We live in a society that likes to Google search anything and everything – be it to find out what a blue moon is, or to seek out the best person to go to for investments. With the increase in the use of smartphones, accessing information on the internet is more the rule than the exception. People, especially youngsters, depend on Google search to appoint a mutual fund advisor and distributor. Getting yourself found on the internet can be an important marketing tool for your business.
A whitepaper titled “The Advisor’s Guide to Digital Marketing”, published by LPL Financial, a leading financial services company, suggests ways to help you increase visibility on the internet. The paper points out that most people do not look beyond the first page of the search engine results; it is critical therefore for advisors to have a strong internet presence.
The whitepaper describes two broad methods – search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). These will make sure your business is visible to people looking for your kind of services online.
Search Engine Optimisation
Use relevant keywords:
As the primary goal of the search engine is to provide relevant content, your primary goal must be relevance. This means knowing which queries your business will fit in with and inserting keywords that match them.
For example, people may be searching ‘financial advisors near Andheri’ or ‘mutual fund distributor in Mumbai’; if your website does not have these keywords, your website is not likely to show up on the first page of the search engine. Adding such phrases to your website will help the search engine identify the content as a relevant result to the query.
To identify other topics that your prospective clients may be searching, think about your services and areas of expertise. If you are skilled and knowledgeable in setting up trusts, make sure your website mentions that. When people in your area search, ‘setting up a trust,’ they will find you immediately.
In addition, it is important to use the same language people are using to find services similar to yours. If people are looking for ‘investment advice’ and you only talk about ‘wealth management services,’ it is unlikely that your site will appear in search results. Various software are available that can help you figure out popular keywords. Tools like Google AdWords and Google’s Keyword Planner can help you identify popular search terms, which you can incorporate into your content.
Creating relevant content will also help you increase your visibility. Someone searching for ‘mutual funds’ may be interested learning about the product first. A search engine is more likely to deliver content that educates and informs rather than content that exclusively sells a product. Writing blogs on your website is a great way to feature information packed articles on a frequently updated basis.
Keep it fresh:
Search engines favour content that is fresh and up-to-date. Such content has more chances of making it to the first page of the search engine’s results. To improve the visibility of your website, you should consider updating your website on a regular basis.
Search engines read sites systematically, in a top-down manner, starting with the URL, the headlines, and then the body copy. To help search engines understand your content, make sure your page names and headlines are descriptive and include important keywords. If your page is about saving for retirement, include the precise phrase ‘saving for retirement’ in the headline, rather than something more general, like, ‘We can help you save.’ The former will help you appear in searches that are more relevant.
Search engines do not want to deliver a collection of results that say the same thing. They also do not want to provide plagiarised or spam-like results. One thing they look out for is repeated content. If you copy and paste the same paragraph on several pages of your website, or if you borrow content from another source, it is more likely the search engine will not show your website. So avoid copied content.
Tools and resources:
To go more in-depth into SEO strategies, a number of tools and guides are available online. A great place to start is the Search Console (google.com/webmasters/tools), which will help you ‘create and maintain Google-friendly websites.’
Search Engine Marketing
While SEO focuses on creating content that appeals to search engines, SEM focuses on elevating content by purchasing strategic ads. Rather than invest time and energy in optimising your site, which does not guarantee results, you can invest in ads that are guaranteed to appear in search results for the keywords you choose. Depending on the keywords and your willingness to spend, you may be able to appear at the very top of the page.
Here too you will need to determine which keywords and phrases to target with your ads. This will require some research on your part, and a good place to start is Google’s AdWords tool. You can compare the frequency with which users search particular terms and determine how you want to spend your budget, either targeting popular terms for maximum exposure or more niche terms for specific audiences.
Keep in mind that SEM does not work effectively unless you have followed the principles of SEO.