How to market yourself digitallyBlog added by Emily Holbrook on January 20, 2016
Emily Holbrook

Emily Holbrook

Joined: September 12, 2013

With the advent of social media, marketing has gotten complicated. Between generating leads, developing a schedule and measuring success, one can easily become overwhelmed.

NAILBA 34 set out to tackle this problem at one session today called “Digital Marketing Demystified,” with speakers:
  • Amy McIlwain, from Moore Communications Group
  • Nicole Orders, from Banner Life
  • Paul Slack, from Vende Social
The session, sponsored by NAIFA, was moderated by NAIFA past-president Juli McNeely. Her first question to the panelists: How is your company currently using content and social media to reach advisors? And why is it important?

Amy: Right now we’re seeing this convergence of media of all types, including paid, owned and earned. They’re all coming together in the form of content with social at the very center of it.

Content marketing is becoming more and more essential when it comes to communication efforts. Companies come up with a content strategy and come up with a central theme and use social media to market that. How do you take one white paper and utilize that in three different blogs, a video and various tweets? You do this and position yourself as an authority in that space, and you drive people to your website and your company.

Nicole: It's important to realize that life insurance started as a word-of-mouth business. You can only talk to so many people in one day, however. The power of social media is that it allows you to reach an exponentially larger group than you ever could talking one-on-one. Social media and life insurance have this natural fit that not a lot of people have adopted yet.

How many people enjoy pop-up ads? The reason we’ve got this movement towards inbound marketing is because consumers are sick of junk advertising. The bar has been raised for advertising. Now, effective advertising has to entertain people and resonate with people — that's what inbound marketing is. It’s bringing people into your fold because you’re giving them something that’s actually good.

Paul: Content is the fuel that makes a digital strategy grow. When you think about why people interact with the web, 95 percent of the time they're trying to accomplish something. There’s a knowledge gap that we’re trying to fill. Just begin with the end in mind. That advisor is trying to grow their business and gain knowledge. Content marketing is trying to understand what those things are and what people are trying to find.

Amy: You’ll hear people say content is king. And if that’s true, then distribution is queen. Using social media, social sponsored advertising and email marketing to distribute this asset. Look at your content as assets.

Nicole: When you’re thinking about the content you’re producing, everyone would prefer free advertising. You should create things that other peole are inclined to share — and therefore, they are advertising for you, for free. So they’re distributing it as well; it’s not just you.

Amy: Leverage your employees as advocates of your brand.

Juli: How do you get started and how do you fit the social media campaigns into your overall marketing strategy? And what do you want readers or potential clients to take away?

Paul: The first thing you need to do is understand who you want to reach. Who is your audience? Then ask yourself, what are the questions we are trying to get answered? Then there’s the marketing funnel. How much of your content is going to answer questions, how much will be evaluation content, and how much will be decision content?

Nicole: I would say that you need to find the most creative person that is in your network of people and hire that person and give them as much leeway as you can to come up with creative ways to make messaging and formats that are new and different. People are tired of reading email. They want more out of content than ever before.

It’s going to be a marathon, not a sprint. You have to keep producing content on a weekly basis. And have it stand out in a crowd.

Amy: It starts with a strategy. Maybe you have an intern start a Facebook page, that's great. But you have to have strategy. You need an integrated plan to really see success. A big piece of this is your website. It’s your online media hub. And you need to think about strategy before you build your website. Think about that going into your planning process.

If you haven’t updated your website in the last few years, you need to make it a priority. Technology is changing. Sixty percent of web traffic is now coming from mobile. You need a website that is not only mobile-friendly but mobile-first.

Nicole: You also need analytics on your website so you can see what’s working and what’s not working.

But the most important thing is to find your voice, never try to sell, be real, use images, be original and work hard.

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