By Leland Harden and Bob Heyman
Reviewed by Gary W. Silverman, CFP®
Gary Silverman owns a fee-only financial planning firm in Wichita Falls, Texas. He is the editor of the financial newsletter Personal Money Planning, writes the newspaper columns Your Money and Biz2Biz, and hosts the cable talk show, Money Cent$.
The world seems to be passing me by. I send or receive hundreds of e-mails a day, have a weekly e-newsletter, use an on-line CRM, and even have a few videos on YouTube. Yet I don't have a blog, am puzzled on optimizing my Web site, and am not sure what pod I'm supposed to cast. It seems that for each thing I figure out, one or two more things are born. And what the heck is Web 2.0?
Leland Harden and Bob Heyman authored the foundational book on online marketing, Net Results. They're at it again with Digital Engagement, not only telling me what Web 2.0 is, but also teaching all about the nifty Web 2.0 tools you'll need to compete in the digital marketplace.
Let's face it, the world is very different than this time last decade. When you or I are looking for information, we don't call 411, we Google it. Within an hour, and usually within minutes, any major (and pretty much any minor) news bulletin ends up on my computer screen-a long time before I see it on the news or read it in the paper. Even the regulators have gotten on-board. Tell me you haven't read your competitor's ADV online.
While I am very Web-aware, I was surprised at the extent areas of e-marketing have expanded-and I bet you will, too. For instance, did you know that search ads result in 50 percent more visitors to Web sites than display ads do? Don't know the difference? Get the book. Then read later about the "Last Click" controversy-the authors are thorough in covering the material from a variety of angles.
This book is not aimed at the financial professional, but rather the person in any business who is responsible for marketing. Just as it's a good idea to know marketing before specializing in financial services marketing, it's also a good idea to learn about e-marketing before trying to figure out the specifics of e-financial marketing. So while you may not be the person who needs to read this book, whoever is in charge of your marketing efforts does.
As the book itself proclaims:
If your enterprise sat out the last Internet revolution, got burned or came late to the party that is Web 2.0, this book is for you. Web 2.0 brought us social networking, wikis, virtual worlds where people shop for body parts, text message advertising, mobile video search, blog pundits who can make or break your reputation and your business. This book will show you how to employ these technologies profitably while keeping sight of your goals and using best practices to engage your consumers and your customers. These are practices that have worked for us, and for companies such as Toyota Motor Sales USA, McDonald's Corp., National Geographic, Whirlpool Corp., Dr. Pepper, Unilever and others.
You're online. Your clients are online. Your potential clients are online. The kids who are going to inherit your clients' money are online. Wouldn't you like to understand how to engage the vast audience that is online?
If you don't have a Web site, you are way behind the times. But if you have one, it probably is in pretty dismal shape. Don't worry, Digital Engagement comes to the rescue.
In chapter one, the authors state: "Your most important tool in brand building is your organization's website. And so the very next chapter is titled, "Making Over Your Website."
Wondering how to go about optimally marketing within social networks? Wondering what if there is more to it than MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn? Wondering what a social network is? Want to learn about optimizing your Web site so that search engines list it higher? Would you like to see your latest video go viral? Is a blog for you? What is a blog? And how do RSS feeds, Widgets, and Wikis affect you?
If you don't want to spend the time learning, I can guarantee you that your competition is. Fortunately Harden and Heyman have done a great job gathering and organizing the information to make your education easier. The book is a long (240+ pages) but relatively easy read.
So don't stay ignorant any longer, pick up a copy of Digital Engagement and start understanding the new rules to the game we're all playing.
Amacom Books (2009)