- Marketing has moved from being an art to becoming a science, with an ever-increasing ability to pinpoint the effectiveness (or failure) of marketing campaigns and initiatives.
- There has been a broad move away from product to experience as the key differentiator. As McKinsey Quarterly noted in 2011, “Customers no longer separate marketing from the product — it is the product….In the era of engagement, marketing is the company.”
At Loring Ward’s National Education Conference at the end of September, we will look at what these two revolutions mean for financial advisors and how they establish and nurture client relationships across the digital spectrum, from websites to social media to CRM systems. Some digital ecosystem best practices to keep in mind:
- Clearly Articulate Your Value
Quickly and clearly communicating online (and off) how you help clients can have a big impact on your practice. According to a 2014 Benchmarking study Loring Ward conducted with Dimensional Fund Advisors, financial advisors with a value proposition experienced 40% higher asset growth over the past two years, 30% lower client turnover and had 29% more clients. The good news: If you are an independent, fee based, planning-focused advisor following an Asset Class Investing approach, you have a very clear and compelling value proposition to communicate.
- Be Consistent Everywhere
As marketer Bryan Carter notes, “The quickest way to earn customer trust is through consistency.” With this in mind, make sure that the look, feel and messaging of all parts of your digital ecosystem are consistent — from your website to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Let Clients See How You Can Help
The Advisors at Old Town Wealth Advisors (www.oldtownadvisor.com) have done a great job on their website detailing how they can help certain types of clients, from Academics to Inheritors. They’ve built a dedicated page for each of these client types, discussing the typical challenges and opportunities faced. This has helped significantly increase web traffic.
- Be Yourself
Too many advisors have bios online that are dull and impersonal. Chemistry and personality count, and a good bio can help you stand out and better connect with prospective clients. Kemp Financial Management has taken the approach of replacing bios with intriguing questions and answers. But they still have links for anyone who wants to read a full bio.
- Be Personal
Try to make your digital ecosystem more personal to you and your clients. Alfredo Mesa of www.mesafinancialgroup.com uses pictures from his clients on his website, with little stories about each photo.
- Optimize for Mobile
According to some experts, as many as 90% of small business websites are not mobile optimized. And as many as 20% of financial services site visits are on a mobile device…and probably higher for financial advisors. www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly is a great tool for seeing if your site is mobile friendly.
- Make Sure You Can Be Found
SEO is a huge topic. And the rules keep changing. But one way to be found is to use the words on your sites that clients and prospects will be searching for. Google Trends can help you see this and how searches may have changed over time. Check out how three terms advisors often use to describe themselves have changed in popularity over time.
- Create an Offer
Whenever possible, give prospects a reason to act. It can be as simple as a complimentary second opinion or a portfolio review or downloading a white paper. Other advisors offer to email a chapter of a book, such as The Wealth Solution, every week. You want the prospect to engage with you at a deeper level.
- Look at Your Metrics
Use tools such as Google Analytics to see where visitors are going and track the efficacy of any initiatives. Check out your likes, followers, etc., to understand how you are doing across your ecosystem. Use your metrics to adjust and fine-tune messaging, imagery, navigation, offers, so that you can help deliver a better experience.