Why should financial advisors try to navigate the complex world of financial marketing today? After all, a loyal client list and a glossy brochure are all advisors really need to promote referrals, right?
Client referrals and networking techniques are important tactics to include as you attract new prospects and retain loyal clients. But to grow your practice in the 21st century, traditional and digital marketing are essential.
If you’re refreshing your marketing plan, it may be time to debunk some common myths about financial marketing.
Financial marketing myths exposed
I already have clients, so I don’t need a website.
Today, a website is as ubiquitous as the client brochure used to be. Think of your website as your “marketing hub” to which all communication “spokes” lead. It’s one of the best ways to communicate who you are, what you do and how people can contact you. And, it’s versatile. Websites are easily accessible by most —if not all — clients, and updateable in real time.
Importantly, websites are anticipated by prospects – searching (and researching) for an advisor, and expected by clients – accessing account information, product news, relevant commentary, etc. You might be surprised how often clients visit your website. Remember to cut and paste your website address in all your communications “spokes,” including those you have with referrals.
My firm has a website, so my practice doesn’t need one.
If your practice is affiliated with a parent firm, don’t assume people can find you from your parent firm’s website. It’s important to have your own “brand.” Your brand is what you stand for. As such, your website is a primary vehicle to house content that will inform, educate and direct your audiences. Keep in mind clients have a relationship with you, not necessarily your parent firm. Thus, building trust starts with a first impression, which may begin with a Google search for “Wealth Manager in MY HOMETOWN.” Will you be there?
My website is all I need to promote and market my message.
Your website shouldn’t be your only marketing tool. You should incorporate other tactics into your communications approach. By thinking strategically, advisors can distribute messages across a number of marketing platforms, including email marketing, search engine optimization, traditional advertising and digital forms of promotion and advertising. Your brochure and other print communications should be part of your coordinated marketing program. Be mindful of consistency, clarity and conciseness, and be sure your words and visuals are compelling. Don’t forget alternative communication methods that extend your reach, such as blogging and media relations.
My current clients won’t respect me if I promote myself.
In today’s global (and virtual) world, there are thousands of advisors who do the kind of work you do. At the same time, there are hundreds of thousands of messages reaching the ears and eyes of investors. How are you going to set yourself apart without being proactive?
Consider pitching your expertise to an outside “influencer,” such as a journalist, an industry blogger or a community leader. By telling your story through bylined articles, research reports, commentary pieces and interviews, you offer authenticity, build credibility and earn promotion. Don’t forget to include links to your website in any written piece, and always redistribute published clips on your website, social media platforms and email communications.
Social media is for my kids, not my clients.
If you think prospects and clients are averse to “liking,” “following” and “connecting,” think again.
According to a study conducted by Cogent Research and LinkedIn, five million investors use social media to help them with financial decisions and more than 90 percent of high-net-worth investors participate in social media. Seventy-five percent (75%) use LinkedIn for investment research.
With social media, you can tailor your messages, providing financial education, relevant news and industry commentary to prospects and clients on platforms they use every day. And, while firm policies and federal regulations may limit the kind of engagement you provide, both the SEC and FINRA have approved the use of social media to educate investors as long as it complies with firm policy.
Teresa Dougherty, strategic communications consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org