The financial service industry is going through a radical transformation with long-lasting, industry-wide impacts. The inexorable shift to a digital marketplace is chief among the catalysts for change. As key industry players, independent financial advisors need to understand their role and leverage digital to succeed.
Financial advisors need to be poised and ready to address the paradigm shift towards digital technology, changing client demands, and demographic shifts. One essential step in an uncertain market environment is learning how to leverage digital to enhance sales and build new leads. Let’s look at some actionable steps financial advisors can take to expand their business through digital.
Determine your Goals and Reach out to Potential Clients
As a financial advisor, you might specialize in working with clients from a particular industry or those within a specific income group. Are you targeting healthcare professionals or small business owners? Are you targeting high net-worth multi-millionaire families or first-time investors?
Client demographics play a significant role in how financial advisors chose their audiences in the past. According to a Deloitte report, there’s historically been a greater emphasis on acquiring middle-aged clients with a high net worth and secure finances. However, in these times, amid disruptive transformation and in the wake of the pandemic, it would be a smart move to broaden your horizons. This means reaching new demographics, including younger and less affluent clients. How do you digital to reach these new audiences?
Realign your Website
Your website is often a new client’s first point of contact with your brand. First impressions matter, and you need to make sure you’re conveying the right message. Right now, your web content is likely geared towards conventional audiences, and that’s perfectly fine! Branching out means being available to more people, not shifting from one target group to another. In practice, this would mean making subtle changes to your web content and design. Look at the kind of images and media you use. Do they depict one type of audience? Everyone benefits from financial advisory, so it’s a great idea to incorporate diverse images to reflect this. You’ll also want to consider designing and promoting offers tailored to meet younger and more diverse investors’ needs. Author relevant and informative blog content about enhancing your search rankings with a broader range of potential clients.
- Invest strategically in paid digital promotion – You’re going to need a significant social and digital media budget to amplify your voice. Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms allow you to geo-target leads. This can help your message go to the exact audiences you want regarding age-group, demographics, and region. Facebook Pixel is a great tool you can use to retarget ads to people who visited your website through external links. Google Ads, cross posting on Facebook and Instagram, placing banner ads on platforms your audience prefers, and leveraging SEO are just some other ways to generate leads through paid digital media. Remember to be strategic here; use insight tools to identify the opportunities that create the most ROI. Then iterate and optimize your campaign.
- Use content marketing to become a recognized voice – To attract clients through digital, you need to offer real value in terms of relevant information, current industry trends, and your understanding of the market. Your content needs to answer the burning questions that cross the mind of every investor. Provide your readers with educational content that isn’t sales oriented. Don’t hard sell your service offerings in your content. The point here is to build trust and to nurture a long-term relationship.
- Collaborate with thought leaders – Develop personal relationships with influential people on online platforms, including C-level executives, attorneys, accountants, doctors, or others who are part of your ideal audience. Reach out to them and ask for their help and in return, showcase them and their service offerings on your website or digital platforms. It is a two-way street. This will help you reach out to a larger group of people without spending a fortune on marketing. When you’re looking at expanding your presence and reaching broader demographics, it can help to get creative with influencer collaborations; think about the influencers your new potential clients listen to. Then identify effective ways to synergize those influencers and their approach with a financial advisory message.
Remember to be Human!
Clients are facing unknown fears and insecurities right new due to the pandemic. By being approachable and providing them with solution-oriented content, you can emerge as a dependable market expert that people will want to reach out to. As a financial advisor, you can provide value to leads and digital followers by sharing tips on dealing with the aftereffects of the pandemic. Reach out to clients and regular leads, check-in with them, and offer solutions to challenges they may be facing. A bit of help during trying times goes a long way towards building a healthy working relationship with your clients.
Research industry insights and prepare original articles and blog posts that provide value right now. Make sure to post at intervals to ensure that your audience comes back for more. Once you establish yourself as a leader whose approach is human, your financial advisory practice will start seeing the benefits.
Build a Social Media Presence
Every business looking to stay relevant today needs to have a social media presence. Here are some of the ways your social media presence can lead to a tangible ROI:
a. Creating brand awareness
b. Building and nurturing client relationships
c. Increasing brand exposure
d. Advertising without shelling out a fortune
Various social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat compete for your attention when you want to take your business online. Each platform works differently and operates on different scales in terms of their relative user basis. For example, Linkedin has an active user base of 530 million people, while Facebook has an active user base of 1.3 billion people. How do you decide which platforms to leverage and how to use them? It all boils down to you defining your audience.
All social media platforms work differently, and this means that they pique the interest of different demographics. For example, LinkedIn has an InMail feature that lets you reach out to people outside of your network, right in their inboxes. This depends on the fact that LinkedIn’s professional audience is much less likely to abuse this functionality, compared to a platform like Facebook.
Quora is a platform built around the idea of answering questions, making it ample space to reach leads and solve their problems. People searching for answers on Quora are looking for specific information, and it can be an excellent opportunity to turn these readers into potential clients. Regardless of the platform, keep in mind that social media campaigns take time, effort, and consistency to succeed. Keep at it, and you’ll see tangible results in the long-term.
Build and Maintain a Network
Financial Advisory businesses are built on trust and carving out a healthy relationship between the investor and the advisor. Personalized messages on special events or days special to your clients, like birthdays and anniversaries, will go a long way in nurturing an existing relationship. The emergence of digital platforms also allows you to stay on top of plans: you can schedule regular check-in calls with your client to give them a regular update and to address any queries that they might have!
The Bottom Line
Digital platforms can be leveraged for building a brand, personal profiles, and networking. You absolutely need an enhanced digital presence to reach new clients, scale your business, and mitigate risk during these times. However, while venturing into digital, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of your big picture goals. The end objective of your digital campaigns is still to get clients and scale your business. Building a community is nice but engaging with a motivated group of clients and leads is even better. Don’t get hyper-focused on metrics like engagement, shares, and likes. Remember, you can’t deposit likes in your bank account.
Make sure to monitor your progress in quantitative terms. Use Google Analytics and insight tools on social platforms to assess how and where most of your leads are coming from. Monitoring your website data and insights from your digital platforms will help you create a better social media plan for the upcoming weeks. Assess the kind of audience you’re drawing. If you’re trying to reach new demographics, are new kinds of people reaching out to your brand? If not, you could refine your message further.
Remember that everyone is going through tough and uncertain times. People want sound financial advice right now because they want to make sure they’re prepared for future shocks. But on the other hand, many people are still dealing with the trauma of redundancies and just not being able to leave home. Read your audience. Understand what they are going through. Empathize and use this time as an opportunity to build the long-term relationships that will power your financial advisory practice in the decade to come.