How do you improve a financial advisory firm’s online presence?
If you haven’t heard about it already, digital PR can be an excellent way to achieve the above objective.
But what is digital PR and how do you use it to your firm’s advantage?
What Is Digital PR?
Digital PR is simply public relations done via the internet.
It’s a PR and digital marketing strategy that employs social media platforms and digital marketing techniques like search engine optimization (SEO) to spread awareness about a brand online.
Since the internet became a thing, the print industry has seen a steady decline in revenue (as shown below), with newspapers being the worst hit.
Faced with dwindling physical marketing channels, businesses and brands have had to adapt by:
- Cultivating relationships with online entities (blogs, online publications, etc.) that command huge followings
- Issuing online press releases
- Guest posting on popular websites for high-quality backlinks
- Implementing on-page SEO strategies to optimize their content for search engines, and more
So digital PR is how brands get in front of audiences that have made the irreversible shift of consuming content online.
5 Tips For Improving Financial Advisors' Online Presence
Now that you’re familiar with what digital PR is, here are five tips you can follow to improve your financial advisory firm’s online presence.
1. Build Your Personal Brand
Before you can improve your firm’s online presence, you need to have a strong personal brand.
This is, after all, what you’ll be promoting online (and offline).
Building a personal brand involves deliberately positioning yourself (or members of your team) as an expert in your field.
After all, it’s money you’re giving people advice on. So for people to listen to you, you need them to trust you.
That said, everything you do online should be aligned with this personal branding.
So, for instance, you should make sure everything on your website reinforces the idea that you’re an expert in your field.
Check out Albion Financial Group’s homepage:
The website says the company is “in the news,” which means even the mainstream media perceives it as an authority in its field.
There’s copy that also emphasizes that the company ranked third in the country’s Top 100 Financial Advisory Firms list.
Even the company’s tagline, “Guiding Clients To a Lifetime of Good Decisions,” highlights this expertise.
The tagline is right beside the company logo in the upper left corner of the homepage.
If you zoom in on that logo, this is what you’ll see:
Another way you can build your personal brand is to share useful content on your online platforms that are relevant to your field.
Just make sure the content you share is accurate and that you share it regularly.
Make sure everything you do offline also aligns with this personal branding.
For instance, if you need to pick a spokesperson for the company, choose one who knows the ins and outs of the industry.
That’s the only way you’ll be perceived as an authority.
2. Run a Social Media Ad Campaign
Social media users worldwide topped 4.7 billion in July 2022.
So it’s safe to say that over half of the world’s 8 billion people have social media accounts.
But what does that mean for your financial advisory business?
Running paid advertisement campaigns through this digital marketing channel can be an effective way to get your firm in front of a wider audience.
After all, other businesses like yours are doing it.
With annual advertising spending topping $134 billion in 2022, they’re most likely seeing results.
The main factor that makes social media ads so effective is how targeted they can be.
If you know your target audience intimately, you can craft advertisements that get better reach and more engagement.
For example, Facebook’s audience builder tool (as shown below) allows you to create audiences based on interests, gender, age, location, and other demographics:
So, you can advertise to your target customer with laser-like precision.
Regarding whom to target, that depends on your company, what you do, and who you provide services for.
Pick the social platform your target audience frequents to run your ad campaign.
For instance, if you’re targeting Gen-Xers, they’re most active on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
So, you should run your ad campaigns on those platforms.
3. Create Informative Content
Content marketing generates three times more leads per dollar spent than paid search.
The same study reveals content creation to be significantly cheaper than paid search.
So what's the main takeaway?
Offering potential customers valuable content is a cheap and effective way to increase your business’s online presence.
Another way to look at it is that a marketing campaign focused on sharing helpful and relevant content will trump a self-congratulatory content campaign every time.
Every piece of content you put out on your website, newsletter, social media, or other online marketing channels should inform or educate your target customers.
Do what Fidelity Investments does.
The company uses content marketing on Twitter to catch the attention of people interested in saving while shopping during the holidays:
Don't forget to use plain language when writing your content.
You also want your audience to understand what you're writing in the first place.
4. Get Published on Other Sites
Getting published on reputable websites and publications can help you grow your financial advisory’s online presence in two ways.
First, it helps you expose your brand to the online publication’s readership.
Second, it helps with link building, which is one of the factors search engines like Google consider when ranking your content on their results pages.
You can pitch stories related to your brand to online counterparts of mainstream publications, such as The New York Times or The Washington Post.
These publications have online business sections that can accommodate finance content.
But you’d have to give a really good pitch.
If you tell finance journalists you have an article on how millennials can save for retirement, for example, chances are, your article won’t be published.
Your best bet is to come up with content that hasn’t been written before and that is timely to current events.
For instance, you can come up with a report on the state of the US economy or millennial spending trends in X year, complete with data you gathered yourself.
If this becomes overwhelming, a PR agency can assist you in getting your pitch noticed by the mainstream media.
A consumer PR agency, for instance, caters specifically to businesses that sell products or services.
That includes your financial advisory firm.
Another way you can increase your presence online is by writing guest posts.
Your website needs backlinks (links from other websites that lead back to yours) in order to rank well on Google.
According to Google, backlinks are among the search engine’s top three search ranking factors.
Considering only 0.67% of searchers scroll past the first page, it’s safe to say higher search rankings will equal more organic traffic and visibility for your brand.
But before you can get the green light to create content for another business’s site, you need to craft a compelling outreach email.
The one below is an excellent example:
It's polite, concise, and pitches content topics that would be an excellent fit for the recipient's website.
5. Track Metrics & Performance
Implementing digital PR strategies without measuring performance and effectiveness is like sharing your social security number with the entire world: it’s unwise.
You need to be able to tell whether your digital PR efforts are paying off.
The good news is, you can use several tools to make your assessment.
Use Google Analytics to measure traffic to a web page and determine where it’s coming from.
For example, you can tell whether you get the most traffic from social media, organic sources (search engines like Google), etc.
You can also use social media listening tools to see whether or not your brand is being talked about.
Social media platforms also have built-in features that allow you to view your reach and engagement.
Use these results to make tweaks to your digital PR strategies.
Financial advisors can improve their online presence using digital PR.
Build your personal brand, run a social media ad campaign, create informative content, get published on other sites, and track your performance.
As you continue to fine-tune your digital PR strategy, set certain dates that you'll review the results from your efforts in comparison to previous dates to inform what isn't working and what is.
From there, you'll be able to discover what's resonating with your target audience and double down on those initiatives.
Founder of specialist digital PR agency Prohibition, former University lecturer, author of “Share This Too” and his social media training blog, which has been listed in the UK's top 10 PR and social media marketing blogs for more than seven years.