The Biggest Mistake Financial Advisors Make in Marketing
A few months ago, I had an illuminating conversation with a financial advisor.
I’d just finished giving a talk about content marketing and creating digital content. He told me that he’d been blogging almost every week for about two years, and that he had arrived at the conclusion that content marketing did not work.
As a quick aside, how do you come to the belief that something like content marketing, as a whole, doesn’t work—simply because it doesn’t work for you? That would be like me saying I don’t think it’s possible for Tom Brady to throw a football sixty yards downfield just because I can’t. It’s an extremely myopic viewpoint.
But back to the conversation at hand, I asked him the first question that came to my mind: What he was doing to promote his blog?
His answer was...nothing.
This advisor was approaching content marketing with a Field of Dreams mentality.
He somehow had come to the conclusion that all he had to do was write a blog, put it on his website, and the web traffic and interested leads would come pouring in as a result.
That workflow looks something like this if we outline it:
What this advisor didn’t realize is that content marketing doesn’t stop at the point when a piece of content is created. The creation of a blog post is not the end—it is the beginning.
In this post, we’re going to look at what advisors need to do once the content’s been created, and how that often makes all the difference in content marketing success.
Implement the 80/20 Rule for Content Marketing
I’ve talked about the 80/20 rule before when it comes to writing content. It can apply to a lot of different situations. For example, 80% of your time might be devoted to only 20% of your clients.
When you’re marketing your business, you want to live by the 80/20 rule with content creation and promotion.
Most people spend 80% of their time creating their content, and then only 20% of their time promoting it.
This ratio is flipped from what it should be.
Instead, the majority of your time needs to be spent on the promotion of what you create. Not doing this is the biggest mistake financial advisors make in marketing.
Why would you spend 80% of your time on marketing focusing on every small detail in a blog that almost half the people who find it won’t do anything but skim?
Many advisors don’t promote their content for a handful of reasons. One is that they don’t want to be seen as annoying or self-promotional, or they may be too fearful of advertising because of compliance concerns.
Another reason is that advisors simply don’t know how to promote their content. So for the rest of this post, I’m going to put a spotlight on three key channels every advisor can use to market their content.
Email gives you the most direct way to communicate with your clients, interested prospects, friends in the industry, and other types of followers.
Talking specifically about blogging, every advisor should have an email list that receives a notification whenever a blog is published. Traditionally, this might have been considered an advisor’s newsletter or quarterly market commentary list, but as others have more eloquently described, that type of communication is quickly falling by the wayside.
The most important metrics to measure on the marketing emails you send are open rate (how many people open your email) and click-through rate (how many people click the links you provide inside the email).
The first metric helps you know if your subject lines are gaining traction and if you have enough of your list’s trust for them to care about what you have to say in the first place.
The second metric tells you if the actual content you are creating is relevant and interesting to them.
Social media is my personal favorite promotional channel because it allows for instant interaction. You might get a reply to your email, but to me, it’s less personal and immediate than conversing through social media.
The key with social media is to not be afraid of posting and linking to the same content more than once. Again, you have to get over the mental hurdle of feeling that you’re annoying those who are following you (and that’s a real concern, but approach your distribution strategy with the mindset that a) you are creating content that will help people, so they need to hear about it, and b) unless you’re posting every five minutes it’s unlikely you’ll clutter your follower’s feeds all that much (to be clear, though..don’t do that).
The social media platforms you should invest in are all the ones you know and love: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram depending on your target demographic.
Let’s stay on those last two words for a few moments longer: Your target demographic (or your ideal clients, in other words) will influence which of the social platforms you should focus your time.
If you primarily serve pre-retirees or the newly-retired, Facebook is typically the network to go to, because it’s heavily used by people in that age group. Recent data shows that 59% of Facebook users in the 55-64 age group use Facebook at least once a day.
LinkedIn is increasingly becoming a viable channel as well. This site was an afterthought a couple years ago, but has been adding more features that prioritize content that make it more than a glorified online resume.
Each social platform has a different method for surfacing posts to your feed. Your strategy for Facebook should not be the same as your strategy for Twitter. Different sites call for different content and different volumes of content, but one truth applies to all: Don’t be a “one and done” publisher.
You spent all that time writing a great blog post. Keep letting people know about it.
Friends, Family, and Influencers
There’s nothing greater than the power of teamwork.
Maybe that sounds like it should go on a poster of Steph Curry firing off a pass to Kevin Durant, but that doesn’t make it less true.
One of the more underutilized ways to promote your content is to ask your friends in the industry to help you promote it. If you write content that you know might interest them, send out a few messages and see if they’d be willing to put it on front of their audience.
Most often, we think of joint marketing as something that software companies might do (e.g. Orion Advisor Services releases a new integration with Asset-Map, so they hold a joint webinar and both send you emails and promoted social media posts to let you know it’s happening soon).
But co-marketing can be just as powerful for B2C professionals as it is for B2B companies. If you’re a financial advisor, think of your contacts in these categories:
CPAs and accountants
There may be other types of professionals that come to mind. The point is, think of other professionals you know that could benefit from the content you created.
A rising tide lifts all boats, right? (There I go with the sayings that should be on posters again.)
Whichever methods you choose to help distribute and promote your content, the important thing to remember is that consistency is key. Write content that won’t expire in a week so you can continue to surface it back up to your followers, and continue creating greater traction for your digital content.
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I’ve worked in the financial services industry for many years, and articles may at times contain references to either past or current clients.