An increasing number of financial advisors are catching on to the fact that most of their clients and target market reside in a digital world where, if they fail to connect with them there, they risk becoming irrelevant or obsolete. Email, the internet, and social media have transformed the way consumers conduct their lives, and their influence now surpasses all other forms of persuasion, including television and print media. The critical question financial advisors must ask themselves now is, “How much digital influence do we have over our target.
Elements of an effective digital marketing strategy
From a financial advisor’s vantage point, the tools and technology available on the internet provide the opportunity to compete for the attention and the business of consumers on par with the largest and most sophisticated organizations. The playing field has been leveled, and smaller enterprises can achieve the same level of visibility with the added advantage of appealing to a more targeted market within their community.
All businesses, large and small, work with the same toolbox and blueprint to create the same portfolio of digital properties that include:
- A quality business website
- A professional blog
- Active social media sites, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube
- Email marketing
While developing an effective digital marketing strategy is not rocket science, it does take an investment of time and resources to create a fully optimized and integrated digital apparatus. But, the return on investment (ROI) of developing such strategy is typically much higher than that earned with traditional marketing and advertising.
Let’s have a look at each of these elements of an effective digital marketing strategy.
1. A quality website
Most financial advisors have a website today. The question is whether your website is nothing more than a static electronic brochure with no differentiating value, or is it attractive, dynamic, and compelling enough to attract visitors and make them want to stay awhile? Does it create an immediate and lasting impression, or does it leave a lot to be desired?
Your website is the gateway to your business. It should provide your visitors with the opportunity to engage with you to learn more about you, what you offer, and what separates you from your competitors. Your best investments are in web design (simple with easy and quick navigation), search engine optimization (SEO), and data analytics (for measuring visitor engagement).
2. A professional blog
An increasing number of financial advisors are discovering the importance of blogging in driving inbound marketing. Advisors who consistently post compelling, relevant, and fresh content on their blogs are experiencing a higher level of engagement with their clients and prospects and greater visibility among their target market.
Two vital elements of blogging are responsible for this phenomenon: search engines and social media engagement.
The search engines look for sites that frequently publish new content. They’re especially attracted to high-quality content that’s optimized for search engines (SEO-friendly). If they keep coming back, your rankings in the search engines will rise.
If your blog is equipped with a social media publisher, it will automatically publish your posts on your social media sites, creating opportunities for sharing among your social networks. That increases traffic to your blog and website, pushing it higher in the search engine rankings.
3. Active social media sites
In the span of a decade, social media has grown from a way to get connected to an ever-expanding socio-ecosystem billions of people rely on for making fundamental decisions for their everyday lives. Advisors can take advantage of social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, to expand their digital influence and build social capital that can be converted to quality leads. At a minimum, your presence on social media serves as proof that you exist and that you have something of value to offer.
The key is to treat social media as a means to increase brand visibility in your target market rather than as an “end” to generate new sales. Through active participation, your social media activities can drive more visitors to your website, where they can engage more directly with your business.
4. Email marketing
Those days of indiscriminately blasting out emails are over mainly because people just ignore them. However, email campaigns built around clients and prospects who opt into your emails can effectively cultivate relationships and nurture your pipeline. Because you know who your email recipients are, you can customize your engagement with them and develop content that appeals to them.
Using email marketing tools such as Constant Contact and MailChimp, you can proactively respond to their engagement level and customize their experience, making it more likely they will continue to open your emails. These programs will “score” your clients’ and prospects’ level of engagement, providing you with an indication of when they are ready to be contacted.
To be able to engage clients in a digital environment, make sure you have developed the soft skills needed to build and nurture interpersonal relations with prospective and current clients alike. If you need help to do that, get the mp3 compilation, Mastering Client Relationships: What Elite Advisors Do.
There’s no time to waste when it comes to creating your digital marketing strategy.
Building a fully integrated digital strategy does require time, energy, and resources. However, considering that your business’s future growth—or its very survival—is at stake, it’s an investment that can’t be delayed. The good news is the tools, technology, and expertise necessary to develop and implement such a strategy are readily available. If you’re working with limited resources, the best approach is to create the overall design and then implement the components piece by piece over time. Start by building a quality website as the hub of your digital strategy and then branch out from there.