Tips about using the Internet and social media — especially LinkedIn

Techology Alert – Update Internet Explorer, Adobe, Java (and more)

If you use Internet Explorer, then this alert pertains to you. And if you use Microsoft Office, an Apple, Adobe Reader, and Java some tips below can assist you, too. I figure that while people are updating software, you might as well make sure that you’ve got the most recent versions of other basic computer and business software, too.

Recently, you may have heard about a major security flaw in Internet Explorer. If you have XP (yes, you read that right) up to the current edition of Internet 11 on your computer go here to learn how to Update your settings

Another update is also available, this one from Java, and has nothing to do with the security flaw. It’s a regular update and you can get yours here

I have my Microsoft and Java updates set to download automatically and I recommend that to my clients. Usually they do minor updates on Tuesdays. That means that on the bottom right side of my computer on Wednesdays, I may see new icons telling me that an upload is ready to install.

Quarterly, I also check the Adobe website to see if Adobe Reader (the program that allows us to read PDF files) or Flash (the program that in some cases lets us view videos and flash on websites, has been updated, too. Go directly to the download page here

The other thing I schedule is weekly a Disk Cleanup. It will get rid of everything that shows up. Like the many temporary pages and graphics that Explorer downloads so that you can more easily view web pages you visit often. And it cleans out other files that I don’t need, too. When I’ve helped neighbors or clients "speed up" or try to do that, I will do the things I mentioned in this email PLUS get them to remove any old programs they’re no longer using.

Here are the links again:

If you’d like me to answer your questions about this email, or walk you through updating technology, let me know here If enough people request, I’ll conduct a Q and A webinar on Sunday afternoon.

Upwards and Onwards,

Maria Marsala's name

Financial Advisors: When It Comes To Social Networking, Get Found Local

Your prospects search for services and products, including the advisory services you provide, on the Internet or using their mobile devices. Today, having a website isn’t enough to get your firm found locally or to stand out from a crowd of local competition.


Today’s telephone book is called “the local search engines”. If you want to be found by local clients, but aren’t ready to hire a Search Engine Marketer (SEM), this article will provide you with the “major” local engines that you want to be listed on.  As usual, I’m providing you with Action Steps to turn this to-do… into a to-done.


How many of your clients find you locally? How many do you want to find you locally? Even with a virtual business, we humans need the connections that only come from face-to-face meetings and events. PLUS, some of the search engines, like Google, are taking into account where you live when providing search results.


There’s no doubt about it. Registering your firm is a tedious and time-consuming task. That’s why you don’t sign up for every site imaginable. Sign up for sites that your ideal clients visit.

I bet there is someone on your team or in your home who loves to spend time on the Internet.  This person can do the research for you and register your firm for the appropriate sites. Or you can hire a Finance Advisors’ Virtual Assistant, at around $50 per hour, to do it for you. You’re bound to find one on LinkedIn®.


To list your firm, visit each site and then search for your firm’s name and maybe your name, too. If you’re listed, you’ll see a button or link to “own it”. If you can’t find your firm’s name or your name, create an account.


NOTE: Many of the websites listed below allow readers/users to comment on your business. If that’s not what you want, if that’s not what your Compliance Department allows, if that’s not what your ideal clients would do, then don’t join any local directory where people can comment. Not all types of marketing are for all types of financial advisory businesses. Spend your time on things that can attract your ideal clients to your blog, website, and firm.


Action Steps: Preparing To Get Listed

1) Before you add your firm, check with your compliance person to learn what you can and can’t do. If you’d like to print this article or put it in PDF format, go to my blog, where you’ll see the print and PDF buttons.


2) Create a new email address to post your listing. If you have your own domain name, that task will be easier. If you don’t have your own website, make sure you have approval to create an email address for this purpose. When using the web in this way, it’s good to use a separate email address just in case spammers somehow get your address.


3) Create a spreadsheet and on the first worksheet, list keywords. Consider the benefits and features of what you offer.


4) On the second worksheet, include the sites you’ll be visiting, along with your user ID and passwords. Add your firm’s contact information. Add more information to your worksheet as you learn what each site requires.


5) Get your picture and logo ready, as many of the sites ask for one or both graphics.


6) Find your firm’s history, your bio, and your firm’s bio. Chances are you’ll need all three.


7) Link to your website.  If you don’t have one, use the link to your LinkedIn® profile.

In many cases, the local listings want to verify that you are… you. Some will ask for your phone number to text you, others will mail you verification, and still others will email you. Pay close attention to how they ask you to confirm.


Here’s A List of The Local Search Engines To Consider


Bing Places for Business

Google Places for Business

Yahoo Local


Angie’s Lists

White Pages



Merchants Circle


Ok now… Get going local! Get found locally!


SEC Provides Guidance on Social Media and Testimonials, by FiPath4Adviosrs

Directories, Not Yelp, Better Equipped For Advisor Reviews, by Megan Leonhardt

Skip Navigation Links Understanding Proposed Legislation for Digital Assets by William Bissett, CFP®; and David Kauffman, J.D., CFP®

©2014 – Maria Marsala guides high-achieving independent financial advisors to reach their 5-year business and personal goals in 24 months. She is a financial advisors’ coach, speaker, and a former Wall Street Trader. Named one of the Top 30 International Coaching Gurus in 2011, Maria has been recognized as a thought leader whose ideas have been published in Financial Planning Magazine, RIA Biz, Advisor Max, Dow Jones, The Street, Entrepreneur Magazine, and numerous books, trade journals, and magazines. She has authored four business-building workbooks including, Attracting Clients You Love Working With: 6 Steps to a Profitable Client Base.

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WebSite Design Options for Financial Advisors

Update my firm’s website’s design by _____.

Or maybe what’s on your to-do list or listed on your business and marketing plan looks like this:

Create a firm website by _____. (OR THIS)

Create a firm blog by ______.

When I first went into business I designed my own website after attending a web design program at Wake Tech, Raleigh NC.  Then  helped a few other coaches and business owners by designing their sites.

Today, I keep up with web design trends, but I no longer create sites for clients — I leave that to the professionals.  However, when a client needs to update their firm’s website or add a blog, I’ll help them by conducting private training that saves them time and money while working with a web designer.  I often set up WordPress on their sites, too.

After that I providing outsourcers — graphic designers, writers, and website designers who work with advisor is their best bet.  With compliance being as it is, it’s beneficial to use a designer whose firm is experienced and understands the nuances of marketing and promotion — as it relates to advisors.  Even so, don’t have anything published publicly until it’s approved by YOUR compliance person.

The other important element of design to not over look is to create a responsive (mobile ready) site.

Five years ago, I had a very small list of resources because few specialized in the financed industry. Today, that good ness that’s changed.

Below is an updated list of web design companies.  This list is not a recommendation of one company over another.  This list is, in alphabetical order, and is for your information only.

If you are using another web designer and feel they should be on this list, please place a comment on this blog post and after I research what you’ve posted, I’ll add your recommendation to the list.

Also note that I’ve separated the list into Canadian and USA based designers.   That’s only because often my clients prefer working with someone in their own country.  But in our more global economy, what’s best to do is to choose the best designer for you, regardless of the country of origin.

Always do your own due diligence.  I’m sure there are other designers who can create excellent web sites for advisors, too.

When visiting sites, review the design of their own website AND their portfolios because that’s the quality type of work you’re going to receive, too.

Before you hire a designer, you might want to read these two articles I authored about websites:  10 Steps To Website Planning for Financial Advisors  19 Ways to Make Your FA Website More Trustable and Credible



© 2014 Maria Marsala guides independent financial advisors to reach their 5-year business and personal goals in 24 months. She is a business coach, speaker, and a former Wall Street Trader. Named one of the Top 30 International Coaching Gurus in 2011, Maria has been recognized as a thought leader whose ideas have been published in Financial Planning Magazine, RIA Biz, Advisor Max, Dow Jones, The Street, Entrepreneur Magazine, and numerous books, trade journals, and magazines. She has authored four business-building workbooks including, Attracting Clients You Love Working With: 6 Steps to a Profitable Client Base. Did you find this article thought-provoking? Get more delivered directly to your inbox every two weeks.

How Do You Make Your Website (or Blog) Look Nice on a PC, Tablet, and Mobile Device?

WordPress just came out with a responsive version (3.8).  If you use WordPress (I use it on my blog)  this version is now RESPONSIVE. If your WordPress website or blog is on your own domain name (website address, URL) you can upgrade it for free. Just go into your WordPress Dashboard or Control Panel an you’ll see a notice about the upgrade.


What’s Responsive?

Let me give you a little background.  Years ago, you created a website or blog and when someone looked at it in their mobile device, it looked awful.  So what you did was create a VERY LONG home page, with nothing on the side (i.e. no 2nd or 3rd column on the page, also known as side bars).

There have also been a few websites that helped you create a separate 1 page site for mobile and tablet use.

Enter Responsive.

I created my first responsive blog this summer using FirmaSite.  At the time, if you used WordPress and tried to find a free template that was responsive, the THEME search feature gave you just a few responsive sites.  FirmaSite was one of them, and I love the look of my blog.

However, a month ago, I did the same search and I find 50-70 responsive WordPress THEMES. And just this week WordPress came out with version 3.8 whose TwentyFourTeen Theme is responsive!

Progress continues.

I have to say that my website is not responsive at this time, but this blog you’re reading from is.  As more and more of my ideal clients move to using their mobile devises more, I’ll change my main website.  But everyone has to set priorities for their marketing and creating a responsive website is set for December 2014.

The most important thing about Responsive web design is that all websites should be leaning in that direction, so that their ideal clients, visitors and friends can  A) find them on the web   B) be able to view their websites without any sort of technology problem.  Because for every problem we cause our visitor, there is one more person quickly leaving our websites.

I was going to write an entire article on why you want to use a responsive website and what it is, but honestly, my friends at Small Biz Trends, with Anita Campbell at the helm have already done that, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel!

View her article at What is Responsive Web Design, here