Building your financial advisor brand in a digital world
“Why do bigger firms spend so much money promoting their brands?”
This task becomes less daunting when you consider the impact of the Internet on the brand building process. It makes building brand awareness possible for any size of firm regardless of assets under management or revenues.
How important is building your financial advisor brand? Recent studies show recognizable brands outperform their competitors by nearly 75%. This statistic makes sense because you already know many investors feel safer when they select a firm they have heard of.
Selecting a financial advisor, they have not heard of, seems a lot riskier to many investors. This also makes sense because selecting the wrong advisor can have catastrophic consequences.
This article is going to cover the following topics:
- How do investors find your firm on the Internet?
- What do investors see when they visit your website?
- What do investors see when they Google search your firm’s name?
- How can your value proposition make investors feel more safe?
- How to motivate investors to contact you
- How does branding help financial advisors convert more visitors into qualified leads?
- How does branding help financial advisors convert more leads into revenue producing clients?
How do investors find your firm on the Internet?
Finding your firm is easy if they already know your name. All they do is enter your URL in a search engine and a few seconds later they are viewing content on your website.
Reaching people that don’t know your name is the real challenge and there are a lot more of them.
Reaching strangers makes you dependent on the keywords that they enter in the search engines. For example, “find a financial advisor in Dallas Tx” is used by investors who are seeking financial advisors they can interview in Dallas.
There are many more investors on the Internet seeking financial information than there are seeking advisors. This is your opportunity to grow your brand’s visibility, obtain their contact information, and start building rapport and trust. These efforts will pay big dividends when the investors are ready to start interviewing financial advisors.
What do investors see when they visit your website?
They will see all of the information that you want them to see. This creates a major marketing opportunity for enterprising financial advisors who make their sites more about investors than themselves - market benefits, not features.
First impressions of your brand are critical because that is what keeps visitors on your financial advisor website.
Delivering the right information is also critical because investors are visiting multiple financial websites and comparing the information of multiple advisory firms.
What do investors see when they Google search your firm’s name?
Ideally they are going to see a lot of high quality content with your name on it. They are going to see you are well represented in social media. They are going to see a lot of reviews with 5 star quality ratings.
This branding strategy pays big dividends because the information is being presented to them by Google and other third parties.
The more they see about your brand on the Internet the safer they feel giving up their anonymity and submitting their contact information to you.
Contrast that same search process to a financial advisor with very little online visibility or none. This will trigger feelings of insecurity because they did not find what they were looking for. This is all most investors need to exclude you from their search processes.
How can your value proposition make investors feel more safe?
To some extent it depends on their past experience. Let’s say they had a bad experience at a wirehouse and are replacing that financial advisor with a local firm. They certainly don’t want to duplicate their bad experience so they need a different solution.
Let’s say your brand is the antithesis of the Wall Street wirehouse. The characteristics of your brand could include these ten frequently used talking points:
- A boutique firm that really knows its clients
- An independent firm (not owned by a bank or insurance company)
- A Registered Investment Advisor
- Fee-only as your only method of compensation
- A fiduciary business model
- Monthly reports and quarterly performance reviews
- Easy access during normal business hours
- Some advisors provide their cell phone numbers
- An emphasis on common sense planning and investing
- Annual plan reviews to stay up to date
Another way to market the brand is to establish your firm as a team of specialists. That’s because most people are conditioned to select specialists when they select doctors, lawyers, and other professionals. However, most financial advisors market themselves as generalists because they don’t want to miss any asset gathering opportunities. But, that is a self-defeating branding strategy.
If you aren’t sure how to build your brand, a good place to start is to research your most successful competitors to see what they are saying about their brands. Your goal is not to match them, although that is a good place to start. Your goal is to build a brand that produces even more benefits for your ideal types of clients.
In a best practices world you should be able to provide investors with five to seven concrete reasons why they should select your firm.
How to motivate investors to contact you
A blog can be the tipping point for the brand and investor actions if it contains high quality content that has some relevance to your ideal types of clients.
This means you do not load your blog with a lot of generic financial content that has no applicability or little interest to your target markets. For example, your blog is loaded with general financial information. Instead, if your target market is pre-retirees then you should be producing content that has some applicability to people who are about to retire (Baby Boomers).
How does branding help financial advisors convert more visitors into qualified leads?
Websites convert more visitors into qualified leads when they are comfortable with the RIAs that own the websites. A lot of trust and credibility can be communicated through websites by providing the information that investors are seeking. It is dangerous to withhold information from investors because competitors may not have the same business practices.
The safest practice is to deliver the key information that visitors are seeking (About Us, Who We Serve, What We Do, Why Us) while promoting the brand at the same time.
How does branding help financial advisors convert more leads into revenue producing clients?
You may think your personality or sales skills are the difference makers. This can be true when investors select the financial advisors they like the best. They are using very subjective selection processes.
That is not the impact of the brand. Done correctly, the brand creates the predisposition that causes investors to hire particular advisors. Some advisors refer to this predisposition as competitive advantage. This is the real impact of the brand.
This may explain why some financial advisors struggle when they leave brand names to start their own firms. They have lost the advantage of the brand.
You may believe that brand strategies are reserved for billion dollar RIAs that have substantial brand development and management budgets. The Internet has leveled the playing field for any financial advisor who wants to build a brand that produces leads for its services. The name of the game is online visibility and there are several, affordable digital marketing strategies that will produce the visibility, traffic, and conversion rates financial advisors need to promote the brand.
Editors note: This post was originally published in 2019 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.