Here is a fact: The world is constantly changing.
Here is another fact: If advisors don’t change with it, they will be outpaced by their competition and the robo-advisors.
Digital marketing used to be complicated. In the beginning, understanding how it worked almost required a Doctorate in Computer Science, a crystal ball, and some luck. Everything was new and no one knew what the most effective techniques were. There was simply no data to pull from and the traditional marketing methods didn’t seem to apply.
Business owners truly were pioneering a new landscape.
This could be why many financial advisors today are so hesitant to embrace digital marketing. In those days, digital tactics weren’t as well known. Digital was outside of the comfort zone. It wasn’t tried and true.
And let’s face it, at one point in time, someone actually thought spamming was a good idea.
The good news is digital marketing strategies have had decades to mature: The unkempt branches pruned, solid strategies refined, and analytics tracked.
We’re at the stage now where not embracing digital marketing could be negatively impacting your business.
Today, advisors don’t need to worry; digital marketing has come a long way since the first pop-up ads.
Here are eight reasons why financial advisors should include digital marketing in their marketing plan:
- Smaller businesses can be more competitive. More of the marketing world is opened up to smaller businesses. Imagine being able to go head to head with the biggest companies in the world and be seen by the public as a potential equal.
- It’s cost effective. Just think about it. With traditional marketing, costs can be through the roof. Event promotion can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and the billboards that shine the brightest are the ones belonging to massive companies with crazy budgets. How can a small business compete with that? Change the game. In the digital realm, the playing field is more equal.
- Analytics tracking. I’m still a fan of print; certain pieces still need to be printed (birthday cards, some event invitations, welcome kits). But let’s face the music, when advisors need to track open rates and see who is seeing their communications, digital communications are the only way to go. The best practice here is to build a strategy that uses the best of all mediums.
- Communicate more directly with target audience. The best way to communicate directly with target audiences is through spamming. I’m kidding. In all seriousness, clients and prospects consume their online content in a variety of places. The digital space allows advisors to refine their audience so only the most qualified people see the advisors’ content. If you want people who love dogs, have kids in college, live within 15 minutes of your office, drink wine, and worked hard for their lifestyle, digital marketing gives you the tools to find them.
- Builds legitimacy. Financial advisors who embrace digital marketing often have a reason for doing so more than just doing it for survival. These days a digital presence is arguably more important than a physical location. Think about it. There are many advisors out there who do not have offices. They travel to clients’ homes for meetings, hold events at venues, and do their business work at their homes. These advisors are not less legitimate than their competition with an office space. Why is that? These advisors have built a strong brand and online presence with a robust website and active social media pages. And at the end of the day, would you trust a business that didn’t have a website? What about a bad website?
- Call to action. Traditional marketing lacks a few key tactics when compared to digital marketing, but one of the biggest differences is the call to action (CTA). With traditional marketing, CTAs can be difficult and expensive to track. With digital marketing, though, it is a given. CTAs are better when the journey from start to finish can be analyzed. Which ones are working? Which ones are dead weight?
- Caters to mobile audience. The world is still changing, even since you started reading this article. Remember when Steve Jobs walked out on stage and introduced the world to the first iPhone? I would bet most financial advisors did not have a marketing plan for clients in the mobile arena before that announcement. The unfortunate truth is many advisors don’t have a marketing plan that appeals to this audience. No mobile-responsive websites, no mobile-friendly content, no mobile-presence at all. Even now, we’ve watched the change in preferences in how people have been reading their emails (desktop vs. smartphone). More people open emails today on their smartphone than on desktops.
- Survival, future proof the business. Here’s the kicker. All of the things mentioned above are solid reasons why an advisor should be embracing digital marketing. The cold, hard truth is that those advisors who don’t will simply be outpaced, outsold, and outperformed by the competition. The very survival of your business depends on staying relevant. There is a reason why so many advisors don’t have the same success with public seminars as they used to decades ago. What worked to grow the business yesterday doesn’t necessarily work as effectively today.
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This blog is Part 2 of the Storytelling in Internetland series. CLICK HERE to learn the basics of an inbound marketing strategy.