As a customer, when you’re torn between two different products, what’s the one thing you rely on to push you over to one or the other? Customer reviews are simply invaluable for businesses that are in incredibly competitive environments. In fact, in this day and age, every company no matter what industry, no matter what size, should be encouraging more customers to leave reviews. It's marketing firepower that never runs dry. Great reviews will add to your overall rating and thus, boost your name in search engines. Once you level out at a certain rating, it's difficult to climb down from it. But, how do you encourage more people to that have purchased from your business, to get typing and write you great reviews?
Giving them incentives
Nowadays you have to give something before you get something back. Even if your business satisfied a customer and they really like your product, more than likely you will have to give them an incentive to leave a review. It's at this point you should offer them ‘points’ that will go toward their consumer profile. If they have an account, offer them a reward of points if they leave feedback for the products they bought from you. After they collect a set number of points, they will be rewarded with a discount of perhaps a coupon which they can use at your online retail store or another business. Partner with a coffee shop so you can give your customers $5 coupons or something of that nature.
Make it simple
The last thing you need is a complex rating and review process. Make it simple and fast. Present a 1-5 star rating which activates when they hover their cursor over it. With one simple click, they can rate the product. Leave a small box underneath the star system so they can leave a few words. Set a minimum word count number so at least one full sentence is needed to post the overall rating. Don’t have the review system as a pop-up as many people will disable pop-ups on their browsers. At the same time, you don’t want to present the review system on your website itself as the chances of it being ignored are high. Instead, send this simple review system via email marketing.
Customers want to know if their review actually had an effect on your business. Whether it's a good or bad review, they would like to think that they have participated in helping others. Working with an seo expert you can create personalized regional content that will reach local customers. The reviews will then be seen by customers searching for a ‘near me’ business. Your review rating will be shown as well as the best reviews that were left. With this kind of local SEO investment, you will increase your visitor numbers as most people will visit the stores they searched for on Google, within 1 day.
Accept that you’re asking a little much from customers to leave a review. They have given you their money and you have given them a product. Asking for a review is an extra request, therefore give customers incentives first.
When you choose to run your own business, YOU want to run your business. The idea of outsourcing any department or service in your business to someone else is a four-letter word that makes you shrug your shoulders. No way would you ever outsource to anyone: you have bigger and better ideas for your business than that!
Here’s the thing: you cannot do it all. No, really. You cannot do everything. Unless you have qualified in IT, finance, marketing and sales all at once, you’re not going to be a master of any trade, just a Jack of them all. It’s not what your business needs and, to be frank, your business will sink under the weight of that level of arrogance. It’s a blunt truth, but it’s one that will hopefully see that you are going to be a far more respected and stronger business leader when you own what you can do and let go of the rest. With that in mind, we’re going to discuss four different services that you SHOULD look to outsource if you want to be successful.
As a business leader, you need to be very aware of what’s going on in your business finances to be able to run it properly. This doesn't mean that you need to know all of the ins and outs and unless you have a finance or accounting degree, you’re not going to manage it. You need a professional who can keep an eye on the ins and outs of your money at all times, as you simply do not have the time for that!
When you first start out in your business, you are the epicentre of your customer service strategy. As you grow, this gets to be a little too much. You cannot answer every single phone call and email, while also replying to the live chat that you’ve set up! Find an affordable outsourcing service for customer service and manage it from a distance. You won’t regret the time that you took to hire someone else to take this off your hands and still offer your customers exactly what you want to offer them.
Marketing services are made up of so many different pieces that you need some help. You can market your business yourself, but if you can’t run the website and deal with digital marketing and SEO all at the same time, then you need help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, so go and ask for it!
It’s the back office action that you don't have time to handle, but business admin needs to get done if you want your business to run well. Answering calls and filling your calendar, booking meeting rooms and getting your clients on board for meetings are all busy jobs, and that’s why you should look at getting in a virtual assistant.
Outsourcing is a cheaper alternative to hiring people to work with you in the office, and it could be everything that your business needs.
12 Best WordPress Plugins For Blogs & Business Websites in 2020
We all know that WordPress as a CMS solution provides us the support of thousands of plugins representing almost every feature and function a business website or blog may need. These plugins make WordPress so versatile, rich and flexible a system for the website administrators and web users worldwide. But since there are thousands of plugins, the websites should always look for the best options for the required features and functions.
This is why here we are going to showcase 10 of the most useful and must-have WordPress plugins that business websites and blogs should use.
MonsterInsights is regarded to be the ultimate Google Analytics plugin for WordPress websites. Thanks to this plugin you can help establish a proper connection between your website and Google Analytics. The plugin allows you to see how your visitors behave, respond and use your website.
The plugin showcases the most important statistics regarding your website right on the WordPress dashboard. Based on the insights and stats the website owners can help boosting traffic, website subscribers and revenue.
The plugin comes with both a free and a premium version. For a small or startup website or blogs the free version is pretty efficient in offering all the key stats and metrics. The plugin as of now has powered more than 2 million WordPress websites around the world.
Jetpack comes as a great plugin with a deep and extensive repository of features that most business websites and blogs often require. The plugin developed by the same people behind WordPress made it almost as a must-have one for any WordPress website.
As for the number of features available with Jetpack plugin, you have quite an extensive array of feature choices. Because of so many features, by using Jetpack you can ditch many other WordPress plugins. Let us have a quick look at the key Jetpack features.
Jetpack allows adding a contact form.
With powerful analytics, Jetpack allows tracking page views and search queries.
It allows monitoring downtime and getting notification as and when the website is experiencing downtime.
Keeping hackers and intruders at bay from the login page.
Providing social sharing buttons.
Auto-scheduling the posts on different platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
Displaying related posts to boost engagement and user retention.
It also provides subscription options allowing users to subscribe to blog updates.
Creating a sitemap.
Taking daily backups of your website by using VaultPress.
It provides a CDN with Photon.
There can be hardly any website that doesn't need contact forms to help their visitors get in touch with the website. Well, there are too many great contact form plugins out there in the market. But WPForms stands as the best because of its easy drag and drop online builder and a variety of form formats.
The best thing about this plugin is it allows you create a wide variety of contact forms,
email subscription forms, payment forms, online order forms, and other forms with a simple drag and drop online builder. Besides these key features that are also available with the free version, the plugin offers a pro version as well and it can further boost the lead generation efforts of a website.
Social sharing and social bookmarking are now considered key factors for achieving a better SEO result. This requires providing social sharing buttons in appropriate places around your website content to help people share them. This plugin by providing social share buttons for both desktop and mobile interfaces does the job in an excellent manner.
The plugin supports all major social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Pinterest, Telegram, Reddit and many others.
Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin
For any WordPress blog having a dedicated SEO plugin is extremely important to gain consistent flow of traffic. There are many SEO plugins for WordPress websites that help in making the SEO elements perfect for optimum search results, but Yoast stats ahead of others simply because of the ease of use.
Yoast plugin can take care of all your on-page and on-site SEO needs. The free version of the plugin is pretty robust, though you can always go for the pro version for more value-added features.
Do you want to integrate e-commerce features to your WordPress blog or business website? Do you want your visitors to make transactions and make purchases through your WordPress website? Well, just a small e-commerce plugin can help you integrate the feature and get things done with ease. Woocommerce is the WordPress plugin for this purpose. Developed and maintained by WordPress it is one if the best e-commerce platforms out there.
The plugin comes loaded with a plethora of features, extensions, and customization options. If you want to make sales through your e-commerce website, there is not a better plugin than this. The Woocommerce plugin also offers a bounty of themes to build your product and transaction pages as per your UI needs.
Google XML Sitemaps
This is another powerful SEO plugin for WordPress and this one comes from search engine giant Google. The Google XML Sitemaps helps to find your website by search engines easier.
Just after you install and make the plugin activates, automatically an XML sitemap will be created for the search engine crawlers to find and index your website. This will help in gaining search engine ranks against search terms and keywords.
Website security remains an uncompromising aspect of any website and blog. WordPress offers quite a few great plugins to take care of security enhancements. Sucuri is a WordPress security plugin that also works as a web application firewall to protect your website from all kinds of malicious attacks.
The plugin is capable of tracking a variety of threats and attacks and provides protection against them. The plugin can protect your website from malware, DDoS, XSS attacks, brute force attacks, and all other types of attacks and security vulnerabilities.
If you need a comprehensive toolkit to take care of all the marketing needs of your WordPress website or blog, SEMRush comes as the ideal plugin choice for that. The plugin comes with an extensive range of helpful tools for SEO, making traffic strategy, social media marketing, content marketing and PR strategy. On top of all these, the plugin also provides competitive insights about your closest competitor websites and blogs.
The plugin allows you to do research keywords, maintaining brand presence and mentions, tracking competitor activities, tracking post-performance and drawing attention to best-performing pages. It also helps the websites with an analysis of the ad strategy.
Finally, every WordPress website invariably requires protection from the spams. Akismet comes as a comprehensive and all-powerful plugin for protecting your website from spam comments.
Since instances of spam comments are too many and since these spams can often force your website to compromise on security, you should use this plugin from day one. The plugin can automatically detect and move the spam comments in the trash bean.
All the WordPress plugins that we have mentioned so far clearly show how the blogs and business websites can create richer and better web experience by using appropriate plugins. In this respect it is also advisable to keep the number of plugins lower to avoid performance glitches caused due to the non-compatibility of plugins.
Chirag Mudsa is the CEO of leading custom wordpress development services company, CMARIX TechnoLabs Pvt. Ltd. He is a goal-driven tech evangelist for a long time of 17 years, specializing in web and mobile development domains. His innovative spirit, strong leadership skills and a profound commitment to organizational growth have given him a key leading position in the industry.
Be it Woo-commerce based blog website development, social media website development or any other form of development all of these can easily be archived by using one of the best and trusted web development framework in the domain. Yes, I am talking about WordPress. It is the best-known website development framework known to date.
If you are already into yet and don’t know how to get started with woo-commerce website development services for your business or personal or practice purposes then you are at the right place. Well, today we are going to discuss the best tips to Start your WordPress project with ease. So let’s get started.
Select a Domain
Never underestimate the importance of a domain name for website. It acts as an address for your website. By the address, we mean that this domain name will serve as the guiding path on the world wide web so that your users can easily reach your website. This path can be any random composition of variables and constants.
However, it is important that you make your domain name befit these guidelines.
• Make sure that your domain name is short as possible.
• Also, keep in mind that it is relative and self-descriptive.
• It should not be complex and must be easy to remember. So that your user
won’t have a hard time remembering your website domain name.
• Include your brand name or something relevant as a reference for your business.
If you have not yet decided on your domain name or purchased your domain name for your business, then it is always recommended to do both of these tasks after your website has been completed. However, if you are having trouble developing your own woo commerce website then we would recommend you to consider woo-commerce development services. There are thousands of freelancers and we’ll establish companies they could get this done for you.
Website hosting is simply a procedure for you to avail your website to everyone using the world wide web. All you need to do is shift from your local machine to an online server through hosting. Although there are many website hosting services available for free. However, if you are going to use your website for business purposes and are expecting large traffic, then we’d say go for the paid hosting services. They are much more reliable and faster than the free services as the quality of your hosting account for the maximum traffic your website can handle. And this is not something to be taken for granted in case of professional woo-commerce to website
Now since everything is set up and ready to go all you need to do is start working on your website. However, it would take years for you to create a website from scratch. Well, it would have been the case if it weren’t for the advance website development framework like WordPress. It provides you with a GUI interface for the smooth development of a website. With WordPress, you don’t have to worry about writing thousands of lines of codes or either the errors associated with the code.
It’s just a drop and down interface that enables people without programming skills to make an extremely attractive and interactive website. You can even create an eCommerce website using the woo commerce plugin in WordPress. So if you want to gets things done quickly and with extreme precision then install WordPress in your development environment. To install WordPress you just to download it and add the path to the directory.
Create Pages and Content
It is not that difficult to add content and new pages to your website on a regular basis, using WordPress. But before you start posting your new products or services and related content on your website. It’s important that you carefully plan out your sitemap structure.
There are certain basic webpages that you must include on your website layouts such as a home page, an about page, a contact page, and then finally products and services pages. All these pages must be easily accessible to your users, so making a navigation system is equally important. So make sure that you create a menu tab and add the path to these pages.
One of the best thing about this web development framework is the extensive library of the custom plugins that are highly compatible and can easily be imported from various online platforms. With these plugins, you can easily customize your website according to your business needs.
However, before you do that you need to identify what you actually need on your website for it to successfully meet your business needs. For instance, whether you want to optimize your website for SEO, or in terms of CRM, etc. Like we said you need to specify in order to choose from this vast lake of plugins choice. However there are few plugins that you must have that would make your work a lot easier such as Woo-commerce, Total Cache, HubSpot, etc.
Hermit Chawla is a Marketing Manager at AIS Technolabs. Web-design & Development Company, helping global businesses to grow using unity game programming. He would love to share thoughts on Android & i-Phone App Development Services, Digital marketing etc.
It is not that hard to create a brand but attaining success is a different ball game. With so many online companies offering same product categories, users immediately seek alternatives if they feel that the brand does not have anything exclusive to offer. The logo of the brand if actually a strong component that decides fate of the brand. Coming up with a logo does not necessarily mean that you would use advanced designing soft wares. A more important thing is having a unique appearance. Brands having an innovative logo easily get high sales volumes because they seem different. Consider the following text based logo.
Interpretation of example
To start with, have a look at the logo example written above. In actual terms, there is nothing advanced or flashy about it. Even then, it would make a strong impact because a unique combination of words has been used. Hence, when some goes through the logo, he would notice it. This is one of the key factors which successful brands focus on. They make simple but highly impressive logos. If you have a glance at the top 500 global companies, all of them have easy to interpret logos. No flashy color combinations or animations are used to create them.
What is the Random Word Generator?
If you are about to use a tool for the first time, be clear about the purpose it is used for. Prepostseo random word generator is used to generate unique combinations. Before we go through the details, let’s run through the procedure of usage.
Select the number of generations
How many random words do you want to be generated? This is something that depends on the user. One user may want 5 random words while the other may require only three. In other words, the number of words produced depend on the input entered by the user.
What kind of random words are you looking for? There are multiple options which users can choose from. If you want all types of words to be generated, you would select “All Words”. Similarly, if you are looking only for nouns, you can make a selection accordingly. When you are done with making these selections, click the “generate” button and you would see random words on your screen. For the purpose of logo designing, you can use a combination.
Looking at a proper example
Consider that you want to get five random words which are only nouns. In the “number of generations” box, enter the number “5”. After that, click the “nouns only “option and then proceed to word generation. You may get the following output. Laborer, hour, relation, beggar, pan.
Making word combinations for logos
All these five words are not related to each other directly. Thus, it would be hard to find them in a combination. For instance, you can use “pan hour” as a brand logo. As it is uncommon, you would see several customers showing interest and getting attracted to the logo text.
A lot of effort is not needed
Is it difficult to generate words without using a tool? The answer to this question is yes. To start with, the effort needed is much more. A lot of brainstorming is needed to come up with unique combinations. If you talk about designing a unique logo, the combination of words used is everything. If it is not unique, it would be hard for the brand to catch customer attention.
Using this tool is an automated way of producing unique word combinations. No intelligence is needed to think about exclusive phrases as the tool would do everything. Logo designers usually have to produce multiple versions of an image and one is finalized for perfect logo placement. This task is challenging and has to be completed in limited time. Thus, it is not feasible to determine combinations manually. The random word generator is a commendable option for logo designing professionals.
Get the most creative and unique word combinations
With this tools, you can end up with the most unique combinations of text phrases. There are no restrictions on the number of times you can use the tool. Hence, several creative combinations can be made by image creators and other related personnel.
Every designer has his own requirements for brand logos. One designer may want only nouns to be used in the logo while the other may be looking for verbs only. With this tool, you can generate words according to individual preferences. If you need combinations with all grammatical forms, select “all types of words”. Similarly, if you are seeking only verbs, select that option. A lot depends on what the user wants.
No usage challenges have to be encountered
Every tool used for creating logos is not easy. Full scaled designing soft wares have complex options and most users find it hard to use them. This tool is a much easier alternative that produces effective word combinations. In other words, if you do not have expert designing skills, you can still create amazing word combinations for your brand logo.
It is not necessary that you can come up with quality logos using complex designing tools only. Text logos get instant attention from potential buyers. People tend to read text because they can develop an understanding to some extent. Viewing an image does not provide any kind of explanation to the user. The random word generator provides the user with easy and unique word combinations. You only have to enter the requirements including number of generations and types of words to be included.
Brands that fail to get the attention of customers do not produce good profits. Buyers get attracted to something that they have not seen before. One related example is the logo. Here, one thing needs to be remembered. Designing a good logo does not mean that it should be necessarily created using a complex designing software. You can come up with creative logos using the random word generation tool. It provides you with unique combinations that can be used to design interactive company images.
Cyber crime is a threat to almost every business and organization in the world. With the number of breaches increasing year on year, and high-profile attacks hitting the headlines, IT professionals with skills and experience in cyber security are like gold dust. The growing threat of cyber crime has prompted businesses to take measures to secure systems and networks, but it has also exposed a major shortage of employees with the skills needed to keep cyber crime at bay.
The fascinating infographic below highlights the impact of cyber crime and the risks faced by modern-day organizations. In 2013, the identities of over 552 million people were exposed, and 1 in 8 websites were found to have critical vulnerabilities.
The cost of cyber attacks rose by 26% between 2012 and 2013, with the average incident costing $11.6 million. While the financial implications are clear to see, for 83% of organizations, reputation is the main concern.
Cyber crime has become one of the most significant threats for businesses, but as the infographic shows, most still aren’t prepared for an attack. One of the most common problems organizations face is a shortage of skilled workers. Over 70% feel that a lack of employees with cyber security skills had either a ‘great’ or ‘very great’ impact on their business.
The meteoric rise of cyber crime has contributed to an explosion in opportunities for IT professionals who do have expertise in cyber security. The number of vacancies has grown at a rate that is 67% higher than for all jobs, and this area is expanding faster than any other sector of the IT field. Over 40% of organizations are trying to fill gaps in information security and the US is looking to train more than 5,000 cyber security professionals.
Competition may not necessarily be perceived as a positive by business owners, but it offers a raft of benefits for both consumers and companies. As this infographic shows, there are several advantages to encouraging healthy competition.
Every business has rivals. All the leading brands we invest in fight for our attention, and this produces benefits for businesses and buyers. The first advantage is innovation. Consumer desires and demands evolve, and to keep up, businesses must innovate and take an interest in setting trends rather than following them. In addition, competition gives companies credibility. To impress customers, you have to set a certain standard. If you drop below, there’s a risk of losing even the most long-standing clients.
Competition also puts pay to complacency, which not only promotes innovation, but also improves standards of customer service. If you’ve got a business going all-out to try and poach your customers to dominate the market in which you operate, there’s no room for complacency, even if you’ve been a market leader for years. The business landscape evolves and changes constantly, and new opponents can emerge at any time.
Having established the benefits of competition, it’s interesting to take a closer look at some real-life examples. Consider the impact of startups like FitBit. FitBit is now the top-rated seller of wearable technology, despite the fact that Nike has been around for decades and is a brand synonymous with innovation and performance. Pepsi versus Coke is one of the most high-profile battles, and there’s no doubt that the fierce rivalry between these two brands has contributed to their growth. Currently, Pepsi has a higher global revenue, but Coke boasts a larger market share.
Every year brings hundreds and thousands of new things with itself. And, when it is about technology, we always get amazed. With the evolution of more technological aspects, the businesses are changing their approach to gain more success.
Most importantly, the websites are the reflection of the brand. With the consistent developments in the web, the businesses should spare their valuable time in making their website appealing and engaging.
If you still are not aiming to design the best website, then, of course, you are losing a large amount of customer volume every passing day.
The web designers from the WordPress web development companyare now pushing their limits and are creating outstanding and exceptional things to astonish us. But, to get an upgrade with the skills of these designers is a complicated task. In addition, it is also not possible to improve the website design after some time to match the changing curve.
Nevertheless, by integrating the significant trends in web design, you can make a visible change. It will not only make your website look fresh, but will also generate more traffic. However, the other thing that you should keep in mind is to consider how blending one trend on your website can be fruitful for you.
Following the latest WordPress trends will authorize you to convert your website unique and user-friendly from the methods and functionalities of engagement.
But, yes, technology is demanding to keep updated with the latest trends to make your brand shine. So, here we are to give you the WordPress trends that will make their presence in the future.
WordPress Web Design Trends to Follow in 2020
Simplicity is prefered above all. The flat designs are and will remain popular. It is because of the reason that it tends to give minimalism in terms of clarity, white space, and flat colours.
Its aim does not end in displaying the content effectively, but it also assures the faster speed of the website. Arnold's theme is an excellent example of minimalism. It has used the white space very smartly and has made the images and text appear correctly.
It could be an old theme but is the preferred one. Now, the designs are evolved at a large scale and images, shadows, gradients are incorporated to make the design eye-catchy and comprehensive.
Hue is the another best example that has considered gradient colours, and is clear and large, to make the styles more alluring.
2. Gutenberg Editor
Sometime before, WordPress has released Gutenberg editor, and still, it is being practised by several businesses. The reason behind this is only its impeccable features. Though you can use the traditional WordPress editor, it requires you to be downloaded separately.
This drag and drop editor has changed the manners of creating WordPress posts comprehensively. Despite the one text block in the traditional TinyMCE WordPress editors, Gutenberg is enabling you to use the headers, media content, paragraph block, tables, HTML code, and images, etc.
It has several benefits. The first and foremost is that you will get full access to the definite look of the post. But, with the traditional editor, you get only the preview of the post that too in the different window to know how the result will appear.
The number of times the post content and images do not appear as we have envisioned. So, Gutenberg is there to give an outline of how the post will appear. Also, it lets you integrate the Live HTML block where the user can post HTML code and check how it will look like on the page while working on the editor.
You can edit the post on the mobile phone as well using the Gutenberg editor. From Gutenberg, you can check the HTML version of the post. Though inserting media or youtube videos is only possible from the drag and drop editor. Knowing these possibilities, it is sure that this trend is not going to fade.
3. CSS Grids
According to the opinion of Hui Jing Chen, the CSS grid is the driver's license for the web. She has explained that web designers used to stuck on the printing standard for more time, and CSS grids are the ones that can eliminate this.
Precisely, the CSS grids are the grid of the responsive type that changes as per the location where it is displaying. Most of us have used these types of designs generally on mobile devices. Integrating the responsive design enables the web design to shrink and adjust with the window size and appear appropriate to the user. This approach can be executed in conventional browsers. In these browsers, the page design converts in real-time when the window size gets changed.
The involvement of CSS grids will surely be seen in the near future. Most of the WordPress themes are using it already, and the Kuhn theme is one of them. From this theme, you can check how the columns, text, and images are changing when the window size is shrinking.
4. Striking Typography
The font we use on our WordPress website envisions our brand and also the aim that your brand holds. Like, distinct font styles can be used to conduct the emotions, like, creativity, reliability, and friendliness.
CrazyEgg can be considered as an example. It has designed an exclusive infographic with several fonts, and the detailing shows how the emotions reflect and share your message.
Every business is trying to be incomparable from others, and typography is giving them the path. WordPress has made it simple to change the fonts, and it does not require any technical skills. There are many themes that can be used in support of font styles.
So, changing the default typography is an easy task now. Besides, there are many plugins that permit you to customize the typography of the content.
Note: Strong typography works wonderfully on the pageless websites.
5. Mobile-Friendly Designs
The percentage of mobile users now cannot be measured and Daily, there is a rise in internet users on the mobile than on the desktop. This shows that it is vital to build only those websites that are responsive to every mobile device. Crucial steps should be followed to make your WordPress website more optimized for mobile users.
There are many ways that you can adopt to make it happen. WPtouch plugin can be used to create the mobile theme according to the website that you want to customize.
Before using this plugin, assure that the theme you are about to use has fulfilled the search engine standards. Jetpack plugin can also be used to build a mobile theme for your website. Elementor plugin is best when it comes to compatibility. This lets you manage the widths and configure every page element according to the display device. It can be integrated with every theme.
The king in the blogging industry is still WordPress, and it will be. It is crucial to stay updated with all the WordPress trends so that your race towards success should not be slowed down.
In this post, we have mentioned the different WordPress web design trends that will not disappear anytime soon.
Share your views related to in the comment section below. Let us know if we have missed any of the WordPress trends.
Thanks for reading!!
Marie Thomas is an accomplished WordPress developer. Currently, she is associated with WordSuccor, providing PSD to WordPress conversion services all across the globe. She loves to keep abreast of the latest technologies and tools in the corporate market. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn
Summary: Email may not have the cutting edge, high-tech appeal of some of the other marketing tactics. However, when done right, email marketing for financial advisors can be remarkably effective. In order to build a productive email campaign, advisors should begin by examining the needs of their audience. A broad-based “spray and pray” approach is the quickest way to burn through your hard-earned email list. On the other hand, highly targeted value-add communications will help you build trust, drive referrals, and stay connected to your prospects and clients. Read on for best practices (by email type) and some common email marketing mistakes to avoid.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to participate in a lively discussion with a thought leadership group comprised of forwarding thinking, young marketers. The topic eventually turned to the effectiveness of email marketing for financial advisors. Although opinions differed greatly on the types of campaigns financial advisors should leverage, there was one thing we could all agree on: Email marketing, when done correctly, is widely effective.
But what does that mean for financial advisor email marketing, now that we are in 2019?
Email has certainly become a standard mode of communicating with clients and prospects, but it is overused? Do people care about the emails they get from a financial advisor? Isn’t newsletter marketing dead? And, most importantly, should you make it easy on yourself and sign up for one of those services that will generate and send marketing emails for you?
As with many things marketing, getting hard numbers and data can make the difference between a great strategic decision and a dead-end money pit. So, let’s look at some numbers.
No surprise here: It’s better to have prospects opt into your campaign. The same resource suggests that open rates for permission-based campaigns (i.e. ones where a prospect or a client has given you permission to email them) range between 30% and 40%. That’s a significant upgrade!
CampaignMonitor supplements that stat: More than 50% of their survey respondents check their personal email account more than 10 times a day, and it is by far their preferred way to receive updates from brands.
So, the data would suggest that the optimal combination for successful financial advisor email marketing should look like this: Ask for permission, send regular emails, make your messaging relevant for the recipient.
Which sounds like common sense.
As always, the devil’s in the detail. And so, I wanted to share with you some common questions and specific best practices for financial advisor email marketing campaigns. These are the types of campaigns that a firm of any size can use with success. Campaigns can be super-simple, or you could go all out and have them professionally designed to suit your style. So, don’t feel that email marketing isn’t for you unless you have a big budget.
Should financial advisors build an email list — or buy one?
Most advisors I know would prefer to do things in the most efficient way possible. From that perspective, one might imagine that buying a list of (ideally) pre-screened prospects from a data company would be faster and better than building your own list through a sign-up form on your website.
The reality is a bit more complicated.
First off, the CAN SPAM Act of 2003 requires anyone who purchases an email list with a commercial purpose to abide by certain rules. While those rules do not include obtaining explicit permission from the individuals on the list, they do require accurate transmission information (i.e. who the email is from), non-deceptive subject headings, a clear identification that the message is an advertisement, and an opt-out provision that gives the recipient a choice about whether they wish to receive future emails from you. If you are interested in a deeper dive into this subject, this FAQ article has good information. In summary, though, as long as you follow those requirements, you can send emails until the recipient opts out — at least in theory.
In practice, buying a list of emails exposes you to additional risks. There’s a risk that the list was assembled through shady or outright illegal means (such as address harvesting or dictionary attacks). Plus, there’s an (admittedly small) chance that someone on the list has already opted out of receiving emails from you before you purchased the list. Either one of those risks can expose you to fines under the CAM SPAM Act.
What exactly is permission in this context? It could be implicit permission in the case of email recipients who already have a relationship with you (through doing business together, being acquainted socially, or being a part of the same charity or club). Or, it could be explicit permission, like when a prospect types in an email address to download a whitepaper or a checklist.
What about “renting” an email list?
There is another practice in the industry that’s known as “renting a list”. When you “rent” someone’s email list, they email their list of contacts on your behalf. You don’t get to see any of the email addresses. Think of it as buying an ad that someone will share with their list for a fee.
Is “renting” a list better than “buying” a list? Not necessarily. It’s true that the risks are different. For one, even if you are merely renting a list, the recipients did not give you permission. The reader is not expecting an email from you, so they may feel annoyed and sold to — not the mindset you need to convert skeptics into clients.
And then there is the elephant in the room.
At the end of the day, the provider of the list (whether they sell it or rent it) is in the business of selling or renting lists. It’s in their best interest to sell/rent a list as much as they can to maximize their profit. That leads to the people on the list getting spammed with a high volume of unexpected and unsolicited offers. Your offer can get lost among them. You may also experience a high degree of unsubscribes, bounces, and spam complaints. All of that adds up to a low ROI.
Bottom line: Buying or renting an email list may seem like an inexpensive shortcut to reaching more prospects. In reality, doing this can negatively affect the deliverability of the emails you send to legitimate prospects, spoil your reputation, and result in a poor ROI.
The names on any list you might buy or rent are likely to be “burned out” by too much spam. Think about it… If you spent years building a solid list of people who had opted into getting messages from you, would you sell it for just cents per email address? So, if a list is available for sale, it’s probably not the high-quality goldmine that the list company would have you believe.
What should you do instead?
Build your own list by having people opt into getting emails from you. Yes, a home-grown email list takes time to develop and nurture. However, doing this will keep you on the right side of the anti-spam rules — and it will be much more effective in terms of ROI and long-term practice growth potential. Give your audience plenty of opportunities to subscribe to your emails by adding a form to several locations on your website. Limit the volume of data you collect up front (first name and email address are usually enough to get started). In other words, make it very easy for them to say “yes” and join the list.
Best practices for financial advisor email marketing
So, you’ve developed a list of emails from prospects or clients. How can you build an email marketing campaign that will nurture those relationships?
Here are some ideas that can work well for financial advisors.
1) The financial advisor newsletter is alive!
Believe it or not, the tried-and-true newsletter format is still an effective way of establishing an ongoing communication cadence with your clients and prospects. Most financial advice firms have transitioned the newsletter from the traditional hard-copy/printed format to digital. A digital newsletter is inexpensive and relatively simple to pull together. Even if you choose to invest in a professional layout template, you get to reuse it multiple times, which can lead to a solid ROI.
If you are considering adding a newsletter (or if you have one and are wondering if you set it up the right way), here are 5 best practices that can make it or break a financial advisor newsletter.
Choose a frequency and stick to it. You may not think of it this way, but a newsletter can become an important component of building trust with the prospects who don’t yet know you. If you promise them a monthly newsletter, be sure to deliver a monthly newsletter. Generally, it’s better to pick a lower frequency that’s sustainable for you — than to promise a weekly communication and fail to keep it up.
Create a central theme and a structure for your newsletter. Nothing wrecks your readership-bounce-rate like a mailer that’s disorganized or hard to follow. You might brainstorm some re-usable topic categories that would strike a chord with your audience (perhaps highlighting an upcoming decision or action deadline, sharing a budgeting tip, a market performance update, a summary and take-aways from a recent book you’ve read, or a “get to know” section to present profiles/updates from team members).
Make a clear path for someone to opt-out. The number one sin when executing a digital newsletter campaign is trapping your audience in a slow and painful “death by email” spiral. Nothing deteriorates your brand faster than spamming disengaged customers. Give your readers a clear off-ramp. Your newsletter will be better for it. At the very worst, you will know that your messaging needs to be refined based on an alarming rate of unsubscribes.
Give your images alt tags. Email clients (such as Outlook, Apple Mail, or Gmail) can be a tricky beast, and you never know what settings your recipient has enabled. If you are trying to spotlight a project, or if you have invested time in creating a beautiful layout, you surely want your recipients to see it! Giving an image an alt tag will allow alternative text to appear if the image doesn’t load. Also, be sure to test the formatting of your newsletter to ensure it will display right across different platforms.
Reduce load times. Be sure to optimize high-quality images for digital viewing. Compress your images to maintain quality while reducing long email load times. Your clients and prospects are experiencing heavy information overload. You have just 1-2 seconds to grab a prospect’s attention. Don’t allow long load times on your emails to sabotage your chance!
Promote your newsletter through your social media. Each time your send a newsletter, share one point on your social media profiles — and encourage your followers to subscribe to the list. This step takes virtually no time or effort — and can seamlessly deliver more eager subscribers.
2) Drip sequences can work, too.
After a prospect has signed up for a lead magnet (such as a report, a white paper, or a checklist), some advisors follow up on the initial delivery with a short series of emails (something known as a drip sequence). The purpose of a drip email sequence is to build trust, deliver value, and give the prospect an opportunity to take the next step in the relationship if he or she is ready.
Here are some best practices for financial advisor email drip sequences.
Segment your prospects. Relevance is the key factor that can make the difference between an email that’s perceived as valuable — and one that’s promptly sent to trash. If you reach out to different categories of clients or prospects, make sure that you have different drip sequences to suit their needs. In other words, pre-retirees and business owners should get different emails. This ties into developing your value proposition as a financial advisor; see this article for more tactical advice on that.
Make sure that every email in the sequence adds value. The litmus test I like to use is whether my target audience is likely to save the email, print it out for reference, or forward it to someone they know. If the answer is “probably not”, then you need a different email — or you risk burning out your new subscriber quickly.
Use storytelling techniques to get the reader’s attention. Remember, they don’t know much about you yet. Stories are a powerful tool for connection and trust-building. A well-chosen and well-told story can immerse your prospect into what it’s like to work with you. Think of personal stories that will give your reader a glimpse into your personality, expertise, and experience. There are many great books about effective story structure, and this topic alone could make for a whole other blog post. For now, keep in mind that a story is most effective when you can clearly define a challenge or the stakes, walk the reader through several different emotions, and provide closure.
Subject lines matter, a lot. You may spend a couple of hours refining your email to be just right, but if you don’t have an intriguing subject line, chances are that your open rates will be disappointingly low. According to a digital marketing consulting company Convince & Convert, 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. So, invest some time to come up with a subject line that piques the reader’s interest and gives them the reason to click “open”.
Watch your open rates and unsubscribes. One or two people dropping off the list is not a big indicator, but if the pattern indicates that a significant percentage of subscribers opts out of your list on email # 3, perhaps you should reassess that specific email.
3) Use email to pre-announce events
Are you planning to attend or host a local event? Email is an excellent tool to inform prospects and clients about it. If you are going to a local event and it’s open to the public, let your readers know and invite them to join you. A targeted email blast can allow you to begin networking at an event before it ever starts.
Before promoting your own event, keep these best practices in mind.
Give your readers a reason to care about the event. Just because you have decided to host an educational seminar, a wine night, or an art auction isn’t enough to entice a prospect to show up. You need to let them know why they can’t afford to miss it. Highlight future take-aways. If your key selling point is raising money for a charity or having fun, focus on that. Don’t make your audience wonder why they should go.
Tailor the event to your audience. This is another opportunity to segment your list and really think about what each client/prospect set would value most. A generic workshop may not be exciting enough to entice participation. It may be better to host two smaller, highly targeted events that will be well-attended.
Make your email actionable. It’s not enough that the client or prospect learns about the event. Give them a specific next step. Perhaps they can register for the event or email the office for details. An email without an action will likely be forgotten quickly.
Deploy a responsive design. Fast forward to the day of the event, and there’s a good chance that your client will be using their smartphone to refer back to the email you sent them with all the logistics. Plan ahead and make sure that your email is optimized for mobile viewing!
Financial advisor email marketing: Round-up of mistakes to avoid
To close this take on the subject of financial advisor email marketing, here are some common mistakes I have seen — and ways to avoid them.
Unclear or misleading subject lines. It’s uncommon for financial advisors to use an outright misleading subject line, although it does happen sometimes. The more common mistake I see is choosing a subject line that’s boring, not sufficiently descriptive, or repetitive. Think of your subject line as a movie trailer: Make the recipient want to open it!
Missing the mark on content. Not every member of your audience is interested in the same content. So, segment your list and make different content streams that are relevant to your readership. Your CRM system should allow you to use tags to facilitate this. And remember, whatever content strategy you start with is just a hypothesis! Be ready to monitor the response from your audience (open rates, link clicks, other interaction with content) — and adapt accordingly.
One-way communication. Have you ever received an email from a “do not reply” email address? This type of tactic comes off as impersonal. It does nothing to encourage interaction. When a company sends out mailers from a “do not reply” address, it tells the audience that it doesn’t care to have a real conversation. Let your readers know that you are receptive to feedback — and you will be amazed at how active your subscribers will become.
Too many links, no clear call-to-action. Links to important content can be helpful and convenient for readers. But, as a thoughtful content curator, it is important to tread carefully here! Too many links can distract the reader from more important content. Don’t try to overstuff your emails with information. Instead, choose a point of focus — and optimize your emails to drive viewers to a clear call-to-action.
What has worked well for you in the land of financial advisor email marketing? Share in the comments. Also, if you would like for me to share templates for anything covered in this article, sound off below. If there’s sufficient interest, we can create/share templates on this blog.
Graham Gardner is a passionate marketer with expertise in creating, managing and delivering metric-driven marketing initiatives. Focusing on relationships and personal connections, Graham advocates for providing clients with meaningful content to create long-term relationships. Graham previously served as an Executive Member (Treasurer) on the Board of Directors for the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) of Atlanta. Graham and his wife spend their free time watching sports and enjoying nature with their dog Murphy (@Murph_The_Doodle on Instagram!)
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