I asked ten of my favorite marketing professionals in the wealth management industry to give me their hot take on one simple (just kidding, super complex) question:
I planned on a single blog post, but the responses I got were so good and so in-depth that I’m breaking them up into two posts. The second post will publish next Tuesday.
Here are the first five thoughts about the top digital marketing strategies for financial advisors in 2020.
The big question, what should advisors focus on if they want to be successful with their marketing in 2020, does not have a one-size fits all answer. Rather, it depends on short-term and long-term goals, much the same way an advisor manages a client’s overall financial plan.
For example, a newly formed RIA may need to focus on building awareness, trust, and credibility in the marketplace before allocating marketing resources to build a complex sales funnel or invest in expensive marketing automation software. In contrast, a multi-billion dollar M&A focused firm would benefit greatly from an aggressive paid LinkedIn campaign using Sales Navigator whereby leads can be nurtured and passed directly to a sales team to actively manage.
Instead of trying to determine the hottest marketing tactics or the ‘next best thing for 2020,’ advisors should focus on a process, that when done well, will result in a clearly defined roadmap of marketing execution. A basic, good plan aka ‘the roadmap’ begins with goal setting and clearly articulating short-term and long-term marketing goals.
Next, it is imperative to come up with a realistic budget and choosing the specific Key Performance Indicators that can be used as a proxy to determine marketing success. Once goals, budget, and KPIs are established, the ideal client profile can be built and used to inform the design and framework of an integrated marketing plan. Lastly, plan performance must be evaluated using data analytics and insights from other sources. Like investing, the process is dynamic and ongoing, marked by gains and losses, not to mention periods of highs and lows. But with a process, marketing performance generally gets better and more effective over time.
For advisors to be successful with their marketing in 2020 they need to focus on asking for the right data to showcase their value propositions. What I mean by that is advisors need to make sure that it is clear what value they bring to the table and how they can specifically help the consumers that they are targeting. Consumers across all industries and services are getting smarter about their personal information. However, consumers continue to show a willingness to provide that data so long as doing so will return value and they can trust the company that they are doing business with.
For example, my company introduced NaviPlan® Guided Retirement to make the connection between data and advisor value easy. All an advisor needs to do is enter basic demographic data and the incomes for a client and then they can immediately show the phased retirement need for living, leisure, and healthcare expenses.
Every interaction between an advisor and their clients/prospects is an opportunity to show value. You need to make sure you capitalize.
Advisors are going to have to become more personalized in their interactions and communication with their clients.
I think most advisors have come to realize that gone are the days of the quarterly in-person meetings and house calls. But are they truly meeting their clients’ expectations in terms of the experience they’re providing? I think people want to text, they want messages via their smart devices, they want to video chat and Facetime as things are happening in real time, they want to drop in when it’s convenient and they want their best life to influence their financial picture, not the other way around.
Next-gen clients want their cake and to eat it too. If advisors can find a way to evolve their business models to accommodate this new consumer mindset, the marketing of their services becomes simply telling their story.
Be yourself. Just be yourself.
If you want your marketing to stand out in any way, let your personality shine through. So much of what I see out there is this neutered, fact-only, opinion-less, “commentary” masquerading as marketing content. It’s a great way to train people to not pay attention to you. So if that’s what you’re after, then keep kicking ass. Otherwise, for the love of cupcakes, please stop.
You built your practice on relationships. People getting to know you, what you’re about, why you do what you do. SHOW us that in your marketing. Tell us what you believe. Make your voice heard.
Create a magnetic presence.
Charles Schwab said in his most recent autobiography, “Nothing compares to the word of mouth that results from good PR.” Referring to his earlier years as an entrepreneur, he says, “It was true then, and it is truer today, with the explosion of social media.” I whole heartedly concur. The saying “perception is reality” is as true and unyielding as any other.
The good news is that how people see us – and how they perceive our place in the world — can be shaped and managed. That is the essence of PR, or public relations, which is defined as the practice of deliberately managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization and the public. How you position yourself and your brand is important. Good positioning will attract the right people – and subtly repel the wrong people. A strong reputation coupled with strategic visibility and a clear, compelling message is the key.
So my answer to the question, “what should advisors focus on if they want to be successful with their marketing in 2020?” hinges on creating a magnetic presence – not just for you as the face of the organization but for your company as a whole (even if you are a company of one).
As the old saying goes, people work with people they like and trust. This is especially true when it comes to selecting and sticking with a trusted financial advisor. The Internet has made it easier and easier for people to find out about the service professionals with whom they work. Having a strong online presence matters, but so does showing the personal character of those who work in the firm – as well as the culture and character of the firm. Social media is another aspect of having a strong online presence; you can demonstrate the character and culture of your firm extremely well through frequent and meaningful posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. When other people, who are relevant to your target market, share and “like” your content, the benefits exponentially multiply.
Being seen as a resource for credible news outlets and informational blogs, podcasts and other forms of “citizen journalism” sites, can add to the halo effect we all want to achieve. You will need to earn a spot on these programs and third-party info-sites. That means you must be not only a “subject matter expert” but a publicly-verified authority in your field. So, contribute articles to other credible sites and outlets, offer your thoughts for articles and programs being produced by professional journalists and influential others.
You will also need to work on creating your own content and either publish it on your own website or crosslink to it to/from your website. Your media mentions, articles published on other entities’ sites, e-newsletter, community involvement photos, videos, audios, and so forth, can also be added to your website and social media feeds. This is called harnessing your digital assets.
Pro tip: Study other successful advisors and see how they are mastering the art of creating a magnetic presence. You will find some great examples here and here.
Part 2 in this blog series will publish on Tuesday, February 11. Sign up via the banner above to get notified.
Featured Image: Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash