The affluent don’t read brochures, have little trust in advertising, and are the most cynical and skeptical species on the planet.
So how does a financial advisor market his or her services to them? A major factor is digital content marketing.
You might be asking yourself, what is content marketing? It’s exactly what it implies: It’s giving away useful content to a targeted audience, with the ultimate goal of becoming magnetic. In other words, you’ve piqued interest on a topical subject; people want to learn more, and so they inquire about your services. That’s the goal.
So how does a financial advisor pull this off? By consistently engaging in the “three components of content marketing.”
Three Components of Content Marketing
Drafting Content: This requires you to develop content that will be of interest to clients, prospects and referral alliance partners. How do you develop this content? By listening attentively to your clients, prospects and referral alliance partners. What questions are they asking? What are they talking about? What trends are you observing? What issues are you facing as a financial advisor?
It’s also very acceptable to gather and share the content of others if you quote them properly and deem it to be interesting enough for the audience you’re attempting to reach. That said, be careful of hiring ghostwriters (former editors) who don’t know your business but can provide well-written articles. This can be harmful—content marketing isn’t about Queen’s English prose, it’s about useful content. Something that says nothing very eloquently is NOT content, it’s annoying.
Distributing Content: The channels for posting content are virtually limitless. As I’ve already mentioned, every financial advisor who’s interested can be his or her own media company.
So where to start? Using compliance as your guide, look into the following: LinkedIn Publisher, Facebook Business Page, E-letters, YouTube, blogs, Tumblr, Medium, etc.—and, of course, your website.
It’s very important to be thoughtful regarding your content distribution. Our latest research tells us that 37 percent of affluent clients have a positive feeling about their financial advisor having “a strong online presence with periodic useful posts,” and 57 percent have neutral feelings. That’s in contrast with the 68 percent who have a negative feeling towards an advisor who “constantly posts trivia, pictures, quotes, etc.”
Engage Your Audience: This is all about paying attention to who is reading the content you post and following up accordingly. You want to see who likes your post, and then connect with them if you haven’t already. You want to know who has shared your content. These are the people who like your content enough to pass it along over the digital airwaves.
Make certain not to overlook your lurkers (people reading your content but not engaging with you). More people are likely to be looking at your content than you realize—we call this “silent engagement.”
Realistic expectations are critical. Magnetic marketing, which is what content marketing is all about, doesn’t produce an immediate effect—don’t publish content and wait for the phone to ring. It doesn’t work that way. But over time it builds trust and credibility.
Content marketing needs to be carefully crafted so it does NOT come across as self-promotion. When it comes to content, less has more impact—a few tips that get right to the point are more helpful than a long-winded treatise. From our research, 41 percent of affluent clients have a positive reaction to periodic useful posts, whereas 68 percent feel negatively toward trivia, pictures and quotes. People want useful information, not entertainment. It requires a commitment of time and effort, but done right it will help position you as a thought leader in your world of affluent clients and prospects.