How to Choose the Right Online Marketing Tools for Your Practice

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Choosing the right digital tools for your financial website

Do you have the shiny new tools syndrome when it comes to digital and online marketing tools?

I have to admit, I’m kind of a digital tools collector myself given my background in music software and my work in digital marketing over the last 4 years. I spend a lot of time researching, testing, and evaluating digital tools before I make the decision to incorporate them into my foundational platform and online marketing process. Thankfully though, I do have the foundation and process in place. This helps to simplify and streamline my purchasing decisions.

Are you guilty of signing up for digital tools that are half-configured or hardly utilized while having no real digital marketing process in place?

Prioritizing tools over process leads to a chaotic mess to manage. More importantly, it can lead to lackluster results.

Here is the simple math:  You are going to get a better ROI on your online marketing efforts when you’re not spending a fortune on online marketing tools. (lower costs mean greater potential profit)

Beware of the Digital Tools Candy Store

With today’s digital tools that exist in the marketplace, you can find a multitude of options for anything and everything you might ever want to build online. There are tools for creating websites/blogs, hosting your website/blog, email marketing, landing pages, CRM programs, analytics/tracking tools, SEO tools, and social media tools. There are now even tools that connect the tools!

It can be overwhelming, confusing, and down right tempting to make impulse purchases before you really know what it is that you need for a sustainable online marketing program.

The market has become saturated with digital software tools. It compares to choosing a portfolio of stocks. How do you pick the winners from the losers? How do you know which ones will be around in 5 years? How do you know which ones will work well together?

Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of great ways to analyze digital tools. You could end up wasting significant time and money on tools that you don’t utilize, properly leverage, or understand.

It’s important to walk before you run with digital tools. Don’t go out and make a huge investment in fancy digital tools. It’s expensive and unnecessary. I’ve seen lots of folks invest in the big suite of marketing automation tools without any results to speak of. Why? Mainly because they never really understood that the tools are only as effective as the strategy behind them.

It’s not the tools that will make you successful, it’s your strategy. The tools can help you make your strategy more efficient and effective, but they can’t drive it.

Before you shop in the digital tools candy store, map out your digital strategy and build your foundational platform.

Focus on the Strategy, not the Tools

If you are a golfer, how much can new golf clubs help your game?  You can eventually hit the ball better and more consistently with new clubs. However, new clubs alone aren’t going to make you win. It’s your strategy and your ability to be consistent that contribute to your success in golf. Yes new clubs can help, but not in isolation.

In my case, when I bought new clubs, I couldn’t hit the backside of a barn for weeks. I had to rely even more on strategy during this time. For example, I could still drive and I could still putt…I just couldn’t do anything in between!

The point is, my golf game needed a lot more than what new clubs could give me. I needed more practice of course, but strategy became even more critical just to make it through 18 holes.

The same goes for your online marketing strategy. The tools aren’t going to make you successful. Your strategy is.

It’s easy to mistake tools for strategy. Don’t make that mistake.

The online marketing tools that you choose are only as good as the online marketing strategy they fit into.

Start with a Solid Foundation

If you get your online foundational platform in place to start with, it’s much easier to determine which digital tools and systems will best integrate with your marketing strategy.

My foundational platform of choice (as well as millions of others) is WordPress. Financial advisors and all types of professionals can greatly benefit from this easy to use, flexible, and cost effective solution that is compatible with nearly every digital tool on the market. It’s certainly not the only solution, but it’s a good one because it is “open source”. Chances are if there is something I want to integrate into my online marketing strategy, there is a tool that I can simply “plug in” to WordPress to support that piece of the strategy. Some are paid, some are free, but most all are low cost.

Whether you create your foundational platform with WordPress or any other software platform available, the most important thing is to choose the best fit for your plan, resources, and marketing strategy. Starting with a solid online foundational platform will help simplify and streamline your decisions on which tools to incorporate.

Your Turn

What has been your experience with choosing digital platforms and tools? Have you wasted time and money trying to find the right ones? Have you thought about putting a process in place first?

 


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About Stephanie Sammons

Stephanie Sammons is the founder and CEO of Wired Advisor™. She's been named one of the Top 25 Social Media Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn and a Top Financial Industry Blogger by RIABiz. As a CFP® and former 15-year financial advisor, Stephanie combines her "in the trenches" industry knowledge with her extensive digital marketing experience to teach financial advisors how to win and keep clients in a wired world. Follow Stephanie on Twitter and Google+.

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  • Susan Weiner, CFA

    Good points, Stephanie!

    I rely on HootSuite for basic social media management after TweetDeck kept crashing my PC. From you, I learned about Buffer, which I like as a way of spacing out posts.

  • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

    Thanks Susan, I absolutely love Buffer. It’s awesome.

  • SEO Socratic

    great article info. same as Susan I used to rely on HootSuite too. easier to post your tweets anytime you want, cause you manage your tweets even on FB and Google+ too. this is very useful tools.

  • Pingback: How Financial Advisors Can Thrive in the Digital Age | Wired Advisor Blog

  • http://www.hzcapital.com/ Adam Zuercher

    Good read! I know you like WordPress but what do you think about Squarespace? The design of their templates looks great and there seems to be a fair amount of people that like their platform.

    • http://www.stephaniesammons.com/ Stephanie Sammons

      Hi Adam, I don’t have anything against Squarespace and have experimented with the software, but the thousands of incredible plugins that you can utilize with http://WordPress.org make it the clear winner for me.

  • Michael Bian

    nternet marketing is important because it aligns with the way consumers make purchasing decisions.

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