To Outsource Or To Not Outsource: there really isn’t a question

Should you outsource marketing and media operations?  Statistically speaking, yes.

95% of small businesses that have tried or are currently doing their media and marketing in-house report their efforts to have failed and are reverting to old marketing concepts.

Some sobering statistics to push us out of the gate and get us started.

  • 92% of consumers expect a business to have a website. Companies without websites instantly lose credibility.  Take Away:  Not having a website predisposes potential clients to look elsewhere.
  • If your site load time is longer than 4 seconds 46% of people will leave. Having a functioning site is a zero sum activity. Take Away:  Sites that load slowly, have broken links, grammatical and typing errors will ensure people look elsewhere before ever getting to know you or your services.
  • If your site looks badly on mobile 40% of people will leave and never comeback. 50% of all searches are done on cellphones and tablets. Mobile web activity grows while desktop activity falls.  Take Away:  You need an effective mobile site and strategy.
  • Clients expect inquiries/ complaints via online to be addressed in under 60 minutes.Miss that window and chances of negative reviews goes up by factor of 3. Take Away:Having someone babysit your social media, email inquiries, and website chat is not important, it’s essential.
  • If you don’t show up on page 1 of Google for the services you provide, you are missing 97.5% of the market. 1st position on page 1 gets 33% of all traffic. People don’t look past page 1. Take Away: If you don’t have a strategy that relentlessly pursues higher online ranking you are actively limiting contact with nearly all of your potential clientele.
  • Stagnant sites with little or no content updates get downgraded in Google’s ranking algorithm. Websites are like a bucket with a hole at the bottom. You may have created a nice site two years ago, but it needs regular updates to remain effective in search. Take Away: Adding quality and consistent content to your website is required to maintain searchability of your business’s site.
  • Time isn’t on your side. Weekly industry time estimates:  6 hours for social media, 3.9 hours for content creation, (one article, three posts)  5 hours for SEO.  Take Away:  Without including website maintenance, email marketing, customer service, all of which overlap in the digital world, business professionals don’t have time to manage all aspects of an effective media and marketing operation alone.

 

These statistics, of course, shock no one.

Over the course of the last few years I have listened to very smart and capable business professionals who report consistent dissatisfaction with their results in digital media and marketing.  The complaints are common and come up over and over.

Expectations are wildly off

Many business professionals, especially those that have been in business for a while remember when one could put an ad in the paper, send out a mailer, host a dinner, or even cold call and experience measureable and consistent results.  Those days are gone.  Yet, the expectation for quick client conversion remains.

Digital marketing takes longer, and is much more complex.

Here is one example; (deep breath) Writing an article, leads to a website update, which needs social media promotion, which then requires a method to engage readers after the article is read, subsequently qualification of the reader as a potential client is needed, and lastly, there is a need for a method to move a digital relationship into an offline conversation.  In that example the tasks to be completed cover content creation, website management, calls to action, social media, lead scoring, UX/UI and several others.

Without a proper understanding of the time commitment to manage a media and marketing operation (20+ hours a week) and an understanding of the digital buying cycle (79 day average) and an appreciation for the complicated relationship between the areas of media and marketing it is easy to understand why 95% of small businesses report failure at digital media and marketing.

The rules are not understood

The strategies that work online change every day. Google updates the way they look at, score, and rank your site constantly.  Email deliverability, open and conversion rates are affected by many different aspects.  Consumers like your site design one day and hate it the next.   Social media audiences are fickle and respond differently on each platform. The methods that worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.   Keeping up with the changes that effectively govern the success of your digital media and marketing strategy can be a full time job for several people.

So you’ve decided to outsource. Get a quarterback not a tool.

There are many media and marketing tools that solve a piece of the puzzle.  By themselves they do an amazing job at their one task.  But, as we showed in the example above all tasks are dependent on one another for a successful outcome.

A dedicated expert is needed who understands the challenges and solutions from first engagement to client conversion.  Tools can be plugged in where appropriate and then managed as part of the full operation.

Outsourcing marketing is inevitable.  In the end satisfaction is more achievable, costs more manageable, and outcomes more predictable with an outsourced expert managing a small business media and marketing operation.

4 Reasons Financial Advisors Need a Digital Marketing Strategy

A digital marketing strategy would, on its face, seem to be a given for any business.  Digital marketing budgets are beginning to approach 50% of many large companies’ entire marketing outlays. 2015 will see digital budgets rise by almost 10%.

Yet, there is a missing link between doing digital marketing and having a plan.

A new report by Smartinsights.com, Managing Digital Marketing 2015, shows that a full 50% of marketers have active digital marketing programs, but no defined strategy at all. And the trend is going the wrong way. The number in 2014 was lower at 46%.

Having a digital marketing strategy as a financial professional is more important than ever.  The forces that compete for attention on a daily, weekly basis are important and all appear to need “put out this fire first” type attention. Developing, converting, and retaining new clients can seem to be a task that can be back-burnered at a moment’s notice.

Digital marketing does have a velocity component to it.

It absolutely operates as a bucket with a hole at the bottom.  To keep the bucket full of new leads, opportunities, and new clients requires that it gets filled regularly. And for a financial advisor, whose time is limited, that means having a plan that can execute routinely and efficiently.

Here are some reasons why:

A written strategy gives you actionable steps and focus

Without a written approach to digital marketing one is left with generalities. “I do email marketing.” Or, “Yeah, I have social media accounts that I post to.” Yet without specific operational goals and outcomes this approach likely leads to disappointment and ultimately abandonment.

Having a written strategy forces a financial advisor to ask the right questions, focus on their target audience and create measurable goals that can be achieved by actionable steps.

It makes strategic decision making easier.

If you’re approach to marketing is fragmented and disorganized , it becomes very difficult to allocate precious marketing dollars to where they will be most effect.

Having a written marketing plan allows not only for easier decision making at the start of each new marketing cycle, but will keep you focused during the year when the temptation to try this new marketing idea, or that new online tool can draw your eye away from executing your strategic plan.

It makes measurement a cinch.

Having measurable goals based upon executable steps allows for measurement.  A good strategic plan forces analytics into the foreground.  Looking at the performance of your marketing operations is nearly impossible to ignore when there is an expectation of ___ number of site visits, ___number of conversions, ___ number of webinar attendees, and ___number of new clients.

Optimization is the net result.  My father used to tell me, “that which is measured improves.  That which is measured and reported improves faster.”   Reviewing your strategy against regular performance numbers benchmarks your activity and makes plain where changes need to be made, resources reallocated, and execution tightened. Enabling a good measurement system allows you to effectively see what’s working and what  isn’t, and make the necessary changes.

Progress not perfection.

It does not need to be complicated. Begin writing your digital marketing strategy with one page where you describe your goals, actionable steps and KPIs. Review your strategy once a month and you will find that the document naturally begins to pull in more and more aspects of your digital marketing strategies.

 

Press Releases: Do free distribution channels still work?

Many marketing professionals question the benefits of producing press releases in 2015. Further, there is a question about using a free service to distribute a PR that doesn’t achieve placement in major media outlets.

Yet, press releases still can play a valuable role in a company’s overall media and marketing strategies.  To Continue Reading Click Here