For most financial advisors, marketing isn’t their strongest (or favorite) thing to work on when building their business. But if you’re an RIA or an IAR working for a smaller firm without a designated marketing team, those responsibilities may be put on your plate. But don’t panic! Promoting your business and acquiring new clients doesn’t have to be difficult or require a marketing degree. If you can grasp a handful of online financial advisor marketing concepts - and stay up to date on the most popular and successful trends - you’ll be digital marketing like a pro in no time. Here are 5 digital marketing trends you can focus on right away:
You may already be using social media for your personal use, but have you thought of leveraging social media for your financial advisory firm as well? Businesses have come a long way on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Some are even finding success on Instagram and Snapchat – which have a slightly younger audience. The first step to using social media is to make sure you are following all compliance regulations as set forth by your compliance department and the SEC.
Once you are aware of what you can and can’t do, you can begin setting up your business social accounts. From there, you can use your social platform to raise awareness about your business, share tips and articles, and even make appointments. This is also a great way to connect and show your support for other local businesses, nonprofits, and events. Social media posts are not only a terrific marketing tool, but they will demonstrate to your clients and potential clients a bit more about the culture at your company.
Be mindful, however, of the content you share on your business page from both a regulatory and PR perspective. Remember that this is a business page and shouldn’t be used for the same purpose as a personal page. If you avoid politics, religion or any other potentially touchy subject and stick to the business at hand social media can be a powerful digital marketing tool. Once your comfort level on social media has increased, you may want to consider purchasing ads or sponsored posts/videos. You can target your audience by many factors, including geography, demographics, interest, etc.
Video content is one of the more popular digital marketing trends in recent years. The sharing nature of social media is a natural complement to this media and can make videos go viral in a matter of hours. And while you may not necessarily be looking to become the next YouTube sensation, for a little effort and a minor investment in video and audio equipment, you can produce your own videos on commentary, market trends, retirement tips and more.
Financial advisors are using video to introduce themselves and explain who they are and what they do. Just remember to keep the content generic and evergreen when possible, so if it’s viewed months or even years after you create it, it will still be relevant to anyone who comes across your video. Also be sure to brand your video with your name and contact information, just in case it’s shared and the video description doesn’t come along with it.
Having a blog is another very popular digital marketing trend. The best thing about blogs? Anyone can create a blog. The worst thing about blogs? Anyone can create a blog. Keep this in mind when venturing into the blogosphere: If there are millions of blogs about investments and financial and market trends, why should someone want to read yours over all the others? The answer is good content. Coming up with good content is paramount to running a successful blog. Almost as important is keeping the blog updated and posting frequently.
People in general (and especially on the internet) have a very short attention span and if they come back to see you have no new content for weeks, they’ll most likely move on and never come back. The best way to prevent this is to create a content calendar and stick with it. Plan ahead for when you have busy months and have some blog posts written and on deck for when you’re on a time crunch. What makes a financial advisor blog effective is having useful content that’s not too dry or too long, that is written in clear layperson terms, and gives them more knowledge on a subject than they had before reading it.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a term for how you can leverage certain aspects of your website to have the search engines favor you. Search engines work on keywords, meta descriptions and tags, and many other factors that the average site visitor may not even notice. SEO is a crucial part of how people find you online, so it’s worth having what’s known as an SEO-optimized website. This means including those above-mentioned elements such as keywords, etc. as an integral part of your website. For some, this means enhancing their existing site. For others, this might mean an entire website overhaul.
A good way to tell which category you belong in is to assess how long ago the current website was built. This doesn’t simply mean “updated” or had some new content and photos added – but truly redesigned from scratch. From an SEO perspective, every 2-3 years is the optimal time for a website redesign. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t assess your SEO much more frequently. A good way to check for keywords you may be missing is to scope out the competition. And also, don’t forget to use SEO for local search purposes or you could be missing out on your own local prospects.
Inbound marketing is exactly what the name implies – marketing that draws people into your website or landing pages via exceptional content. This is the opposite of the old school approach of mass marketing via email “blasts” and mass mailings. Having standout content is a great way to engage your clients and keep them coming back for more. It’s also a great way to get your content shared across many different channels. Good examples of inbound marketing relevant to financial advisors include infographics, blog posts, videos, SEO tactics - as part of a cohesive content marketing effort.
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Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.