Virtual Marketing Produces More Clients for Financial Advisors
How will financial advisor marketing in the 2020’s be different than their marketing practices in the 2010’s? It is already profoundly different, but many advisors may not know that.
In the 2010’s, at least 90% of the time, financial advisors used traditional face-to-face interactions to market their services and products to investors. This form of marketing played into investor predispositions to select local financial advisors that could meet with in person.
This form of contact worked for investors because there is a lot of subjectivity in the ways that they select financial advisors. For example, they select advisors they like or would like to work with. And, a very high percentage of investors trust their intuition when they select financial advisors. Consequently, advisors with the best personalities and sales skills won a high percentage of the time.
Traditional face-to-face contact also worked for financial advisors for other reasons. Not only did it create maximum impact for their personalities it also maximized the impact of their sales skills. It is no accident that many of the biggest advisory firms have the best marketing strategies, tools, and sales professionals. Big firms aren’t big because they provide superior advice and services. They are big because they have the best marketing.
How the Virus Impacts Financial Advisors
The Coronavirus has three major impacts on the financial advisor industry:
- It caused a stock market crash in a matter of days
- It triggered a global recession
- It changed the way investors interact with advisors
It stands to reason major parts of the U.S. economy will get back on track during 2020’s Summer months. However, that does not mean the fear caused by the virus will go away. The virus will continue to impact interactions until there is a widely distributed vaccine that may not be available until the second half of 2021.
What do we know in April 2020? The full impact of the virus is unknown. We don’t know what we don’t know. We do know Americans have to get back to work. We do know there will be profound changes in the way people interact with each other. Consequently, a popular way to minimize risk of infection will be to avoid unnecessary contact.
We do not know how long the virus will impact the interactions of people. It may be short-term, long-term, or permanent.
Financial Advisors Adopt Virtual Marketing Strategies
The virus is already impacting the ways financial advisors interact with investors. The initial impact was on the way advisors interact with their current clients. Service meetings that might have been face-to-face were being conducted over the telephone and the Internet.
The sales activities of many advisors were curtailed while they focused on helping their current clients handle the onslaught of bad news that seemed to get worse on a daily basis.
More enterprising financial advisors are just beginning to think about virtual marketing strategies that will help them take advantage of the current market volatility and uncertainty.
It will not pay for financial advisors to wait for a return to normalcy. No one knows when that will be. We do know more of the interactions between investors and financial advisors will be virtual. So, getting ready for an increasingly virtual world makes a lot of sense.
Leads for Financial Advisors in a Virtual World
It stands to reason a lot of investors will be seeking financial advisors during this period of increased volatility and uncertainty. At the top of the list are the Do It Yourselfers who decided managing their own assets was a bad idea. They were geniuses during the prolonged bull market, but that all changed in a matter of days.
A much larger number of investors will be seeking replacement advisors. They are unhappy with the advice they received from current advisors. Or, the advisors did not meet the expectations that they created during the bull market.
Certain types of marketing have already been curtailed. For example, advisors no longer attend social or business gatherings to meet prospective clients.
Until generating new leads returns to normal there are a few strategies that can be used by financial advisors.
- Buy leads from third parties
- Use outbound marketing to reach investors (cold calls, direct mail and email)
- Offer online webinars and seminars
- Work drip lists with free offers
- Ask more current clients for referrals
Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors
Digital marketing is also an option for financial advisors that own their brands and websites. They can use several marketing tactics to increase their Internet visibility, website traffic, and their websites’ conversion rates (visitors to leads and contacts).
A website makes it possible for financial firms to produce leads for the advisors who work there. If the advisors are independent contractors, they can reimburse their firms for the cost of the leads.
Some popular digital marketing strategies include:
- Content marketing to increase visibility and traffic
- Social media to expand reach
- Local SEO for online directories
- Paid advertising (Google Adwords, Facebook)
- Drip email marketing
Digital marketing is a superior solution for producing leads because investors initiate contact with financial advisors. And, because investors initiate contact, they have had an opportunity to research advisors on the Internet before they call or email them. This produces higher quality leads for advisors.
What investors see on the Internet has a major impact on who they contact and eventually select. This impact was already occurring before the virus changed the marketing practices of financial advisors.
Virtual Marketing for Financial Advisors
When investors use the Internet to find and research financial advisors it stands to reason they will be more open to completing their research and selection processes on the Internet. In particular, when meeting face-to-face with financial advisors is not an option. There is a certain flow to the process that is used by investors. They use the Internet to:
- Find financial advisors in their communities
- Research the advisors they find
- Initiate contact with the advisors
- Conduct interviews and follow-up research
So, the Internet facilitates the investors’ processes for selecting financial advisors.
Plus, the Internet has a few other impacts that should not be overlooked:
- Investors have more control over the process
- Factual information will be more important
- Investors are anonymous until they want to be contacted
- The impact of advisor sales skills may be diminished
- Investors should be able to see and hear information