A CASE STUDY: HERON FINANCIAL GROUP
David Edwards of Heron Financial Group, a wealth management practice in New York City, says, “If you don't have a rock-solid marketing plan, all the SEO and social media in the world won't help you. But if you have a marketing plan, then social media and SEO is a force multiplier.”
Edwards felt SEO was important – “I have to assume my clients are also Googling me, just as I'm Googling them.” His goal was to appear among the top three firms when someone performs a search with his name or for a New York wealth management firm. That isn't easy, because “there's a bunch of David Edwards out there.”
As a result of his SEO efforts, Heron Financial appears among the top three firms in searches. What's his return on investment (ROI) for his efforts? “Who cares! If we're adding one family every week and doubling assets every two years, it's clear by the hard work we've done defining our ideal client and executing with search and an Internet presence,” Edwards said.
Moreover, as Edwards points out: “We can go head-to-head with the big guys who spend thousands: They have 100 times our assets and 100 times our marketing budget, but we're on a level playing field.”
What did Edwards do so right?
■ Defined His Ideal Client
■ $500,000 minimum investable assets. Ideally $1 million to $10 million in AUM
■ Time-stressed executive
■ Is not already managing his own money successfully or working with a good advisor
■ Has had a triggering life event causing him to re-think his financial life, such as:
■ Change in marital status: marriage or divorce
■ Birth of a child or grandchild
■ Promotion, job change, or pending retirement
■ Windfall such as restricted stock, stock options, sale of a business, or inheritance
■ Leveraged Tags – Tags matter. Edwards has a description tag that appears in the search results and lives on the home page of his site. He's also thinking about how people might search for him: “New York” and “wealth manager,” for example, so he knows it's critical these words appear on his site. See Figure 22.1.
■ Shared Content to Drive Inbound Links – As a result of Edwards' content, appearances, commentaries, and more, Heron has generated multiple links from other worthwhile sites (those that don't traffic in spam) back to his site. “Every time David Edwards or Heron is mentioned elsewhere or posted – in a blog, a tweet, or a retweet – it adds to the thousands of links. This is an important lesson: You might start your social media and $EO efforts and see very little over the next few months. You're thinking. Oh my gosh, I'm wasting my time,”' says Edwards. “But it takes time for those high-quality links to propagate in the online world.”
■ Hired Help – With a fairly small shop to run, and wanting to make even greater progress, Edwards hired help. His SEO expert can't tell him what tags to use if he doesn't know who he's trying to reach as part of his marketing plan, but once armed with that information, the expert provided tools and techniques to help establish the keywords to use.
FIGURE 22.1 Heron's Title and Description in a Search Result and Tags Behind the Scene