Does Your Marketing Have a Purpose?

April 12, 2018

As a financial advisor, planner, or an attorney it’s highly important to ensure you have a compelling message with your marketing strategy. This is mainly because people are drawn to companies that are authentic and inspiring. The real question here lies in how do we go about creating our compelling marketing message? I always suggest to focus on the purpose of it all. If you ask a financial advisor what is the purpose of their marketing, most of them would say: “To bring in referrals,” “Build my prospect list,” “Grow business.” However, what they don’t realize is that they’re sharing their goals. The purpose of your marketing and your goals are two separate things. Goals are tangible, measurable, and dated. Purpose is infinite. It is the reason you do what you do. To successfully build your compelling message, one must create an effective purpose. And it is okay to revisit your purpose time to time. But once it is set, the goals are based off your purpose. I’d love to provide some tips on creating your purpose that go beyond the bottom line:

  • Stay authentic. Do you simply love helping people? Are you passionate about helping people reach their financial goals? Or do you love helping people get out of their financial struggles? Let that be heard in your purpose.
  • Specialize. What type of financial advisor/planner are you? Do you focus on a specific target market? Having a niche will actually provide a better and more focused type of service.
  • Have a story. Why did you start doing what you do? This doesn’t necessarily have to be written out in your purpose, but it’s a good idea to develop your story so you can share it with your prospects and clients. It provides the background to your purpose.

What’s the purpose of your marketing? Let us know in the comments below!


Switching Your Marketing Messages From Unopened to Read

February 22, 2018

You’ve noticed that you’re spending hours on writing your marketing messaging for your firm or even a part of your budget on your marketing. However, did you know that most of your marketing messaging is going unread? Think about it, you get thousands of emails daily. How many emails do you open? A few. And those are the ones that have an interesting subject line. Then, once you’ve clicked on the email, and possibly started reading it, it’s difficult for you to pay attention especially if the content isn’t engaging. If you feel as if your marketing messages are part of the “clutter” folder in peoples’ mailbox, let’s change that. There are several different functions we must focus on when writing our marketing messaging.

Focus on the benefits of your services instead of simply the features. Let your audience know what problems you can solve and solutions you can bring. An example of this would be “Want to effectively invest your money?” Focus on what benefit you could bring with your specific services to a target audience.

Obvious one, but make sure to aim at your target market. Major key here would be to include things that would interest your audience. Your emails would be different for a single millennial than someone with a family of five who most likely has different goals.

Clear messaging is an effective strategy no matter what you’re doing in life. You want to ensure your marketing message makes sense, isn’t too wordy, and uses graphics that don’t overwhelm the user.

Answer the question “what’s in it for the prospect?” in your message. What’s something in your industry that your target market finds essential? Whatever it is, use it.

In the end, we want to ensure we’re communicating something that could be of use for the client in our marketing messaging. And strengthening those messages starts with refreshing the fundamentals.


How Do I Break Out of a Marketing Rut

January 25, 2018

Marketing Ruts… If you haven’t experienced one throughout your business’s life cycle, then please share your secrets with the rest of us. Rather you’d like to admit it or not, marketing ruts happen and they can be frustrating, discouraging, and honestly irritating. Why isn’t this working? Why am I not getting any responses? However, it’s a new month, new quarter and you’re ready to try something different but you don’t know how. You’ll always have the option to look back and review what worked and what didn’t in your previous marketing strategies. But, how can you dig deeper? Let’s look at some advice on helping your process of getting out of a Marketing Rut:

  1. Brainstorm the worst ideas possible. In a way, this sounds like it would be fun to do, am I right? When your marketing isn’t going the way you were expecting, it’s time to brainstorm your worst ideas possible with your team. Google search some marketing disasters and look at things that companies have done that they completely regret. Doing this will allow for us to notice what success looks like and makes us think, “what’s truly important in marketing?”
  2. Research outside of your industry. What are some companies that aren’t in your industry that are executing extremely well on describing their product?
  3. Research inside of your industry. Look at some of the most successful firms in your industry even if they are 20 times bigger than you. This will allow for you to notice things you don’t incorporate into your marketing strategy. Additionally, it will allow for you to see how they are describing their value proposition and other points, which in return will give you ideas on how you can successfully communicate information to your audience.

Getting out of a Marketing Rut can be what you make of it, so make it fun! Let us know what types of things you noticed in your research in the comments below.


Are Your Clients Talking About You?

January 11, 2018

Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) – you participate in it daily. “So have you heard about that new iPhone X? It recognizes your face!” Rather you are recommending your favorite leadership book or your friend convinced you to switch gyms because the one your friend attends is “better,” WOMM affects us on a daily basis. WOMM has been around way before social media existed. It’s one of the first forms of marketing and is one of the most valuable. A study conducted by The OECHSLI Institute on the power of WOM influence for financial advisors states that 92% of clients found their financial advisors through word of mouth influence. 60% of clients say that the main reason they chose their financial advisor was due to word of mouth influence. So, the question here is how do we go about increasing WOMM in the 21st century? Here are some methods that you can implement into your marketing strategy:

  1. Ask top clients to share testimonials/reviews. If you have a website, this is a perfect addition. In fact, 79% of people report trusting testimonials and online reviews just as much as word of mouth recommendations.
  2. Offer an incentive. You’re probably thinking, “My client is super busy and doesn’t have time.” However, people are more likely to do things when receiving something in return. As you reach out to your top clients for either testimonials, reviews or even for your marketing campaigns, offer discounts or services as an exchange for their participation and referrals.
  3. Organize a formal referral program. This will make the process for your clients fast and easy. Additionally, this will allow for you to measure the results.
  4. What is your story? As always, ensuring your website is up to date and interesting is important. But what will increase WOMM is sharing your unique story, right on your website. Why did you start your business? What drives your business? Whenever you give people something memorable, they will share it with the people around them even if you don’t ask them to.

If you have a great example of successful WOMM for your firm, share in the comments below!


New Year, Stronger Marketing For Your Firm

December 28, 2017

As 2017 comes to an end, it is the perfect time to look back on annual reports and evaluate your progress. Although it is important to look back on your performance, it’s also just as important to plan for the upcoming year. The new year can be intimidating, especially when competition is heavy. While planning your marketing for the new year you should make sure that it is: strategic, measurable, attainable, and cost effective. There are various ways to develop your marketing plans on a budget but one of the best ways is to provide a “personal touch” and connection that most clients don’t expect, but certainly value. This means going above and beyond for the customer by showing extra care and doing things out of the ordinary that the customer doesn’t expect. Here are 5 methods in approaching a “personal side” of marketing:

  1. Have someone in charge of marketing. This doesn’t mean you need to develop a whole marketing department. Is there someone in your office that you consider a “people’s person” or someone who likes to put events together? Assign them to the marketing tasks. The tasks could vary from arranging seminars and events to updating the website and blogs. Rather it’s having a marketing consultant, an intern, or someone from your office, having someone assigned to the job will ensure that it gets done.
  2. Arrange a reverse seminar. Instead of you presenting to your client, have them present to you. This will put the “spotlight” on the client and will allow for them to feel engaged.
  3. Conduct an annual event. We all know of a few companies in our areas that are associated with certain charity events. That’s the goal for your firm. Having an annual event, especially involving charity, will not only help out your community but will also provide advertising opportunities.
  4. Pick up your phone and call! Sounds like something you should already know, but it’s one of the more effective (and free) ways to market. Instead of sending an email, give your client a call. Have the call be from the financial advisor or attorney that is working with the client. Discuss with them any business updates and ask if they have any questions. This also allows for the client to develop a relationship with the firm and feel like they are a part of the process, instead of being left in the dark. Make sure to personalize each call and switch up the subject.
  5. Go above and beyond with the simple things. This means whenever a client is in the office, make a fresh cup of coffee and add a snack with it. Have a welcome sign whenever the client is entering the office. Provide a welcome package, make parking arrangements, give a map, etc. Go the extra mile so that the client feels truly appreciated. And this will not only help your “personal side” marketing, but will also provide word-of-mouth marketing. The clients will tell their families, friends, and coworkers about this.

Have more ways on providing a “personal side” to marketing? Tell us by leaving a comment below:


Overcoming the Overwhelm

November 30, 2017

It’s getting to that busy time of year where there’s projects and deadlines, or maybe you’re trying to market your self to a potential new employer or new clientele. Plus you have the holidays to worry about! That can overwhelm the best of us. So the question is, what can we do to combat that feeling of being so overwhelmed? Here a few tips that might help you come out on top, and maybe you won’t break a sweat in the process.

  1. Recognize your tools. I know that this has been brought up in previous blog posts as well, but you will be so successful if you recognize and utilize the tools available to you. There are a million online resources, and think about the people that you know as well. Who is out there that can give you a step up, provide new strategies or idea, give you resume tips, etc. The list is probably endless.
  2. Get organized. Figure out which of your goals are the most important, especially in the short term. There’s nothing more overwhelming than looking at a to do list that is a mile long and feeling like you need to accomplish it all immediately. Once you do that you can figure out a game plan to start checking off the boxes.
  3. Use a planner. This has been said time and time again, I know. It’s so important though. Block out your day and give yourself time slots to complete your specific tasks. You will always be on track and accomplishing something, without trying to do everything at once. It will change your world, I promise.
  4. Be satisfied. One of the worst things that you can do is tell yourself that you aren’t doing enough or being productive enough or getting enough done. At the end of the day look at what you accomplished and feel good about those things instead of bad about the things that you didn’t get to complete. Tomorrow is a new day!
  5. Take the first step. This is maybe the most important step. Everyone will have tactics and strategies that work for them and you will have to figure that out on your own. Getting started is the hardest thing for everyone though. Of course everyone is going to want their plan to be perfect and executed as best possible, but sometimes you need to take the leap. If you spend too much time worrying and planning and re-planning you will go crazy! You just need to start even if you don’t have everything worked out exactly as you want.

So as the holiday season gets kicked off, take the time to relax and think about your strategy. When the new year rolls around you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

What are you best tips to beat the overwhelm?


How to Find the Perfect Picture

October 19, 2017

Whether your blog is about financial planning, being a mom of three, marketing tips, or a lifestyle guru, you need pictures! There are many things that make a blog interesting, but including at least a little imagery is crucial across the board. The hard part is choosing an appropriate image.

First of all, finding pictures in general should be the easy part. There are so many great stock photo websites out there. If you are having trouble finding images, here are a couple sites you can check out: Pixabay, Shutterstock, Pexels or Getty Images. There are so many more, but that should get you started!

The next thing to keep in mind is that while of course you want your images to be relevant, it doesn’t have to be a direct translation. For example, if you are writing about workplace relationships your image does not need to be of an office! Find a metaphor or message that you are trying to get across, and then be creative.

The most important thing when choosing your images, tags or any other creative aspect of your blog, is keep it relevant but personal. A blog is supposed to be informational, but personal. Talk to your readers and clients in a way that is conversational but professional, and your imagery should reflect that. It doesn’t always need to be a stark photo. Pick something warm and welcoming that draws readers in to see more!


How to market your content to potential clients

May 25, 2017

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Taking the time to produce marketing content can be difficult. It’s not always easy to consistently come up with topics and ideas and over time you can start to feel like you’ve come to a dead-end. If you’ve been doing it for a while however, you know as well as I do that dead-ends are just an illusion. We always manage to come up with new ways to push forward; and so with all that work, of course we’d like to think that our readers are absorbing everything we have to offer, right?

That’d be nice, but I’m afraid not. I challenge you to ask a friend, that you know follows your publishings, how many times on average they actually read every word of your content. There’s a good chance you won’t like what they have to say; but try not to get discouraged. Time is valuable to people and sometimes it’s easier to just skim through the paragraphs rather than reading everything on the page.

In marketing, we are always trying to formulate new ideas and strategies to keep our techniques up-to-date; so much so that we can easily lose touch of the basics. One fundamental key principal of content marketing is BENEFITS over FEATURES.

Let me explain… Benefits are just as they sound. They are the value that the potential customer would receive from your services should they decide to become a client. For example, one way you could pitch a benefit is to say something like, “10% Increase in profitability guaranteed!” This is a benefit, and with all things that benefit us, we tend to give them more of our attention. In order to keep your content’s target audience interested and engaged, you need to make sure the benefits your services offer are standing out as much as possible.

Features are kind of like your credentials, so-to-speak. One example of a feature would be something along the lines of, “With over 25 years experience” or “Recipient of Best Firm Award”. These are features, and although they earn you credibility with whom you’re trying to market yourself to, they don’t necessarily capture the attention of the reader. Now, this is not to say features are bad. In fact, including them is very important; but you don’t want to make your pitch focused so much on your features that your benefits don’t get the chance to stand out.

As a rule of thumb, I like to recommend a ratio of 80/20 in favor of benefits. This way, you have a good percentage of features in your content so that your target audience can see what you’ve accomplished for others like them, but they also stay engaged in what you’re trying to sell them. Benefits are the key to getting people to pay attention to you. If you miss the opportunity to capture their attention, you miss the opportunity to serve them as your client; and nobody likes missed opportunities.


Leading an Organized Life

March 16, 2017

Leading an organized life is important, but maybe not something people think about regularly. A lot of time goals are centered around moving forward or upward, with a lot less focus on the now. This can be a mistake because if you focus on yourself or business today rather than in three months from now, you will inherently get to where you want to be without the pressure and strain. This applies both mentally, as well as your physical environment.

To give a little perspective, here are a few benefits of leading an organized life:

  1. Increased productivity
  2. Maintaining a better balance (i.e. work, personal, social, family, etc.)
  3. Better ability to achieve personal goals
  4. It is more economical
  5. Provides the tools to get your job done right

While these benefits are pretty straight forward and desirable, the process of getting there is a little more difficult. In order to achieve these ideals there are a couple things that you should avoid doing:

  1. Don’t procrastinate
  2. Don’t try to do everything alone
  3. Don’t take on too much in a short period of time
  4. Don’t be a perfectionist
  5. Don’t trust your memory – – write things down!

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list and in order to succeed you have to find what works for you. Start here, see how you do and then adjust to your personal needs and goals. Empty out all that unneeded clutter this spring and get organized!

 


6 Tips for Upping Your Visual Marketing Strategy

May 26, 2016

With the rise of social media, blogging, LinkedIn, and so much more, the opportunities for new forms of marketing are endless. According to a recent infographic from WebDAM, human’s visual intelligence is on the rise. This means that when considering your marketing and blogging strategy it is important to put just as much emphasize on your photo choices as you do on the words you use.

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Here are 6 tips on how to best utilize visuals:

  1. Think about color. You want your images to grab the readers attention and draw them in. Make sure to use bold colors or combinations to hold their interest, as well as make it easier for them to recall the information they read.
  2. Utilize your resources. There are many free tools out there, such as Pixlr, PicMonkey, and Pixabay, to download or edit images. Be sure to do your research and take advantage of the resources available to you.
  3. Keep it simple. While you want to use great colors, designs, and prints it’s important to remember that simple is usually better. You don’t want to be too busy and overwhelm the reader. Grab their attention, but don’t distract them.
  4. Make it mobile accessible. Oftentimes readers will be viewing your ads, blogs, or social media on a mobile device. It’s important to remember to keep your images or videos easily seen on mobile devices and able to load quickly.
  5. Be thoughtful. When choosing your visuals make sure to give thought to who you are marketing to and why, just like you would with written content. Think about the message that you are sending.
  6. Be consistent. The types images you choose should be consistent throughout your various marketing forums. Don’t forget that you are creating a brand for yourself.

We live in a digital world where everyone has instant access to images and and social media. Visual content can be shared with the click of a button and, according to a Buffer infographic, it is 40 times more likely to be shared on social networks. With millennials making their way into the work force, it is important for businesses to take advantage of these online and visual resources that are available.

In what ways do you use visuals to enhance your marketing strategies?