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The Easiest Task to Check Off Your Marketing To-Do List before Year End

By December 15, 2016May 4th, 2017Marketing

If you have clarity on your target audience, a web site that speaks to them, and a lead magnet to capture visitors to your site, you have a solid foundation for executing a successful marketing plan. One last foundation element to check off is to claim and tailor your online listings in directories and search engines. This act is a fundamental first step to direct with intention what people read about you when they access online venues beyond your web site.  Best of all, this task to extend your online presence is easy to complete (especially when you work through this directories checklist).

3 Kinds of Online Listings You Want to Claim and Customize:

1.    Search Engines

Most people will try to find you through a search engine. Does your firm show up in listings?  Do search results paint an accurate and positive picture of you and your services?  Are you managing and shaping those results to create the image you desire and speaking to the people whom you want to attract? Or, do you just let results happen, with your fingers crossed, wishing for good results?

Whether prospects are looking up your name or “CityName Financial Planner” you want to check off the search engines listings first (good news – they are free!).

Claim your place in all of these starting spots for clients:

Create detailed and descriptive profiles.  Build them out with photos, video clips (good for YouTube searches), description of the type of client whom you serve best, a link to your site, your logo, and contact information. Do what you can to set yourself apart from other financial advisors and planners.

2.  Organizations to which you pay membership or subscription fees.

As a group member or premium subscriber you get the added benefit of leveraging the marketing of these organizations. Be sure to complete your advisor association profiles and your “Find-an-Advisor” listing on consumer-focused sites.  Stand out among the crowd with customized messaging, distinctive “who we help” audience descriptions, and a select number of specializations (instead of the whole laundry list).  Include visuals such as photos, info-graphics and videos where permitted.

The most popular membership directories and find-an-advisor listings are through industry associations, such as NAPFA’s Fee Only Network, advisor networks XYPN, Garrett Planning, and ACP), and consumer-facing financial educational sites including NerdWallet and Brightscope.

3.  General Business Listings

Many sites aggregate businesses with results showing up in online searches.  Sometimes these listing are just about verifying your information, while others allow you to add more personality.  Think of the phone book of yesteryear online (the yellow pages —YP.com — is one of these directories!).

These business listings are important because they showcase local businesses. You want to appear in search when an Angie’s List member, typically looking for home repair or heath care help, decides they want a financial planner. Angie’s List offers an entire category for financial planning that advisors often overlook. Plus, there’s no fee to list!

Finally, in this category are the local clubs and organizations to which you may belong. For example, many Chambers of Commerce have interactive searches where you benefit from the halo effect of inclusion on a reputable list.

Keep Your Listings Current

While tempting to “set and forget” your online listings, you do want to keep them current.  Set a reminder in your CRM or on your calendar to check in on each of these profiles once a year for any updates or changes you may have forgotten to make. Better yet, outsource this task to a team member.

As you check out the directories, you will notice there are services like yext that offer management of the listings. You can sign up with them to handle your updates for you at $449-$999 per year. Because you are not a retail shop and will not have frequent updates, you do not need this service to update for you.  Invest your dollars elsewhere.

While claiming listings and online places is not a glamorous marketing initiative, the power of presence in each of these listings is a must-have foundation element in your marketing system. You know you’ll be where your clients are looking and will feel the satisfaction that comes from checking off this task off of your Marketing to-Do List.

Are there listings I missed?  Include them in the comments.  Make sure you’re represented: download a complimentary checklist of the directories financial advisors should claim here.  

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