In part one of this series, we looked at the thoughts from five marketing leaders in wealth management in response to the question: “What should financial advisors focus on to be successful with marketing in 2020?”
Today in part two, we’re wrapping things up with thoughts from even more marketing experts.
If you’re a financial advisor, these are the top marketing strategies you need to be aware of as you build out your firm’s marketing calendar in the year ahead.
We are in the age of what I like to call “The Digital Referral Shift.” Understanding this shift is crucial to growing your business in 2020 and beyond. If you still have the mindset of “I don’t really care about my website or want to be on social media, I get all of my new clients from referrals,” and thus your website and marketing is not set up to capture and nurture digital referrals, then you are most likely missing out on a good deal of new business.
Yes, advisors still get much of their business from referrals. But the way referrals are happening has drastically changed. In fact, a 2019 survey by the payment-processing app Square found that 52% of consumers discovered a new business on Facebook in the preceding year. This shift makes your digital presence more important than ever before.
Today’s consumers are flooded with messages from multiple channels to the point where they have started to simply tune out. Traditional paid advertising and old marketing strategies are losing effectiveness, so what do you do? The answer is personalized marketing combined with automation.
If you want to get someone’s attention, your message must be HYPER-specific to them. That’s where personalization comes in. Every blog post you write, every email you send, every piece of content you post to social media – it shouldn’t have an ounce of generic-ness to it. It needs to be written exactly for the person you are trying to reach.
Next, is automation. Being successful with marketing in 2020 requires a LOT of content to be disseminated. You can’t expect to spend your whole day managing email marketing, social media and landing pages – this is where automation comes in.
If you want to be successful in digital marketing in 2020, then combine personalization with automation. It’s the only way to win.
[Samantha and I recently hosted a webinar together about driving better conversions with inbound marketing. You can catch the replay here.]
Beware of falling into the trap of thinking that “if you build it, they will come.” Getting a landing page, a form, or seminar together is the easy part. Driving traffic to those things takes hard work!
That hard work involves becoming a source for valuable content from the start.
The days of traditional “all about us” advertising are limited. It’s no secret that the world is a noisy place, and the 20s are going to get even noisier. Don’t stand out by selling louder, stand out by helping others from the start.
If you want to learn more about approaching digital marketing with the right mindset, you can read more here.
Financial advisor success in marketing hinges on becoming more mobile-friendly.
Mobile searches for “financial advisor” have grown 75% over the last two years so providing a mobile-friendly experience is crucial for engaging both clients and prospects. Adopting a mobile-friendly mentality also helps more people find your business on search engines like Google.
Most online searches are being done locally now than ever before so when a prospect or client searches “financial advisor near me” in your area, your website should ideally appear in the first three search results.
If you’re looking to embrace the mobile movement, improve your digital presence, and boost your search engine rankings, here are a few recommendations to get you started.
Use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test: Add the URL of your website to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to get a barometer of how well your website is optimized for mobile. It’ll also give you specific tips on how to improve your score.
Remember to N.A.P.: Name. Address. Phone number. Make sure to include your company name, address, and phone number consistently across every web page you own. This will help search engines better identify your website and make sure you’re a reputable business.
Go Responsive: Your website needs to respond to swipes and taps. Make sure the buttons and call-to-actions on your site are easy to find and can be opened with the touch of a finger. Avoid messy pop-ups and outdated video players (I recommend Wistia or Vimeo for video).
Keep It Short and Sweet: The average visit to a financial website is just 1.3 minutes so the ‘About Us’ page on your website shouldn’t read like an essay. Stick to short sentences that describe exactly how you help your clients and prospects and try to include pictures or short videos to break up the text.
The Need for Speed: 40% of website visitors will leave if the loading process takes more than just 3 seconds. It’s also one of the largest factors Google uses in its algorithm to rank pages. Add your URL into Google PageSpeed Insights to get your speed score for both mobile and desktop sites. They’ll also provide opportunities – like compressing images or removing unused CSS code – to improve your site speed.
Make Your Clients the Center of Your Story.
When financial services firms choose to work with me, it’s typically because their brand messaging “sounds the same as everyone else’s” — and they’re not sure what to do about it. After all, they are fiduciary, client-centric, wholistic, planning-first, etc. So why aren’t their prospects buying it?
The answer is almost always the same; the advisor is making it too much about them, instead of the client. Their brand is focusing on what they do, how they’re different from the competition, where their story starts. But those stories are (usually) a dime a dozen. And prospective clients need a stronger pull at their heartstrings if they’re going to hand over their trust to a team of total strangers.
So as we look to 2020, my biggest piece of advice to advisors is this: stop making your brand about you, make it about your clients. By choosing to work with your team, how are your clients taking control of their financial futures? How will their lives change?
When you lead with your client instead of yourself, you’ll be able to reach them where it counts. So instead of saying “We are fiduciaries that build personalized financial plans,” frame it as, “Reach your financial goals alongside a team you can trust.” Now you’re talking with the client instead of at them. This will make all the difference in how the message is digested.
To be successful in their marketing for 2020 could be so many things… the basic top four I would say are:
Create a social media strategy to map out how you plan to execute and measure your SM initiatives, and make sure it aligns with your overall marketing objectives and biz goals. Think of SM as the vehicle for sharing your message and communicating in a way that draws people in. But to be effective, you have to know your target audience and put together actionable ideas so you can motivate them to get to know you better.
Kick off the year by refreshing all your social media bio’s. Think about your social media bios the way you think about milk. It has a freshness date and a shelf life. This might mean updating your LinkedIn profile summary (adding new credentials such as your CFP or other licensing), as well as updating your headshot every two to three years. Switch out your links, keywords and images to align with your current marketing initiatives, such as family office services or retirement planning. Review your banner images too.
Promote your social media on all of your marketing outlets. It never ceases to amaze me how many advisors (companies too!) have spent the time to create their social presence but then don’t promote it. For sure add your social media widgets to your website homepage, and while you’re at it, add them to your email signature and inside your marketing email campaigns. These outlets direct the people you actually know to follow you, which improves connections with clients and boosts your online following.
Be sure to engage with others – don’t just post and disappear – comment, like, and share other posts and definitely respond to anyone who engages with your posts, promptly.
The ability to focus is a strength. But, the ability to focus on the right set of things is a superpower.
When it comes to your marketing, what can you focus on to make 2020 a great year for your practice? What can you do to make that leap from strength to superpower?
For starters, we have to talk about what not to do.
Here it is: Avoid focusing solely on finishing moves.
Finishing moves are the very last actions that take place right before a win.
You see them all the time in movies:
The 5-point exploding heart technique in Kill Bill.
The crane kick in The Karate Kid.
Crossing the streams (from proton packs) in Ghostbusters.
(Didn’t expect 3 movie references in a row there, did you?)
See, finishing moves are important. But, they’re not the ONLY thing to pursue.
In fact, chasing after finishing moves is likely to lead to frustration, burnout and that hamster-on-a-wheel feeling.
You may be asking yourself…
“What’s the one thing I can do to get a massive email list?”
“What’s the one thing I can do to get hundreds of leads this week?”
“What’s the one thing I can do to get brand new clients in record time?”
All those questions? Those are about finishing moves.
See, marketing is all about momentum.
Here’s James Clear, author of Atomic Habits:
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
Systems breed consistent action.
Consistent action, however simple, beats massive one-off effort.
A finishing-moves-only approach shirks the movement that will get you where you want to be.
My company recently released a comprehensive report based off of over 14,000 digital marketing campaigns in the financial industry (you can download it here.)
Want to know what one of the biggest takeaways was?
It’s related to what the top 25% of financial advisors do with their marketing.
They market more.
Not glamorous at all, is it? But, it’s the truth.
And it should be encouraging, because it comes down to consistency.
For 2020, focus on building up your marketing system (call it a habit, a routine, sequence, whatever!).
What will you do consistently to meaningfully connect with prospects and clients?
Now, that could take many forms; more than just a few hundred words would allow, but let’s boil down marketing to some first principles.
It’s about making meaningful connections.
Making them consistently.
Initiating them in the spirit of service.
Whether that’s a monthly or quarterly seminar, an ongoing email newsletter, a bite-sized video series or a mix of all of the above and more…please be consistent.
You’ll get to your finishing moves soon enough.
Featured Image: Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash