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girl on video using camera on tripod to build her digital marketing strategy

Are you a business owner? If the answer is yes, please tell us you’re incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy… If you’re not, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. 

Why? Because video is crucial to showcasing your brand and ultimately, getting more clients. And what business owner doesn’t want more clients? After you’re done with this article, circle back to find out how to attract the right clients.

But for now, we’ve got Andrew Marr, Owner and CEO of Digital Storyteller on camera to discuss the importance of using video in your digital marketing strategy.

Let’s hear what this ranting Scot has to say.

Why is Video Important to My Digital Marketing Strategy?

So, why is video important? At Digital Storyteller, we love our metrics and statistics. (Our awesome SEO manager, Devin Aubert, however, is on another level when it comes to statistics love!)

This considered, we thought we’d demonstrate the importance and popularity of video with some stats from Techjury. Let’s take a look at the booming industry. Did you know…

  • “Video is the number 1 source of information for 66% of people.
  • Over 500 million people watch Facebook videos every day.
  • More than 75% of all video views come from mobile devices.
  • The global video market was valued at $39.61 billion in 2018…” (Imagine where it’s at now!?)
  • “YouTubers upload 300 hours of video content to the platform every minute.
  • 93% of businesses gain new customers as a result of branded video content.”

The point is so many individuals watch videos nowadays.

In fact, our owner and CEO Andrew admits to watching at least 50 to 100 short videos a day through Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Hey, it’s where his enjoyment sits!

But it’s not just cute puppy videos that grab his attention, Andrew reminds us.

“I learn from video. Most clients in the financial services world, the clients that we work with, have a hard time with video, and understandably so…”

Why? Truth is, it’s hard to sit in front of the camera and talk, especially about ourselves!

Today, Andrew says, your digital marketing strategy must include not only long-form blogs, newsletters, white papers, etc. but also videos. Why? If not, you’re missing out on a huge group of viewers, and therefore, prospects.

How Can I Get Started?

So, if you’re a business owner, you might be wondering… “How do I get started with this video stuff?”

Don’t worry, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

All you need in terms of video length is 30 seconds to a minute.

“But what do I talk about?!” Don’t worry—Think about the questions you receive over and over as a business owner.

For Andrew, these questions include the following:

  • Why should I outsource my marketing?
  • How long does it take to see an ROI when it comes to organic marketing?
  • Why does Digital Storyteller specialize in financial services?
  • How much does your marketing cost?
  • What is organic content marketing?

So, think: What are the five main recurring questions you get? Then, sit down and answer those questions.

Make your videos short and to the point.

If you’re not answering a question that you frequently get from clients, consider telling a story instead. You can tell a story about…

  • How your business helped a client
  • Someone on your team

You can even ask a client to record a video testimonial for you if you’re not quite ready to jump in front of the camera yourself! Here’s how to ask for a client testimonial.

Still Not Convinced?

Video is social media’s favorite form of content right now. By using video, you will increase your traffic, up your engagement, AND people will simply get to know you better by seeing your face, hearing you talk, and getting to know your personality!

Read on for more information about boosting your engagement via video in our article “Want to Connect with Your Prospects? Use Video.

How to Record a Great Video

Need more guidance? Not sure what to wear in the video? Or, how to position your camera? Read our article “How to Record a Great Zoom Testimonial” for all the answers you seek.

PS: These tips apply just as well to non-Zoom video recordings! Happy recording!

client testimonial

Frequently, our clients ask us, “Should I ask for testimonials?” or, “Do people even read testimonials?” and, “Should we do video testimonials?”

The short answer to all of these questions is… YES!

The bottom line is that we receive a lot of questions around the idea of other people (past or current clients!) talking about what you do as a business and how you help people.

So, how do you request a client testimonial? Listen to our CEO, Andrew Marr, speak more about how to ask for a video testimonial.

Why Are Testimonials Important? 

Don’t lie, you’ve spent time on Yelp or scoured Google reviews… The truth is, as we all know it, a review can make or break someone’s decision to partner with your business.

Use this fact to your advantage. This means you should showcase clients you’ve helped and those you’ve created great partnerships with (because your business is awesome!)

Collecting and displaying testimonials for the world to see helps prospects know how great it is to work with you. After all, Boast found that 72% of consumers say positive testimonials help increase their trust in a business.

Testimonials are powerful, and video testimonials are especially imperative to tell the story of how you helped people.

Many of us grew up in a culture of not asking for help and not talking about ourselves. Video testimonials, however, go against the grain.

When you ask a client to contribute a testimonial for your business, what you’re essentially asking is, “Please, will you talk about us? Will you talk about how we helped you?”

(Hint: These questions are super consequential to those reading—or watching—your testimonial!)

Different questions you can ask your clients to help guide the testimonial are:

  • How did we solve a problem for you?
  • How did we help you save money?  
  • What was working with us like?
  • Why do you like working with us?
  • How can others benefit from partnering with us?

If you ask your client for a video testimonial, remind them that it doesn’t need to be very long at all. Ideally, the video should be very short, 30 seconds to one minute. Keep it straight to the point.

The clients might need some coaching, but it’s very easily done.

Lucky for you, we have an entire article that you can send to your clients to prep them titled, “How to Record a Great Zoom Testimonial.” Check it out!

Once you have the video, put it everywhere. We recommend testimonials live on your website, in blog posts, on LinkedIn, and more. Tell the world how you help people. Hell, shout it from the rooftops!

We’re sure that the clients that you did help will be more than happy to do this for you. 

The Right Way to Ask for Client Testimonials

Don’t make things complicated. It’s just five simple steps.

  1. You have to ask for a testimonial to get one. Think about it… When was the last time you gave a testimonial unprompted? You can ask clients whom you’ve partnered with for years, a new client who is excited to partner with you, the list goes on!
  1. Create an easy form fill for your clients to fill out their experience with you. Strike while the iron’s hot and ask for the testimonial during or right after the conclusion of your partnership (these days you can also ask for a testimonial through a short text message).
  1. Offer an incentive. Think outside of the box of gifts! An incentive can be more brand recognition on your website.
  1. Post the testimonial (with a nice headshot) on your website. 
  1. Check out our testimonials page on our website for more inspiration. 
How to attract the right client

So, you’re a business owner looking to get more clients? (Trust us, you’re not the only one!)

Every business owner ever:

But hold on – before you go all Heidi Klum on us and start looking to get MORE clients… Have you taken a minute to consider how to attract the right clients? Yes, the right clients. After all, you don’t want to be marketing your products and/or services to every person you walk by…

Not sure where to start? Lucky for you, we’ve got Andrew Marr, CEO and Owner of Digital Storyteller on camera to chat about how to attract the right clients.

Let’s see what he has to say.

Who is Your Ideal Client?

Clients, for any business owner, are obviously extremely important. Without clients, you’d have no business! (But you already knew that).

This considered, building a successful business and getting more clients is most likely one of your primary goals as a business owner.

Before we jump the gun and talk about getting more clients, however, it’s important to first discuss who the right clients are for you. How can you attract the right clients to your business?

Identifying the Perfect Client

The question isn’t, “Do you want more clients?” Of course, you do! The number one thing is, have you identified your perfect client?

Then, after you’ve identified your ideal client, think: Are you willing to create strategies around that particular client?

Our Perfect Client at Digital Storyteller

At Digital Storyteller, we focus on marketing for financial services companies. The realm of financial services ranges from commercial insurance to wealth advisories, commercial real estate firms, the list goes on.

While we love whisky, chardonnay, puppies, and tacos, we don’t market for companies that have anything to do with these elements. Why not? Because we’ve identified our perfect client (financial services clients) and unfortunately, whisky, chardonnay, puppies, and tacos have nothing to do with this industry (a little sad, right?)

We know it’s difficult not to accept whatever business walks through the door. It’s important, however, to hone in on who your ideal client is and not accept anyone else apart from this target audience.

So, to attract more clients, you have to first, figure out who your perfect client is. Put your energy and resources into that.

Interested in meeting one of our ideal clients? Check out this spotlight we did on our client Frank Crivello, founder and CEO of SBMA Benefits.

Woman conducting a work meeting

At Digital Storyteller, we market for financial services companies. This can encompass a lot of different types of businesses that offer different products or services. Think law firms, HR consultants, commercial real estate firms, wealth advisories, commercial insurance, and more.

We know, a little bit random… but we love it! Read on to hear more about why we chose marketing for financial services (hint: this industry is wildly underserved).

Working in the financial services industry means helping our clients might look a bit different from your typical B2C marketing agency. So, how do we help our clients?

Today, we’ve got Andrew Marr, CEO and Owner of Digital Storyteller answering that very question. It’s your lucky day.

But what is the main goal of a digital marketing agency? We’re going to hand things off to Andrew.

What is the Main Goal of a Digital Marketing Agency?

There’s one major goal, and it’s simple. That is to shorten the sales cycles of our clients.

What is a Sales Cycle?

A sales cycle is defined as “the repeatable and tactical process salespeople follow to turn a lead into a customer.”

This includes everything from the first encounter a client has with your business (whether it be through seeing your posts on social media or through receiving an email) to closing the deal and follow-ups.

sales cycle seven steps
A great illustration demonstrating sales cycles, courtesy of Snov.io.

How Do We Help Our Clients Shorten Sales Cycles?

Well, there are a lot of things we do to achieve a shorter sales process at Digital Storyteller. This might look like:

As you can see, there are a lot of different branches that come off of that tree.

The number one goal, however, for any marketing agency, is to use their toolkit to shorten sales cycles for their clients.

Want to hear some more of this Scottish lad ranting? Visit this page on our site that’s decked out, head to toe, with Andrew reviewing chardonnay. (We know, it’s kind of ridiculous—but we promise it’s entertaining!)

Marketing for Financial Services Companies

“At Digital Storyteller, we focus exclusively on [marketing for] financial services companies in the B to B space.”

Above is the text you’re faced with when you first visit DigitalStoryteller.io. Some of you might be thinking, “Great!… But what the heck is a financial services company?”

Most marketing agencies work with brands (think: restaurants, fitness centers, influencers, beauty companies, the list goes on). At Digital Storyteller, we’re a bit different… Here’s why.

Why Do We Focus on the Financial Services Industry?

So, why do we focus on financial services at Digital Storyteller? Well, aside from the fact that our team thinks financial services are wildly sexy (kidding… kind of?), we recognized a need and a gap in industry offerings.

But first, before we go into more detail, what is the financial services industry?

What the Heck is Financial Services?

We’re glad you asked.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the financial services sector “covers many different types of transactions in such areas as real estate, consumer finance, banking, and insurance.”

At Digital Storyteller, we have clients ranging from law firms to HR consulting firms, commercial real estate firms to wealth advisories, and commercial insurance. (Geez, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?)

Anyway, when we say financial services, that’s really the realm we’re talking about.

Marketing for Financial Services Companies

So, back to why we market for financial services, at Digital Storyteller, we feel like that level of business, and that community of businesses, are underserved from a marketing perspective.

There are plenty of agencies out there who spend their time on biotech, startups, and influencer marketing—but not a lot who spend their time with financial services.

A Quick Aside

How did all of this come to be? In 1997, Amanda Rogers, Chief Creative Officer and Founder of Digital Storyteller taught herself how to code from a book when the actors union was on strike. 

She taught herself to write HTML, CSS, and Javascript before WordPress, Squarespace, and WIX existed. Although Amanda believes a lot has changed in the “how” of creating online presences for people and their businesses, the why is still the same… Tell the world what you do better than anyone else and the right people will be able to find you.

Why is Marketing Important for Financial Services Specifically

The financial services industry is a competitive and unique industry to market for. We know that those in the financial services industry navigate the difficult terrain of regulatory and compliance hurdles while seeking to successfully market their products and services.

Moreover, when it comes to financial services, you must build trust and authority through consistent content that is:

  • Reliable
  • Informational
  • Educational
  • Engaging

This considered—its difficulty—it’s essential that financial services companies seek out the right marketing for their businesses. Interested in learning more? Read on in the importance of digital marketing for financial services companies.

Storytelling

It would feel morally wrong to write an article about storytelling and not tell you how our company came to be… Digital Storyteller starts with our Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Amanda Rogers.

In 1997, when the actors union was on strike, Amanda taught herself how to code from a book. (Yes, these were the days before WordPress, Squarespace, and WIX—scary times…)

Anyway, Amanda’s martial arts teacher was an 8th degree blackbelt teaching amazing Tang Soo Do in New York City—and had only five students. Amanda knew he needed a website—so she taught herself to write HTML, CSS, and Javascript to try to help him build a studio.

A year later when Amanda moved to Los Angeles, the studio was thriving. In fact, 80% of the students came to him through the website. She was hooked.

After a few twists and turns, Digital Storyteller was born—an organic digital marketing agency in Encinitas, California.

Today, the team has grown from one to nearly 15. On our team, we’ve got content specialists, social media experts, a client success manager, SEO team, as well as a website and graphic design team to continue what Amanda started.

That’s our story.
If you haven’t already recognized the importance of storytelling within a business, we’ll continue on for you. Better yet, we snagged the CEO and Owner of Digital Storyteller to chat about storytelling on camera, Andrew Marr.

What is Storytelling? 

At its core, storytelling is (you guessed it!) about telling stories. Yoast tells us that storytelling is “about using stories to engage your audience, or to make something more clear.”

As humans, we’re wired for story. From each of our early days, it’s likely we recall our parents and the people around us sharing and telling stories. We love to read books and see movies and musicals—why? Because people are addicted to stories.

But what does storytelling look like when it comes to marketing for your business? When it comes to marketing for financial services companies, we see storytelling as making what you do and the services you provide:

  • Relatable 
  • Easy to understand by your audience

Why is Storytelling Important in Marketing?

Storytelling builds trust. Here are some of the stories you can share in your marketing strategy as well as how you can share them:

  • Share your stories on your website
  • Share your origin story
  • Share how you’ve grown
  • Share the challenges your business has faced (How did you overcome these challenges? Did any positives come out?)
  • Share how you help your clients (A lot of companies don’t share how they help their clients. Come on, boast a little!)

As the old adage goes, sharing is caring… Communicating your story with your audience.

A Word of Advice from Our CEO and Owner

So, how important is it to share your company story with your digital followers? (i.e. prospects, people in similar industries, current clients, etc.)

According to Andrew, it’s extremely important if you want to build trust and if you want to build a following. We believe in the power of storytelling. In fact, we start all of our partnerships with a Brand Storytelling Session.

Picture this: You go onto a website. For ease, let’s say it’s a digital marketing agency. You’re looking at their services, considering partnering with this company but you don’t find anything about their story.

There’s nothing about their employees or how the company came to be. Does that make you want to partner with that company even more? No, of course it doesn’t. That’s not the way things go.

For those who feel like it’s weird to talk about yourself or what you bring to the table as a business, for fear of coming off as arrogant or boastful, think about it… It’s your website. That’s kind of the point! 

Let go of the taboo you were taught in grade school, that it’s bad to talk about yourself.

In business, it’s important that you share your success stories and tell people how you help them.

Lastly, share your company culture. People want to know what it’s like to work with you. People wanna know if your employees are happy. Are they going to do a great job for them if they decide to partner with you? Share stories, story after story.

Interested in learning how to build more trust with your prospects and clients? Check out this article on how pricing transparency builds trust.

Pricing Transparency

Imagine this: You’re on a family trip, searching for a restaurant to grab dinner. You find a restaurant on Yelp that looks great and go to scan their menu… There are no prices listed anywhere.

Chances are, this restaurant will lose your business immediately.

Let’s talk about pricing transparency. Better yet, Andrew Marr, CEO and Owner of Digital Storyteller is here to answer the question: What are the benefits of pricing transparency?

Let’s see what he has to say in the video below.

Why is Talking About Pricing Awkward?!

So, as a business owner, the question about pricing always comes up. There’s no way around it.

We recognize, however, that there are many reasons why you might be scared to openly talk about your pricing. These fears could range from thinking:

  • Your services are overpriced
  • You’re not qualified or experienced enough to be charging your rates (Helloooo, imposter syndrome!)
  • That you don’t want to face rejection (or acceptance…)
  • That your prospect will raise an objection about your pricing
  • It’s “mean” or you “feel badly” to charge a fair price

Or, you could just be plain shy! Or, you might have grown up with the idea that talking about money is taboo.

Regardless of what your fears are, as a business owner, you need to be willing to discuss your pricing—out in the open.

Our philosophy here at Digital Storyteller is to tell your prospects and/or your clients how much you charge. The fact of the matter is that they’re going to find out anyway.

Not convinced yet? Below, let’s discuss the main benefit of pricing transparency.

Pricing Transparency Leads to Trust

There are many benefits to being open about the pricing of your products and/or services.

Think back to our family trip dinner scenario… You can’t find any prices listed on their site or Yelp.

Chances are, within the course of a couple of minutes, this restaurant will have lost the potential for your business. The same rings true with your business if you fail to disclose your pricing.

Did you know that when a business voluntarily discloses its costs—regardless of what they might be—the prospect is more attracted to the brand?

Why? Because pricing transparency builds trust.

Try Your Best

Now’s the time to ask yourself: How transparent is my business? Be honest. If you were a prospect in your target demographic, who stumbled onto your site, would you be happy with the level of transparency there is (or lack of)? Or, as a result, would you start to look elsewhere for your product or service?

Did you know that, according to a recent survey, 86% of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) felt that a clear statement of pricing or costs was very or extremely important? Moreover, 38% of SMBs felt it difficult to build trust without pricing transparency.

We know, it’s not always possible to give a flat-out number as far as your services go. There’s a lot that can factor into what you charge.

At the very least, however, provide a range. Create articles and landing pages that explain to your prospects, “Even though we can’t give you an exact number, these are the factors that go into what we charge for our services. Here’s what XYZ clients typically pay for XYZ services.”

So, be transparent, it builds trust.

Our Pricing at Digital Storyteller

At Digital Storyteller, aside from our homepage, guess what page on our site is most visited? You guessed it—OUR PRICING PAGE! (See, analytical proof that people admire pricing transparency).

Again, in an effort to practice what we preach, here’s a breakdown of our prices for both ongoing content and website builds.

Speaking of including pricing on your website, interested in learning more about the qualities of a good site? Read on to learn how often you should redesign your website (and why…)

Why is Organic Marketing Great for Financial Services Companies?

When you think of ‘marketing,’ what do you think of?

Chances are the first place your head goes is to advertising—billboards, television commercials, magazines, Instagram ads, the list goes on.

We don’t blame you! We are bombarded by ads every day. In fact, did you know research shows every day the average person encounters between 6,000 to 10,000 ads? This is a massive jump, considering that back in the 70s, “it was reported that the average person saw between 500 to 1600 ads per day.”

But remember, advertising is just a small piece of the marketing pie. Although paid ads have their time and place there’s a better way to market yourself. (Psst… It’s called organic marketing).

Amanda Rogers, Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Digital Storyteller, talks about why organic marketing is great for financial services companies (and all companies for that matter!)

Let’s get into it.

The Mistake Many Business Owners Make

If you’re in the business-to-business (B2B) space and are trying to get more clients under your belt (as one does!), your thought process about doing so might go something like this:

  • “I’m going to put out some ads and tell people what I do.
  • Then, they’ll come to my website.
  • Then they’ll give me a call.
  • And BOOM! I’ll get clients.”

Sigh… if only it were that simple! In today’s world, paid advertising alone is not enough to attract the right clients. So, what else do you need in addition to occasional paid advertisements? Enter, organic marketing.

Paid vs. Organic Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Let’s make this simple.

Ads are about building awareness; organic content is about building trust. While different, BOTH are important to building a successful digital marketing strategy for your business.

As Amanda shares, there are often situations in which the two overlap even. “There are elements of organic content that also build awareness.” For example, integrating boosted posts into your organic social media strategy.

What Does Organic Marketing Actually Do?

Most importantly, you need to know the primary benefit of organic marketing: building trust. Organic marketing might include email marketing, a thought-out video strategy, blog content, etc.

The greatest benefit of all of these things, however, is that organic marketing increases the feeling that people have of knowing and trusting your brand.

Don’t get us wrong, there are certainly strong benefits of paid ads (which you can read more about here) but it shouldn’t be the only marketing effort your business is focused on.

However, as Amanda puts it, “If and when you do decide to do ads, [if] you’ve been doing a strong organic digital marketing push,” the benefit will be much greater.

  • Your domain authority will be higher
  • Your ads will show up in the top three search results
  • And most importantly, your ads will be supported by showing up on that first page of Google with an organic result

“This reinforces in the viewer’s mind, not only do I see their ad, but I also see that they are legitimately what I’m looking for,” says Amanda.

And the best part of all? If you’re paying less for ads, you have more money left over that you can spend on wine! What better motivation is that?

So, are you ready to save money on ads so you can spend it on wine? Us too. At Digital Storyteller, we specialize in organic marketing for financial services companies. If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency that will grow your business better than just pushing paid ads, contact our team today.

Marketing Budget

How Much Should You Allocate?

What if we told you that you can have your cake and eat it, too? Well, today’s your lucky day—because you can! While the world might tell you that you need to pay an arm and a leg for good marketing, at Digital Storyteller we say no thanks! Here’s how much you should really allocate to your digital marketing budget.

The Average Marketing Budget 

At this point, you might be asking yourself, “What’s considered a ‘good’ marketing budget?” or “What percentage of my profits should I allocate to marketing?”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), “small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing.”

However, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to digital marketing budgets. Allocation depends on several factors according to the SBA:

  • The industry you’re in
  • Business size
  • Growth stage
  • Profit margins

Most importantly, however, your marketing budget should never be an afterthought, “based on just what’s left over once all your other business expenses are covered.”

Setting Your Marketing Budget

Crafting your marketing budget no longer requires the guesswork it used to. Here are six steps you can take, thanks to OutboundEngine, to set a successful marketing budget for your small business.

  • Step One: Identify where you are in your business journey
  • Step Two: Outline your sales funnel
  • Step Three: List operational costs

(Psst! At this point, you should know how much money is coming in and how much money is being expensed, which is a huge help).

  • Step Four: Set goals
  • Step Five: Identify competition in your industry
  • Step Six: Craft your marketing plan using all your research!

Something to remember: Don’t cling to your plan year-round! It will (hopefully!) change annually and could also be susceptible to change if something shifts in the market or if you launch a new product or service!

You’re Wasting Money on Facebook Ads…

At Digital Storyteller, we will not deny that having a marketing budget is important. It is, of course! But frankly, we’re just seeing too many companies spend ridiculous amounts of money on paid advertising, like Facebook ads.

In fact, did you know that companies spend an average of $200 to $800 on Facebook ads per month? An enterprise, however, may invest up to $5,000 per month on Facebook ads… Holy moly is all we can say!

And this is just on Facebook ads alone. One singular platform. For many companies, if not all, Facebook ads alone cannot carry your business and the success of your digital marketing strategy. (Sorry not sorry, Zuckerberg!)

For companies to succeed, it’s typical to expect both a blend of paid and organic initiatives in the marketing melting pot.

The Affordability of Outsourced Marketing

At Digital Storyteller, we believe that fragmented marketing wastes money and time and reduces impact. We also believe that you should be able to have your cake and eat it, too. Hell, you can go on vacation and still afford quality, effective marketing! 

(We should know since we market for ourselves the way we would any other client AND *cough cough* our owners just spent two weeks at the five-star Chileno Bay Resort in Cabo San Lucas—woot woot!)

At Digital Storyteller, we strive to be transparent, and we don’t think pricing should be a secret. This is why all of our pricing is broken down in full on our website for you to see.

For those in a pinch, here’s what we offer:

Our STARTER tier, priced at $3,000 a month, is perfect for the small business owner who needs marketing support to maintain or build an online presence.

Our most popular package, titled GROWTH, is priced at $5,000 a month and includes content creation, a social media strategy to align online presence with your current business identity, as well as sales enablement workflow assistance.

Lastly, our ENTERPRISE tier is for companies whose growth has outpaced their marketing. We are your outsourced marketing department focused on building your business with you. The enterprise package is priced at $8,000 a month.

We also offer a ​​stand-alone website design product starting at $8,500.

From SEO analysis to organic content creation, from sales enablement workflow creation in Hubspot to online reputation management and social media, we do it all at a fraction of the cost that hiring marketing in-house would be.If you couldn’t already tell, organic content marketing saves you money. In fact, content marketing is 62% less expensive than paid marketing and three times more effective. So, what are you waiting for!? For more on why digital marketing is important for your financial services company, read on.

Digital Storyteller Team Photo

​​Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!

When it comes to digital marketing for financial services companies, many professionals believe they live in a very transactional world. These financial professionals, however, are under the wrong impression.

Most modern consumers today are looking for more than just a transactional service.

The financial services industry is a competitive and unique industry to market for. We know that those in the financial services industry navigate the difficult terrain of regulatory and compliance hurdles while seeking to successfully market their products and services.

So, here are a few insights into the importance of digital marketing for financial services companies, and why you should be marketing your financial services business right now.

It’s Time to Get Real

Let’s be honest. Financial services aren’t always the sexiest arena to market.

How do you make commercial insurance appealing? What about wealth management? While challenging, it’s not impossible.

Learning how to market in the financial industry can be tricky, but before you market to your client, try BEING the client/prospect…

For example, if you were a prospective client visiting your site, Instagram, or other social channels, what would catch your eye off the bat? Would you be intrigued? More importantly, what would turn you off? Approach this exercise as if you’re a recruiter, looking for any reason to say NO about your own business.

This observation will help you look at your current strategy and identify its effectiveness. Be honest! By doing so, you will be able to understand the big picture of what your clients require to be loyal.

Effective digital marketing in the financial services industry is important as it ensures you not only attract new clients but also retain existing ones.

Digital Marketing

Build the Relationship

This step is arguably the most important. Oftentimes, people think of gaining clients as very transactional. This, however, is where businesses go wrong.

When it comes to digital marketing, your goal in the financial services industry is to build trust and a connection. Your objective is to establish a loyal client base.

Let’s consider banks for example. Unfortunately, according to research, “92 percent of millennials don’t trust banks.” Constant stories in the news of “data breaches, various crises, and financial institutions misdeeds” fuel the fire of distrust. Yeesh!

But of course, people, and millennials especially, only want to do business with financial companies they trust. And how could you blame them?

Financial institutions need to create trust with their consumers arguably more than any other institution. You are, after all, handling people’s money on some level.

It’s difficult to approach a consumer as a stranger and gain their trust. Here are some ways you might build trust with your clients  and prospects:

  • Establish and showcase your strong company culture
  • Gather positive reviews and referrals from your existing client base
  • Promote values that speak to your target demographic
  • Solidify your digital presence
  • Improve your online user experience (UX)
  • Customer personalization
  • Consistent email marketing

The bottom line is that there needs to be a relationship between you and your client—an understanding of your clients’ needs before your market to them. Then, use your insights to inform your marketing material.

Embrace Social Media

Who runs the world? Social media!

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter… These platforms are no longer just used for sharing photos with your friends. Companies are—and are expected to be—active on all social platforms today.

Social media is a great way to create strong brand awareness while connecting with current and potential clients.

Keep in mind that millennials and Generation Z (Gen Z) are becoming a larger portion of the population. They, as a whole, use social media more than older generations.

Capitalizing on cultivating a social media presence that targets younger generations will aid in negating the hesitations they feel about banks (and other financial institutions!)

Additionally, social media is a place where you can share the story of your brand. It can, and should be, a fun place! You could:

  • Post user-generated content (UGC) from your consumers and followers
  • Utilize the ever-growing reels feature!
  • Share behind-the-scenes photos and video
  • Repurpose already existing content for social
  • Follow trends or start your own using hashtags
  • Post video testimonials
  • And more!

Trust us, your prospects are looking at your social channels, or lack thereof, waaaaayyy before they even decide to get in touch with you. Don’t rule yourself out as an option because of your limited social presence.

Read on to find out what social media platforms your business should be on.

Leverage Technology

Traditional marketing is outdated and just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Artificial intelligence (AI), intuitive customer relationship management systems (CRMs), analytics, email automation, chatbots… Technology is evolving more than ever before these days!

Financial service companies cannot afford to fall behind.

At Digital Storyteller, however, we recognize that you can’t just dive headfirst into the world of technology today. You must craft a clear strategy before adopting these new technologies.

An additional note: Your mobile site needs to mirror these wicked fast technological changes! This means it needs to be SEO optimized with a speedy loading time.

Did you know that if your site doesn’t load within three seconds, it’s likely your user will return to their search engine to find their information elsewhere? Yikes!

Content Marketing is King

If you haven’t heard of the importance of content marketing, at least you know you’re in the right place! Earlier on, we talked about how 92% of millennials don’t trust banks, and this statistic extends beyond banks to many other financial institutions.

Content marketing is a great way to regain trust. Research shows that by educating customers, you gain client loyalty.

But what is content marketing? An effective content marketing strategy provides value to prospective customers through an assortment of “relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media,” either shared or created, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

If you’re an expert, then act like it! We understand that discussing financial information with businesses can be difficult, as these topics are typically kept private. As a company, however, you must gain your clients’ trust before you offer them a service.

Show them that you are an expert in your field!

Read on to learn how long it takes for content marketing to work.

Show Them How It’s Done

People know that managing their finances will lead to their success, whether as an individual or a business—but very few know how to do it. Learn the language of your prospects and use that in your advertising to them.

As experts in the financial world, share your information and educate your clients to help them understand what they need to do to succeed.

Bring in the Marketing Experts

When you partner with a financial services marketing agency, like us, you don’t have to rely on what limited internal resources you might have access to.

At Digital Storyteller, we have the team and tools to boost site traffic for your financial services business using a variety of digital marketing strategies.Need help crafting an effective marketing plan for your financial services company? Contact Digital Storyteller today to learn more!

Outsourced VS In-House Marketing: What's Best For Your Business?

So you’re wondering what type of marketing you should implement for your business? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
The two biggest types of marketing are outsourced and in-house. Both want to promote your business to the best of their ability, but they have a few big differences. Learn more about the differences between outsourced and in-house marketing below!

Save Money on Ads (So You Can Spend It on Wine)

When you think of marketing, what do you think of? For many, it’ll include billboards, that one realtor’s face on a bus stop, or the not-so random ads when you’re scrolling through Instagram.
It’s actually much more than that. Yes, paid ads have their time and place to increase your exposure, but let’s let you in on a little secret: there’s a better way to market yourself, and it’s not by relying on ads.
I know, shocking. 

person on iPhone visiting Instagram for financial services company

Financial Services Edition

As a B2B financial services company, you may be questioning whether having a social media presence matters for your marketing strategy. We’ll keep it pretty simple for you: It does.

Social media has become a critical part of any marketing strategy. Whether it be organic or paid, B2B or B2C, and so on, social media marketing plays an important role in strategizing for any business.

That being said, social media is constantly evolving and changing. While platforms are updated to best serve their users, it can make it complicated and challenging for marketers to keep up with. Luckily, we’re here to help.

One of the questions we get asked most commonly by new clients is, “Which social platforms should we be on?” Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, the list goes on!

Deciding which platforms work best for your business is important to ensure that you delegate your time and resources towards a strategy that’s going to move the needle for your brand.

Here are the top four social media platforms that we believe all financial service companies should be on.

Facebook 

Often known as the “original” social media platform, Facebook has begun to drop slightly in usage and engagement. While this is the case overall, it still plays an important role and holds unique value in the world of social and business.

Facebook is approaching its 20th anniversary following its creation in February 2004.

Pay-to-Play Platform

In recent years, however, Facebook has become largely a pay-to-play platform. While paid ads aren’t necessarily mandatory for success on the platform, statistics show that putting a little money behind your Facebook strategy has the power to make a significant difference.

Facebook takes its in-house marketing one step further by providing real-world case studies of companies that have found marketing success on their platform. These various stories provide quotes, statistics, and examples from clients on how they successfully implemented strategies on the platform. 

At Digital Storyteller, we have adopted similar strategies when working with Facebook. Each of our clients has a Facebook page to which we share organic content. We produce custom content weekly and share blog posts, visuals, infographics, videos, and more.

We pinpoint each client’s strongest posts and work with them one-on-one to set a realistic budget to boost posts. Following post boosts, we delve into reporting to assess the success of each given boost.

Facebook provides statistics on reach, clicks, cost per click, and engagement in a simplified easy to navigate manner that makes sharing reporting with our clients a breeze.

Bottom line: Make sure your business is on Facebook.

Instagram 

We’re going to give Instagram a nickname: “The social beast.” Since its launch in 2010, it’s amassed over 500 million users. Over 60% of users log in daily, averaging a total of 3.5 billion likes.

Instagram is a critical platform for businesses in addition to individuals. Nearly 49% of businesses have accounts on the platform.

Compared to its competitors, engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than on Facebook, 54 times higher than on Pinterest, and 84 times higher than on Twitter. Safe to say they’re doing pretty well!

But how can you tailor your Instagram account to your audience? Like Facebook, Instagram offers a pay-to-play option by boosting your posts to a relevant audience. That being said, this doesn’t hold quite as much power with Instagram as it does with Facebook. 

The Instagram Algorithm

But why? Instagram’s goal is to create organic experiences for its users. Its algorithm pays attention to what videos users watch, what they like, which hashtags and account types they follow, and what engagement types they utilize.

Based on these factors, Instagram creates an organic experience by boosting and promoting what they think a user is most likely to want to see. 

Based on these features, it’s important that when using Instagram as a social media platform, you tailor it to your audience. One of the best ways that we’ve found to do this is by getting down to the nitty-gritty and creating buyer personas.

Imagine you’re selling cookbooks… Your target audience might be Jennifer. Jennifer is a married stay-at-home mother of three that loves following influencers that share new recipes and provide inspiration for her girl’s night dinner party. Jennifer is a perfect audience for this product.

Things might be different if Jennifer were a 12-year-old girl that uses Instagram to follow her favorite celebrities and learn the latest TikTok dances. Making sure that you identify and tailor to your ideal audience is critical to the success of your Instagram usage.

Read on to learn more about the ever-changing Instagram algorithm.

Curating Your Business’s Profile

Another important aspect of Instagram usage for businesses is curating your bio and your feed in a way that represents your brand voice. Consistency is key when it comes to creating content that your audience genuinely wants to see. This starts with your bio.

Your Bio

Your bio is the first thing people see when they visit your account, essentially representing your virtual storefront. You have a short blurb—150 characters to be exact—to communicate who you are, and what you do, and ideally convince people to follow you and engage with your content.

While Instagram does not allow for direct linking in their captions or individual posts, they offer the opportunity to share one single link in your bio. Better use it wisely to make sure you’re directing traffic where you want it!

One helpful resource that we can’t commend enough is utilizing a link-building site such as those offered by Metricool or LinkTree. Both of these sites create the ability to provide users with multiple site links within one URL.

Your Feed

Having a well-curated Instagram “feed” or “grid” is also a huge advantage to developing a professional business Instagram account. As previously mentioned, consistency is key.

Whether it be utilizing personalized photos, brand colors, a common filter, or even a precise layout template, there is a multitude of options when it comes to how to set up your post grid.

Here’s an example of one of our client’s Instagram grids, Voit Real Estate Services.

screenshot of voit commercial real estate services instagram feed

Cool, right? Nice, clean, and cohesive.

Moreover, it’s a notable fact that about 40% of customers respond better to visual content than they do to written content. With this in mind, it’s no surprise why Instagram is a massive hub for marketing opportunities.

LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is a marketing MUST in the financial services industry.

LinkedIn differs from other social media platforms because it is more strongly based on personal and genuine connections. The “friend of a friend,” “we met at a conference,” or “Oh, I recognize that brand name” attitudes go a long way in today’s day and age.

The unique circumstances that we’ve experienced over the past two years as a result of the ongoing pandemic have further changed the name of the game when it comes to professional networking.

A survey conducted by LinkedIn themselves revealed that “B2B buyers are 5X more likely to engage with a professional via a warm introduction than via cold outreach.”

While cold outreach is a reality for many B2B businesses, LinkedIn offers these businesses the capabilities to connect with their audiences on a more personable level. Additionally, it allows for more accurate persona targeting. 

In addition to serving as a virtual professional networking platform, LinkedIn has positioned itself as a leader in news delivery. The same survey previously mentioned also shares that 79% of small and medium businesses consider industry-specific news/articles to be the most valuable content shared on social media.

Social media platforms, LinkedIn in particular, have enabled users to identify the news sources and industries that they want to hear from specifically. Rather than opening up the morning paper and spending time sifting through the garbage that you’re not interested in, hop on your LinkedIn account in the morning to see what your followers have posted lately.

The people that users follow and engage with are often the sources that they want to hear from. Enabling users to deliberately identify the sources they want to see and eliminate (or simply just not follow) the ones that they don’t wish to see content from has turned LinkedIn into somewhat of a personalized news outlet.

Twitter

Twitter is a great platform to keep your business’s personality alive.

While financial services companies more commonly target more professional and refined messaging, Twitter offers the opportunity to incorporate your brand’s voice more casually.

Just Say It!

Being that Twitter only allows posts that contain up to 280 characters, you’ve got to figure out what you want to say and just SAY IT. Removing the fluff and the details is sometimes the best way to get across and be remembered for what’s important.

While starting your morning by reading the latest news articles or blog posts might be your favorite part of the day, sometimes all your consumers want is quick, simple facts. You’ve been there, right?

Adding a human element to your brand is made easy by the relaxed, casual voice most often shared on Twitter. Whether it be celebrating a holiday with a hashtag (#HappyWomensDay or #HappyEarthDay), often your company’s tweets don’t need to be as much of an event as full-blown in-depth content.

While writing a blog post or filming a video might take hours of prep, edits, and reviews, posting a one-line tweet may be an opportunity to simplify.

That being said, a successful Twitter strategy usually involves tweeting from five to 15 times daily. While each tweet in and of itself may be a simplified way to reach out to your audience, doing it more often is what’s going to help move the needle.

It’s often noted that it takes people an average of 11-13 touch points before a message truly breaks through. With that in mind, tweeting five to 15 times a day provides an opportunity to interact with your audience on various occasions.

Compliance and The Financial Services Industry

Another important fact about Twitter for financial services companies, in particular, is the growing challenge of compliance with specific Twitter terms and conditions. The financial industry is highly regulated on social media.

Companies need to state clearly who they are, and what they do, clarify any risks or benefits, and provide full transparency about all of their services. GDPR is therefore not the only regulation that financial businesses need to obey. 

Many other directives were implemented in banking industries in the last few years. Whilst not all of them have a direct impact on social media communication, some of the legal initiatives do.

Take a look at MiFID II, which is focused on refining consumer information and making it easier to understand.

Pinterest

You might be surprised to see this one on the list, but we couldn’t help but mention it: Pinterest!

Pinterest is an image sharing and social media platform with over 400 million monthly active users. These ‘pinners’ (so they’re called!) use the platform to find inspiration and ideas for their interests and hobbies.

At Digital Storyteller, we’ve recently started to grow our Pinterest account by sharing information on user-generated content, site audits, client management, organic marketing, and more!

Pinterest is awesome because you can link to specific URLs on your “pin,” which grabs a user’s attention through use of a photo.

For example, below is a ‘pin’ we posted when the news hit that Elon Musk decided to purchase twitter. This pin linked to our article titled, “What’s Going to Happen to Twitter?” Here, we provide more information on the subject.

Using Pinterest in this way builds your business’s credibility, and encourages users to come back to your page for inspiration or information.

So, give it a shot! Get your business Pinning.

A Final Word

When it comes to implementing an effective social media strategy for your business, there is much to be considered. Various platforms perform better or worse based on your business type, target audience, and intended involvement level.

If you’re looking for support in developing a social media strategy and don’t know where to start, reach out to our team of experts at Digital Storyteller.

With our specialization in the financial services industry, our experience and expertise is growing stronger every day. Call or contact us today for more information or to schedule your FREE brand storytelling session.

CEOs, Why SEO is Important for a Financial Services Company

As a CEO it’s your job to ensure that all operations of your company run smoothly. That being said, there’s obviously quite a bit on your plate to maintain and keep track of. The team that reports to you is responsible for managing the details of their respective departments under your guidance and support.

Social Media for Financial Services Companies

The use of social media in financial services is often disputed. Some believe that social media does not hold the same value for B2B businesses as it does in the B2C market. This, however, is not the case.