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.

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. 

How to Use LinkedIn Groups to Become a Thought Leader

With more than 467 million users, LinkedIn is the new powerhouse for innovators, business professionals, and aspiring entrepreneurs. The ability to reach large audiences with a few clicks has created the opportunity for financial advisors to build a reputation as a “Thought Leader” and gain respect through an expanded network. But how do you begin?

  1. Personalize Your Profile

In order to garner respect from an audience you have never met, your profile needs to stand above the crowd. Ensure that you are personalizing every aspect on your LinkedIn profile, including custom backgrounds, banner images, and a headline. Create consistent messaging for your personal brand and ensure that it will grab the attention of your audience.

You have minimal space to make an impact, so every word counts. LinkedIn allows you to bring in a headline of up to 120 characters and a summary of up to 2,000. Use as many keywords as possible to ensure that you are attracting the right people from your industry.

  1. Better Get Blogging!

Blogs are an excellent way to expand your network, both with clients and other financial advisors. Pay attention to shifting trends in the financial services industry and try to be one of the first to report on them. Breaking news is an easy way to get likes and shares! 

If you already create blogs for your website, don’t just hit the share button to publish on LinkedIn. Bring in the same content as a new LinkedIn Article to give yourself a boost in their sharing algorithms. They want you to republish your content on their platform!

Share your articles in relevant groups and encourage conversation with your readers. Ask their opinions about the topic to increase engagement and foster a sense of community. 

  1. Expand Your Horizons

Though you should always join financial services groups throughout the LinkedIn platform, important connections can come from surprising places! Join groups based on your interests, education, and local pastimes in order to cast a wider net. Passionate about baseball? There’s a group for that! Volunteer at your local animal shelter on the weekends? There are groups for that, too! Reach out to new contacts in your community to establish yourself as a thought leader outside of your traditional industry.

  1. Treasure Your Connections

More than anything, people will remember how you made them feel. Be sure to engage with your contacts at every opportunity. Let them know that you value their input, especially when they comment on your posts and articles. Be quick to respond with insights and advice when the people around you ask for assistance! 

By standing out from the crowd and delivering insightful content, you can attract new clients and cultivate respect from your peers. The networking tools at LinkedIn are revolutionizing the way that advisors market themselves…Use them to your advantage! 

How to Create an Infographic

Information is only useful if you can get people to pay attention to it. When trying to communicate an idea quickly, one of the best strategies available is to couch your information in a colorful infographic.

Studies that track eye movement have shown that audiences pay more attention to images that carry information. Infographics are also shared three times more than other media on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Infographics communicate ideas better than regular text. In another study, participants who followed directions paired with graphics did 323% at successfully following the directions than those who had only text-based instructions.

All of this equals up to a great opportunity for you and your online content marketing. But where do infographics actually come from? Follow these simple steps, and before you know it, you’ll have an infographic of your very own.

The Info Part of Infographic

The first step to making an infographic is gathering the info. There are a number of reputable sources for new information. Financial advisors will find interesting statistics and facts on sites like:

Always trace your information back to its original source. Make sure you are getting the context for your statistics correct and always link back to the original study that provided the material. This is not only a good way to establish your credibility; it will help improve the SEO of your site by connecting you with top-rated websites.

You can also use information that your organization has gathered itself. Be sure not to violate any fiduciary standards of revealing information, but feel free to use insights that you have gleaned from working with your clientele and represent them in a way that preserves anonymity.

Finding something that has not already been put into an infographic is a great way to make a big splash on the web.

The Graphic Part of Infographic

There is a multitude of sites now that will allow you to use templates and they’re online design tools.

The different infographic generators differ slightly in their user experience and range of templates they make available. However, it is hard to pick one that stands out above the rest. It has more to do with finding the right layout for your vision among the thousands of options available. Here are five of our favorites:

Freelancer Sites for Infographics

If you want something done right sometimes, it is best to hire a professional. There is no shame in handing over your infographic project to a dedicated graphic designer who specializes in changing hard data into colorful visualizations. There are several sites that allow you to search through hundreds of eager freelancers just waiting to sink their teeth into your new project. Here are a few of our favorite:

Get Your Infographic Out There

While hosting your infographic on your home blog is always a good idea, it is also true that infographics do extremely well on social platforms. They are 2.3 times as likely to receive engagement on Facebook, and they receive 150% more retweets on Twitter. Unfortunately, Facebook and Twitter’s image size restrictions don’t allow people to see an entire infographic. A good strategy is to create a preview picture for these platforms that fit into their 1.91:2 ratio and then an include a link back to your blog for those who want to see the entire infographic.

Another platform you may consider utilizing for sharing your infographic is Pinterest. While platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook will only show a portion of your infographic as the preview, Pinterest displays the entire picture as the preview. This can do wonders for inspiring people to click through and give it a closer look.

Creating an infographic can take a little bit of work, but the results can be massive. When you produce the kind of content that gets noticed and shared you are adding a massive boost to the efficacy of your content marketing strategy.

3 Secrets to Making Your Financial Advisor Blog Stand Out

Don’t let “blog” be another four-letter word.

In the age of social media, blogging has seemingly become this hyper-competitive industry that fights over readership and alienates the audience in the process.

For financial advisors, it doesn’t need to be that way.

While other industries and companies take the scattershot approach to blogging, you’ll reap the rewards of a more precise process with every blog post.

Creating a captivating and informative blog page on your financial advisor website can serve as an extension of your company, providing value for your readers.

Here are 3 tips on how to make a great financial advisor blog:

1. “Content is King” When Creating Your Blog Posts

This phrase is currently making the rounds as the “most redundant sentence” of 2016, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. Without question, content remains the most important component of your financial advisor blog.

While the benefits of blogging are important (viewership, reaching prospective clients, etc.), remember its primary function: to educate, inform, and excite your audience.

You want people to walk away from your article with new information and a refreshed perspective.

So, how do you pique the interest of your readers and stimulate their engagement?

The Value of Episodic Content: Break Up Topics and Narrow the Focus

If you’ve ever binge-watched a Netflix show, then you already understand this principle. Whether it’s a thrilling TV series or a nerve-wracking sporting event, people love suspense.

Studies indicate that it’s in our nature to be attracted to uncertainty and to stay engaged until we reach a resolution.

Applying this perspective to blogging can be immensely useful. While content is the king, its presentation and delivery is second in command.

For example, consider two possible financial blog post ideas:

  • In writing a single blog about “Preparing for Retirement,” you tackle everything from college funding and savings accounts, to your 401(k), estate planning and more.
  • Or, you write a three-part series about the same subject and dedicate one post to each major area of planning.

The second option not only delivers the same information, but it does so in a more palatable way. Readers have time to digest the first block of information and apply it to their practice.

There’s a reason premiere restaurants have a meticulously designed culinary experience. They want you to enjoy each course before moving onto the next.

With your financial advisor blog, allow your readers to savor every bite of information you provide, then end the conversation before they’re overwhelmed.

This will earn you a loyal reader who anticipates the next installment in your series.

2. Know Your Audience and Hone Your Content

The digital marketplace can often seem like the wild west, offering little to no guidance, feedback or direction.

As a financial advisor, however, you have an advantage.

You know who your most important clients are, what your most valuable services have been, and how often you’re growing your total assets under management.

When it comes to your website and the blogs you offer, however, nothing will replace the power of statistics.

First and foremost, it’s essential to hone in on your target audience with every post. Know who you’re trying reach and what change you’re trying to affect in their financial lives.

Secondly, you can review the success of each blog post with the help of Google Analytics.

Advisor Launchpad specializes in providing top-tier Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to boost your web presence, and using Google Analytics will tell you three important things:

  • How much traffic your site generates
  • Who your key visitors are (and when they’re coming from)
  • What pages of the site are getting the most traction

The takeaways from these findings are key to your digital marketing strategy.

If the numbers are good, and people are consuming your content, then you’re on the right track. If you’re underwhelmed by the statistics, then you simply have to readjust your process.

Play to Your Strengths When Creating Content for Your Target Audience

When helping financial advisors hone their content and messaging, we often find that the advisor’s own words are the best.

Nobody can capture the essence of your firm and your philosophy like you and your team.

One advisor spoke about his approach to investing with cooking analogies – ingredients, preparation and more. That verbiage may not work for everyone, but it was true to his personality and unique to the essence of the firm.

We encourage advisors to play to their strengths and write blogs from their own veteran perspective with the words and phrasing they’re most comfortable using.

3. Use Social Media to Share Your Blog Posts

Content is the king, and the more you feed the beast, the longer you protect its reign.

Featuring your blogs on social media will help establish you and your firm as thought leaders in the industry.

Also, while nothing will replace the value of fresh and vibrant content, your favorite blogs from the previous year will always be in play. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, you can recycle and repurpose your old posts in a plethora of ways.

Social media engagement has the added benefit of growing your following and showing audiences the depth of your involvement in the industry.

Start Focusing on These 3 Secrets for Your Financial Advisor Blog

Whether on the phone or in person, you spend countless hours nurturing your client relationships. No matter how busy you get, remember that your blog is an extension of your website and your firm.

It’s the digital platform that showcases your thought leadership and provides insight into your expertise that your clients might not otherwise get to see.

Embrace the challenge, write frequently (and in your own voice!), then let your blogs circulate through your favorite social media channels.

If you need a boost in building your digital marketing strategy while maintaining financial advisor compliance, Advisor Launchpad is here to help. Reach out today for more information!

Visuals Keep Your Social Media Posts From Being Overlooked

How often do you click on a social media post when it does NOT include a visual? If you’re like most users, the answer is rarely. As the noisy digital sphere continues to evolve and refine our experience, more and more people are determining whether or not to read a post or click on a link based on the visual information.

No visual quite often equals no user interest. Today, we want photos, videos, Vines, or graphics to tell part or all of the story. A standard post just doesn’t cut it.

Consider the latest move by Twitter. Faced with slow user growth, stiff competition, and lackluster ad revenue, the company recently announced it will no longer count the links for photos and videos as part of the 140-character tweet limit.

Frankly, it’s hard to believe the limit still exists. Sure, it made sense when Twitter first launched in 2006 and mobile phone technology placed serious constraints on the app, but geez, that was 10 years ago and those restrictions no longer apply.

Now, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat rule the general social sphere and LinkedIn is the go-to professional platform (and just acquired by Microsoft). While each one has a unique niche, these successful platforms all recognize the power of visual communication.

No matter your position in the financial services industry, if you have clients, you need a social media presence and your participation must include visual interest to keep your posts from being overlooked.

Thankfully, you don’t have to take an online graphics course to be successful. There are several user-friendly online apps that help you easily create your own visuals for social media (and other uses). My favorite app is still Canva, because it provides loads of layout templates, including ones ideally sized for each social media platform. Start with one you like, and then tweak the words, colors, and images to suit your needs.

Interestingly, a visually enticing image doesn’t need to contain a picture or graphic icon. Text that reads as a visual, along with a simple background, can suffice as “art”.

So, don’t ignore the power of visual imagery and the ease with which you can infuse it into your posts. Give it a try, and then let me know how it affects your engagement.

While you create quality visual content, let Advisor Launchpad take care of your mobile-friendly website design.

 

Attract and Retain Clients through Social Media

In 1932, Lucky Strike ran their infamous advertisement: “Do you inhale? Everybody’s doing it!” Big Tobacco’s populist ploy sold countless cigarettes.

84 years later, there’s a new product that carries the same addictive properties. Only this time, it’s in digital form:

Social Media. Everybody’s doing it, including your parents and grandparents. Most everyone can relate to stories of grandmothers posting a Facebook status, but what are the implications for financial advisors?

Benefits of Social Media

The facts are astounding. Consider Brunswick Group’s 2015 findings on how people use social media to make investments: “77% of the survey group reported that they have investigated an issue based on information viewed on digital and social media.”

77%. That’s a supermajority. Social Media presents a new frontier for financial advisors. To truly take advantage of its potential, however, a game plan is essential. Unlike traditional media, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn move at the speed of light. Whereas news media can suffer from hour or even day-long reporting delays, social media lives on the cutting edge.

For investors, that kind of currency separates the winners from the losers.

In this post, we will examine the three main social media networks - Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - to see how they can help financial advisors target, attract and retain clients.

Twitter

Twitter is a highly rewarding property. You’re essentially given 140 characters to crack into someone’s conscience. There’s a reason it’s so popular, though. Twitter rewards the concise. Each post is built for spontaneity, and our culture of soundbites and headlines can’t get enough of it.

As a financial advisor, here’s how you can make Twitter work for you:

  • Get the word out when you’re hosting a webinar, speaking at an event or attending an industry conference. You can draw people to your presentations, increase traffic to your website or simply let your peers know where to look for you at an event.
  • Become a thought leader. Your clients care about what you think. Twitter is a great way to cultivate a readership interested in your worldview. Twitter commentary on current events often spreads faster than the news itself. By sharing your opinion or encouraging involvement, you refine your image as an authority on the subject matter while encouraging your readers to get involved.

All of the above can lead to re-Tweets, which quickly translate to Referrals.

This is a key component to targeting millennial investors, but Twitter’s baby boomer audience has grown like wildfire. FastCompany reports that 55-64 year olds are Twitter’s fastest growing audience, up 79% since 2012.

Twitter’s not just for kids anymore.

Facebook

When you see people on their phones, chances are they’re on Facebook. Business Insider reports that Facebook accounts for 66% of all social media sharing on iPhones. What’s more, 73% of American internet-users with incomes over $75,000 are on Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t even need a Lucky Strike ad to get the point across. Everyone is already doing it.

What makes Facebook so useful to your business?

With “Pages” and individual profiles, Facebook allows people and companies to customize and hone their brand. Facebook can help you cultivate connections with prospective clients and enhance existing relationships.

Facebook has a very approachable and open feel. Financial advisors who take advantage of Facebook can be seen in a friendly light, while still using their social media tools to promote their business.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is like a 24 hour networking event. Recent studies reveal the typical LinkedIn user makes over $83,000 a year and has twice the buying power of the average American citizen.

On LinkedIn, you’re in good company. Here are some of the functions of the third pillar of social media:

  • Brand your business. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to add videos, interesting biographical blurbs and much more to color your company however you please.
  • Expand your professional network by connecting with current clients, increasing referrals and communicating with new client leads. LinkedIn can be a one-stop shop to identify prospective clients, to get in touch, and to set up meetings.
  • From CPAs to Health Insurance agents, LinkedIn “Groups” allow you to hone in on your target audience and network with the precise people you had in mind.

With over 3 million MBA graduates, 1.39 Ivy League alumni and 7 million C-Level Presidents, Executives and VPs, LinkedIn is one area you don’t want to be left out.

Get Social

Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are all powerful social platforms that can help financial advisors target, attract, and retain clients and keep them engaged with content that is intends to interesting, informative, and helpful in resolving a concern that a reader may have.

  • When you’re promoting your business on social media, you need a fresh, inviting and informative website to direct your prospects to. Advisor Launchpad builds beautiful mobile-friendly websites to capture more leads, as wells as optimizing them for SEO and populating them with captivating content.
  • Still want to learn more about social media for advisors? Fill out the form below for a detailed white paper on how financial advisors can utilize social media while remaining in regulatory compliance.