10 Marketing Trends Advisors Should Plan to Incorporate in 2017
Written by: Kelly Holcombe
A new year means it’s time to try new things!
As the marketing landscape continues its swift evolution, it’s important for financial advisors to evolve with it, and that means adapting to modern marketing mediums.
For New Year’s resolutions, advisors should plan to incorporate these 10 marketing trends into their plans for 2017:
1. Animated Videos
Goodbye white papers, hello whiteboards! When it comes to animated videos and marketing, the two go hand-in-hand. With colorful graphics and a clever script, advisors can use animated videos as a way to engage with audiences and enhance their branding. The brevity of an animated video allows advisors to communicate key messaging and ideas without losing the attention span of potential clients. Additionally, by hosting a video on one of the most popular platforms, YouTube, advisors position themselves on a Google-owned property and the second largest search engine, leaving the possibility for a huge boost in SEO.
Not only is YouTube a platform for advisors to host their animated videos, but it’s the perfect place for advisors to start vlogging. YouTube now has over a billion users (that’s one-third of all people on the Internet!) and with millions of hours of videos consumed every day, the site gives advisors the means to communicate “face to face” with audiences. Vlogging allows advisors to openly discuss the topics of their choice, and with the proper tools and equipment, presents a high quality product that enhances SEO and client communication.
3. Live Streaming
With the rise in Periscope and Facebook Live, live streaming is a natural extension of video marketing. It’s cost effective in implementation and is an ideal tool for naturally building relationships with audiences. Advisors can use live streaming to give viewers an authentic behind-the-scenes look at the everyday going-ons of their practice. The medium also allows for direct engagement, creating a space for conversation between advisors and audiences.
Podcasts are an extremely popular and creative way to increase visibility and provide information to your audience. Advisors can craft content with listeners in mind and provide information sessions, panel discussions, tips, trick and more. It’s important not to lose sight of entertainment value, though – as a solely audio platform, the need for engaging material is critical, as to not lose the attention of listeners.
5. Social Media Advertising
In a cluttered sea of online content, social media advertising can be used to directly drive target traffic. Placed on user-friendly platforms, social media ads allow for customization to an advisors’ target demographic, increases visibility, provides an easy to measure ROI with conversion tracking – a record of when a social media ad leads to a consumer taking action – and improves SEO through consumer engagement.
With infographics, advisors can easily catch their target audience’s attention and create brand awareness. Just like an animated video, advisors can use and customize the graphics to engage with clients and potential clients in an easy to understand manner. The simplicity of the visual aid draws the attention of an advisor’s audience and results in social sharing for increased visibility and SEO.
7. Local SEO
With 64 percent of consumers looking to the internet to find local businesses, implementing local SEO is an important tool for advisors. With an update in 2014, Google’s search engine began giving greater weight to local businesses that have location-focused keywords. By checking off action items, like having consistent contact information available online, positive feedback on business review platforms and optimizing keywords with an advisor’s city/state and offered services, advisors can boost local SEO for a highly targeted and timely return.
8. Content Contributions
For an advisor to truly stand out, it’s vital to establish third-party credibility that verifies their expertise within the industry. Contributing content to print and digital publications is one of the best ways for an advisor to distinguish themselves from others. By utilizing niche, targeted publications, advisors can speak directly to their target demographic and position themselves as thought-leaders who are in the know of current events, issues and client concerns.
Webcasts bring live streaming and video production together for an entirely unique marketing tool. Advisors can record and distribute live webcasts to promote services, conduct Q&A sessions, make formal announcements and more. The tool is cost effective and allows advisors to reach larger audiences – in a TalkPoint survey, more than 90 percent of businesses reported an increase in their ability to reach out to larger audiences when using webcasts.
10. e-Learning Programs
In the evolving use of technology, incorporating e-Learning programs into an advisor’s practice is the next step in marketing. The programs provide clients and potential clients with the tools to learn more about the world of finance, what exactly is involved with the services they receive from advisors and other factors that impact their solicitation of business. Financial advisors can implement e-Learning programs to help shape clients’ knowledge, perception and decisions by offering targeted programs, ultimately adding value to clients’ experience.
Cyborgs Are the Future for Advisors
Becoming cyborgs is the way to go for financial advisers…blending robotics and humans into one organism.
You see, I am convinced that robo-advice models will succeed and prosper.
I am also convinced that human advisers will succeed and prosper.
I am further convinced that some of each will fail entirely and die, but in Darwinian fashion the most adaptable will survive and prosper. Smart financial advisers will work out how to become cyborgs and build an offering which is a blend of human and machine – or at least their practice will.
Despite the fear-mongering when it comes to robo’s the reality is that there are many great arguments for automated transaction systems, or robotic product delivery. Cost reduction for the consumer, cost reduction for the practitioner….efficiency, speed, convenience for all….elimination of the frustrating and time consuming service model supplied by the industry to low value transactional customers….and let’s be bluntly honest: some people DO just need a product solution at some stages of their life, and DO NOT need holistic advice at some points.
Robo-advice makes sense commercially, and it can meet a need in life stages planning for many consumers. It also happens to appeal to a segment of society who are happy to make their own decisions and transact from the comfort of their pyjamas during the ads in their evening television program, and who are unlikely to engage in full advice. It is worth remembering that this last type of consumer segment is growing at the expense of the traditional intermediated product delivery systems of distribution.
However, machines do not “manage” relationships and behaviour – humans manage humans. Humans tend to rebel against the concept (or slightest inference actually) that they are being manipulated or are at the mercy of computers and machines. Machines and automated systems exist for our convenience, don’t they? Nobody wants a “SkyNet”.
……So the human adviser remains in the equation……
When we strip out all the industry jargon and hyperbole the primary function of a financial adviser is to manage clients behaviour. We don’t really manage their money – other people do the actual money management. We don’t supply products….we source them from a supplier. What we do is manage their behaviour and expectations. We coach them. Machines don’t do that yet….and when they are able to (and they will be), most consumers will shy away from being managed by a machine.
But we cannot escape those arguments supporting robo-offerings as they make too much sense for clients and for us. In fact I suspect robo-advice will be a very good thing for smart adviser practices.
Believe it or not, I believe robo-offerings can help us get clients.
For most consumers there is a period early in life when their financial advice needs are fairly basic, and also there is a period later in life where all the planning has been done and consumers are moving into “drawdown” territory. In between those times, life gets somewhat busier and complexity increases substantially.
Advice delivered by humans should be focussed upon the complexity phase. Apart from the fact that this is the period of a consumers life when there are the most variables to consider in their planning needs, it is also the phase where behaviour management is a distinct help to the achievement of the consumers goals and objectives. Generally people will only do uncomfortable or new things if they have a high degree of trust and confidence in the person guiding them to do so, and establishing that level of trust – or the bond between two people – is where robo-offerings will struggle to compete.
However, when it comes to identifying a fairly simple need which has a product solution then robo’s will certainly be able to deliver a solution more cost effectively and faster than the human adviser can, who is bound by increasing complexity of their own called “compliance” every time they have to interact with another human being.
The smart adviser will identify those areas of their clients lives and those product solutions which work well for those times and find a transactional solution for their clients to access. They will build that transactional, no-advice, solution into the service offering that their practice puts into the market. In other words they will embrace and incorporate robo-offerings into their business model.
Not just because consumers want them or need them, and not just because it is cost effective to do so. Not even because we’d like to have a commercial revenue stream which sidesteps the more time-consuming (and therefore labour intensive and expensive) compliance requirements.
The reason smart advisers will do it is because it will help gather the next generation of clients for the firm before the complexity triggers drive them to seek advice elsewhere.
The robo-advice solution caters to those who have an identifiable need for financial services of one sort or another, but who do not yet need holistic bespoke planning. It is an entry point for consumers to become customers of the firm, and for the firm to then work upon converting those transactional customers into advised clients for the future.
Robotics are a part of our world and our future. We need to figure out how to make them a part of our business too, but in such a way that our business uses the robo’s, rather than being used by them. Humans and robo’s integrated into the same service business in order to deliver they type of solutions and assistance that consumers and customers and clients want at different stages of their life.
The future for the financial advisory practice is cyborgs.
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