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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Jorge's Thoughts: Innovate Your Marketing with Direct Mail

Of all the marketing vehicles, direct mail marketing gives you the most opportunities to specifically target your ideal prospect, to be innovative and to be more personal. 


From new technology in printing to the delivery of fresh ideas in messaging to the ability of addressing your prospects in a creative and personalized manner, direct mail allows you to drive response and drive engagement with your most ideal audience in a way that can powerfully impact your business.  

Here's how:  

1. Personalization:  Personalized mail stands out and gets attention. For your target audience to receive a direct mail piece from you shows that you have taken the time to deliver a customized message based on their potential needs. 

Additionally, 73% of American consumers said they prefer direct mail and 62% said they enjoy checking their mailbox. Give your target audience not only something to look forward to but also something that is personalized and will help you develop an initial impression.  



2. Packaging:  Direct mail response rates are higher than all digital media. Before your prospects respond to your direct mail, they first have to open it. You've got a small window of time to make that happen: 5-7 seconds. Make sure you stand out in the mailbox with creative packaging. 

Maximize response by using the latest print and imaging innovations to create the best looking and highest impact invitation in the mailbox. Take advantage of live stamping, handwritten fonts, full color graphics, odd size envelopes and other techniques that will help you avoid that dreaded look of junk mail. 

Pro tip: Postcards are for coupons and local general advertisers. All important and personal mail comes in envelopes; just ask Hallmark! 


3. Digital components:  Digital vehicles on their own may not generate enough response to keep you interested. You are targeting that guarded 50+ age group who still like traditional media, so you will need to reach with a mix of personalized direct mail, TV , radio, social media and internet ads. That approach will cover more ground, expand your message and give you more reach - what we call “critical mass” in the marketing world. It’s a combination of all or some of these that gives you maximized exposure, more opportunities to generate a higher response and stand above your competitors.

I've created a series of podcasts on this and other marketing tips to help you reach your target audiences. If you have suggestions for topics you'd like for me to cover via this type of content (or any type of content), tweet me at @JorgeVillarRME


By: Jorge Villar, President and Founder 

Friday, August 28, 2015

3 Tips to Develop Connections through Digital Marketing

Earlier this week, our founder and president Jorge Villar shared his thoughts on the value in adding digital marketing to your prospecting strategy, specifically in the boomer market. He noted that it is just as important for advisors to understand how boomers respond to today's digital marketing as it is to understand their various - and diverse - financial concerns. 

As you begin to connect with your target audience more effectively through digital means, here are some tips to follow up with Jorge's:

Use data. 



The growing volume and range of information that come with data will help you make critical decisions about how to improve client engagement with social and web content, how to increase website and landing page visits, how to convert more sales and how you measure up with your competition. (Hint: Monitoring your competitors on social media can provide you with data on how their content resonates with clients and prospects.) 



Know your audience.  



Clearly identify the audience you want to serve. The needs, problems, challenges and goals as well as how that audience uses digital avenues will shape your messaging. Having just one marketing message and hoping everyone hears it doesn’t work, but diversifying your messaging and how it is delivered according your audience will allow you more opportunity to earn a greater ROI.



Personalize your marketing. 



Communication across all digital avenues should be personalized and relevant to your target audience. You are competing for people’s time; yours is one of hundreds of messages that are being delivered every single day all day long via social media, websites, emails, landing pages, display ads, etc. Clients are likely to pay attention only to those that create impact and establish a personal connection.









              Which digital avenue has had the greatest impact on your brand?
Tell us below or tweet us:

@RME360

             By: Susan Gail Taylor, Social Media Manager and Copywriter at RME360

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jorge's Thoughts: Add Digital Marketing to Your Prospecting Efforts


That's how many baby boomers reside in the United States today, a powerful generation that makes up a significant part of financial advisors' target audiences. 

While it is easy to lump boomers into one large category, it is crucial for today's advisors to realize that boomers have diverse concerns and needs and respond differently to various types of marketing. Just as crucial? For advisors to understand how boomers respond to today's digital marketing strategies.

1. Select the appropriate social media channels. 

Not every social channel will be an effective avenue to market your brand to boomers. Consider the needs and concerns of the boomer audience that you want to target as well as how the sector(s) of your targeted audience use social channels. For instance, 70% of online boomers actively use their Facebook accounts, but only 39% of them actively use their Google+ accounts. 

2. Use visual content. 

There is no doubt that visual content grabs attention, but what does that mean for your digital marketing? By creating and distributing pictures and videos, your content will more than likely earn more interactions and drive more engagement, which can earn you more leads and more referrals. For instance, visual content on Pinterest generates more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined, and consumers who watch videos about a product are 85% more likely to make a purchase. 

3. Provide an omnichannel experience. 

Social media channels and other digital marketing avenues can be effective ways to begin conversations with future clients, but an omnichannel experience can help you seal the deal. 41% of those aged 55 and over who are online prefer to talk to someone on the phone before making a purchase. Include your phone number - as well as other contact information such as as email address and social media links - on your digital marketing materials. Each point of contact should be able to provide prompt and clear answers about your target audience's needs and concerns. 

Adding digital marketing to your prospecting efforts should be a critical part of your overall marketing strategy. I've created a series of podcasts on this and other marketing tips to help you reach your target audiences. If you have suggestions for topics you'd like for me to cover via this type of content (or any type of content), tweet me at @JorgeVillarRME


By: Jorge Villar, President and Founder 
















Friday, August 21, 2015

Happy Senior Citizens Day: Why Seniors Attend Social Dinner Events

video


As we salute seniors today for Senior Citizens Day, let's take a look at how financial advisors can help them enjoy their worry-free golden years with 
financial freedom. 

Social dinner events provide seniors - a crucial part of your target audience - with a level of comfort to talk to you about their financial goals and concerns. 

Hear Jorge Villar, our founder and president, share his insight on why seniors respond to this important strategy in your marketing toolkit. 


For more on seminar marketing and much more, 
listen to Jorge's podcasts here


Want to hear about a specific marketing topic from Jorge? Tweet him! 




Thursday, August 20, 2015

Jorge's Thoughts: Content is Critical to Advisors' Marketing Strategies


"Content marketing entails understanding exactly what your clients need to know in order to supply them with the most useful resources without seemingly wanting to sell them something." 

-Attach Media


As advisors, creating and distributing content can not only help to inform your target audience about their financial concerns but it can also help you build a strong reputation as a trusted expert. And if your target audience includes boomers - which it most likely does - you're in luck; boomers spend more time consuming content that any other generation. 

So what types of content should you create? Think about what you find compelling, what prompts you to stop scrolling online and read further. 

Infographics: Brafton notes that this type of content is critical for the financial services industry to consider, as it focuses on "delivering valuable information to online audiences that love real-time information and interesting visuals." (See Attach Media's example above.) 

Videos: The Weidert Group notes that "the average person can retain 95% of video after 72 hours." 

Social media: CNBC notes that "an effective social media strategy can single-handedly create a following of thousands—and a flow of prospective clients—in just a short period of time." 

Podcasts: Business 2 Community notes that "while podcasts have been around for about a decade, there’s been a surge in listenership in the last couple years that’s getting a lot of attention from business owners, celebrities, advertisers, and consumers alike." 

I've created a series of podcasts on seminar marketing and how to reach your prospects. If you have suggestions for topics you'd like for me to cover via this type of content (or any type of content), tweet me at @JorgeVillarRME



By: Jorge Villar, President and Founder 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Affluent Investors Use Social Media; You Should, Too!

Affluent investors are using social media to research financial decisions and to research how you can help them achieve their financial goals. 

Are your social media accounts up to par? If you're posting consistent content that addresses trending topics of interest to your target audience, you're on the right path. Check out this look at 3 crucial platforms to help you foster relationships with prospects and with clients!


LinkedIn:  


This platform is considered a gold star standard when it comes to professional networking. 

Identify companies you’d like to meet with and join LinkedIn groups to which their employees and decision makers belong. Develop a complete LinkedIn profile to make a powerful first digital impression, including a professional photograph and industry-focused keywords and skills. 



Twitter: 


Use this platform to quickly interact with your target audience and to contribute meaningful information to industry-focused dialogue. 

From offering updates on your company’s new products to using industry-relevant hashtags to engage in real-time dialogue, Twitter provides you with a digital opportunity to give your business a more human feel. 




Facebook: 



This platform provides you with a digital space to post videos and videos, yet another way to promote a more human feel to your business. 

You can also take advantage of posting offers as a way to distribute promotions and by promoting specific posts to a more targeted audience. By building an audience through posting such valuable information, you can easily facilitate digital introductions through multiple connections. 

Remember: 


  • Monitor and respond to comments on your social media accounts. 
  • Engage with others; don’t expect others to engage with you if you are not willing to do the same. 
  • When followers comment, thank, answer and/or address them. 
  • Don’t delete negative postings. Instead, address them immediately and deflect them with a response such as “I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Please call me so we can resolve this issue.” 


Which platform has had the greatest impact on your business? 
Tell us below or tweet us:

@RME360

             By: Susan Gail Taylor, Social Media Manager and Copywriter at RME360

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

3 Tips for Creating Targeted Video Content

“You might make a video with 89 views. But one of those viewers could be a producer at CNN. Undervaluing just that one view is a huge mistake.”

-Gary Vaynerchuck, C
EO of Vaynermedia and host of Ask Gary Vee

We all want to produce video content that earns a million hits, right? But if your videos don't go viral, are they less valuable, entertaining or informative? Absolutely not! 

They're likely more targeted. 

Video content is undoubtedly the most powerful medium in your marketing toolbox. When done effectively, it prompts interaction, it puts a personality with a name, it adds a layer of dimension to your content marketing and it's likely more interesting and more compelling than written content. While the financial services industry is heavily regulated, there is most certainly flexibility in how advisors can - and should! - use video content to market to targeted audiences. 

Consider these stats: 



So what should you show in your videos? What should your focus be? What content should you present? Here are some ideas to help you get started: 

1. Create a vlog to tell a story. 

A vlog - or a video blog - is a cost-effective, effortless way to share who you are, to establish a personal connection and to build your reputation as a trusted local expert. Show your audience what matters to your brand, how you became an expert in your industry or how you've helped past clients. 

2. Use behind the scenes footage to show how your brand operates. 

You have a team who collaborates with you, puts in long hours with you and helps you provide excellent service to your target audience. Use video content to show that to your prospects and clients. Don't give away your secret sauce, but do give your audience a sneak peek into your culture and what makes it, your products and your services unique. Think of this content as the bonus footage on a DVD. 

3. Create a themed series to share knowledge. 

Share advice on topics that your target audience is concerned with. Present information in a concise, easy to follow and entertaining manner. Show your audience how your advice on these topics has helped clients by including testimonials from them or sharing their stories. 

For instance, our The Marketing Minute series focused on providing quick marketing tips to financial services professionals. Here's an example: 



What would you add to this list? Tell us below or tweet us!

@RME360

             By: Susan Gail Taylor, Social Media Manager and Copywriter at RME360

Friday, July 31, 2015

Digital Tips for an Integrated Approach to Hyper-Local Marketing

Simply getting your business’ name mentioned in a local magazine or renting local billboard space is not meaningful enough to generate buzz or connect with your local market. As our founder and president Jorge Villar said earlier this week, "hyper-local marketing demands that you use a more integrated approach to impress upon your ideal prospects that you are the trusted, go-to local expert." 


Check out these tips for the digital portion for your integrated approach: 


Optimize your company website. 


Many of your prospects rely on the Internet for their first impressions of your business. 74% of consumers use Google to search for a business before they respond to its marketing. In today’s highly digital world of information sharing, it’s crucial for businesses to establish their credibility in the market and industry by leveraging the power of an effective and informative company website. Without a website, 56% of consumers say they can’t trust your business. 

Your prospects are looking to connect with you—and with your competition—to fulfill their investment needs, and establishing and maintaining a company website is your first line of defense when it comes to outshining other advisors in your market. 



Connect with your audience through online video. 


If you really want to boost your credibility and super-charge your marketing, use online videos. Why? The answer is inthe numbers: 



1.) 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. 

2.) 52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. 

3.) 65% of video viewers watch more than ¾ of a video. 

4.) Video in email can boost open rates by 20% and increase click-through rates 2-3X. 

5.)  72.1 million smartphone users watched video on their devices at least monthly in 2013, and this is projected to rise to 86.8 million by the end of 2014. 

The ideal duration of an online video (with the exception of your company brand video) is just 90 seconds. Online videos need to be clean, crisp and direct not verbose. Include a clear call to action, your company's phone number, website address and an email address. 

Tip: Choose an email address with someone's name so your target audience feels more confident their message will be seen and addressed in a timely manner. 

Once your video is produced, get it out on the web. What good is having a great online video if no one sees it? It’s worth your time and money to work with a social media specialist to ensure your video content will be seen and drive traffic and response.


What would you add to this list? Tell us below or tweet us!

@rme360

             By: Susan Gail Taylor, Social Media Manager and Copywriter at RME360

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jorge's Thoughts: 6 Tips to Becoming a Trusted Local Expert

Hyper-local marketing demands that you use a more integrated approach to impress upon your ideal prospects that you are the trusted, go-to local expert. 


It’s important for your company to have a plan that continually places your products and services at the forefront of your local market using a variety of channels that will provide you with several opportunities to deliver a compelling message, your benefits and your value proposition. The company that creates that top of mind awareness with consumers is the one that wins their business in the end. 

Here are a few ways to do just that: 


1: Know your ideal target client.

Believe it or not, this is actually a challenge for many financial advisors. There’s a difference between what you want in a potential client and the clients that actually drive your revenue. To accomplish this, conduct an audit of your last 20 new clients. This audit could include the following data points:

  • Source: Where did this client come from? (e.g. referral, seminar, etc.)
  • Address: This will indicate if there’s a cluster of clients in a specific area in your geographic market.
  • Age: This will indicate a key demographic for future prospecting.
  • Admitted assets: How much money do they have to invest?
  • Assets secured: How much of the available assets are you able to use for their financial plan?
  • Services provided: Retirement income, estate planning, etc.
  • Products sold: Mutual funds, life insurance, long-term care, etc.
  • Date of first contact: When did you first hear from this client?
  • Date of closed sale: When did you receive payment/s for products and services delivered? Knowing the number of weeks from first contact to close will give you a clear idea on how frequently you need to prospect.

2: Know your competition.


Though you would like for your customers to overlook your competition, it’s crucial for advisors to be well-versed in who your competition is, what they offer, what makes them stand out and why prospects respond to them. This information can help you make important marketing decisions as well as help you hone in on what the competition offers and how they differentiate themselves. 

3: Understand your prospects’ needs.

Selling a product or service to prospects begins with assessing their needs and understanding how you can help. This is more than knowing who your clients are as advised in step one; this is more about identifying with your prospects’ short-term and long-term concerns so that you can exceed their expectations, thereby building your brand and outshining your competition. 

4: Use the proven social dinner event approach, not the outdated lectures, workshops and lunch seminars.

It is an incontestable fact that dinner/evening seminars at better restaurants - when compared to all other forms of advertising and if done correctly - generate the most consistent flow of qualified and motivated prospects and the best ROI. In fact, a recent survey of top dinner seminar producers shows an average ROI of more than 300%.  If you think that sounds too good to be true, do the math. If you invest $10,000 in a seminar marketing campaign that generates 40 buying units and you close only 10% of those prospects (assuming an average commission of just $7,500), you’ll have an ROI of 300%.

5: Use local magazines and publications. 

 Simply getting your business’ name mentioned in a local magazine is not meaningful enough to generate buzz or connect with your local market. Local magazine advertising offers many benefits that make investment on your part worthwhile. According to Forbes, many businesses rely upon online advertising, so “the decline of print publication can actually be used as a marketing advantage. The publications are less crowded, allowing more room for your ad to shine, and possibly even cheaper prices for that ad space.” 

6. Establish an online voice with social media.


Social media is a great way to grow your brand, attract prospects and create a digital voice, but tackling your social media presence by creating accounts that you randomly use will do more harm than good. Create a calendar to schedule your postings.  If you already have a social media presence, ask a marketing professional to conduct an audit on your profiles and identify areas that need improvement. If you don’t have a strong social media presence, ask a marketing professional skilled in digital strategies to develop strategies and content and to post on your behalf if needed.  Ask her/him to collaborate with you on marketing goals and to compare your social media presence with your competitors’. Also, follow these best practices:

  • Remain current with topics of interest. 
  • Stay relevant and consistent…deliver a solid message with benefits.   
  • Be engaging by offering value. 
  • Monitor and respond to online conversations.  

Tweet me and let's chat about hyper-local marketing:



By: Jorge Villar, President and Founder 
#hyperlocaldata

Thursday, July 23, 2015

3 Tips for Fostering Connections to Your Target Audience Using Data

So you want to connect more effectively with your target audience? Great! 


And to do so you want to create more content? Wonderful! 

But is that goal supported by data? 

Content marketing is a tough game; ever-evolving, it requires marketers to always be one step ahead in order to foster a strong connection with their target audiences.



What do you know about your prospects and your customers that will guide your content strategy? To decide what value you bring to your messaging, you must first understand who your audience members are and what they value.


Here are some ways you can rely on data to foster that connection through content: 

1. Social media insights: 

At the very least, you have a Twitter page, a Facebook page and a LinkedIn page, right? Each of those platforms offer analytics and insights on the demographics of your audience, what types of content your followers interacted with the most and how many impressions and clicks your content earned, among other things. Put these built-in analytics to good use to help you determine such things as what messaging your followers most enjoy, what time they are most likely to interact with it and what types of content earn you the most new followers. 

2. Client personas: 

When we want to better understand our audience, we naturally think of its members in terms of demographics. Age, zip code, income and net worth are common data points that advisors should consider when planning content. But a client persona goes beyond demographics; it includes the concerns, needs, values, challenges, frustrations and content consumption pattern, among other things. By determining the personas of your clients (and your prospects!), you can strategically develop content that will earn their attention. 

3. Brand reputation and loyalty: 

Every brand strives to earn advocates, especially those who are active on social media. Those advocates build brands' reputations; those who actively share complaints devastate them. Today's marketers not only have access to data from both sides of the fence but they also have the ability to use it in their favor and to track it. Use such comments in your favor by interacting with the good, the bad and the ugly. For instance:

A. Retweet, thank and interact with those who share a positive word about you
B. Resolve problems for those who share a negative word (in a timely and personalized manner of course)
C. Go the extra mile (or miles when the case calls for it) to not only resolve problems brought to your attention but also to retain the client who shared the experience

Social media monitoring and analytics tools can help you keep track of online comments and reviews as can dedicating time each day toward social media interaction. In the world of brand building, timeliness and consistency in communication are key. 



Have something to add to this list? Tell us below or tweet us!
             By: Susan Gail Taylor, Social Media Manager and Copywriter at RME360

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jorge's Thoughts: How to Build Connections through Data

We volunteer a lot of information about ourselves to the digital world, and marketers know that. Good marketers make effective and appropriate use of data that will allow them to:

1) create messaging for products, services and solutions to target interested audiences


2) begin building relationships with prospects and clients 





With the vast array of marketing that arrives in the inboxes and mailboxes of our target audiences, it's crucial to the success of our campaigns to break through the noise. How do we do that? 


Build your connection based on data. 



For prospects: 

1. Use critical data points when prospecting. These include age, income, zip codes, IPA and net worth. This is the core set of information you need to ensure you market to those who will be best served by you. 


2. Obtain data on an audience 15-25 miles within your office. Those within this range are more likely to attend your seminars and visit your office. 


3. Identify 7,000-15,000 households that meet your criteria for a target audience. 


4. Use your selected data points to craft your message. Your messaging should speak directly and effectively to the audience profiled by the data. 


5. Stay top of mind. This requires you to send messages frequently and over a long period of time. Develop a strategy that includes messages delivered in a variety of ways for the next 8-10 months. 


Remember: Competition can be fierce. You may have 300-500 advisors within the 15-25 miles who market to audiences similar to yours. 


For clients: 


1. Dig deep within your data on existing clients. In building relationships with your clients, you learn more about them. Use that data when crafting your messaging. This includes data points such as hobbies, habits and affiliations. 


2. Create personal and individualized messages that do more than sell your products and solutions. Acknowledge your clients' birthdays or ask them about their children's softball teams. 


3. Use social media to complement data you've obtained from lists, but use data gathered there responsibly. Craft messages based on social media information in a respectful tone and with content that provides value to your clients. 


Remember: Clients often rely on emotions when making decision. Establish a solid emotional connection with them as you build your relationship. 




Tweet me and let's chat about using data to connect with your target audience:


By: Jorge Villar, President and Founder 
#connectdata