All Kinds of Communication

Last Friday Chris Davis, who is the Director of Integrated Communications for fi-Plan partners, a financial planning and wealth management firm in Birmingham, Ala.  He has had many jobs across his lifetime, from a musician to the owner of a coffee shop, but now he has a job that utilizes the skills that he has amassed across the years.  He explained his job by saying that he “communicates with a lot of different people in a lot of different ways.”  I was able to gain lots of information about not only the job he does at fi-Plan, but also what it looks like to be a great communicator across many different mediums.

1.  Types of Communication – Chris is involved in all kinds of communication with both clients and prospective clients of fi-Plan.  In his job he creates letters, advertisements, Christmas cards, newsletters, videos, and even a custom blend coffee for the office.  All of these are ways for the company to explain what it is all about in new and creative ways.

2. Developing Good Strategy – It is important to have a strategic marketing campaign, especially in the financial industry.  It is difficult to convince people that the industry is honest when there are people who have stolen money from investors.  It is the job of people like Chris to take the positive things that groups like fi-Plan are doing and share them.  He warned against the technique of “spaghetti marketing,” where you just throw out information and hope it sticks.  He is intentional in what he communicates and how he does it.

3. Calls to Action –  a call to action is a message that is sent to potential clients in order for them to connect with the company.  They can range from low to high friction.  An example of a low friction call at fi-Plan is signing up for the e-newsletter, which only requires an email address.  A higher friction call is a phrase like “come see us,” or “place your money with us.”  Using these calls at the right time with the right kind of communication helps develop a positive image with prospects and eases them toward picking you for their business.

4. Search Engine Optimization – This is the process of using techniques to help put your website near the top of the returns when searches are made on sites like Google and Yahoo.  There are certain techniques that are by the book (white hat), and others that are used to game the system and gain an unfair advantage (black hat).  There are many good methods to promote your site, but picking good keywords, telling a story with your copy, inbound and outbound links and lots of good, meaningful information.  This ensures that the real message about your company will get out there and will be what people are able to find, instead of something false.

5. Event Planning –  While traditionally I think of PR and event planning going hand in hand, Chris showed that event planning can take many different forms.  While fi-Plan does about 5 of their own events every year, they also partner with others to make a bigger and better event.  One example is a partnership with the Samford Business Network.  Fi-plan will invite prospective clients to the breakfast so they can get an idea of where fi-Plan is coming from, since the CEO is a Samford graduate, and also so that they will have the opportunity to network with current fi-Plan employees and clients.

You can find out more about Chris on his website http://www.dadcreates.com

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