Successful Online Marketing for Financial Services

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It’s a tough time to be you.
A few years ago only people in business or college kids used the Internet. Today the Internet is everywhere.

If you don’t take immediate action the Internet will continue to make it harder for you to earn a living.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The Internet can be the opportunity of a lifetime for independent financial service providers. If you understand its potential, it can be a powerful lever to push yourself up to the next level of production. The potential is huge. 

One example: there are an estimated 10,000 US citizens retiring each day and most all of them need financial services. Most of these retires are Internet savvy.

So why aren’t you using the Internet to market your products and services?  The most likely reason is uncertainty. To make matters worse there is no shortage of vendors seeking to sell you the best solution to help you build your business online. This can be very confusing and frustrating.

Even though the online marketing choices are vast and never ending, you should take heart that the solutions you need are available to you. They are manageable and affordable, but you need to know your options. There are powerful methods that you can start using today to enable you to compete with your largest competitors.

Don’t Be Afraid to Leave Your Comfort Zone – The Only Constant in Online Marketing is Change
The Internet is constantly changing and you have to be willing to  reinvent yourself periodically.

The topic of Internet marketing is much too complex to cover in a single article but the conversation can get started with some of the most important options: SEO, PPC & Online Listing Directories.

The Shortcomings of SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) uses techniques to get greater visibility for websites. But this isn’t enough. The small businesses are losing to the big guys with larger SEO budgets. Even with a large budget, your success is always temporary.  With Google changing its algorithm almost weekly, yesterday’s work can become null and void along with your budget.

PPC Can Backfire and Cost You Big Time
The key is Return on Investment (ROI). To keep a positive ROI you need to have the belief and discipline to apply ROI standards to all of their PPC campaigns. You need to know what you are willing to pay for a new client and that magic number is what you need to use to build your campaign.

PPC Success is a Moving Target
Ten years ago you could bid 25 cents for a term like “retirement planning” now that term can cost over $10 per visit to your website. Ouch!  At that cost the ROI for the small financial services business is GONE!  Here are some Google Adwords Cost Per Clicks (CPC) for Google Adwords, using Financial Planning and Medicare terms:  Note: There are companies willing and able to pay $17.00 per visit to their website for some Medicare terms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pricing is not included here to scare you. This is just the reality of today’s market. Don’t be afraid of this pricing. Be cautious and smart and you can do fine. For small businesses with a local audience, the success has been found working with Long Tail Terms (terms that are less generic and more targeted). Here is an example from Google Adwords:

 

 

 

 

 

Note: the Atlanta term, page one can be had for 61 cents per click, to your site. You may not get as many clicks, however the market (Medicare) is enormous and your ROI will surely be better than at $17.00 per click

Remember it’s all about ROI, so if for example, 100 prospects come to your site and you can convert one to a client. Your cost for obtaining that client is $61. It is best that you find a PPC management company that understands what you are willing to pay for a new client.

A Word of Wisdom
NEVER LET GOOGLE BUILD YOUR AD CAMPAIGN.  This is like asking a barber if you need a haircut! Google knows how to build a campaign but they are really not interested in your ROI.

More Change – Online Directories
In the old days, when you ran an ad in the Yellow Pages or the local paper you really had no idea who was reading your message, but you were getting new clients so it was probably working. Today you can use the Yellow Pages to fix your wobbly chair as the Yellow Pages is much thinner now because more businesses realize that it doesn’t work nearly as well as it used to.

According to ReachLocal.com, 85% of consumers are searching for local businesses online. In our research we identified 36 of the top Search Engines that cater to local businesses.  These engines do not include Google, Yahoo or Bing but represent 2.57 billion searches for local businesses in 2012 and growing. So what are searchers using?

“New Mobile Media” – Consumers now use iPads, Androids, Tablets, Cell Phones, Laptops, GPS and all types of new cellular technology- searching for local businesses.

They are searching using sites like: Angie’s List, Think Local, Mapquest, Yelp, Manta, EZ Local, Four Square and at least 30 more.

What Could this Mean to You?
You can pay a company to register your business on the sites or you can register yourself 36 local listing sites.  You will find a complete list of these sites at www.LocalListings2.com with links to these local listings sites.

In Summary
If you are an independent company selling financial services you should be using the Internet to build your book of business. Your market is online and you need to be there too. You can use any – or all of the methods discussed above – but you also need to be careful and disciplined. Stay clear of simple solutions that over-promise because they will almost certainly under-deliver. There is a nagging misconception that marketing on the Internet should be either free or very low cost. The truth is much different. Cheap, unexamined methods rarely work and if you misuse or misjudge proven powerful methods like PPC and SEO you can end up spending big money for little returns.

Forget about free; forget about saving money with a cheaper service. Instead concentrate on ROI. Figure out what you can afford to spend to get a new client and then invest the effort to find an online way to make it happen. You can hire a specialist company or do it yourself but either way ROI is the key.

Sources:
Softcast Online (www.softcastonline.com) and its sister company IRM www.Ireputationmanagement.com have been helping financial services companies since 2001.

www.LocalListings2.com (LL2) is now in its second year catering to all types of local businesses.

 

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