What is Brand Engagement for Financial Advisors?

Brand engagement is the process of building an emotional and intellectual bond between a consumer and a brand. That’s why it’s important to maintain a branding for financial advisors that connects with your potential clients via touch points along the client journey that aligns with your core values is the key to sustainable growth and consistent messaging.

Engagement opportunities for financial advisors include face-to-face interaction, traditional advertising, word of mouth, digital marketing, and the products and services they provide. Brand engagement intends to create brand loyalty by giving prospects and clients the resources they need when they need them.

In this study, consumers were asked: “What is the primary reason you are loyal to a brand?” 

Not surprisingly, the dominant brand loyalty factor is product quality. Whether it’s a product or service, customers place a higher premium on well-designed solutions to their wants and needs. For financial advisors, these well-designed solutions are essential components that must be in place before creating marketing strategies.

The second most cited brand loyalty factor is “great sales/deals.” Everyone loves a good deal. and financial services clients are no exception. Keep in mind that this factor doesn’t necessarily mean “cheap.” Prospects and clients want to know that they are receiving a fair return on their investment in your brand. A “great deal” in the financial services world could mean anything from a package deal combining products or services to exceptional support and valuable resources to complement those services and products.

While “above and beyond customer service” came in as a distant third for brand loyalty factors, by no means does that mean superior customer service isn’t essential. Every interaction, product, and service in financial planning inherently contains a certain level of “service” that prospective clients most often consider a given.

How does brand engagement work for financial advisors?

We love breaking down marketing terms and concepts into easy-to-understand resources for financial advisors to grow their businesses. While the term “brand engagement” is a concept that is fairly easy to understand, implementing the concept requires some explanation and actionable advice.

For financial advisors, much of the interaction between advisors and clients is a one-on-one engagement, so applying engagement best practices can seem confusing. Check out this short video to find out why engaging prospects and clients is essential for financial advisors and how to put this powerful tool to work toward building strong relationships.

The Four Components of Brand Engagement and Customer Loyalty

The 4 Important Lenses of Brand Engagement

Now that we have a good handle on how engagement builds customer loyalty let’s break it down and look at brand engagement through four lenses: perception, communication, experience, and promise.

1. Perception is Reality

This simple but powerful adage should be familiar to most financial advisors, but familiarity isn’t enough. If you want prospects and clients to “perceive” your brand as the best solution, you must constantly be aware of how you position your brand. If you focus on positioning your financial advisory brand based on your, or your clients, “reality,” you’re wasting your time because reality is subjective.

Your prospects and clients share common needs and expectations, but each has a different perspective. In their search for financial services, potential clients will typically look for established advisors who are considered experts in their field and provide superior services and products. From a professionally designed website and an engaging social media presence to targeted marketing and providing valuable resources, everything you do as a financial advisor should be focused on positioning your brand as an obvious choice for financial services.

2. Communication is Key

Don’t let the deluge of digital platforms and applications become a substitute for quality communication. As a financial advisor, you already know the importance of effective communication, from explaining complex financial terms to alleviating prospects’ and clients’ concerns. But it’s easy to forget how powerful quality communication can be when we rely so heavily on automation and other digital marketing elements to get our messages in front of our audience as often as possible. 

There is no sustainable brand engagement without quality communication. Your clients must know that you understand their needs and have the best solutions for those needs. You must continuously reinforce that perception whether you’re in a one-on-one consultation or implementing a large email campaign. Whether the communication is in a virtual format or in person, here are some questions you should be asking and addressing:

  • What forms on my website are being filled out the most often?
  • What are some common questions I hear my clients ask?
  • When do I see the highest levels of communication? (after posting on social media, sending out an email campaign, after an in-office consultation, etc.)
  • What can I do to increase my levels of brand engagement and communication?

3. The User Experience

The user experience is one of the most important marketing facets a financial advisor can count on to increase brand engagement. From targeted email marketing campaigns that get the right message to the right client at the right time to how intuitive your website navigation is, providing personalized service and making it easy to do business with your firm will make your prospects and clients happy to engage with your brand.

4. Promises Kept

Part of building a brand is creating a brand promise. Your brand promise is the value and experiences your prospects and clients can expect with every interaction with your firm. Your brand promise may be personalized service, for example. Each product and service, every resource you provide, and the social media message you post should be rooted in your brand promise of personalized service. Keeping your brand promise throughout the client journey builds trust and increases brand engagement.

Now we know what you’re thinking: Financial advisors can’t promise anything to clients! No, you can’t promise specific results or performance, but you can promise personalized customer service, unmatched support, and a commitment to putting your clients’ financial well-being front and center. Promise things that resonate with your clients and keep those promises and watch your brand engagement grow.

How to Create an Authentic Brand Experience

Authenticity is one of those concepts that are easy to talk about but incredibly difficult to achieve in practice. Finding authenticity in your marketing is a prolonged and concerted effort to first say who you intend to be as a company and then to follow through on that plan. Provided you are an expert in your field and an honest operator, there is no reason your marketing should not come across as authentic.

Express Values Through Your Brand

The act of marketing is one giant value judgment. As people scroll through articles, posts, and tweets, they constantly measure the core values behind each piece of content against their own. When something matches our values, we are likely to take the call to action for that piece of content. If the values feel askew, we are likely to keep scrolling.

It is important to be authentic when choosing your values. It can be tempting to try and construct a facade of the ideal business, but if the values you espouse don’t match the actual values that dictate your actions, you’ll soon find your audience disengaged.

Demonstrate Your Expertise

One of the most important side effects of authentic marketing is the establishment of a relationship of trust. When you use your online engagement to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, your audience will come to see you as a thought leader in your field, and you will become an influencer to those most interested in what you have to offer.

The secret to becoming an authentic thought leader in your marketing is consistently delivering valuable insights. Giving away valuable advice can sometimes be a difficult exercise for an advisor whose primary product is advice. It feels a little bit like giving away your services for free. In deciding what level of insight to use in your marketing, it can be tempting to hold back the good stuff. This is generally a mistake. There will always be proprietary information you only share with clients, but as a rule, it is good to provide more valuble insight than you might feel comfortable with.

On top of the reputation-enhancing benefits of such content, valuable insights in your marketing material can also have an incredible effect on your SEO. Google has worked hard over the last decade to hone its algorithms to reward not just keyword-rich copy but copy that authentically provides a rich user experience.

The Two Most Effective Ways to Measure Brand Engagement

1. Brand Engagement Analytics

 We know that as financial advisors, you are likely a number-driven marketer and want tangible proof that your strategies are working. Although data isn’t everything, below are some ways you can objectively measure the ROI with brand engagement:

  • When sending out emails, analyze your click-through and open rates, and gauge the level of engagement. Through our Campaign system, you can select an individual contact and see what emails they have or haven’t opened. With this data, you can see what resonates with different lists or types of clients.
  • Social media offers Retweets, Favorites, Followers, and Likes to gauge the popularity of posts. The Big Three social media platforms, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, also offer analytics for your brand to identify marketing efforts with the highest engagement rates.
  • If you have integrated Google Analytics into your website, you can see how long people spend on your site, what pages are the most popular, and other valuable information. The resulting numbers correlate to the degree of engagement, so you can see what’s happening as clients interact with your brand.

2. Proving Value with Brand Engagement

For some marketers, if a digital marketing effort doesn’t put money in the bank, it’s not worth the effort. But for those who understand the power of an engaging brand, building a brand is about providing value, creating trust, and building relationships for long-term loyalty with a cumulative ROI.

Take Rafi Rodriguez, one of our clients, for example. Rafi enjoys learning about new marketing strategies and is always building up his arsenal of tools. One of those tools is blogging, which provides a high level of engagement. When he posts a new blog on social media or his website, he takes notice of the increased Likes and the resulting website traffic.

But this influx of engagement doesn’t necessarily impact Rafi’s bottom line, and that’s okay! As he says, “It’s important to get my name out there, and I understand that when people are looking to invest, they will think of me.” This is the essence of content marketing and creating an engaging brand. Provide value on an ongoing basis to remind clients of your skills and how you can help them.

Brand engagement for financial advisors is all about meeting your prospects and clients at their level with the information and guidance they need most. It means using engagement marketing tools not only to build brand awareness but to prove your worth as a financial planning resource. 

Modern financial client communications is an evolving concept, and its role in your marketing strategy will vary. But when you understand the fundamental principles of brand engagement and ways to implement and measure that engagement, you’ll always have one of the most powerful tools in digital marketing.

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