Many financial and professional services companies have made big investments in developing original content and distributing it through social media.

However, after years of doing this, most are asking themselves: 

  • Is the investment paying off?
  • Is it generating any sales? 
  • Or is content distributed through social media simply a tool to build brand awareness?

The reason most companies are asking these questions is because they developed content and social strategies several years ago and have not evolved them since. 

These strategies use targeted social media to get people on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other channels to click on posts and read content on your website. This can be a valuable strategy that:

  • Makes potential customers aware of your brand in a very cost effective way.
  • Gets them to visit your website and learn about what you do.
  • As an added bonus, builds SEO value through social traffic and buzz about your blog or website.

These are definitely very positive things that are worth investing in. But they do not always drive dollars to your company's bottom line.

In order to generate sales through digital channels, you need to take your content marketing program to the next level so you can move prospects deeper into the sales process. There are three ways you can do this:

1. Offer visitors to your website something of value if they share personal information with you. 

Here's an example of how a financial company promoting retirement products could use this technique:

  • The company uses targeted social media to find potential investors and gets them to visit their website to read an article about investment strategies for retirement.
  • At the end of the article, the company offers to email an ebook on retirement investing strategies to anyone who shares their email address.
  • The company then uses the email addresses to market retirement investment products to people who have demonstrated an interest in investing for retirement.

This is a solid, tried-and-true marketing strategy. However, most consumers are aware that when they share personal information such as an email address, they are agreeing to be marketed to. Those who are serious about buying a product will likely share their information. Those who are not as serious will probably leave the site without identifying themselves. This strategy often generates very high-quality leads, but not many of them.

2. Drive website visitors closer to a contact or sale by using smart links in your content and on your web page.

Think about what you want the visitors to your website to do and provide links that make it easy for them to accomplish these things. This seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many marketers publish content without considering what they want the website visitor to do while they're reading -- or after they're done -- with an article. Building a linking strategy is a critical part of the digital marketing process that many marketers forget to include in their campaigns.

After all, how can you expect your content to drive deeper engagement if you don't provide links that make it easy for your web visitors to buy something, contact you or learn more? In addition, not including links can hurt your SEO because it can increase bounce rates and single page visits.

3. "Pixel" visitors to your website so you can re-market to them.

This is a powerful strategy because it allows you to focus more of your marketing energy and dollars on people who've already shown an interest in your brand. Plus, it does not require website visitors to share personal information.

This is similar to the approach many retailers use with visitors to their websites. If a visitor doesn't purchase an item, the retailer will use a pixel to "follow" them online and serve up ads on websites and in social media to remind them of the item they did not buy and recommend similar ones. It's not an accident that the book, shoes or electronic device you did not purchase on Amazon keeps reappearing in ads on every website you visit and on your Facebook feed.

Similarly, many people don't convert the first time they visit a financial or professional services website. That's because they're learning about options and comparison shopping. (This can be the case for end-consumers and financial intermediaries alike.) Serving up targeted ads will keep your firm top-of-mind while potential clients go through their shopping and decision-making process.

If your product or service has a long sales cycle, you can use "trigger content" to identify prospects who are getting close to making a purchase decision. An example: Someone who clicks on an article entitled, 5 things you should consider when buying homeowner's insurance, could be getting close to buying a policy. It makes sense to pixel them and serve up homeowner's insurance ads over the next few months.

Conclusion

Optimizing social media and content marketing campaigns to drive sales can be complicated given the many factors that must be considered. This is especially true of complex financial products and professional services that have long sales cycles.

Carpenter Group has experience building these campaigns and can help you map out a strategy, track effectiveness and make improvements over time. In addition, we can develop the content that is the engine that drives consumers through these campaigns.

What are you waiting for? The longer you put off calling us, the more online sales you could be losing. Contact Carpenter Group today.