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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!


             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 

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 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Jorge's Thoughts: Great Marketers Use Smart Data

Great marketers rely on accurate data to make smart marketing decisions 
and unlock their relationships with clients. 

It's critical to the success of our marketing to focus on what our clients want and what the the metrics show. In the real estate game, investors are taught to select properties to which the buyers will be drawn. The same goes for marketers. When it comes to strategy, product design and messaging, data guides me to what consumers want and what prompts their response. 

Consider this: a Miami Subway franchise owner noticed his sales lagged on the weekends and spent several months testing different phrases and pricing models to change this. He finally come up with a catchy phrase that made sense to consumers and increased traffic: "Five Dollar Footlong." A movement was quickly born because this franchise owner was tuned in to his sales data. Those three words created attention, generated more sales and drove more visits; a look at this data prompted Subway to adopt the motto for a game-changing national advertising campaign. 

Listen to the data. Pay attention to what makes your clients respond. Give them what they want, how they want it and when they want it. In turn, you're likely to get what you want. 

Tweet me and let's chat about how to use data:

By: Jorge Villar, President and Founder 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

5 Tips to Optimize Your Next Email Campaign

Our inboxes may be full of offers and news, but email marketing is still serving its purpose.

A recent survey notes that 68% of marketers believe email marketing is a very effective strategy, one of the highest among social media advertising and social media listening. Those marketers must be on to something: the Direct Marketing Association notes that email marketing has an ROI of 4300%. 

Earlier this week, our founder and president Jorge Villar shared 3 practical tips to increase response on your next email campaign. To piggy back off his post, we've decided to continue his list with 5 more strategies you can put in place TODAY.

1. Edit. 

While this seems like a no-brainer, I bet you can look in your inbox right now and find several reasons that it needs to be restated. Have someone who isn't working directly with the campaign read over the subject line as well as the message. It's easy to grow so attached to our ideas and our work that we overlook typos, misspellings and improper punctuation. A fresh set of eyes can help you zero in on areas to be improved.

2. Include video content. 

There's no doubt that consumers love to watch and engage with videos. Long form and short form videos alike, consumers enjoy an interactive experience with content that is entertaining, informative and shareable. Effective marketers know this and use it to their advantage. Recent research shows that when a video is used in an email, the CTR increases by 200%-300%.

3. Make your landing page one click away. 

Consumers engage with content that is not only entertaining but that is also conveniently accessible. Two clicks to reach a landing page and/or watch a video may take too much time and effort, especially depending on internet connection and considering your audience's busy schedule.

4. Use one CTA per email campaign. 

You may want your target audience to call you, email you, download a white paper, visit your website and follow you on social media, but your email campaign needs to focus on only one of those at a time. This will help you hone your message as well, providing prospects and clients with a clear idea of what you're offering as well as how they can follow up with you.

5. Send your email at the right time. 

Scott Stratten, marketing expert and president of UnMarketing, has a great quote on this concept: "The best time to never send email is when someone else told you to. Do your homework. The only important data out there is what your own list does." You have analytics on your target audience; use that data to determine the right time for your brand to send emails and to optimize your campaigns.

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jorge's Thoughts: 3 Simple Ways to Get More Response from Your Emails

Email marketing should be a critical component of your 
overall marketing strategy. 

According to Salesforce/Marketing Cloud, 73% of marketers agree it's core to their business and 74% of them believe email produces marketing ROI.

But email marketing only works when you know how to make it work. How can your next campaign be more effective and get more response?

Check out these 3 simple tips:

1. Include clear, engaging subject lines. 

Newspapers provide us with headlines that not only share succinct details but that also seek to entice us to read further. Your email subject lines should provide that as well. Don't add to the noise and clutter of your prospects' and clients' inboxes; be specific and distinguish yourself.

2. Personalize your message.

I'd venture to guess that 95% of the emails I receive are not personalized beyond my name in the email address. Take the time to acknowledge your recipients, the businesses for which they work, the cities in which they live or even recent news about the cities.

For instance, when I get an email that uses my first name or that mentions RME360, it's likely to grab my attention. Referencing my city (Tampa) or recent sports news such the Tampa Bay Lightning's run at the Stanley Cup further increase that likelihood.

3. Be conversational.

Formal scripted emails are not likely to evoke response from prospects and clients. They simply appear as words on the screen. Your emails should jump off the screen, spark a connection with you targeted audience members and engage with them on relevant topics. It may be difficult to personalize an email blast to several prospects, but using a more informal and less sales-y tone will increase your chances that they read it and then respond to it.

My challenge to you:

Look at each of the emails you receive this week. Count how many of them get your attention in 2-3 seconds. Count how many of them you can tell are mass emails in 4-5 words. How can you use your impressions of those emails to impact your next email campaign?

Tweet me and let's chat about tips to improve email marketing:

By: Jorge Villar, President and Founder