The Importance of User Experience for Financial Brands

User experience (UX) matters for financial brands, and their customer-facing tools, services, and resources. Focusing on UX gives brands an opportunity to add value to their offerings in a way that matches the brand profile, creating a distinctive competitive edge against other financial brands, some of whom may be offering similar products and platforms.

Why Worry about UX?

UX plays into not just how customers interact with these offerings, but whether or not they will seek out what a financial brand is sharing — and whether or not they will stick with it.

Think about a mobile banking app: if it’s easy to use and does everything a customer wants, they will use it regularly and be more open to other services the bank rolls out. On the other hand, if a mobile app has a clunky, annoying interface, or – worse yet – the bank doesn’t even have a mobile app, what would stop a client from switching to the bank with the better app?

UX does not necessarily mean having a product or platform that is packed full of features to try to keep everyone happy. A design that is less complicated, but does exactly what it is supposed to do, and does it well, can actually be a better choice.

How UX is Different in the Financial Industry

User experience engineering is different in every industry. Financial brands need to consider branding, marketing, and design, like any other industry, but the financial functions of each tool and how it relates to UX are equally important.

Marrying financial psychology and user experience engineering ensures that a financial brand’s tech doesn’t just look good, but appeals to customer emotions and financial behavior for lasting impact.

Automated user interaction platforms like chatbots, voice recognition, and voice activation may have a place in UX within the financial industry. It’s important to note, however, that especially for high wealth clients, the value of talking to a real person and not a robot (or perceived robot) should be considered.

A financial brand’s use of forward-facing automated interaction depends on the clientele. A good UX strategy will accommodate this. Still, automated interaction can happen behind the scenes, with software and tools to personalize experiences.

It’s possible – and, for many clients, desirable – to do all of one’s banking and access every financial service digitally. Gone are the days of walking into the bank to meet with an advisor in person! Today’s financial clients want quick and easy self-service as much as possible.

With a strong UX strategy, your financial brand can be the one providing your clients with exactly that. Keep your clients happy by giving the UX the attention it deserves.

Find out why AltaStreet has helped well over 1,000 Financial Companies around the World since 1998. Set up a call to see how we can help you by clicking here.

How to Market to High-Net-Worth Individuals

High-net-worth individuals require a different marketing approach than the rest of the world’s consumers.

According to the PwC Strategy & Global Wealth Management Survey 2016, high-net-worth individuals possess generous amounts of digital literacy. They use multiple devices frequently with 98 percent accessing the internet and/or apps on a daily basis.

Financial services not marketing to this demographic are missing out on a key group. Note, however, that marketing to high-net-worth individuals must be done right to be effective.

Highlighting Exclusivity and Top-Tier Service

High-net-worth individuals are used to having exclusive access and perks. These individuals expect products and services that are not available to the mainstream population. Your marketing needs to reflect that. Whatever you are offering, your strategy needs to promote this messaging.

Consider marketing your VIP perks, top-tier service not available to the mainstream, members-only benefits and anything else that requires a certain level of gatekeeping to access. This not only gives aspects of your business highly prized exclusivity, but it helps your high-net-worth individuals feel like their privacy is paramount.

The AltaStreet Client VAULT, for example, assures efficiency and confidentiality, giving your clients secure access to documents and personalized collaboration.

Personalization in Marketing

High-net-worth individuals expect individual attention and care. Providing this is easier said than done in marketing. When you are working with people one-on-one, you can tailor your activities and strategies to the individual. With an online or digital approach, this is harder to accomplish.

This is where data-driven marketing comes in. Focused campaigns should be monitored and analyzed to make sure that strategies are working well. If, on analysis, they are not effective, you can – and should – adjust them.

Generic campaigns like mass emails will not work with the high-net-worth segment of your market. Instead, your approach should be highly personal, without losing sight of what your clients want and need.

AltaStreet’s content filtering is one way to deliver highly personalized content. It allows marketers to pick and choose what each client or client group sees.

AltaStreet’s Features for Financial Marketing

Our Client PORTAL, Client VAULT, and content filtering are just three of the ways we can help tailor financial marketing to high-net-worth individuals. We are happy to build custom programming to suit any marketing needs.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our offerings. Schedule a consult with our team and we’ll get started right away.

What’s a Financial Advisor’s Worst Nightmare?

You’re giving a motivational presentation to your staff. You are wooing potential business partners. Only, you discover that your Powerpoint presentation pages are in the wrong order. You panic. In fact, your entire presentation is just words from a Chinese menu.

Well, yes, this scenario could have you waking up in the middle of the night. But it’s not the worst nightmare. Surely.

Isn’t the worse nightmare getting back to work after giving your presentation, only to realize that you don’t have any clients? This is a real scenario for too many financial businesses. It’s the unfortunate reality for businesses that fail to maintain a proper online presence.

You may be a traditional financial firm with traditional practices and values, but you will have noticed that more and more of your potential customers are not traditional. They like smartphones and wearables and they want to do business with you online. If you’re not there to meet them, they’ll keep surfing.

Today’s customers want customer service, their way, and they want it now. For an increasing number of financial clients, this means being able to interact with a financial advisor’s web presence, which provides 24/7 access. If they don’t get it, don’t expect a telegram or a protest outside your building. Expect tumbleweeds.

Why does a financial advisor need a web presence?

Since more and more people are using the web to do business, you need to be online to compete. A well-maintained web presence will help your business in many ways, including by:

 

Improving discoverability – with an effective web presence, you can spend less time looking for customers, because your customers will be coming to you. By keeping your website current and employing certain tried and tested techniques, your website will attract people via Google, other search engines, and networks.

According to Google, more than three-quarters of people who search for a business via a mobile device visit that business within a day. More than a quarter of them then perform a transaction.

If people can’t find you – if you’re not even showing up on searches for “financial advisors near [LOCATION]” – you are losing business.

 

Establishing trust – A website is a sign that a business means business. It is where many potential clients go to find out more about what you do and who you are.

If two financial advisor websites are identical except has an up-to-date blog and a downloadable, this well-maintained site will have the most traction. A site that has not been updated for weeks is like a dusty shop window with the lights off.

“It could be open, but … let’s try this other store first; the one with the welcome sign and people inside.”

 

Improving customer service – If you only offer customer service by phone during business hours, you are missing out on the potential customers for whom this is not enough.

In our experience, some prefer to communicate via texting, instant messaging, Skype, or email. Your job is to know your customers well enough to know not only what they want, but how they want it. Then give to them.

With a robust internet presence, you can chat with clients and potential clients in real-time using various applications. You can be on the right social platforms for your clients – whether that is LinkedIn, Facebook, or another site or app – so that you can interact with them in a way that is most suitable and convenient.

How to Wake from the Nightmare of a Tired Internet Presence

If your website is working as an online business card or brochure, it’s not working. The internet allows so much more than digital versions of static, print marketing, and clients demand much more, so here are some tips for maintaining and optimizing your web presence.

 

Optimize your branding – while your internet is not just a business card, it should still be consistent with your other marketing efforts. Your emails, brochures, downloadables, and letterheads should feature consistent branding to help establish trust. Your website is no exception. Don’t risk a cheap, DIY template solution to do a good job with your branding.

 

Be contactable – Make sure that you have a contact page with more than a phone number. Why wouldn’t a business make it easy for clients to get in touch? Include email and any social networks you and your ideal customers use.

Also, consider an online form so that it is as easy as possible for people to reach you for quotes, advice, or more information.

 

Perform SEO – Search engine optimization refers to the techniques used to help your site achieve higher rankings with search engines. The good news is that the more advanced SEO gets, the more it aims to provide good experiences for your visitors. Good SEO practices will improve the speed of your site, the helpful keywords you use, and how people in your town or city find you.

 

Optimize Conversions – A good website will attract many visitors. A great website, however, can also convert them into clients.

You can use analytics to see how your visitors find your website, where they land, how long they stay, and where they go afterward. All this information, and more, can be used to create supercharged pages that give your visitors what they want and encourage them to take action.

Maintaining a website is a cost-effective way to bring a lot of business your way. And note that this is not random traffic-generation. You can build quality traffic and reach out to people who are already interested in exactly what you are offering.

Updating your website can be a lot of work, but with a revamped framework and a clear digital strategy, it will work for you 24/7/365. We have the skills and experience to help you maintain the perfect financial advisory website.

We understand finance and digital marketing inside out. If you want to grow or streamline your business the smart way, give us a call at (216) 894 5193, email us at dan@altastreet.com, or use our online form.

Designing a Financial or Corporate Website for the Millennial Generation

Millennials are people born between 1977 and 1995. (It’s really important to note that you can be born within three years on either side of the beginning or ending of a generation and have all the characteristics of the generation before or after.) Each generation has a mood or tone, and a value system, and it’s worth thinking about these to serve these groups more effectively.

Why do we need to be thinking about Millennials right now?

Most Millennials are in their 20s and 30s. Some are at the age where they are in senior positions in business. They’ve worked, have life experience, and are now in a position to make decisions, financial and otherwise, that affect the world.

The youngest Millennials have made the transition from young adult to adult. They are making decisions that will affect their financial futures.

Since each generation has different experiences and expectations, it’s worth knowing how all these people tick. If you know what they want, you’ll be able to give it to them better.

What Millennials Want and How Your Financial Website Can Deliver it to Them

Describing a generation is a massive generalization, but this is a generalization that is useful. Not everyone of this generation will fit the same description, but it’s a useful guide when it comes to things to consider for this age group.

Generally-speaking, then, Millennials are unlike previous generations. The world changes with each generation and if you’re aware of this you can adapt.

Here’s what makes Millennials tick.

 

– Millennials value flexibility more than previous generations.

 

They have grown up during the the birth of the information age. They understand that a Wi-Fi connection means that they can work and do business from anywhere; and they demand that right.

They take part in recreation, shopping, socializing, and working, but you can add “on-the-go” to all of those words. If they can’t do it with technology, they may not bother.

More users will expect to be able to interact with your business online at any time as devices evolve, internet coverage grows, and connections become faster.

Mobile use has been growing steadily since 2009. Globally, more people searched through Google on mobile devices than on desktop computers back in October 2016.

Your Millennial audience is looking for services like yours via their mobile devices. You need to make sure that a) they find you, and that b) your site looks good on any mobile device.

Unfortunately, your potential customer is not likey to be forgiving about your website design, especially if he or she is a Millennial. They will just expect it to work. Fast. Now. On whatever device they are using.

– Millennials want it now, whatever it is.

They don’t care how long you spent coding. They just want it to work.

According to CNN, you’ve got 2.4 seconds for your page to load before people start clicking away. By 2.5 seconds, Millennials are wondering if there’s something wrong with the website or their device.

If someone has found you and the site loads within 2 seconds, you then need to make sure that it is attractive and usable on the mobile device in question.

The cues that a visitor gets from this interaction with your business can inform their impression of your firm, especially if it is the first contact they have with your business.

– Millennials are less interested in meeting people in person than other generations.

When communicating with Millennials, they will be less likely to want to “come into the office.” Expect text messages, instant messaging, or emails, and voice or video calls.

When designing your financial website, putting your business address at the bottom of the site and expecting people to turn up at your business is not going to get as many people contacting you as including a range of contact details, including telephone, email, a contact form, social media, and instant messaging.

Whichever communication media your target audience is using, offer these too.

– They value knowledge and experiences

Doesn’t everyone? Well, yes, but what this means for Millennials is that they are less likely to be impressed by qualifications, certifications, or awards, as opposed to experience or testimonials.

This means that your website provides you with a good opportunity for sharing your knowledge on relevant subjects. Guest blogging and other techniques can also help you establish yourself and your business as a trusted thought leader.

– They Love to Learn – Their Own Way

Millennials are more likely than other generations to seek a self-service solution to a problem.

A Millennial’s first stop may well be a website, where they will use information to diagnose their problem and find a solution they can employ themselves. When they need professional help, they are also likely to use the web to find the best-reviewed businesses or companies recommended by their peers.

What does this mean for your financial website? You want to consider not being so quick to offer a consultation or a package of solutions to a particular problem. Yes, you can offer these things, but also provide helpful advice that will inform your visitors and help them to diagnose and solve their own problems.

You can achieve this through an FAQ or knowledge base. Helpful blog posts on key questions asked by your customers will also provide value for people looking for those answers.

These posts can also build your brand, develop trust, and help establish you as a thought leader.

– A Millennial’s work-life balance has tipped towards life

The Millennial generation works to live. Friends and family and lifestyle are at the forefront. Hobbies and pastimes have great importance and value.

This is not to say that Millennials don’t work. They do. But their businesses become more a part of their lives and their identity than for other generations, who may separate work and play.

Millennials prefer to use businesses and brands that align with their values and say something about the kind of people they are.

Consider the values of your target demographic and psychographic. Make sure that they know where your business intersects with their ideals. You might be providing stability, flexibility, simplicity, or transparency. Make sure that your branding reflects your core values and that you tell the world so that your kind of people will join you.

The more information you have about your customers, the better you can serve them. We design high-quality, high-performing financial websites and we know how to serve Millennials. We also understand the value of maintaining a website that makes your potential customers feel as though you were expecting them.

Whether your website represents the first contact with a potential customer or it is sealing the deal after you’ve met, make sure that it’s working it’s best.

We know finance, we know website design, and we know Millennials. Get in touch with us today and we’ll make it easy for you to attract new clients and to serve your existing clients better.

Contact Dan Stark at www.altastreet.com to set up a call to find out if we figure out if we can have the impact we both want on your business.

How to Make a Better First Impression with Your Financial Website

How do you normally aim to make a good first impression? A firm handshake? A winning smile? Steady but non-threatening eye-contact?

What about people who first discover you online? What first impression does your financial website give your potential clients?

If you’re thinking that once your website has their attention, you’ll close the deal in person or during a call, you could be losing a lot of business.

Neglecting your website can mean turning off many potential clients. And those that get in touch will be cooler and harder to win over than if your website had been performing optimally.

Why Making a Good First Impression is Important

– People use your site’s appearance to make decisions.

In the digital age, with so many people checking out your website to research your reputation and ability, it’s essential to make a good impression with your website.

– We are human

While good business and financial decisions are based on facts, statistics, and mathematical probabilities, we are still human. First impressions affect our decisions, whether we know it or not.

We want to do business with some people, because we get a good feeling about them. When all other factors are equal between two firms, we’re likely to go with the firm that made the best impression on us.

– A good impression can put you ahead of the competition

There’s a lot of competition in the financial services industry. Don’t let your business suffer because you are relying on your track record, testimonials, and reputation. These will help you get more business, but you’ve got to work on that first impression too.

– Improving the quality of your site is good for everyone

The work you put into creating a great first impression will improve the quality and usability of your website for all your visitors, whether they are existing clients or not.

How to Make a Great First Impression Online

According to Business Insider, you have only 7 seconds to make a first impression in person. According to the Nielson Norman Group, your financial website has 10 seconds to get your point across.

How do you do well in the face of these statistics? By focusing on the objectives of your financial services business, and by working on high-quality design to communicate clearly and quickly with your client base.

Here are some things to consider.

– Don’t try to please everyone

Making a good impression on your customers involves understanding who your customers are. What one demographic or psychographic will find welcoming might be off-putting to other groups.

Be specific with your marketing and branding. Think carefully about your ideal customer and design your website for them. This is not excluding other types of people who may also use your services.

Target the main people you are trying to attract and let them be your standard bearers for the rest of the world.

– Tell people what to expect

There are many ways for your financial website to communicate what your business does and who it’s for. Your imagery and colors and design will speak volumes. A few words on your homepage, such as a tagline or company slogan, or your mission statement, can be helpful.

One of the top reasons a visitor leaves a page within the first few seconds is that the page did not deliver what was expected. Your page is not going to be right for everyone who visits it, but don’t lose visitors because your message is unclear.

– Don’t overwhelm your visitors

A typical reaction to hearing that you must make an impression with your financial website is to list all of the great reasons for working with your firm. To avoid losing visitors, some firms create explanations of all their services, with links, and squeeze this onto the homepage.

Depending on the design, your business, and your target clients, this could lead very quickly to overwhelm, which is a prime reason for people clicking away.

You’re likely to create a better impression by keeping things simple. Designers talk about the importance of negative space, which is the space that surrounds an object in an image. Your financial website design should give people room to think and breathe.

– Be authentic

Today’s consumers are savvier than ever. Millennials, in particular, care about the culture, ethics, and values of the companies that they do business with. Don’t try to play them.

Trust is particularly important to the financial services industry. Your financial website doesn’t only need to be genuine. It needs to sound genuine from the very start. Achieving this might mean hiring professionals to help you communicate with your target customers.

Creative imagery and natural text can help you get your message across. It may be counter-intuitive, but sometimes it takes a professional to create writing that sounds natural, so outsource accordingly.

Display your Authority

People are looking for a financial services firm that they can trust. You can communicate this quickly online by linking to testimonials and displaying your social proof.

Social proof is often explained by describing two restaurants. One has a tumbleweed blowing across the tables. The other has a queue going around the block. Which appears to be the better restaurant?

Popularity isn’t the only measure of a company’s quality, but it’s a hint. If you have people queuing around the block to get hold of your financial services and if people are coming back again and again, let the world know.

A widget that tells visitors how many people have ‘liked’ your page and offers them the opportunity to do the same can be an effective strategy for communicating and improving social proof for financial websites.

Once someone has received their first impression of your business, it’s very hard to change their minds. Don’t leave the first impression of your business to an outdated or unfocused website. With an audit or overhaul of your business’s presence online, you can stop fighting this uphill battle.

At AltaStreet, we have design professionals that understand the financial industry inside out. We will help you communicate your unique message to your clients to make a lasting first impression.

To learn more and find out why over 1K clients have worked with AltaStreet, you can contact Dan Stark.

You Have a Financial Website. Now Make it Good

Looking to improve your website? That’s a great idea.

It’s no secret that in today’s world, on of the first places customers evaluate you is on your website.

Knowing the value of making a solid first impression, it’s worth investing time and money in your “online storefront.” If potential clients don’t like what they see when they reach your page, they will simply click away.

Improving What You Have

Unless you are a brand new company, chances are you already have a website in place. Whether or not it’s doing the job you need it to is another story.

There are several key functions that a website should perform to be effective, both from a user experience perspective, and from a marketing one.

To find out how well your website is achieving your marketing goals, you can test it by visiting the site grader.com. Type in your website address and email, and your site will be analyzed instantly. Once you’ve received your report, you will get an overall score, as well as an individual score across a range of parameters. These parameters greatly affect your search engine result placements (SERPs), and therefore the effectiveness of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

If your site is only scoring “OK” or “Poorly” on any of these parameters, particularly performance and SEO, you need to take action. That may mean improving your hosting package so that page load times decrease, leading to a better experience for your users. It could also mean condensing the code.

There are lots of different techniques for improving every aspect of your business website. If your IT person or web developer says that raising your site’s scores is not possible, that’s a good indication that your business needs to provide extra training for your IT staff or that it’s time to find a new web development company.

Content

While the Grader report focuses very much on performance, mobile-friendliness (how your site looks and operates on a mobile device), and SEO, it doesn’t take your content into consideration.

You’ll notice that keywords found on your site have ZERO IMPACT on your SEO score. Times have changed and keyword stuffing your pages does not improve your organic search rank (unpaid placement) in Google.

What is important in the first instance is having your page titles, meta tags, and descriptions on point. And the way to drive a lot of traffic to your site – and encourage those important backlinks from authority sites – is to have great written and graphical content.

So, what does great content look like?

Well, first and foremost it should speak directly to your customers. Instead of using sentences that start with “We…” for example, “We are great at growing our customers’ pension funds,” try flipping this to put your potential customers in the spotlight. So, how about:

“You know you need a sizable pension to retire by 65, but you’re not there yet. If you want no nonsense, objective, financial advice, you can contact us for a free consultation.”

By focusing your web copy on your customers and speaking directly to them, you are more likely to engage them convincingly enough for them to reach out. That should be the primary function and marketing goal of any business website.

Social Media

Do you have company profiles across all of the major social networks, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, SnapChat, and YouTube? Don’t worry if you are not on every social network, as long as you are on the main social networks used by your potential customers.

Are your linking to your social network profiles from your website “above the fold?” This is an old newspaper term, but in a modern context it simply means the area of a website that is visible on a user’s device, without them having to scroll.

Why is the area “above the fold” so important? Statistics show that as many as 75% of new visitors to a website never scroll down to view all the content on the loading page. You have to grab their attention at the top!

Social proof is vital

“Social proof” includes things like public reviews, forum discussions mentioning your company and staff, referrals on social media, “likes,” and followers.

It demonstrates that you are trustworthy and allows your site visitor to form a more detailed impression of your company. For example, will a new customer clicking over to your Facebook page see that you and the team received thousands of “likes” for raising money for a childhood cancer charity? Or, will they be hit with a stream of negative reviews aimed at your customer services department? The power of social proof cannot be underestimated.

Think of social media as an extension of your financial website. Think carefully about the brand and image which you wish to portray. If you get stuck, speak to a web design expert who can carry your branding to your social media pages.

Be sure to moderate any comments on your profile pages, and keep the pages regularly updated so that there is always fresh content for users to consume.

Blog

Not all financial institutions have a blog on their website yet. The lack of enthusiasm for blogging often comes down to a lack of time or resources. This is an opportunity for your company. Blogging is one of the best ways to showcase your brand and ethos to a wider audience. If the content is of a high quality and you are actively promoting your content across social media, some of your content may go viral.

Of course, there needs to be a hook in the blog title that encourages the user to read it – just like you chose to read this one after reading the title.

Check out CoSchedule’s headline analyzer tool to make sure you are always creating catchy titles that resonate with your audience. Spend time writing compelling content – or outsourcing it to a writing agency – so you always have well-conceived and well-written content to share with your growing network.

To give your financial website an overhaul and put some distance between you and your competition, fast, get in touch with a financial website professional.

As you can see, having a great financial website isn’t rocket science, but it does require some time, effort, and resources to get it right. Once the results start rolling in, in the form of new leads, customers, and sales, you’ll be glad you put in the time.

Learn how we have helped over 1,000 Companies in the Financial Space thrive. Contact Dan Stark at AltaStreet today.

How to Boost Financial Services Leads with Video Marketing

The financial industry has been slow to get on board with inbound. This is advantageous to you. Any improvements you make to your inbound marketing can put you way ahead of your competition. We recommend adding video to your marketing. In particular, an explainer video can increase your financial services leads.

Here’s why you should get involved in video marketing if you haven’t already.

Why Use Video Marketing?

The proliferation of video is one of the biggest and fastest growing trends in inbound marketing today. There is a lot of focus on ranking well with Google, and rightly so, but YouTube has been described as the second most popular search engine. In 2015, YouTube outstripped Google in terms of popularity on desktop computers.

Consider also that people tend to retain images – especially moving images – better than they retain text. Video combines moving images and audio, so you can make an impact and a lasting impression. If you have a message that you want people to carry away, consider putting it in an explainer video.

What is an Explainer Video?

An explainer video is a short animation used by businesses to convey their brand story to their visitors. They are concise and precise summaries of a business’s products and services. When we say concise, we mean it. These videos are typically fewer than three minutes long. In most cases, sixty to ninety seconds is plenty.

The strength of explainer videos is that they take the core information that a business wants to share and they make it not only palatable but often entertaining too. If you want your potential customers to understand what your business does and why it’s different to other businesses out there, an explainer video is a perfect vehicle for that message.

Explainer videos can help potential customers cut through financial jargon. Jargon is a particular issue in the financial industry. If you want to explore a complex financial issue, an explainer video opens the door for your customers.

When customers understand what they need, they can take action. If your business provides this information in a way that is easy to understand, people are likely to trust and value what you have to say. People work with businesses that they like and trust.

An explainer video is ideal if you want to make a complex financial process, idea, or service, understandable. While financial matters can often be ‘dry’ or even threatening, an animated video makes it all more manageable.

Some serious numbers to consider

Explainer videos are particularly good at generating leads, which can more than repay the initial investment in the video. If you’re wondering how exactly an explainer video can help generate more qualified leads for your financial business, then here are some astonishing numbers for you:

  • Adding an explainer video to your website can boost conversions by as much as 300%
  • On average, 85% or more of people who watch a video of your product or service are likely to buy
  • 88% of visitors stay on a site longer when video is prominent (Mist media)
  • 90% of shoppers found watching a video helpful when making a buying decision (ComScore)
  • You’re 53 times more likely to appear on page 1 of Google if your website uses video (Forrester Research)
  • Video now appears in 70% of the top 100 search listings
  • Our brains process visuals at 60,000 the speed of text
  • Video used in email marketing campaigns was found to increase click-through-rate by 96% (Implix)

The Power of Explainer Videos

Videos are not an option any more but a necessity. You might find that most of the businesses are using video now days and there is a strong reason for this. If you are not using explainer videos here are a few facts that will make you rethink your marketing strategy:

Google likes video – In fact, they are more than friends. If you can get your visitors to spend more time on your site, Google will (love) reward you. Giving your visitors video content to watch is a great way to increase how long they spend on your site.

Explainer videos generate visitor interaction – Google understands that visitors are more likely to take action based on an explainer video than reading through a textbook of legalese. If you demonstrate that you know this too, Google will boost your ranking in SERPs.

Reduce sales cycle – Explainer videos when used properly along the entire sales funnel will help you educate the prospects in a very systematic way and thus reduce the sales cycle. This will also help become an authority and your prospect will trust you more!

Reach more visitors – As discussed, increasing numbers of web users are watching online videos. If you want to reach more people, it makes sense to make the best, most engaging videos you can.

Explainer videos are shareable – People like to share content that is useful, entertaining, and short. This is how your explainer video can be spread from network to network, generating more leads than ever.

You’ll increase conversion rates – when complex information is expressed simply and clearly, your potential customers will be more likely to make the leap to become customers.

More data to grind – If you have several explainer videos, you will be able to check out how many people are watching each one. This will give you an indication of which of your products and services are the most popular, which is useful for your marketing purposes.

Be direct – your explainer video gets to the heart of your business and presents it to your visitors. If they want further information, they can find it on your site, get in touch with you, or download one of your offerings. With an explainer video, you’ll avoid losing interested people in navigation. Instead, your video will tell them exactly what they need to know to make a decision on your product or service.

Let your personality shine – a great way to engage your visitors is to come across as a team of individuals, not as a faceless brand. An explainer video, although it may be animated, is a fantastic way to share the unique voice and personality of your business. People will get an instant impression about the people behind your business from the style of your explainer video.

You can always augment your personality-building by including video interviews or talking heads in your video marketing, alongside your explainer videos.

What Makes a Great Explainer Video?

The elements of story-telling will help you assess the quality of your video. This needn’t be a massive learning curve. Think of it like this: A good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

The beginning should have a hook of some sort, such as an interesting premise or a question to answer. It should capture the interest of your audience and keep them watching to find out how it is resolved.

The middle of your video needs to keep your audience’s attention. This is often the hardest part of a story! When it comes to video, the trick is often to keep it to the point and don’t let it get too long.

The end needs to deliver on whatever you set up at the beginning of the video. Just like a story, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t leave loose ends. If you haven’t done what you said you’d do at the beginning, your video needs more work.

The ideal outcome of an explainer video is that the viewer learns something and finds the solution to a problem. If the video compels the viewer to action, it’s a winner.

Here’s a great example of a short and sweet video that gets to the point fast and tells viewers how this business can help them:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRjqOII77zc&

Videos like this work well because of their simplicity. As well as being visually engaging, it communicates ideas clearly and promotes understanding of important concepts.

Making an explainer video that distills the essential parts of your brand takes technical skill and expertise. We have you covered.

Further benefits to consider

If you’re interested in becoming a thought leader and leading your industry, engaging with people through video is a fantastic way to get ahead.

If your business is already creating blog posts or is focusing on an ebook or a stellar infographic, consider shifting energy into video. With video, you’ll be attracting new customers, satisfying your existing customers, and speeding ahead of most of your competition.

If you’re considering creating a talking heads video so your visitors can see you and/or your team, you want them to trust you and associate your brand with wealth and safety. Investing in a quality, dedicated video camera, therefore, might be wise. One of the benefits of explainer videos here is that they are largely animated, negating various technical problems. There is no need for you to worry about camera angles, lighting, or getting your good side.

Of course, you can represent the videos in different styles to hammer the point home.

Check out a few more styles of videos here:

https://youtu.be/tZqAqest9GU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDaCc6BGUHc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6s24FfMCr2k

Whatever kind of video you use for your video marketing, focus on engaging your customers. Don’t play to your competitors. Your customers want to know what makes you different from the competition, not how you can be similar.

A short video unraveling a specific issue that the public tends not to understand can work wonders. Compare this with a 25-minute epic that displays your branding in inspirational settings but doesn’t satisfy any of your customers’ needs.

Focusing on your customers means giving them an insight into what you do and why they should partner with you. It means answering their questions and empowering them to take the next step, whether that’s subscribing to a list or calling you for a consultation.

How Soon Will My Explainer Video Go Viral?

A common issue with video marketing is that people expect their videos to go viral. The truth is that it’s very unlikely that a video will go viral.

The good news is that a video doesn’t need to go viral to bring new customers to your business every single day of the year.

Whatever kind of video you create or order for your site, a good video that tackles the right topic will be evergreen content, working for you 24/7. A great video will be shareable and allow you to reach an even wider potential audience.

How to Get Your Explainer Video

While some professionals, such as artists or skilled laborers, might be able to connect with their audience using hand-held video shot on a smartphone, the public generally expects more ‘stability’ from a financial services industry video. This doesn’t mean hiring Steven Spielberg to shoot your video, but it does require you to think carefully about the quality of the sound and look. An animated video, of course, can dismiss many technical issues in a single move.

Paying someone to make your business an animated video can make life a lot easier for you. It will also provide you with something for your video marketing that is especially effective at communicating messages.

Done well, your explainer video will be immensely shareable and provide you with a significant increase in leads.

If you have been reluctant to engage with video in the past, hopefully you will reconsider. We can make it easy for you. If you want to reach a larger audience and generate more leads, video will deliver, and we can help make it happen.

For a special one time marketing event, AltaStreet has teamed up with http://rkale.com/a stellar animation video company which has expertise working with Financial niche and has consistently provided high ROI’s to its clientele for past few years.

As a subscriber and LinkedIn contact, we have a special offer available. This content will boost your traffic and send your lead generation through the roof.

You’ll need to get in on it fast, though. We’re only accepting 10 videos per month.

Don’t hesitate. Get in touch today to discuss your professionally-made explainer video.

Contact: Dan Stark dan@altastreet.com
www.altastreet.com

We made a Video for this Special Offer, Check it out: https://youtu.be/tZqAqest9GU

Using Jungian Archetypes To Market Your Financial Website

The use of Jungian archetypes has become a great hack everywhere from film scripts to dating sites. Websites and brand management are no exception. Once the basic concept is clear, you’ll see why it makes a lot of sense for financial websites.

How Jungian Archetypes Work

Archetypes refer to characters that can be found in stories across cultures. Their names may vary, but they are so recognizable that we accept them as universal. Essentially, the Jungian archetypes are little different from any other set of characters, whether they are from Greek Mythology, the Zodiac, or ‘The Seven’ from Game of Thrones. However, Jungian archetypes are useful because they are widely written about in a marketing context, providing a fixed point of reference.

These characters’ main asset is that they are intrinsic to global culture. This makes them familiar in a way that is extremely powerful and, according to neuroscience, helps us to remember information associated with them. This happens via common emotional patterns and the stories they trigger in the viewer’s unconscious, as well as the stories that brand managers construct for them.

Market Context

So how does this benefit a financial website? Previous models of financial branding are not as solid as they once were. The more paternal, traditional brands such as the wise and dependable institution have been integral to offline financial branding for many years. However, negative personal experiences and the banking crisis have soured the credibility of this approach, leaving many consumers wary of this branding. But market context is just one part of the picture. Equally important are customer demographics and brand.

Customer Demographics

A major driver of branding is positioning a product or service to appeal to the kind of customer the financial institution is hoping to attract. Banks and financial services companies have aimed at gathering the widest customer base possible, which poses problems for Jungian archetypes.

With online services and niche markets expanding, targeted branding using Jungian archetypes makes sense for financial websites focusing on a particular demographic for their customer base.

Brand Management

Site development and content management all rely on tone to vector the information they provide. Finding the right brand for financial services can be a challenge – it needs to be both serious and engaging. By taking on an archetypal character, or even a combination of two or three of them, the information can be framed in such a way that it becomes more of a narrative with specific traits; a pre-packaged brand ‘identity.’

This way, it’s easier to find a narrative hook and strong adjectives that will enliven the writing, without blundering into hyperbole, because the archetypal character keeps the writing coherent to the brand, even when it’s pushing the envelope.

It’s in the use of images that archetype branding really takes off. Images for financial websites tend to be the same blue-gray pictures of white men looking down at documents, women and children jumping, or something that vaguely suggests digital via overlaid strings of soft focus binary code.

By digging into archetype branding, however, a completely different palate and symbolic language become available. This greater visual range can be employed without detracting from the brand message or identity. Archetype branding is much more visually exciting than traditional design.

The 12 archetypes:

The Innocent, also known as the orphan

Idealistic, pure, straight dealing, optimistic, kind and simple. Not many financial companies run with this archetype, but The Co-operative Bank is one example.

The Hero

Strong, fierce, relentless, disciplined, like Paypal.

The Everyman

Real, honest, hardworking, fair. GoCompare.com, though not strictly a financial company, is one. Amalgamated Bank and Visa are also examples of this archetype.

The Caregiver

Kind, generous, comforting; someone who serves. Several insurance companies aim for this archetype, including Legal and General, Guardian Life, and Prudential.

The Jester

Spontaneous, fun, playful, and sometimes inappropriate. Virgin Money is a good example of this brand.

The Explorer

Freedom, self-improvement, discovery, daring, self-sufficiency. This seems like a space that’s waiting for a big player to fill it. Discover.com and Libertybank.net are giving it a go, and accounting software FreeAgent.com provides a masterclass.

The Outlaw / Revolutionary

Mould-breaking, tear down and rebuild. E*trade and Virgin.

The Magician

Change-makers who cause us to shift our perspective, grandiose. Magicians are also logical, insightful, and analytical. Oracle.com is a classic example of the magician archetype – as are a lot of cloud-based services and quant-driven investment firms, such as Robeco.com.

The Lover

Orientated towards the senses, deep connections and lasting relationships. This is more Dove soap and Hagen Daas than financial services.

The Creator

Creative, driven, open-minded, determined. Usually associated with brands such as Lego and Apple, the creator archetype is rare in risk averse financial institutions. However, ally.com, Hellobank, and eLife online banking are all going there, and Commerce Bank online has arrived.

The Ruler

Authoritative, in control, responsible; always seeking improvement. Moody’s investment service.

The Sage

Knowledgeable, objective, research orientated. Wisely even has an owl logo. Other Sage companies include Credit Insights and Personal Capital.

Financial websites are getting a lot livelier. If you want to stand out, consider looking at where your brand might go via archetypes.

Imagine how much more interesting and exciting your website could become. And use these archetypes to help attract the ideal customers looking for your product or service and style.

Learn How AltaStreet has helped well over 1,000 Firms thrive in the Financial Space. Contact Managing Partner, Dan Stark to set up a Discovery Call or email: dan@altastreet.com

How to Avoid Your Financial Website Being Penalized by Google

If you are running a financial website, you can learn a thing or two from Google. At Google, they are always trying to serve their customers as best they can, and they know how to do it. If you follow the spirit of Google’s content guidelines, you’ll be pleasing your visitors too.

Keep up with Google. You’ll slip down the rankings if your content and site design do meet their ever-changing content requirements. When you do something that is against Google’s guidelines, you are penalized. Their aim isn’t to punish you, so much as it is to elevate content that its users will like, and push the rest down the rankings.

When Google updates, it does so for good reasons. These changes, however, can force poor quality content off the map. An example is 2012s Penguin update, described as a webspam algorithm, which affected 1 in 10 search results.

Since 2012, the Penguin update it has been gone through several iterations. It works in real time, which means that new businesses can no longer get away with poor quality content or site design for a few months until they get round to improving their offering. Google will spot and deal with these sites immediately.

And Penguin is just one of many algorithms that Google uses to maintain the quality of its search results. Since Google can wipe out a business with the flick of a switch, you’d better be aware of what they’re doing and when.

If you’ve been working hard on your site, but it’s still not ranking well, you may have been penalized for something without realizing it. If you search for your brand name and your site ranks poorly, or your page one positions have slipped to page two or three for no apparent reason, you’ve most likely been penalized.

Google doesn’t always announce the changes it makes. There are common reasons for being penalized, however, so we recommend that you look at these first.

Duplicate Content

Whether it’s found within your domain, or across the net, duplicate content gets Google’s heckles up.

Some people deliberately create duplicate content for non-malicious reasons. For example, you might have a page of content and a duplicate page that is simply-formatted for printing.

In this kind of situation, you need to indicate your preferred URL to Google. This is called canonicalization. One way to do that is by using Search Console.

Google prefers it if you do not try to prevent its spiders looking at pages (such as by using a robots.txt file). It is far happier when you use canonicalization to tell it which pages as duplicates and which page you prefer.

You can also avoid being penalized for duplicate content by:

  • being consistent about the format you use for linking to pages internally;
  • using 301 redirects if you’ve restructured your site;
  • minimizing boilerplate repetition, such as by avoiding lengthy copyright text at the bottom of every page and replacing it with something shorter that links to your main copyright information page;
  • avoid placeholders if you’re in the process of (re)designing your site;
  • consolidating or differentiating pages with similar content.

Some people create duplicate content across various domains to deliberately boost their keyword use and move up the rankings. Google doesn’t want its users to see an entire page of links that all deliver the same content though.

Google does not suffer this kind of deception. It will penalize these domains without a second thought.

Buying Links

Having more sites link to yours used to be taken as evidence of the usefulness and quality of your site. These days, however, one link from a high-quality website is worth much more than many links from low-quality websites.

If you’re buying links, the standard of sites linking to you is likely to be very poor. Not only does this not help your rankings, but it will actually go against you.

Too Many Reciprocal Links

As with buying links, Google takes too much reciprocity is a sign that you are attempting to manipulate the rankings rather than provide a quality experience for your visitors.

The response? Penalization.

Not Enough Outbound Links

Google expects high-quality websites to understand that they do not exist in isolation and that there are other sites that its users may find useful. Almost every business has complimentary products, services, and information. Google rewards businesses that have a wider view of their customers’ needs.

Broken Internal Links – If you have broken links on your website, it means that your visitors are falling into potholes and bumping into each other in dead ends. Since Google wants the best possible experience for its users, it penalizes websites that don’t look after their infrastructure.

Broken External Links – Linking to quality sites is looked on favorably by Google. If the details of those pages change, however, that leaves you with broken external links, frustrated visitors, and a potential penalty from Google.

Keyword Stuffing – Since the Penguin update in 2012, keyword stuffing and other attempts to manipulate search results have been going rapidly out of fashion.

The best approach to SEO is to be aware of the keywords your target audience will be searching for and to use them naturally in genuinely useful content.

Overusing Meta Keywords – This is similar to keyword stuffing, but, in this case, you’ve been stuffing the meta tags rather than the main content. Essentially, your meta keywords are intended to help search engines and their users understand the content of your site.

Overdoing it with meta keywords is the equivalent of those envelopes where advertising messages are printed all over the envelope. You don’t even need to open the envelope to know that you’ve received some time-wasting spam. Do this to Google and they will blacklist your site and move on.

Spun Content – spun content is reworded content. The only originality you can expect in these articles is creative use of a thesaurus. Spun articles can push the boundaries of grammar, as writers strive to rewrite existing content for the sole purpose of evading anti-plagiarism software.

There are many articles written about how much content you need for your website and how often you should post. Too few articles talk about how quality wins over quantity.

A site that offers original, useful, expert advice will serve its visitors better than websites that pay cheap writers to spin content.

Google agrees.

Poor Mobile Websites – Google loves mobile. As is typical of Google, this is because Google’s users like mobile.

Mobile internet searches surpassed desktop searches in 2014. The percentage of web pages visited via mobile devices is on the increase all around the world.

With access to mountains of data and a direct line to the desires of its users, Google knows that mobile is critical. If you are not meeting the needs of mobile users, you can expect your site to slip down the rankings in favor of sites that feature mobile versions or responsive design.

One of the more recent additions to Google’s idea of what makes a good mobile site concerns pop-ups. Pop-ups can be effective for lead generation, capturing many email addresses. They are also very intrusive, however, and can impede a visitor’s experience, particularly via mobile.

Thanks to the ‘Intrusive Interstitial’ Update, pop-ups that cover an entire page are considered a barrier to the content being sought. Sites that use them face penalization by Google.

In addition to getting your site moving up the rankings, you need to maintain best practices to avoid going the other way. The landscape of the internet is always evolving. While some factors for delivering quality, useful websites are common sense, others take some expertise to understand, unravel, and repair.

Having financial expertise and the ability to deliver it to your visitors is essential to your success, but that’s not enough to ensure that you do well in the rankings.

To make sure that your financial website is offering the best possible experience to your visitors and avoiding unnecessary penalization by Google, get in touch with a financial web design professional with years of experience in financial services and web design.

Get in touch with Dan Stark to learn how AltaStreet helps Financial Advisors with their SEO. Email: dan@altastreet.com
www.altastreet.com

AltaStreet Financial Websites and Marketing Chosen by the Nation’s Largest Independent Broker/Dealer* and Leader in the Retail Financial Advice Market

LPL Financial, the nation’s largest independent broker/dealer* and leader in the retail financial advice market, has selected AltaStreet Financial Websites and Marketing for inclusion in LPL Financial’s Vendor Affinity Program.

The Vendor Affinity Program was designed to help its more than 14,000 advisors reduce the complexity and costs of running their businesses. The program consists of a centralized repository of vendors that have agreed to provide their products and services to LPL advisors at discounted prices. AltaStreet offers LPL advisors creation of custom websites across a range of budgets.

AltaStreet is a leading provider of advisor-centric technology solutions including custom website design, custom back end development and automation technology for financial services companies.

“At AltaStreet, we approach work with our clients through a lens of true discovery in an effort to uncover stumbling blocks and obstacles our clients face when using the Internet to market their business, generate leads, acquire clients and add revenue to the bottom line,” said Dan Stark, director of Business Development at AltaStreet. “The technology solutions we offer can significantly cut costs and boost revenues and ultimately help clients thrive in the digital world.”

“We recognize that technology is a major contributor to creating increased efficiency and driving greater productivity in our clients’ businesses,” said Victor Fetter, LPL Financial managing director and chief information officer. “Being able to connect LPL clients with leading technology solution providers adds a new dimension to the level of service and support we can provide to clients to help them manage and grow their businesses.”

AltaStreet was founded in 1998 by CEO Robert Sheinbein, a former financial advisor who created technology automation to serve his own office. As an advisor managing a family’s multi-billion dollar portfolio, Sheinbein could see the tremendous value the automation provided. With a unique perspective to be able to deliver technology solutions that solve advisors’ unique needs, he parlayed his experience into building complex back-end systems for a variety of companies and began AltaStreet. His financial services industry experience separates AltaStreet from other businesses in the website design and development space, as the company blends Sheinbein’s perspective with that of experts in business, marketing, sales, branding, websites and technology to create a premier company providing custom website design, custom website development, and web marketing services to the financial services industry.

AltaStreet is an industry leader in the custom website design space, specializing in design, development, SEO, branding and logo design. The company’s programming skills can support a range of needs, including social networking tools, shopping carts and payment gateways, with the proprietary tools for supporting compliance needs.

About AltaStreet:

AltaStreet Financial Websites and Marketing was founded in 1998. AltaStreet is a leading provider in custom website design, custom development and automation technology for financial services companies. They often function as an outsourced CMO for the companies they help. AltaStreet’s solutions provide a very high return on investment for their clients. In the space they operate in, where their clients need credibility, image matters. What does your website say about you?

For more information about AltaStreet, please visit  https://www.altastreet.com

About LPL Financial:

LPL Financial, a wholly owned subsidiary of LPL Financial Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:LPLA), is a leader in the retail financial advice market and served approximately $486 billion in advisory and brokerage assets, as of May 31, 2016. LPL is one of the fastest growing RIA custodians and is the nations largest independent broker-dealer (*based on total revenues, Financial Planning magazine June 1996-2016). The Company provides proprietary technology, comprehensive clearing and compliance services, practice management programs and training, and independent research to more than 14,000 independent financial advisors and over 700 banks and credit unions, enabling them to help their clients turn life’s aspirations into financial realities. Advisors associated with LPL also serviced an estimated 45,000 retirement plans with an estimated $121 billion in retirement plan assets, as of March 31, 2016. LPL also supports approximately 4,200 financial advisors licensed and affiliated with insurance companies with customized clearing, advisory platforms, and technology solutions. LPL Financial and its affiliates have more than 3,400 employees with primary offices in Boston, Charlotte, and San Diego.

For more information, please visit http://www.lpl.com

Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial. A registered investment advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC.

AltaStreet Contact:
Dan Stark
+1-216-894-5193
dan@altastreet.com