Do I Really Need Email Marketing?

It is a common misconception that email is a “prehistoric” method for marketing purposes, and communication in general. While other marketing tools such as social media, paid search, and content are all imperative aspects to any overall marketing campaign, eblasts are often an untapped resource which can result in a missed opportunity for your business. Below, we’ll discuss five important reasons your business cannot go another day without email.

Simple To Track And Measure

When you send an eblast, you have the opportunity to analyze which types of content are performing well by seeing data on how many people are opening, reading, and visiting your site from each campaign. This is important when determining which topics are more popular to readers and what the ultimate return on investment is. As messaging, calls to action, and subject lines are edited, the option becomes available to see what is working and where adjustments need to be made.

Email Content Is Shareable

Not only can recipients of your eblasts forward your messaging to their family, friends, and coworkers, but there is also the option to share email content on social media. This automatically increases your reach far beyond your initial email list.

Stay Top Of Mind

There are strategic ways of not being “over the top” or “annoying,” but just staying top of mind and offering value to email recipients. Creating engaging and informative content and delivering it properly is a great way to not be forgotten by potential customers.

Target Specific Audiences

Because different audiences require different messaging, it’s not a secret that email marketing is not “cookie-cutter,” but more a tool used to segment different audiences and communicate appropriately to the right people, making it a very personal approach which can strengthen the relationship between a company and it’s public.

Drive Traffic

Not only is it important to include a link to your website in your eblast, but including a call to action can also drive traffic to your website as well. Providing your readers with a clear message on how and why they should visit your site, and making it easy for them to get there is an excellent way to increase web traffic.

Three Benefits of Having a Mobile Friendly Website

Sometimes, the idea of hiring someone to design your company website can feel like a daunting, unnecessary expense when your daughter’s boyfriend’s sister built the website for her fashion blog and says she can do yours for a fraction of the price.

The truth is, your website is the center of your entire online presence and without a site that is fully functional and user friendly across all platforms, you’re not only losing web traffic, but you’re leaving money on the table as well. Our team has found three important reasons why it is vital that your business has a mobile friendly website. In addition to the fact that, well, everyone surfs the web on their smartphone these days.

Improved User Experience

Without a positive user experience, your business will never reach its full potential. Because the vast majority of your potential buyers will look up your website before making a purchase (and many will find you via your website in the first place), it is important that you provide something that is clean, simple, and aesthetically pleasing. As we like to say, “the less clicks, the better.”

Streamlined Experience Across Devices

If the desktop version of your website feels completely different than the mobile version of your website, frequent visitors will become confused and discouraged. Due to the fast-paced, instant gratification world that we live in today, your potential customers are not going to search around your site and deal with slow downloads – they are just going to leave your site entirely. Having a well streamlined experience across all devices allows web traffic to become familiar with interacting with your brand and will find it easier to utilize your site, encouraging them to come back soon.

Improve Sales

It is no secret: a website that is easy to use, will generate more revenue than a website that is difficult to use. While circling back to the “user experience” element, it is pivotal that as a business owner you are making an effort to drive sales from all angles, and in this digital age, your website is an excellent place to start.

Three Best Practices Of Engagement On Facebook For Business Owners

As a business owner, Facebook can be overwhelming and confusing, sometimes resulting in the overall absence of engagement. We’ve decided on three main best practices that are important for a business owner to consistently engage with their audience.

Curate Informational Content

When posting and sharing content, make sure that it is informational and represents you as a well-rounded resource. For example, posting content related to life as an entrepreneur, productivity tips, or networking tips can be helpful as opposed to only posting product-focused content. Additionally, you may want to curate content that is relevant and educational in your industry as well. Remember that although we may feel inclined to “hard sell” and be promotional on Facebook 100% of the time, it is more important to brand yourself as a credible resource instead of trying to generate leads.

Do Not Remain Silent

It is easy to ignore or not pay attention to those who comment on or review your products or services, but it is imperative that you always respond with grace and professionalism. When someone posts a positive comment, you should respond with gratitude. When someone posts a negative comment, you should respond in a calm and collected manner that provides excellent customer service, but also ensures that the integrity of your brand is protected. Always remember that when you are responding to a comment or review, that you are actually responding to your entire audience and not just that one person in particular.

Support Others In Your Network

Supporting others in your network and even within your industry creates a professional relationship that has the potential to develop into a referral partnership. As an example, supporting and sharing the successes of someone in your industry who you may see as a competitor may be beneficial to you down the road if that individual networks with someone they are unable to service, but you are. Supporting others and having a “givers mentality” on Facebook will put you in a better position to build referral sources within your online community.

Three Personal LinkedIn Tips You Might Not Know About

When using personal LinkedIn, many know to update their profile photo, add their experience, enter a headline, and start connecting with others in their industry, or their industry of interest. What many don’t know, though, is that there are other actions that one can take to establish an even stronger brand and build more relationships.

Send Custom Connection Requests

When sending a connection request, LinkedIn provides the option to send a small message. Because of the high volume of connection requests many professionals receive on a daily basis, it is helpful to include a short, personalized note. This is especially helpful when connecting with someone you are particularly interested in building a relationship with or doing business with. For example, if you are a Commercial Loan Broker, and are interested in connecting with a Commercial Real Estate Agent, an appropriate message could look something like this: “Hello (name), I noticed that share a common interest in commercial real estate and thought it would be mutually beneficial to connect. Have a great rest of your day!” This small but customized message could increase the chances of sparking a conversation and provide the opportunity to network.

Publish Pulse Articles

A LinkedIn pulse article establishes your credibility as a business owner and proves your knowledge of your industry. We recommend that at least once per month, you write a post regarding a topic in your industry. Posts do not need to be more than 350-500 words, but are important in establishing to your audience that you understand your craft, and are passionate about sharing your knowledge with your network. With each pulse article, it is always helpful to include an image, even if it is a stock image off of a website such as Pexels.

Join Strategic Groups

Groups on LinkedIn are a digital community where individuals with a common interest interact and bounce ideas of off one another. Joining groups that are in your specific industry, or an industry you’d like to network in, is a fantastic way to connect with and learn from people who you may not have otherwise. It may also be helpful to post your pulse articles into an appropriate or industry-relevant group as well, as a way to establish credibility and provide insight to the other members.

5 Reasons Your Business Needs Social Media

If you haven’t considered social media for your business, 2019 is the year to understand why it is so important. With more than half the world using social media to engage with brands, it is imperative to have a well respected presence online. We’ve established five key reasons why social media for your business is an effective, inexpensive tool.

Humanize Your Brand

A solid online presence for a company includes multiple business social media pages, in addition to personal social media accounts for business owners and staff, such as Linkedin. This allows for potential customers and buyers to not only research your company and your products, but the individuals behind it as well as their credentials.

Stay Top of Mind

The majority of social media users log into their social accounts at least once a day, thus giving you an opportunity to get in front of your audience daily. Not only does this provide helpful information and resources to your followers and your community, but it also keeps them thinking about you.

Social Proof

Because social media allows us to engage so freely through comments, images, videos, and ideas, it allows potential customers to see how your products or services have worked for others. Positive reviews and engagement over time can be extremely persuasive to someone who is on the fence about doing business with you.

Customer Service

Social media is a very effective way to provide exceptional customer service. Whenever a negative or controversial review or comment is posted to your social media page, you are given an opportunity to provide customer service that will not only be seen by the person who posted it, but everyone else who comes to your page for information about your brand. It is important to remember that you are not just replying to someone who had a negative experience, but you are essentially also replying to your current and future buyers as well.

Crisis Communication

In the event that your brand does make a mistake, social media allows a business to get out in front of the situation and strategically communicate to its audience exactly what occurred, and what the company is doing to combat the issue. This creates a trustworthy and open relationship between an organization and the public, where followers have the ability to comment and ask questions. It is important to engage back with your community in a clear, honest, and positive manner to ensure that trust and integrity are not compromised.

Although some may find social media to be a burden or a waste of time, it is important to understand how it can be leveraged as a way to add value to your business and overall consumer experience.

How To Successfully Promote Your Brand Through Social Media and Content Marketing

By: Alex Vasilakos, Director of Marketing

The growth of your financial brand depends on attracting and retaining clients. In the modern market, some of the most successful strategies center on targeted content and social media marketing. If you’re ready to make this marketing strategy work for your financial brand, here are some powerful tips to improve your chances of success.

Why Social Media Marketing Is Important

First, it’s important to understand where there is room for improvement in terms of social media and content marketing. While many other industries have successfully navigated social media and developed effective sales content, the financial industry as a whole has been reluctant to move away from more traditional marketing methods, such as print. One of the challenges with traditional sales campaigns is that they can’t be effectively tracked or analyzed. However, targeting your audience through social media can be extremely effective. Most of your potential clients are already spending time online, so it’s wise to engage with them there instead of waiting for them to stumble on your website or find a print ad or a direct mail piece that you sent to them.

Benefits of Targeting Content Marketing

A modern content and social media marketing strategy offers many potential benefits, including:

• Aligning advertising budgets with consumer behavior

• Targeting potential clients accurately

• Efficiently generating leads

• Providing platform for developing relationships

Make Paid Promotion Work for You

The days of being able to connect with potential clients organically through Facebook and Twitter are a distant memory. Modern social media feeds continue to fill up with paid promotional content, so if you want to make sure your audience has the chance to see your posts, you need to invest in sponsored content. The upside of this trend toward paid content is that it offers advertisers an array of effective targeting techniques. Whether you are thinking of using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or another platform, you can get access to consumer data to help you truly understand your target demographic and tailor your content for maximum impact.

What demographic do you want to target? The data collected and analyzed by social media platforms can provide you access to any number of specific groups. Maybe you want to promote your factoring product or ABL program to businesses or individuals that have recently opened a business. Perhaps you are working on winning clients who are established businesses and potentially focus your efforts on targeting referral partners. You could develop sponsored content about a specific niche industry and how factoring can help cash flow during down time or when there is an upswing in orders.

There are numerous other options for targeted content. With all the useful data social media platforms have available, you can consider several targeted marketing campaigns, such as:

• Purchasing receivables for staffing companies

• Cash flow solutions that can help the renewable energy space

• Companies struggling to make payroll because they have open invoices

Improve Collaboration Between Your Sales and Marketing Teams

Although your sales and marketing teams may communicate every so often, it’s far better to have them actively collaborate on content and social media marketing strategies. Sharing ideas and reviewing data together can ensure both teams understand the goals of each campaign and the best way to reach them. Proactive collaboration can help everyone agree on how to define a good lead and what sort of metrics to use to determine success.

Ensure Sales Content Matches Your Target Audience’s Expectations

The more customized you can make your content, the better chance you have of making a strong connection with potential customers. A stronger connection means there is a better chance of converting that targeted individual into a client. By its nature, social media encourages users to desire a completely personalized experience, even in terms of advertising. When a customer feels like your post speaks directly to him or her, he or she is much more likely to pay attention and engage with the content.

However, developing unique, customized content can be challenging. Not only do you need to take into account different personalities and ages, you also need to tailor your content to fit the potential client’s location in the sales funnel. Content designed for an initial connection with a client should look different than content designed to close a deal. The quality of your posts is also important. People will likely ignore social media content that reads like a high-pressure sales pitch. Instead, focus on creating valuable, helpful posts that help your target audience feel like your company is both knowledgeable and caring.

Put It All Together

What does effective, valuable content look like? It depends on the target audience. For example, if you are creating a campaign to help improve cash flow for a business with factoring, your content should evolve based on your client’s situation. Your initial contact with your potential client should focus mostly on improving brand awareness and providing helpful information. You want the client to be aware of your services as he or she is considering the pros and cons of different alternative lending solutions.

As you continue to target this client with customized marketing content, your focus can move from brand awareness to the reasons he or she should choose your institution as an alternative financial solutions provider. You may want to focus on your turnaround time, recourse vs non-recourse options, or negotiating better terms with suppliers or take advantage of early payment discounts. Once you have succeeded in converting this targeted individual into a client, you can also promote your other financial products (if you have ones beyond just ABL and factoring), such as equipment financing, commercial real estate, or business term loans.

An effective social media marketing campaign can help you convert and retain clients. When you understand how to correctly engage with your target demographic and ensure your sales and marketing teams are working together, your content has a better chance of success.

https://www.factoring.org/files/commercial_factor08-18.pdf

Social Media

Switching Gears with Facebook’s Algorithm Updates

You might have heard about recent Facebook changes. If you haven’t, they were pretty significant; especially for us marketers. Some may say it’s a branding mystery and others might be down right frustrated. The good news? With a few strategy detours and some positive thinking, your businesses will not be on death row.

Concerns about advertising and posting on your company pages skyrocketed following Facebook master Mark Zuckerberg’s big announcement. Would it affect your follower base or worse….would you lose potential customers?

Here’s a snippet of Mark Z’s announcement:

Screen-Shot-2018-06-19-at-11.49.49-AM Switching Gears with Facebook's Algorithm Updates

Originally, the main purpose was for the people. Family, friends and friends of friends to stay in touch and really get that personal feel. According to research done by the Facebook leaders, that started disappearing slowly, but surely. We can’t blame them for wanting to stay true to their mission!

With respect to Mark Z and his team, marketing efforts are NOT going away. They just need some revamping. So, what do you need to do? Two words: customized and personalized. I’m going to break down some things you can do to combat the algorithm updates and ensure you’re getting the most out of your time and money on social media.

Live and in action!

Ever since Facebook started its live feature, video content has been on the fast track. Incorporating this into your overall digital marketing campaign will no doubt help boost your engagement. Go live from an event or tradeshow! If you’re in real estate, do a quick live video of the property to attract potential buyers! Small business owners have so many opportunities to use this component. Have a sale going on? Offer a “sneak peek.”

Do not hard sell!

I can’t stress this enough. This has always been the case, but now it’s on steroids. Facebook wants discussion and for audiences to jumpstart conversations. You don’t want to push your products. Think of yourself and your business as a resource rather than a robot with extra buttons to drive sales. If people are interested, trust the process that they will make it through the funnel. Sharing rich content is what will garner results and get people to click the “Like” and “Follow” button.

Don’t be afraid to share a variety of content.

Text, link, link, text. It’s okay to use this type of post, but not every single time. Don’t shy away from images only. It’s okay if your post doesn’t have a link. More importantly, it’s okay to have a little fun on social media. Create graphics and use hashtags. Hashtags are a way to expand the reach.

Just because your industry isn’t a theme park or skateboard shop doesn’t mean you can’t be creative! Are you in commercial real estate? Post some recently funded deals for followers to see what you’ve been up to.

Quotes are great too! If you’ve recently worked with somebody on closing a deal or you’ve just attended a speaking engagement together, ask them for a short quote to use. This is not only good for business, but it always puts in the good word that you’re trustworthy to work with.

The good ol’ quality over quantity.

Don’t get mad if you still only have a handful of followers. This is actually better than having a million followers who don’t care. You want an audience that enjoys your content, visits your website and shares your posts. You don’t want some Joe Schmo liking everything and anything on your Page just because he stumbled upon it.

The same goes for WHAT you post. Posting just to post is not the ideal way. Posting with intention and purpose is!

To learn more about best digital marketing practices, visit our blog section.

How to Fully Optimize your LinkedIn Profile

By now, you should know that LinkedIn is the top social networking platform for today’s professionals. With over 467 million users, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for professionals and businesses alike to build a noteworthy brand and explore opportunities. That being said, how do you make your profile stand out among the millions of other users?

 

Some Ways You Can Build a More Marketable LinkedIn Profile:

 

  1. Add a Professional Photograph

Your profile photo is your first impression to other LinkedIn users. Your photo is a direct visual representation of yourself as a professional.Consider your photo to be your virtual handshake – How would you want a potential business partner or client to view you?

  1. Add a Strategic Headline and Summary

Your LinkedIn headline and summary are crucial parts of your profile. These sections of your profile utilize strategic keywordswhich help B2B professionals find you, and learn more about you as a professional. Included in your headline and summary should be industry relevant terminology – examples of these terms can be found through industry specific groups and other professionals in the field.

  1. Be Sure to Add Relevant Skills

According to a recentLinkedIn study, users who display five or more skills are viewed 17 times more and are messaged 31 more times than users who do not list their skills. Don’t forget to ask coworkersor colleagues for recommendations! Recommendations are a great way to show others what those close to you have to say about your work.

  1. Be Active

LinkedIn is more than a social media platform – it is also a tool. Staying active and making new connections is key; whether you are seeking new opportunities or promoting your latest venture, building your audience is important. Connections and Influencers also offer a wealth of knowledge which you can utilize in your current role.

 

In today’s digital age, a LinkedIn profile is a necessity for both established professionals and those exploring careers. LinkedIn is an effective tool when used correctly but requires much attention and consistent maintenance. If you’re looking to include a powerful LinkedIn profile in your business plan, get in touch with us today!

 

 

PPC Tips For Brokers

3 Tips On Making the Most of Your PPC: A Broker’s Guide

You’ve narrowed down your product focus and your PPC campaigns are about to kick off. Is there anything that you can do on your end to help stand-out amid the competition? Yes! If you would like to maximize your Pay-Per-Click campaigns and significantly increase your ROI, we recommend following these 3 tips on making the most of your PPC results, for brokers.

PPC Tip 1: Become BBB Accredited

A great way to build consumer trust and to gain a competitive edge among others in your industry is by becoming BBB certified. With more than 90% of consumers recognizing the BBB logo and what it stands for, it’s a solid stepping stone in building trust, which is particularly important in the arena of financial lending. Let businesses know that you are a trustworthy source, equipped with the tools needed to achieve quality financial lending that is customized for their unique needs.

How do you become BBB accredited? We’ve got you covered here. There is criteria for BBB accreditation, for example: being in business for at least 6 months and having the required bonding and licenses in your jurisdictions. Once BBB accredited, we can add this valuable information to your ad campaigns and landing pages. Subsequently, this will increase both quality and quantity of conversions. This means more happy customers for you and higher ROI.

PPC Tip 2: Collect Google Reviews

You’ve been there with your lead from start to finish. You’ve provided excellent service and have done your due-diligence in ensuring they’re getting the best terms and coverage for their unique needs. Your lead is very satisfied with your service and can’t thank you enough for connecting them with optimal financing solutions. Do you smile, pat yourself on the back and go on your merry way? Hopefully you are saying “No. This would be a great opportunity to collect a review that I can showcase.” And it is.

Simply provide a handout with instructions on how to write a Google review. We would be happy to provide you with an instructional form to give your happy customers. In addition, we can showcase this review in your landing pages and website; Just be sure to ask for permission to post their review along with their name & company. According to Myles Anderson, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, with 72% of consumers saying that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. This means that the more positive reviews you can gather, the more credibility your business will gain; Thus, the more quality conversions for you.

PPC 3: Become the Financial Lending Guru of “XYZ Loans”

Lastly, in order to best service your PPC leads, it’s important to become familiar with product knowledge in addition to important information & content in your landing pages. You are their trustworthy source of funding. They will need this reassurance to efficiently receive the funding they need from you. It is not enough to answer the phone or to respond to an Email lead with a generic response. You will need to become knowledgeable, informative, inquisitive and the financial lending guru of “XYZ Loans”.

Interested in learning more about how to follow up with your leads? Please feel free to check out our webinar here or to read our blog: How To Follow-Up With Leads: A Broker’s Guide

Have questions? We have answers! Please feel free to reach out to us by Emailing: leads@financemarketing.com and we’d be happy to answer them.

Social Media Updates Not to be Ignored in 2018

Social Media is constantly changing – that is no secret to the digital marketing world. As 2018 ramps up, three well known networks have made some pretty drastic updates over the past year and we cannot ignore them.

Twitter DOUBLED its character limit.

Facebook updated its algorithm and some would say it caused headaches for marketers.

giphy-3 Social Media Updates Not to be Ignored in 2018

The update prioritizes content for users within their bubble; essentially eliminating public and/or outside content from personal feeds.The update is pushing marketers to switch up their strategies. The benefit here is quality over quantity. Yes the update makes it more difficult for users to find your Page’s content, but once they do you’ll know they’re there for a reason.

LinkedIn now allows hashtags and video! Many users are incorporating this into their profiles and Pages. If you are a small business owner, this can be extremely useful to reach your customers. For example, if you are launching a new line, or have a new product, you can showcase it here first as a “thank you for following us” post.

It’s important to keep up with the trends whether you manage your own social media accounts and Pages, or you hire an agency to do so. Branding is key. Engagement is key. Visibility and voice is key.

Ask yourself this question: Have I ever Googled something and went to a social media profile/Page first? If you answered “Yes,” you’re not alone.

New business owners should think realistically and be aware of this. Most people will not find your website – especially because they don’t know you exist yet! Without social media profiles/Pages, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be discovered.

Where to start.

Craft your profiles/Pages to align with your overall goal and brand. Keep in mind that not every social network is the same and should be treated differently. See below for the breakdown.

Twitter follows the K.I.S.S. method (keep it simple stupid.)

giphy-2 Social Media Updates Not to be Ignored in 2018

According to Business Insider, there is a total of 1.3 billion Twitter accounts, but only 328 million are active. Take advantage of this and be one of the active accounts.

Why is a business Twitter account necessary?

It’s part of the foundation of the entire branding experience. It’s also a good way for visitors to gain a sense of trust. The first step is visibility as previously mentioned. Check!

Make sure you have the following:

  • Profile photo
  • Header photo
  • Handle
  • Bio
  • Location
  • Website

Facebook Business Pages allow for more in depth information. Make sure you have the following filled in:

  • Profile photo
  • Cover photo
  • “Our Story”
  • Create a CTA (call to action) button
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Website
  • Category
  • Description (About)
  • Products you offer

With the recent algorithm update by our good ol’ friend Mark Z, it’s important to remember to post your best content. Prior to the update, it was much easier for users to visit your Page, find your Page, view public content, etc. Now, it’s a more close-knit vibe.

According to Zuckerberg, “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

Here’s how to combat the concern and break through.

  • Switch it up!
    • Not every post needs a link. For example, #BizTipTuesday with a sentence from a blog to share with followers is a good way to engage with an audience.
  • Ask questions, include numbers
    • Content that might spark conversation (comments, shares, likes) is more likely to perform better
  • It’s OK to ask people to follow your Page – this might even remind them to use the feature “See First.” When users visit a Page they follow, they have the option to push their favorite ones to the top of their newsfeed!

Screen-Shot-2018-02-13-at-11.25.01-AM Social Media Updates Not to be Ignored in 2018

The Business Social Network has really been feeling the fire the past year. From cover image sizes to adding a video component, LinkedIn has made some of the most noticeable changes.

According to LinkedIn, there are 19 million Company Pages on the network.

Speaking solely for Company Pages, here’s what to include for your business:

  • Logo
  • Cover image
  • About Us
  • Specialties
  • Website URL
  • Company size
  • Year founded
  • Industry
  • Company Type
  • Location

The benefits of having a LinkedIn Company Page include:

  • Showcasing the company, not just employees
    • It gives you a higher chance to pop up on Google searches

Screen-Shot-2018-02-13-at-11.32.58-AM Social Media Updates Not to be Ignored in 2018

  • You can ask your employees to list it under their experience
    • Acts as company ambassadors
  • Promote news about your company
  • Share resources and updates that get attention from followers
  • Share services offered
  • Gives users an extra outlet if they have yet to reach your website

Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn along with other social media will continue to make changes. As technology evolves, users must follow suit in order to get the most out of the tools.

As marketers and business owners, we can’t keep doing the same things over and over and over again expecting better results. Isn’t that the sign of insanity?!

giphy-1 Social Media Updates Not to be Ignored in 2018

If you have any questions about your company profiles/Pages, feel free to reach out to us!

Please share this blog to help out fellow business owners!