Digital Marketing For Financial Advisors: Why It Matters
Here’s a secret - most financial advisors do not use digital marketing effectively. They say things like:
- My growth comes from word-of-mouth recommendations
- My practice is all referral-driven, so I don’t focus on digital channels
But the truth is; your prospects’ behaviors are changing. We’re living in an increasingly digital world – one where people’s expectations are being shaped by companies like Amazon, Google and Uber. A world where people have access to unlimited information and expect to get their questions answered online, without needing to talk to a person. This means that the way you deliver financial advice – and especially how you grow your business – must change too.
One thing we have learned from working with over 1,400 wealth management firms in the industry is that marketing is a difficult and unnatural task for many advisors.
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how to use the Internet to generate more prospects for your financial advisory firm, you’re not alone. Forward-thinking wealth management firms are asking:
- Can I reach wealthy prospects through digital advice channels?
- What do prospects want to read on my website?
- How should I optimize my online presence?
But where should you begin?
Ask for help!
Since most financial advisors are not marketers by trade, it’s hard to know where to start. Without a proper roadmap, it’s a waste of time to design a visual identity, write content or spend money on advertising. Instead of going it alone, reach out to a professional marketing or communications agency for help. Examples include my company AdvisorEngine or other firms like Advisor Websites, BackBay Communications, Cognito, FiComm, Flackable, Haven Tower, Impact Communications, Indigo, Kaleido Creative, Midstream, Straight North, Twenty Over Ten and Vested.
At AdvisorEngine, we believe that marketing is most effective when it’s research-backed and technology-enabled. It’s why we’ve invested millions in developing our in-house marketing capabilities. Based on this hard work, below are some actionable insights that you can put to work in your business.
Your credibility – and your online presence – matter
What information shows up when prospects or clients Google you and your firm? It matters because it directly impacts the first impression you make.
According to our proprietary research, almost half of new prospects say that they have eliminated a financial advisor from consideration based on what the prospect found or did not find about the advisor online. How many new prospects are you missing out on because of what is or isn’t out there about you on the Internet? Even with a referral, prospects begin by Googling you to learn more about what it’s like working with you and validate the referral.
Are your search results supporting your credibility and expertise as a financial advisor?
It’s extremely important to own these search results and make sure you are seen in a positive light. Online profile management is a proven marketing tool and a critical first step to strengthen your professional brand as well as your firm’s brand to boost customer acquisition.
The Digital Consideration Path℠ of your prospects
Our research shows that 72% of prospective clients said online information is “extremely” or “very” influential to which advisor they would hire. Yet a large gap exists between how advisors present themselves online and how high net worth prospects are vetting which advisor to work with.
Based on our research, AdvisorEngine has discovered a four step “Digital Consideration Path℠” that your prospects travel along as they are choosing a financial advisor. By understanding this path, you will be able to position your firm for success. The steps are:
- Trigger – the event that causes a prospect to start looking for a financial advisor in the first place
- Discovery – the time during which a prospect gathers the names of potential financial advisors using methods such as; referrals, online searches, and other marketing materials
- Evaluation – the process where a prospect narrows down their evaluation set and learns more details about 2 or 3 financial advisors. This process includes a deep-dive into online resources
- Selection – the prospect selects the financial advisor that’s right for them and starts a conversation with said advisor
Understanding this Digital Consideration Path℠ can help you optimize how you are perceived.
Getting a checkup
The first step towards optimizing your online presence is understanding your “current state.” AdvisorEngine uses a process called a “QuickCheck” that gives you a snapshot of how you look online in the eyes of your prospects. This action is the starting point for robust personal branding/credibility and employee advocacy programs.
Don’t let the name fool you. The QuickCheck report has been created for over 3,000 advisors and is a valuable snapshot of your LinkedIn profile and search presence. Important insights and actions to improve your online presence are delivered.
Optimizing your online presence using AdvisorEngine’s Kredible Platform
The Kredible platform is one place where all advisors and team members of a firm receive weekly guidance based on the content currently online about them and how to optimize it. The Kredible platform produces a Kredible score based on over 50 factors of your online presence and our research findings.
The platform includes gamification to help maximize adoption and engagement and increase online improvements across a firm. This foundation is a critical step to generate more leads online. If you’re putting effort into growing website traffic in order for the right prospects to find you online, you want to make sure you’re saying the right things – not wasting valuable time and money.
The Kredible platform project typically spans a four-week time period. An AdvisorEngine Coach provides guidance and support along the way.
Going deeper with advisor marketing consulting
For smaller groups or individual advisors, AdvisorEngine consulting is a great solution to answer questions and help guide you to success. Whether it’s helping you better position your firm or proactively generate leads with ideal prospects, AdvisorEngine can help you achieve your goals.
We’ve had advisors tell us that marketing consulting is the single most impactful thing they have done for their business recently.
AdvisorEngine’s Marketing Consulting team is spear-headed by Matt Kress. Matt brings to the table an extensive background in marketing and operations management. He has coached over 250 advisors on how best to survive in the digital world.
Why wouldn’t you want a second opinion on your growth strategy and firm positioning?
“If you build it, they will come,” is actually very far from the truth. Advisors build out digital offerings to adapt to their needs of their multi-generational clients and ability to service smaller balance accounts. The problem is that you need to generate traffic and a positioning to your digital offering in a way that is compelling and leads to long-term clients.
How you position the offering, how you position your firm, and how prospects find it are very important to the success of your digital offering.
By improving the personal brand of your advisors, you improve the entire firm brand, ultimately earning you more business. It’s marketing 101. The more they see that you work with people like them and they get to know, like and trust you, the more likely prospects are to choose you.
If you look like every other advisor out there, prospective clients will have a hard time differentiating you from the rest of the pack and will likely choose someone else. Our main goal is to help you position yourself in a way that will help you grow your business.
With AdvisorEngine’s research-backed and tech-enabled approach, you own your search results and extend your professional brand across many platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, professional societies, etc. The process helps you realize all of those referrals you are missing out on and paves a path to reach them through your online credibility.
If you are ready to improve your market presence, strengthen your online credibility and engage with more clients - let us be your “marketing brainpower.” We are ready to take action to guide you along the path for improvement. Schedule a demo today to see how AdvisorEngine can help you grow and scale your business.
This blog is sponsored by AdvisorEngine Inc. and its subsidiary Kredible Technologies, Inc. (“AdvisorEngine”) The information, data and opinions in this commentary are as of the publication date, unless otherwise noted, and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to use AdvisorEngine or deemed to be a specific offer to sell or provide, or a specific invitation to apply for, any financial product, instrument or service that may be mentioned. AdvisorEngine makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or representations. As a technology company, AdvisorEngine provides access to award-winning tools and will be compensated for providing such access. AdvisorEngine does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.
About George Irvin
George Irvin oversees AdvisorEngine’s growth and advisor relationships in the Western United States. George has spent nearly 20 years in financial services holding positions in a variety of roles including operations, marketing, and most recently business development at some of the industry’s most widely known firms. Prior to his role at AdvisorEngine, George was the Vice President of Business Development at LPL financial where he consulted with and recruited complex financial advisor enterprises, large teams, and institutions in creating growth strategies and converting to LPL’s broker-dealer and custody platform. George earned his Bachelor of Arts from the Ohio State University, and his Masters of Business Administration from the University of San Francisco. George is based in San Diego, California.