Why Digital Marketing is Something Every Advisor Needs: A Guide for Growing Firms
If you envision your firm standing the test of time, then growth and client retention are likely top priorities. To do this, your firm needs to embrace the idea of marketing itself in a way that attracts the next generation of clients. If your firm has primarily grown through word-of-mouth and referrals, then the idea of “digital marketing” may be a little hard to digest.
But don’t worry! Digital marketing is integrated into our lives today, it’s possible you’re already implementing digital marketing strategies without even realizing it. Plus, there are so many tools, resources, how-to guides and platforms available to help advisory firms like yours attract qualified prospects. You’ll never have to feel like you’re going it alone.
Want to know what the best marketing strategies are for financial advisors? To help get the ball rolling, here’s an overview of the marketing must-knows.
Before You Begin Marketing
It’s tempting to jump right into things, but doing a little self-reflection and research can help set your firm up for better marketing success.
Create Your Target Personas
You can’t start effectively marketing your firm until you know WHO you’re marketing to. Otherwise, you’re trying to be all things to all people — and that type of marketing resonates with almost no one.
Before putting any marketing initiatives into motion, you and your team should identify who you’d like to have as future clients. The good news is, you likely already have a good idea of who you serve. Use this as your guiding light.
You know you like to work with people of a certain age, education level and net worth. But think about other characteristics of current clients that tend to pop up. Maybe with the onset of COVID, your team really embraced working virtually. Having the ability to attract clients across the country widens your prospect pool.
Or, maybe you’ve naturally accumulated a number of doctors and physicians because your office is located near a large hospital system. It’s not necessarily a niche you’ve defined before, but moving forward, you could start gearing some of your marketing efforts toward local high-earning healthcare workers.
The more specific you can get with your target personas, the better you’ll be able to craft messaging and content that speaks directly to them.
Define Your Messaging
Now, ask yourself this, “What do I want people to remember our firm for?”
Would you like to be the “go to” for student loan debt planning for millennials? Or, maybe it’s helping affluent families in Boston build a multigenerational legacy plan?
Start crafting messages that align with your firm’s greater vision and speak to your target audience. Developing solid messaging from the start helps drive the direction of your marketing content in the future.
Strive to Create a Recognizable Brand
It’s unlikely that someone will instantly convert into a client the first time they hear about your firm. In fact, there’s a common theory called the “Rule of 7” that says people need to hear your messaging at least SEVEN times before they take action, purchase a product, engage in your services, etc.
What’s the takeaway? Being consistent in your messaging and regularly putting your firm in front of your target audience is key to creating a recognizable brand.
And you may be surprised by the results! Even if someone’s never met you, good marketing makes them feel like they already have. They’ll become so familiar with your messaging that they’ll know who you are and how you can help them before you ever actually speak with them.
Marketing Best Practices for Advisors
Once you have your initial research and messaging down, consider what area of marketing to focus on first: your website, social media or email newsletters. Here are a few best practices for each.
Website Best Practices
On average, someone will spend less than 60 seconds on any given page of your website. That leaves you very little time to make an impression and convince the reader that you’re the right firm for them.
Don’t overwhelm viewers with dense copy or give them too many pages to navigate through. Keep your website scannable, and use images or graphics where possible to help display your messaging in a visually appealing way. The purpose of your website should be to help readers self-identify as a good fit for your firm. This is done by creating copy that’s focused on solutions, rather than weighing someone down with heavy or confusing industry jargon.
Once you’ve created copy that’s reader-focused and skimmable, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for that reader to get in touch with your team. This can be done by providing an online scheduler, a pop-up box, a chatbot, or contact form.
Social Media Best Practices
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make with social media is forgetting about the “social” aspect of it. As a rule of thumb, you should be interacting with others online as much, or preferably even more, than you’re posting or sharing on your own account.
Social media is a great place to showcase the people on your team and your firm’s personality — just be sure to follow your compliance department’s rules and regulations in regards to posting. If your team is comfortable with it, share photos from your holidays or office events and get everyone involved in promoting your firm’s posts.
While adding in personality is great, remember that you should be following consistent brand guidelines with all messaging as well. Have a uniform tone of voice and style of writing that’s used in all posts, comments or other social interactions. Your team may find it helpful to have graphic templates on hand that can be used to quickly share holiday messages, firm announcements, etc.
If social media is new for your firm, don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to be on all platforms at all times. Instead, use your target persona to determine what social platform your audience is most likely using. For example, most retirees aren’t active on LinkedIn, but they may be spending lots of time on Facebook. Start with one platform, grow your audience there, and then consider if it’s time to add in another one.
Email Marketing Best Practices
Over half of all marketers believe that email is one of the most effective forms of online lead generation. In fact, another survey found that four out of five marketers would rather give up social media than email marketing. Needless to say, email continues to reign supreme in the world of digital marketing.
As you begin building or optimizing your email list, one of the most effective ways to improve results is to segment your email lists. This refers to sorting people into different categories based on criteria you pre-determine. Doing so helps tailor your message to each unique audience. Otherwise, you’re stuck trying to produce generic messaging that’s “one-size-fits-all.”
For example, you could create segments for:
- Current clients
- Prospective clients
- Recent seminar attendees
- Widows or divorcees
- Those nearing retirement
- Families with young children
You have the power to create segments however you wish, so be thoughtful about how you do it. Then, tailor your messaging to speak directly to each audience and their pain points.
Once you know who you’re sending your emails to, think about how you can give value and make it worth their time to remain on your email list. People receive on average 100 emails a day, meaning you really need to give them a good reason to look at yours. This could include offering proactive planning tips, sharing a new resource they might enjoy, promoting your latest blog post or reminding them about upcoming events.
You might’ve heard of the term “SEO” before, but what does it actually mean? SEO stands for search engine optimization. In other words, SEO helps your firm be more visible to prospects through Google search.
While the idea of SEO is simple, getting into the practice of it can quickly send you down a rabbit hole. To avoid getting too into the weeds, here are a few basic concepts you should know.
Google rewards websites that offer a great user experience (UX) by ranking them higher on Google. This concept relates back nicely to the idea of building a user-focused website that grabs and keeps the reader’s attention. If people are spending time on your website, Google will favor it over other websites that users enter and leave quickly.
Google also relies heavily on keywords to determine what sites to show for which searches. Create and share content on your website that Google can scan for the keywords your prospects may be searching for. For example, if you’re trying to attract tech employees in California, create blog posts that are geared toward that audience: how to handle your equity compensation options, homebuying in areas with high costs of living, etc.
And if you haven’t created a Google Business profile yet for your firm, this is an easy way to help boost your SEO quickly. Creating a Google Business profile allows your firm’s important contact information to pop up at the top of the search page whenever people search for you on Google.
Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
We mentioned creating content such as blog posts and articles. These would be examples of something called “inbound marketing.”
Inbound marketing: Drawing clients to your firm by providing valuable resources and information that they seek out — blog posts, podcast episodes, Ebooks, articles, videos, etc.
Outbound or traditional marketing: Paying to put your firm in front of your audience through ads — billboards, sponsored content on social media, Facebook ads, website ads, etc.
Inbound marketing actually costs on average 62% less than traditional marketing, but it can generate three times as many leads. And in most cases, those leads are more qualified.
But, outbound marketing is effective for getting your firm’s name out faster and building brand recognition with future clients. It tends to be a quicker way to garner interest, since inbound marketing can take some time before producing results.
Earned media could be done by contributing articles to magazines or guest-hosting a podcast episode. It’s not uncommon for advisors to connect with journalists and become their go-to financial “guru.” Journalists reach out if they need quotes or an expert opinion, and the advisor gets their name in the publication.
Earned media is an effective way to build your credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader. Not to mention, these accomplishments can be showcased on your website or social media profiles.
Why Digital Marketing Is Important for Financial Advisors
Digital marketing is no longer a scary, ambiguous or futuristic concept. It’s something we all experience every day, and it’s something you can use to build longevity for your firm.
While we’ve touched on a wide variety of digital marketing tools and tips, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Just take one concept, like updating your website copy or starting a blog, and focus on implementing it before moving on to another.
Remember, digital marketing isn’t about reinventing the wheel. There are plenty of tools and platforms already out there designed to bring qualified leads straight to your inbox — like Nitrogen.
If you’d like to see how Nitrogen’s growth platform can seamlessly support client relationships that start with your marketing efforts, schedule a free demo today.