Most advisors use marketing for lead generation and capture to grow their client base. Family offices on the other hand have traditionally remained private with little need for a broader public perception. But there has been a recent shift, as family offices begin to incorporate similar marketing strategies to standard wealth management firms.
However, the shift towards marketing for family offices is not out of the need for lead generation. Rather, it comes from a need to differentiate from the growing competition, communicate personalized management strategies and develop a narrative that will attract and be shared by high net-worth families. Digital platforms have become the solution to these problems, leveraging marketing techniques to prioritize public perception.
Trends in the Development of Family Office Marketing Strategy
BackBay Communications report on family office marketing recognizes three general ways that family offices are beginning to craft their public perception – websites, public relations and content marketing:
These strategies prioritize succinct and value-driven communication and establish a demarcation between competing family offices. This is why websites are essential for family offices, they act as a platform to present the other two strategies – PR and content marketing.
Websites offer the opportunity for a family office to be discovered, as they act as a billboard and first introduction. However, many people believe that someone with a high net-worth wouldn’t search online for an advisor, but that’s just not true, as demonstrated by one of Twenty Over Ten‘s clients:
Crazy to think that someone with a net worth like that looks on Google for a planner but when you think about it, why not? We look at Google for everything else.
A website may act as a home for a family office to be discovered. But, there are some key differences between the web design principles of a family office and a standard firm. In general, family offices:
- Display limited information per page
- Provide succinct, value-driven statements
- Highlight generational wealth management
- Demonstrate personal values
Standard firms use similar strategies to differentiate from competitors, but these four are more outspoken on a family office’s website. This is because they respond to more specific concerns of high net-worth families and support these concerns with PR and content marketing. In general, family office websites should also keep in mind how often their website is updated and should include any plugins that enable the website to easily access services. Including features like a plugin for Calendly, will enable visitors to access a family office’s schedule and find an appropriate time for a meeting. Features like this should always add to the overall design of the websites, and not detract or distract from the quality.
Public Relations (PR):
With perception at the forefront of a family office’s marketing strategy, it’s no surprise that public relations are a dominant feature. By working with other media outlets, family offices can help fortify their branding through channels beyond their own. PR functions are a narrative builder, creating a story around a family office’s intentions and actions. This narrative is shared with and attracts high net-worth families who wish to invest in the same values as the family office.
But keep in mind that family office clients factor in a diverse set of financial responsibilities – leading many offices to differentiate further by placing an emphasis on different values and services. The Family Office Exchange highlights the decision factors of high net-worth families in the chart below:
And, as the online representation of a family office, a webpage is at the forefront of perception. Many websites will highlight philanthropic actions as a result, and use them as a way to highlight the differences between other offices and their own.
Family offices want to demonstrate a superior awareness of their industry. And, along with the growing trends toward marketing amongst family offices, there’s also been a shift in direct investment rates. According to FINTRX’s Global Family Office Report, direct investments have increased since 2010:
Direct investments require confidence and knowledge. But beyond that, family offices want to show how they determine investment choices, considering both financial and ethical circumstances. Content marketing operates as a channel for demonstrating these considerations. Content marketing allows a family office to project extreme competence and establish personal branding. Successful content strategies for family offices include:
- Blogging: An excellent tool for search engine optimization, or the ability for a website to be found. Family offices can use this to provide market reports, investment news or anything applicable to their audience’s interests
- Social Media: Though social is typically used as a tool for awareness and lead generation, social media is an opportunity for family offices to leverage PR or promote other content channels, fortifying public perception and establishing authority as an industry leader
- Video Production: Along the same lines as the web design principles above, watching a video provides information faster, saving the viewer time. But, it is also more emotionally evocative, allowing video to reinforce a family office narrative better than a singular blog post
- Email: Similar to social media, this is a great way for family offices to spread their other content and fortify a reputation for reliable information. It can be used to distribute blog posts or notify any followers of new podcast episodes
- Podcasts: Taking the advantages of blogs and video, podcasts are a great way to hit all of a high net-worth client’s pain points. They provide detailed information and can be listened to while doing another activity, saving time
Using a Website to Market a Family Office
Using web design to strike a balance between values and information, family offices can establish a brand perspective and differentiate from other offices. The general web design principles of a family office can be highlighted in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples from some of our clients at Twenty Over Ten:
1. Establish a Memorable Layout and Style
Many family office websites limit the amount of information per page, saving time for possible clients. Limited information means that every word has extra value, so establishing an effective layout and writing style is key. Keep in mind perspective and branding, what is the family office’s story? How is it unique? Keep these things in mind while removing any filler language to keep web pages clear.
CONSTELLATION WEALTH ADVISORS:
Constellation Wealth Advisors website pays special attention to layout and style choices by using a minimalist layout for the sake of clarity and user attention. The navigation menu is well thought out and organized in a step-by-step fashion while placing clients and values at the forefront of the conversation. The copy style employed over the entire site makes it memorable. From single words to the intentional omission of capital letters, the site’s writing stands out. This serves to pinpoint values, without overcrowding the page with data points and imagery. Instead, the images on constellation add to the overall feel of the webpage, giving it a clean and professional look.
2. Connect Services To Values
Similar to the design principle above, clearly defining services saves possible clients time and improves trust through transparency. And, just like copy and layout, services should be clear and based on the values of the family office. Connecting services to values will remind visitors of the family office’s story and reinforces established perspective and branding.
BEACON HILL PRIVATE WEALTH:
Beacon Hill Private Wealth‘s landing page opens with a broad picture of services which can be clicked for more specifics. The website also provides diagrams to highlight unique benefits. But what makes it special is the intentional personalization that’s applied to pages like The Beacon Hill Difference. Using video and filming actual advisors, we see the use of language that pushes beyond data. Video is known to be incredibly effective, and that’s exactly what these videos are. They save time, are emotional and connect the family office’s services to their values – that the financial world is informed by the personal world, not the other way around.
3. Focus on Specific Needs
Family offices know that the needs of a high net-worth client are complex, as shown in the table at the beginning of this post. Many family offices may try to act as a catch-all for these needs, but similar to other marketing practices, it’s best to focus your intentions. After all, niche audiences provide better results with so much competition.
RETIREMENT STRATEGIES LLC. WEALTH AND LIFE MANAGEMENT:
Retirement Strategies LLC’s website puts immediate and consistent emphasis on the wealth needs of the family. The site breaks down its process into simple steps before describing the benefits. This information is kept on a single page, providing the reader with simple and easily accessed information, saving the visitor time.
4. Leverage the Benefits of Content Diversity
Content marketing provides support to the other two family office trends. Content can make websites trustworthy, turn them into an information source, become more searchable and provide a free resource. Of course, the benefits depend on the content type, and naturally, the content utilized should be based on your audience needs.
COPPER BEECH FINANCIAL GROUP:
Organized in a reverse fashion to many of the other family offices on this list, Copper Beech Financial Group integrates content marketing into their collective process. Copper Beech offers a podcast as a knowledge source while anchoring much of the website to a separate piece of content, presented on the first page, and echoed in others. From here, the following pages remain focussed on the visitor, adding to the curiosity that was initiated on the first page. This is carried through on a majority of the website, even in locations where you wouldn’t expect it. For example, the Process section highlights the values of the firm through the example of what it takes to be a client. By instilling visitors with curiosity and backing it with actionable steps, the site drives you to interact with their content and reach out to connect.
5. Demonstrate Values Through Specific Causes:
For many family offices, part of establishing a perspective is defining how they support their community. Incorporating specific causes makes this perspective clear.
CENTURA WEALTH ADVISORY:
Centura Wealth Advisory does a good job of establishing a perspective through their website. They demonstrate a general willingness to help, as they work alongside other advisors to the benefit of clients. Second, their website highlights specific causes they support under the Centura Foundation page. This page outlines their goals and shows possible clients specific examples of their community efforts.
6. Personalize With a Team Page
I team page makes a family office website feel more relatable. By including professional photos and a brief description of each team member, the site places an emphasis on the human side of running a family office. Doing so makes the site feel more transparent, supporting a positive brand perspective.
HARVEST FINANCIAL ADVISORS:
The Harvest Financial Advisors team page emphasizes connection before professionalism. Each bio highlights individual accomplishments before noting something personal about each individual. In this way, the team page serves to echo the values of the family office, while making the members of that office more relatable and trustworthy.
Websites offer family offices a unique marketing opportunity. Unlike standard advisory sites, a family office site is not necessarily focused on lead generation. Instead, the website acts as a digital billboard, telling the story of the office and establishing a public perspective. Defining this narrative is incredibly important, as it both attracts, and is shared by, potential clients. Using the examples and data above, family offices can utilize their website to effectively establish narrative and brand identity.