Becoming ‘the Glue’ of the Marketing Team

I am often asked – “why did you take the Springboard, Digital Marketing Certification?” My answer is simple, to further my career and become “the glue” of a marketing team.  This article by Geoff Roberts at Springboard, explains my journey and how I became that glue.

Barbara Kalicki spent 12 years working in the financial services industry before she found herself, accidentally, falling into her first marketing role.

“I was tasked with taking over social media and SEO because the manager I was working for at the time had no experience in those areas,” she said. “I’m pretty technically inclined, so my manager said, ‘I don’t want to deal with social media or SEO, can you handle it?’”

Excited by the opportunity to develop a new skill set, Barbara jumped headfirst into learning about social media, email marketing, and SEO by devouring content online and taking whatever courses she could find. But just as her excitement was growing, her position at the company was cut and she found herself back on the job market.

READ FULL ARTICLE

Need a Content Marketing Strategy Goal? Get SMART!

Most financial firms with a successful online presence that drives lead generation tend to have one thing in common: they have a well-planned and operational content marketing strategy in place.

Even if your firm may already be reaping the benefits of posting content on a regular basis… does your content marketing strategy revolve around an actual goal?

Central to the planning of any content marketing strategy is a SMART goal. Without stated objectives and a documented goal in place, a content marketing plan is like a ship adrift at sea without an intended destination. In this article, we cover core components of a content marketing strategy SMART goal.

SMART goal is a mnemonic anacronym for a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Let’s have a closer look at what makes up a SMART goal:

Specific

A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. For example, a general goal would be, “Establish our firm as a thought leader” But a specific goal would be, “Contribute 6 trending futures market commentary pieces covering gold and oil markets to major industry publications in Q1: submit two articles for publication in Modern Trader in January, submit two articles for publication in Seeking Alpha in February, and submit two articles for publication in Inside Futures in March.”

To help identify a specific (read: strategic) content strategy goal, answer the following questions:

  • Who?
    Who is involved in the writing and distribution of my content?
  • What?
    What do I want to accomplish with my content?
  • Where?
    Where will the content be displayed online.
  • When?
    Establish a time frame for your content strategy.
  • Which?
    Note requirements / constraints: For example, will your content require NFA approval?
  • Why?
    Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

Measurable

Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set for your content marketing strategy. When you measure progress, you tend to stay the course to reach your target dates. A goal without a measurable outcome is like a sports competition without a scoreboard.

Answer the question: How Much or How Many?

Attach concrete numbers to your goals. For example, if you are seeking to gain 175 leads per month from a content marketing campaign revolving around Bitcoin futures, document this goal number and have a means to measure the results monthly.

For a business with a marketing/sales department it is helpful to leverage the existing marketing tools such as those found in a CRM. Many CRMs (like Salesforce, HubSpot or Infusionsoft) have a feature where you can set up specific campaigns and measure their effectiveness across different channels. These platforms allow you to run reports based on the channels you choose to promote your content.

Achievable

To be successful, your content marketing strategy goal should be realistic and attainable, while still challenging

An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How can I accomplish this goal?
  • How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?

For example, you may need to explore whether you will have access to the resources you need to develop your content, articles, and blog posts around specialized topics. If not, can you afford to hire a third-party writer? Do you have the time to manage the overall content marketing strategy or do you require the help from an outside agency?

Relevant

While a goal should matter to you, the goal of your content marketing strategy should also be relevant to your audience. It should inform, educate, or enhance their experience with your firm or company. Affirm that your content marketing strategy goal is relevant by answering these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Does the messaging of the content strategy match our other efforts/needs?
  • Am I the right person to reach this goal?
  • Is it applicable in the current financial market environment?

Time-Based

Every goal needs a frame of time and a deadline to work toward. This part of the SMART goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.

A time-based goal will usually answer these questions:

  • When will the content be launched?
  • What can I do six months from now?
  • What can I do six weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?

For example, will your goal allow for a series of similar content campaigns that can follow later in the year? Is your content marketing strategy goal leading up to an industry event or conference that is 6-months away? What assets can you organize and prepare today that can be used (either once or reused) within the window of your content campaign?

Without setting goals and objectives, a content marketing strategy becomes less of a strategy and more of a chaotic, disorganized series of actions. By following the steps above to build out a SMART goal, you’ll be establishing a core around which your content strategy can revolve – and a pathway to success!

5 Quick Wins to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Having a content strategy in place is a prerequisite for building a successful online presence for your financial firm. Traditional marketing has evolved into positioning your brand as a thought leader. This means your firm is producing quality blog posts, videos, social media and all kinds of unique content that builds brand equity. Without a proper plan in place, your business will fall behind as competitors gain traction.

Content Strategy, Content Marketing, Content Marketing Strategy – OH MY! 

What is the difference?

  • Content strategy: Internal guidelines and governance
  • Content marketing strategy (overlap area): Vision, goals, audience research, voice and style, ideation, external governance
  • Content marketing: Editorial calendar, creation, curation, promotion, iteration

Source – www.moz.com

 

Is your head spinning with how to start and what to do next?  Do not fret –  the following 5 steps will get you well on your way to an effective content marketing plan.

  1. Define your Goal(s)
    Create a SMART goal(s) (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based) for your plan. Answering the following questions may help bring your overall goal into focus and guide your firm’s strategy:

    • Are you most concerned in promoting your firm, where more potential customers become familiar with you and the financial services that you offer?
    • Do you have a financial product or service that needs a boost in sales?
    • Are you trying to generate more qualified leads for your firm?
    • Would you like to educate customers and prospects on a financial industry issue or inform them of a new trading product? 

  1. Know your audience
    To create content that resonates, you need to know who will be consuming your content.  Are you a financial services firm that wants to inform investors of a new product offering?  Then your content should focus on the reasoning behind why an investor should choose this product or investment over others in the market place. Try to be relatable and use storytelling to get your point across and make it interesting to read.  Hypothetical situations work well as long as you include characteristics of the person you are trying to reach. For example, if a student is looking for a first-time investment, craft your story around a college student and his or her journey into investing.

 

  1. Determine the Type of Content
    What kinds of content will your clients and prospects have the most interest to read?  If your goal is to inform new investors on a product, perhaps create an infographic of possible returns.  You may also decide that hosting a FREE webcast is the best way to explain this product or investment.  Webcasts are a great platform as they allow for interaction between you and prospective clients and position you as a thought leader in the industry.

 

  1. “CONTENT IS KING, BUT CONTEXT IS GOD” – Gary Vaynerchuk
    This quote is key to an effective strategy (read the entire post here) and goes hand in hand with knowing your audience.  Ensure to consider your audience, the platform you are utilizing and above all, always remember to provide value. Doing this builds your trust with potential clients, consumers or followers and will make them want to revisit for more.

 

  1. Create a Plan and Establish a means of Reporting
    Due to the regulations, compliance rules and approval process, creating content for a plan can be challenging.  Ensure that you build enough time in your plan to include time for  oversight or approval.  Including items that have been previously reviewed and approved can save some time while also feeding the content marketing plan.Additionally, ensuring that you are reporting and measuring accurately is one of the most important steps.  How will you know if your plan is a success unless you are using the right tools?  Most CRMs (like Salesforce or Infusionsoft) have a feature where you can set up a campaign in the platform, and create reports based on the various digital channels you used to promote content.

 

Following these steps can help  you create a content marketing strategy for your firm while also maintaining your online presence.  Make certain that your plan is in place as soon as possible, so your firm can begin to gain traction.  The 3rd quarter/Autumn season is most crucial for financial services firms to build, align, expand, or refresh components of marketing from September (when everyone is returning from vacation) to November (right before the holidays are in full swing).

How Email Marketing Will Help You Win the Game of Thrones

In the age of real-time tweets, snaps, and texts, email marketing is still the most powerful and cost effective marketing tool available. Imagine if Jon Snow had access to emails instead of ravens to send messages? The entire Game of Thrones could have been won by the power of an email newsletter.

A core tool in your marketing arsenal, emailed content can act as your Unsullied army of information, marching out to communicate with each lead from the Vale to the Iron Islands — and further winning the loyalties of those who have already pledged fealty to you.

IS EMAIL AS DEAD AS THE WHITE WALKERS?

In a word: No. According to a June 2016 survey of US marketers conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) email marketing had a median ROI of 122%, which is on average more than four times higher than other marketing formats such as social media or PPC.

 

WHY PUBLISH AN EMAIL NEWSLETTER? YOU DON’T WANT TO BE THE FACELESS MAN.

Financial businesses of all sizes can effectively utilize email newsletters and email marketing to inform clients of financial news, trends, services while keeping your firm top of mind. The value of your information is the real Hand of the King!

By distributing your unique insight into the financial world, you provide value to the reader in exchange for the subscriber allowing you into their Inbox. This provides you with constant visibility and opportunity to convert the reader to a customer with the right offer, the right information, or simply the right email at the right time. (What information would Lord Varys share at this time?)

CREATE A NEWSLETTER EVERYONE WILL WANT TO READ UNTIL WINTER ARRIVES

Here are a few tips to help you unravel the mystery of a great email newsletter:

  • Grabs users’ attention (without beheading anyone): Your newsletter could hold the map to the tunnels of King’s Landing but if your subject line is boring nobody will ever see what’s inside. Use powerful words that appeal to emotions such as curiosity or fear.
  • Generate interest: Don’t call it a victory because someone opened your newsletter (you know nothing Jon Snow!), now you must keep your users interested. Teach them how to solve a problem, impress them by showing them something new like how to ride a dragon, or present a compelling infographic.
  • Build up desire as high as the Wall: As you’re building the reader’s interest, help them understand how your firm can assist. Appeal to their personal interests by providing something they want such as tips on how to kill a White Walker.
  • Winter is Here! It’s Time to Drive Action: Finally, be very specific on what action you want users to take. You have an opportunity to direct users to take action such as filling out a form to buy dragonglass or requesting more information on House Targaryen.

Email newsletters are a great way to sell or upsell products but if you send emails just with the purpose of selling you will not win the Game of Thrones. Your email should not be all about “buy, buy or the dragons will breathe fire upon you” as it may cause readers to unsubscribe or mark your email as spam. This results in a wasted effort to capture your audience and makes your business look as self-serving as Lord Baelish.

REMEMBER THE NIGHT’S WATCH OATH… REMEMBER THE CALL-TO-ACTION!

A great newsletter not only informs, but also subtly promotes. Email newsletters are a natural and softer way to promote your services. Include clear calls to action within your message. These include links to specific services, offers, and white papers. From Casterly Rock and Braavos to Dorn and Winterfell, your key mission is to spread your subject matter expertise, position yourself as an information leader, win the love of the people, and encourage them to take the next step through a call-to-action.

A SHARPENED NEWSLETTER CAN BE AS POWERFUL AS VALYRIAN STEEL

Unlike the ravens sent from the Night’s Watch that can only carry a small scroll, we are equipped to reliably share larger quantities of information more quickly (and in a more measurable fashion) through email newsletters.

With the above tips and suggestions, you can create a newsletter that will have everyone in Westeros waiting for each new edition. All seven kingdoms are waiting for your message. Get your email newsletter strategy together to help claim your crown as a trusted expert over all the other Great Houses – because winning the trust, action, and loyalty of your email recipients and transforming them into customers IS winning the Game.