A great website isn’t really that great if no one visits and uses it. One key indicator of performance is the amount of traffic and engagement it receives. I get a lot of questions from advisers asking how to create a website that really maximizes its potential. My answer? Blogging. One of the most effective (and economical) ways to increase the number of people visiting and using your website is through financial blogging.
On average, we know that about 90% of the traffic a broker’s website receives can be broken down into two groups: prospective clients who visit your site to learn more about your services, and existing clients who want to access their account information and get updates on your business.
From a web marketing perspective, your website can and should cater to both of these groups. A blog gives you the ability to maintain client relationships while answering questions and nurturing prospective clients. Just to be clear, here’s a quick definition of what a blog really is, according to Oxford Dictionaries: “A personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis”.
Simply put, a blog is a section of any website that’s updated with valuable information on a regular basis. The most successful financial blogs offer a variety of content (articles, video clips, images, infographics, white papers, etc.) that is targeted towards a specific audience.
Maintaining a financial blog requires the time and effort necessary to publish original content, but the rewards of blogging offer brokers a pretty hefty return on the investment. From a marketing perspective there are two primary benefits.
The first, and arguably most important, reward of blogging is all about search engine optimization.
By now, you’ve probably heard the term SEO – at its core, SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website in a search engine’s results. The earlier and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.
Because search engines like Google really love the fresh and original content that is published on a blog, websites with a blog regularly rank higher on a search results page. What does that mean for you as a broker? Basically, blogging is a great tool to help the people who are looking for you online (ie potential clients) find you.
In addition to the benefits of SEO and creating fresh content for your website, blogging allows brokers to connect with their clients and prospects and build a unique rapport that is incredibly cost- and time-efficient. Financial blogging provides a platform for you to position yourself as an expert in the industry.
Picture this scenario: a broker publishes a blog article entitled “6 steps to paying down your mortgage quicker”. A well-crafted, informative article will answer readers’ questions, and the broker who authored this post automatically becomes an expert in the eyes of the reader.
The impact of blogging on brokers’ website traffic is remarkable. According to HubSpot, companies that blog receive 55% more website visitors. The results don’t stop there; HubSpot also reports that 57% of those companies have acquired actual paying clients from their blogs.
Ready to get started with your financial blog? Here are four ideas to make sure every piece of content you publish on your blog is successful:
There is a saying that those who write for an online audience should spend 10% of their time writing the body of an article and 90% of their time creating the perfect, irresistible title. While I don’t necessarily agree with that theory (if the title is that great, surely readers may be disappointed with the actual writing, right?), it does get the point across: the title is important.
A few tips for creating an irresistible title:
Use action words
Explain what the article is about
Know your audience
Create quality content
Quality content should be 100% targeted at your audience. Write with your readers in mind. Get into the minds of your readers: what are their problems, what do they do for fun, what’s interesting to them, and, mostly, how can you help?
As a broker, use your blog to share your knowledge and expertise. The internet provides a world of opportunity to present yourself as a thought leader in the finance community. Use this to your benefit by explaining current events or answering frequently asked questions.
Online readers generally appreciate not being sold to. Be real; speak from the heart and don’t be afraid to show flaws.
Another tip? Instead of talking about your audience, talk to them. The easiest way to do this is to use words like ‘you’, ‘we’, and ‘me’. If you treat writing more like a conversation than a textbook, readers are more likely to enjoy the experience – and actually read it.
Share on social
Don’t assume that just because you are publishing awesome blog content your ideal target audience is reading your blog. First you need to let them know that your blog exists! Don’t be shy about spreading the word, especially if your blog is new.
Measure your success
Measuring the number of views your blog receives can be really insightful. Here’s the simple truth: tracking the performance of your financial blog is vital to identifying whether it’s actually doing its job of generating traffic to your website. If not, then you know it’s time to make some changes.
Two of the most important metrics that determine the success of your blog are individual post views and traffic sources.
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Vancouver-based marketing coordinator for AdvisorWebsites, Maggie Crowley. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.