the choice of financial professionals

How financial advisory firms are getting discovered on the Internet

The power of the Internet means it’s now possible for financial service providers to build a broader and more profitable online audience by carefully applying some specific approaches and techniques. All it takes is confidence and an Internet connection.

Some facts for financial advisers to consider:

• More people are online than ever before
• More people regularly use the Internet to transact business and investigate products and services
• Most of us have adapted quickly to being online so that Internet use has become more sophisticated
• People are more likely to avoid unwanted online ads by using techniques and technology such as pop-up blockers, email spam filters and call rejection

The importance of links

Links play a big part in achieving a great search engine ranking. You need to use two types of links:

• on-page: content on your site that links to other relevant areas of the site
• off-page: content on other sites that links to your website

Both type of links are useful in enhancing your online presence. Ideally you should use as many as possible. While it is relatively easy to place links, you need to avoid overusing links that aren’t working very effectively.

The better the reference, the more trusted it will be

Each link is like a reference for your website because people relate to a link according to whether it leads to a site they know and trust. This means that the links you use show how valid your site is – the better the reference, the more trusted it will be.

The key is to make sure that your links are from relevant websites. One very useful thing to keep in mind is Wikipedia and, in particular, the way it allows you to begin on one topic and click through from one related topic to the next, taking you somewhere very different. Keep this approach in mind and apply it to as many relevant websites as possible.

Spread the word

Getting your website set up is just the start.

Your website is now set up to showcase your business and sell the value of your services and products. You have high-quality, relevant links. Your site shows up high in the search engine rankings. The next step is to spread the word.

Adding value to your website by blogging

The best place to start is with your blog.

You could define a blog as an online diary which allows you to reach many people. Your blog enables you to share any message or information you want – from thoughts and ideas to lists of other useful sites, and everything in between.

Blogs provide a very fast and very convenient way to diversify your site and enhance search engine optimisation. Each post, with individual tags, links and URL, will actively boost your online presence, with the added advantage of giving new web visitors exactly what they want when they arrive on your site.

Most blog services also have their own hub, i.e. all their blogs are catalogued under one site, with links to and from thousands of blogs on a similar subject. Being linked to the other blogs builds the presence of your own blog and its potential audience.

Four things every new blogger should know

1. The decision you make about what to put in your blog is fundamental to the success of your digital marketing strategy. As long as it’s relevant to you and your business, every post is a brand new advert, and your readership will grow with every one.

2. Don’t approach your blog like an advert, but as a way to showcase yourself as a helpful source of useful, relevant information.

3. Add a list of useful links occasionally to build good mutual links with those people you list.

4. Post a set of ‘top tips’ once in a while – very useful and very easy to spread via word of mouth. On average, companies that blog enjoy 55% more web traffic than those that don’t.

Information and interaction

Getting discovered on the Internet is all about information and interaction. You’ve created a source of useful, relevant, well-indexed information on your blog. But how do you get people responding to it?

By being sociable – using the different forms of social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Useful content on the Web is very easy to find – once found, it will get traced back to you.

Content and conversation

Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter combine content and conversation. They bring your post together with a potential audience of thousands of people, if not more.

This interaction starts with you. Respond to comments. Answer questions. Offer ideas and tips. This shows you as a friendly business rather than one simply trying to sell. Once someone does need your service, they’ll already be aware of you as a business they can trust. This is how being sociable can help create an audience which then creates leads and clients.

Track and adapt

See what’s working and what’s not.

Getting recognised online involves many potential different resources and platforms. So how do you see where new leads are actually coming from and which areas need improving?

Here are a few helpful ways to track and adapt your digital marketing strategy:

• Most services offer their own tracking software for monitoring and managing leads while most blog hosts will have figures for visits, clicks and popular landing pages
• Google Analytics provides a valuable breakdown of web visitors and on-site behaviour

Jim Kirk, Senior Consultant, Goldmine Media

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