Recently, I had a conversation with a heating and cooling expert that might seem, at first glance, to have nothing to do with marketing or the role of a financial advisor. I called him because my electric bills seemed a bit high, and I had a suspicion that it had something to do with my furnace. As it turns out, my intuition was correct. My unit needed some repairs. Even worse- the whole situation was partially my fault, as I hadn’t changed my filter in over a year.
The ironic thing about this entire situation was that I thought I was doing all the right things. I kept the thermostat at a reasonable level and avoided any excess use, all in hopes that I was keeping my system healthy and my electric bills low. Yet I still ended up with a pretty terrible return on my investment because despite my good intentions, I was doing the wrong thing.
This situation led me to think about appropriate marketing strategies. Marketing can be a tricky task, because consumers these days aren’t easily swayed. Smart phones and tablets put immense amounts of information at our fingertips. The only way for consumers to sift through this information, and avoid becoming overwhelmed, is to make fast decisions on what is and is not worthy of their time and attention. With the flick of a finger, your website can be dismissed, your email can be deleted, your video can be muted, and your Facebook page can be un-liked. These decisions are often made within seconds of encountering your content, or sometimes after your information or services are not needed.
It’s not enough to have good intentions or simply do what you think might work. For us as financial advisors, successful digital marketing begins by developing a content strategy that delivers the correct materials to the correct audience. Do it right and you create loyal followers. Do it wrong and people lose interest in you.
So how do you stay relevant? Ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my audience? You should have a clear picture of your target audience. Remember, “Man who aim at nothing is sure to hit it!”
- What will make my audience sit up and take notice? You not only need good content, but you also need good context. You must be dynamic, interesting, and unique enough to hold your audience’s attention and make them come back.
- What’s the best way to reach them? Some topics are best discussed in a blog post; others make great material for a video. You might find your audience best via email or perhaps platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook are more appropriate.
- Will they come back for more? Successful Social Media campaigns cultivate, nurture, and maintain relationships with your audience. The strategy really is no different than what you attempt to do in person, but now you’re integrating technology into your client retention and referral efforts.
- Will my audience members want to share this information? If new business is to be gained from your efforts, this is your best opportunity. When you have disseminated information that your audience deems worthy enough to share with someone else, you’re starting to cross the chasm from marketing to conversions. This really is the ultimate goal, but it won’t happen if you have not succeeded with steps one through 4 above.
Marketing is never going to be “perfect” or “foolproof” but by following a few simple steps and strategically planning your content and distribution methods, you will separate yourself from the bulk of your competitors and lead the field