Last month, we hosted our first Digital Marketing Q&A, and it was a huge hit, which is why we are going to be continuing to do these Live Office Hours. We kicked off October with another Digital Marketing Q&A with Twenty Over Ten Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer, Samantha Russell, where she answered several great questions about digital marketing. You can watch the replay here or below at any time!
When You Talk About a Marketing Budget How Much Should a Firm Allocate?
The first one I wanted to address was the budget. So, when it comes to marketing, a lot of people have questions about how much should they should be spending, and I don’t like to give any one number because so many firms are different, and what their revenue is and what would be a big amount or small amount for them that I like to think of it as percentages.
So, the average advisory firm is spending about 2%. There was a really popular article that went up yesterday or over the weekend that I’m sure a lot of saw on Think Advisor talking about Ken Fisher and how he spends 6% on marketing every year. That’s a huge number because of the amount of revenue that they do. So, the actual total is going to vary less than or mean less than the percentage. I find that what’s most important about the number is tracking if, when you do increase your budget does it increase your bottom line, right? What the problem is that you have to give it a full year in order to really make that assessment, because just like you guys give your clients advice, and you say “Okay, we’re going to put this budget in place, we’re going to focus on your finances.” You can’t really assess it in just a month or a quarter…you really got to give it a year even two years and because of the compounding nature. It’s the exact same thing with any good digital marketing plan, it takes some time to really get things off the ground.
So, I definitely suggest checking in monthly and quarterly on progress, but in terms of whether or not you should have adjusted your spend, your overall spend, what I really suggest you do is sit down at the end of the year until you increase your total marketing budget by 1% you want to then look at your ROI and see how many new calendar bookings did we get? How many more qualified website views did we get? How many more new clients did we get? Then you can assess whether that increase and spend was effective or not, right?
You also can look, even more finely at specific things, you know, if you’re creating Google ads, and you have a really high budget it can be a huge cost without a lot of ROI right out of the gate. What a lot of people don’t realize is that you can do a lot of testing with just a small budget. So, for instance here at Twenty Over Ten, we only do often like $5 a day when we’re testing some sort of ad. Or we might even say “Okay, for this entire ad, the length when it runs, we’re going to do $20 but will run three different versions of it.” Then we can go in and look at each variation and see which one is performing best and take all the money that we were using across the different variations and pull it into the top performer right?
So, again it’s less about the total of now and more about analyzing how it impacts the bottom line and then also testing different variations, you know when you create, for instance, a website homepage. Yes, you can work with our team and we can do everything in our power to make it as perfect as possible out of the gate, but the most successful advisors, they’re going to have one version of their website that’s up for a month or two and then, maybe the next month, they create a separate homepage message and then they look at the end of those four months… was the first two months leading to more calendar bookings or the second two months? Of course you want to you can you have to try to test these things in a vacuum as much as possible so don’t for the second two months also run a bunch of new email marketing and social media campaigns and not understand that that partially to be related to that, but certainly try as best as you can to test one or two variables at a time.
What Are the Top Two Social Media Platforms That Advisors Should be Using?
I just broke down for you here, these are what I suggest like overall. Twitter is most ideal if you are trying to connect with other people in the industry and you want to get a lot more connections with journalists, with the press with PR. That’s the place you want to do it. I really don’t see a lot of people getting clients in the industry. If you are in an industry where you are, please let us know the comment below. The one exception that I’ll see to that is a lot of people if they work with physicians interestingly enough, that they can connect with physicians there. But, I think that there’s not as large of a population getting their clients from Twitter.
LinkedIn is much more universal, in the sense that most working professionals are on LinkedIn. So, if you’re targeting retirees, people that are already retired, or are about to retire, that might not be the best platform for you. For Instagram, I really think this is a huge opportunity. That’s probably the largest adoption, in terms of people signing up for the platform. We see a lot of pre-retirees retirees, even adopting that platform because that’s where the young people have gone and are sharing pictures now. I’ll post pictures of my kids on Instagram but might not post them on Facebook, So, now all the grandparents are on Instagram because of that and they’ll find companies and follow them too. So, that’s a really good opportunity too.
I will say that we get the most questions about how to use LinkedIn and how to use Instagram for business. Those are the two that most people struggle with. So, we’re actually going to be doing a webinar at the end of this month specifically on that. Amanda just shared it in the chat and I have it linked here as well. So, I’ll just open it up, but if you just go to our website, if you click on learn, so you go to Twenty Over Ten.com, you click on learn and you’ll see all of our upcoming sessions and down here at the bottom “Using LinkedIn and Instagram to Attract More Clients,” we’re going to break it down for you. Half will be devoted to LInkedin, the other half will be devoted to using Instagram and will talk you through what you need to know in order to use those platforms effectively. We’re also going to be showing you examples of real advisors who are doing a fantastic job. Instagram, I think is tricky for people because it’s so visual. They don’t understand how to turn the content to be visually focused. We have a really nice lineup for you on that, that will be excited to share.
twitter versus facebook
which is best for your business?
What Do You Know About Quora?
I got a message about Quora. So, I haven’t heard many people telling me that they’ve gotten clients from Quora. If you have please let us know in the comments in the chatbox. I know it’s a great source, we’ve gotten clients from me posting answers on Quora, not hugely often, but sometimes. but if any of you on the line have tried that strategy before please let us know. If you’re not familiar with Quora, it’s a question and answer basically forum. So, people to post questions and the other people answer the question and you can obviously link back to your website it kind of shows your expertise that way.
What Kind of Content is the Most Popular and What Gets the Most Engagement on Social Media?
So, I listed out here for you some different examples that we’ve seen work really well for the advisors that we work with. So, these are things separate from the normal personal finance style posts that you’re often going to see in advisors’ feeds. So, a lot of people just have insurance or tax or portfolio articles, while those you know are interesting, and of course, they help lend credibility to you as an expert, when thinking about when somebody who is going to social media in the middle of the day, often they’re going there as an escape to get a mental break from whatever it is they’re working on. So, during the day, it can be a good time to post what we called more lifestyle pieces, so content that’s a little bit more digestible, easy to scan things, that aren’t too intense. The meatiest technical pieces I usually save for email or for first thing in the morning when somebody might be up for a more intense read.
You obviously need to look at your own demographics and see what works for you. I have a lot of people, for instance, who specializes in working with physicians or medical professionals, and they see huge engagement rates in their content when they post in the middle of the night, so they have their posts scheduled at Midnight or 1 A.M. because that’s when a lot of doctors are at the hospital working, and if it’s a slow night, they can be cruising their social media feeds.
So, think about in terms the time of day, what your audience looks like. But here are some different examples of lifestyle content that you could write originally. Profiles of meet the team, so John Smith our Founder, get to know Caitlin Jones, our Client Support Specialist and have an interview with them where you share pictures of them, talk about their background, what they like to do in their spare time.
Also, doing posts on top books that you read, podcasts that you’ve listened to, anything like that usually gets good engagement. Another huge strategy, if you’re trying to get a lot more clients in your local area, want to be known as the top advisor in Baltimore and Annapolis, or wherever you’re located, you can pick different local charities or non-profit organizations or community groups and highlight them. So, I saw one advisor where he would pick a different historical landmark or place in town and do a blog post about it and different “Behind the Numbers” that people might not know so, this cathedral was built in 1890 and it cost this much, which in 2019 dollars would be this. And did you know that the average worker than was only paid X amount? And he features a lot of these historical landmarks that the retirees and pre-retirees that he’s focused on are interested in. So, it’s combining culture with locations, and he’s also getting all of these keywords for the location that people might be searching for. So, that’s a really interesting, great strategy if you know that your audience is very philanthropic and they are community-minded, you can feature different local nonprofits and the work that they’re doing.
And when you’re helping to spread their message they’re often going to re-share your post, and if you think about who sits on the boards of these community organizations often they can be very well-to-do folks themselves, right? So, it’s the local Boys & Girls Club and you’re resharing what they have going on, or you create a post about an upcoming fundraiser and why it’s such a good opportunity to donate to it. Then, the Boys & Girls Club of Baltimore reshares it, now everybody who follows them is going to see your original post, right? So, that’s how you really pack a punch at social. It’s not you’re sharing your personal finance thought leadership, it’s a mixture of all these different tactics. Amanda posted a link to a blog post below on how to integrate lifestyle content into your marketing strategy. So, this is not on our Twenty Over Ten blog it’s on our Lead Pilot blog. Lead Pilot is the new product that we’re launching, you can go there though and you can see all the nuts and bolts of how to do it, why you should do it, some examples of other advisors and what they’ve done that’ll really help you don’t get those creative juices hopefully for you all.
How to integrate lifestyle content into your
marketing strategy for financial advisors
What Should Be the Ratio of LifeStyle Content Versus Your Own Thought Leadership or Company Post?
On Twitter, 40% of what I share is actually just personal updates about my family, my kids where I live, what vacations I am going on, books I’m reading things like that. 60% of the time, it is posted on SEO, digital marketing how financial advisors can get more website visitors, things that are my personal area of expertise.
With LinkedIn, you can see my formula is much different. People don’t expect to go to LinkedIn and read about your personal life. It’s considered to be a much more professional platform, so I don’t share pictures of my children there or personal stories. Much of what I’ll do is share an original post and thought leadership about my area of expertise, which is digital marketing. 30% of the time I’m re-sharing a Twenty Over Ten post just to keep that company name in there, and then the other 30% of the time I either reshare posts that I think are good or I do different lifestyle posts, or it can be personal but it has to have some sort of business story at the end, right? So, I shared a picture of my family on vacation back in May, and I talked about how to create an out-of-office message that actually gets people to let you just enjoy your vacation. In it, I gave some tips about how I told people that I was on vacation with my family, with my two young kids, that we were on Sanibel Island in Florida, what we were doing, and that I was really going to disconnect from email and I’d get back to them on Monday, because I hate that line that people will use, “I’m out of the office with no ability to connect to email.” For 99% of the world, that’s not true. Most anywhere, you can go you can get on your email, so I wanted to just be honest and say “It’s not that I can’t connect to email, but I want to take a break.” It probably got more views than any other LinkedIn post I ever posted. So, it was a combination of talking about something in the world that everybody’s thinking about which is how do you disconnect in this time we’re all so connected. Then, it also shared a personal photo and a little bit of background about me and that’s what we’ve found gets the most connection on social media is when you weave personal stories into your content that all Leads back to a takeaway that you can give your audience that somehow relates to the topic at hand, which for all of you would be financial planning, investment management, things like that.
How Do Use Hashtags and Tagging to Get More Eyes on your Posts?
So, you’re wondering how to use hashtags and tagging to get more followers. We have this blog post on how you can use hashtags to get more eyes on your social media posts, and we have lots of great tips. There is a lot of evidence that if you use hashtags and that you tag people, you will get seen more. So, it can be really hard for someone to tell you, “Hey, give it a year to try out this new digital marketing strategy.” You’re thinking “I only have 20 followers on LinkedIn, 10 Twitter connections and nobody on Facebook, how the heck am I going to do this, right?” The way to get more followers and connections is to use hashtags and the tag symbol so you tag somebody with that @ symbol and that is how you will get a lot more eyeballs on your post.
The reason is pretty simple, right? Hashtags work in that anybody can click on the hashtag, and they can see all of the posts that have used the hashtag, so if you see the hashtag #RetirementTips, anyone that clicks that hashtag will see all the Twitter posts or the Facebook posts or the LinkedIn posts that have that hashtag in it. The number one reason I like tagging is usually the person you tag or the company you tag will either reshare your post, will comment on your post, or will like your post, right? So, it’s a really powerful way to get eyeballs from people who have a larger following than you do and again, it’s great to tag people in your local community, as well to get more engagement.
using hashtags on your Social Media Posts
A guide for financial advisors
How Do You Get More Traffic to Your Website?
One of the first things you always want to do is just make sure that your website is set up appropriately from a search engine optimization standpoint. You can do lots on social media, you can send emails, and that will work, but you also just want to be able to be found, right? If someone googles Lighthouse Financial Planning and that’s the name of your company and 30 other Lighthouse Financials come up before yours, that’s not good. You don’t want them to be sitting, clicking on all these different ones.
So, there is a guidebook we put together, anyone can go to this page, you can go in there, drop your name in, your email in, and download it and it is chock-full with checklists, guides, in-depth information that you can make sure page by page that your website is set up appropriately.
So, that is a really great tool and resource, download it. if you’re working with our team at Twenty Over Ten, we take care of what we call the on-page factors that are in the backend if you purchase an SEO package. So, if you come into the home page, for instance, we will set up your browser page titles, we make sure that your headers have your keywords, so the SEO pack if you’re purchasing that through Twenty Over Ten. We also take care of the off-page factors that are on that platform, so if you go to TwentyOverTen.com, and we will take care of it. So, if you’re on pricing, and when you click this explorer button, you can see are different add-ons there, and so this one right here SEO essential…if you click to learn more, it will give you all the things that we do in that package. So, if you really want to just make sure that you’re set up appropriately with all the basics this package is great. It’s an $800 one-time fee, but we also tell you in this guide if you are budget conscious or you don’t want to pay us to do it, what you need to do and we take care of it for you.
Additionally though in this guide, we talked about ongoing SEO, so our SEO package takes care of all the basics for set up, but if you want to continue to rank high, you have to consistently update your website and blog and different things like that in this guide will explain how often you need to do that, how to include keywords. For those of you who just want the short answer, you really should do it at least twice a month at the bare minimum. The advisors that are going to get the success are going to do it at least twice a week, so think about what you can do from a bandwidth perspective and you make it happen.
SEOs for RIAs
A guide for financial advisors
What Should You Be Tracking with Google Analytics?
Google Analytics, so we have this blog post here that will give you the main things that we suggest you look at every time you log into Google. What I personally suggest is once a month going in and looking at your Google analytics and assessing how things have changed over that one month period and then at the end of the year, creating a full report.
The reason I like to do it much a month to month is that you know and you can remember more what’s been happening right? So, it’s all of a sudden you got a blog post that was featured on CNBC in June and you see a huge uptick in July, you’re going to know that was why. You can make a note of that, and then next June when you’re assessing the year, you don’t have to sit there and be like, “Why did I get that huge increase in July?
So, definitely do it once a month and these are the different statistics that we suggest that you look at. By the way, you have Google Analytics set up in your Twenty Over Ten account. The way you can check to make sure it is being tracked down, as you go to Google but if you go into site settings here on integrations and you’ll see whether your tracking code is there or not if it’s not there and you’re a DIY customer, you’ll go here to enter it. If you worked with our team to build your site for you, you can contact support and we can help you add it in if you don’t want to add it in yourself.
These are the things that he wants to focus on. The number one mistake I see people making is they will count every single visitor the same. Most of you or 99% of you can’t work with clients in Russia or Thailand. So, a lot of you can only work with people in the United States, so getting visitors from Russia is not going to help your business, so filtering by the geotag is a really great way to do make sure you’re only counting visitors that you can actually work with. Even more specifically you can filter down to the state or the metro area. So, if you really are trying to focus on getting visitors from Cincinnati, because that’s where you want to get prospects from, you can look at how are your visitors from Cincinnati going up over time using that geotag.
If you’re trying to grow a blog and be a thought leader what you want to see the number of returning visitors go up, as well. For most advisors, there are new visitors, it’s usually one of the visitors is 90% and only 10% returning. This is if they’re performing really well at SEO, so they’re getting a lot of traffic, but they’re not doing a good job of capturing people posting more content and getting people to come back over and over. On the opposite end of things, I’ll see people who you know don’t have really any SEO and they just have their current clients going to their website over and over and took 90% of these are returning visitors. You want a good mixture of the two.
10 questions they can answer about your marketing
How Much Time Do Visitors Spend On My Website?
The average session duration is just one and a half minutes, so if you start seeing on certain blog posts that people are spending 3-4-5 minutes reading, that’s amazing, you’re doing a great job. So, that means you want to create more content like that piece. This will help you determine which page you need to be optimized versus those that don’t. If you see on your homepage people are spending four seconds and then bouncing you have to optimize that whole page.
Some other things to look at are what are the top pages on your website and then go back and fix those up the most. For most of you, this is going to be your Homepage your About or your Team Member page and then either the Start Here or Contact or Get in Touch pages, so those are the three most important to pay attention to make sure your calls to action are on it, things like that. It’s really interesting, once people start adding calendar links and calls to action on those most visited pages the number of new prospects that book a time on your calendar, goes up. It almost seems too good to be true, but it is, so you can get like that floating calendar link, where it just floats, I know Calendly has this, so that no matter where someone goes on your site, it’s always there. That’s a great option, as well. Again, definitely look at your most read blog post, so that you can make more content like that and then this is really huge:
What Are the Top Sources of Traffic to my Website?
For instance, if you’re part of NAPFA or XYPN, and that is one of the top ways your new visitors are finding you, then what I suggest is on your website put the logo of NAPFA or XYPN right there, so that when people land on it, it just reinforces that’s the way they found you. You’re a part of this network because you know that that’s a reason why a lot of people are coming there. They found you through XYPN and that where 80% of your visitors are coming. You know that people find XYPN because they’re looking for a planner that focuses on you know working with Gen X and Gen Y and write your language in a way that’s going to attract that audience, right?
However, if you see that most people are just finding your from straight SEO, which means through organic search, they are searing things like financial planner Austin Texas, investment manager Austin, Texas, things like that then you want to have your value proposition on your homepage be incredibly clear so that people who have never heard of your business before and are just finding you through organic search will immediately know who you are, what you do and who you serve. So, depending on the top sources of traffic you’re going to optimize your homepage for different ways. So, these are all different ways you could just go to Google Analytics, we also have a full webinar that I recorded where I pull up the Google Analytics platform and in real-time show you how to filter everything this is a webinar replay it’s about an hour-long but it’s definitely worth it if you have an admin or a marketing person on your team this would be a great one to send to them and say, “here’s what you need to do every month you know, follow Samantha’s advice and assess how our platform is working. So, this webinar replay using Google analytics financial advisor is a really great resource.
conquering google analytics
If You Optimize or Edit Old Blog Posts Does It Change Your Ranking?
So, actually what we do here is every single week, we choose one or two blog posts that were posted a year to three years ago, and we go back and we optimize them. So, what we mean by this, let’s say this webinar about Google Analytics, you can see this was published almost exactly a year ago, so if we were to optimize this right now, we might come in and add links to new content that we since shared about Google Analytics, because if you search out the blog about Google Analytics, you can see this one was just published in 2019, so we would take this blog post and link it right here now, we might say something at the bottom like, “Also check out the difference between Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
We might look at other things that we’ve since done and maybe put a new image in here or maybe add a couple sentences. When you go back and update old text, research shows that it really helps improve your rankings and not because Google that looks at you as not only someone who’s an expert talking about these things but who is passionate enough about the content to go back and edit it to keep it up to date for your viewers.
This is something I venture to say that 95% of other financial advisors are not doing. So, if you can even optimize one post a month, you’re going to be ahead of the game and you’ll be rewarded in your rankings. So, if you’re already blogging a lot, you don’t need to change much, it’s just adding new links, fresher content that you posted. Do you have some statistics, maybe you had a post about taxes from 2017 and you had some stats in there from that year and you want to go back in and change the 2017 stats to 2019, so that keeps it really fresh and relevant.
The one thing you don’t want to do is change the title because if you change the title, it will change the URL link, which can then throw a 404 error. So, keep the title as it is, that way you don’t have to go about redirecting everything. There is a way to change the title and not have to happen, but it’s a lot easier to leave the title as is.
Should You Date Your Blog Post?
I see a lot of advisers doing this, they don’t date their blog post, because they’re not blogging that often. Google likes the dates. It’s much more journalistic, much more of a true, professional way if you think of the way journalists do things, there’s always a byline with an author’s name and a date.
That’s another thing. Optimally, you want to have a little profile about who wrote that post on every blog that you write. For instance, we have really great examples of copy on different websites you can come here, look at all this and then at the bottom we have a profile of Namisha, who put this together for us. We actually didn’t use to do this, but just in the last six months, Google is really prioritizing making you have a little author profile for every blog post. We just put a picture of her in there, about the author and a quick little thing about her and can link to your LinkedIn profile. If you have more than one advisor at your firm writing content, you could each have your own but, even if there’s one of you, you should still include a little author profile.
Let’s say someone just did a search right now. Give me examples of creative copy for financial advisor websites and they landed on this. They don’t know anything about Twenty Over Ten and then they landed on this, right? It helps reinforce, the author, who we are, all of that. If someone finds you, they do a search, “What’s the Best Age to Take Social Security?” and then they find your blog post. They don’t know anything about your company or anything, it reinforces who you are and gives them a little bit of background.
So, definitely start adding dates and your author information to all of your blog posts.
Where Can You Find Good Content?
So, those of you who are currently clients of ours know that we have a Content Library that you can use and you can come in here and Content Assist available with your subscription. If you are a Twenty Over Ten user and don’t have consciences in there that just means you have been a customer for so long you started before it was automatically included in the increase the monthly subscription. We’re really excited to share this just went into effect today October 1st, we started to add lifestyle content directly to the library, as well.
So, rather than just having personal finance content, we have a mixture and that’s because again our research shows that not just personal finance content, but things that are more interesting when you’re just scrolling in your feed and you’re looking for that mental break from the day are the things that will get clicks.
So, we try to do a mixture of things that aren’t too far away from your personal financial investment, but that seemed to be a little bit more so you can see like five luxury apps to make your life easier, are you running a business here’s the best podcast on how to scale, the cost of being an art collector. So, we still have all of those personal finance and tax articles and investment articles, but in addition, now lifestyle articles, as well. With our new product, Lead PIlot, it will actually be almost a 50-50 split. So, we will have just as much lifestyle content as we do personal finance content, and that’s because of Lead Pilot, it’s really meant that you just push out to landing pages and social media and email, whereas with this content it’s really meant to live on your website primarily, so the idea is that more of that content should be personal finance-based.
Again, if you’re looking for content that you could use this is a great way because you can do it you can use this content and you can edit it specifically for your audience.
Do You Have Any Specific Tips for Recording Video?
I like to write down a few pointers of specifically what it is I’m going to talk about and then have that next to me just so it’s on my screen, but you can’t tell by looking at the camera looking at the eye contact is pretty face forward and focus. The other thing I like to do is if you’re making a video and sit back a little bit and you look up or you look to the left or the right, so it’s not so obvious that it’s the same kind that we have a normal conversation. Just don’t turn your head completely. I’m certainly not a video expert, I’m just doing what I think works and feels natural to me, and I think that’s the best advice that anyone has given me. Do what feels natural, and it will come across as more authentic. If it feels really forced, then it’s hard to watch.
One of the questions was about the content libraries and Lead Pilot versus Content Assist. There is a difference between the two. We started the Content Library in Content Assist and Lead Pilot, started with a lot of the content that was Content Assist, but there’s going to be some big differences here.
So, one of them is at like I said there’s more of that lifestyle content that they want to share to social media in the Lead Pilot, so, for instance, you can see some of these articles up here about the Best Cities to Start a New Business, Do you Need a Break from Stress? Book a Stay at these Top Luxury Wellness Resorts. Those are all content you’re only going to find in Lead Pilot. Additionally, we’re going to have video content, interactive quizzes and infographics in Lead Pilot that will not be in Content Assist, so completely separate
You can filter the content by personas, as well as, different categories. So, I’m on our staging site, because we have HENRY’s retirees, pre-retiree,s so if you don’t want to just search by category, you can come down here on women persona and all the articles relevant for that audience will then come up for you, as well.
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