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.

Rocket Talk: Your Website Menu May Be Costing You Conversions

In our new series, Rocket Talk, we enlist the help of Advisor Launchpad’s brightest marketers as they discuss current website trends. In today’s video, Melissa Darcey and Raudel Enrique talk about the importance of website menus and how to drive conversions with your website design. Check out the original article here!

 

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.