If you’re a financial planner, advisor or investment consultant, you know how difficult it can be to do any marketing. In addition to the vast number of competitors you’re battling against, you must be mindful of the many guidelines governing what you can and can’t say. The last thing you want is to attract the attention of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) or any other regulatory body due to some marketing piece you’ve written to attract clients.
For those reasons, many financial advisors shy away from the type of copywriting and marketing you often see other types of businesses use. But by completely avoiding marketing, they’re doing themselves a disservice.
Traditional marketing techniques, like getting referrals and doing networking, may not be enough to create a thriving business.A better approach is to combine traditional marketing with digital marketing and content creation to greatly accelerate the success of an advisor’s business. And it can all be done in a manner that is legal and ethical.
Let’s take a look at both the traditional and digital marketing forms to see how they can come together to help financial advisors obtain clients and grow their business:
TRADITIONAL MARKETING FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS
Client referrals – Satisfied clients recommend their friends and family to their financial advisors. According to a study by Cerulli Associates, which conducts research for the financial services industry, nearly 50% of new clients come from client referrals.
Professional referral network – Financial advisors often establish relationships with attorneys, accountants, investment bankers and other professionals to get referrals to their clients for mutual benefit. Obviously, the financial advisor benefits from having a referral source of new business. But referral sources benefit as well. Their value to their client increases if they can recommend a financial advisor who does a good job.
Niche marketing – A proven way to stand out in a crowd is to become a specialist. For financial advisors that may mean becoming the financial advisor to a specific type of customer. Examples might be business owners, physicians, families with young children, people in the tech industry, etc. All of your written materials would then target that niche.
Event Marketing – This technique lets you take proactive steps to reward your loyal clients or your professional referral network and at the same time gain introductions to new prospects.
An example might be hosting a “market update event” in which you recommend investment strategies for the current market environment. You invite your existing clients to this free event and encourage them to bring a friend, coworker or neighbor who might benefit from the information.
Right Place, Right People – Put yourself in the position to meet affluent individuals, build relationships and, over time, transition those relationships into new business. Spend time with people who are potential clients, whether that means joining specific clubs, serving on the boards of local organizations or volunteering for certain charities.
While all of the above traditional techniques are proven to work, they can be even more effective when combined with digital marketing for financial planners.
DIGITAL MARKETING FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS
Website – These days if you don’t have a website, you don’t have credibility. Every perspective client wants to read up on you, check out your legitimacy before trusting you with their money. Make sure you have a website that you’re proud of, one that is as professional in appearance and content as you are personally.
According to twenty over ten blog, which targets financial advisors, “It’s not enough to simply have a website. What’s more important is to have a financial planning website that is impactful, informational and lead generating.”
Landing Pages – Landing pages, also called “squeeze pages” or “opt-in pages,” differ from regular web pages in that they include a call-to-action that leads to a form for a visitor to enter their information. And therein lies their one and only purpose — to capture a visitor’s information.
The way you get visitors to give up their precious email address and possibly other personal details is to offer them a freebie such as a report you’ve written, a widget, a link to a video, entrance to a webinar or some other digital goodie. These items must be relevant to financial services, and they must be more informational than salesy.
Once you have visitors’ email addresses, you essentially have a list of qualified leads to which you can begin email marketing.
Email Campaigns — Marketing via email offers a low cost, high return way to build connections with your audience. It gives you the opportunity to directly interact with your contacts.
According to New North marketing firm, “As a busy financial advisor, email marketing can enable you to efficiently and effectively send the messages you want to the people who should see it, at just the right time. That’s the power of email marketing.”
Blog/Newsletter – Out of sight is out of mind, and that truly applies to financial services. A blog or newsletter can put your name in front of customers on a regular basis so that when they’re ready to purchase your financial planning services, you’re top of mind.
Additionally, writing a blog or newsletter positions you as an authority, an expert in your field. Your reputation and brand can all evolve from the content you create for your blog or newsletter.
According to Jack Waymire, who writes about marketing for financial advisors, “Consistent blogging establishes your image on the internet and shows clients that you are a trustworthy expert in your field, which, in today’s increasingly digital world, is a must.”
White Papers/Thought Leadership Articles – Think of these items as long-form versions of your blog. Pick a specific topic and write a thorough analysis. White papers and thought leadership articles allow you to go in-depth on a relevant subject and establish your position as a specialist in particular areas. Offer these white papers or articles on your website. You can even create landing pages in which you promote them as a means to attract prospective customers and get them on your mailing list.
According to Forbes Agency Council, “The power of real thought leadership comes from generating or contributing — meaningfully — to conversation around an industry topic.”
Social Media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. all provide opportunities for you to grow your following and extend your reach. Create detailed profiles and then post regularly. Write financial tips, give business updates and comment on current relevant events. You can also post links to the items mentioned above – your blog posts, landing pages, thought leadership articles and your website.
In an article by Investopedia about how financial advisors are leveraging social media, Brian O’Connell writes, “In a recent study of 400 U.S. financial advisors, 48% of advisors report using social media to interact with investors on a daily basis; 74% of U.S. investment advisors say social media is a useful tool in hiking assets under management, while 50% say they have successfully used social media to convert prospects into clients.”
What all these digital marketing tools have in common is quality content—relevant, timely, useful information presented in an interesting and easy-to-understand way. And when you think about it, those are probably the same values you bring to your personal interactions with clients.
Done right, content helps nurture those client relationships and establish you as an industry expert and go-to resource for financial information. As a result, you remain top of mind for new, repeat and referral business.
Now that you have an idea of the types of digital marketing materials you can use in your sales efforts, determine the best way for you to cost-effectively create their content. If you’re a proficient writer, you may be able to tackle this task on your own. But ask yourself if that’s the best use of your time.
If writing doesn’t come easy to you or you’d rather focus your efforts on some of the traditional techniques mentioned in the beginning of this article, consider working with a professional copywriter, one who is comfortable writing in the financial arena and helping organizations with their marketing.
An experienced financial copywriter can advise you on the best approach and get the job done quickly. And the sooner you get going on those marketing materials, the sooner they’ll start generating leads and sales for you.
* * *