differentiation strategy for financial advisors

Finding Your Niche: Marketing Strategies for Financial Advisors & Brokers

How does your financial business differ from others? What makes you stand-out? Whether your business is new and developing, or you’re going through a brand revival, having your financial business stand out is one of the essential keys to success. How can you achieve this? If you are a broker or financial advisor, The Finance Marketing Group has some tips and tricks to help you develop and find your niche.

The Meaning of Differentiation:

Differentiation, essentially, is what makes your business unique to others in your industry. It’s what makes Sally Sample drive an additional hour to go to her favorite Italian restaurant when she’s craving Braciole. It’s important. Before we go into detail, let’s first consider this scenario:

Let’s pretend that All Commercial Lending Land and MedCap Funding are both financial advisors.

All Commercial Lending Land is a lender that is ready to provide loans for just about every product focus and business. They advertise this. If a potential lead asked what they are known for, they’d say “Everything! We do small business loans, commercial real estate loans, equipment financing, freight financing, aircraft financing, medical industry financing, fix & flip loans, asset based lending, business lines of credit.. ” the list goes on and on and on. Furthermore, their advertisements, social media posts, blog articles and website content is centered around the theme, “we do it all”.

MedCap Funding is also a lender of a variety of products, however their area of specialty is medical financing. When creating ads, they target the medical industry while using medical field related photos and themes for brand building methods. In addition, when a potential business calls looking for information regarding medical financing, they are well-equipped to answer and are knowledgeable about all aspect of this particular product focus.

Which Lender Used Differentiation?

If you guessed MedCap Funding, Kudos to you! This business has succeeded in brand differentiation in the following ways:

  • Developed a consistent brand
  • Specialized product focus

How Can You Achieve Brand Differentiation?

1 – Develop a Consistent Brand:

Developing your brand is centered around sending a consistent visual theme and personality to your business. Your brand is your message, company, product, service, tone, tagline, typeface, logo and appeal, all baked together to form your business identity.

Here’s how you can achieve this:

The key to achieving this is consistency. Ensure that the colors in your logo, typeface, and images also appear in your websites, landing pages, and social media accounts. Your mission should be clear and focused. Your content and blogs should exude your knowledge and expertise of your specialty product. Don’t forget to showcase your ability to excel in your specialty area through business reviews.

2 – Specialized Product Focus:

The more focused your areas of expertise are, the more credibility your business will obtain. By narrowing down and not focusing on every financial product, you’ll be able to build your brand and focus on what makes you knowledgeable & unique in the finance industry. You will be sending a consistent message about why you’re the best equipped in handling transactions for the X,Y & Z industry. This will distinguish you from the rest. Another perk to this is that it improves the quality of your service. You’ll be building your brand as a leader and mentor in financing that particular industry.

Here’s how can you achieve this:

This requires a bit of research. We recommend discovering your industries differences and doing market researched based off of current search trends in lending.  Staying current with your industry practices is essential to setting you and your business up for success.

Interested in more tips & tricks for brokers & financial advisors? Check out our blog: How To Follow-Up With Leads: A Broker’s Guide

Looking for more information? We’re here to help. Contact alex@financemarketing.com for your marketing needs. Thanks for reading and happy lending!

2018 SEO Trends

What’s New for SEO in 2018? 4 Trends to Look For

As you’re closing up your books and are preparing for another year, be sure to include reviewing new trends to SEO on your “to-do” list. SEO and digital marketing will continue to progress and staying current with these new, ever-evolving trends is one of the best ways to stay ahead of the game. Let us here at The Finance Marketing Group keep you up-to-date on the latest trends so you can stay current. Here’s a look at 4 new SEO trends in 2018.

2018-red-paper-air-plane What's New for SEO in 2018? 4 Trends to Look For

UX

In regards to SEO, it’s all about the user experience and this is for good reason. When UX is on par, this creates a positive domino effect by resulting in higher user engagement, higher conversion rate and lead generation, and more organic reach to those A+ user friendly pages, thus improving SEO. Google is improving UX for 2018 in the following ways:

  1. Monitoring site’s navigation structure, readability, and speed: This is done through computing visitor’s browsing habits and determining based off of this data where the issue is. So if a visitor stayed on a page for 23.456789 seconds, then this is a strong indicator that the content was disengaging, creating a poor UX.
  2. Providing a strong user experience across all devices: Mobile, tablets, desktops, you name it. Whatever device you are using, Google wants to ensure your experience is seamless across all accounts.
  3. The switch to personalized and relevant experiences: This means more focus on engaged audiences, their demographics and what led them on their digital journey to your page. This is key in reaching an audience that is most likely to lead to a conversion, and from your audiences perspective, being led to the right product or service that they are searching for. Win, win.

Mobile, mobile, mobile

It’s becoming more clear that mobile is the way of the future. According to BrightEdge, 57% of web traffic is from mobile devices. What does this mean for Google? It means that it’s not enough to just make websites and landing pages mobile-friendly, it’s time to put mobile-first. Enter Google’s plan to launch mobile-first index.

What’s important to understand here is that there is a big difference between the way that keywords rank on desktop vs mobile. Therefore, the application of mobile-first content is necessary so that it can appear in mobile search.

Another major impact- Local SEO. There is a big opportunity for businesses here because mobile users will be searching for information while they are on the go. This means that these businesses need to provide the best result for each hypothetical question in the best possible way. It’s a contextual thing.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is another focus in the mobile-first index. Have you ever became impatient waiting for a page to load on your phone? If you’re like most people, you’ll simply move on to the next search. In order to accelerate this extremely important user experience, Google developed AMP which, compared to traditional mobile pages, is 4 times faster. Just how much of an impact does this have? According to Chartbeat, this provides a 35% improvement in engagement time.

Quick Answers & Featured Snippits

When the goal of landing in that #1 spot in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) is pretty much that of every business, then it’s time to up your competitive game. Featured snippets has further increased this competition, with close to 30% of a test group of Google search queries using featured snippits, according to Stone Temple Consulting. This presents an opportunity to further optimize the content of a site to meet the standards of Google’s featured snippits.

Enter the Quick Answer format. This is a useful way for Google to pull the right content in the form of a featured snippet. Companies can also create content that serves as a Quick Answer through Google’s Answer Box. This is also a featured snippet that has the goal of answering a question in an enticing and appeal manner.

Google’s Answer Box follows a different structure, based around “what” or “how” and is an attempt from Google to usefully organize search results from search intent.

Can you further this optimization? Yes, by optimizing featured snippets for voice search. These are two evolving trends in the search network that can further increase the chances of appearing in that #1 spot in the SERP (cheering).

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Remember when we talked about user experience? This is a big part of that. As Google seeks to maximize personalized experience, the need for machine learning and AI is becoming increasingly apparent in order to help users find the best results in conjunction with their search and needs.

While the use of digital assistants and voice search increases, so will the need for a more personalized experience. Those who are current with these trends and implement these strategies, are in turn rewarded with heightened SEO.

What else is expected to affect the digital search environment in terms of AI? Google’s RankBrain. RankBrain is Google’s extensive learning algorithm which uses machine learning to derive most relevant results. However, according to Dan Taylor, RankBrain is not something you can optimize for but the number of standard SEO practices is “now more relevant than ever”.

What can we take out of this? That we can all expect AI and machine learning development and much more innovations to come in 2018.

These are a few of the many new trends you can expect to see for SEO in 2018. Staying current with these trends and implementing them to your SEO strategies will surely keep your SEO right on top.

Interested in learning about more digital marketing trends? Check out our blog: Seven Hot Digital Marketing Trend of 2018

If you have any questions regarding SEO strategies or would like to learn more, contact mdillon@financemarketing.com We look forward to seeing you in the Search Engine!

Private Lenders: Fintech Won’t Replace Your Job Anytime Soon

The finance industry has always been in a state of flux. Just like any industry, as time marches on. Sure, the basics are still there, but it has evolved, because of people. As human beings in the world of lending, many fear that Fintech is rapidly coming for their jobs. The idea being, Fintech will replace the need for human interaction and decision making in the finance and lending industry.

Simply not true.

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Why PPC Marketing is a Wise Investment for Brokers

To invest in PPC or to not invest, that is the question. Before we dive into PPC Fundamentals, let’s first consider this scenario:

Let’s say that you have a new business that is not established (you’re working on it..). You’ve invested a great deal into your brick and mortar shop, and to further this cost, you now need to purchase very expensive signage. Would you place this new, expensive signage in the back of the store, where no one can see? Or, would you place this in the front of the store, where the foot traffic is at a max?

Cough..You should be saying “I’d like to put my very expensive and fancy signage in the front of the store where everyone can see it.”

PPC marketing efforts are surprisingly similar to this tangible analogy in today’s virtual marketing world. Where do people shop and research? Online, through search engines. And PPC can make your new business stand-out along side of big competitors.

Understanding PPC

Gorilla_Scratching_Head_18047130741-300x200 Why PPC Marketing is a Wise Investment for Brokers

PPC, or “Pay-Per-Click” is a highly measurable online marketing platform where an advertiser can target keywords by creating an ad campaign. This ad will then appear in search engines after the targeted keyword has been searched.

So when Susie Q is looking for the best sneakers for training for her marathon, she searches “best marathon running sneakers” and is brought to highly ranked PPC ads and organic websites.

PPC is able to generate immediate results.  This is particularly important for new businesses in financial lending, as the fierce competition makes ranking organically on the 1st page of a search engine nearly impossible.

Generate Immediate Results

With PPC marketing, your ad will populate in search engine results whenever you’re ready to start your campaign. Your PPC strategists will develop and research a list of targeted keywords that are proven to generate results. From then, the PPC department develops your landing pages and text ad campaigns for the search network.

Generate Higher ROI

When using PPC, you’re paying Google to get your ads indexed for top, competitive rankings along with organic search listings. PPC or Pay-Per-Click means just that; You only pay when your ad is clicked on. You will not pay more than what you’ve budgeted for, as Google stops indexing your ads once your budget is met.

Making the Most of Your Dollar

6093699369_0555be5ea9_b-300x251 Why PPC Marketing is a Wise Investment for Brokers

When developing PPC Campaigns, your PPC strategist can filter through strong, quality candidates who are likely to be ideal borrowers to click on your ads. This is done through adding keywords and negative keywords to your campaigns along with criteria specifications in the text ad itself. This helps to ensure that those clicks count and that your ad is presented to your ideal audience.

Budget Control

You have control over all aspects of your PPC Budget. You can target daily or monthly budgets. Your PPC strategist will be monitoring your campaigns and continually checking your high performing keywords. Some keywords are more competitive, thus are more expensive than others, but also yield better results. They will make recommendations or adjustments to best serve your budget needs while getting the best results.

Target Specific Products & Measure Results

Your PPC strategist can create different ads for each financial product or service you’d like to promote, called an AdGroup. Each AdGroup will have it’s own unique landing page that contains clear and relevant information, along with a form to lead the borrower into taking action (converting). Each ad and landing page will focus around one particular product. The landing page and text ads should only contain information that is relevant to their search term/ terms.

Test Multiple Ad Versions

Your PPC strategist can conduct A/B testing on the connecting landing pages to it’s ads to see which format/ information is out performing and increasing the chances of conversions.  This is also true of your text ads.  By creating multiple text ads, your PPC strategist can test which ads lead to higher conversion rates, and most importantly, the quality of these conversions. They can adjust their strategy based off of the results of their A/B testing.

Build SEO

ThinkstockPhotos-498051656 Why PPC Marketing is a Wise Investment for Brokers

The combo of practicing both PPC & SEO provide the ultimate short & long term gain for finance businesses. Although it may appear that these essential components are opposites, PPC can improve the overall ranking of your site (which means more organic wins for you). You can also target direct keywords that are proven winners in your PPC ad campaigns to your SEO, bringing an increase of organic traffic to your website. This is key in developing your ad & website ranking, and makes your business more likely to populate organically. When you use PPC, you immediately build your visibility to a large audience. This is also likely to increase the amount of organic visitors to your site in terms of repeat visitors.

Why PPC Works

PPC-ROI-PPC-Webinar-300x220 Why PPC Marketing is a Wise Investment for Brokers

In a nutshell, PPC brings your product/ business to the forefront of what your ideal candidates are searching for and need, when they are searching for it. This is not a cold-call, commercial, or interruption of any kind. It’s virtually meeting your client where they are, when it’s convenient for them, while they are in need of your product. It’s smart marketing for any business.

Interested in learning about new features in PPC? Check out our blog: What’s New for PPC in 2018

If you have any additional questions regarding PPC, please don’t hesitate to reach out to: taylor@financemarketing.com or jessica@financemarketing.com.  We’re here to help!

content-social-media-marketing

Building Trust Through Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing

It’s no secret that the finance industry has struggled to earn the trust of its clients for decades. The good news is that even though trust in the financial industry is low, it is increasing faster than in other industries. While the increase in trust can be attributed to new regulatory guidelines, there is no doubt trust can continue to be earned by financial institutions themselves. So, what can be done to earn the trust of your clients?

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Getting The Most Out Of Your PPC Budget

Pay per click marketing is easily the most cost effective and converting online marketing strategy loan brokers and lenders can invest in. With full control of your campaign, you are able to:

  • Targeting products & keywords that are converting at that time
  • Set up your ads to only run on the days and times you able to respond quickly
  • Target specific geographical locations to minimize competition
  • Start and stop your campaign whenever you would like without losing too much traction in ad rankings.
  • Target borrowers and referral sources that are in the decision making phase as opposed to those still researching their options.
  • Implement lead captures that encourage conversion instantly when a borrower lands on your page.
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managing linkedin

Mastering the Art of Managing Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is no longer a maybe thing. It’s a must-have! In the B2B world, this professional social media platform is a tool that will help grow your business, make it more visible, and make you more profitable.

LinkedIn has a proven ROI.

If you listened in on our webinar, “Social Media 101,” we briefly mentioned that about 80 percent of B2B leads from social media come straight from LinkedIn. That’s according to LinkedIn researchers themselves.

Why?

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Aprilblog

A Very Merry Unmarketing

The mad hatter has always been my favorite Disney character and while that may seem a bit odd to some, I value his outlook on birthdays and on tea! I guess you have to be a little ‘mad’ to work in the marketing industry these days as well. I suppose the hatter’s ‘Un’ theme can apply to almost everything in life, marketing including. Some of us, including myself have fallen into the realm of catering to every Google update that rolls around. I have found myself marketing more for search engines than for the actual consumer, which is a big ‘no-no’ these days.

While I preach market more for consumers and less for search engines, sometimes I definitely find myself caught up in making sure our rankings are in order before we cater to the needs of the user. What we need to be sure of when marketing our businesses, is that we are viewing all our efforts from the consumers point of view. How are they viewing our site? Our content? Is it speaking to their pain points and offering valuable solutions to them? That’s where “unmarketing” comes into play.

Unmarketing (verb)

The action of forgetting everything you learned about marketing for search engines and gearing your efforts towards what consumers really long for – quick, easy, & personalized experiences.

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6 Steps for Building a Content Marketing Strategy

As marketing professionals we know the success of our marketing campaign relies heavily on strategy. This is especially true for content marketing because the success of your content will depend on knowing how to address the needs of your clients on a consistent basis. Developing a content marketing strategy can be overwhelming for an inexperienced marketer, but following the six steps below will help you on your way to content marketing success. 

6 Steps for Building a Content Marketing Strategy

 
6-steps-building-content-marketing-strategy-3 6 Steps for Building a Content Marketing Strategy

By having a well-documented plan in place your team can review the work that was done, and make the proper changes for more successful campaigns in the future. So, what do you do once you’ve got a strategy in place? Get to work, make note of changes you make along the way, and never stop asking yourself “Is this still supporting my business goals?”

 

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