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.

 

 

 

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:

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: