2012 has been an amazing year for financial professionals marketing themselves online.
Tools are getting easier and easier to use and the holy grail for all marketers — AUTOMATION! — is become a reality for financial professionals.
To paraphrase John Lenin: Imagine a world where all your marketing activities were automated and that everyday you got a list of people ready to buy your product (not leads, almost-customers!).
My personal experience –> recommendations
I’ve spent a lot of time working with clients on the automation parts of their businesses and I’ve experimented with a lot of tools and services and resources this year.
These are some of the best — bookmark this list because I’ll keep adding to it in the future.
Best marketing and automation tools for advisors
- IFTTT: Stands for “If this than that”, this nifty free tool can help automate your social media strategy. By programming simple rules and hooking up your social media profiles, you can automate much of the social media marketing for your business. I use IFTTT to automatically take a blog post I write and publish it to Twitter and Facebook.
- Zapier: Zapier is like IFTTT’s older brother. It automates much of the connection between multiple web services without the need to higher a programmer to get them to talk to one another.
- OfficeAutoPilot: I swear by this all-in-one CRM/Marketing Automation suite. You can use this powerful tool to capture leads for you and fully nurture them to complete a sale. If you have financial products or services for sale online, you can capture the transaction all within OAP. Highly recommended.
- CopyHackers: I love this site and gladly lap up the copywriting dirt on Joanna Wiebe’s shoes whenever I get a chance. CopyHackers is a great resource for those of us marketing financial businesses to learn about copywriting with a keen focus on the conversions. Check out my interview with Joanna earlier this year about kick-tuchus-marketing for investment advisors.
- Unbounce: No matter whether you’re beginning to market financial products and services online or you’re a pro — you still need to generate leads for your business to work. On the web, the best way to do that is through pages specifically designed to capture user information. Unbounce is an easy, DIY tool to create these pages and make them look great.
- Storify: I love this tool. It helps create visually-stimulating blog posts by organizing multimedia into a sort of storyboard. Use Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube videos to help explain a concept or create a timeline.
- Evernote: If I were stuck on a desert island with no WiFi and required to choose only one app to take with me, it would be Evernote. I use it to store everything in my life. I’ve got folders and test/audio/graphic notes on everything I’m working on. It syncs to all my computers/devices as well.
- Nimble: Nimble has been getting a lot of press recently. The Social Relationship Manager takes what CRMs do and adds the social layer in, so you can manage all you contacts, communications, activities and sales in one place.
- OnePageCRM: I’ve helped install CRMs like Saleforce.com in numerous financial businesses. While it’s really powerful, many businesses stop using it after awhile because of its complexity. OnePageCRM is just a simple-to-use, basic CRM that is so easy to use, you just end up…well, using it.
- Hootsuite: It’s a nifty dashboard tool to manage and measure your social networks. Instead of heading to Twitter.com or Facebook.com to engage, you can do it all from your Hootsuite console.
- TweetDeck: TweetDeck was so good at managing social media communications across Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn that Twitter ended up buying the thing.
- Buffer: When I’m looking to promote an article or tool I come across on the fly, I don’t head to TweetDeck or Hootsuite. You can get sucked in and lost there. I have a Buffer button installed in my browser that I press and Buffer promote the message or link out to my audience.
- Audacity: I’ve been using this free, open-source software for years to record and edit my podcast.
- Blue Yeti Mic: This is my desktop USB mic. It looks awesome (too big to shlepp) and the sound is great. All that for under $100.
- Samson Go Mic: Is that a Samson Go mic in your pocket or are you just happy to market to me? This mic records insanely well for its size. I find myself using it more and more.
- SoundCloud: While definitely not the cheapest of solutions to host audio files, SoundCloud is one of the best. I’ve had over 21,000 listens to my podcast over the past year by embedding the SoundCloud player in my website.
- UserVoice: While researching different helpdesk and customer feedback solutions, it became clear to me that UserVoice actually does both. So, I use it with clients as a channel to receive questions and help off their websites and provide self-help answers to potential leads and customers.
- Covestor: While the startup hasn’t quite hit it big yet, I still believe Covestor is a great channel for investment advisors to market through. It’s a marketplace of portfolios — mostly managed by professionals.
- Seeking Alpha: There’s no easier way for an investment pro to promote himself and his ideas than Seeking Alpha. SA now has a PRO designation where content is embargoed from the general audience and paying subscribers (hedge funds) get an early look at it. You can even get paid if you make your content exclusive to the platform.
- Google +: Lot of people not getting the whole Google + thing. I think it’s one of the most powerful social platforms and strengthening. You can run live video-chat Hangouts with your audience. You can even create groups (called Communities) to share with a closed group of people.
- WiredAdvisor: Stephanie Sammons is just so good ad what she does. Her company not only hosts social-media enabled websites for financial advisors, but she builds content marketing and user acquisition strategies for her clients. Definitely a must check out.
- Fiverr: Fiverr is a marketplace of service providers ready to build logos, do voice overs, video intros, web banners for…you guessed it: $5. I use Fiverr so much for small things around my business I think I’m addicted to it.
- Voices.com: Voices is a marketplace for voice-over talent. If you’re doing any recording or using audio of any sort in your marketing (like an intro to a radio show or audio lesson), you can find amazing value and talent on this site.
- VoiceShot: If you’re a small practice and want to up-the-ante on your professionalism, you can use VoiceShot to send recorded appointment reminders to your clients and prospects. It’s automated and a nice touch.
- Automize: This company is all about marketing automation. If you do any teleseminars and webinars, Automize can help you set them on automated replays so that you can keep marketing to prospects 24/7.
- CallLoop: This tool enables you to send SMS and voice messages to your list. Financial businesses can use it as a reminder tool for events or meetings or as part of an integrated marketing campaign.
- Linkedin: Linkedin is still just a powerful marketing, promotional, and networking tool. Groups work to cement advisors as experts in their fields and even the messaging enables businesses to get the word out to thought-leaders and prospects.
- Quora: While not as powerful as a daily/weekly promotional tool like Linkedin or Twitter, Quora is just a community of very smart people answering really important questions. Take the time to answer questions pertinent to your business and people will seek out your advice.
- Clarity: Clarity takes Quora one step further and enables users to seek out experts in their fields and then connect with them over the phone for short consulting work. This could be a powerful referral engine in the future for financial businesses.
- Visual Website Optimizer: If you are numbers driven in your investing, you should also be similarly conscience of metrics in your marketing. Visual Website Optimizer allows non-programmers to install a small piece of code so you can test different colors, arrangements, and wording on your website to see which converts the best.
- UserTesting: Ever wonder how people use your website? What they like and what they found confusing? Instead of hiring focus groups, you can use UserTesting to have targeted users record themselves using your websites and provide you feedback.
- EventBrite: Readers know I really like this tool when it comes to ticketing/RSVP’ing for virtual and real world events. Here’s a list of 22 tools to help your seminars convert more clients (hint: EventBrite is one of them).
- Wistia: YouTube is great for hosting your videos but if you’re using video to marketing your practice or firm, Wistia is the platform. It provides deep analytics to help you understand what’s working…and what’s not.
What tools do you use? What do you recommend? Let me know in the comments.