This is the first part of a 5 week series on the evolution of marketing in the financial services industry. The series will cover the new and old marketing tools used by Financial Advisors, their advantages and disadvantages, the compliance rules about social media and will showcase 12 advisors that have been successfully incorporating social media in their marketing plan. In today’s article, we will briefly cover the transition that has been taking place over the past couple of years, moving from traditional snail-mail campaigns to community engagement using social media.
From Snail-Mail to Social Media
Financial Advisors have traveled a long way from some of the very old marketing tools to the newest high-end technology based tools.
Today, your clients and prospects habits have evolved along with the marketing industry. They have access to millions of pages online and will not tolerate to be treated as a number in your mailing list or continue to be fed with old snail-mail marketing pieces. They want to be recognized as individuals and be treated as such. Instead, they will look for the information online, whether it is on websites, blogs or social media sites. Your goal as a financial advisor is to get found on all these different platforms. This means having an updated website, creating value on your blog and engaging with your community on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
General statistics show that 77% of active internet users read blogs to share news, information, stay in touch and make new connections. Statistics also show that consumers are more likely to do business with a company that is active online.
Would a Financial Advisor that is active online have more impact on your buying decision?
The results were in line with the recent global statistics:
Source: Survey conducted by Advisor Websites to 500 people in Canada and the USA - March 2010
None Voted Very Unlikely
11% Voted Unlikely
47% Voted Likely
26% Voted Very Likely
And 16% were undecided
Out of the 500 people we polled, 365 really believed that your online presence would influence their buying decision (and only 55 don’t think so).
Of course, we are still on the early stages of social media, financial advisors have only started to use social media over the past 12-18 months and therefore there are still some compliance issues, structural issues and concerns about the real impact on your ROI.
Leading the Way
We are aware of a few financial services professionals that immediately took the lead and adopted online marketing and social media early in the making. One example is Timothy Sykes, who started blogging years ago, has been recognized as one of the top marketer in the industry, was interviewed numerous times on online marketing and has over 5,000 avid followers on Twitter (http://twitter.com/timothysykes )
In other words, if you are not online yet, get on it as soon as you can. Start by defining a clear online marketing strategy, short-list the top websites you should have a profile on and start creating value and engaging with your target market.
If you already have a profile on Twitter, are blogging once or twice a week and haven’t seen any increase in traffic or qualified leads, do not despair, you always reap what you saw. Stick to your game plan, maybe increase your number of blogs, try to attend local Meetups and connect with thought leaders in your industry, follow them on twitter and engage their followers. The results shall come!