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Biggest Branding Blunders Advisors Make

paperbackstanding2_693x872I want you to picture what it would be like if you walked into your office on a Monday morning, you opened up your email, and you had six new messages all from folks that you’ve never met, folks that you’ve probably never even heard of, all requesting a meeting with you. What if instead of having to go out and chase your business, it came after you? This is what happens to our advisors on a regular basis. Before you think that there’s anything special about the advisors themselves, I want to promise you that this can happen to you too, because although there isn’t anything special about the advisors, there’s something very special about the power of branding.

What I want to talk about  is the five biggest branding blunders that advisors make and how you can prevent them or, how you can fix them if you’re already doing them.

<<Download the full Ebook, “The Five Biggest Branding Blunders Advisors Make!”>>

Branding blunder number one is simply failing to understand what branding is. Everyone who’s started a business has heard about the importance of branding… You have to brand yourself as this. Make sure your brand reaches them or that your brand impression should portray that.

Having a strong, unique brand message is the key to any successful marketing campaign. There’s no question about that. The question is: what does branding really mean, and how do you do it?

You can’t just have a logo with bright flashy colors. It doesn’t mean simply plastering your company’s name anywhere it fits.

It’s not just about impressions.

It’s about allowing people to learn and understand who you are, what you do, and what you can provide, without having to tell them, and providing the trust needed for them to believe that you can provide it. At the end of the day, good branding breeds trust with your prospects.

Imagine it this way, if you put your name amongst a list of thirty of your top competitors, your prospects should be able to point out your name and explain why you have a significant value for them that they should want to work with you. That was the goal of what we did and that’s the goal of what your branding should do.

Want the next four Biggest Branding Blunders Advisors Make (and how to fix them!)??
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How To: Brand Yourself Like A Pro (PART 1)

20622190_sEveryone who’s started a business has heard about the importance of branding. You have to brand yourself as this, make sure your brand reaches them, or your brand impression should portray that.

You can’t take off running until you have a definite direction to head. The same goes for starting a marketing campaign without a strong brand message as a guide. Step one in your marketing plan must be to develop a strong, unique brand that will stand out in your market. It’s this commitment to defining and developing your brand that sets you apart from your competitors, and sets you apart in the minds of your prospects

<<Register for May’s Training Webinar: The Five Biggest Branding Blunders (and how to fix them!)>>

Having a strong, unique brand message is the key to any successful marketing campaign, there’s no question about that.  The question is: what does “branding” really mean, and how do you do it? You can’t do it just by having a logo with bright flashy colors. Branding doesn’t just mean plastering your company’s name anywhere it fits. It’s not just about impressions. It’s about allowing people to learn and understand who you are, what you do and what you can provide without having to tell them and then providing the trust needed for them to believe that you can provide it. At the end of the day, good branding breeds trust with your prospects.

Your brand power messages are abbreviated versions of your unique selling propositions. You are essentially looking to create a single phrase that prospects can identify as YOUR VALUE to them. You want it to be something that it easily recognizable and easily repeatable, after all there is no limit to the power of word of mouth, but if your prospects have trouble remembering or communicating your value, it’s not all that valuable.

GOALS of your Brand Power Message

  • Paint a picture of your firms Unique Selling Proposition
  • Short and sweet description of what you do
  • Easily repeatable
  • Cannot communicate your value…you’re not all that valuable

Besides your Company name and logo, your brand power message will be the most recognizable aspect of your marketing. There are a few rules of thumb to follow.

RULES of your Brand Power Message

  • Have a Rhythm or Phrasing
  • Highlight a key benefit
  • 6 to 8 words
  • Keep it honest

EXAMPLES of your Brand Power Message

  • Insurance Advisors Assuring Your Future –Play on words
  • Stop Guessing, Start Planning – Call to action
  • We’re Invested in Your Financial Future – Team approach to investing
  • A Family Based Firm for the Family Based Investor – Commitment to relationship with client
  • Life Is Complicated. Your Finances Don’t Have to Be – Instills confidence

Once you have defined and created your brand power messages, we arrive at the critical question: If a tree falls in the woods, but no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound? Or in this case, if your branding is really strong, but your prospects never hear or see it, does it do you any good? The same goes for your branding.

Don’t miss out on this month’s training webinar, The Five Biggest Branding Blunders (and how to fix them!)… REGISTER HERE

Increasing Your Booking And Closing Ratios (How To)

31243262_s80% of revenue is generated by 20% of the producers. This isn’t because those successful advisors spend thousands more on marketing dollars, or hold dozens more seminars. It isn’t in the overall quantity of opportunities. It’s the ratio of success on each of those opportunities. The biggest contributor to those ratios of success, the efficiency of your marketing.

Let’s look at one advisor as an example. Before implementing a targeted, focused marketing strategy, he was booking 23% of his seminar attendees for first appointments, and closing just 19% of those first appointments. One year later, after focusing his marketing strategy on an efficient message, he is booking nearly 96% of seminar attendees for first appointments, and closing over 91% of those appointments.

<<Read More: Learn the 7 Techniques to Booking And Closing More Appointments>>

Did he spend thousands of dollars more? No. Actually, he spent less!

By increasing the efficiency of your marketing pieces to increase your booking ratio you can save money by…

  • Reducing the number of mailers you need to send
  • Reducing the number of events you have to hold to generate the same level of business
  • Extend the lifespan of your marketing events (since you won’t oversaturate your market)

Think about it… if you are able to go from a 20% book ratio to a 40% booking ratio, you’ve just doubled your revenue and given yourself a pay raise. Those figures are the aim of our next training webinar, 7 Techniques For Booking More Appointments With Fewer Seminars.

Every top producer has figured this out, and in this webinar will go over a few of the top techniques we have seen advisors use to book 70, 80 or even 90% of attendees (and get them to actually show up for appointments).

By attending this webinar on Wednesday, April 27th, you will learn these 7 techniques, as well as how to implement them within your business practices.

REGISTER NOW

 

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Creating The Perfect Online Presence

I spoke on our webinar last week about the importance of having a professional looking online presence. The truth is that you would never operate a business out of a building that looks like this.

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So it drives me nuts when advisors try to operate an online presence with social profiles that look like this!

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Your social media profiles are your online storefront. And even more important, these days you can bet a prospect visits your online storefront at least half a dozen times before they even come close to visiting your actual office building.

So what can you do to make sure your online presence is portraying the professional and inviting image that you want? Here’s some tips.

Images
Use them early, often, and whenever else possible. Images are the best way to build relationships with your prospects, giving them a seemingly inside look at you and your operation. This means using them when you are first setting up your accounts as profile pictures, cover photos, background images, whatever the specific platform allows. Each platform will also give you dimensions for each of these images. Making sure the image you upload matches these dimensions and prevents them from getting cut off, enlarged to the point of blurriness, or appearing two small to be legible. Try to use images that include your logo and tagline whenever possible.

Details
Each platform will ask for some initial information about you and your firm. Make sure you don’t leave any of this blank. When you first set up your profiles, each one will basically walk you through step by step what you need to fill in, and where. DO NOT SKIP THIS PART. Include the “category” of business your firm is (financial industry), as well as a basic description of the services you provide. Also include your location whenever it asks for it. This will make it much easier for people to find you, as well allow you to appear in generic searches that people in your geographic area are completing.

Contact Info and Links
Your social profiles are a gateway to your website, and eventually, you. Each social platform gives you an ability to feature your website’s URL front and center in your profile. Take advantage of this. Your website hosts (or should host) everything someone would need to understand why they should be doing business with you. You want to allow people to easily access your site via your social media. Also include your phone number, email address and other direct contact information that allows people to reach out to you.

Social Media is becoming a necessary piece of any marketing strategy. If a prospect looks for you online, and doesn’t like what they see, the search stops there. Don’t let that be the case. Create a winning presence with complete social profiles.

How To Win Your Prospects (**GAME CHANGER ALERT**)

contentItem-2857139-13136756-wngggla1a2qou-orTake a moment to read the sales stats in that image… Specifically that last one: 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact. This may make you think about your sales process, your first appointment, your staff’s commitment to phone calls. If you are thinking about these things, you are thinking about treating the symptoms, not the problem itself.

I challenge you to focus less on your sales, and more on your marketing leading up to that point. If 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact. Why is this? People do business with those they know, like, and trust. Those first half a dozen contacts consist of the prospect getting to know you, deciding if they like you, and learning to trust you.

This can mean a lot of work for you and your staff… Having to touch a person 10 times before they even consider working with you. But what if I told you that you could make your first 5 contacts without a single phone call, a single email, or a single appointment.

<<Register for our Social Media Training Webinar on March 30th!>>

Let me tell you a quick story… when I started working with Jeff Cutter, the founder of Radical, I was 24 years old, about to commit my career to a guy I’d met just a handful of times, who lived halfway across the country. Of course, my mother was in a panic. She’d never met Jeff, and she was about to let her only daughter, a sweet Midwestern girl, put her future in the hands of a Yankee that she didn’t know from Adam.

So my mother did what any middle aged person in the 21st century does… opened up her laptop and started researching. I got a call from her a few hours later and I’ll never forget what she said… “Okay, I feel better about this. I went online and I looked at his Facebook page and he seems to have a nice family. His website made me feel better knowing he’s an actual successful financial advisor, and not some crook, and I even watched some Youtube videos of him talking to me. He seems like a really nice guy. I’m okay with this.”

Not only had my mother given her blessing on my career choice, but she had just confirmed the effectiveness of our business model. She had gotten to know, like, and trust Jeff, simply by his online presence.

This is where the power of social media shows itself.  You will find that you can position yourself as the financial expert, and trusted member of the community, and (more simply) a friend, all with a basic social media marketing strategy.

Because of this, we are hosting a training webinar that will take you through the journey from introduction to conversion of a prospect, through the use of Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.  Whether you already use social media, or you haven’t a clue where to start, there will be valuable takeaways from this 30-minute session.

Join Us: Wednesday, March 30th, 3:00 ET
“WINNING YOUR PROSPECTS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA, THE DIGITAL JOURNEY FROM INTRODUCTION TO CONVERSION!”

REGISTER NOW

 

Sales Struggles? Shoot The (Marketing) Messenger

15059863_s (1) As a lifetime athlete, I’ve always operated under the motto, “The quality of our preparation determines the quality of our performance.” This means that championships are won or lost in the off-season, exams are passed or failed in the study hours, and your sales meetings are closed or left open in your marketing efforts.

We have all sat through those nightmare sales appointments where the prospect isn’t buying what we’re selling.  The body language is closed off, the responses are all rejections, the questions are all self-serving.  It’s a waste of time, energy, and effort for both sides.  When those appointments are over, you might be thinking, “Well, there was nothing I could do to save that one.” And it may be true that in that appointment there was nothing you could have done, but your fatal error was likely made before that person ever walked in your door.

The best thing that you can do for your close rates is to make sure you have the quality in your open rates.  If you play your cards right, your marketing should have prospects nearly closed before they even sit down.

How do you do that? I’m glad you asked:

  • Own Your Market – This means that everyone in your area should know who you are, what you do, and (more importantly) what value you bring.  This is easier said than done, but if you commit to an effective branding strategy, you can ensure that you are in the eyes and ears of your local prospects.  This means finding out where they are, what they watch, what they read, what they are interested in, and finding the most efficient ways to get you and your message there.  As they become familiar and comfortable with you, they automatically become more familiar and comfortable with your offering. Check out our “What is Branding?” blog for more info.
  • Prove Your Expertise – being seen and heard by your market isn’t valuable if you are saying and doing the wrong things! You need to make sure that you are providing value each and every time you appear in front of them.  Whether it’s answering a question in a newspaper column, presenting up to date Social Security information in a live seminar, or joining in a discussion in a LinkedIn group, make sure that each opportunity positions you as a resource and proves that you can continue to be that resource moving forward. Even simple little things like joining your local Chamber of Commerce or gaining the Better Business Bureau seal of approval, these little trust credentials earn you the credibility that the captive advisors in the big companies inherently have.  If you can do this, people will be coming into your office asking “What should I do?” and not “Why should I do it with you?”
  • Be Personable – Sales is easier if people like you. It’s the hard truth of the matter.  This means it’s critical to show your personality in your marketing.  Some of the best marketing tactics come forth in informal settings when people can get to know you and your philosophy in non-threatening manner.  If you can make them feel secure with you as a person before they sit down, they will feel a lot more secure with your offering as well.  Check out our recent blog “Relationship Advice for You and Your Firm” for more info on how build those relationships with clients through your marketing.

So if your appointments are a struggle, it might be actually be a good idea to shoot the messenger, or at least the marketing message.  Through effective branding and promotional strategies we have seen close rates go from 20% to 90%, we have seen close processes go from four meetings down to two, and we have seen the struggle against the barriers become a discussion about the future.

Pre-marketing like this is one of the most valuable things you can do for your business.  Learn more about how to premarket your firm in our upcoming webinar.  Click below for the details!

WEBINAR:

“HOW TO FILL THE ROOM AT YOUR NEXT EVENT,
WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK!”

 

Radical Promoting Launches ‘Series 65 Initiative’

Radical PromotingWe’re really excited to have announced our Series 65 Initiative for 2016, and we’re even more excited to have had our announcement make such waves across the industry, having been picked up and published by various news sites including NBC, FOX, Yahoo! Finance, and ABC. Check out the announcement below!

Falmouth, MA, USA – December 29, 2015

Radical Promoting announces a new initiative that is set to change the way financial advisors market themselves in the industry.

One marketing firm is proving its commitment to the financial industry with its unique “Series 65 initiative”. Radical Promoting, a marketing firm launched in 2013 has been working with financial advisors around the country to help them reach prospects with effective and efficient tactics. Radical has announced that all if its marketers will be Series 65 Licensed by the end of 2016.

Jeff Cutter, founder of Radical Promoting and an independent advisor representative himself, feels that this initiative simply continues to differentiate the firm from other marketing firms. “There are a lot of firms who market to a variety of industries, or who focus on the insurance side of the financial world. As an IAR myself, I understand the specialized service I provide clients, and our marketers understand the specialized marketing approach needed to promote that.”

Radical Promoting’s Chief Marketing Officer, Leibel Sternbach, has been working in the financial industry for nearly a decade, and believes that having his Series 65 has been a huge benefit to his clients. “To be truly effective in marketing IAR’s you have to be an expert in their business, and this means having a thorough understanding of the financial strategies they implement.”

He is excited to have the rest of the marketing team become licensed. “All of our marketers have knowledge and experience within the financial industry, but I think it will really give our advisors a unique advantage to have their marketing planned, created and implemented by a team completely versed in their business.”

The Radical Team publishes a blog with marketing tips and tactics geared specifically to financial advisors and how they can promote their firm. These articles can be found on www.radicalpromoting.com/blog.

To learn more about Radical Promoting and their “2016 Series 65 Initiative” visit their website, www.radicalpromoting.com.

For more information about us, please visit http://RadicalPromoting.com

5 Reasons Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Working

26901771_sWhen a prospect engages with you through one of your marketing campaigns you have one main goal: advance the relationship. That means that if they are a warm lead, make them a hot lead. If they are a hot lead, make them a sales prospect. If they are a sales prospect, convert them to a client.

When you are on social media, you will encounter many of your prospects at the beginning of the sales funnel. It’s unlikely you will have people posting to your Facebook page offering you a million dollars to invest for them (although that has happened before), so it’s important that you take the initial engagement on social media and use it to move people closer toward that decision making point.

Unfortunately, there might be a few things standing in your way between social media usage, and social media success. Here are five common mistakes that you are making with your social media marketing.

1. Not staying alert for comments, likes, mentions and other notifications on your social profiles. Each social platform has a notifications bar that will alert you to new notifications, or you can set email notifications to alert you. Once you get those alerts, make sure you acknowledge the comments and engagement from your fans. Even if it’s not a direct question, respond with a “Thank you” or a “Glad you found it helpful” or something to let people know that their comments aren’t falling on deaf ears.

2. Not keeping track of the people who are your “Super Fans”. These are people who frequently like or comment on your content and profiles. These are individuals that you can reach out to more aggressively.

  • Send them a personal message or email commenting that you are glad that they find value in the content and set the stage for an appointment or conversation.
  • Make sure you are following them back or connected with them on other platforms.
  • Make sure they are on your email marketing lists.

3. Not taking the conversation offline. Keep in mind the rules regarding giving advice in a public forum. If someone posts publically, respond in a private message, ask them to call you, or invite them in for an appointment. Try to get the conversation more direct and personal as quickly as you can.

4. Not commenting on other’s content. Treat others as you want to be treated, right? By reaching out and commenting on others’ posts, status updates, pictures, etc, you are extending an olive branch of a relationship that shows that you care. Also, if you are commenting on a post that your target market will see, your brand awareness with a single comment can grow exponentially.

5. Not showing your personality. It’s not a good idea to be controversial or entirely open with your posts and comments, but it’s okay for your communication to be a little more casual when you engage with people on social media. It’s by showing this personality that you will start to build those critical relationships that will quickly lead to new clients.

So before you turn your back on social media, thinking there isn’t an RIO for you hidden within the comments, likes and follows, look again. It might be a simple step tripping you up and keeping your prospects clogged at the top of your social media sales funnel.

Speaking of the value of social media, a lot of advisors have seen the value in our Radical Promoting LinkedIn Group. Become a member now! Join our group

Get Your Marketing “On The Same Page”

2013-12-30_1426There is no “I” in “team”. 

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

The list of quotes and clichés goes on and on, but there is no discounting the power of a cohesive unit.  I’ve been on teams all my life, but no one stressed this message more than my college soccer coach.  Every day, through every training session, during every meeting, the phrase “on the same page” was drilled into our minds.  The key to a cohesive unit is to be “on the same page” with each other.  Each individual has to be aware of, and working within, the bigger picture or goal of the team. It was only when all of our individual efforts aligned with that bigger picture that we could find success.

It didn’t take long within the business world for me to realize how that message translates into the marketing realm.  A marketing strategy has multiple moving parts, and if those parts aren’t all moving together toward the overall goal, that strategy won’t find much success.  We spend a lot of time here at Radical Promoting focusing on how to keep all those moving parts “on the same page” and we’ve discovered a few keys to success.

Determine Your Goals

The first step to being on the same page is to determine what page it is you want to be on.  It’s important to be specific and detailed with this determination.  Just like every team wants to win the championship, every company wants to increase business, but simply stating “increase sales” or “increase AUM” won’t be much help in developing your big picture.  Think of specific tactics that will help accomplish those over-arching goals.  Increasing web traffic, increase conversion rates, decrease bounce rates.  The more specific you are here, the more accurate you will be with your results.

Identify the Roles You Need

Having a team of 11 star quarterbacks won’t get you to the Super Bowl, no matter how good they are.  It’s important that you can identify and capture the different roles you need to make up a well-rounded team.  Each player, and each aspect of your marketing, has a different strength.  Print campaigns provide brand awareness.  A social media presence provides relationship building.  A well designed website provides credibility. Quality content provides thought leadership.  If you focus too much on one position, you will be leaving gaps in your overall strategy.  Flashy marketing can sell tickets, but a well-rounded campaign wins championships.

Design Your Game Plan

This is where the importance of “being on the same page” shines the most. Once you have all the components of your team, your game plan has to leverage the strengths of each position, and map out how they work together.  Just like you would position your slugger to bat clean up, it’s important to have each part of your marketing strategy in its rightful place within your line up of implementation.  Think back to the strengths of each role and how you can utilize each to strengthen the others. You have great content for thought leadership, but you need people to see it: so promote that content on your social profiles, which will likely have a reach of thousands.  You need content on your website to create that credibility: embed videos of your media appearances on a “Featured In” page for visitors to view.  If all your marketing avenues are working together within the right role for their strengths, the entire team will be a lot stronger.

Getting each piece of your marketing strategy on the same page and working as one cohesive unit can be a challenge.  Just as each team needs a coach to direct each player in their individual roles, your marketing strategy needs a coach to direct all of its moving pieces as well. That is where our passion here at Radical Promoting lies.  Don’t let another year go by, throwing your money into a marketing program giving you average results.  Start 2016 off in a Radical new direction, contact Radical Promoting today, and get your marketing program on the same page with this year’s goals.

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office

Giving Your Outbound Marketing Inbound Power

10932235_sLight and dark. Up and Down. Outbound marketing and inbound marketing.

They may seem like opposites, but the truth is that in all of those partnerships, you can’t have one without the other. It’s the existence of one that creates the opportunity for the other. Obviously, for the sake of this blog, we are going to focus mostly on that last pairing.

When asked about the difference in his marketing after committing to a program like Radical, an advisor replied to a group of his peers: “Wouldn’t it be nice if you showed up at your office on Monday and you found you had two emails, one website contact form submission, and a voicemail message, all from prospects wanting to meet with you? With this marketing program, that’s what happens!”

That’s the inbound marketing that agents and advisors envision when they set out to start their business on day one. Everyone wants their knowledge respected, their value recognized, and their services in demand. But how do you develop these inbound marketing results? It starts with outbound marketing.

Outbound marketing is usually viewed as the ugly step sister of inbound. It’s seen as spammy, wasteful, and lacking finesse. But here is the mistake that most advisors make with their outbound marketing: they do it in an outbound way.

Hubspot recently published a report called “Inboundy Outbound: How to do traditional marketing the inbound way” with details on how you can take many of the traditional outbound marketing tactics and put some inbound flavor in them.

Here are a few of my favorite sound bites from their report: (Download the entire report HERE)

On TV and Radio… “Add some inbound flavor by creating messaging for the ad that relates a pain point for one of your buyer personas to an offer available on your website.” Here’s an example.

On Print Ads… “It isn’t just a page with compelling copy and beautiful design, it’s a portal. A gateway to your business’s online, inbound world. … You want to put your print ads where your target audience will find them.” Learn more about determining the best local areas for your print ads in our recent blog.

On Cold Calling… “The new approach to sales calls doesn’t involve interrupting strangers and immediately going for the hard sell. Instead, modern cold calling is all about tracking engagement and learning what your potential customers are interested in so you have context for each call.” This is what we term “recognizing your super fans”. Pay attention to social media activity, email opens and clicks, website opt ins, and so on, and identify who your super fans are.

On Paid Online Ads… “Use segmentation to show your ads to the right audiences, and map your content to those segments appropriately.” Paid ads can give a much needed boost to your organic campaigns, without breaking the bank.

The Hubspot report went into pretty detailed tips for several of the most popular segments of outbound marketing but the major underlying theme: focus on providing value and building relationships. That is a mantra that our marketing programs live by, and it’s one that yours should as well.