Content Marketing for Advisors: How to Differentiate Yourself

While content marketing for wealth advisors is not new news, it is taking over as a strategy to grow and build lasting relationships with families. With content marketing generating three times as many leads and costing 62% less than traditional marketing, financial advisors across the country are now recognizing the power of content. This has led to a flood of publishing, so it's critical to not only publish, but publish well. Effective content is timely, relevant and interesting to your audience...and a great place to start is to ask: "What are my clients asking me about?"

Take a look at these top 7 tips to produce content to differentiate yourself.

7 Steps for Effective Content Marketing For Advisors

Step 1: Identify Goals and Objectives

The first step for any content marketing strategy is identifying your goals and objectives. It is extremely difficult to successfully execute a plan without understanding why you are taking action and what goals you hope to accomplish. Do you want your content to build awareness? Generate prospects? Boost search engine rankings? Without defining your goals, it’s impossible to measure your progress and adjust as needed.  

Step 2: Define and Understand Your Target Audience

No matter your specific goals and objectives, to achieve them you must define and understand your target audience. Consider the type of clients and prospects you wish to replicate, and conduct research to figure out what is most important to them. Which topics can you bring a new perspective to? What questions are people asking that you can answer? Answer these questions to determine what type of content you need to create in order to resonate with the type of prospects you wish to attract. 

Step 3: Plan Your Content

After you have figured out your goals, objectives and target audience, you need to plan your content. Create a content calendar at least once every quarter and make sure that is complete with topics and dates. Try to balance and mix up the types of content you create by subject and point of client journey.  Also, it is important to note that your content calendar does not need to be set in stone – if you see a trending topic that you are knowledgeable about and that matters to your clients and prospects, jump on it.

Step 4: Create High-Quality Content

When it comes to content marketing for advisors, quality must always come before quantity. One quality piece that delivers truly valuable insights to your target audience is significantly more valuable than a new fluff piece posted daily. Ensure your content is nothing but the highest quality by always relating to your audience, avoiding complex financial jargon, backing up points with data, using proper grammar and spelling, and incorporating correlating images

Step 5: Utilize a Call to Action

A high-quality piece of content should provoke a response from your audience – take advantage of this by directly asking for a specific action. This call to action can be anything from scheduling an appointment for a planning session to an invitation to a seminar and everything in between. No matter what, you do not want to miss this opportunity to get one step closer to achieving your goals.

Step 6: Post and Promote

Once your content is complete, proofed and approved by compliance, it is time to post and promote. For compliance reasons, your website blog is typically the best central place for your content. After it is posted there, share the link in posts on your social media accounts and create an email campaign around it to be sent to your growing list of contacts.  

Step 7: Track and Optimize

The final step toward effective content marketing for advisors is tracking and optimizing. First, measure any progress and track all results from your content marketing campaign. What is working? What is not working? Could you change anything to better reach your goals? Answer these questions and then optimize all of your future content for optimal success.

There is no time like the present to start following these seven steps so both your content and your firm can cut through the clutter and stand out from the competition. Interested in getting started? Then contact our experienced and dedicated wealth management marketing team today.

What's In A Gift?

Inevitably, around this time of year we are flooded with requests from advisors in a panic over what to give their clients for holiday gifts. Many times, we have to talk them out of “gifts” like logo wine glasses, logo coffee mugs or calendars. It is very important that the gift does not come across as self-serving.

We often go back to basics with them and ask the questions: What is a gift? What is this gift for? Is it a marketing piece? Or is it to say, “thank you, we love working with you and your family?” Logo items should not be seen as gifts. Many times, they end up in the charity donation pile or tossed in the garbage. If you want to make an impact with a real gift, it’s time to get creative and put some thought into it.

I always start by asking what YOU would want to receive as a gift. Would you want to receive a logo hat? I think not.

Here are some top creative ideas we’ve found over the years. These ideas may not be exactly right for your clients, but at least it will get you thinking…

1.     SOMETHING PERSONAL

For valued clients, nothing says, “I appreciate you” like something personal. Whether it is a jersey signed by a favorite sports team, an experience (ex. a trip, gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, sporting event, etc.), these gifts communicate that you listen, you care and you appreciate their business.

 

2.     SOMETHING THAT WILL BE USED OFTEN

Recently, I was in a conversation with an attorney who genuinely loves YETI products. He has YETI coolers, YETI travel cups…even YETI bottle openers. Why? The products work, and they’re considered “current.” He often gives YETI products as gifts for holidays and for referrals. Because these products are extremely high quality, they’ll be appreciated and used. Without a logo, they’re not self-serving. So if you’re going to give a gift, consider something you love yourself because chances are, your clients will love it, too (but remember that not everyone loves to collect 70s disco albums, so choose wisely).

 

3.     SOMETHING HANDMADE

For firms that serve a small number of families, we really have to think outside of the box. These families can afford anything they want, and are probably bombarded daily with retail giveaways. We have had great success with gifts that are handmade and thoughtful, like these from a local pottery studio. Elegant, classic design, yet functional and practical, these gifts are always well-received. Also you would be supporting a local, small business instead of a factory in China or India, which is an added bonus. 

 

4.     SUBSCRIPTION GIFTS

These gifts are great. They keep coming month after month for the year, reminding your client that you appreciate them! And there are so many to choose from, you are sure to find something your clients will love and appreciate all year long. You can choose from subscriptions for foodies, for techies, for beauty addicts, fitness gurus or outdoorsmen. Whichever subscription you land on, you can rest assured it will be the gift that keeps on giving. Here are a few we think are amazing.

 

5.     SOMETHING UNUSUAL

I once read an article about holiday gifts that mentioned someone who gave Cutco scissors to each of his clients, with the engraving: “You’re a cut above the rest and we love working with you.” Now say what you will about this, but it is certainly attention grabbing, high-end and thoughtful.  

 

 

6.     SOMETHING HANDWRITTEN

We understand that not everyone has a budget for high-end client gifts. That’s ok! Sometimes a hand-written card (with a hand-addressed envelope!) speaks volumes and can stand out in a pile of printed address labels.  

 

Good luck in your search, and happy shopping!

 

 

Are You On The Website Naughty List? List of Top 5 Advisor Website Mistakes

“If you don’t show up on Google, then you don’t exist.”

I’m not sure who first spoke those wise words but they were right. In wealth management marketing, a website is one of the most critical pieces of collateral in an advisor’s arsenal. It can serve as:

·      a widely available and dynamic brochure to describe services and value prop;

·      verification for those seeking your firm, location or staff;

·      a source of information and thought leadership;

·      and a point of affirmation for those researching your firm.

 

In our marketing and communications work with wealth advisors, we complete a great deal of industry research and often look at websites all day long for competitive analysis and inspiration. While there are professional and perfectly beautiful advisor websites, more often than not, websites we see are less than inspirational. Most of the time, the wealth advisor websites we find are unprofessional, unattractive and uninformative. This is not only a missed opportunity, but can also act as a deterrent!

Knowing that the first step of vetting a firm is often a quick Google search, why would a wealth advisor not make their website amazing? A good website with informative content can score instant credibility! That said, simplicity is the key; less is more.

There are a few faux pas that I often see – here are the top five:

1.      No Website At All -

The most heinous mistake I see happens when I search for a firm - and find nothing. Even worse, when I search for the firm I am seeking, I'll incorrectly stumble on similarly-named competitors who have websites optimized for search. This can make it difficult for prospects to find your firm - even a client coming in for a meeting can be frustrated at not being able to find your address easily. Not having a website makes it seem like your firm is either non-existent or not professional enough to have one.

2.      Typos –

Websites that have grammatical errors and misspellings make the firm in question appear sloppy. Your website is a reflection of you and your firm – would you send client documents with typos? No way! Your website is the most widely available piece of collateral your firm produces. It needs
to be properly edited for mistakes.

3.     Poorly Structured Navigation -

Many times when I see a wealth advisor website, my first impression is that it is a jumbled mess, often with choppy navigation and many more pages than necessary. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and a prospect is not going to take the time to search through a confusing maze of sub-navigation pages to find the information they want. The content of your website should be written for your prospects – and less is more! A simple navigation structure and easy-to-read content makes it easier for the reader to understand your offering. 

4.     Out of Date content -

There is a reason we don’t wear clothes from high school. An out-of-date website leaves the impression that your firm is not current in technology capabilities and communication methods. Firms who embrace technology to benefit their clients should also make sure this forward-thinking approach is reflected in their public materials.  A website is not “set it and forget it”  - rather it should be refreshed every 3-4 years to ensure current design and technology standards.

5.     Basic Unattractive Look and Feel -

Why is a website often the most unattractive piece of collateral a firm has to offer? Your firm’s website should be the MOST appealing part of your marketing arsenal! In an age of digital marketing, the investor is constantly bombarded with images, information and shiny objects, so it is important to make sure your website is an appropriate reflection of your firm’s caliber of service. Keeping your website consistent with your firm’s brand standards help a reader seeking your website know they’ve come to the right place. In an era when there may be several firms with similar names to yours, it is critical to use visuals that are attractive and consistent with the rest of your firm’s collateral and brand.

 

 

 

Communication 101: What We Learned From Brexit

Last month the United Kingdom voted to break away from the European Union, resulting in dramatic swings in the global markets. Investors on both sides of the pond experienced anxiety, and the financial media only made matters worse by playing on those fears. The market recovered shortly thereafter but many investors were left wondering, “What next? Should I do anything? What does this mean for me?”

In times of uncertainty, communication is critical. It can calm fears, help avoid brash decisions, strengthen relationships, and create opportunities to demonstrate thought leadership and expertise. Communications has evolved beyond the bland, boring investment letters of the past. Investors today expect to read content that is engaging, relevant, interesting, and in a language that they can understand. Thankfully, there are several modes of communication for an advisor – all of which should be used in tandem in a thoughtful, proactive way. Email and social media should be used along with Old Faithful (the telephone) to reach clients and allay their fears. These cover the bases in terms of demographics and together reach a broad spectrum of audiences.

Email. A timely and informative email from advisor to client can be calming and reassuring. Rather than simply regurgitate market data, these should go further to answer a few basic questions that client families often ask: “How does this affect me? What does this mean for my wealth in the long term? Should I do anything? Is this a good time to buy?” This is both helpful and often very much appreciated. Email marketing is not just for sales, but can be a non-intrusive, private way to quickly update clients. 

Social media. Why do advisors flinch at the mere mention of the word Twitter? Since the UK’s EU referendum, 13,310 simultaneous hashtags regarding Brexit have been utilized on a global scale. What better way to jump into the conversation and communicate with people who use social media to get their news, including millennials, reporters and even many investors. In addition, social media is a great way to establish your brand among your peers and centers of influence. Social media has functioned as a fundamental voice in the post-Brexit conversation and will continue to serve as a channel to convey the latest information about current global events. Shouldn’t you be a part of the conversation?

A conversation. The personal touch should never be overlooked! Picking up the phone and letting clients know that they are a distinct and principal concern during times of crisis is comforting. The more information a client has, the less likely they are to make a rash decision that may lead to financial losses.  

Big news will happen and market volatility is a reality investors will face. Leverage these opportunities to strengthen relationships and help clients feel good about your advisory relationship.

Do’s and Don’ts for Online Marketing

You’ve worked hard to build your firm, grow assets, and retain loyal clients who refer you new business. Implementing a few simple tactics to take advantage of digital media solutions will help you convince those prospects to join your firm – allowing you to convert those referrals into new clients. Does your online presence reflect your offline brand? A basic web search is now widely accepted as a basic form of due diligence when selecting a professional to work with, so make sure your website has been modernized and contains relevant, timely content. Don’t waste time on complicated strategies to which your prospects won’t respond. Instead, focus on creating content that answers an investor’s questions and concerns, and find ways to get it in front of clients, reporters, and centers of influence.

To read the full article, please click the link below:

How to Build Buzz with Social Media

A recent online article published by Banking Strategies Magazine focuses on retail banking, but the sentiment is just as applicable for wealth management firms: you must create a solid foundation of content that appeals to your clients. Doing so will demonstrate that your firm is an industry expert and thought leader, and will serve to deepen the relationship you have with your clients. Not every piece of content you post needs to be highly buzzworthy to garner results. It just needs to be relevant, valuable, targeted, entertaining and consistent. Over time, your clients will feel more engaged, more loyal, and more apt to refer prospects to your firm.

To read the full article, please click the link below:

Authenticity Matters When Branding Financial Services

Last month, senior marketing executives from top Wall Street firms spoke on upcoming priorities, opportunities and challenges at the Gramercy Forum NYC: Financial Marketing 2016 event. One of the most insightful panel discussions on Reputation Management: The Authentic Financial Brand, dealt with the evolving nature of financial brands and how best to manage them. The panelists, all brand marketing and advertising executives, agreed that a company’s brand is no longer what you “promise” to your client. In today’s high transparent and digital world, the sum total of your firm’s actions, employees, and culture will create your brand in the eyes of your clients. Which is why being true and authentic is more important than ever. Today’s consumers are savvier than ever – if there is the slightest disconnect between who you SAY you are, and who you REALLY are, they’ll spot it.

To read the full article, please click the link below: