More and more advisers are starting to understand that having a digital presence and strategy is essential to the evolution and success of their business. But what works and what doesn’t? With so much written about digital marketing, I thought it would be useful if I explained what works for a financial advice business because a brick and mortar business is very different from a service based business.
Let’s start by saying that yes, digital marketing is fundamental and should be written into your marketing strategy. It’s a proven way to talk about your services, brand, capabilities, expertise and is now considered mainstream.
Online advertising and SEO [terms which Financial Advisers often use] are just the tips of the iceberg; there is so much more to consider.
First of all, lets clear up what digital marketing is. Digital marketing is the promotion and endorsement of your services, and brand through online media channels. This can include Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Insta, to name a few.
Today’s clients are more empowered than ever before. They like to conduct their research and can quite quickly through the various devices and channels available to them 24/7. While the majority of advice businesses will gain their ideal clients through referrals discounting the importance of your online reputation at your peril. I know through the research that I conduct that a large proportion of clients who have been referred to you will jump online and see what the Internet says about you. So, developing and protecting your online reputation is critical and only one part of your overall digital marketing strategy. What’s the point of developing a digital strategy if when someone jumps onto your website or Facebook, and they can’t see any social proof [client testimonials]? Social proof and your client testimonials, if you do nothing else, is an excellent digital tactic to implement.
Engagement marketing [the point of digital marketing] is all about lowering the risk for someone so that they take the next step in your engagement process. For example, you create an e-book and ask the person to leave just their email address to get it delivered into their email box. The only thing they have to give is their email address, no name, no phone number. What’s the harm in that they think? You now have their contact details. A word of warning here, though. Your e-book must deliver value and great content; otherwise, you’ve broken the golden rule! Knowing that the person has a problem, went looking for the answer and now has your e-book, a next ideal step would be to invite them to have a no obligation 15-minute chat with you on the phone. Once again, you give them the power and make the next step small and simple = lowering their risk of taking the next step.
There are hundreds of platforms now that can help you create, monitor and measure these types of digital marketing strategies.
Below are some terms you may have heard of and a simple explanation of each.
What is pay-per-click?
When you search for something on Google, have you ever noticed the top results? They have normally got a small sign that says, “ad”. Each time someone clicks on that website [ad] that company is charged a fee. This fee will depend on many things, for example, how popular the search term is, what budget the company allocated to the ad and so on. The key for a financial advice business is to think niche and locality; otherwise, you’ll end up trying to beat the big brands who have far deeper pockets than you.
If you are going to invest in a PPC campaign, it is recommended that you direct people to a landing page rather than your complete website. Remembering they entered a specific search term [a potential problem they are trying to find the solution to] so sending them to your entire website where they have to dig around for the answer could be a waste of their time. Instead, direct them to a specific landing page which gives them valuable information and a strong call to action [what you want them to do next].
What is retargeting?
Have you ever noticed when you visited a website and had a look through that when you leave their page their ad appears randomly on your screen? Well, it’s not random at all its quite intended; its called retargeting.
For this form of digital marketing, you’ll need a specific platform because what retargeting does is track viewers engagement of your website, their location and much more. Retargeting can enable you to send a message to anonymous viewers and also viewers whose details you already have. It can be a great way to gently remind viewers that they still have their problem and that you always have the solution. This strategy will need to be supported by a digital engagement process, for example, directing them to your landing page, video or similar.
Improving your SEO
Search engine optimisation or SEO for short. SEO can be an advantageous digital strategy if executed properly. SEO relies on keywords and phrases that people are entering into search engines such as Google. Word of warning: the more specific your keywords are, the more useful this type of digital strategy will be. Unfortunately blanket terms like, ‘financial planning’ and ‘superannuation’ are used by the larger institutions who have far deeper pockets than your business. SEO isn’t new, but it is continuously changing. SEO’s popularity comes down to the fact that if done correctly your business will automatically be listed on the first page of Google rather than you having to spend money on PPC and retargeting – unless you have a specific campaign you are running.
To improve your SEO, there are simple things you can do as a business. One of those is to make sure that you have regular content uploaded to your website. That way, Google can see how relevant your site is compared to people’s search terms. Google analytics can inform you which words/phrases are being searched for which you can then use in your content or better still, write unique content addressing those key terms. It’s a fine line between using too many keywords and enough for Google to see how relevant you are to people. Making sure you have Google maps uploaded to your website is also another suggestion because people searching for locality will find you far better.
One way to improve your Google ranking [and one that won’t cost you!], is to get Google reviews. The more Google reviews you have, the more believable your business is [yes, that is true!], the more Google will rank your business higher than others.
When you are thinking about your digital marketing strategy is an excellent idea to niche into something, for example, expats returning to Australia, people being retrenched from the banking sector rather than trying to promote your holistic advice business because you won’t stand out. The Internet is massive, overcrowded and extremely loud, so you need to be able to stand at the top by having something relevant to promote.
When you create your landing page, make sure you focus on lowering the risk of the viewer taking the next step by offering them choices. They can watch a video, listen to a podcast, download a quick to read report or e-book. Whatever action it is you must get their contact details; otherwise you won’t be able to educate them about the value of your advice!
For more information about how to integrate digital marketing into your financial advice business please contact me directly, firstname.lastname@example.org