3.

Step 3: Plan your Tempo and Topics

By now, you should have a pretty healthy list of questions to answer. The next step is to set up your tempo. How often will you decide to blog. There are definitely rules of thumb when it comes to blogging and in general, the more often you blog, the better your results. That being said, if you’re just getting started, setting up the frequency of your blogging is more important than setting up how much you will blog. Blogging once a week is arguably better than blogging once a month which would arguably be better than blogging once a quarter and so on. Choose the frequency that you feel you can handle. If the frequency you set becomes very manageable, increase that frequency. Remember to start small and then move up from there. Choose the easiest questions to answer first.

Take the next 5 minutes, look across your questions, and line your topics up to your frequency. For example, if you have 12 topics and have chosen to write monthly, that’s one blog post per month. Also, decide whether you will release your blog at the beginning or at the end of the month.

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At this stage you’ve completed a very critical step and are well on your way to becoming perceived as an expert in your area of expertise! With all of your single topics and questions set up, it should be a relatively straight forward exercise to answer the questions you’ve documented! A few key things to remember when you write is that blogging is not about perfection. You’re not designing a rocket to the moon. Obviously spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are unacceptable but outside of that, the world’s your oyster. Write in the way that you would have a conversation with a client or a prospect. Make your readers feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

Remember, your voice is unique. No other person in the world communicates like you. No other person has been exposed to the same experiences that you have.

What’s your greatest barrier to getting started with blogging?

 

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10 Revealing Website and Social Media Statistics for Financial Advisors

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Are you still convinced that having a website or social media presence isn’t worth your time? Are you wondering whether your prospects interact with advisors, like yourself, on social sites?

Consumers are looking to make informed decisions, which means they are tapping into all resources available to them, most of which are online. Let’s face it. If you don’t have a website or social media, you’re losing business to someone that does. And here is the evidence. Below is a list of 10 revealing statistics that reiterate the importance of having an online presence.  These stats speak loudly to financial advisors and what their prospects are doing online:

  • Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. Each day, there are over 3.5 billion searches which translates to 1.2 trillion searches per year. (Internet Live Stats, 2014)
  • 89% of consumers conduct their product research using search engines. (PR Newsire, 2014)
  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (Search Engine Journal, 2014)
  • Nearly two in three of mass affluent consumers take action after using social media to discover and consider financial products and services. (The DigitalFA, 2014)
  • Two-thirds of millionaires surveyed said they would like to use electronic media with their advisors.  (The DigitalFA, 2014)
  • About 90 percent of mass affluent consumers use social media. Of that 90 percent, 44% engage with financial institutions on social media. (LinkedIn, 2013)
  • Companies that increase blogging from 3-5 times a month to 6-8 times a month almost double their leads. Companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those that don’t blog at all. (Hubspot, 2012)
  • Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. (Groove Digital Marketing, 2013)
  • Google says there are more searches on mobile than on desktop (Google, 2015)
  • Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%. (Social Times, 2013)

It is important that Advisors continue to adapt to the needs of their prospects.  Don’t get left behind in the digital world. Get started on building an effective online presence today.

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