Don’t Be One of These Marketing Beginners

After setting up our digital marketing suite for over 10,000 financial advisors, we have learned a few things about our clients and their marketing efforts. We have noticed a few patterns emerge over the last eight years. Here are the three biggest mistakes that we see advisors making on a regular basis.

They Don’t Have a Good Website

Your website serves as the first impression prospects receive regarding your company. We find that most advisors have some website already. However, these websites are too often simply ‘brochure sites’ or simple pages without much design or content that serve as business cards for people looking you up online.

It is no longer enough for your website’s main purpose to be nothing more than giving out your phone number. A website needs to communicate your brand and personality, both visually and through the quality content. It should be equipped with lead capture mechanisms and gated content to lure prospects into joining your mailing list. If you are still relying on a brochure site as your primary online presence, it is time to make a change.

They Don’t Communicate a UVP

It will only become more difficult to stand out as a financial advisor. Ibis World estimates that financial advice is a 56 Billion dollar industry and that despite a few years of contraction, the sector is due to expand through 2022. How are you going to differentiate yourself from the other operators in the marketplace? The answer is your Unique Value Proposition.

Once you can articulate the features and benefits of your service that distinguish you from your competition, it is then your responsibility to communicate your unique position through your marketing. By concentrating on keywords your ideal client would search for and creating insightful content answering your prospect’s real questions, you can go a long way to securing your market share of this growing industry.

They Don’t Have a Written Marketing Plan

It may seem like overkill to some to sit down and write out a marketing plan. It might seem like enough to just dedicate time and energy to social and perhaps some blogging and hope for the best. But the reality is quite the opposite. It is the advisors who take the time to write out their marketing plans and keep them in accessible documents that have the greatest success.

In the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs 2015 B2C Content Marketing Trends report, they found that service professionals who had a written marketing plan were twice as likely to have successful marketing operations as those who just kept it in their head. If you are looking to take your marketing to the next level, consider writing it all down.

It is not easy to create a thriving marketing operation for your firm, but if you avoid these few mistakes and work with a trusted marketing partner like FMG Suite you are sure to achieve success.

If you are ready to start correcting your marketing mistakes today, request a demo of our award winning marketing automation software.

These Four Website Tweaks Will Change The Way Visitors See Your Site

We don’t have to tell you the importance of having a website in today’s marketing age. But, simply having a website isn’t the final step. Your website must be engaging, user-friendly, and lead-generating. Let’s look at four simple tweaks you can implement today to take your website from flat to fantastic.

Making it Responsive

Mobile traffic continues to surge in popularity and if your website isn’t mobile-responsive, you are likely losing many visitors and potential clients. There are few things worse in the marketing space than a website that doesn’t display correctly on a variety of devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

All Advisor Launchpad websites are built with mobile in mind. Our Concierge and Exclusive themes look beautiful on all different screen sizes and translate well on Apple’s iOS, Androids, and other operating systems.

Make it Stylish

This one comes down to personal preference, but there are common design trends that must be considered when building your site. Your website designer will understand terms like “white space,” “user experience,” “typography,” and more, but all you need to know is that design matters!

Check out this article we wrote about some do’s and don’ts of website design for financial advisors for a few more guidelines.

Make it Easy to Navigate

Piggybacking on design, the navigation of your website is one of the most important things to consider when thinking about usability. A simple navigation is a successful navigation because you want your website viewers to be able to get the information they need quickly and easily without getting lost in your site.

Our Advisor Launchpad sites have parent navigation (the navigation items on the top) and child navigation (the items that fall below). Some websites may have grandchildren navigation items that go one step further, but this can get a little convoluted if not used correctly.

Make it Legible

There are many rules to follow when writing and designing your website content. Writing for the web is a lot different than writing other long-form pieces such as newspaper articles or books. Attention spans are shorter, the content goes into less depth, and website visitors don’t read every single word.

So what does that mean for your website? When creating your copy, make your paragraphs short and focused, only use one of two different fonts, and create division in your content with headers, sub headers, and bullet points. These tweaks will make your website much more legible and increase conversions and leads.

Is your website up to today’s design standards? Meet with a marketing expert today to find out!

Your Guide to Lead Generation

As the hub of your marketing efforts, your website serves as Ground Zero for information, education, and lead generation. But how can you take full advantage of this marketing tactic?

Here, we will explain what lead generation opportunities are, some lead gen best practices, examples of how they can be used on your site, and some tools to get you started.

What are Lead Generation Forms?

In the simplest of terms, lead generation forms provide your website visitors the chance to fill in their information and thus, they become a lead. There are many different kinds of lead generation opportunities, including landing pages, gated content, contact requests, and more. No matter the type, though, they generally result in the same goal – gathering information on your prospects so you can develop marketing campaigns around them.

Lead Generation Best Practices

When implementing lead gen forms on your website, it may be hard to know where to start. Financial advisors ready to take this next marketing step should be aware of a few best practices when it comes to lead capturing. We suggest:

  • Considering friction when designing your lead generation forms. Friction refers to the difficulty your website visitor faces when they go to take an action. Make it as easy as possible for them to accomplish what you want, whether that is scheduling an appointment, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading content (read more about friction in this extremely comprehensive post on the topic!).
  • Not asking for too much information on your forms. It may be tempting to want to get all the information you can out of a website viewer on their first visit, but too many form fields actually decreases your conversion rate. On all of our FMG Suite forms, we ask for 3-4 fields, maximum. We suggest doing the same for financial advisors.
  • Placing your forms in strategic locations that prompt action. For example, you may want to put a form fill on your homepage or after you’ve just explained a complicated topic. These are great places to ask if your reader has a question. You may also want to gate content, or require a form fill, before someone downloads a brochure, ebook, or whitepaper.

These are just a few tips to get started with lead generation. Now, let’s look at some examples of how forms can be used to grow your financial advising book of business.

Landing Pages

Landing pages are pages on your website designed for a singular purpose, such as generating leads. They live on your site, but only contain relevant information for the goal you have in mind. While visitors can click around to the rest of our site, the goal is to gather information and request the download.

Gated Content

Gated content is an umbrella term for the type of landing page shown above. This marketing strategy involves providing a piece of content to your website viewers in exchange for their information. Our team just released this functionality to all of our Attract clients, including ebooks available for financial advisors.

Widgets on Your Site

Another great way to generate leads is to add widgets, or small forms on your website. Our platform provides different options, including “Have a Question?” and “Sign Up for Our Newsletter” widgets. Some robo-technologies, such as Riskalyze and Hidden Levers, also have their own forms that financial advisors can easily embed in their site.

Tools to Help You Start Generating Leads

Now that you understand the basics of lead generation, it’s time to put some forms on your site! As we mentioned, all FMG Suite sites come with forms that can be added or integrated on your own. In addition, there are many tools available to ramp up your lead gen efforts.

One of our favorites is Sumo, a website that allows users to create forms to integrate into their website. You can create an exit-intent form that pops up when someone is about to leave your site, an in-post form that integrates into a blog post, and many others. Similar tools include Opt-In MonsterLeadformly, and Pop Up Monkey. All of these third-party tools can be added into our Advisor Launchpad websites.

Kevin Brown of Gateway Financial uses Sumo on his site as a popup. Here you can see what that tool would look like on an FMG Suite Concierge website.

You can’t afford to have a website that is solely an online brochure. These lead generation tools and strategies will help you grow your book of business and financial advisory practice digitally.

3 Ways to Boost Your Site With Our SEO Toolkit

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the effort to make your site more understandable to both humans AND Google’s web crawling robots. When working to improve the performance of an Advisor Launchpad website, it is important to use the SEO Toolkit to improve your sites rank in Google and other search engine results.

Advisor Launchpad’s websites include an important field of which we hope all of our clients are taking advantage. In the admin, below all of your custom pages, you will find a field called SEO Toolkit. Simply put, this is the text that will display in a Search Engine Return Page (SERP) or the page that shows up after you do a Google search.

SEO TOOLKIT

The SEO Toolkit allows you to fill in 2 crucial meta tags: Your site title and your site description. These two descriptive tags are then used throughout the Internet to introduce your page to robots and humans. You can use the SEO Toolkit for your home page and for any other custom pages that you create.

Here are three things to remember when filling out these crucial fields in your SEO Toolkit.

1. Use Long-Tail Keywords

A keyword is a word or term for which you think that your ideal client will search. By including keywords, you are telling both Google and users searching that term that you have pertinent information on your page regarding that subject. However, certain terms like “financial advisor” or “wealth management” will put you in competition with every other person trying to own that keyword.

Along-tail keyword is a more complicated keyword that narrows the niche you are trying to attract. The easiest place on the web to do keyword research is Google’s own keyword planner. Do a keyword search on your more popular keywords, then find additional words that would pertain to your ideal client.

2. Include Your Location

In 2014 Google released a new animal named algorithm, Pigeon, to increase the importance of location in SERP positions. With more and more people using mobile devices to search for businesses, including your area in your title and description is one of the best ways to rank better for people who might need your services in your area.

Remember to be specific about where you are. If you are in a suburb outside of Chicago and just use ‘Best Advisor in Chicago’ in your title, you have put your site in competition with a lot of other advisors. Think of your current clients and how they would describe their location. When in doubt, it is always okay to ask your clients what they searched for to find you.

3. Write for Robots AND Humans

In the early days of SEO, specialists would cram pages full of disjointed words and phrases trying to trick the Google robots into listing the page higher in search rankings. Through the release of several increasingly advanced algorithms, Google has been able to detect not just what keywords you use, but how relevant your search results are to the people who find them. You need to write a title and description that uses your keywords and location, but also attracts actual people.

One way to do this is to use the most popular kinds of titles. In a recent study, Conversion XL found that the top three types of headlines were:

#1. Headlines With Numbers
10 Reasons Why Our Advisory is the Best in Chicago
#2. Direct Address Headlines
You can start planning for your retirement today!
#3. Headlines That Start with How To
How to create a trust for your kids

If you need help thinking of good headlines to put in your SEO Toolkit fields, try using this headline generator.

The SEO Toolkit is the Key to Boosting Your Website

If you make sure to utilize the SEO Toolkit on your home page and any other pages you create for your Advisor Launchpad website, you will increase your chances of being found by new clients and will grow your business exponentially!

Want other great tips on how to supercharge your website? Check out our website pre-launch checklist.

The Difference Between Traffic and Conversions (Plus 5 Ways to Increase the Latter!)

If you’ve been studying your Google Analytics, you may have noticed a metric called “website traffic.” But what is the difference between website traffic and website conversions? Should you focus your energy on one more than the other?

The Difference Between Traffic and Conversions

Simply, website conversions are like leads. They are website visitors who have taken action and become more than just a passive bystander. Whether they filled out a form on your site, reached out to you through email, or contacted your office, they took that next step. These are considered conversions. The two metrics, traffic and conversions, are similar but conversions take things one step further.

How You Can Increase Conversions

So if conversions are the goal, how can you have more of them? Below are a few tips you can take to increase conversions:

1. Keep Your Form Fields to a Minimum
Studies show that the more form fields you have, the less likely people are to fill it out. Because of this, you should aim to ask for as little information as necessary, such as just a name, email address, and phone number if necessary. You can always ask for more information later when you connect with the prospect!

2. Add More Action to Your Calls to Action
Calls to action like “Submit” and “Learn More” are used too often on website forms. Make your offer more enticing by using action verbs that make it clear what the person is receiving when they submit the form. This could be “Download our eBook” or “Discover the 6 Investment Secrets.” Instead of “Sign Up for My Newsletter,” you may try “Get Weekly Financial Tips.” The clearer you can be, the more likely someone is to take action.

3. Keep Forms Above the Fold
You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to see your website forms and take action and some website visitors won’t scroll all the way down your page. Instead, they’ll land on it and make their decision on whether or not to stay within a matter of seconds. Take advantage of this by adding a web form above the fold, whether it’s in the sidebar or as a popup.

4. Highlight Your Credibility
Trust is essential in the financial services industry and your website should emphasize your expertise. While advisors can’t highlight testimonials, there are other ways you can provide proof and increase credibility. For example, you could share specific benefits of your services or offering, emphasize your centers of influence, and give “social proof” by connecting your social media profiles to your website.

5. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Responsive
When over 50% of website traffic is on a mobile device, it’s absolutely critical that your site is mobile-responsive. This doesn’t just mean that your site is accessible on a phone. Mobile-responsive sites respond to the device’s screen size so all pertinent information remains readable and the design and layout flows nicely. If someone can’t easily move around your site on their phone, they’ll be inclined to leave.

 

Conversions are a great way to get tangible results from your website traffic and eventually drive new business.