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Digital Marketing Helps Financial Advisors Create More Credibility, Trust, and Leads

If you don’t have a marketable track record, how do you prove you are an investment expert who can deliver competitive rates of return for your clients? And, to complicate the answer, let’s assume anything you say is considered a sales pitch by cautious investors who are interviewing multiple financial advisors.

And, even if you did have a track record you could provide to prospects as part of your financial advisor marketing, how do you prove you are someone the investors can trust with their financial futures? There is no connection between competence and trust, in particular, if the investors have had bad experiences with previous financial advisors. Not all competent advisors are trustworthy and not all trustworthy advisors are competent. Astute investors want both.

The answer to both questions can be “digital marketing” if it is done right from both compliance and investor perspectives.

Following are five valuable tips that will help you use digital marketing to create a competitive advantage that converts more investors into qualified prospects and clients.


1. Financial Advisor Websites

Every financial advisor uses websites to deliver information about their firms and the professionals who work there.

How about taking it a step further and practice full disclosure for information that is in the investors’ best interest. After all, that is what a financial fiduciary is supposed to do.

This may be a little dicey for some financial advisors who prefer not to disclose certain information, for example, their schedule of fees, AUM, or number of clients. Smaller firms may have more constraints than larger firms. 

Let’s think about this for a minute. Investors are using the Internet to find financial advisors. Then they use the Internet to research the advisors they find. Their goal is to identify the firms they want to talk to before they give up their anonymity and disclose their contact information.

More importantly, they are visiting several financial advisor websites with the same goal. So, your website has to be competitive with the other sites on the investors’ research lists.

Websites are critical because they may be step one in a more elaborate research process. If investors don’t like what they see there is no step two - the Google name search.  


2. Full Disclosure

Full disclosure on financial advisor websites is definitely a two-edged sword. 

On the one hand, disclosure is in the investors’ best interest. It gives them the information they are seeking without having to ask the right questions. However, this can be a little dicey if you are disclosing fee schedules, AUM, number of clients, records of compliance, and other potentially sensitive information.

On the other hand, you do not want to give investors so much information they don’t think they have to interview you. Or, competitors somehow use this information against you. There has to be a middle ground between full disclosure and too much information.

The solution is the level of disclosure that you are comfortable with and in general, more is always better as long as it is information that is important to investors during the research phase of their selection processes. 

Like websites, you want to make disclosure a source of competitive advantage.


3. Proof Statements

It stands to reason investors who are researching financial advisors will put a certain amount of value on the comments of other investors who are your current clients.

Their comments are not a substitute for a GIPS-compliant track record, but they help convey messaging that describes your expertise and trustworthiness.

You should consider the use of four types of proof statements:

  • Online reviews
  • Website testimonials
  • Case studies for actual clients
  • References who are current clients or COIs


4. Best Disclosure Practices

More astute investors will discount the value of proof statements when you control the information. Their primary concern is information that is manipulated by financial advisors to create a first impression that benefits them.

One way to build trust is to provide additional disclosure for information that is provided in testimonials or case studies or by references who are willing to talk to financial advisor prospects. 

On the one hand, you control the content in disclosures unless it is mandated by a regulatory agency or compliance department. But, investors really aren’t inclined to dig that deep. At least not at this stage of their selection processes. Either they trust what they see or they don’t.

The bigger opportunity is some financial advisors provide disclosures and some don’t. If you were an investor who is visiting multiple financial advisor websites, which one would you trust the most?

For example, let’s say you are going to publish testimonials on your website. You have compliance-mandated disclosures but may want to take it a step further. You disclose: “All testimonials that appear on this website are unsolicited. Furthermore, no testimonial was provided by a friend, family member, or associate”.

You may also want to provide links to the websites of regulatory agencies to make the content of testimonials even more believable.

Sure, you control the content of the disclosure, but your competitors do not have this disclosure. It is a competitive advantage when investors who visit your website put value on it.


5. About Financial Advisors

Let’s assume investors are visiting financial advisor websites for three reasons:

  • They are seeking financial advisors they can interview
  • They are seeking information about specific financial advisors
  • They are seeking general information about financial advisors

When they visit your website they have found you.

Your website is loaded with information about your firm and the professionals who work there.

But, what about the third reason. They are seeking general information about financial advisors. Advisors are missing a major marketing opportunity to educate investors about selecting the right financial advisors.

Why would investors be seeking this general information about advisors? The investors have a substantial amount of money in a 401k plan. They are retiring and rolling the money into a self-directed IRA. They are going to hire a financial advisor for the first time and want to learn more about financial advisors before they start their interview processes.

This is a great opportunity for financial advisors to be the source of their information by providing a gated eBook on their websites.

Imagine an eBook that educated investors about:

  • Compensation (Fee-Only, Fee-Based, Commission)
  • The relevance of financial fiduciaries
  • Boutiques versus wirehouses
  • The importance of independence

You may even want to consider including a questionnaire that contains the most important questions that investors should be asking financial advisors.

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