We are rolling through the summer with our amazing advisor website showcases, and this week we had the chance to catch up with Colleen Evans, marketing coordinator at Cogent Strategic Wealth for our “Financial Advisor Website Showcase” series blog. She discussed the team at Cogent Strategic Wealth, which is led by Michael Evans, their marketing practices, website design and much more.
1. Since launching your website in 2017, your firm underwent a rebranding from The Cogent Advisor to Cogent Strategic Wealth. Can you tell us a bit more about the rebranding process, what fueled the decision to make the switch and any advice that you have for others looking to embark on a rebrand?
The Cogent Advisor was founded 10 years ago by Michael Evans and over time the firm became more team focused rather than centered around Michael. The name, The Cogent Advisor, did not indicate what type of business this was. After doing a number of surveys that supported the change, we made the move two years ago to Cogent Strategic Wealth.
If you are considering making a change, make it count. It is a huge process to justify the decision – it is amazing how much updating you have to do to change a logo and name. We recommend keeping some elements of your old brand to give some continuity and ongoing recognition.
2. We see that your website is integrated with Google Analytics. That is such an important and easy way to track the effectiveness of your website and digital marketing efforts. Now that your website has been up and running for over 3 years, how have you seen your website traffic perform through the years and where have you seen the most growth?
Traffic has definitely grown over the years. We do get quite a bit of organic traffic and many visitors to the Our Team page. Topical blog posts continue to drive traffic. We are focusing more on SEO to bring more visitors to our website.
Team Page Analytics
The team page has seen a significant increase in traffic as it is the most visited page on their site. With an average duration of over a minute on this page and 277 new users, it’s a great way to showcase your firm and team members.
Blog Post Analytics
The focus on topical blog content is important, especially as the firm looks to drive more visitors to the website through SEO, and content creation is a great way to do this by creating timely and relevant blog posts.
Aside from the Team page, the next highest visited landing pages are the:
- 7 Reasons Why PDF
- 20 Steps to Take Now to Prepare for a Recession
- Clarity Throughout the Coronavirus with Larry Swedroe
People want answers, especially in the middle of a recession or a pandemic, so if you can provide useful content that provides answers, that will drive the most traffic.
3. When we last spoke, you had just started blogging and creating original content to help your clients address their challenges. How has your blogging strategy morphed over the years and what has been the key to blogging success for you?
We have been trying some new formats in our blogs and using more video. We are also getting away from more detailed and technical blogs and focusing more on high-level and easy to digest blogs. We are using the StoryBrand strategy in making the tone more conversational and speaking towards the problems of our viewers.
Focusing on SEO to improve traffic has also been a focus. Twenty Over Ten has been awesome in educating us on how to improve many aspects of our website and marketing efforts. We have learned so much and have been able to tweak our site because of your resources.
4. Routine blog monitoring can offer an incredible amount of insight into the value and potential of specific content topics. Asking the below questions of your blog traffic is a valuable exercise considering the impact it can have on-site performance.
What are some of your top-performing blog posts to date and how have their page views increased or decreased over time?
Our topical coronavirus blogs are the ones with the most traffic lately. Other popular blogs have maintained the page views, even over time. In one case over the years!
What are the top 3 channels that drive traffic to your blog?
Top channels: Direct, organic and email
How engaged is your blog traffic? (i.e. engagement with your blog page in overall page views, bounce rate, session duration per session.)
We do get good engagement: over the past 6 months, blog posts were where people entered the site:
1. home page
2. team page
3, 4 and 5 blog posts
Twenty Over Ten has been awesome in educating us on how to improve many aspects of our website and marketing efforts. We have learned so much and have been able to tweak our site because of your resources.
-Colleen Evans, Cogent Strategic Wealth
5. We love to see that you’re incorporating social media into your overall digital marketing strategy and are incorporating video into your efforts! Can you share with us how your social strategy has changed over the last 3 years and what your goals are for the future? Additionally, what helpful tips have you learned along the way to be successful at video marketing?
We are trying to do more video and posting directly onto social media sites, as well as, on our website. Over the past several years, we have set up a YouTube channel, where we host our videos. We concentrate most of our efforts toward LinkedIn, as we work with high-achieving professionals. We are not focusing much effort on Facebook or Twitter. We are a small firm and need to allocate resources to the social media that fits with or firm’s culture and our clients.
Tips on video marketing: Just Do It.
It doesn’t have to be perfect (especially during the coronavirus) It is just as effective, and the most important part is the messaging.
- Does it resonate?
- Is it real?
Posting natively on LinkedIn results in more views and shares than just a link to our website.
6. Across the board, advisory businesses are feeling the effects of COVID-19 and it’s caused most to learn to be more flexible in their marketing and communications with clients and prospects. What adjustments have you made to your marketing strategy amid COVID-19 and what are your predictions for how this will impact our industry?
We communicated A LOT during this time.
- We sent emails to clients at least weekly and increased our communications to our email list via Mailchimp.
- We produced a number of Live Stream events and webcasts with industry experts.
- We called all our top clients to speak to them personally about their concerns.
Everyone remained calm. Marketing is obviously shifting to virtual events rather than live ones. We are also focusing on serving our clients and internal marketing efforts and client referrals.
Our business was set up to serve clients no matter where they are, so going virtual was seamless. This is going to be a trend in the industry, obviously in the foreseeable future, but also long-term. In-person meetings are great, but not essential. What is essential is that advisors listen to clients and help them achieve their goals.