New Year’s Resolutions for Marketing Magic

2018 is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to optimize your marketing strategy for the new year. But where do you start? Before you begin setting new goals, take some time to consider what strategies worked best for you in 2017. Ask your team:

  • What specific marketing strategies were most effective?
  • What (if any) marketing strategies didn’t work at all?
  • Should you re-allocate resources to the more effective strategies?
  • Has your target audience or geographic location changed in the past year?
  • Were you able to stay within your marketing budget?

Having an honest conversation about your performance over the past year is the optimal way to pick the best path forward. Once you know what worked best for your team in the past, you are ready to create marketing resolutions for the next year. Focus on creating goals that are SMART.

  • Specific (targeted to a specific area of improvement)
  • Measurable (gives a quantifiable result you can monitor)
  • Achievable (a goal that is challenging, yet still completable)
  • Relevant (something that will further your marketing goals)
  • Timely (set a certain deadline for completion)

Here’s an excellent example of a SMART Goal: ”I will grow my social media presence to 250 followers by the end of the year, and post content on my social profiles twice a week.” Now that’s a SMART goal!

Though it can be daunting to draft out your marketing resolutions for the new year, these tips can help you focus your efforts and input a successful strategy for 2018.

Content Marketing: It’s Not Just For Leads!

You can’t even glance at a marketing blog nowadays without seeing two phrases: “content marketing” and “lead generation.” And for good reason! Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads. But traditional content marketing is targeted mainly towards prospects, trying to expand your reach and draw in new clients. 

But why limit yourself to prospects? Focusing only on new leads can be a costly mistake, especially when you consider that the cost of converting a new prospect is anywhere from 3 to over 30 times higher than retaining an existing client. Here are some tips for creating content that will wow both prospects and existing clients in one go!

1. Quality over quantity

In order to establish trust with your audience, you want to ensure that every piece of content you push out is engaging and valuable. Think about the needs of your clients and share articles, videos, and whitepapers that help them navigate through their financial challenges. 

2. Tell a story

Humans are emotional and empathetic beings, even when it comes down to the numbers. Crafting a compelling mission statement and company narrative can inspire prospects to use your services--and remind existing clients of why they came to you in the first place. So what’s special about you? Are you a family-owned firm? Why did you become a financial advisor in the first place? Highlight your unique stories and share them with the world! 

3. Slow and steady wins the race

When you first venture into the realm of content marketing, it can be tempting to inundate the world with your content. However, a slow and steady stream of content is more likely to drive engagement. Schedule monthly emails and weekly social posts to ensure that you are connecting with clients in a timely and consistent manner.

4. Invite engagement

In every social post and email, encourage the client to start a conversation with you. Asking “What do you think?” or “How does this affect you?” invites the client to reach out to you. As always, be sure that you respond to their questions and concerns in a timely manner, and don’t forget to add a personal touch!

By following these key tips, you can ensure that your content is as relevant to your existing clients as to new leads. In the long run, this is key to establishing trust and credibility with your customers, and it can even lead to referrals down the line! 

 

How To Angle Your Marketing To Capture Your Prospects

Even if you offer the world’s best service, you need to establish trust and rapport with a prospect before you convert them to a customer. An effective way to look at this process is to compare it with sport fishing. Tug too aggressively after the first nibble, and the fish will swim away. It takes strategy, dedication, and a lot of patience to finally reel in a nervous prospect. Here are some helpful tips to become a masterful marketing angler:

1. Have the best bait
Catching the attention of a prospect can be a tricky task, but offering something irresistible is a surefire way to draw them in. Providing eBooks, quizzes, and whitepapers that speak to their financial situation incentivizes the prospect to come to you. ALP can even eliminate the work on your end by adding an eBook or Quiz Lead Capture to your homepage, allowing the prospect to enter their contact information in exchange for this valuable content.

2. Maintain Your Equipment
It’s much easier to catch a fish with a top-of-the-line titanium rod than a piece of string and a stick. Having a sleek, clean website, a polished social media presence, and targeted email campaigns optimize your chances of catching that award-winning tuna. Ensure that your branding is consistent between all platforms so prospects grow familiar with your company.

3. Cast a wide net
Though you may have a prime demographic that you try to reach with your marketing, it’s best to appeal to a wide variety of potential clients. Utilize a multitude of different marketing strategies in order to ensure that you are reaching a wide range of ages, incomes, and life stages. Posting on social media, sharing in LinkedIn Groups, presenting at conferences, and good old-fashioned networking can help you reach an expansive audience.

4. Reel it in!
Once you have engaged with a prospect, had a conversation about their pain points, and expressed what you can do to help, don’t be afraid to jump in with a little honesty. Asking questions like “What is preventing you from taking the next step?” is an open and comfortable way to invite their feedback, and this can help you perfect your messaging in the future…even if this fish gets away!

Striking up a conversation is only the first step in converting a lead to a client. By being strategic and patient with your marketing, you can convert a little nibble into a big catch.

Rocket Talk: Types of Visual Content

One of the most powerful ways to communicate with readers through your blog is to use different visual assets to get your point across. In this month’s Rocket Talk Raudel Enrique and Kirk Faulkner talk about the different types of visual content and how to best execute them.

 

Use Content Marketing to Appeal to Millennials

As the Millennial generation makes strides in the workforce and begins to gather their nest egg, it is exceptionally important for financial advisors to adjust their marketing strategies to speak to this up-and-coming demographic. This is easier said than done, however. Millennials were born between 1982 and 2003, growing up in an age bombarded by digital advertising on all sides. As a result, they are more skeptical of traditional advertising than any generation before. Their lack of trust in the business world as a whole requires financial advisors to use a light and gentle touch when trying to get their attention. So how do you begin?

  1. Socialize!

In order to reach a Millennial audience, you have to establish a presence on social media. The statistics here are astounding…The Pew Research Center reports that 88% of all American adults aged 18-29 are on Facebook, 59% are on Instagram, and 36% are on Twitter. Utilize these existing audiences by sharing social content that speaks to millennials. 

  1. Say what?

So you’re on social media…What now? You want to speak to the current financial priorities of your Millennial audience. Share content that is most important to this key demographic. Information on first-time home purchases, Roth IRA’s, and student loan repayment establishes you as a trusted source of information and emphasizes that you have the knowledge to address their financial dilemmas. Encourage your users to share your helpful content with their friends, and engage with all comments and shares to start a meaningful conversation. 

  1. Showcase your values

Being inundated by advertising at such a young age has created a general mistrust for corporations among the Millennial demographic. These feelings were amplified by the financial meltdown of 2008, which occurred right as they were entering the workforce. As a result, the “profits-over-people” mentality is extremely unpopular, and they want greater moral accountability from the companies they invest in. Crafting a meaningful mission statement, offering Socially Responsible Investments, and highlighting your volunteer work makes it clear that you are dedicated to making the world a better place…Something that Millennials will respond to. An astonishing 70% of Millennials will spend more on brands supporting causes they care about, so make sure your brand stands for something! 

  1. No mobile, no go

It should be no surprise that Millennials are the most mobile generation. Not only are Millennials more likely to browse the web on their mobile phone than any other generation, an astonishing 18% are mobile-only. Confirm that your website passes Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and that all content loads quickly and easily on mobile devices.

Using these tips, you can ensure that you are including the next generation of investors in your marketing plan. Though they are less trusting of advertising than any previous generation, they can be won over by authentic messaging and engaging content. 

Why Using Video is Crucial For Your Marketing

Those of us old enough to remember the inception of the internet may remember a time when something like the Oogachaka Baby was enough to excite viewers and drive traffic to a previously unknown site. Though times have changed (and CGI is literally a thousand times better), the basic concept is the same. People love videos. 

And it’s no wonder. Sight is the most powerful of the five senses that humans possess, and as much as ⅔ of the cerebral cortex is involved in processing vision. So why not take advantage of this powerful human function as you develop your marketing plan? Here are 4 innovative ways that you can use video to promote your business!

  1. Put on a show for SEO

Google incorporates a number of factors in their page ranking algorithms, but one of the most important is the amount of time that a user spends on your site. When clients take the time to view a video on your homepage, it shows that they value the information you provide and trust the content that you are distributing. This significantly boosts your page rankings, as Moovly reports that you’re 53 times more likely to show up first on Google if you have a video embedded in your website. 

The importance of video on Search Ranking Algorithms is likely to increase due to Google’s recent purchase of YouTube.com, so this is the perfect time to get ahead of the game and use video to promote your website.

  1. Enhance your emails

Your clients receive dozens--if not hundreds--of emails every day, and your marketing campaigns have to stand apart from the crowd. Including a video in your email increases open rates by 5.6 percent and increases click-through rates by 26 percent. It can even decrease your unsubscribe rate! Incorporating video into your email campaigns gives clients an incentive to open your email and reach out to you with any questions it might provoke. 

  1. It’s a-go for mobile

YouTube reports that over half of their traffic now comes from mobile devices, and that number is expected to rise over the coming years. Creating mobile-friendly, fact-filled videos is a great way to engage with users who might be too busy to sit down at their computer to digest the same content. 

  1. Social show offs

Social media may have started as a way to share your thoughts and experiences, but video is taking over. On Facebook alone, videos are shared 1200 percent more than links and text combined. You read that correctly: videos are shared 1200 percent more than non-visual content. As a result, video is the perfect way to encourage likes and shares from your existing audience in order to grow your social reach.

The future is here, and it’s visual! Implementing video in your marketing strategy ensures that you are reaching a wide audience on mobile, desktop, and beyond. 

What Can Financial Advisors Do to Expand Their Social Reach?

By now, everyone and their grandmother has heard of social media marketing, and businesses have been rushing to make their mark. Over 50 million businesses are now on Facebook, making it more difficult than ever to stand out from the crowd. With such intense competition, a comprehensive social media strategy is the key to ensuring that you are reaching the right audience at the right time. 

Here are 5 tips to maximize your organic reach on social media:

  1. Know your audience

Consider the ongoing concerns of your prospects based on their immediate needs. If you want to market to pre-retirees, sharing information about 401ks, IRA Rollovers, and safe withdrawal rates is the way to go. If you’re looking to reach millennials, posting information about first home purchases and 529 plans for their children is a better strategy. Know what your ideal client needs and make it clear you have the tools to help! 

Not only does this ensure that you are speaking to the main “pain points” of your prospective clients, but it also increases the likelihood that they will share the post with friends and colleagues who share the same concerns. 

  1. Keep your content “Evergreen”

Facebook’s algorithms favor posts that maintain engagement over time. Posting content that remains relevant for long periods of time gives users multiple opportunities to engage with your post and share it with their friends. 

  1. Focus! 

Between Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, Snapchat and Youtube, it can be difficult to pinpoint where you should be focusing your efforts. Your prime demographic might not have a presence on all of these social media platforms, so why waste energy on the wrong sites?

Here are some easy ways to determine which platforms are right for your marketing plan:

Have a conversation

Reach out to your existing clients and ask what social media sites they use. People of similar ages, net worths, and social circles tend to use the same networking sites for both business and personal purposes. Use this information to narrow your focus to the correct platforms!

Make the most of your metrics

FMG’s comprehensive dashboard keeps track of both Google Analytics and your social media metrics all in one place. This makes it easy to monitor your engagement and see where clients are the most active.

Keep a watchful eye on the competition

Chances are, your competitors are streamlining their social media strategy as well. Look at the most successful advisors in your area. What social media platforms are they utilizing? What content are they posting? This can help guide your social media strategy (or give you an idea of how to stand out from the crowd)! 

  1. Quality over quantity

In an effort to boost only the most relevant content, Facebook has created a news feed algorithm. To manufacture the best user experiences, Facebook first spreads your post to a small percentage of your audience. If those people engage with the content, it gets introduced to a larger pool. Does this process sound familiar? Much like search engines, social media platforms have created their own forms of SEO in order to ensure that their audience is seeing only the best content.

Given these emerging algorithms, it is more important than ever to post content that is relevant to your audience. Posting unpopular or “spam-like” content can even hurt your chances of reaching a large audience. Take the time to refine each post and drive home your messaging! 

  1. Focus on brand consistency

Given the emergence of “Social SEO,” it is more important than ever to optimize your brand across all social media sites. Becoming popular on one platform can increase your engagement across the others! 

For all of your social media sites, make sure that you are including:

  • A consistent company name or DBA
  • A recognizable and distinctive logo
  • A trackable link back to your website
  • The same address and phone number across all platforms
  • Keyword-rich (yet still conversational) descriptions of the services you offer

It’s true that the competition is fierce for small businesses trying to break into social media, but following these guidelines will help you channel your content to the right audience at the right time. 

Rocket Talk: Typography for Beginners

In this week’s Rocket Talk installment, Melissa and Raudel talk about all things typography! Typography refers to more than just the font on your website. Listen as the team explains how much impact this design trend can have on your website. And check out the original article, Typography in UI!

 

Is Influencer Marketing Your Golden Ticket?

Influencer marketing is the art of using paid endorsements from people who have attracted sizable and loyal audiences online. In a recent Digiday article about the real cost of influencer marketing, it stated that the going rate for an influencer recommendation was $1000 for every 100,000 Instagram followers they have. YouTube star Pewdie Pie, with his 50 million followers, earns a staggering $15 million dollars a year with endorsements and ad revenue. This is all to prove the point: influencer marketing is a very real thing.

How can a financial advisor use influencer marketing to grow their business?

It might seem like influencer marketing is only for big public-facing brands that want a lot of exposure. The truth is, influencer marketing is a perfect strategy for independent financial advisors with niche markets that are looking to both find new leads and increase their cachet within the types of communities, online and off, that will increase prospect comfort and likelihood to take action.

Financial advisors are often worried that engaging an influencer will violate compliance rules. While you do need to be careful when working with a thought leader or expert, it should not stop you from trying influencer marketing. The key is to create content with the person rather than just have them recommend you. This way it is not a recommendation, it is a collaboration.

With a little bit of time and effort, you can leverage the power of influencer marketing to increase your own brand’s engagement, recognition, and reputation. The first step is finding the right influencer.

How do I find influencers in my market?

When it comes to finding a good influencer to work with, you should not be too worried about which platform they are on. While Facebook and LinkedIn will probably be the most common, if you find a Twitter profile, Instagram personality or Tumblr page that reaches your audience you should engage with them.

The trick to finding influencers is to search, search, search. Think about your ideal client. What are the types of search requests they would type? Which words would they use? As you begin to search words and phrases on the different platforms, profiles will emerge that have some amount of authority in each arena.

Here are some types of people who might be good influencers for your business:

  • Authors
  • Journalists
  • Thought Leaders
  • Community Leaders
  • Lawyers
  • Bloggers
  • Politicians

Engaging an influencer is simple. Reach out to them and ask them if they would be willing to consider an online recommendation. How much you offer to reimburse them (if anything) is based entirely on what you are asking for. Some influencers may be happy just to interview you in a blog or podcast. Check out the service Help a Reporter Out.

What should I look for in an influencer?

All influencers, whether they be in the world of fashion, food or Futons, have three criteria on which they can be judged: Reach, Resonance, and Relevance.

Reach – How big is their audience? Do they match your ideal client?

Resonance – How good are they at getting that audience to take action? What is their engagement level?

Relevance – How important are they in the market you are trying to influence? How much will it matter they are recommending you?

What should I look for in an influencer’s audience?

The only way to judge audiences is to look at similar influencers and get a sense of where the numbers are. Another aspect to watch is how engaged their audience is. If a Facebook page has 150,000 likes but none of their posts have a single engagement, chances are they paid to pump their numbers and don’t have much relevance to their audience.

Pay careful attention to the follower to following ratio. If the numbers are the same, chances are the influencer spends more time pumping up their followers that creating meaningful content.

With a little effort and ingenuity, you can align yourself with powerful voices online that will increase your exposure to ideal audiences and improve your chances of closing new business.

Have You Tried Some of These Lesser-Known Marketing Tricks?

Marketing is all about getting the right content, to the right person, at the right time. Part of any successful marketing plan is making sure you have a variety of techniques and avenues to help promote your business and stay ahead of the competition. While you may have your tried and true campaigns and content, eventually you will need to step up your marketing game to avoid fatiguing your audience with the same ol’ strategies.

Whether you’re new to marketing and not sure where to start, or have an established presence and are looking for different ways to expand your reach, try one (or all) of these 7 ideas to get the marketing juices flowing!

1. Mix Up Mediums

Online marketing avenues such as social media, websites, and search engine ads are often the most popular and successful resources to gain audience awareness for financial advisors. If you have yet to build a personalized website, Advisor Launchpad has all the tools you as a financial advisor need to get up and running.

Also, don’t forget about traditional methods such as billboards/outdoor advertising, radio and TV ads, and print publications which can be just as effective (and possibly overlooked by your competitors). Ensure your content is relevant to whatever medium you use and is targeting the proper audience of financial planning clients.

2. Recycle Content

Sometimes the hardest part of marketing is coming up with new content. If you find yourself in a rut, revisit some of your older, most successful content and turn it into something new. Take statistics from a whitepaper and make an infographic. Use a past broadcast to write an easy-to-digest and quick blog post. You may also be able to find a common theme through your old content that could make for a new topic all together.

3. Consider a Rebrand

Ensuring your financial advising firm has a strong brand is crucial to keeping your business going. Your brand communicates who you are and what you can offer clients. Without an up-to-date brand, you could be losing current clients and failing to attract new ones. If you’re new to the idea of rebranding, we can give you insights into the practice and how to choose the right website theme to get started.

4. Try Word of Mouth Marketing

2015 Neilsen rating revealed 83% of consumers trust business referrals from family and friends, which means your most loyal clients can also act as a valuable marketing resource! Reach out to some of your best clients to engage them in a WOM marketing campaign and offer discounts or services in exchange for referrals or providing their success stories.

5. Send Direct Mail

Think the age of snail mail is dead? Think again! Rather than getting lost in the endless depths of the Internet, using direct mail to deliver company information and promotions to your audience can help ensure your message is seen multiple times. Direct mail is especially effective as other companies, including your competition, continue to flood the digital space. According to a variety of research, people that receive a hard copy mailing piece with a promotion are more likely to remember the company and use that promotion in the future.

6. Consider Freebie Marketing

It may seem counterintuitive to give your products and ideas away to grow your business, but some of the most successful brands have made their mark by giving their products and related items away for free. Jell-O, for instance, grew to fame thanks in part to the owners handing out free Jell-O recipe books to homemakers and giving newly arrived immigrants Jell-O molds. As an advisor, you may try offering a free consultation or complimentary budget analysis.

7. Answer Questions on Quora

Question and answer website Quora allows people to ask questions and get answers to any topic imaginable. Search for questions in your field and provide helpful answers to build awareness of you and your brand.

These are just a few quick ideas to help mix up your marketing strategy and there are hundreds of other methods that can be utilized. Be sure to track your efforts and campaigns to see which strategies are working, and which ones might be falling short.