Traditional marketing is a casualty of the pandemic

The overwhelming majority of independent financial advisers who developed a 2020 marketing plan had to delete those plans in the first quarter. In-person events and personal meetings all went out the window with the onset of the pandemic.

Fortunately, many advisers rolled with the punches and evolved their plans to use their digital presence to engage with existing clients and capture new clients.

By now, many of the most staunchly traditionalist financial advisers have dipped a toe into the digital marketing pool, while many others have pivoted much of what they do in marketing to email, websites, social media and virtual events. Call it the 2020+ marketing plan.

BECOMING A MODERN MARKETER

To thrive in this environment, financial advisers must become modern marketers who can execute on integrated, digitally oriented marketing plans to reach prospective and current clients — ideally utilizing less time and incurring less expense. And they need to do it with a personal touch that generates opportunities to surprise and delight, while creating referrable moments.

While this may sound like a tall order, it can be done with the right plan and support, and with a focus on the following:

  • Personalized emails, distributed at scale. With emails seemingly ubiquitous, the way for financial professionals’ messages to stand out is to tailor them to their recipients. Yet few advisers have the time or inclination to write personalized emails to each of their clients. It’s vital to have an email marketing platform that provides authentic, engaging turnkey content and allows for customization to convey authenticity, while automating the mechanical aspects of delivery. This will save time without compromising the personal touch.
  • Authentic and regularly recurring social media content. Similarly, it’s difficult to fake genuine content on social media and get away with it. As with emails, it is crucial to have relevant, timely content that is engaging and personal. Short of being a full-time social media manager, financial professionals should leverage platforms that provide high-quality, customizable content that fits each social media channel, together with the time-saving tools needed to distribute social media posts with minimal effort.
  • Winning virtual events and webinars. While technical details matter, executing a successful online event is about much more than creating a Zoom link. Events should be engaging, well-paced, topical and interactive. Ultimately, the measure of whether an event was a good one is whether participants feel they gained greater value from attending rather than doing something else with their time. Advisers who can master this technique can execute far more events and reach far more prospects than they ever could when relying on in-person events.
  • Simple, modern, informative website. Unless financial advisers are accomplished coders, they should rely on a template to do the heavy lifting of their site construction needs. An adviser’s website should contain their brand messages and present their value proposition in a clean, straightforward format. One also cannot underestimate the importance of a modern, clean design. Many advisers are using the same website they launched years ago. Clients and prospects will notice.
  • Data and analytics. Digital marketing and brand building for their own sake are clearly not helpful. Central to any modern marketing initiative is access to real-time data and analytics that inform what messages, offerings and tactics are driving the desired behaviors, and equally important, what isn’t working. Constant, data-driven calibration should be expected.
PARTNERING YOUR WAY TO GREATER RESOURCES

Independent financial advisers can’t get there on their own. Here are the resources they should look for from the firms that support them:

  • A unified program to train financial advisers and their staff on the use of digital marketing tools, including video-conferencing applications and marketing automation platforms, rather than relying on them to take a whatever-works-for-you approach
  • Investment in a full- or part-time marketing lead who works with advisers to help them leverage a marketing technology stack, and build and execute a digital marketing plan and holds them accountable for results
  • Access to platforms, tools and compliance-approved, turnkey content that advisers can use to communicate easily and seamlessly with clients
ACCELERATING THE ‘NEW NORMAL’

The disruption and uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic is truly unprecedented, but in many ways, the resulting movement toward a more virtual world is an acceleration of certain trends that were already in motion, versus an outcome that would never have otherwise happened.

For as jarring as the transition to this new normal has been, independent financial professionals who are able to access and leverage the right digital marketing and brand-building resources will be better positioned than ever to grow their businesses on a scalable basis, while reinforcing their distinct identity, voice and value proposition.

[More: Tech spending on digital marketing is just the first step]

Susan Theder is chief marketing officer of Advisor Group, the nation’s largest network of independent wealth management firms. Robert Turner is president and CEO of Capitol Financial Solutions, an independent financial services firm.

The post Traditional marketing is a casualty of the pandemic appeared first on InvestmentNews.

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