In a recent conversation with Prezmark, a digital content marketing firm designed especially for financial advisors, social media and your digital footprint have jumped to a new level of importance. The founder Devin Taylor shared with us his insight and experience of the industry and why is a critical part of business moving forward.
When so much money is spent on advertising and lead generation it would be quite the blow to realize all your marketing money has been going out the window. Even worse, you might be missing prospects who are searching for you on their own. Unfortunately, many advisors are unknowingly in this position. This major blind spot advisors are neglecting is their online presence. Some may be on top of it… and some may be sick of hearing about it, but I cannot stress enough how important it is for advisors to be online these days.
Online platforms like Social Media and a Business’s website have become a major cornerstone of financial advisors’ branding and marketing. Most prospects’ first interaction with your business will now be one of these sites, or at the very least viewing them in a Google Search result page. These pages can no longer be treated as auxiliary marketing pieces. They are now seen as your secondary office. Would you feel comfortable inviting a client to a meeting if your office was in your grandma’s unfinished basement? Unfortunately, in sales, appearances matter. And if your material looks cheap, neglected, or dilapidated your client is going to have made up their mind before you can even open your mouth.
Online platforms and search results have become synonymous with brick-and-mortar offices. This is because the way prospects are researching and utilizing services has fundamentally changed in the last 10 years. And this change has been accelerating in the last 2 years. The days of Yellowpages and newspaper ads are long gone and overlooking an internet presence is quickly becoming a fatal error for advisors’ businesses. This behavior isn’t limited only to the younger generations. The Pew Research Center has found that 50% of US citizens over the age of 65+ have reported they use Facebook. Future models done by Pew show this number steadily increasing into the future.
With aging generations adapting to online, there needs to be an effort by advisors to meet them there. Recent research from AdvisorEngine shows that even though 66% of prospects’ research started with a referral a client will google the advisor before ever reaching out. Matt Kress who worked on the AdvisorEngine study elaborated, “Even if they start with their referral, they’re still typing into Google … the name and firm or name and location. And then starting to evaluate all those different advisors.” The information or lack thereof, appearing in the prospects’ search is the deciding factor in whether they will pursue contact with the advisor or not. Even more surprising is that the remaining 34% of prospects were starting with a “cold” online search. Kress added that “[These] prospects were going online and just searching on search results — typing in Google words like ‘retirement financial advisor Atlanta’ or ‘top financial advisor New York.’” The search results these prospects see could be the deciding factor on whether your office receives a call or not.
And, prospects aren’t the only ones looking for your information online. Social Media and Search Engine algorithms are getting more advanced by the day and are determining whether they should show your information to new prospects. It sounds unfair, but nowadays we must prove to the algorithm our pages are worth showing to people. If you aren’t posting consistently, or the quality of your posts is deemed poor, your pages are going to be swept under the rug. This not only means your page will be harder to find… but that any online marketing you do is going to be more expensive and less effective.
I’m not writing this article because I want to worry anyone, but I truly think financial advisors need to take their online presence more seriously. There are countless horror stories of digital marketing going wrong for advisors. But, after listening to the experiences of many, the main issue was attempting advanced projects too early. If you can start off by covering the basics of creating a few social media pages and posting to them consistently, you’ll soon build a fantastic base presence online to make everything you try in the future easier and more effective.
This Article was written by Prezmark and is being republished with permission granted to 5Q Group.