Thursday December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to end Net Neutrality, the regulation which ensured equal access to websites and services by internet services providers (ISPs). The repeal has left many business owners and American consumers questioning “what does this mean for me?”
Some speculate that service providers will impose higher prices on tiered access to highly trafficked websites like YouTube, Facebook and Amazon. Will service providers give preferential treatment to websites and services that it has affiliations or interest in? Will they slow access to sites they don’t like or charge fees for “fast lane” access?
While experts say that change is unlikely to happen quickly, all of the above changes are now possible with the repeal of Net Neutrality. ISPs may start offering service packages that provide access to certain websites like higher prices for access to social media and eCommerce sites. However, many ISPs have vowed that they do not intend to make such changes. Whether this remains true long-term as competition increases remains to be seen. What is probably more likely to happen are small changes to the way ISPs provide access to websites and services over a long period of time.
My guess, we will see a slow regression of what we have come to know of free access to the World Wide Web. Slowly but surely, popular social and commerce websites will be part of exclusive First-Class and Business ISP packages, add-ons will be normal, and standard internet will consist of peanuts for websites. If this sounds like a reference to airlines, it is. Compare now what we have come to know as normal in air-transit. Strict lines, baggage fees, high priced fairs for preferred seating, and à la carte movies, drinks, snacks, black-out dates and so-so customer service. A far cry from the once all-inclusive luxury experience of flying the friendly skies. But we go used to it. And given time, paying for premium access to our favorite websites will be normal too.
So what can you expect to see or hear going forward? My guess, ISPs will start charging Big Box names like Yelp and Amazon monthly or annual fees in exchange for preferential reach to web surfers. Those that cannot pay the likely exuberant fees will be shunned to the “slow lane” internet package which will likely be as reliable as airplane wifi. This means companies who can afford to pay the fees would have preferred carriage – a wider access to prospective customers / subscribers and the smaller guys that do not have the resources to afford the fees lose. A real crack in our free market….. not to mention a blow to an era of unprecedented innovation, social interaction and start-up ingenuity - much of which was been born and flourished online.
Under Thursday’s repeal, broadband providers could slow down site speeds for websites to persuade business deals. One day, you may notice Amazon or Ebay aren’t loading or your rainbow wheel keeps spinning when trying to browse Black Friday Lightening Deals – little do you know your Internet Service Provider is negotiating a $5,000,000 concession with the online retailer and is giving them a taste of life without the “fast lane”. And this would be perfectly kosher under the new rule approved by the Federal Communications Commission.
It’s still too early to tell how soon we will see changes if any. There is significant chatter about coming lawsuits challenging the rollback of net neutrality by public-interest groups, consortiums, as well as attorney generals including New York’s Eric Schneiderman, Washington state’s Bob Ferguson, and Masssachusett’s Maura Healey. Word of AGs from Oregon, Illinois and Iowa have also been noted with Schneiderman leading the multi-state effort. If the net neutrality repeal is not overturned, it will one day be starkly apparent how different the “new” internet is to the free and open framework that has governed the internet since its existence.
It’s not about leads but rather conversions.
We usually associate good sales with good leads. The conversation is always analyzing the quality of leads, quantity of leads, good leads, bad leads, warm leads, cold leads. However, we don’t hear enough about nurturing and converting leads.
While pursuing new leads and filling up the pipeline is important, marketing can only hold your hand so much. So get that mailing list and start putting your newsletter content together. It’s time to tell us what you’re all about and warm us up for a sale.
Marketing won’t help you if…
Just because you did not get a sale from a lead doesn’t mean you throw it and onto the next one. A good marketing strategy usually yields good leads; so why go through all the trouble only to throw the leads away. Even the cold ones deserve joining your exclusive mailing list and receiving your awesome content. Because let’s face it, not all leads are ready to buy on the spot. Not the right time, not the right price tag… to each their reasons not to buy. In fact, you should appreciate your leads taking their time, doing their due diligence, and picking the right product from the arsenal you have provided. By receiving your emailed newsletter, observing, asking questions, consulting with you, your leads that you acquired last year are more likely to benefit from your product/service the most if there is some type of consulting and homework done. This improves customer experience, and increases customer satisfaction.
Customer service starts before sales
Email marketing is an ideal way to nurture a relationship with the potential customer. Exposing a lead who is slightly interested to your content increases awareness of your product, brings up any questions that need to be tackled, and ripens up the lead to “Buying customer” status. If you’re playing your cards right, engaging your mailing list / follower base, and exceeding customer service expectations, might have you end up with increased retention and referrals. Leads are simply not going to convert themselves to sales.
Where do I start?
A good CRM system can go a long way.
Set up a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). There are plenty out there and they’re all becoming more and more user-friendly. Just type CRM in your Youtube search and watch one video after another walking you through how CRMs works. If you don’t want to spend money on one yet, just use your regular email provider and social media platforms to spread the word amongst your following.
OK. So that’s CRM. Now, what about content?
If you are a business owner and you have some kind of craft under your belt, you automatically have content to share. Ask yourself, what is a really cool product/service I offer that people need to know about today? Put that in picture, text, video, or a combination and you will find yourself educating your following/contact list about what you’re selling and why they should partake. Make sure you answer “What’s in it for them?”
Follow up like a Millennial.
If you use a smartphone, you’re already there. You just need to make the conscious effort to answer inquiries, engage people on social media, resolve disputes. You basically have customer service in your pocket. After all, most of us are on social media most of the day. So let’s set up email and social media alerts on the phone to ensure swift follow up and consistent engagement with your target leads.
Listen to the pulse
By having this type of continuous interaction, you establish trust, you introduce your business, and your brand over a period of time. On top of that, offer solutions when a problem persist or becomes a pattern. You can offer temporary fixes to these issues, or turn these solutions into permanent services/products and sell. A problem solved is a product sold. This will push you to bridge more gaps with your potential customers and generate more sales. Complaint patterns are free signs showing us what the market wants. it’ s up to us to react to the signs and meet the need. Follow the breadcrumbs and find the loaf.
Millennials will represent the largest adult segment since the Baby Boomer generation and are expected to inherit over $40 Trillion in assets. If you’re in the wealth management industry, let me repeat that. Baby Boomers will be transferring $40 trillion in wealth to Millennials in the coming decades. However, the severe volatility and crash of the market have left Gen Y with little to write home about. Wealth managers will need to pivot significantly from their old ways of marketing and the ways in which they interact with clients to tap into and serve the next generation of entrepreneurs and investors.
Let’s start here → Millennials describes anyone born after 1980 who reached adulthood with the turn of the 21st century. At the time of this article, those 18 - 35 years old. Millennials represent the largest adult segment who are currently reaching the prime of their earning years.
Why this matters → Millennials, over the next 3 years, are predicted to double their net worth to an estimated $20 - 25 trillion. In the prime of their early 20’s and 30’s, they are certainly still in wealth creation mode.
Millennial trends: wealth acquisition & allocation
66% of wealth managers’ clients are currently 60+ years of age. With Millennials expected to inherit $40 Trillion over the next 10 years, financial planners and advisors need to understand that their clientele will shift over the next decade and therefore need to be diligent to understand and prepare for the new wave of tech-savvy Gen Y clients.
While Boomers have traditionally valued good pay for an honest day of hard work, 59% of Millennials have started or plan to start their own business - and 27% are already self-employed. This focus on self-growth and entrepreneurship extends to the trends of Millennial spending habits as well.
75% of Millennials want to remain authentic and value brands and employers that value social responsibility. 66% of Millennials feel responsible for the state of the world as well as obligated to help change things for the better. Wealth advisors should reflect on how their brand is received and ensure that their values are in line with those respected by this next generation of socially responsible clientele.
Financial Advisors: The challenges of reaching Millennials
As indicated by their generational name, “Millennials” are those who become adults around the turn of the century. This generation also marks a very significant evolution of technology. These adults were the first to grow up with home computers, cell phones and answers to virtually any question at the click of a Google search. Consequently, Millennials consider technology and internet / cloud-based platforms to be a standard rather than a luxury. 57% percent of Millennials reported that they would change banks for better technological offerings. 89% of those with smartphones report that they check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up (usually to browse social media). This will present a huge shift in the way financial advice and information is received and will prove to be the biggest hurdle wealth managers will face in securing new Generation Y clients but there is no doubt that firms need to start to transition to a digital operating mode.
"89% of those with smartphones report that they check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up (usually to browse social media)."
Additionally, the recent financial crises witnessed by this generation has created a distrust of financial security and institutions. Wealth managers need to be mindful of the cautious nature of Millennials when it pertains to financial matters and take care to nurture the relationship by educating their clients on financial terminology and products in a simple and transparent language (be mindful that advice will be cross-checked with Google searches and close friends and family).
This blog is meant to underscore the challenges of reaching Millennials clients as well as highlight important trends for asset managers and financial planners to encourage early adopters new technique early to enable them to gain new business and gain market share. If you are a financial planner, advisor or CPA and want to understand how to connect with a new audience through online platforms and social media, Sprout Digital is a full-service digital marketing shop that can consult your firm on how to reach the next wave of clientele.
So you’ve decided to start a business. Maybe it’s a brick and mortar company, a service business or the next top food truck traveling across the country sharing your world-class tacos. (Please stop in Midwest Ohio - I’m always down for tacos). Maybe you’ve recently discovered the next hot multi-level marketing product and decided to jump in. Whatever your venture, at some point you are faced with the task of picking out the perfect name for your business. You do some research and discover half of your ideas are already registered in your state. Out of the other half, all but 3 have taken domains. Damn - there goes “Taco de Paco”.
You’ve got big plans and you need the perfect name. The truth is - you don’t. You’re name means nothing. People spend so much time trying to pick a name for their business that they miss the point completely. You’re business name is only as good as what stands behind it. Think about it - Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Starbucks - these names meant nothing until they became commonplace. Google could have called itself Froogle and it would still be what it is today because the product and service is robust. Think about this - Uber wasn’t the first to think up the idea of hailing a cab at the press of a button on your smart phone. In 2008, Taxi Magic released an app that let you do just that. Please tell me, before now have you ever heard of Taxi Magic? Perhaps - but a year later in 2009 Uber hit the market and Taxi Magic’s poor interface and app experience was left in the dust. Uber succeeded because it’s service was superior. Not because it was named Uber. (Because what the Eff is Uber?) None of these names were worth anything until someone made them into something.
Maybe you hate your last name and just don’t think it’s a good name to build a brand off of. Here’s what I have to say on the topic - unless your last name is Hilter or Pol Pot own it and make something out of it. Let’s be real - Galifianakis and Zuckerberg aren’t 1st draft picks either. If your full name or last name is an available dot-com domain, snatch that baby up and own it. Get to work. Stop worrying about finding the perfect brand name and start worrying about perfecting your product and service.
Recruiters... You’ve been saved!
Any HR department can agree that interviewing & hiring is a tricky process. Well if you think hiring is hard, you should check out recruiting. Recruiting is the scouting process that takes place before any interviewing or hiring. Recruiting can be time consuming especially when you’re looking to fill obscure positions like a Chief Biscuit Dunker or a Grand Master Handshaker.
Recruiting is also expensive especially if you’re going through a headhunter. It can cost you up to 20% of the employee’s first year salary. Okay... time for some Good News! We have Facebook Ads today that can do it faster and cheaper. After all, 2 billion people are on Facebook today with an average 1 billion daily users. So there’s your talent pool.
Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has been gathering its users data, what they like, where they study, where they live, what they do for work… Fast forward 13 years, today we can leverage that data and target ideal candidates at laser beam accuracy. The stellar thing about it is we can target candidates who are not even looking for a new position. Here are some parameters you can configure as part of the Ad set for the recruiting campaign.
Select your age group, gender, and language spoken if applicable.
3. Job / Field of study / interest
This is where Facebook digs deep. Pro tip: you can pick multiple positions and interests to target specific people.
As you’re configuring the Ad parameters for this position you’re trying to fill, Facebook will be giving you instant insights on what you will be targeting. Adjust your parameters accordingly until you like the results.
4. The Rest
The rest is up to your creativity. Pick an eye-catching picture and a good ad copy. As for the link, you can either set up a link to send these candidates straight to your application page, to your Facebook page if you want them to learn more about your company, or you can just list a good old fashioned email address with application instructions.
Facebook is bridging one heck of an HR gap. Facebook Ads are simply a reliable middle man between employer and employee. With that comes choice; choice between a number of positions for the employee, and choice within a larger talent pool for the employer. This results in quality talent acquisition for the company, and quality compensation for the employee. Do I hear a win-win?
LinkedIn is joining in on the fun as it rolled out sponsored ads. We’ll have to keep an eye on it this year to gauge how efficient it is.
There are over 2 million active real estate licensees in the United States. In 2015, 5,250,000 existing homes were sold and over a half a million newly constructed homes were sold. Yet, the majority of new real estate agents fail at real estate within the first 24 months – many without having ever sold a home. To be a great realtor you have to have great entrepreneurial tendencies. It’s an industry where someone with a lot of hustle, the ability to connect to their community, and a hunger to socialize and educate their clients will preserver. Unfortunately, too many realtors treat their real estate business like a part-time gig.
In the field of Real Estate, word of mouth has always been the key piece to reaching more buyers and sellers. Leveraging Social Media allows you to spread the word of mouth faster, to more people, and in a sexier format than ever before. This concept is especially effective in small communities where you can create daily content about homes in the community (15-20 mile radius) and create a story about the homes, their location, and the amenities and history of the surrounding area.
Here are some actionable tactics that you can apply today to start gaining popularity in your area (not to mention more buyer and seller leads).
If you aren’t already familiar with Facebook’s native live streaming feature, it’s an incredible platform for realtors to leverage. Imagine having the ability to create virtual open house tours to your entire community on Facebook. Doing a walk through? Go live as you walk through the house and talk openly about the features of the home, the quality of the materials, showcase bedrooms and answer questions in real time. Perhaps people who aren’t looking for a home see your live stream and think it’s perfect for their sister. They share the live-stream with their friends and now you've got 20 more folks hopping on to this live, local version of HGTV. A neighboring home owner sees how unique your marketing is and contacts you to talk about selling their home. The home tour reaches 500 people in the surrounding community and 15 people contact you for a live showing. When it is all said and done you get 5 interested buyers and the home sells for $20,000 over asking price. The homeowner is overjoyed and the neighbors now know who to call when they want to sell their home. Meanwhile, you’ve got 14 other buyers who now follow you religiously on Facebook waiting for the next live tour. You are now the local House Hunters station – and even the nosey-nellies who just want to see the insides of local homes are happy to watch your videos from the comfort of their home and pajamas.
I predict that virtual open houses will be the future. Soon you will be able to click on any home on the market and get a 360 tour of the home without every stepping into it. For now though, using Facebook Live to activate virtual open houses in your area is still new enough to be a mammoth move in the right direction.
If your target market is 30-45 year olds or even older and you are not using Snapchat then you are missing out on the golden era to absorb market share in this highly engaging platform. Because the content on Snapchat is only visible for several seconds before it disappears forever you can bet that people are paying attention. This means people are actively consuming the content that you push out. Apply the same principle as above. Offer behind the scene Snaps as you tour a home.
One of the best things about Snapchat is that it is not a curated version of content. The content does not have to be pretty or perfect. You don’t need special lighting or video equipment. For example, you can jump on Snapchat and show that you placed a new for sale sign up, show around the neighborhood, go over details of the listing, talk about the nearby restaurants, location in relation to the schools, talk about the closest parks or public pool, or anything that you feel people would be interested in knowing. People may even Snap questions back and with the instant chat feature, you can answer them privately and schedule a showing.
Live streaming and video communication is going to continue to grow in popularity among the 30+ population over the next 24 months. My advice? JUST DO IT > start connecting with your community every day on these platforms and in 24 months if you haven’t seen massive growth in your business contact me and tell me I was wrong.