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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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Don’t Discount the Importance of Digital Client Interaction

“Digital interaction contributes to strengthen the client-adviser experience for the wealthy,” is the key conclusion of a recently published study by SEI, a global provider of outsourcing solutions that help financial advisers create and manage wealth.

The study, “The Futurewealth Report 2014: Upgrading the Service Delivery,” surveyed 30,025 affluent investors worldwide, analyzing the key factors that this type of investors consider when entering in a relationship with their financial advisers and the role that digital technology plays in that experience.

The results of this survey caught my attention, as they seemed to point to a different conclusion than what the study reported. Let me explain.

According to the study, respondents entering in a relationship with their financial advisers were:

More concerned about an adviser’s attributes, such as:

  1. Level of experience (65*)
  2. Market knowledge (65*)
  3. Understanding of client’s needs (65*)


Less
 concerned about the adviser’s digital delivery capabilities, including:

  1. Ability to simulate portfolio strategies online (39*)
  2. Ability to customize online reporting (38*)
  3. Having an easily navigable website (37*)

      (*) importance index measured out of 100

The fact that respondents to the survey placed far less emphasis on the digital side of the service experience and favored instead advisers’ understanding of their goal-based investment approach, could lead us to erroneously believe that affluent investors do not actively use digital technology. Nothing could be more far from the truth, as the study also revealed that 92 percentof investors under age 40 use online tools to learn more about their transactions and support their wealth management decisions. More specifically, 50 percent of them declared that they log on to the online account they have with their financial advisory firm to:

  • Read market reviews (55 percent)
  • Check performance analyses (55 percent)
  • Find information about securities (51 percent)
  • Review portfolio evaluations (51 percent)

These results clearly underscore how crucial digital technologies have become for investors. Consequently, when it comes to delivering a great service experience, advisers should keep in mind that the digital component of that experience plays a crucial role for their clients, especially younger ones. The latter in particular, have an active online life and rely significantly on the internet and social media to access a wide array of information, including financial products and services. This is the reason why digital engagement must become an essential component of advisers’ communication with their clients and prospects.

As I addressed in one of my past blogs, “Generation D Investors: Social Media Will Help Advisers Regain Trust,” digital technology plays also a significant role in helping advisers regain investors’ trust. This appears to be particularly true with millennials of generation D (digital), a segment of the investor population with a distinct lack of trust in the financial system—a consequence of the most recent financial crisis—and a subsequent prudent and conservative attitude toward their investments.

The ultimate goal of advisers’ digital engagement is to deliver to their clients and prospects the exceptional service experience they are seeking through their preferred communication medium.

As always, questions and/or comments are welcome.

Claudio PannunzioClaudio Pannunzio
President

i-Impact Group Inc.
Greenwich, Conn.


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4 Key Ingredients for Your SEO Recipe

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting traffic to your website from the listings on search engines.

To facilitate our clients’ understanding of SEO, I often describe the most popular engines—Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.—as the librarians of the Internet. Their core task is to collect information and catalog it in a way that helps people immediately find what they are searching for. To store information, every search engine employs an algorithm; think of it as a secret recipe that turns information into search results. Therefore, SEO is the process of ensuring that your website possesses all the ingredients that match search engines’ recipes (algorithms). For financial advisers, like other business owners, search results are very important, as they increase the odds that their business is easily found on the Internet.

How can you assess whether or not your website has a suitable online presence? Here are a couple of very simple tests to conduct on your own:

  • Type the name of your business in your favorite search engine. If that name does not show up in the first page of the ensuing search, you need to implement SEO.
  • Conduct an Internet search using popular terms that your prospects may use to locate an adviser—financial adviser, financial planner, investment plan, retirement solution—and add the name of the city/town where your business is domiciled. If the name of your practice does not appear in the first result page, you need to implement SEO.

Analysis of Your Social Media Assets
If both tests yield a “positive” result, you may want to seriously consider creating a SEO strategy. However, before you hire a firm to help you with that, I suggest you do a quick analysis of your social media assets.

In addition to your website, do you have a blog and/or a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook? Are these platforms working in synchrony? The correct approach in using social media is to establish an ongoing and consistent conversation that drives traffic to your website with the ultimate goal of converting visitors into clients. In marketing lingo, this is defined as a hub-and-spoke model.

It will also be extremely beneficial for you to establish the core objectives of your SEO efforts. The clearer these goals are, the easier it will be to measure them and assess if your SEO strategy is working for you.

Zero-Cost Strategies
What follows is a series of suggestions and zero-cost ideas you can implement to create an SEO strategy that will help you achieve an effective online presence:

1. Get Google Analytics
Go to Google and set up Google Analytics (www.Google.com/analytics) to find out the most common terms/search words people use to find a financial adviser (it is free), and ensure that such terms are included in your website and social media interactions. The more specific you get with your keywords, the better your chances of ranking high in search engines. Strategically place those keywords throughout your website content. For example, if you target the key phrase “529 plan,” make sure you create content about it and provide ideas and tips on how to open a plan and maximize contributions.

2. Localize
Optimize your website for local search by ensuring that you have a detailed listing of your practice on Google Local (www.Google.com/local/add) and other engines such as Yahoo, Bing, etc.

3. Blog It
If you do not have a blog yet, consider creating one as way to increase your website ranking in the search engines and boost your brand exposure. Managing a blog can be time consuming. However, it will help you to attract potential clients.

4. Use Video
Consider using videos on your website and/or blog. It will enable you to achieve two key strategic goals: increase the time visitors spend on your site, and boost your SEO ranking. Google’s algorithms assign higher ranking to those web pages more frequently visited and where surfers spend above-average time. Algorithms work on the assumption that the longer a visitor stays on a page, the higher the quality of that page’s content must be. A YouOn TV study revealed that web surfers spend on average 48 seconds on a specific website. When a site features a video, average time jumps to 5 minutes and 50 seconds. This is especially true for educational/informative videos versus those just selling a product. Consequently, creating a video that addresses your key audience’s problems and issues and provides tips and actionable ideas will help you drive prospects to your website, keep them on it and achieve your SEO goals.

As always, questions and comments are welcome.

Claudio PannunzioClaudio Pannunzio
President
i-Impact Group Inc.
Greenwich, Conn.

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