“We are way behind in digital marketing. We could blame compliance, but it’s really our own inaction that’s the problem. Where should someone like us begin?” These remarks came from junior advisor Ben to Stephen Boswell (president of Oechsli) after a speech.
Stephen recommended he begin where his prospects begin … with a Google search. Prospects aren’t just looking for a “financial advisor near me,” they’re also looking you up as a team and individually.
To have a little fun, Stephen pulled out his phone and ran a search for the team and then the advisor. It didn’t take long. What came up was when he was arrested in college for marijuana. Everyone got a real chuckle. What a first impression!
Granted, in the junior advisor’s defense, it occurred 14 years ago and marijuana is now legal in their state. However, today, many first impressions are digital. Your wealth management team’s digital brand is only as strong as its weakest link.
Younger people (under 45) often begin their search for a financial advisor online. And don’t make the mistake of assuming this is only a young person’s process; our most recent affluent research tells us that 66% of affluent investors over the age of 65 engage in a social media search at some point in their decision-making regarding hiring a financial advisor (or their team).
Here’s how to take action:
Step 1. Google Placement — You can begin with a Google search for your own names and city. More important, if you want to be found by new prospects, search for “financial advisor in (your city).” You and your team want to be on the first page at whatever the cost. Take notice of the top results on page one. It’s likely that 75% are the result of paid advertising.
Step 2. Website – You want a clean website that’s easy to navigate, educates your audience and addresses why someone should do business with you. Video adds another dimension, allowing visitors to feel as though they’ve met you and gotten to know you.
Step 3. Social Networks — The best way to drive traffic to your site is through social networks. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, the algorithms work in similar ways. By posting better content, you’ll get more reach, engagement and website traffic. Better content means noncanned content that you’ve clearly had a hand in creating (articles, graphics, videos, podcasts, etc).
Twenty-five years ago, financial advisors spent tons of money trying to create a kick-ass brochure. Alas, our affluent investor research has been telling us as far back as 30 years ago that brochures were perceived as a “sales piece” and the affluent didn’t want to be sold. Fade in, fade out, the world has changed.
Today, your digital brand is everything! Google searches are as ubiquitous as toothpaste—commonplace to everyone. Follow these steps and begin the process of making your digital footprint “kick-ass!"
Matt Oechsli is author of How to Build a 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing, and Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com