You can read the original article here in Advisor Perspectives.
As everyone plays their part to practice social distancing to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, many businesses and advisory firms are moving to cut costs to their marketing budgets. According to a Gartner poll, almost two-thirds of marketing leaders expect to face moderate or significant budget cuts in 2020 relative to their original marketing plans due to COVID-19.
So, should you pause all ads, stop all marketing, and cease and desist with all outbound communication to prospects and clients?
The short answer is NO. Investors need (and want) to hear from you now more than ever.
We are facing a historic moment – this is the most amount of time people have ever spent online. And not being where clients & prospects are spending their time is the biggest mistake you can make right now. This is the opportune time for you to double down on your marketing efforts and fully embrace a digital communications process.
No Marketing Budget? 7 Free Tools to Help Drive Success
At Twenty Over Ten, we recommend advisors devise their marketing strategies to cover “The Big Four,” which includes content creation, social media, email and website optimization (SEO). These pillars of marketing can all be worked on by you, or someone on your team, for free. You just have to be willing to take the time to learn the tools of the trade. Luckily, there are so many tutorials, videos and guides on these topics today that you can take, and those are:
1. Graphics: Canva
Canva is a free visual content creation tool that is made for non-designers. Not only does it have an extensive library of pre-designed, pre-sized templates, but it also has thousands of premium-quality design elements ranging from custom fonts to free stock photos.
Canva offers a free version and is great for small businesses because it allows them to create beautiful, on-brand images that can stand out on social media, email, etc. Studies show that if you hear a piece of information, that three days later, you’re only 10 percent likely to remember it, but if you add a picture, you’re 65 percent more likely to remember it. So, Canva gives you an easy way to incorporate this very important aspect of visual marketing into your arsenal.
2. Video: Headliner
If you read my last article, you know how bullish I am on including video into your content marketing initiatives. Headliner is another free tool that we use frequently at Twenty Over Ten to quickly transcribe videos and add text overlays. Once you upload the video file from your phone their tool automatically transcribes it for you all you have to do is pick an orientation – landscape, square, or portrait, and then share. Pro tip: Sometimes, the transcription bot isn’t 100% accurate so you’ll want to be sure you read through the transcription and edit any errors or misspellings.
3. Screen Sharing: Loom
Loom is available as a browser extension or an app download and is another free great tool that you can use to record your screen. Using this incredible tool is a real time-saver if you want to show someone how to do something, rather than trying to get some time on their calendar, you can simply record your screen and send them a link to watch and listen at their leisure.
4. Meetings and Webinars: Zoom
With everything moving digital due to COVID-19 hosting webinars and virtual meetings serves as a great way to generate leads, showcase your expertise as a financial advisor, and transform your ideas into lively, engaging events. Zoom is a software that allows for video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration. Zoom Video Webinar has a multitude of options, letting customers pick plans that range from having 100 participants to 10,000 participants starting at just $14.99 per month. You can even sign up for a free, basic plan if you’re only hosting 100 participants or less. If you’re looking for more information on hosting effective webinars to generate leads for your advisory business this is a great place to start.
5. Photos: Unsplash and Pixabay
When you need a strong image or stock photo Unsplash and Pixabay are two websites that our team of designers highly recommends. Unsplash has beautiful photography and you can always find something that will inspire you in their collection. There are a lot of landscapes, buildings, nature, and artistic shots available absolutely free. Additionally, they offer 10 new photos every 10 days, so you never run out of options.
6. Keywords and SEO: Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that helps users uncover a plethora of great information about your site and about visitors to your site. You can use it to find out things such as:
- Which keyword searches caused your site to appear in search results?
- Did some queries result in more traffic to your site than others?
- What sites are linking to your website?
- How is the mobile version of your site performing?
- Index coverage reporting
If you’ve never used Google Search Console before and don’t know where to begin, this step-by-step basic beginner guide can help.
7. Website Optimization and Traffic: Google Analytics
Yet another tool under the GSuite that enables you to track over 10,000 metrics is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is an incredibly useful (and free, of course) tool separate from your Search Console that uncovers a great deal of intel on the traffic your main website receives. Some of the biggest KPIs we recommend advisors keep track of within their Google Analytics includes:
- Total number of visitors to your website
- Total number of pages a user will visit in one session
- The three most visited pages on your site
- Acquisition of visitors from social media and other referral sources
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rates
Budgeting Time for Marketing
I know what you’re thinking – great I’ve got all these free tools to use but no time to put them to work. Yes, you’ll need to carve out some time for your marketing efforts as balancing priorities are even more important now. In a recent survey and webinar we conducted at Twenty Over Ten we uncovered average time commitments advisory practices allot for in different areas of their digital marketing efforts:
|Communication Channel||Time Commitment|
|Website||10-15 hours / month|
|Social media||1-3 hours / week|
|Blogging||15-20 hours / month|
|Email marketing||1 hour / week or less|
Given this general consensus, it’s still important to remember that the time it might take your firm to execute certain tasks is going to look different for another firm and it should look different for every business! Why? Simply because everyone operates differently – with different staff members, etc. as well as varying client types that you want to attract.
My general recommendation for all firms is to step back first and take a look at the bigger picture – what does success look like for your business? Once you’re able to really hone in on what you want to do with your marketing whether it’s to gain new clients or increase current client engagement you can narrow down your options for how to get there. So instead of spreading yourself too thin and spending time everywhere you will only be spending time on those specific things that truly matter and will help you achieve those desired results.
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About the Author
Samantha Russell is the chief marketing and business development officer at Twenty Over Ten (a digital marketing and website development company for financial advisors). Samantha helps financial advisors create digital marketing strategies that produce explosive growth through website development, content marketing, SEO, social media and video.