As a financial advisor, you are always striving to grow your business. At the same time, you are managing the needs and wants of your existing clients.
Your goal is to save time and make more money. So have you ever thought about optimizing your marketing channels? If not, read on and see what you might have been missing!
The financial services industry is slow to adapt digital marketing practices. Things have changed, however. The latest regulatory framework has allowed financial advisors to use these powerful mediums. They attract prospects and keep your existing clientele engaged.
In this guide, I will detail the major components of any digital marketing strategy, and along the way, provide insights on how to best use the strategies for your firm’s digital marketing campaign. This content is meant for beginners, who may have no knowledge and/or experience with using digital strategies.
Disclaimer: This is a long read, so I have split the content into different sections below which you can jump to.
Table of Contents
Digital marketing is any form of marketing that involves electronic devices. It is a subcategory of marketing where advertisers use digital platforms to promote products or services.
It is important not to confuse digital marketing with Internet marketing. Internet Marketing is an umbrella term that covers multiple forms of advertising on the web. Digital marketing is advertising over via cell phone, in a video game, or on a subway platform.
Digital promotions can be done through the following:
The purpose of digital marketing is much more than just marketing products and services. It sells individuals on things such as companies, campaigns, and ideas.
The financial service industry is traditionally conservative. The regulations of its mechanisms and operations are very strict. That is why there is a necessity to review your words before documenting them in the digital world. You should know this better than most!
Instead of leveraging digital strategies that allow ease of scale and quick feedback, many advisors still rely on traditional strategies such as referrals, cold calling, and seminars.
These traditional strategies have their place, but just by learning the basics of digital marketing, you can boost the effectiveness of these strategies and realize a better ROI on your time and money.
Learning the basics will not take up much of your time.
Just continue reading this guide and you will be equipped with the information you need to get started!
Potential clients are going the Internet to find the best financial advisors in their area or nationally. For sure, it would startle them to come up with 9.5 million displayed results.
A prospect searching for you may look for websites in a search query like “Naperville financial advisor” or “financial life planning Santa Monica”.
If you are showing up where your prospective clients are looking, you are instantly connected to a new stream of business.
That is the power of digital marketing today.
The demand is there.
More and more people are going online to learn and review and buy financial services and products.
So, if you want to survive the competitive market for financial services, start marketing your firm’s unique value offering online.
This guide will provide you the best digital marketing strategies to start.
After you have invested time and funds in creating a website for your firm, it is important to ask yourself:
Your answers lie in SEO.
For a typical financial advisor, SEO is an alien term decoded only by high-skilled marketing professionals. In actuality, SEO is the heart of your website’s findability and growth. It transforms the visibility of your site in a search engine’s organic results for your target keywords.
According to Advisor Web Marketing, organic search accounts for 73% of all the web traffic to service industry related websites. Social media traffic only accounts for 5% of it.
An un-optimized website for SEO is like having entrusting the Yellow Pages with all of your lead generation. People who already know about your business can find you right away.
However, if an individual unfamiliar with your firm is looking for the services that you offer, you will have a hard time making them aware of the services you offer.
The Internet is a vast digital encyclopedia of information. SEO armed with clarity on your firm’s brand, useful keywords, and a strategic link building strategy can help your firm stand out.
The first step is to take a long, hard look at your digital assets. These include your website, social media channels, and blog. See if these three can operate together without conflict and present a consistent message for your firm.
After the initial assessment, conduct a brainstorming session with your team or alone. Begin the process by formulating your SEO objectives. This brainstorming session will help you determine the objectives for your SEO campaign and the milestones you will need to reach in order to accomplish those objectives.
Your SEO objectives should be tangible, measurable, and have a clear ROI (hard cash or brand exposure). Furthermore, you need to make sure that your objectives align with these common goals of any SEO campaign:
These are a few good examples of objectives for your SEO campaign:
With the proper strategy in place and sound execution, you will be able to position your digital assets to show up for relevant searches from prospective clients.
By optimizing your website for SEO, you make it easier for potential clients to find your products and services.
After this exercise, you have to decide what you are able and/or willing to do. You can either:
Quick Note on the Search Algorithms & Site Rankings:
Site ranking are determined through automatic algorithms, where bots (spiders) crawl your site to decide whether your web page is worthy of high search rankings or just another website.
To establish the credibility of a web page, search algorithms consider the following components:
To start on the right track with SEO for your website, focus on the following:
It’s important to note that SEO, when done ethically, is a long term strategy with long term benefit. Once your site reaches the top of the search results, it will be difficult for your competitors to dethrone you.
Forming a relationship with a prospective client can take several months or even years in the financial services world. Since your prospect has various choices, deciding upon the right financial advisor can be a tough task for him.
For a prospect to select you to manage their financial matters, they first have to be aware that you exist.
One of the most effective ways advisors can build awareness is through social media.
Before 2013, there was a common misconception in the industry that marketing financial services on social media was not considered advertising. The rules governing marketing and advertising were created for TV, radio, and print media only.
Social media was not subject to the regulations governing financial transactions and communication. The regulatory authorities gave no consideration to the rise of digital marketing in the financial services industry and its ensuing implications.
Today, this is no longer the case. Forward thinking advisors leverage social media as key component in the efforts to generate new leads.
Why does social media work?
It’s 2017, and if you want to stand out in the sea of financial advisors, social media marketing must be a core component in your marketing strategy.
Establishing a presence on social media has the following benefits:
Activating your social media channels alone, however, is not all that’s required.
You also need to be responsive.
Facebook now displays a responsive score for the admins of Facebook Pages, with an aim to increase responsiveness and hold businesses accountable to their followers.
Social media provides a window into your potential clients’ lifestyles.
Insights such as those listed above will help you personalize your communication with prospects and clients.
For instance, if you know one of your clients were recently engaged, send over a simple, personalized congratulatory note.
The key takeaway? Keeping yourself digitally engaged will help you identify areas to connect further with your audience.
When people see useful content, they reciprocate by giving you their time. They will like your page, or they may even share your content. When they give you more time, you and your team will have more opportunities to convert them into clients.
Your efforts won’t seem overly sales focused, and your prospect will engage positively with your efforts to bring them on as new clients.
Today, 82% of the world’s “netizens” are on social networking sites.
That is 1.2 Billion potential customers (either now or in the future)!
That is why companies in all industries are adding social media to their marketing strategies.
To achieve effective results with your social media marketing efforts, the following tips should help:
Many major firms have a social media policy in place. If you are working for a large financial advisory, check with the HR department about your firm’s social media policy before sharing and commenting on your firm’s digital content.
Irrespective of its simplicity or complexity, you are better off following your firm’s standard operating procedures before engaging online on behalf of your firm.
If you do not have a social media policy in place, the following section will help you draft one.
Follow the steps below:
The gist of your policy must correlate with your organization’s vision, mission, and core values. There’s no policy broad enough to fit all the aspects of your firm, so your policy must reflect your governing principles and corporate SOPs.
The entire policy formation exercise should be able to:
A comprehensive policy shall guide you to:
With a social media policy in place, you now have set the foundation for your social strategy.
Now, the next question is exactly where will you find content to share on social media?
The best answer: create your own!
The essence of your content marketing strategy is to provide your audience with top-quality content that helps address their financial concerns and gives them insight on how to reach their financial goals.
Your content marketing mix could include retirement whitepapers, savings tip sheets, or tax calculators.
The medium can also vary and you can leverage content forms such as blog articles, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, videos, podcasts, and more.
This content will live on your website and other online branded properties for your prospects to share. Your content often counts as the first impression of your company.
You can curate content that addresses issues like variable rate mortgage. Or, you can create infographics to detail the different savings options for your target demographic.
Regardless of the topics or medium you decide best resonates with your target demographic, make sure you address their questions and concerns about their finances; also, you want to set yourself apart by taking a unique angle on these somewhat saturated topics.
Blogging is an excellent content marketing strategy for financial advisors. It can help you grow your business through the following:
Start with the following steps to jumpstart your blogging strategy:
Helpful hint: Many experts recommend blogging once per week, or even more. Frequency is not as important as quality and consistency. For instance, let’s say your schedule only allows you to write a well written, thought out, insightful article that answers a question once per month.
If this is the case for you and your team, then stick to that schedule of once per month!
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your content strategy is publishing information just for the sake of it.
For example, if your specialty is tax planning, then your content should not be focusing on buying real estate for long-term investment. It will just not click with your audience.
Moreover, if a question arises and you are unable to give a satisfactory answer, it will negatively impact your reputation!
Always remember that the primary aim of your content is to provide value and highlight your expertise.
Interesting content comes with a captivating headline.
Your readers are more likely to click a headline that says “Top 5 Things your Financial Advisor is not Telling You” before a headline that says “Choose the Best Financial Advisor.”
In brief, your headline is your door to reach people who have endless other things on their minds.
A great headline grabs your target reader’s attention. It encourages a response to engage your audience.
Just remember: When creating great content that engages your target demographic, the first step in the journey is reading your article’s headline and clicking through to read more.
Remember: Clients, do not buy features. They buy benefits!
A benefit is the crisp summary of your unique value offering. It explains how your advisory services differentiates from the competition and best addresses your target client’s pain points.
Consider the following:
Feature-driven statement: “Our financial institution has over 100 years of combined experience”.
Benefit-driven statement: “Eliminate stress with a ‘personalized and FREE’ portfolio review”.
A benefit-driven statement definitely stands out. It appeals to potential clients more than a mediocre, feature-driven headline.
The following are the five most common headline patterns for you to use in your content:
Using negative headlines will grab the attention of your readers. It has been shown in countless studies that humans are more attracted to the fear of missing out, or loss aversion, than the opportunity to gain more.
For instance, try a headline like “Why Your Investment Strategy Won’t Give You Security in your Golden Years, and What You Must Do Instead.”
If you’re stuck coming up with headline ideas, try the following tips:
Today, online videos are a staple for people looking to feed their information and entertainment needs. According to Dr. James McQuivey, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, one minute of video equates to 1.8 million words.
There is a commonly held opinion that video is the bonafide future of content marketing.
Video marketing is a powerful way to communicate your expertise and unique value proposition. Video marketing is a great way to start building long-lasting relationships with your clients.
Financial advisors who overlook this aspect while marketing their financial services offering do so at the cost of potential clients.
Still not sold on the idea of incorporating video into your marketing efforts?
Consider the following numbers:
Note: Conversion rate is a fancy marketing phrase for the percentage of site visitors who perform some desired action (i.e. call your office, submit a contact form, book an appointment, download your eBook, etc.).
It’s clear that content marketing is quickly becoming video marketing.
Your best bet is to use various forms of content so that your followers and clients can consume it in the way that fits them best.
Many people from the digital marketing industry consider email to be an old-school ploy for marketing your financial services.
Yes, it’s 2017.
Emailing is not sexy anymore.
Then again, email remains a powerful medium to maintain relationships with your clients and nurture relationships with your prospects!
McKinsey & Company conducted a study on this subject. According to their study, email is more effective than other popular marketing methods when it comes to client acquisition.
A couple of stats from McKinsey:
Numerous books have been written detailing how to create and optimize email marketing campaigns.
These are some useful strategies to help you get started from point 0:
These are some tips to build your email list:
Select a reputable email service provider such as aWeber or Mailchimp. With email service providers such as these, you can adapt your email messages to various devices.
If your content speaks quality, they will keep on reading. For instance, if you regularly send out tips on portfolio management, your subscribers will stay in engaged and may call you to manage their investment portfolios.
Always curate content that your clients want to read, not what you are selling.
Finally, proofread your content to ensure that all the content, photos, and links display correctly.
“PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically. Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC.”
There is no faster way to get in front of your audience than through PPC advertising.
A strong PPC campaign combined with a well-planned SEO strategy can be instrumental in building awareness of your brand and attracting more leads to contact you. PPC will provide you with quick wins and actionable data that you can leverage with your SEO campaign. SEO, on the other hand, is a long term strategy with long term benefits.
For the rest of this section, I will focus on the PPC component.
Many PPC guides and gurus out there focus on the tactics of a strong PPC campaign.
Looking at the analogy of an iceberg, tactics represent only the 10% that is above water.
To hone in on the remaining 90%, you should first focus on the following:
For example, if you target busy professionals, 30-40 years old, who are no longer in the early stages of their career but still far away from retirement, this should be reflected in your messaging and channels you use for marketing.
Helpful hint: Information is not enough. Insight is the key. In other words, you should help your target client digest information and use it to take action.
Example: 7 Steps to Automate Saving for Your Retirement
Once you have answered these questions for your firm, you are ready to start marketing with PPC.
These are the different components you need to consider for your PPC marketing campaign:
Example: If you’re a wealth manager in Birmingham, AL, you may want to target keywords such as wealth manager Birmingham, AL, wealth management services in Birmingham, or financial life planning Birmingham.
Your minimum budget varies widely on your niche within financial services and your target geographic area. The average expense for an AdWords campaign in Manhattan would be more expensive than a small town in Texas. Keep this in mind and make sure your budget allows you to compete.
You also want to ensure that your cost per click (CPC) and cost per lead decreases over time as you gather more data and insights with your campaign.
Understanding your target demographic, figuring out the unique value you offer to that demographic, the pursuing them via a well-planned PPC campaign can work wonders. Don’t be afraid to try out the unknown with ad copy or ad platforms, and make sure your messaging set you apart from your competitors!
You have worked hard to find new prospects and lead them onto the path of becoming a client.
But, are you doing enough to communicate your firm’s unique value to your prospective clients?
Due to the pace of innovation with digital marketing, many visionary entrepreneurs have started looking beyond blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, and other traditional lead magnets.
These innovators are offering more diverse content in the form of webinars. A webinar allows you to promote your firm’s brand and give your company a human voice.
Best of all?
Webinars are scalable and allow you to share invaluable insights and build trust with prospects and maintain strong relationships with your current clients.
All from the comfort of your home or office!
This is how a webinar works at a high level:
Helpful Hint: Start your email sequence 14-28 days out for cold contacts who are not currently on your email list
Webinars are a great way to give a face to the emails you’re sending to your subscribers. They work wonders for filling up your calendar with appointments, and can be a learning opportunity for you as you develop a greater understanding of your target client.
As a financial advisor, you are always striving to find more ideal clients and grow your AUM.
Optimizing your marketing efforts with the help of the web can help you save time and scale your efforts.
It’s clear: in 2017 and beyond, digital is the way to go!
Just a quick recap of the topics covered in this guide:
The following are the primary components of your digital marketing strategy:
A well-built PPC campaign combined with a comprehensive SEO strategy is a great way to see both fast results with your online marketing efforts along with long term benefits.
This brings us to the end of the guide. I hope it has been helpful and planted some seeds for you to take back to your team.
Have you read this and looking to implement some (or all) of these strategies, but still not sure where to start or just don’t have the time?
I would love to help you on your way!
Fill out the form to the right and I will follow up with you shortly.