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Data Builds Relationships

By embracing a data-driven approach to personalization, financial advisors can significantly enhance their client engagement efforts.

For many financial advisors, their website is a critical tool for attracting new clients and building lasting relationships. Yet, reports show that nearly 50% of visitors to financial services websites leave after viewing just one page – and this figure is rising. For retail financial advisors, this challenge is even more pronounced. Many providers offer similar services and investment strategies. Beyond price and specific products, there's often little to differentiate them. As a result, potential clients, overwhelmed by similar options, may simply choose the easiest option to navigate. On the surface, this could be interpreted by advisors as a negative, yet it indicates a significant opportunity for improvement in how advisors engage with potential clients online.

Consider a typical user journey on an advisor’s website: there’s often little personalization, with firms displaying the same content to all visitors regardless of their individual needs and knowledge. Contrast this with sectors like retail, where consumers are offered tailored experiences based on their browsing history, purchases, demographics and more. These tailored experiences create unique interactions, strengthen relationships and ultimately boost sales.

The Importance of Personalization in Financial Services

Personalization is not just a trend; it's a critical component of modern client engagement. In the financial services sector, where trust and personal connections are paramount, a one-size-fits-all approach to content delivery is simply insufficient. Companies can generate as much as 40% higher revenue through personalization. The same report shows that almost three-quarters of clients (71%) expect a tailored experience, and in that acknowledges their unique financial goals, concerns and knowledge levels. By failing to provide this, advisors risk losing potential clients to competitors who offer a more personalized touch.

Data and Tailoring the Client Journey

Visitors to any website leave a trail of breadcrumbs wherever they go, showing the website owner exactly what interests them and what doesn’t. Harnessing this data and linking each digital profile to a real person can be difficult, but new technology makes it possible. More importantly, there are ways to do this without violating a potential client’s privacy.

For decades one of the most important parts of a retail financial advisor’s marketing arsenal were in-person meetings, seminars and reports. As time has moved on, these events shifted to online and are now a staple for even the largest fund managers. It’s easy to see why: an online seminar over Zoom is far cheaper and easier for clients to buy into than a conference at a country club. And, unlike an in-person event, it can be recorded so potential clients who aren’t able to attend live can still access the information shared. 

The downside is a lack of impact: anyone can arrange a Zoom call, and it doesn’t necessarily communicate the brand’s value. High-net-worth investors, in particular, are typically used to a white-glove level of service, so financial advisors will need to deliver it. Data is the key to achieving this: by gathering information about potential clients, content can be tailored to them.

By using a unified platform that consolidates all content—articles, videos, webinars—financial advisors can streamline the user experience and create a data-rich environment. By analyzing user behavior on this platform, advisors can identify a multitude of patterns and trends.

The Role of Unified Platforms

While traditional web analytics tools like Google Analytics offer insights into user behavior, they often provide a fragmented and anonymous view—you’ll see visitors might be dropping out at a certain page, but you won’t know why. A holistic approach, which includes not just demographics and browsing history but also content preferences and engagement metrics, enables true personalization. For instance, if a potential client is deeply engaged with content and webinars on a specific topic, the platform can trigger timely, personalized outreach, fostering a deeper connection. This approach aids in client acquisition and strengthens relationships with existing clients.

Unified platforms provide several advantages:

  1. Integrated Content Delivery: By hosting all content types on a single platform, financial advisors can ensure a consistent user experience. This integration facilitates seamless transitions between different types of content, such as moving from an informative article to a related video or webinar.
  2. Comprehensive Data Collection: Unified platforms collect data from all user interactions, providing a more complete picture of client behavior and preferences. This comprehensive data collection is crucial for developing effective personalization strategies.
  3. Enhanced Analytics: Advanced analytics tools integrated into unified platforms can process and analyze large volumes of data, identifying trends and patterns that might not be apparent through traditional analytics methods. This capability enables advisors to make data-driven decisions that enhance client engagement.

By harnessing the power of data, financial advisors can transform the client journey. Visits to your website will no longer feel like awkward introductions but rather ongoing conversations tailored to the specific needs and preferences of each individual investor. This transformation requires a shift from a fragmented approach to a cohesive, data-driven strategy.

Turning Visitors into Clients

Too many websites today fail to leave a lasting impression. They do not engage prospects effectively to build meaningful connections. By utilizing audience engagement platforms, financial advisors can gain valuable insights into their audience's behavior and preferences, enabling them to deliver personalized experiences that drive engagement and loyalty.

Providing access to essential digital hospitality features and ensuring seamless communication across various channels is the key to making every visit to your website feel like a continuing conversation, not a first date.

Practical Steps for Financial Advisors

To leverage intent data effectively, financial advisors should consider the following steps:

  1. Implement a Unified Platform: Choose a platform that can integrate all content types and provide comprehensive analytics. This will streamline the user experience and facilitate data collection.
  2. Analyze User Behavior: Use advanced analytics tools to understand how clients interact with your content. Look for patterns in content consumption and engagement to tailor your outreach efforts.
  3. Personalize Content Delivery: Based on the insights gained from data analysis, personalize the content delivery for each user. This could involve recommending articles, videos or webinars that align with their interests and needs.
  4. Enhance Communication: Ensure that communication with clients is seamless and personalized. Use data-driven insights to inform your outreach strategy, making sure that every interaction is relevant and timely.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Regularly review and adjust your strategy based on new data and feedback. Personalization is an ongoing process that requires constant refinement.

By embracing a data-driven approach and leveraging intent data, financial advisors can significantly enhance their client engagement efforts. This approach not only helps in attracting new clients but also in building deeper, more meaningful relationships with existing ones. A personalized, seamless user experience is no longer a luxury but a necessity in the competitive financial services landscape. Financial advisors who adapt to this new paradigm will be well-positioned to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

Matt Ryan is Chief Transformation Officer at Reef, Powered by Totem

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