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Be An Inboxer

Endeavoring to be an Inboxer isn’t a call to jump in the ring and fight, nor a call to sport hip underwear.

This is all about what you can do to get more of your emails into your recipient’s inbox. Financial service providers rely on email delivery to enhance marketing campaigns such as newsletters, updates, invites to events and webinars and the list goes on, as far as your marketing budget will allow.

Techniques to optimize the chances of an email getting to an inbox—rather than a spam or junk mail folder—in some cases can help you incrementally, while in other cases the impact is dramatic.

For the Greatest Impact …

Watch your subject line. Almost all email clients have spam filtering in place and they look at a variety of factors, but none as important as the subject line. Here is an excellent resource for crafting a non-spammy subject line that also has great tips for getting the email opened.

Don’t send emails to bad email addresses. When the time comes for your marketing aspirations to outgrow Constant Contact or MailChimp, make sure to not import bad and bounced email addresses into your new email service provider’s (ESP’s) system. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) track how many bounces come from your domain and email address and issue a “sender score” (also called a “sender reputation”), a sort of credit rating for email-sending credibility. The goal is to keep bounces at a minimum to have a high sender score. This also means if you have a dated list (one that is over a year old with no sends, for example) use an email validation service to avoid lowering your and your ESP’s sender score. It will be perhaps the best $10 you will ever spend on a marketing endeavor.

For Modest Impact …

When upgrading from one ESP to another, there is a process called “inbox warming.” While not nearly as exciting as it sounds, the process involves sending your emails out on the new platform to only the most engaged contacts—that is, those who open your emails the most. Doing this the first couple of times you send an email campaign will bolster your sender score on the new platform for future sends.

Lastly, there is the issue of alignment. Typically, the “reply to” field in email transmissions contain your domain (like tim@eMarketeer.com uses the domain eMarketeer.com). Your ISP often makes use of a “sender policy framework,” which basically lists which ESP hosts are allowed to send on behalf of your domain. Add your ESP’s server IPs (the addresses of the email servers) to your SPF record before sending. Further, higher-end ESPs allow you to use your own subdomain as the URL address of the email (for example, email.yourcompany.com/email title rather than MailChimp.com/email title), which is worth the nominal amount of effort it takes to set up. Your ESP vendor can and should help with all of this.

Taking these steps will assure greater deliverability over the life of your company. Like compounding interest, incremental gains that are leveraged over the course of time can make a huge difference in your email marketing potency.

tim handleyTim Handley
Director
eMarketeer USA
Santa Cruz, Calif.


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3 Telltale Signs Your Website Needs a Refresh

In 2013, 67 percent of advisers we talked to said they were not happy with their existing websites. While it’s not realistic to redesign your firm’s website annually, the gaining pace in the tech world makes every website a constant work-in-progress. Taking on a new website project may not sound like a walk in the park, but a site redesign can have a lasting positive impact on any advisory firm.

How do you know when it’s time for a complete overhaul of your firm’s site? Here are three tell-tale signs:

1. Low Traffic and Conversions

Numbers don’t lie. The biggest reason to give your website a refresh is when no one is using it. Best practice is to track and measure numbers on a monthly basis using Google Analytics. If you notice a drop in traffic or stagnant numbers over the course of at least one quarter— looks like it’s time to try something new.

2. It’s Not a Realistic Representation of Your Firm

Prospects who have never met you can make an impression of the firm based on its website—in less than three seconds. Your website is the only member of your team working 24/7 to promote and advocate your financial firm … does it send a positive message to your target audience? If you don’t even like the way it looks, chances are neither do consumers.

3. It’s Not Relevant in 2014

While I’m not suggesting a complete website redesign is necessary every year, consider some of the major changes in technology in the past five years: more people access the Internet from a mobile device than a desktop computer, Flash animations are no longer a “thing” and Google is the new Yellow Pages.

If it is time for a website re-haul, the best way to get ready is to do a little prep work. Many advisers find web design quite daunting and complicated, and with good reason. It can be challenging to assemble the necessities to get started, but, with the right people on the job it’s not nearly as difficult a challenge as it may seem.

Maggie Crowley 1Maggie Crowley
Marketing Coordinator
Advisor Websites
Vancouver, British Columbia

 

Editor’s Note: Meet Maggie in person at FPA’s annual conference—BE Seattle 2014! Stop by the FPA Booth during the opening reception in the exhibit hall between 6 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20 for a meet and greet with Maggie and fellow Practice Management Blogger Kristin Harad. 


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3 Ways to Find Out if Your Web Marketing Is Paying Off

Results are priceless. There are literally thousands (or more!) way to market your firm to achieve business growth and success, but how do you know which tactics actually work? The age old problem with marketing is that it’s kind of a gray area in terms of its effectiveness.

Well, it used to be.

Part of the beauty of a strong web marketing strategy is that, in today’s tech-savvy world, we can literally track and measure what works and what doesn’t work. Google Analytics is a powerful resource that reveals many details about our web visitors and what actions they take online.

Setting goals and measuring your performance is key to any good business strategy, and in marketing it can be used to test whether your current initiatives are reaching the right audience and meeting your goals. Here are three measurements that can determine whether your web marketing efforts are paying off or not.

For all three of these measurements, I suggest reviewing the numbers on at least a monthly basis. Create a simple spreadsheet and input the numbers of a monthly basis. This is one really simple step that will help you visualize the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and spot trends.

1. Web Traffic
A great website isn’t so great if no one uses it. It’s sad, but it happens more often than you can imagine: a great-looking, user-friendly website that virtually generates no traffic because nobody knows the site exists. A great website generates a healthy and growing amount of traffic on a monthly basis.

The more qualified visitors you have to your website, the more likely you will be to convert the visitors to leads or clients. After about a month of data, you can begin to see patterns in what is working and what isn’t.

3 ways to increase traffic:

  • Above all, provide value. Web visitors are savvier that ever and won’t waste their time browsing your site unless you’re giving them something in return (like a white paper).
  • Include your web address in all marketing material (newsletter, business card, etc.).
  • Use social media to drive traffic back to your website.

2. Bounce Rate
A web visitor “bounces” away from your website after viewing only one page of content. For example, if 10 visitors arrive on your website and seven of them leave after viewing only one page of content, your bounce rate is 70 percent.

A high bounce rate indicates that the content on your website isn’t what web visitors are looking for. As a result? Nine times out of 10, web visitors will leave and not return.

2 ways to reduce a high bounce rate:

  • A clean, professional homepage design. Web visitors form an impression really fast; they are likely to bounce away if the site is outdated or unprofessional looking.
  • Clear navigation. If your web visitors can’t find the information they’re looking for, don’t expect them to stick around.

3. Form Submissions
The best adviser websites play a role in earning new business and sustain meaningful, strong relationships with existing clients. Your website can be your most powerful marketing tool, generating leads and helping your firm reach its growth goals.

Allowing web visitors to request information from your website can be a powerful lead generation tool. This can be a simple process: ask web visitors to subscribe to your newsletter or request a meeting.

2 ways to increase form submissions:

  • Place valuable content (like a white paper or educational video) behind a form. Word to the wise: keep the form fairly short and simple; don’t make people feel as if they’re signing their lives away to access your content.
  • Advertise content with an enticing calls-to-action.

Maggie Crowley 1Maggie Crowley
Marketing Coordinator
Advisor Websites
Vancouver, British Columbia

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