Marketing Corner – April is CD Replacement Month

Marketing Corner – Wednesday March 29th, 2017

April Is CD Replacement Month—Don’t Miss Out

You might know that April and October are CD replacement months. But do you know why? The history that led to these sales opportunities is actually rather interesting and shows how economic events can ripple far ahead in time.

Nearly thirty years ago, on October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped a whopping negative 22.61%–the index’s largest percentage drop. This event would become known as Black Monday and many thought this was the precursor to another Great Crash. While markets rebounded, there remained a great amount of volatility, with after-shocks and mini-crashes like the drop that happened on October 13, 1989.

Even though the economy has been beaten and torn since 1987 (hello Great Recession of 2008!) the effects of Black Monday are still felt today. As markets tanked in 1987, consumers pulled out of exposed investments and transferred their money into Certificates of Deposits.

Hence October and April are now CD replacement months, with six-month and twelve-month CDs up for renewal. For some consumers, CDs can seem like a great option for their money—certainly, they did in 1987. With guaranteed interest rates and FDIC backing, CDs seem like a relatively sturdy ship to navigate the sometimes choppy waters of the market.

However, because of their low-interest rates, CDs do not hedge against inflation well, when compared to other products, like certain annuities. This is especially true with long-range CDs that many consumers automatically renew out of habit. This means that some consumers may be losing real-world value that could be parlayed into another solution that works better against inflation and could provide lifetime income.

Obviously, every consumer presents a different situation. For some, CDs may track well with their needs. Others may not even be aware that there are other options. However, what this means is that April and October are good opportunities for review, discussion, and product sales.

To help agents and advisors take advantage of these CD replacement opportunities, Legacy Financial Partners is offering a complimentary CD replacement kit. Fill out the form to claim your free CD replacement kit.

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6 Unusual Marketing Ideas for Advisors

Marketing Corner – Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

6 Unusual Marketing Ideas For Advisors

As you try to grow your practice and attract new clients, you likely explore many different marketing activities. What tends to happen, however, is that you find one or two prospecting methods that work for you and stick with that. While you should have a few core marketing methods, you should enhance them with other types of marketing. Here are six unusual marketing ideas that go beyond direct mail, seminars, and other traditional methods.

Fliers

Whether to promote an upcoming event or to simply put your name and face out there, fliers are a cheap and effective way to market yourself, which is why we’ve mentioned them multiple times before as a marketing tool. A visually appealing one-sheeter can reinforce your name or event to consumers in physical areas they already traffic (coffee shop, grocery store, etc.). In any given community, you will have plenty of opportunities to post fliers—which, when you consider how cheap a run of fliers can be—makes them a no-brainer. What makes this idea unusual is how few advisors take advantage of this affordable strategy.

Shred Party

What is a shred party? A shred party is an event that takes place at your office or other location where you offer free document shredding. This is particularly relevant to consumers around tax-time, as they deal with sensitive personal documents and do some spring cleaning. Make it a fun event, with refreshments and something for kids. This will allow you to offer an unusual (but needed) service to consumers and mingle with prospects.

Parking Lot Carnival

One of the best ways to organize a community event is to make it something the whole family can enjoy. If you’ve got space (or can rent space), set up a parking lot carnival. This doesn’t have to involve Ferris wheels, carousels, or bumper cars, but rather fun yard games like cornhole, ladder ball, horseshoes, and watermelon seed spitting contests. Buddy up with a local food truck to offer food and refreshments.

Tailgate

In the same vein as the parking lot carnival idea, if you live in a college/sports town, you could look into getting tailgating space. With good weather, grilling, and sports, you can create a memorable event for potential clients.

Charity Events

There are numerous ways advisors can leverage participating in charitable causes while raising their own profile. However, many advisors stick with passive approaches—donating money or resources, without getting directly involved. Any help is good help, for sure, but consider more direct ways you can participate with a charitable cause. For instance, organizing a charity event yourself or finding existing ones that are physical (food drive, fun run, pancake dinner, etc.)

Branded Prepaid Debit Cards

Advisors often use gift cards/prepaid cards as promotions, rewards for appointments, or prizes for seminar raffles. While preloaded debit cards can be great for bringing prospects to you, you can enhance this strategy by branding the cards with your logo and contact information. There are several companies that offer this service, such as OmniCard, Giftcards.com, and InterCash.

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Marketing Corner – March 15, 2017

7 Video Marketing Best Practices

Incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy can reap great rewards. Rather than simply posting a block of text, you are able to present your value proposition in an easily digestible manner that already matches how many consumers seek out information. Here are a few stats that show just how relevant video is:

Over 8 billion videos or 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook every day (TechCrunch, 2016; TechCrunch, 2016 via Buffer)

55% of people consume videos thoroughly — the highest amount all types of content (HubSpot, 2016 via Buffer)

4X as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than reading about it (Animoto, 2015 via Buffer)

Given how relevant video content has become, you might be wondering how financial advisors or agents like you can utilize video as part of your marketing strategy. With cheap equipment, social media platforms, and a little time commitment, it’s possible for advisors of all experience levels to create visually appealing and engaging video content. We’ve even had advisors use their smartphones to record clips.

Here are 7 best practices when developing a video marketing strategy.

Keep Your Videos Concise
With videos, shorter is generally going to be better. Instead of giving a 10-minute explainer video on how annuities work, break your videos into 2-3 minute chunks (or even shorter). While you do want to provide detailed information and may think that 1,2, or 3 minutes is not long enough to cover a topic, you’ll likely be surprised how much information can be presented in a short time if you practice before hand (and even use a little script).


Maintain A Consistent Schedule

As with other forms of content marketing, one of the crucial aspects of video marketing is consistency. Some advisors will burn through video topics quickly, struggling to come up with ideas for further videos. Schedule video creation within your other marketing activities, so that you have something coming out on a regular basis—whether it’s a video, a blog post, a guide, or promotion. Find the intervals that work for you.

Balance Timely Topics With Enduring Information
Current events can become a great jumping off point for a video piece. If, for example, the SSA has rolled out changes for the new year, your consumers might appreciate a short explanation video. However, you should balance timely topics with more enduring videos—the kinds that can be repurposed or stay relevant over alonger period of time. For example, a video discussion on the phases of retirement planning will have a longer lifespan than one that discusses an expiring tax credit.

Consider Basic Lighting and Framing
Nobody expects you to be Spielberg when creating your videos. But just because the clips are made cheap and quick, doesn’t mean they have to look it. Pay attention to basic lighting and framing issues.

• Make sure you are well lit
• Avoid distracting backgrounds and background elements
• Avoid unusual perspectives and angles
• A tripod or stable surface can really make a difference in the quality of your clip

Syndicate Through Multiple Channels
Currently, Facebook has become a key platform for the dissemination of video content. With an intuitive layout, it’s relatively easy to upload and share video, either from your personal or business page. Twitter and LinkedIn are likewise venues where video can be uploaded and shared easily. But also consider email as well. A Syndacast Infographic from a few years ago claims that just “using the word ‘Video’ in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%”

Enhance The Quality Of Your Video With Graphics and Music
Amplify your message and the quality of your video with supporting graphics, music, and other little flourishes. Most editing software is straightforward enough that a lay person, with some playing around, can figure out how to include phone numbers, web addresses, and other supporting text as an overlay graphic (sometimes referred to as chyrons). Music is likewise relatively easy to incorporate, with a wealth of royalty-free music available online (for instance, Purple Planet, which has options for free and licensed music clips.) Make sure you follow the terms of usage carefully. Most royalty free music sites will simply request credit and/or a linkback.

Take Advantage Of Video Descriptions And Tags
Video hosted on a platform like YouTube will provide you an opportunity to describe what the video is about. While this helps consumers identify the content of your clip, it also can be useful in your overall SEO strategy. Lace your short descriptions and tags with targeted keywords, the same way you would with page content.

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Marketing Corner – 6 Digital Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips

Marketing Corner – Wednesday March 9th, 2017

6 Digital Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips

If you use digital marketing to bring in new prospects and communicate with your clients (and why shouldn’t you) you likely focus on generating new business. However, as you focus on marketing and prospecting, you may accumulate unnecessary files, leave outdated information online, and have a general level of disorganization. Since many advisors function as owner, salesperson, marketer, and receptionist, all in one, it can be easy to let your digital tools fall into disarray. To combat this, here are six simple digital marketing spring-cleaning tips.

Recalibrate Your Marketing Circuit

We’ve discussed before how digital marketing activities, and plans that incorporate digital elements, are more of circuits than funnels. As you tidy up your digital structures, now is a good time to look for redundancies and error points in your circuit. Perhaps some clients receive the same email over and over from your drip email campaign. Perhaps it has become difficult to identify where in your circuit a prospect is. Re-chart your circuit to make it as efficient as possible.

Update Your Information

Too often advisors, and other small businesses, obtain a website for their firm and let it sit. This can cause headaches down the line when you gain additional experiences, move locations, change phone numbers, or focus on a different area of planning. Make sure that information available—whether it’s a company/founder bio, email signature, or physical address—reflects the most up-to-date details about you and your business. In the same vein, check that your current information is accurate on online directories such as Google, Yelp, and YellowPages, and make sure that your social media platforms also reflect up-to-date information.

Manage Email Lists

Email can become a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy, which is why you should spend some time culling and filtering your lists. Whether you use a CRM platform, an email service provider like Campaign Monitor or MailChimp, or keep your capture emails in a Word document (not an especially good idea), segment contacts into categories that make sense to you. Perhaps you have a graded system for clients—A graded prospects get a certain type of emails, B graded get a different type of emails, etc.

Update Digital Design Elements

While it can be a good idea for your website to undergo a redesign every few years or so, you can spiff up your digital presence on shorter timeframes with some key updates to your digital design elements. Consider updating banner photos, profile pictures, color schemes, and other elements for a new look.

Check Links

Over time links can change for one reason or another. Comb through your website, your social media platforms, and your emails, and confirm that links route to where they are supposed to. Broken links or links to bad pages can erode confidence in your digital visitors.

Change Passwords

Look, nobody likes to change passwords constantly. Once you find a good password, you want to hang on to it—you don’t want to have to go through the forgot password loop of a platform. However, it is a good idea to change your passwords regularly—for your social media platforms and similar digital tools—as well as any systems relevant to your business. Consider how a simple security breach, whether it’s somebody guessing your LinkedIn password or accessing protected client information, can damage your company.

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Marketing Corner – 3 Key Ways to Dial In Your Target Market

3 Key Ways to Dial In Your Target Market

Having worked with many advisors and agents, we find that most financial professionals identify their target market through simple constraints, such as age and income. This is certainly understandable because these are two key pieces of information used when generating an illustration and determining possible solutions for a prospect. However, there are many other factors you should consider when targeting clients. Considering these other factors and broadening your approach will help you target better and generate more consistent results in your marketing. Here are three key points to consider when dialing-in your target market.

Multiple Ideal Client Types

There are multiple ideal client types in different kinds of product lines and consumer profiles. Make sure that you have a good grasp of who are looking for in these different categories. Also, think about the common denominator shared by all of these client types that you are looking for.

The Persona Profile

Many companies will develop and target their ideal client by giving a hypothetical prospect an identity, complete with name, age, needs, occupation, hobbies and sometimes a backstory. Developing a “persona profile” can be a good strategy to think of when trying to delve into the psychological identity of a prospect or client type, but you don’t necessarily have to go so far as to develop a whole fictional person. Rather think about your target market beyond “age” and “income” to access a better understanding of who your clients are and what they need. This will help to tailor your specific messages and identify potential client touchpoints.

For instance, let’s say you wish to target retirees, or soon to be retirees. You want to target someone with investable income, a hobby or interest that reflects not only their assets but also quality of life concerns, and a need to protect the sum of their life.

So we have:

Retiree – Concerned about financial planning or is open to a financial planning conversation
Hobbies/Interests – Likes cars and sports

Your message can be placed in specific targeted media, like a car magazine or website, and connect the idea of “running on empty” to their financial plan. This is a simplistic example, but it demonstrates how much further you can reach just by thinking about your client’s hobbies or interests.

Another example:

Let’s say we have someone who his greatly involved in their community and local charities. This person is likely concerned with wealth transfer issues, be it to the groups he or she supports or to their own family.

Mind you, this isn’t radical thinking, but that’s why it matters and why it works. Not only do you expand your idea of a target client beyond age and income, but also you already have a direction in developing and placing your message.

Another reason why thinking about the hobbies and interests of potential clients is helpful is that a person with a passion will likely understand the value of a good financial plan because money will mean more to them than money; it will be the means to access and maintain what is important to them. Individuals generally don’t see money as cold numbers and figures—they see what they can do with it. So getting away from a numbers and figures approach in targeting will make your messages hit harder.

Life Events

In the previous section, we are really discussing using what people do as a means of targeting. You can also use what people experience as a way to access them. This includes the whole arc of a prospect’s life and the financial concerns that someone experiences at each milestone.

A new parent not only has a shift in financial expenses but also a shift in priorities, which makes them a likely candidate for a cash value life insurance policy. A person approaching retirement will have a whole host of concerns and complicated financial needs—from coordinating employer-sponsored benefits and shoring up other retirement assets. This person may also have interest Social Security and estate solutions. A new job, the loss of a job, marriage, the death of a spouse, all of these are major events that have a need for financial services, whether the person experiencing them realizes it.

If you want to increase the ROI on your marketing and produce better results, you need a firm grasp of the market you are going for. The better you understand the variety of your prospects, beyond simple input values such as age and income, the more focused and powerful your marketing will become.

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Marketing Corner – Writing an Effective Blog Post (Revisited)

Marketing Corner – Friday February 24th, 2017

Writing an Effective Blog Post (Revisited)

Social media and content marketing have dramatically shaped online interactions and consumer relationships. As an advisor and small business owner, you may feel like this type of marketing and branding isn’t relevant to the success of your company. But in truth, it is. Content marketing allows you to reach out to prospects and clients in a unique way, compared to other forms of marketing like direct mail. It is cheap, efficient, and when employed properly, doesn’t require too much of a time commitment.

Here are ten best practices for creating an effective content marketing channel.

Write About Topics That Matter To You
Blogging presents an opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise and present information that reflects your experience and specialty. Writing on topics that you are passionate about will help keep you engaged with this form of content marketing.

Write About Topics That Matter To Your Audience
Knowing what will resonate with your audience is crucial with blogging—really with any kind of marketing. So write about concerns that affect individuals within your target market. What specific retirement or financial planning issues do they think about or should they think about? Discuss these issues and offer basic strategies to solve them.

Be Consistent
Many advisors will start a blog and then get swept up in the duties of running their practice. However, it is very important that you keep a regular schedule, as this will help to build a following and maintain momentum. Make sure to appropriate a portion of your time for blogging and content marketing. Even if you only do so for a few hours every couple of weeks, you should start to see traction as long as you maintain consistency.

Be Professional
Blogs can be used as informal messages from your company to your prospects and clients. Because of this, many people approach blogging very casually. While you do want to present your information in a humorous, perhaps loose tone, you should still create professional content that reflects well on you and your practice.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use “Voice”
One reason blogs can be so great at reaching out to your consumers is that you can present yourself as an actual human being. Establish a voice, speak informally, and break down complicated concepts in easy-to-understand terms. While this may seem to contradict the “Be Professional” point above, the important thing is balance. Don’t shy away from personality, but don’t be sloppy.

Balance Posts with Images and Related Videos
Content with images and short videos generally get more traction than those without. Seek out images and videos that enhance the points you are discussing. Make sure that you give proper attribution to sourced elements or use stock image services. If possible, create your own 1-2 minute short videos to illustrate core concepts within your blog post.

Adhere to Writing Basics
Just because it’s a blog, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t demonstrate quality writing. Use proper grammar, diction, and appropriate tone when publishing your pieces. Break up large chunks of text into easy to read paragraphs. Make sure your piece has an overall purpose. Give your reader a reason to finish the post.

Share/Syndicate Through Other Platforms
Not only should you host your latest post on your website, you should syndicate it through other platforms. Sharing your post on LinkedIn or Facebook can be great at reaching a targeted audience through your connections or specific groups. In addition to these social media platforms, syndicate your content through niche websites or forums.

Respond to Current Events or Other Articles
Draw on current events that may be of importance to your audience. Is there a policy change that may affect your prospects? Are there seasonal topics that may resonate with your audience (e.g. tax-time, life insurance awareness month)? Did you come across an article that illustrates an aspect of financial planning you feel strongly about? Use it as a discussion point. The more you can tie your pieces to current events and other sources, the more they will have immediate relevance and credibility.

Use SEO Tools To Make Your Pieces SEO-Friendly
Creating content on a regular schedule helps to optimize your website’s placement in search engine results. But you should also use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest to find keywords that will boost your SEO ranking.
With SEO keywords a good balance is key. You certainly do not want to ignore keywords that may raise your ranking, but you also do not want to stuff your articles with unnecessary iterations of keywords. The latter may, in fact, hurt your web ranking.

**This post is part of Legacy Financial Partners’ ongoing Marketing Corner, a space that offers advisors short sales ideas, yellow-pad concepts, and alerts to aid advisors in lead conversion, marketing, and client relationship building.

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Marketing Corner – Four Key Components of a Strong Digital Marketing Campaign

Marketing Corner – Wednesday February 15th, 2017

Four Key Components of a Strong Digital Marketing Campaign

As digital solutions become more and more relevant to financial advisors and agents, you may be interested in your own digital campaigns. This is especially true when you consider how many potential consumers (yes, even Baby Boomers) are engaged in a variety of digital media. From building an email pipeline, to marketing an upcoming event like a seminar, to drawing eyes to your base website, digital marketing campaigns can become a vital part of your business. Here are four components of a strong digital marketing campaign.

Eye-Catching Display Ads

Display ads are available on many digital platforms, such as Google (AdWords), Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. While the actual implementation of ads can be less than intuitive, these platforms generally offer inexpensive entry points for their display PPC campaigns. (We’ll discuss budget below). Your display ads should be eye-catching, relevant, and smooth-looking. There is certainly some difficulty in crafting effective display ads, given how little space you generally have to work with, which is why you may want to run two or three ad variations.

Other tips:

  • Facebook’s display ads will limit you to roughly 20% text in the image, with the idea that supporting text should be placed with the post for the ad.
  • When using AdWords, use three-four common ad sizes (i.e. full width, skyscraper)

A Good Marketing Budget

Many digital marketing solutions are low-cost or even free. You may incur some cost for subscription to a good email service manager or CRM. PPC campaigns will obviously involve some marketing spend. Usually, you’ll be able to set your budget as low or as high as you wish. But given that you bidding against other marketers, you should consider a healthy budget. Just like any budget, you are dealing with both money and time. A $100 spent over ten days will likely get you different results than $100 spent over one or two days. What will be the best budget for your campaign? That will all depend on your objectives and methods. Search campaigns, versus display ads, will often involve higher costs per clicks, since there may be more competition on specific intent keywords. You may wish to passively market, (what we often refer to as ambient marketing) with a low budget spread over a long period of time. You may wish to more aggressively market, with a higher spend in a shorter time (as is common for marketing events or seminars). Use the first few days of your campaign to evaluate and adjust.

A Great Landing Page

Last week we discussed five elements of a strong landing page. The point of a landing page is to provide consumers with a quick snapshot of your services, often built around a give or single topic. So make sure that the landing page incorporates appropriate web design best practices, has strong calls to action, and includes a form-submittal (since, in most cases, you are likely trying to capture consumer information to begin with).

Strong Digital Presence

While many digital campaigns will be built around the display ad to landing page to contact form model, your base website and social media profiles are still very important—especially if you link your base website or build the landing page within your company page. If a consumer is interested in your give—they did click on an ad to get your landing page after all—they will likely research other aspects of your digital presence. This means that your base website is clear, modern, and informative. This means that your social media profiles are claimed, with recent relevant posts and engagement. If your base website is outdated, you may want to overhaul it before committing yourself to a digital campaign. Likewise, if your social media is lacking (or non-existent) you may want to consider ramping up before a campaign.

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Marketing Corner – Five Key Components of A Strong Landing Page

Marketing Corner – Wednesday February 8th, 2017

Five Key Components of A Strong Landing Page

Landing pages are an effective digital marketing tool for capturing information and enticing consumers with a give. But often when advisors try to employ a landing page strategy, they misunderstand the purpose of these mini-sites. To help, here are five components of a killer landing page.

Focused Around A Single Topic, Message, or Give

One of the biggest mistakes advisors use when employing landing pages is trying to make them do too much. Ideally, a landing page website is a one or two-page website built around a single topic. It can have links or resources, so long as they relate to the main topic—but otherwise, everything about the site should inspire a consumer to submit contact information. So if you are marketing around a complimentary annuity rate report, the content on the webpage should focus on annuities, even if you have aptitude and abilities in other areas of financial planning.

Clear Layout With Easy To Read Text

The point of a landing page is to offer information or gives in a clear and uncluttered way. This means that the layout of your page should be as simple as possible. The copy text will likely be bigger than you would have on a base website since you have more space to fill and you want your key points to stand out. Use strong headlines to reinforce the purpose or value proposition of the landing page.

Strong Calls To Action

If your objective is to capture consumer information, make sure the calls to action are strong. This means that buttons and button text stand out, submission forms are clear and welcoming, and the give is actually something a consumer in your target market will want.

Succinct and Relevant Copy

The art of good copy on a landing page can be a tricky one to master. On the one hand, you want to offer educational information that gives consumers helpful details to make informed decisions. On the other hand, you want them to call, email, or submit a form. So a balance needs to be struck between non-sales education information and sales-like calls to action/value proposition. And this is something you have to do with a very low word count, often in the 150-300 word count range. But it is possible if you keep coming back to the main purpose of your landing page

Branding

While there may be some situations where you’ll want to keep the landing page separate from your base brand identity, having links, logos, and contact information for your main digital properties can inspire confidence in your consumers. This may also serve to attract individuals that may not be interested in the landing page topic but are responsive to other services you highlight on your main page.

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Marketing Corner – 5 Reasons Your Website Is Turning Away Consumers

Marketing Corner – Wednesday February 1st, 2017

5 Reasons Your Website Is Turning Away Consumers

You already know just how important a website is to your business. But most advisors, if they have a website, use it as a digital business card, and not a central hub to engage consumers. A good website works as both a passive and active marketing tool—consumers can stumble across your digital properties and get a sense of your value (passive) and they can be driven to the site by direct means such as content syndication, display advertising, and email marketing (active).

Think about websites that you visit—what inspires confidence in the services and expertise promised? What takes you, the advisor, from casual visitor to client? While you likely want to focus more on the activities that you are great at—engaging consumers face-to-face, belly-to-belly, in the field—you should appreciate how a good website is utterly critical for the success of your business.

Here are five reasons your website is turning away consumers.

You Don’t Have Fresh, Relevant Content

Every good website will have some element of a content marketing strategy. Consumers need to have a clear understanding of the services you provide and why you, off all firms, are right for them. But content should go beyond static product/services pages—there should be a pipeline of new, current content that gets placed on your site. This helps for a number of reasons. One, since fresh content is a ranking signal for many search engines, a regular stream of content can help with SEO, often with minimal effort. Two, it demonstrates your competency and expertise across many areas of financial planning. Three, related to the second point, relevant content across multiple topics opens you to a variety of consumers.

Your Website Is Poorly Designed

There are some areas of design that are subjective and tied to taste. However, your website should have some basics covered, such as:

• Logical root/page structure
• Pleasing (not distracting) color scheme
• Modern and professional fonts (no Papyrus, no Comic Sans, etc.)
• Clear and easy to read text (remember that many of your consumers are Boomers/Seniors)
• Responsiveness, meaning the site looks good on desktops as well as tablets and mobile devices
• Appropriately sized pictures, logos, and banners (not pixelated)
• Easy to find contact information

Your Website Is Too Salesy

A pinch of sales language isn’t a terrible thing to have on your website, but if your home page looks like a penny-saver ad for a used-car lot, you are going to turn off a lot of people seeking an experienced financial professional. Don’t be afraid to clearly and confidently state your value proposition, but be sure to back it up with friendly, professional, and educational content.

Your Website Lacks A Personal Touch

A personal touch can go a long way in separating you from your competitors and conveying a human approach to financial planning. Without going overboard (no one needs to see a thousand photos of your grandchild or dog) include photos/headshots of you and your family. Show your office. Incorporate visuals specific to your area.

Your Website is Outdated

Here “outdated” applies to a couple areas of your website.

Content
Your bio/about us should reflect up to date information, meaning that if you have been in the business since 2002, and you state that your firm has nearly a decade’s worth of experience, you are missing some years that can lend greater credibility. If your content references policies and procedures that have been since updated, you will not be seen as a valuable resource.

Web Design
Outdated web design includes elements or styles that are no longer current (clip art, 90s era graphics, 90s era layout) and platforms and hosting that don’t match with modern web standards (responsiveness, back-end elements, etc.).

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Marketing Corner – 6 Reasons Your Direct Mail Campaign Goes Bust

Marketing Corner – Wednesday January 25th, 2017

6 Reasons Your Direct Mail Campaign Goes Bust

We’ve said it before: even in our digitally-driven world, direct mail is still an effective marketing tool. From holiday cards, to promoting a seminar, to marketing your services, direct mail has a power and impact that some other solutions don’t have. Many advisors dipped their toes into direct mail and have been disappointed with their returns. Here are six reasons your direct mail campaign goes bust.

Your Targeting Isn’t Dialed In

Most mail houses offer targeting with their services, included in a base package or for additional costs. You provide them a set of filters—age, income, topic, etc.—and they build a list. A weak direct mail response rate can be due to improper filters and a misunderstanding of your target market demographics. It may be that you need to expand a radius or you need to adjust your age ranges. It will all depend. The more dialed in—the more you understand your target consumer profile—the more likely that your message will reach the right people.

Your Message Is Unclear

Your message should speak directly and uniquely to your target market, with design elements that compliment your overall goal. Many mail houses will have proven standard templates that can be adjusted for your campaigns. However, a too generic message may not work for all target markets. Make adjustments appropriately and judiciously. Be as direct as possible with regards to what you are offering and why consumers should reach out to you.

You Need More Due Diligence With The Direct Mail Vendor

When you first inquire about counts and pricing, make sure to ask detailed questions. If you simply ask for an average response rate on a particular mailer, the vendor may provide you national averages—when what you are really interested in are the local averages. The more detailed you are with your questions—whether about pricing, averages, customization, etc.—the more the vendor can work with you to build the best campaign possible.

You Don’t Incorporate Additional Marketing Activities

It’s important to remember that while direct mail can be effective for attracting certain consumer types, it is only one marketing activity. A good marketing mix will include several platforms that all point to the same direction. You can enhance your direct mail campaign with any number of simple marketing activities, like e-blasts, flyering, or digital display advertising. Structured and executed correctly, these additional marketing activities can reach many of the same individuals in your direct mail target list. This is what Legacy Financial Partners has developed with our Enhanced Tactical Marketing program.

You Don’t Consider The Timing Of The Mail Drop

Timing is very important when issuing pieces of direct mail. In general, you’ll want to avoid weekends and high-profile holidays. But timing goes beyond this. You should be aware of the events happening in your community that might eat into your responses.

Your Campaign Isn’t Being Done At A High Enough Volume Or Frequency

You may think that you can try a thousand or two-thousand piece mail campaign and get a proportionate result of a five-thousand or ten-thousand campaign. But you have to conduct campaigns in large enough volumes or with enough frequency that the law of averages has a chance to play out.

So if a mail house reports that a mailer typically gets a 2% response rate and you purchase 1000 pieces, you may think that you can expect 20 individuals (or buying units) to make an appointment or come to your seminar. 20 people or households is not a bad audience if you think you can get a hold of every single one, can make appointments with every single one, and can clear business with every single one.

But the reality is that from response to conversion, your pool of buying units will dwindle. In this scenario, if your pool reduces by half each step, you are left with 2.5 buying units. (20 responses, able to contact 10, get 5 to come to seminar or make appointments, clear 2.5 units worth of casework.) This scenario uses consistent numbers for the sake of simple illustration—the attrition from your pool of respondents can be higher or lower and won’t likely be a perfect percentage reduction.

Most mail houses won’t recommend campaigns below 2,500 pieces and will caution you to hedge your expectations should you choose to do a low number. You could hope that additional marketing activities can boost the impact of a low-piece mailer, but even this will have a threshold of effectiveness. And sometimes mail campaigns go sideways for factors outside any one’s control—which is why frequency comes in to play.

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