By now, you’re probably familiar with the concept of Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability, even if you refer to it by a different name (some people just call it networking). As a financial advisor, you understand that increasing your visibility is the first step to gaining loyal, long-term clients. This has traditionally been done by attending networking events, chamber mixers, community functions, etc… but in today’s digital age your website and a consistent online presence translates into visibility on the internet.
But how do you morph your internet visibility into credibility?
Let’s think about what happens when someone searches for you online. You may have met this person at a networking meeting or perhaps they were referred by a current client. No matter how they got your name, you can imagine that they will want to research you before entrusting you with their money. This potential client needs to be assured of your experience, your skill level, and your reputation before handing over their life savings.
Often, their first stop will be a Google search where they type in your name and see what pops up. Perhaps they find your website, or a link to your social media profile. Or maybe not even that much! If they can’t find you or if you have limited content online, it certainly does not inspire confidence.
Now let’s assume this person “Googles” the name of your competitor and finds four pages of search results. Aside from a Facebook page and a LinkedIn profile, your competitor has a website with dozens of blog articles on topics that capture the prospect’s attention. These articles provide quality information and they aren’t blatant attempts at selling something. This advisor has built quite a trustworthy online reputation, or credibility. Now, unfortunately, the client selects the other advisor and you never even know the loss you’ve experienced due to your lack of internet credibility.
In the past, you have learned that attending those networking meetings is only the first step to profitability. The next step is building your credibility by showing up consistently, taking a genuine interest in others attending, and doing what you can to consistently provide some level of value to the membership. In doing so, you create rapport and thus become more credible. It takes time, often months before your participation in the group becomes profitable, but you understand and accept this process.
The concept is really no different online. Building a website is the first step to visibility, but that’s the equivalent of attending one or two meetings. You must consistently “show up” online in order to build credibility. By producing valuable content on a regular basis, you create an online reputation. You slowly become a trusted resource for information, and it will become apparent that you are not only highly dedicated to your business, but highly educated as well. It takes time and consistent effort, but the payoff is increased profitability for your business.
Have you put a content marketing plan in place for your practice? If not, make 2014 your year to start.