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WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS WHITE PAPER
 

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS WHITE PAPER

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    WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS WHITE PAPER WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS WHITE PAPER Document Transcript

    • Contents WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS WHITE PAPER What You Will It can be difficult to develop a client base as a financial advisor in the Denver Learn..................... 1 Metro area, especially if you’re just starting out. Traditional marketing methods Marketing Plans are frustrating and oftentimes fruitless for financial professionals without for Denver marketing experience. If you’re like most business owners, you’d rather focus on Financial servicing your clients and running your business as opposed to conducting Advisors…………. 2 marketing activities. The answer to your marketing woes: Online Marketing. Online Marketing Online Marketing Components……… 3 through search engines is the most cost effective marketing approach for most Denver businesses. Local Search…………….. 4 This paper will teach you the following about Online Marketing: Paid Actions you can take TODAY to improve your search engine rankings Search………......... 6 The 3 main components of Online Marketing through search engines and how each will bring you clients Organic How to identify – and avoid - online directories that will likely do nothing Search…………….. 8 but drain your marketing budget How to design your website to turn more website visitors into clients Online Marketing Pitfalls………......... 10 Web Design Tips… 12 Getting Started…. 14
    • 2 MARKETING PLANS FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS Do you have a marketing plan? Financial Advisor marketing plans should contain the following general areas1: A current Look at the State of Your Financial Advisory Practice Business Goals Target Clients Marketing Strategies to Meet Business Goals Budget for all activities, including marketing This paper will address marketing strategies for your Financial Advisory business – specifically the benefits of Online Marketing. As shown in Figure 1, Online Marketing through search engines provides the greatest Return on Investment (ROI) for your marketing dollars, and can reach your target clients much more effectively than traditional forms of advertising. The cornerstone of any financial advisory business marketing plan must be online marketing. Online marketing with search engines provides a much better ROI and a lower cost per lead than traditional forms of advertising. Figure 1: Cost Per Lead for Online Marketing Search vs. Traditional Forms of Advertising2 1 Entrepreneur.com Small Business Encyclopedia 2 US Bancorp Piper Jaffray Research
    • 3 ONLINE MARKETING COMPONENTS All financial advisors need to be aware of the three major online marketing components. All 3 components can and should be used to generate business clients. Each of these components is described in depth in Figure 2. To illustrate, when searching for “Denver Financial Advisors”, within the search results, there are 3 distinct areas where your financial advisory business can appear: Local Search Paid Search Organic Search To have a truly effective Online Marketing Campaign, you need to focus on getting visibility for your Financial Advisory business within each of the three major areas of Search: Local, Organic, and Paid. Figure 2: Google Search Results for “Denver Financial Advisors”
    • 4 LOCAL SEARCH One of the easiest ways to get your listings to appear in search engine results is to take control of your local search listings in Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. This is a great first step to immediately increase your chances of bringing in business from the Internet. The Local Search Results for Google “Denver Financial Advisors” are featured in Figure 3. Local Search appears near the top of the search engine results and provides a link directly to your home page. It is free and all financial professionals looking to promote themselves need to get listed in Local Search. Figure 3: Google Local Search Results The search for “Denver Financial Advisors” yields many results for financial advisors within Denver. Their location is noted by the letters both on the list, and on the map. When you are on an actual search engine results page, clicking on the links will take you directly to the financial advisor’s website (if they have
    • 5 one). You can take a look at the current search engine results for “Denver Financial Advisors on your own computer by clicking here. All of the major search engines have a local search component and you should ensure that your website is listed within each one. Local Search Advantages: It is FREE Local search results appear at the top of the results page (just below the sponsored listings) You can upload detailed information about your financial practice including an overview, photos, web page link, services offered and much, much more Local Search Disadvantages None – You need to sign up for this right now To take control of your local search listing now at the three major search engines All 3 major search by clicking on the links below: engines will allow you to submit your firm Google: http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter?gl=US&hl=en-US information to local search. Get started Yahoo: http://listings.local.yahoo.com/csubmit/index.php now with these links. Microsoft: https://ssl.search.live.com/listings/BusinessSearch.aspx The Bottom Line on Local Search    Free and easy way to get a presence with major search engines  Potential to bring in clients for relatively little effort  A must for advisors who wish to promote their services online   
    • 6 PAID SEARCH Paid search advertisements can be purchased by any organization, and when an ad is clicked, the advertiser pays the search engine. As shown in Figure 4, paid advertisements appear to the right – and sometimes at the top - of the search results in all major search engines. Paid Search is the quickest way to get a visible link to your website from within search engine results. Although it will cost money for each click, it is the quickest way to bring traffic to your website. Figure 4: Paid Search Results Paid search involves establishing an account with the major search engine providers to have specific ads appear based on various search terms. Users clicking your ad are taken directly to your website. Paid ads receive somewhere between 15%-30% of all clicks on the search engine results page.3 3 ComScore Estimate
    • 7 Unlike other forms of Paid Search advertising differs from traditional advertising methods because advertising, users are the advertising is highly targeted. Traditional advertising – like direct mail actively seeking your and TV ads – interrupt the user and are almost always ignored and rejected. services with paid With paid search advertising, you get hot leads. A person has a financial search – making it planning issue that needs solving, they type in a search term, and your much more likely to advertisement appears. They click on your ad and arrive at your website - generate hot leads ready to be converted into a client. than traditional forms Paid Search Advantages: of advertising Easy to sign up and get started You control what search terms trigger your advertisement You control your ad “rank” in the sponsored links area Quick way to get traffic to your website Highly targeted prospects delivered to your website Paid Search Disadvantages Do your homework Steep learning curve to do it right before engaging in Can be complex paid search – part of Time consuming your research should You can lose money quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing include repeated visits to our completely free To get started with paid search, use the following links below. “Denver Online Google: https://adwords.google.com Marketing Blog” Yahoo: http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com Microsoft: http://adcenter.microsoft.com The Bottom Line on Paid Search    The quickest way to get prospective clients to your website  Easy to get started and get a presence with search engines  You can burn through a lot of money with poor results if you don’t do  your homework prior to buying paid search ads 
    • 8 ORGANIC SEARCH More users click on organic search result links than any other, making it the holy grail of search marketing. Keeping with our example search term of “Denver Financial Advisors”, please see the organic search results in Figure 5. Figure 5: Google Organic Search Results Although only a few results are shown in the above screen capture, listings continue on for many pages. Organic listings appear on the left side in the major search engines, below any sponsored ads or local search results. While 15%-30% of all user clicks are for paid search results, the remaining Most users click on 70%-85% of clicks are for organic listings. It is great to be listed here, and it is Organic Search results often times possible, depending on what search terms you want your financial advisor website to be ranked near the top.
    • 9 To do well with So, if you want to rank highly for “Denver Financial Advisors” in the organic Organic Search, listings, your site will need to be recognized by search engine algorithms as Google must recognize being highly relevant for the given search term . So, your web site (or a given your web site as a high page on your site featuring the search term) should have a lot of good information quality site with relative to the search term. So good in fact, that other websites use your Denver relevant content for the Financial Advisors web page as a reference and link to it. terms being searched The keys to doing well in organic search are having great, popular content that is used frequently by others. Having a blog right on your site is a great start. Organic Search Advantages: It is completely free The majority of users click on organic search links Organic Search Disadvantages You need to be constantly aware of industry trends and apparent changes in search engine algorithms You’ll need to have some sort of computer programming help to make sure that your website is properly coded You’ll need to keep your website consistently updated with fresh, relevant information to make sure that search engines recognize your website as an authority Even if you do everything right, organic search engine rankings take a long time to improve The Bottom Line on Organic Search    An essential part of your online marketing strategy  Very time consuming –your website must be an authority for your  specific areas of practice  Results take a while to materialize – you won’t jump to #1 instantly   
    • 10 ONLINE MARKETING PITFALLS This white paper primarily deals with online marketing through search engines – There are other by far the most effective way to market your business online. But there are other options for your online methods – including online paid directories – where you can market your marketing budget business. But are they worth it? besides search engines, but many of How are People Going to Find Your Financial Advisor Website? these alternatives receive a fraction of the I frequently give online marketing presentations to business groups in the Denver traffic and will likely Metro area. During my presentations, I put the audience members into the not- not yield a positive so-hypothetical position of looking for a Denver professional (attorney, plumber, return on investment. landscaper - whatever). Then I ask for a show of hands of how the audience members would go about finding a Denver area professional in various ways. How many would use Google? How many would use Yahoo? How many would use Microsoft (or MSN)? How many would use DexKnows.com? How many would use YellowPages.com? The overwhelming majority raise their hands for Google. Many hands still remain up for Yahoo – and Microsoft. Only very rarely does an audience member raise their hand for DexKnows.com or YellowPages.com. Don’t Spend Money At Low Ranking Websites According to Alexa.com, major search engine traffic is far more significant than online paid directories (see Figure 6):
    • 11 Your online marketing Web Site Alexa.com Internet Traffic Rank4 budget needs to focus on where people are Yahoo.com 1 actually searching for your services – the Google.com 2 major search engines – YellowPages.com 770 as opposed to regional or national directories DexKnows.com 6,606 that get much lower volumes of traffic. Figure 6: Traffic Rank of Major Search Engines vs. Local/Regional Directory Websites Where do you want your financial advisor marketing message to appear? My informal polling as well as Alexa data indicates the overwhelming majority of Denver searches begin at a major search engine like Yahoo or Google. Extremely High Cost For Very Little Return A small business owner in Eagle County revealed to me that he paid $12,000 to be listed in a phone book company’s online directory for 1 year, and it generated just ONE client. It was essentially a waste of precious marketing dollars. The Bottom Line on Online Marketing Pitfalls    Everyone uses major search engines, so advertise on Google, Yahoo,  and Microsoft  Don’t advertise on unpopular websites  Online directories may not be worth the money – do your homework  prior to investing your marketing budget  4 Alexa.com Search May, 2008
    • 12 WEB SITE DESIGN TIPS By getting more familiar with the search engine strategies presented in this white paper (Local, Organic, Paid), you’ll have the capability to bring more visitors to your website. But this isn’t enough. Entire books have been written about what to do when a visitor reaches your website. How do you convert this hot lead into a client? Obviously, you can’t take advantage of online marketing techniques unless you have an online presence. Therefore, you MUST have a website. Your website must The primary goal of your financial advisory website is to have the single goal of generate business. generating business for your practice. Any It is just that simple. You build a website to generate business for your advisory website items that practice. Many financial professional websites don’t have a clearly defined don’t contribute to this objective at all – to their detriment. They are disorganized, difficult to navigate, goal are distractions and focus on firm accolades and services rather than on generating business. and should be eliminated. To generate business, your website must focus solely on your visitors In order for your Business is generated through your clients, therefore the entire website must be website to generate crafted from the client perspective. If you use the Search Engine techniques business, the website described in the previous sections, it is likely that the majority of the visitors to must be designed your website have arrived at your site after conducting a search for a specific around the site visitors service that you offer. You must not disappoint them. and must demonstrate Who is your typical website visitor? that your business can help solve their Someone that knows what they’re looking for, and they want to find it fast. If you financial planning don’t give them what they need quickly, they’ll find another advisor website that dilemmas. will. In order to accommodate these impatient users, your website must: Have a clean, compelling, modern design Be clear of distractions (like flash or any type of animation) Be free of extraneous information
    • 13 In other words, provide only information on your website that is pertinent to the visitors that you would like to convert into clients. Anything else gets in the way of this conversion process. Web Site Design Tips If your financial advisor website wins website design awards, you’re probably doing something wrong. The average website visitor decides within 50 milliseconds whether or not they’re going to even bother looking through the pages of your website. For your website to be effective, it must: Think up-to-date and well structured website Look contemporary – like it was designed within the past year or two design. You don’t want Compare favorably to the competition a flashy, gimmicky, or Be very easy for the visitor to navigate distracting website. Be very easy for the visitor to find what they need This will just irritate Be free of clutter visitors and they’ll look Be free of motion, animation, and Flash elsewhere. Your website doesn’t have to be an award winning or cutting edge design. Usually this is a bad idea. Your site needs to be pleasing to the eye and easy for site visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for. The Bottom Line on Your Website Design    Your website needs to look professional and up to date   Design the website for the prospective clients that visit your website.  Make it easy for them to find the information that they're looking for 
    • 14 GETTING STARTED You are now familiar with the online marketing techniques that are available to you – as a financial advisor – to successfully market your services and bring prospects to your website. There are two paths that you can take to promote your business online: Do It Yourself If you have a technical aptitude and love computers, you may be interested in No matter what path doing it yourself. I have many free resources, tips, tricks, and how to advice on you choose, the the Denver Online Marketing Blog at Database Watchdog that can assist you in “Denver Online getting started. You can also e-mail or call me (contact info is below), and I Marketing Blog” can should be able to answer any questions that you have. be a tremendous asset in your online Get Some Help marketing pursuits. Many advisors would rather not deal with marketing efforts and would prefer to focus on servicing their clients. For these financial advisors, outsourcing online marketing activities makes the most sense. I have the ability to relieve these advisors of the burden of marketing online, freeing up their time so they can focus on their core business. I provide a free one hour consultation for all financial advisors. I would be happy to describe these online marketing techniques in more depth help you further explore how new business can be driven your way through the Internet. Contact Information If you’re interested in a free consultation – or if you just have questions about Internet marketing, please contact me. Frank Salvatore Database Watchdog, LLC fsalvatore@databasewatchdog.com 303.909.2696 http://www.databasewatchdog.com