Digital Marketing For Breakaway Financial Advisors Is No Longer An Optional Strategy
Let’s start with a definition of digital marketing for breakaway financial advisors. Digital marketing is a combination of several services that use the Internet to produce visibility, website traffic, and leads.
You may think every RIA marketing strategy needs these services. That’s true, but there is one important caveat. Financial advisors have to have a budget that covers the cost of in-house or outsourced digital marketing services. Bigger firms have the most choices because they have the biggest marketing budgets.
Let’s look at it from the perspective of smaller, medium, and larger breakaway financial advisors that are starting their own RIAs.
We are going to assume all financial advisors need digital marketing for the following reasons:
- What investors see on the Internet is their first impression of the firm and the professionals who work there
- Digital marketing is a delivery system for RIA information that impacts the decision-making of investors
- Financial advisor credibility is impacted by the information that investors see on the Internet
Smaller Breakaway Financial Advisors
Let’s assume a smaller RIA has less than $100 million of AUM. A 1% fee schedule would produce revenues of $500,000 to $1,000,000. If this RIA was willing to spend 3% of revenue on digital marketing then their best decision would be to lease a website and download blog content from a library. This is an affordable solution that gets the smaller advisor into the game on a limited basis.
Some smaller breakaway financial advisors may have working capital they accumulated in their previous business or they have investors who are backing them. In this case, they may have more marketing dollars they can use to transition clients from their previous firms and add new clients.
The above strategy has two major flaws, which can impact the financial advisors’ results for adding new clients. First, leased websites are rarely designed to convert visitors into leads.
In fact, we have heard repeatedly that these types of websites have never produced a lead. But, that is not their core purpose. They are designed to act like online sales brochures that deliver basic information to investors: Who We Are, What We Do, and Who We Serve.
The second major flaw is the blog content that is downloaded from libraries has no SEO value. Google only gives SEO credit to blog content that is original, 1,000 words or more, backed by pillar pages and is opened and read by its users.
Mid-Market Breakaway Financial Advisors
This is an arbitrary description, but a mid-market financial advisor could be $100 million to $1 billion of AUM. Again, at an average of a 1% fee, the advisor would have revenues of $1 million to $10 million dollars.
At 3% of revenue, this category of breakaway financial advisor would have $30,000 to $300,000 to spend on various marketing strategies that would transfer more current clients and add new clients.
At the low end, this size financial advisor may be inclined to utilize the services of a digital marketing agency that specializes in working with firms in the financial industry. Ideally, this firm would provide custom services that include a lead generation website and original content for the advisors’ blogs.
At the higher end, this amount is not enough to fund a full team of digital marketing professionals, but there could be in-house professionals who work with an outside agency. This would be more affordable than an all in-house team.
Large Market Breakaway Financial Advisors
This is also an arbitrary description, but a large market financial advisor could be $1 billion of AUM with no maximum. Again, at an average of a 1% fee, the advisor would have revenues of $10 million dollars or more.
At 3% of revenue, this category of breakaway financial advisor would also have $300,000 or more to spend on various marketing strategies that would transfer more current clients and add new clients.
This is an interesting dilemma. For example, does the firm spend $500,000 on professional staff or spend the money on paid advertising campaigns that produce leads for their advisors. Or, how about spending a portion of the revenue on inbound marketing that produces Internet visibility and website traffic.
Chances are, firms in this size range, will hire in-house professionals who will develop and implement a digital marketing strategy that includes outsourcing specific tasks to a specialized digital marketing agency. As you might imagine, the outsourced work is what these firms are not staffed to complete internally.
Transition Current Clients
Breakaway financial advisors have an immediate need for RIA marketing that includes digital marketing services to help them transfer a higher percentage of their books of business to their new firms.
This is the perfect application for digital marketing. Current clients will want to learn more about the new firm before they make the decision to transfer their assets.
Sure, advisors are prepared to convince them to make this change. But, cautious investors are going to want to do their homework. What is more reassuring than information they can find on the Internet. There is a sense of permanence and reassurance that cannot be duplicated by a sales presentation.
Once the transition process is complete a financial advisor’s digital marketing strategy can revert to generating qualified leads for the new firm. This is the long-term purpose of digital marketing.
This means investors have to find breakaway financial advisors on the Internet and visit their websites. The websites have to be designed to convert visitors into leads (immediate need for an advisor) and contacts (seeking financial information).
Financial Advisor Research
It pays to remember financial advisor marketing, specifically the digital component is more than just making it easy for investors to find financial advisors on the Internet. Sure, that is a critical step, but there is a second step that is equally important. Investors use the Internet to find financial advisors then they use the Internet to research financial advisors.
What they see during the research phase determines who they contact, so both phases are important for the production of leads. Their sources of information can be visiting breakaway financial advisors’ websites and Google searching their names. Ideally, they will find information that makes them comfortable giving up their anonymity and submitting their contact information.