Archive | Misc. Marketing

I don’t want to be a Secret Agent

A little over a year ago, in June of 2015, my wife and I moved from our small town home in the mountains of Idaho, to the Las Vegas area.

We knew it would be a big adjustment – moving to a big city, desert climate, and away from our friends and family, however, I didn’t realize the impact it would have on my business.

Secret Agents

Our move to Las Vegas was percipitated by an offer to join a Property Management/Real Estate team here – my wife would become a full-time member of the team (she had always been interested in Real Estate), while I continued my business part-time, and provided marketing services for the team. In time, we would take over ownership of the business and pay the current owner a “retirement annuity” – seemed like a win-win situation.

My Business

Until moving to Las Vegas, my full-time job was online marketing through Advisor Web Marketing – I worked with financial advisors, and specialized in Search Engine Optimization. To help with “Brand Awareness” and to provide an outlet for my SEO interests,  I created this blog.

While on the surface things seemed to be going well with business this past year – new AWM clients, hired as a writer by Search Engine Journal, invited to speak at NAPFA, then FinCon, and XY Planning Network (all long-time goals of mine), it was a very challenging year.

I found it very difficult to manage a business “part-time”, while trying to learn and grow another business. I like to be very focused and engaged in my work, but found I was being stretched between them, not giving either the attention I wanted, or that was required. I was blogging far less frequently than either deserved or needed, and was generally not feeling good about either business.

and then . . .

Have you heard the two cliched warnings: “Don’t go into business with family”, and “Get it in writing”? Yeah – so had we, yet we foolishly (and regretfully) ignored both.

We quickly realized that things here were not as we expected they would be in Las Vegas, and were miserable. We tried to continue to negotiate changes, and to get them in writing, but by that time, had lost all leverage – we were already moved, and now were dependent on the owner for our livleyhood. Finally, in May of 2016, less than a year after our move, we quit.

Now What?

Although we didn’t know how all of the peices would fit together, Katie and I quickly moved our real estate licenses over to Keller Williams and dived into trying to make real estate work.

At a minimum, I would market for her as she worked to build up a real estate business, while I continued to work with Advisors. Another option would be for us to both jump into real estate full-time. There were pros and cons with each choice and I agonized (dramatic but true : ) over them – changing my mind and direction almost dailey. What would be best for me, my wife, our future life vs getting through now? If I went into real estate, what about all of the time I’ve spent creating a business, and my goals to continue speaking and writing about marketing?

The Decision

Finally, after 3 months of indecision, I/we have a plan. : )

I am a REALTOR® with Keller Williams of Southern Nevada.

Advisor Web Marketing: I will continue to work with a small number of advisors, but the big news at AWM is that I’m going to be creating an DIY SEO course for advisors. I’m hoping to have it ready by the time I go to FinCon in Septemeber, and will use that site as a platform for continued education and to sell the courses.

Brent Carnduff Blog: For most of the decision making process, I assumed that this blog would be shut down (as you may have noticed, I have not been writing/publishing here as of late). However, finally, with the help of some friends, decided how I could continue to use this blog. My plan is to continue to write about SEO and digital marketing, but from the real estate perspective.

While there are numerous 3rd party marketing support platforms in real estate, and most agents have a website and Facebook page, very few are effective at online marketing – most do not even try. The industry is still strongly based in traditional prospecting – cold calling and door knocking – as the best way to build a business. My hope is to change that, or at least offer a viable alternative to those that are not comfortable with traditional prospecting.

There . . . I’ve done it! I’m no longer a secret agent (worst thing for a real estate agent). Hope you’ll join me on my adventures in marketing and building a real estate team.

Thanks for reading.

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Diversify Your Client Base with SEO for Financial Advisors [WEBINAR with SEMrush]

Are you working with, or considering working with, anyone in the financial planning industry?

As you may already know, the financial industry is heavily regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Although these regulations have been adapted in recent years to account for the changes brought about by social media and internet marketing, they still restrict some marketing activities, making marketing for Financial Advisors a unique challenge.

In this Webinar, geared towards marketers rather than Financial Advisors, I’ll share some of what I’ve learned in working with Financial Advisors for the past 5 years. Hope you can join me!

Date: Thursday, May 14thsemrush-logo-website-320x175
Time: 10am (MST)
Where: SEMrush
Cost: FREE

REGISTER NOW!

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Should You Offer Financial Calculators on Your Financial Planning Website?

Financial CalculatorsThe addition of Financial Calculators to an advisor’s website is a common consideration during the design process. The tools are well known, readily available, and are a regular offering on many finance related websites. The downside – professional calculators can be an expensive add on. Are they worth it?

Case Study

A client recently asked that same question. He was paying high annual fees for a very nice set of 10 financial calculators for his website. It was time to renew and he wanted to know if, from a business/marketing perspective, they were worth the extra cost?

His firm is in the highly competitive southern California market and his website gets an average amount of web traffic for a small, independent planning business.

The Data

In determining the specific answer for this client, we evaluated the search market for financial calculators, his search competition, and reviewed his traffic patterns for the past year.

1. Is there consumer interest in financial calculators?

A search on Google’s Keyword Planner tool showed a healthy search volume for Calculators both nationally and locally.

Financial Calculator searches

2. Search Results: Who is the competition for search traffic?

A non-branded, non-location specific search for “Retirement Calculator” brings up the following listings:

  1. CNN Money
  2. Bloomberg
  3. Charles Schwab
  4. Bankrate.com
  5. Vanguard
  6. AARP
  7. FINRA
  8. CalcXML
  9. U.S. News & World Report
  10. T. RowePrice

. . . pretty stiff competition.

3. Historical Results: Client specific data from Google Analytics for the past year.

Looking through Google Analytics, I found the following data related to their calculator pages for the past year:

  • they were viewed a total of 55 times by 47 unique visitors – less than 1% of all visitors went to any of the 10 available calculators
  • the calculators were entry pages, meaning visitors found the website because of the calculators, only 5 times
  • the average time on a calculator page was 2.57 minutes

Recommendations

This case study is obviously far from an empirical study on calculator use on Financial Advisor websites, however it did provide information that can be applied to other advisors.

  1. Know your reason for offering calculators. Don’t expect it to increase your search traffic. The chances of out-ranking one of the national companies that are showing up in the search results is almost zero.
  2. Few visitors used this client’s calculators. Although, this might not be the case for your calculators should you choose to offer them, be sure to follow up by checking your Google Analytics data to be sure.
  3. Look for less expensive calculators. If they don’t offer a huge return, don’t invest as much in them.

Although I don’t see specific disadvantages (besides cost) to offering calculators, definitely consider your budget and goals when contemplating adding them to your website. If you are on a limited budget, it may not be the most cost effective use of your marketing dollars.

I am currently looking into more cost effective calculators for WordPress websites. I hope to be able to offer a review article on my findings soon.

What has your experience with Calculators on your website been. Have you seen a lot of use? Gained or maintained clients because of them?

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