As the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S., it took the job and, briefly, the stock market with it. Many investors looked to financial professionals for guidance on what money moves to make next.
With in-person meetings deemed unsafe and amidst increasing phone and videoconferencing, advisors and their marketing firms started noticing something else: a big uptick in interest in some of the content they were generating.
“When there’s a crisis everybody’s mindset shifts to that crisis and how [it] is affecting them,” said Robert Sofia, the CEO and co-founder of digital marketing firm Snappy Kraken, during a reent webinar that accompanied a 14-page marketing trends report titled "How 2020 Has Changed Financial Advisor Marketing."
The report tracked and analyzed many different types of Snappy Kraken content production including 12,852 active digital marketing campaigns, 154,224 social media posts, and more than 5 million emails sent on behalf of advisory firms.
Clicks on evergreen content for Snappy Kraken’s advisors dropped by 42%, according to the report. But advisors picked up the slack with more relevant, tailored and timely content, which rose 370% year over year for the first half of 2020. Sofia remarked that Snappy Kraken’s data reinforces the point that relevance is key to an engaging marketing campaign.
Content with subject lines that touched on the markets relating to COVID-19 had an average email open rate of 30.82% (open rates approaching or larger than 30% are generally deemed successful). Messages that included video content on the recession or anti-racism were opened at an average rate of 28.62%. And people clicked to watch related embedded videos at an average rate of 36.98%.
During a crisis that upends people’s finances, or worse their entire livelihood, Sofia reiterated that the best practice is for advisors to humanize their email marketing, localize it and ensure that they are positively connecting with their audience.
Other advisor-focused marketing firms have also noticed a boost from content relevancy. Financial advisors deployed marketing firm Twenty Over Ten's in-house coronavirus content 2,500 times in their email campaigns and on their social media, said Samantha Russel, chief marketing and busienss development officer. Content included articles, videos and infographics. Subject lines such as "4 Areas of Your Estate Plan to Review in Light of COVID-19," "Staying the Course--Coronavirus and Stock Market Volatility" and "Can I Still Retire? How COVID-19 Is Affecting Retirement Plans Right Now" received the highest engagement.
Seven Group, a marketing firm that offers services to financial advisors, said it received a fairly large spike in traffic to its digital properties in the past six or so months as well. The demand has caused the team to encourage advisors to take this time to improve their online presence. Fixes, such as making the mobile version of a website as user friendly as possible, ensuring that blog content has up-to-date relevant content, and that visitors can easily locate contact information are small but effective improvements.
“One of our clients has seen a 140% increase in web traffic since March, so they need to be able to engage that traffic,” said Alex Cavalieri, cofounder of Seven Group in New York.
Another area Seven Group sees as important is search engine optimization. Even if an ivestor has been referred to an advisor by a friend chances are good she or he will scope out the advisor's online footprint. Seven Group hosted a webinar on the importance of SEO and had over 50 advisors show up, the highest attendance year-to-date.
And small to mid-size advisors should really consider how they appear in local searches. Cavalieri found “financial advisor in New Jersey” averaging 290 searches per month on Google, a tip-off to any New Jersey advisor looking for more clients right now.
“This is very qualified traffic, so we’re working with [advisors] to fix search, set up their Google My Business pages, fix up their web pages, and create content to help them compete for specific keywords being searched for,” Cavalieri said.
Just as advisors are getting accustomed to more video conference calls, they are also adding webinars into their bag of marketing tools. Seven Group is working with a handful of advisors on their webinars planned for next month. An advisor can get anywhere from 15 to 40 people participating in a topic. Cavalieri said that is big from a lead perspective.
The key, said Cavalieri, is to make sure each webinar is educational and not 30 minutes of the advisor pitching his or her practice.