Not long ago, my Director of Marketing and I spoke at theNational Introducing Brokers Association (NIBA) New York conference. We discussed the topic of lead generation and how IBs (introducing brokers) can use social media to grow their businesses. After the session, we had opportunity to talk to a number of IBs and CTAs (commodity trading advisors) about the challenges they encounter in building their businesses. Most rely heavily on cold calling, seminars, and referrals to generate new business.
The common complaint we heard over and over is that these IBs and CTAs lack the time and resources to dedicate to building a presence online. As we looked at several of their websites and LinkedIn profiles, we discovered some consistent issues:
- Their websites often include a lot of educational content, but there is no lead capture mechanism to identify prospects who are using that content. The only lead capture form on most sites is the “open an account” page.
- Many IBs are using email marketing, but they send out newsletters that don’t include links back to the website, so they can’t track click-throughs to figure out which articles people are reading in their newsletters.
- Most of the IBs are using LinkedIn, but few have detailed profiles, and even fewer link their profile to blogs.
- Very few IBs or CTAs are blogging.
- Many are avoiding putting out information on the web or social media because they don’t understand the NFA rules around promotional content and are concerned about being out of compliance.
I understand that IBs are dealing with time and resource constraints, but using the web to market your businesses is not really optional anymore. I urge all IBs and CTAs to seriously consider several steps:
- Update your LinkedIn profile to add detail about what you’re doing. The first thing most people will do when you reach out to them asking them to invest in your fund is look you up on the web. Your LinkedIn profile will probably be the first thing they check. Add content that inspires confidence in you as a trusted advisor. Otherwise, why should your prospect trust you with their money?
- Seriously reconsider blogging. Again, investors need confidence that you’re the right CTA or IB to manage their money. If you blog about your principles, approaches, results (within NFA and CFTC guidelines), you can inspire them to have confidence that you know what you’re doing. Even if you only write one blog entry a week, you can start to build up content over time that will inspire trust in your investors.
- When you use email marketing, think about what you want to accomplish. Include links to content on your site. Put the main part of your newsletter on the website, and use summaries or abstracts in your emails with a unique link to each article. That will allow you to track who clicks and which articles are the most popular with your readers.
- Add some lead capture components to your website that only ask for a name and email address. This allows you to begin nurturing a relationship with a prospect before they’re ready to open an account with you.
- Read the NFA rules and get familiar with the promotional guidelines. Focus your content on education rather than pitches. Here are the links to the NFA guidelines:
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